Monthly Archives: October 2017

Legislators compromise on conflict of interest

Rep. Susan Wismer, D-Britton, wanted to add a sentence Monday to the conflict of interest section in the annual report from the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee.

She offered a statement that the committee “expressed concern that not all conflicts of interest were being disclosed.”

Rep. David Anderson, R-Hudson, said he hasn’t heard of a practical way to bind businesses to the one-year reporting requirement after they hire state employees.

The two found middle ground with a statement that “all departments are not aware of the conflict of interest provisions and changes might be needed in the future.”

GOAC members voted 8-0 to add the statement to their annual report.


LRC seeks senior software engineer

The Legislative Research Council in recent months said goodbye to state government’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications and took independent control of its new Internet site and email system.

Now LRC is taking applications through Nov. 13 for a senior software engineer.

The pay range: $57,363 to $86,045 depending on qualifications. The market range goal: $71,704.

According to LRC director Jason Hancock, the vacancy results from the departure of Kevin Kumpf, who left for a job at another Pierre business.

Applicants can send a letter of interest and a resume by either email or hard copy to or Jason Hancock, Director, Legislative Research Council, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD, 57501.

After 22 years, Marsh retires as director

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels spilled the beans Monday about James Marsh planning to retire next week as director for the state Division of Labor and Management. Michels made his comments at the end of the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council meeting.

Marsh confirmed afterward his last day in the office will be Nov. 8. He said he had spent 22 years in the post and 29 years in what’s now the state Department of Labor and Regulation. His previous position a long time ago was a two-year stint at the Neumayr and Smith law firm in Gettysburg.

Dusty lands a punch w/ Monday update

The National Republican Congressional Committee this week listed 31 “young guns” seeking seats in the U.S. House of Representatives,

They included the two Republican candidates in South Dakota, former state Public Utilities Commission member Dusty Johnson, who resigned to serve as Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s first chief of staff, and current Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, who was a legislator before winning the statewide post in 2014.

What each did with the NRCC endorsements was interesting.

Dusty Johnson jumped to action, issuing a news release that mentioned the NRCC listing. Shantel Krebs didn’t seem to take any action through Friday morning.

Update: At 10:07 a.m. CT Monday, Krebs issued a news release touting her “fundraising dominance” in the three quarters she’s been a candidate.

Majorities find President Trump ‘reckless’ and ‘thin-skinned’

Fifty-six percent of the 1,988 registered voters surveyed Oct. 19-23 by Morning Consult / Politico agreed with descriptions of President Donald Trump as ‘reckless’.

Fifty-two percent agreed he is ‘thin-skinned.’ Fifty percent said he is ‘sexist.’

Meanwhile the survey found that 42 percent of voters approve of Trump’s performance and 53 percent disapprove. The split has been essentially unchanged since late August.

Results of the full survey, including questions on handling of health care, are at

9-1-1 board didn’t add sentence to report

State government’s 9-1-1 Coordination Board last week informally decided against adding a sentence to its annual report about needing to fix a law.

The Legislature in its 2017 session changed some requirements regarding South Dakota’s emergency telephone system. One of the changes created a one-year gap starting July 1, 2018, when the 911 surcharge wouldn’t apply at all.

That wasn’t intended, according to Shawnie Rechtenbaugh. The deputy secretary of public safety said she’s spoken to Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, who sponsored the 2017 changes.

Rechtenbaugh said there would be an attempt in the 2018 session to fix the problem. Therefore, Rechtenbaugh told the state board, it wasn’t necessary to insert a sentence about the situation in the annual report.

The report goes to Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the Legislature. The board approved the report without the sentence.

Researchers might be able to recover nutrients from run-off

Two assistant professors at South Dakota State University are researching an unusual approach that could put nutrients back into agricultural fields.

They are Srinivas Janaswamy from the dairy and food science department of dairy and Laurent Ahiablame from the agricultural and biosystems engineering department.

They are looking at whether polysaccharides can be placed at the edges of fields to absorb nitrates and phosphorus being carried by run-off.

The materials are complex carbohydrates commonly used in food products. Their work is funded through a grant from state government’s Department of Agriculture nutrient research and education council.

Ahiablame is considering products such as wood chips and steel shavings, according to a SDSU news release. He wants to “capture nutrients at the edge of the field before they run off into creeks or streams.”

Janaswamy said polysaccharides “thicken and give texture to foods, such as ketchup, ice cream and even chocolates.”

“Nitrates and phosphorus in water could be nicely attracted to polysaccharides—all we have to do is put them into the nutrient-containing water,” he told Ahiablame, according to the news release.

The men are preparing beads similar in size to cornmeal in grits and smaller than the silica gel beads in shoeboxes.

The researchers want to evaluate the rate at which the beads absorb and release nutrients and determine the capacity. Lab work could take at least two years.

The biodegradable beads seem able to absorb nutrients and could be spread on fields to fertilize crops. The researchers believe producers who use the beads could see a savings.

Sand Lake refuge seeks public comments

I received the below email dated Oct. 18:

Contact: Dave Azure, (605) 885-6320, ext. 215,

COLUMBIA, SD – In response to public interest for expanded hunting opportunities, today Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) announced that it will evaluate opening areas of the Refuge to waterfowl hunting.

The Refuge currently allows waterfowl hunting along the Refuge boundary in most road rights-of-way and also allows unarmed retrieval of birds that may fall inside the Refuge within a designated retrieval zone.

In order to generate interest in the planning process and to collect input from the public, state and local governments, non-profits and other partners, the Refuge is hosting two public meetings. During these meetings, members of the public will be able to meet with Refuge personnel, learn about the actions under consideration, and provide feedback.

The first meeting will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at the Sportsman’s Club of Brown County, south of Aberdeen, South Dakota. The second meeting will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on November 2, 2017 at the American Legion Hall in Columbia, South Dakota.

Today’s announcement opens a 60-day comment period, which ends on December 17, 2017. Feedback on the proposal may be submitted via:


Postal mail:

Attn: Dave Azure, Wildlife Refuge Manager
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
39650 Sand Lake Drive
Columbia, SD 57433

Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge contains 21,498 acres of wildlife habitat in northeastern South Dakota. Established in 1935, it is a wetlands of international importance and a Globally Important Bird Area. Over 260 bird species have been identified on the refuge, including many migratory bird species and the world’s largest breeding colony of Franklin’s gulls. The Refuge, with its vast expanses of emergent vegetation mixed with open water, illustrates the unequaled diversity of a healthy prairie marsh ecosystem. Learn more about the Refuge at:

(End of email.)

South Dakota’s high-school football playoffs, 2017

After the first-round of the South Dakota High School Activities Association football playoffs Thursday, here are the match-ups for the next round.

Sorting through those next-round games this morning:

There are zero teams with losing records in the three nine-player classes. There are zero teams with losing records in the two lower-enrollment 11-player classes.

Six of the 16 teams in the two largest-enrollment 11-player classes have losing records. In the 11AA group, each of the four games matches a winning record hosting a losing record.

There are ten teams with 9-0 records. They are:

Sioux Falls Washington in 11AAA;

Madison and Dakota Valley (North Sioux City area) in 11A;

Sioux Valley (Volga, Bruce and Sinai) in 11B;

Gregory in 9AA;

Corsica-Stickney in 9A; and

Sully Buttes, Harding County, Colman-Egan and Wall in 9B.

The times and locations for the next round of games will be announced today.

Nebelsick chosen as president

Huron school district superintendent Terry Nebelsick started another new duty Thursday.

He served his first meeting as a member of state government’s School Finance Accountability Board — and guess what?

The other four members voted to name him president.

Nebelsick agreed to accept the presidency if vice chair Susan Profrock would continue to run the meeting. She is business manager for the Belle Fourche school district.

“I’m willing to do that,” Profrock replied.

During his introduction earlier, Nebelsick said: “I hope I can offer some help.”