PIERRE — Video lottery, scratch tickets and lotto games are running ahead of last year's pace, top officials for the South Dakota Lottery said Thursday. State revenue is on track for $123 million. That would be about $4.6 million above last year. Norm Lingle, the lottery's executive director, described it as good news. Deputy director Clark Hepper said scratch tickets would finish at more than $5.8 million if they hold their current pace and lotto games would generate nearly $7.9 million.
PIERRE — State government's Transportation Commission reduced speed limits for motorists on highways in 15 South Dakota counties Thursday. In 12 counties the zones currently don't correspond to roadside signs, according to Karla Engle. She is a special assistant attorney general in the South Dakota Department of Transportation. She said department staff discovered the discrepancies during a review. In many of the instances, department officials want to adjust boundaries of the speed zones, rather than change locations for the signs, Engle said.
PIERRE — The state Department of Transportation added three tow-plows for this winter at Yankton, Rapid City and Custer. They make four for South Dakota. The first was already based at Sioux Falls last winter. Blade trucks pull the tow plows so two lanes can be cleared at the same time. That saves about $1.65 per mile. The expanded use represents one of the changes in the winter maintenance plan the state Transportation Commission adopted Thursday.
PIERRE — State government's Transportation Commission chose low bidders for five highway and sidewalk projects Thursday, including one that covers 94 intersections in four communities along US 14. Complete Concrete Inc., of Rapid City, won two of the jobs under what's known as a combination bid. Both projects are in the same Rapid City neighborhood. The company bid $9,538,196.01 to pave and equip 1.2 miles of State Highway 231 at Sheffer Street. The engineer estimate was $10,245,908.20.
PIERRE — Melody Schopp answered all but one question about her six-plus years as South Dakota secretary of education. She was asked, in writing: "What have been your impressions during the Mid-Central investigation?" She didn't say. She replied, in many instances at length, to several other questions. Schopp, 61, began as a teacher in the Lemmon school district 40 years ago. She previously taught one year in North Dakota.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission turned down an application Wednesday for a wind-energy complex proposed for Clark County. The regulatory panel voted 3-0 to reject Crocker Wind Farm. The project called for up to 200 turbines spread across more than 29,000 acres north of Clark. State law gave the commission six months to decide whether to grant a wind facility permit. The commission received the Crocker application July 25 and held a public input hearing Sept. 13 at Clark.
PIERRE — The corporate parent for Great Plains Processing in Yankton received approval for a loan of $1,152,338 at a rate of 2 percent interest from state government's Revolving Economic Development Initiative program Tuesday. The South Dakota Board of Economic Development provided the financing to Fiedler Holdings, LLC, whose Yankton operation makes animal feeds.
PIERRE — South Dakota regulators agreed Tuesday to cap their potential costs at $282,500 for determining whether Otter Tail Power receives a state permit to build a natural gas-fired plant for producing electricity in rural Deuel County. The state Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 for the maximum and to require $8,000 initially from Otter Tail. The approval also covered a lump sum of $17,600 for Jongeling Consulting to conduct the local impact assessment. The company wants to construct the plant between Astoria and Toronto.
PIERRE — South Dakota sales tax revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 was equivalent to 1.8 percent below the year before, state economist Jim Terwilliger said Tuesday. Masking the downturn was that the sales tax rate rose to 4.5 percent from four. The rate increase produced 10.5 percent more in revenue to the state treasury, Terwilliger told members of the state government's Council of Economic Advisors. But, he said, the money generated was less than the boost expected when the Legislature voted to raise the sales tax rate in 2016.
VERMILLION — Members of the Legislature’s State Tribal Relations Committee decided Monday they want their own piece of the investigation into Mid-Central Educational Cooperative’s mismanagement of the federally funded GEAR UP program. The panel supported the request from Sen. Lance Russell for legislation to be drafted on open records, record retention, conflict of interest and enforcement, including criminal and civil penalties.