Monthly Archives: March 2018

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.

Trial dates set in GEAR UP cases

From the state attorney general’s office Thursday regarding GEAR UP defendants: “The jury trial for Stephanie Hubers will commence on June 25, 2018, in Sioux Falls. Defendants (Dan) Guericke and (Stacy) Phelps’s jury trial will commence on July 9, 2018, in Sioux Falls.”

Name of dam might be changed

The Oglala Sioux Tribe might consider changing the name of Squaw Humper Dam, a member of the state Board of Geographic Names said Thursday.

The dam is on privately owned property in Oglala Lakota County but the tribe claims the rights to all surface water within the reservation boundaries, Jay Vogt said. He is director for the South Dakota State Historical Society and the state historic preservation officer.

Recommending name changes to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names is one of the responsibilities for the state board. Vogt said he has been in contact with a tribal official.

“Whether the U.S. board would make the change without the landowner’s permission, I don’t know,” June Hansen said. She is state board chairwoman.

DOT restricts two more stretches

The state Department of Transportation announced more load restrictions on two stretches of South Dakota highways.

Effective at 3 p.m. CT March 30 (Good Friday), six-tons per axle will be the limit for:

SD 271 on 6.9 miles between Main Street in Java to the Campbell County line; and

SD 20 on 13 miles from the US 83 junction to the SD 47 junction west of Hoven.

The restrictions remain effective until further notice.

Pressler encourages young people to seek elected offices

Former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler plans two public lectures for mid-April on political participation.

The University of South Dakota made the announcement today.

Both of the talks will focus on the need for young South Dakotans to run for political offices at all level.

He will emphasize people can be candidates even if they are on low budgets.

The first event is at 4 p.m. April 16 at Farber Hall in the Old Main building on the USD campus in Vermillion

He speaks at 6:30 p.m. April 17 in Sioux Falls at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The talks are open to the public and free.

Pressler, who turns 76 on March 29, held one of South Dakota’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for two terms, winning as a Republican in 1974 and 1976. He won election to the U.S. Senate in 1978, 1984 and 1990. He lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson in 1996.

He attempted a comeback in 2002 for the Republican nomination to the state’s one seat in the U.S. House but lost in a crowded primary. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014 as an independent and lost.

Pressler is a 1964 USD graduate. He went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He returned to attend Harvard University where he earned a master degree from the Kennedy School of Government. In 1971 he received a law degree from Harvard.

Pressler served two combat tours in the Vietnam war as a lieutenant and received a Bronze Star.

He endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president in 2008 and 2012 and Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.

An ethical dilemma at Sutton Bay w/update

The state Board of Technical Education meets for a planning retreat June 3-5 at Sutton Bay lodge in rural Sully County. At the board meeting Tuesday, president Dana Dykhouse of Sioux Falls suggested other members could come Saturday or Sunday to play golf.

Will free golf at an exclusive place violate South Dakota law?

The Legislature in 2017 approved a provision in state code (2-12-16) limiting gifts from or through lobbyists. The law says:

“No public official and no member of the immediate family of a public official may accept from any lobbyist or principal any gifts with a cumulative value greater than one hundred dollars during any calendar year.”

A knowing violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Sutton Bay doesn’t charge green fees for members. Its website lists prices for green fees for guests: $150 for a guest with a member; $225 for a guest unaccompanied by a sponsoring member; and $300 for a guest sponsored by the club.

The website says: “Membership in Sutton Bay is by invitation only; those invitations may be extended by the club, an owner of the club, or a current member of Sutton Bay.”

UPDATE: A reader of this blog points out the Legislature in this chapter of law defined a public official as a member of the Legislature, a holder of a statewide office or a department head in the executive branch. Under that definition, a member of a state board wouldn’t be subject to the law. I’ll stand by the headline until shown otherwise: This remains an ethical dilemma.

Washington Post editor to visit USD

Martin Baron, executive editor at The Washington Post newspaper and Internet site, visits South Dakota next month.

Baron is scheduled to host a public forum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion at 6 p.m. April 26.

He is the 2017 recipient of the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. Neuharth was a founder of the USA Today national newspaper and was a USD graduate.

“USD is honored to welcome Marty Baron to campus,” USD President James W. Abbott said in a statement announcing Baron’s visit.

“Our students will benefit from the opportunity to meet and learn from one of the nation’s foremost experts in journalism and continue the mission of the Al Neuharth Media Center,” Abbott said.

Baron has been executive editor at The Washington Post since January 2013. He previously was editor at The Boston Globe.

“USD is proud to host such an exemplary journalist as Martin Baron,” said Michelle Van Maanen, chair of the Department of Media & Journalism at USD. “I am excited for our students to learn more about his Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporting and thoughts on the role of media in the ‘fake news’ era.”

“…dedicated to the remembrance and recognition…”

The Legislature in 2013 established a South Dakota working holiday each March 30 known as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. State Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Zimmerman reminded the public Gov. Dennis Daugaard has issued a proclamation for Friday, March 30. Prime sponsors of the legislation were Sen. Ried Holien, R-Watertown, and Rep. Melissa Magstadt, R-Watertown.

Lottery panel lacks West River commissioner

Western South Dakota doesn’t have a member of the South Dakota Lottery Commission as Gov. Dennis Daugaard looks to fill two vacancies.

The governor has slots opened by the departures of Brent Dykstra of Fort Pierre, who had served since Feb. 8, 2012; and Bob Faehn of Watertown, a former legislator who resigned because his radio station does business with the lottery. Faehn was appointed June 30, 2016.

The state Senate recently confirmed the governor’s appointment of Jamie Huizenga of Pierre to the commission.

Joe Kafka of Valley Springs was the acting chairman for the meeting Wednesday because he was the senior member. Jim Putnam of Armour, a former legislator, normally is chairman but wasn’t available for the meeting Wednesday.

Other commission members are former legislator Bill Shorma of Dakota Dunes and David Mickelson of Sioux Falls. The commission selected Shorma as vice chairman Wednesday.

Dykstra was the last commissioner to live west of the Missouri River. Doyle Estes of Rapid City resigned effective June 30, 2016.

Shorma presided over the meeting. He succeeded Faehn as vice chairman.

Geu setting aside duties as law school dean

Thomas Geu, a member of the University of South Dakota law school faculty for 29 years, is stepping down from the post of dean. The announcement came Tuesday in a news release from Jim Abbott, the university president.

Geu (pronounced GOO-ee) became interim dean in 2011 and was named dean in 2013. He currently is one of the Legislature’s appointees to the national Uniform Law Conference and serves on its model tribal-probate code drafting committee.

Geu said he would return to focusing on faculty work when a new dean is selected.

Abbott, who is retiring in June, said a national search is planned. Last year Abbott appointed a task force on whether the law school should be relocated to Sioux Falls from Vermillion.

The task force recommended the school stay in Vermillion but sought additional funding. The Legislature provided $300,000 that the university would match.

“Tom has faced a challenging period of time at the law school, with law enrollments falling nationwide,” Abbott said. “We are grateful for his leadership as we have worked to put the law school on a firm foundation for the future.”