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James and Audrey Konechne, of Kimball, and Roy and Mary Sitzmann, of Kingsley, Iowa, announce the engagement and approaching marriage of their children, Laura Konechne and Bret Sitzmann. Laura is a 2003 graduate of Kimball High School and 2007 graduate of South Dakota State University. She is employed as a registered nurse at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars. Bret is a 1998 graduate of Gehlen Catholic School in Le Mars and 2002 graduate of Iowa State University. He is employed by Monsanto as a district sales manager and farms with his family.
For members of Congress, the month of August is often paired with a second word -- travel. In a retail politics state like South Dakota, the recess means the three-member delegation roams the state talking face-to-face with voters. A Daily Republic analysis of travel spending shows the state's two senators spend more traveling within South Dakota than they do traveling back and forth from the Rushmore State to the Beltway. The state's lone representative, meanwhile, spends more traveling to and from Washington, D.C., than she spends on in-state travel.
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Military veterans of the Vietnam War deserve their own day -- March 29, said U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. He said Wednesday that he plans to introduce a bill officially designating that day as Vietnam Veterans Day. On March 29, 1973, the last of American combat troops left Vietnam after a controversial conflict that marked a troubled period for the American military. "South Dakota has a long and proud history of answering the call to serve.
South Dakota's two Republicans in Congress are trying to remain optimistic about the process that might yet give the nation a new farm bill. Both Rep. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune told reporters this week that they continue to watch and listen for news on when an official conference committee might begin work on merging the House and Senate versions of legislation passed earlier this summer. "We can also begin to work on these differences before a conference committee is convened," Noem said, noting that the chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees had begun discussions.
As the farm bill heads into a conference committee, South Dakota's senior senator warned that he might vote against the final version. "Frankly, I will support the Senate bill or something close to it as being satisfactory," Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., told reporters Wednesday. "I will not support the House ag bill. ...
The farm bill that passed the U.S. House 216-208 Thursday, without the traditional nutrition title, has a long way to go before it becomes the nation's agriculture policy, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said. "At least now we have a vehicle we can put into conference," Noem said, referring to the process in which the House and Senate versions of the bill will be merged. "We are closer to a version that can be signed into law by the president." Noem voted for the bill, which passed along party lines.
South Dakota's ranking as the nation's top business state came as no surprise to Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. Thune opened his regular conference call with reporters on Wednesday by hailing the top ranking in a CNBC survey. "It's obviously very good news for our state but not a surprise for those who have wisely chosen to do business within our borders," Thune said. "South Dakota has strong leadership, good fiscal management, conditions that are favorable to economic growth and job creation.