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The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation isn't always in the spotlight, but that doesn't mean it isn't making meaningful progress. In a report released today, U.S. Sen. John Thune runs down a list of achievements and successes he's been a part of on the committee, which he's chaired for three years. And while items like tax reform or the health care debate often draw attention, the South Dakota Republican is proud of his committee's work to move forward items that have real-world implications for those in his state and throughout the country.
2017 was a good year for construction in Davison County. According to a report from Davison County Planning and Zoning Administrator Jeff Bathke and Deputy Administrator Mark Jenniges released on Tuesday, the self-reported value of new structure or demolition permits shot up 37 percent in 2017, reaching a value of $5,825,947 within the county but outside Mitchell city limits. Bathke said the rise in construction valuation came despite eight fewer new structure or demolition permits than the year before.
Mitchell City Councilman Jeff Smith estimates he's attended 3,000 to 4,000 meetings over the years, but he experienced something new last Tuesday. Smith, a councilman since 2006 and former president of the board, was one of seven council members in City Hall last Tuesday night to witness Mayor Jerry Toomey deploy a "point of order" against Councilwoman Susan Tjarks. And Smith was caught off guard by the action.
In the wake of the latest mass shooting in the United States, Democratic U.S. House of Representatives candidate Tim Bjorkman is calling for "common sense gun law reforms." On Monday, Bjorkman listed seven steps to reduce gun violence in the U.S., which he admitted makes him "a target of the NRA" on his path toward election to the U.S. House.
As the Mitchell City Council waits to hear a Lake Mitchell restoration plan, one councilman is doing some research of his own. Councilman Kevin McCardle is considering what impact dozens of storm runoff drains are having on Lake Mitchell. And according to documents provided to The Daily Republic by McCardle, there are about 40 outfalls that drain directly into the lake, most of them into bay areas. "I think it's real valuable, because the bays it runs into are some of the worst areas of the lake, probably," McCardle said of the drainage map.
Many Mitchell residents eluded parking tickets last month, but not because of a lack of enforcement. In January, only 21 parking tickets were issued in Mitchell, down from 143 issued in January of 2017. Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg had a simple answer for the drastic reduction in tickets. "This would simply be 1 or 2 less snow removal events during those months," Overweg said in an email to The Daily Republic.
In the crowded field for mayor, it's anyone's guess who will reign supreme in city hall — in Sioux Falls. In Mitchell, it's a far different story. Mitchell City Council member, former state legislator and Mitchell High School teacher Mel Olson is the only candidate so far. Plenty of other names have swirled through the rumor mill, but no one has officially expressed interest in challenging Olson since he unveiled his intentions last year.
Attorneys for the city of Mitchell and the mother of Curtis Meyer, who was shot and killed by a Mitchell police officer in 2015, continue to spar over the facts in an "unjustified" death lawsuit. In court documents released this week, an attorney for the city of Mitchell, Mitchell Chief of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg and former Mitchell officer Russ Stevenson challenged an insinuation from the plaintiff, Meyer's mother Hon Kasselder.
U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds is one of 25 senators urging President Donald Trump to change his tune on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The South Dakota Republican's signature is listed second among the senators who wrote a letter to Trump asking him to re-engage in the trade pact with 11 Asia-Pacific nations. The deal would have slashed tariffs with the region that represents a massive percentage of the world's economy.
Outgoing Mayor Jerry Toomey attempted to rope Councilwoman Susan Tjarks into a parliamentary quarrel over her comments at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting at City Hall. A letter was sent out, dated Feb. 15, with Toomey’s permission, to some landowners near bicycle paths that they need to remove snow from the paths.