PIERRE — No high school teams from South Dakota are participating in the North American Envirothon competition this summer. That means a $4,000 state grant for their travel isn't being used. The Butte Conservation Districts wanted to convert the travel grant to a new purpose: Helping pay for a full-time Envirothon coordinator already under contract. But the South Dakota Conservation Commission deadlocked Monday, unable to summon a five-member majority to deny the request or to approve it.
PIERRE — Come August, the South Dakota Lottery debuts a new game at convenience stores and other lotto-ticket outlets. It's called EZ Match. The hope is it generates another $66,000 or so for the state treasury. That's not big money. But the game, with its attraction of an instant winner for lotto players, reflects the forward march of legal gambling in South Dakota during the six years so far of Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court acknowledged Thursday its justices have used an incorrect standard of review in some cases during the past four decades. The justices made that determination in an appeal of a Hughes County drainage dispute. The justices ruled unanimously that the dispute should return to circuit court for further action. The justices said the dispute didn't meet the criteria in state law necessary for a permanent injunction. After a November 2013 trial the jury found in favor for landowners Michael Magner and Denise Williams.
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.