PIERRE — Management of the South Dakota High School Activities Association came under fire again for financial practices Tuesday. Members of the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee spoke critically during a meeting with Dan Swartos, the association's executive director. They don't like the board moving the association's foundation out of the Legislature's oversight. Some lawmakers also complained they couldn't find financial data such as from tournaments.
WATERTOWN — The state Transportation Commission gave a green light this week on contractors' bids for eight highway and sidewalk projects in more than one dozen South Dakota counties. The biggest job: Resurfacing and related work on 19 miles of Interstate 90 east of Oacoma. Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg, Minn., was lowest at $13,499,594.86 on a project estimated to cost $11,224,352.15. Three others bid more.
PIERRE — Four Northern State University faculty and alumni recently published their analysis of the Women's National Basketball Association marketing techniques. They found the league's status rose after hiring Laurel Richie as president in 2011. Richie lacked experience in athletics or sports. She instead brought 25 years in marketing and advertising.
PIERRE — The state Public Utilities Commission ruled Friday opponents could subpoena information from county governments and witnesses could testify by telephone or videoconference when a wind-farm project comes up for a permit hearing next month. Prevailing Wind Park wants the commission's permission to construct 61 turbines on 50,364 acres of private ground between Avon, Tripp and Wagner in Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties. The four-day hearing opens Oct. 9 at 9 a.m. CT.
PIERRE — A Corson County business manager has signed an agreement to pay $2,000 as penalties for failing to timely renew state licenses as a grain buyer and a grain warehouse. The licenses for McIntosh-Watauga Equity expired July 1. After a state inspection on Aug. 20, the company renewed the licenses Aug. 24. The grain warehouse division of the state Public Utilities Commission conducted the inspection. The matter came to light Thursday as part of the commission's weekly filings list.
PIERRE — NorthWestern Energy became the third utility Tuesday whose South Dakota customers get refunds this year because Congress passed federal tax cuts last year. The state Public Utilities Commission approved refunds totaling $3 million. Investor-owned utilities are one of the few industries that can direct a benefit to customers, Brian Bird said. He is chief financial officer for NorthWestern Energy.
PIERRE — A dangerous stretch of state-owned track got approval Wednesday to be fenced. A landowner lost five head of cattle in recent years along three miles of the MRC line near Chamberlain. The South Dakota Railroad Board agreed Wednesday to pay for fencing both sides. The estimated price: $26,000. "That gorge down there is a tough place. We don't want to keep killing the guy's cattle," Board Member Steve Scharnweber of Pierre said. The landowner is responsible for installing the fence. The state Department of Transportation pays reimbursement.
PIERRE — South Dakota hasn't filled the J-1 visas reserved for physicians from foreign countries to help medically underserved patients, state lawmakers learned Monday. The state Health Department has 30 slots but only 13 physicians are in the program, Deputy Secretary Tom Martinec told the Legislature's Rules Review Committee. Officials from Avera and Sanford health systems joined Martinec in testifying for proposed rule changes.
PIERRE — The Legislature's Rules Review Committee decided 3-2 Monday the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission properly acted in banning discharge of firearms and fishing from boats for part of the year on a non-meandered water body in Clark County. The restrictions apply on privately owned Indian Springs basin, near Clark, from Oct. 10 through ice-up or Dec. 31, whichever arrives first. Floodwaters connect Indian Springs with publicly owned Antelope Lake, which remains open.
PIERRE — State government received nearly $117.4 million of revenue from gambling on South Dakota Lottery products during the budget year that closed June 30. "It was a great team effort," Executive Director Norm Lingle told members of the South Dakota Lottery Commission Friday. Revenue this year is predicted to reach $123.4 million. Instant scratch-off ticket sales set a record, according to Deputy Director Clark Hepper. They rose to $30,181,754, up from $26,068,946.