AVON – People packed the bleachers shoulder to shoulder on one side of the school gym and filled dozens of folding chairs for a meeting Wednesday night about a project...
PIERRE — Several directors for the South Dakota High School Activities Association said Wednesday they don't like school representatives voting on policies at the association's annual meetings. The discussion came on the heels of a 26-5 vote at the annual meeting last April. School representatives blocked the directors from going ahead with a plan to transfer some of the ongoing revenue received by the association, including corporate sponsorships, and invest it in the association's foundation.
PIERRE—Direct shipments of wine to South Dakota consumers became legal Jan. 1 and they've quickly become popular. So popular, in fact, that some people have already exceeded their annual maximum of 12 cases. That's according to Jason Evans, a deputy director for the state Department of Revenue. He presented a report Tuesday to the Legislature's Government Operations and Audit Committee. He said tax collections during 2016's first two quarters exceeded $38,000. At that pace, the amount would be very close to the annual estimate he provided to legislators.
PIERRE — The Legislature's oversight panel wants an anonymous survey of South Dakota Developmental Center employees at Redfield. The decision Tuesday comes in the wake of a field hearing and tour at the institution by legislators on June 20. That had followed a tense meeting Jan. 25 during the 2016 legislative session when lawmakers received complaints from former employees. Jan Banghart subsequently resigned as the center's director Feb. 8. To cover the vacancy, Barb Abeln served as the interim director. She is a long-time member of the Redfield staff.
PIERRE — The story dates to Bill Janklow's fourth term as governor. One winter afternoon, an aide received a call asking for a meeting upstairs with two of the state Senate's Republican leaders. Harold Halverson of Milbank and Mike Rounds of Pierre wanted a message taken back to the governor on the second floor. They wouldn't allow a tax increase on Deadwood casinos to get through the Senate. They weren't going to put Jim Dunn of Lead, their friend and fellow Republican leader, in that difficult spot.
PIERRE — Mike Williams and his crews at Dakota Southern railroad passed a big test. By repairing and cleaning up the state-owned line west from Mitchell that his company leases, they won back the confidence of the South Dakota Railroad Board. Todd Yeaton, the board's chairman from Highmore, manages the grain elevator outside Kimball that depends on the line. At a meeting Wednesday, with the other board members alongside or listening by telephone, Yeaton congratulated Williams. "I think I speak for the board, I didn't think you were going to do it," Yeaton said.
PIERRE — The ethanol plant planned at Onida received approval for an air-quality permit Thursday. The state Board of Minerals and Environment voted 6-1 to grant the permit sought by Ring Neck Energy and Feed. The permit sets emission limits. Two Onida residents, Clark Guthmiller and Kathy Hyde, asked the board to deny the permit or at least require that air-dispersion modeling be conducted before reaching a decision. Guthmiller said he was willing to pay for the modeling.
PIERRE — The state Board of Minerals and Environment is waiting for a reclamation plan from the company that tried to drill an oil well three years ago in Pennington County near Wasta but failed to complete it. The company, called Quartz Operations, received permits for two wells from the state board in 2013. The drill broke and the bit remains in the well shaft. The drill hole remains uncapped. The board required a bond of $130,000 to be posted for the first well. The second well wasn't attempted. The money isn't sufficient to pay for capping the unfinished well.
PIERRE — South Dakota should offer more services to help older people live in their homes rather than move to nursing homes or other care facilities that are more expensive, a national consultant told a committee of legislators Thursday. Allan Bergman also advised the lawmakers that Medicaid could look "very different" in a year because of changes that U.S. House speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, supports such as state block grants and spending caps.
PIERRE—Legislators who volunteered to study substance abuse in South Dakota finished their final scheduled meeting Wednesday without firm recommendations. Instead, they found lack of professional enforcement among prescribers of opioid painkillers, missing coordination within state government on methamphetamine prevention campaigns and absence of professional continuing education. No one representing the state Board of Pharmacy, which operates South Dakota's prescription drug monitoring program, testified at any of the committee meetings.