BELLE FOURCHE — The state board that oversees water projects traveled 110 years into the past Thursday to see how a feat of agricultural engineering in the dry terrain of Butte County continues helping produce crops where they wouldn't grow otherwise. The Belle Fourche irrigation district supplies water during tough times of the growing season to more than 57,000 acres of private farms and ranches.
SPEARFISH — An official for the consulting firm hired to build a real-time flood modeling system for the Big Sioux River basin met Friday with the state Board of Water and Natural Resources about the project. Jason Love, a senior vice president at RESPEC in Rapid City, said his team would develop pieces starting with the stretch of river from Sioux Falls to the confluence of the Missouri River and deliver them for use as they are ready during the next two-plus years.
SPEARFISH — The state Board of Water and Natural Resources approved six grants Friday to assist on waste management projects across South Dakota. Ecomaniacs, a non-profit based in Sioux Falls, receives a $4,000 grant for its public awareness activities. Madison receives a $17,000 grant for its new cell planned at its restricted-use site at Junius. Naples receives a $23,840 grant to clean up its tree-dump facility where waste was illegally dumped during the past 23 years.
PIERRE — The numbers of high school graduates have stayed flat for the past 10 years in South Dakota and that trend is shown again this fall in flat enrollments at the six state universities and the four public technical institutes. The state Board of Regents, whose members govern the state universities, released data Wednesday showing the headcount increased slightly and the credit hours went down slightly for the fall 2016 semester.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Railroad Board directed its staff Wednesday to open negotiations with Dakota Southern Railroad for a 10-year lease that would return service to the state-owned Napa-Platte line. Dakota Southern also holds the lease on the state-owned MRC line between Mitchell and Rapid City. The railroad has been running as far west as Chamberlain on the MRC and plans to be running trains all the way to Presho later this fall.
PIERRE — Lake Area Technical Institute received permission Tuesday to start a program for training community health care workers in fall 2017. The state Board of Education gave its approval Tuesday. The plan calls for the Watertown campus to offer three levels of training. There would be a six-month certificate for registered nurses, a one-year diploma and a two-year associate degree. The school's officials expect 18 to 20 students in the first year.
PIERRE — The Legislature would need to spend $3.8 million the first year to cover the first round of additional need-based scholarships for university and technical institute students in South Dakota, an official from the state Board of Regents said Tuesday. Legislators would need to find more than $10 million annually starting in the third year, according to Paul Turman, the regents' vice president for academic affairs. South Dakota has a relatively small need-based program now that is funded with about $196,000 distributed among 222 students.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard intends to appoint the successor within a few weeks for the late Rep. Dan Dryden, the governor's chief of staff said Monday. Tony Venhuizen said "at least 10 or 15 people" have either suggested themselves or have been nominated by others. He said members of the governor's staff this week are contacting every person nominated to gauge interest. Dryden, R-Rapid City, died Aug. 30 after several years of fighting cancer. He was 72.
PIERRE — South Dakota's public university centers in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre need more financial scrutiny by the Legislature, some state lawmakers said Monday. Rep. Scott Munsterman, R-Brookings, and Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, said they want to know whether the centers are financially self-supporting. The two lawmakers are chairman and vice chairman of the Special Legislative Task Force created by a 2006 state law to oversee the university centers.
PIERRE — Since 2006 there have been 27 shootings of criminal suspects by state, city or county law enforcement officers in South Dakota, with 10 in the past 20 months. If you go back to 2001, the total rises to 35. State investigators determined after each one that deadly force was justified. Eighteen officer-involved shootings occurred in Rapid City and Pennington County. Six happened in Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County. The rest took place throughout South Dakota.