PIERRE — The South Dakota Transportation Commission learned Thursday the price tag would be about $4.8 million higher for rebuilding the Valley Springs complex where Interstate 90 enters from Minnesota. State Department of Transportation officials want the additional money to lengthen the deceleration and acceleration lanes, expand the parking area and put in a sanitary lagoon. The complex now would cost an estimated $14.4 million. That is nearly double the original estimate. DOT officials explained the changes during a teleconference.
PIERRE — The state Board of Appraisal set appraised values Thursday on four publicly owned properties in Aberdeen. The action signaled the start for three projects on the campus of Northern State University. South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired can build a new classroom complex on campus. Northern State can begin work on a football stadium where the School for the Blind now stands. And demolition can proceed at Jerde Hall Dormitory. At the same time, the state educational trust would soon become worth more.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Transportation Commission approved six projects for various state highways and agreed to replace a Yankton bridge Thursday. The commission decided to proceed with the Pine Street crossing on Marne Creek, after hearing Yankton city officials would pay the amount exceeding the original state grant. The commission had agreed April 28, 2016, to give Yankton $854,904.60.
PIERRE — The Crocker wind farm proposed in Clark County has 14 turbine sites that would be swapped for other ground because they are on federal grassland easements, according an environmental assessment from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agency released a report Wednesday on the project. Geronimo Energy, the project developer, wants to build 120 wind towers on a variety of privately held properties, including the 14 federal easements.
PIERRE — The state government for South Dakota has agreed to pay up to $790,000 to a firm based in Chicago, Illinois, to help develop internal controls. The contract between PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector LLP and the state Bureau of Finance and Management began Feb. 19 and runs through June 30, 2019. The contract could be extended up to four more years, according to the bureau's 2016 request for proposals.
PIERRE — Two communities in eastern South Dakota received approval for local infrastructure grants Tuesday from the state Board of Economic Development. North Sioux City will get $250,000 of state assistance for expanding Flynn industrial park to host several additional businesses. Aurora, a small city in Brookings County, will see $50,000 of state assistance for a road project serving South Dakota Ag Labs. The plant-testing facility started at South Dakota State University campus in Brookings.
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has made several new appointments and re-appointed several people to state government boards and commissions. Three new appointees to the state Teacher Compensation Review Board are Becky Guffin, of Aberdeen; Don Kirkegaard, of Pierre; and Tony Venhuizen, of Pierre. Their appointments took effect March 1. Their terms continue until March 1, 2021. The state Senate recently confirmed Guffin as a governor's appointee to the state Board of Education. She is superintendent for the Aberdeen district's public schools.
PIERRE — A public school district would lose some state aid if its lowest monthly general fund cash balance were larger than South Dakota law allows, state officials said Monday. South Dakota Department of Education officials explained the new requirements to members of state government's School Finance Accountability during a teleconference. The provisions were part of the 2016 teacher compensation package. The purpose of the cash balance provisions is to discourage school districts from stockpiling money that comes from taxpayers.
PIERRE — This year will be season 100 for pheasant hunting in South Dakota. The first, in 1919, lasted one day. Five hundred residents and 500 non-residents bought licenses. They killed 200 birds that Oct. 30. The 1920 season started Nov. 4. It lasted two days. One thousand residents and 1,000 non-residents were licensed. They killed 1,000 birds. The 1921 season went seven days. The Nov. 21 start was the latest on record for South Dakota. That year 10,000 residents and 1,000 non-residents got licenses. They killed 7,000 birds.
PIERRE — Public schools in South Dakota would receive a 1 percent increase in state aid to education under a measure the Legislature adopted Thursday night. House members approved it 50-15. The Senate followed with a 29-3 vote in favor. In December, Gov. Dennis Daugaard recommended state aid stay the same, because state government couldn't afford more. The Legislature since then revised state government's 2019 revenue estimate upward by more than $18 million. State aid relies on a combination of local property taxes and state government funding.