Raven Precision Agriculture Center has a certain ring

South Dakota State University seeks authority today from the state Board of Regents to acknowledge a $5 million contribution from Raven Industries.

SDSU officials want to honor the Sioux Falls company by naming a new facility the Raven Precision Agriculture Center.

The name would take effect July 1 and last the lifetime of the center.

Raven is a national leader in precision agriculture. The building is being constructed at the intersection of North Campus Drive and Medary Avenue.

The center’s purpose is to help students learn to use computer technology for farm purposes including GPS navigation and aerial images.

An anonymous donor also gave $3 million to the project.

The Legislature approved the project during the 2017 session. A building committee set the guaranteed maximum price for construction at $52.1 million. Other estimated costs brought the total to $63.3 million as of December.

The center is a major addition to the current Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory on the campus, followed by renovations to the current lab starting in mid-2019. The overall project is scheduled for completion in August 2020.

What’s the status of the SDSU research park?

Dwaine Chapel, executive director for the research park at South Dakota State University in Brookings, presents a report today to the state Board of Regents. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Research Park is currently home to 235 employees with a current average full-time
salary $58,900; the annual economic impact is $22M. There are 30 plus SDSU students
working in the Research Park.”

Waving the flag in South Dakota

With Independence Day just ahead on July 4, a data comparison by WalletHub ranks South Dakota twelfth for patriotism among the 50 states.

South Dakota’s best marks came in active-duty military personnel per 100,000 civilian adults (17th), volunteer rate (second), veterans per 1,000 civilian adults (13th), requiring civics education (first) and volunteer hours per resident (third).

Virginia topped the list as most patriotic. The rest of the top 10 were Alaska, Wyoming, South Carolina, Idaho, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, North Carolina and Georgia.

South Dakota was between Maine and New Hampshire.

Least patriotic in the comparison was Massachusetts. Other states ranking lowest were New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois and New York.

The comparison looked at data in 13 measures of military and civic engagement.

Another chapter between legislators

Delays Saturday counting delegates for attorney general at the South Dakota Republican convention came after two Pennington County delegates were ejected.

They were Pennington County Commission member Mark DiSanto and state Rep. David Johnson of Rapid City.

Johnson and Rep. Lynne DiSanto of Box Elder had a dispute during the 2018 legislative session for which Johnson publicly apologized.

Both legislators recently won primary elections, with DiSanto running for the Senate. The DiSantos are married.

A look into GEAR UP

University of South Dakota’s Anna Madsen is publishing her honors thesis about the GEAR UP program in South Dakota.

Madsen, a student of Marshall Damgaard, looked at both rounds of applications for federal grants. She noted in the 2005 application a major discrepancy, with more than 80 percent of the funding sought for purposes other than scholarships to students.

She wrote: “These budgetary conflicts are problematic because they show the original application was proposing a program greatly out of compliance with the grant requirements.” That’s just the starting point.

Anna Madsen – Honors Thesis Final Draft is worth a read, especially as the first GEAR UP defendant faces a state criminal trial in Sioux Falls. https://argusne.ws/2Kjwvs6

Republican convention images

Yankton lawyer Jason Ravnsborg spoke with state Sen. Deb Peters of Hartford before South Dakota Republican convention delegates began voting Saturday. They selected Ravnsborg on the second ballot.

State Sen. Lance Russell of Hot Springs scanned the hall Saturday after he outlasted Lawrence County State’s Attorney John Fitzgerald (not shown) to make the second ballot for the state attorney general Republican nomination.

Ravnsborg pumped his fist after winning a key county’s delegates.

Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargo spoke with some delegates between the ballots Saturday. He originally supported Fitzgerald.

Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter Dana Ferguson and Associated Press reporter James Nord worked on stories as delegates conferred about the second ballot for attorney general. Ravnsborg faces Democrat Randy Seiler, a former U.S. attorney, on the state November election ballot.

South Dakota continued as a low-cost state

For what it’s worth, South Dakota ranked as the sixth least-expensive of the 50 states in a 2016 comparison by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Compared to the $1 average, least-expensive was Mississippi at 86.4 cents. Others below 90 cents were Alabama 86.6, Arkansas 86.9, West Virginia 87.6, Kentucky 87.8, South Dakota 88.3, Oklahoma 89.0, Ohio 89.3 and Missouri 89.5

Iowa and Tennessee were next at 90.2

Topping the list at more than $1 was Hawaii at $118.4.

Next came District of Columbia at 115.9, New York 115.6, California 114.4, New Jersey 113.2, Maryland 109.5, Connecticut 108.7, Massachusetts 107.8, New Hampshire 105.9, Washington 105.5, Alaska 105.4, Colorado 103.0, Virginia 102.3, Vermont 101.6 and Delaware 100.2.

Among South Dakota’s other neighbors were Minnesota at 97.5, Wyoming 96.7, Montana 94.1, North Dakota 91.5 and Nebraska 90.5.

The information was released during the state Teacher Compensation Review Board meeting Wednesday.

A legislator’s take on state websites

A state legislator from Minnehaha County would like to see some uniformity among state government’s websites.

Rep. Wayne Steinhauer, R-Hartford, made his interest public recently during a June 11 meeting between the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee and Liza Clark. She is commissioner for the state Bureau of Finance and Management in the Daugaard administration.

Steinhauer noted, for example, there isn’t any commonality among the appearance of several dozen websites.

Different departments, bureaus and offices contract individually with the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, or have used outside vendors in some cases.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has about six months left in his eighth and final year as South Dakota’s chief executive. Winner of the Nov. 6 general election for governor might want to put the topic on the list of topics to consider.

Governor appoints a long list of people

Gov. Dennis Daugaard made some new appointments to state boards and commissions recently. Among them:

David Chicoine of Brookings to the Council of Economic Advisers, succeeding Randy Stuefen of Vermillion.

Molly Fulton of Fort Pierre to the Board of Dentistry, for Tina Van Camp of Pierre.

Caleb Arceneaux of Rapid City to the Board of Tourism, for Stan Anderson of Wall.

David Wheeler of Huron to the Lottery Commission, for Bob Faehn of Watertown.

Kellie Beck of Pierre to the Board of Internal Control, for Laura Schaeffer of Pierre.

Michelle Glodt of Pierre to the Commission on Equal Access to Our Courts, for Cheryl Rogers.

Carl Carlson of Sioux Falls to the Workforce Development Council, for Dave Bonde of Fort Pierre.

Robert Buri of Watertown to the Board of Examiners of Psychologists, for Sara Schilplin of Spearfish.

Donald McCoy of Brandon to the Board of Addiction and Prevention Counselors, for Barbara Ohme of Sioux Falls.

Kay Schallenkamp of Spearfish to the Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Board, for Terry Sabers of Mitchell.

Jeff Wangen of Rapid City to the Board of Examiners for Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, for Wayne Zako.