PIERRE — The Legislature's Executive Board voted 14-0 Monday to appoint Loren Koepsell of Sioux Falls to state government's Investment Council. He is an assistant professor of finance at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. Koepsell fills the remaining three years of the term of Laura McNally, who has moved from South Dakota. She was a resident of Belle Fourche when chosen in 2015.
PIERRE — A retired state judge running for Congress wants to know why an Aberdeen man wasn't sentenced to prison last winter. Joop Bollen pled guilty to unauthorized disposal of personal property subject to a security interest. He had taken $300,000 from an account meant to protect state government's EB5 immigrant investor program. He later paid the money back before he was discovered. Bollen received two years on probation and a $2,000 fine. Until four years ago, the sentence for a Class 6 felony had been two years in prison, unless probation was granted.
PIERRE — The new generation of video lottery terminals now produces more net machine income than the original terminals do, even though nearly twice as many old-style are still in the market, according to a South Dakota Lottery official. The originals, known in the trade as legacy machines, have been holding "pretty steady" at $40 to $50 per day, while the new terminals are generating about $92, business analyst Sam Stanforth told members of state government's Lottery Commission at their meeting Thursday.
PIERRE — State government's new Board of Certified Professional Midwives met for the first time Friday. Susan Sporrer, an official from the state Health Department, covered some basic processes for the five members during the 35-minute teleconference. Sporrer said they could select an executive secretary at a future meeting. The possible candidate who was in consideration decided the additional workload was more than that person wanted to handle, she said.
PIERRE— State government's Board of Appraisal put dollar values Friday on the Star Academy property near Custer and the Aurora Plains Academy property at Plankinton. The two campuses will be offered for sale at separate public auctions this fall. A third parcel, consisting of hay land, at Plankinton will be offered at public auction next spring. The Legislature in the 2017 session authorized the sales. The legislation came from Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Lottery has a role to play in the 2020 improvement program that is under way in state government's Department of Revenue. Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach wants the lottery to increase sales of scratch-off instant tickets by 5 percent each year. Norm Lingle, the lottery's executive director, explained the 10-point plan Thursday to the Lottery Commission. "Some of these are already under way. Some are yet to be started. We'll be fully engaged in the next couple months," he said.
PIERRE — State government's Transportation Commission decided against all three bids Thursday for a project in north-central South Dakota. The work called for providing scour-protection and riprap at two creek crossings on State Highway 20 and a third crossing on State Highway 37 in Faulk and Spink counties. The estimate was $100,572.85. But the lowest bid was $157,091.90 from Sharpe Enterprises Inc. of Fort Pierre. Two other companies wanted more. Steve Lehrkamp Enterprises Inc. of Custer proposed $238,947.26. Corr Construction Inc. from Hermosa asked $269,950.
PIERRE — State government's Lottery Commission adopted new rules Thursday affecting two of its lotto games. One set of changes covers Mega Millions. The price for a Mega Millions ticket would double to $2 and the jackpot would start at $40 million, rather than the present $15 million. Most of the Mega Millions prizes including the jackpot would be more difficult to win, too.
PIERRE — State government’s secretary of education said she “was not aware of any fraud, misappropriation or criminal activity” prior to taking the GEAR UP grant away from an educational cooperative in September 2015 and the audits that followed. State Education Secretary Melody Schopp provided written answers this week to questions sent by the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee.
PIERRE – An email from seven years ago shows Melody Schopp knew about financial improprieties in South Dakota’s GEAR UP program for American Indian students before she became state government’s secretary of education. LuAnn Werdel wrote the email Jan. 10, 2011. Werdel was state government’s director of Indian education.