PIERRE — Highway rumble strips for motorist awareness will be installed later this year along U.S. 12 between Ipswich and Aberdeen. The South Dakota Transportation Commission accepted the only bid for the work Thursday even though it was 40.8 percent over estimate. Last month the commission rejected the only bid because it was 40.1 percent over estimate. State Department of Transportation staff revised the project before putting it out for bid a second time. DOT personnel will assist in the work and provide supplies under the modified plan.
PIERRE — Another big wind project wants to make South Dakota its home. Prevailing Winds could have as many 100 turbines in Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties with 160 South Dakota investors, according to company documents. The investors group also was involved with the Beethoven Wind farm near Tripp that NorthWestern Energy purchased in 2015. The state Public Utilities Commission plans a public input meeting on the Prevailing Winds project at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Avon School.
PIERRE — More licenses to hunt antlerless deer will be available, a formal plan based on market wages will be used to pay instructors at technical institutes and the South Dakota Lottery can offer a new hybrid game under changes accepted Tuesday by the Legislature's rules review committee. The Game, Fish and Parks Commission is offering free hunting licenses for landowners to use on their own properties for antlerless deer.
PIERRE — We can say this much for our state's three Republicans in Congress and our two Republicans at the top of state government. They are taking political responsibility for Indian Health Service in South Dakota and nationally. It's fair to ask where they'd been before the past two years or so. But it's also fair to ask where all of our past members of Congress and governors and lieutenant governors had been before this, too. The problems in the Indian Health Service didn't start during the presidency of Barack Obama.
PIERRE — Members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission reviewed a plan Friday for providing body cameras to more than 100 wildlife and parks law-enforcement officers for the agency across South Dakota. The final contract hasn't been drawn but the cost could be in the range of $300,000 to $350,000 over five years for three generations of equipment and data management through Taser International, according to GF&P officials.
PIERRE — The state Water Management Board approved a well permit Thursday for the Croell Redi Mix limestone-mining site along U.S. 16 south of Rapid City despite objections from some neighbors. Chairman Jim Hutmacher, of Oacoma, said DENR would shut off the well if problems arise. The four-hour hearing boiled down to different perspectives from Ken Buhler, an analyst for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Arden Davis, a retired professor at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
PIERRE — State university system officials are confident they're on the right track managing the GEAR UP program after the responsibility was transferred to them. Faculty members at Black Hills State University now oversee the program's operations and personnel, after the state Department of Education refused to renew the contract with Mid Central Education Cooperative at Platte last September.
SIOUX FALLS — Big plans are moving into place for new public and private investment at the University of South Dakota research park in Sioux Falls for the biotech and biomedical fields. The existing GEAR Center is proposed for a $14 million expansion to provide more space for research and commercial work, while 80 acres would be developed to host as many as 26 private buildings. The name of the research park officially will become the USD Discovery District. Sioux Falls and university officials began using the Discovery District name in 2015.
PIERRE — State Department of Transportation leaders will crisscross South Dakota during the next few weeks to get public comments on their 2017 plan for highway and bridge projects. DOT hosts four meetings in person and caps the series with a final gathering by Internet. The meetings are: Aberdeen, July 12, 7 p.m. CT, AmericInn; Sioux Falls, July 13, 7 p.m. CT, Ramkota; Pierre, July 14, 7 p.m. CT, Ramkota; and Rapid City, July 19, 7 p.m. MT, Ramkota. The webinar meeting is July 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT. Go to www.sddot.com for more details.
PIERRE — Scandal Land. Harsh, perhaps, but it doesn't feel too strong. Not with seven dead and four awaiting criminal trials, possibly facing jail or prison, and other persons of possible interest perhaps still in the wings in two separate scandals that have raised EB-5 and GEAR UP from obscurity into headlines. Scandals that involved millions of dollars, washing without any high-level accountability for too many years through two state government departments and enriching private hands.