PIERRE — As they left the room together, a group representing Scout Clean Energy received advice Tuesday from Gary Hanson. "Don't be playing in the dirt," Hanson cautioned them, "until you get a permit." Those words carried the weight of 15 years that Hanson been elected to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. Scout Clean Energy is a Boulder, Colorado-based developer of projects that use turbines to turn wind into electricity.
The building committee said yes Monday to the final design and guaranteed maximum price for the new regional center for science that Northern State University intends to build on its Aberdeen campus. University President Tim Downs described the science center as "a gateway" and "a showpiece" during the teleconference meeting. "This building is positioning us for the future," he said.
PIERRE — In the summer of 1927, President Calvin Coolidge brought his summer White House to the State Game Lodge at Custer State Park and his summer office to Rapid City's now-gone downtown high school. On the second day in August, the 55-year-old Coolidge sent news reporters hurrying to telegraphs and telephones with his declaration, on hand-copied slips of paper: "I do not choose to run for President in nineteen twenty eight."
PIERRE — State government's Arts Council approved touring grants for 23 groups and people Friday. The amounts for 2019-2020 totaled $149,000. The council's staff made some changes in their screening process this year. Several council members suggested additional improvements. Council member Linda Anderson, of Rapid City, said as an applicant, representing Black Hills Playhouse, she would have liked to know more about the formula staff used.
PIERRE — A South Dakota government panel reviewed its draft annual report Thursday showing substantial progress in shifting young offenders into alternate community programs rather than sending them away into state Department of Corrections custody. But Neil VonEschen, vice chairman of the Charles Mix County Commission, didn't see it the same way. He serves on the state's Juvenile Justice Oversight Council that is tracking the significant changes the Legislature made in 2015.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court said Thursday that Christopher Martin knew he illegally possessed a controlled drug when a Rapid City police officer arrested Martin on Sept. 15, 2015 with 23 oxycodone pills in his pocket. The officer found an abandoned vehicle that Martin reported stolen. When Martin arrived at the vehicle's location, the officer arrested Martin on an outstanding warrant. During the arrest search, officer Eric Holmquist found the opioids as well as 10 $100 bills and a combination of smaller denominations.
PIERRE — Three lawmakers voted "no" Monday in a protest against how the GEAR UP scandal is handled in an annual report from the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. The nays came from Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton, of Burke, Republican Sen. Neal Tapio, of Watertown, and Democratic Rep. Susan Wismer, of Britton. They wanted a sentence stating South Dakota Department of Education leaders "disregarded" employees' warnings about alleged wrongdoing in the GEAR UP program.
PIERRE — State government's Department of Legislative Audit found six sets of problems in the Department of Revenue for the past budget year. Bob Christianson, a state government audit manager, delivered the report Monday to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. Lawmakers on the panel decided they want a meeting Dec. 18 with Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach. Gerlach previously agreed with all findings and submitted correction plans for each set.
PIERRE — Doug Sharp, of Watertown, made a suggestion a few days ago, during the meeting of state government's Council of Economic Advisors. The conversation had steered to what might cause a recession in South Dakota. Sharp, who's in the business of selling cars and trucks, wanted perspectives from others on the council about what they sense within their respective specialties. "We almost need to go by industry," Sharp said. "I'm just trying to figure out what's going to affect South Dakota."
PIERRE — Members of the Legislature's Workforce Housing Study met for the final time Thursday and agreed email would be how they choose sponsors of any legislation they'll recommend. They want the Legislature to shift more money into a state program for worker housing. But beyond that goal, their talk and ideas weren't so clear. Some wanted to more money to be available for job incentives, rather than letting Gov. Dennis Daugaard put all extra cash into reserve at the end of each budget year.