VERMILLION — This semester some of the political science students at the University of South Dakota turned a classroom wall into a map tracking the complicated financial connections involved with the GEAR UP program. The map in Dakota Hall shows an outline of the state and key locations where major figures in GEAR UP lived and worked. Photos of major figures in the state investigation, and in turn people with financial ties to them, are spread across the map, along with summaries of information about their relationships.
SIOUX FALLS—A panel of university faculty members steeped in American history and politics spent more than an hour Saturday talking about the new biography of the late George McGovern. As a final point, they hypothesized about where he would have fit into this year's contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Several speakers said they thought McGovern would have backed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, for a variety of reasons, rather than former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.
OACOMA — The South Dakota Railroad Board recently began sending members to inspect track conditions along state-owned lines and checking on maintenance by private operators who hold rights to run on them. The board received its first informal report Wednesday about the Mitchell-Rapid City line, whose operator is Dakota Southern Railroad. The three members who conducted the tour — Harlan Quenzer, of Mitchell, Gary Doering, of Cavour and Jerry Cope, of Rapid City — said they found wide variances along the line on either side of Kimball.
OACOMA — South Dakota's efforts to revive traffic on state-owned railroad lines is gaining an important shipper in Yankton County. The state Railroad Board on Wednesday approved access for Dakota Plains Ag Service at Napa Junction. The state's Napa-Platte track intersects there with Burlington Northern Santa Fe track. Dakota Plains is building a circular siding complex to connect with both rail lines at the wye. It would be a new receiving and shipping point for agricultural producers in the area.
PIERRE—The South Dakota Banking Commission meets this week on an appeal from First State Bank of Roscoe to open a branch office in Eureka. Bret Afdahl, director for the state Division of Banking, denied the application on Dec. 23, 2015. He cited the "general character and fitness of the management and ownership" of the applicant. The bank's owner is John Beyers. The case is the first involving the "character and fitness" provision of state law.
PIERRE — The Legislature's Executive Board decided Monday the 2016 interim study topics should be nursing home and assisted living center capacity, Medicaid provider payments and early deterrence of drug abuse. Those three subjects topped the results from the survey sent to all 105 legislators. The legislators cast votes for up to five top picks from the menu of 16 topics. The House Commerce and Energy Committee suggested the nursing-beds and assisted living study. It received 119 points.
PIERRE — Unfortunately Thomas Knock, professor of history at Southern Methodist University, isn't scheduled at the Augustana University history convention next weekend in Sioux Falls. But there is a panel on Saturday morning, starting at 8:30, discussing Knock's new book: "The Rise of a Prairie Statesman: The Life and Times of George McGovern." The biography is first rate on the life of McGovern through his 1968 re-election as a U.S. senator from South Dakota and his brief candidacy that summer for the Democratic nomination for president.
PIERRE—Almost every day in office a governor makes some major decision. That was never truer for Gov. Dennis Daugaard heading into and during the 2016 legislative session that wrapped up March 29. He sat down Friday to talk about three of the biggest decisions: *His proposal for the sales tax increase that won approval. *His veto of the transgender bathroom restrictions for public schools. *With Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, their creation of the state Board of Internal Control. The sales tax increase
PIERRE — Financial misdeeds in state government that secretly went on for years and continue to be unraveled might have been noticed earlier, or prevented altogether, had South Dakota's new Board of Internal Control previously been in place. The board starts work this month, reviewing all grants made through state government, including those to outside organizations and groups, and holding the parties accountable.
PIERRE—Thirty-two of South Dakota's 66 counties have submitted their second round of geographic information system data so far for the new statewide system for locating and routing help to 911 emergency callers, a consultant told state officials Thursday. Christy Hayes, of St. Cloud, Minnesota-based contractor Geo-Comm, said her hope is all of the county data is ready by the end of June, as she updated the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board in a teleconference. "I can tell you, overall, there's good progress being made here in the state." Hayes said.