Driver-testing closed April 27-28

All South Dakota state driver exam stations will be closed for two days later this week for annual employee training, according to an announcement Monday from the state Department of Public Safety.

Director Jane Schrank said the stations would be closed Friday and Saturday. The only station usually open on Saturdays is in Sioux Falls.

“Unless it is a holiday or inclement weather, like we had earlier this month, we rarely close the driver exam stations,” Schrank said. “But training for employees is also important. We wanted to get this word out now so people can visit the exam station at another time.”

Schrank said drivers have 180 days prior to the expiration date of their licenses to renew. For information about online renewal or documents needed for a license renewal, or locations of exam stations, click http://dps.sd.gov/licensing/driver_licensing/.

Seven sites in consideration for MRC meet-and-pass

Below is a diagram showing seven locations the state Department of Transportation is considering as spots for a “meet and pass” on the state-owned Mitchell-Rapid City railroad line. The state Railroad Board decided Wednesday to seek a $978,200 federal grant that would pay for nearly half of the estimated cost. The remainder would come from Dakota Southern, the railroad company that operates on the line; the state board and the regional railroad authority that leases the line. The grant-application deadline is June 21.

Siding Map

Documents links to 1993 state plane crash

April 19 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 crash that killed eight South Dakotans: Gov. George S. Mickelson, state chief pilot Ron Becker, state co-pilot Dave Hansen, utility executive Angus Anson, bank executive David Birkeland, foundation executive Roger Hainje, state economic-development commissioner Roland Dolly and state energy commissioner Ron Reed.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation report is at https://bit.ly/2qDvgbr.

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing transcript is at https://bit.ly/2H9HgNa.

They are long but worth your time.

On Comey, a clear (and nearly even) split

The latest Morning Consult / Politico survey of registered U.S. voters shows these grades for James Comey as FBI director:

11 percent A

17 percent B

22 percent C

9 percent D

18 percent F.

On Comey and President Donald Trump, 43 percent said they trust Comey more than Trump, while 29 percent said they trust Trump more than Comey.

The survey of 1,995 registered voters was conducted April 13-16. The margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Mosquito control grants are available again

From the state Department of Health today:

Cities, counties and tribes can again apply for state grant funding to help control mosquitoes and prevent West Nile virus (WNV).

“Since West Nile first appeared in South Dakota, local mosquito control programs and the state have worked together to reduce the risk of West Nile,” said Bill Chalcraft, public health preparedness and response administrator for the Department of Health. “We’re very pleased to continue that partnership with this latest round of grants.”

Chalcraft said the department has a total of $500,000 in funding available for local mosquito control programs. Grant awards will be based on the population of the applying jurisdiction and its number of human cases through 2017. Individual grants could range from $500 to $20,000.

Applications are available on the department’s WNV website, westnile.sd.gov and the submission deadline is June 1. Grant awards will be issued after July 1.

Since WNV emerged in South Dakota, the department has provided local control programs $6.6 million in support, including both direct funding and mosquito control chemicals.

The state’s first human case was reported in 2001. Since then, South Dakota has reported 2,432 human cases and 42 deaths.

Preventing and controlling infectious disease is one objective of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, http://doh.sd.gov/strategicplan.

(CHAWL’-kraft)

File this under “Gone fishing”

The subject line of the email from Democratic candidate for governor Billie Sutton said: “Polling (via SD for Sutton)”. The content was this:

“Billie’s plan for the future of South Dakota is built on expanding our economy and bringing better jobs to our state. We must re-commit ourselves to job training, education, and workforce development so that our state can live up to our potential and all South Dakotans can be part of the prosperity.

“Do you agree with Billie that education is a key part of improving our economy?”

Then there were a green button that read “YES!” and a red button that said “No.”

So I clicked “YES!”

And this is what came up next:

“Thank you for voting!

“Thank you for speaking out! Billie is committed to hearing from the people of South Dakota throughout this campaign.

“Billie is running for governor to ensure that all South Dakotans can live the South Dakota dream of having a good-paying job, with a great quality of life, with a world-class education, and in a state that helps everyone live up to his or her potential! Will you please take the next step and contribute now?”

The suggested amount was $25 but there were seven other choices. Six were for amounts larger than $25. The last was a blank box to fill in.

The digital age, indeed.

How US voters see four nations

Morning Consult / Politico took a recent look at US voters’ perceptions of Russia, North Korea, China and Mexico.

The March 29-April 1 survey of 1,997 registered voters found:

64 percent viewed Russia as an enemy and unfriendly, compared to 20 percent who saw Russia as an ally and friendly;

79 percent viewed North Korea as an enemy and unfriendly, compared to seven percent who saw North Korea as an ally and friendly;

38 percent viewed China as an enemy and unfriendly, compared to 47 percent who saw China as an ally and friendly; and

21 percent viewed Mexico as an enemy and unfriendly, compared to 62 percent who saw Mexico as an ally and friendly.

BIT commissioner retires

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said today David Zolnowsky retires tomorrow. Zolnowsky is commissioner for the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.

Daugaard thanked Zolnowsky for a career in state government. Daugaard said he always enjoyed working with Zolnowsky and other cabinet members appreciated him.

“Dave has been an excellent leader within state government, and an advocate for cybersecurity and for greater efficiency in IT services,” Daugaard said about Zolnowsky, who has been commissioner since 2012.

Zolnowsky was chief information officer and director of computing services at Dakota State University from 1985 to 2012. Zolnowsky began in state government in 1973 and worked for two state departments, the state’s judicial system and the state information processing services center.

Pat Snow was named as interim commissioner.