• Local News

    1. KXLG Radio Nominated By National Association Of Broadcasters For Prestigious Crystal Award For Third Year Running

      Melissa Herrbolt crystal 02-27-17KXLG was informed last week that, for the third year in row, 99.1 Live And Local has been nominated as one of 50 radio station Crystal Award finalists. The recognition is given to a select group of Radio Stations across the country who excel in community involvement and excellence in programming. The ten final winners, which is presented by the National Association of Broadcasters, will be announced at the annual NAB convention in LasVegas come April.  KXLG Marketing Director Melissa Herrboldt.

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      Herrboldt says the application process is demanding.

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      She says it’s the KXLG listeners that make it happen.

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    2. SURPRISE! Lake Kampeska Water Levels Rising!

      kampeska water gate 2Surprise!  The water level at Lake Kampeska at Watertown has risen more than half a foot in the last week or so.  Water levels are ever so slowly beginning to come up at Lake Kampeska says Roger Foote who heads the Upper Big Sioux Watershed project.

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      Foote is confident the lake level will rise further, but how much is uncertain right now.

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      He did say the repairs to the breach on the Sioux River just north of the Highway 20 bridge are making a difference.

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      He says there are two structures helping to manage the water in and out of that area.

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      Reports are getting back to him that water is overcrossing at least two spillways north of the Dakota Sioux Casino which indicates there’s still more water coming. He did caution, however, that when the temperatures cool like they have now that water flow also slows accordingly.


    3. From The Desk Of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson

      steve thorson 2015 photo to useThe city of Watertown is moving closer to changing First Ave. South from a one to a two-way Avenue. The city engineer’s office has been working this winter to bring together the cost estimates of making the change.  Mayor Steve Thorson expects the changeover costs not to exceed 20,000 dollars.

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      The Mayor said there will also be a change this year with the Fourth of July Parade in Watertown.

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      On another topic the Watertown City Council this week discussed how many street dances are too many in the summer. Mayor Thorson says the issue arises from more requests to have late night dances in the downtown area.

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      Listen below to hear all of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson’s remarks on KXLG’s From The Desk Of The Mayor for Wednesday February 22, 2017

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    4. Former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Says Her New Position As The 24th President Of Augustana University Is A “True Calling”

      Herseth SasndlinSIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin says her new position as the 24th president of Augustana University is a “true calling” and she is “done seeking political office.”

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      The Sioux Falls private liberal arts college introduced her Thursday as its first female president. Herseth Sandlin will succeed President Rob Oliver, who is retiring.

      Following a news conference Thursday, Herseth Sandlin told the Argus Leader she is “done seeking political office.”

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      The 46-year-old Herseth Sandlin is coming to Augustana after working as general counsel and vice president of corporate development at Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries, Inc.

      The former Democratic congresswoman served as South Dakota’s lone representative in the House from 2004-2011, departing after she was ousted by Republican Rep. Kristi Noem.

      The Augustana Board of Trustees made the appointment after a national search. Herseth Sandlin will take office this summer


    5. Scandal Bill Killed In House Committee But Watchdog Group Bill Approved In House State Affairs

      gear up programkaren soli

      Democratic Rep. Karen Soli, left, sits in a committee hearing at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. Soli is sponsoring a bill that would create a state government watchdog board. (AP Photo/James Nord)

      A bill that was aimed at trying to prevent future scandals in South Dakota, such as Gear UP, failed in a House Committee Wednesday.  The bill, which was prime sponsored by Representative Liz May of Kyle, would have required that anyone serving or elected to a state board, authority or commission could not have an interest in any state contract until at least two years after their term ends. The bill was killed in the House State Affairs committee on an 11 to 2 vote.  May says with Gear Up and other scandals, this bill can’t correct the past, but it’s important to know where all the money is going to.

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      May says this bill would put the information on where the money from state contracts is flowing to in front of the legislature.

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      Many spoke in opposition to the bill including Associated School Boards of South Dakota Director Wade Pogany. He says that May’s bill is not necessary due to House Speaker Mark Mickelson’s HB 1170 that would tighten restrictions of public officials on public contract.

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      The Governor’s office also spoke in opposition to the bill.

      UPDATE:  PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A government watchdog board would help investigate statewide officeholders and executive branch employees in South Dakota under a bill endorsed by a legislative panel on Wednesday.

      The move comes after Republican lawmakers repealed a voter-imposed government ethics overhaul that included an ethics commission. The proposed State Government Accountability Board, which would be attached to the attorney general’s office, would review and investigate allegations including bribery and theft of public funds.

      Democratic Rep. Karen Soli, the bill’s sponsor, said it would help preserve the integrity of South Dakota government. The governor’s office supports the plan, and Attorney General Marty Jackley called it “good government.” The bill heads to the full House after receiving approval Wednesday from the chamber’s State Affairs Committee.

       


    6. Another Snow Fizzler For Northern South Dakota But Who Is Complaining?

      snow fizzler

      The big winter storm is still on track to dump a lot of snow across much of the region, but most of it will stay far south of the KXLG listening area. Jeff Chapman at the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls says the track has shifted a bit since yesterday.

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      Chapman says we can expect to see first rain, then snow spread across the area through the day.

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      Chapman says travel will become very difficult by late tonight.

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      Blizzard and winter storm warnings have been issued ahead of the storm moving onto the plains.

      Dewey-Potter-Faulk-Spink-Clark-Codington-Grant-Hamlin-Deuel-
      Stanley-Sully-Hughes-Hyde-Hand-Jones-Lyman-Buffalo-
      356 AM CST Thu Feb 23 2017 /256 AM MST Thu Feb 23 2017/

      This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for portions of central South
      Dakota, north central South Dakota, and northeast South Dakota.

      .DAY ONE…Today and Tonight

      A storm system to the south will spread snow into the forecast
      area today. Snowfall amounts will very drastically from north to
      south. Snow accumulations are unlikely to amount to anything north
      of highway 212…but to the south snow amounts could top out
      between 1-3 inches. South of highway 14…snow totals will range
      between 4-8 inches with the highest amounts along and south of
      Interstate 90. Additionally…gusty winds to 40mph…when
      combined with falling snow…will result in poor visibility and
      hazardous travel conditions.

      .DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Friday through Wednesday

      Snow will move out of the forecast area early Friday morning, with
      winds diminishing through the day.

      .SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT…

      Spotter activation will not be needed.


    7. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Named New President of Augustana University

       

      Herseth SasndlinFor years, her name has been linked to possible political positions. Instead, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin will be announced as President of Augustana University Thursday (today).

      The announcement arrived just after 5:00PM on Wednesday (February 22) that the Augustana Board of Trustees had made their choice. Herseth-Sandlin is best known for serving as South Dakota’s lone member in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2004-11.

      Herseth Sandlin will be Augustana’s 24th President, taking over for Rob Oliver who will leave his position on July 31, 2017. Oliver has spent a total of 25 years with AU, eleven as President.

      According to a statement from Augustana, it will be the first time in the school’s 157-year history that a woman will serve as president. Most recently, Herseth-Sandlin has been serving as general counsel and vice president of corporate development for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls.

      The announcement came after the Augustana Board of Trustees conducted a nationwide search for their new leader. Further details will be revealed at an event in the Edith Mortensen Center Theatre at 10:00AM.

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    8. The Impact Of Repealing Codington County Zoning Ordinance 65

      codington county commissioners 2017With the special election to refer Codington County’s Zoning Ordinance 65 to a vote March 27th nearing, the county commissioners today were briefed on the impact it will have on zoning laws. Both Luke Mueller with the First District Planning Office, and who also is the Codington County Zoning Official, along with Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann presented the commissioners today with information regarding the impact that the repeal would have. Here is a question that Commissioner Myron Johnson asked of States Attorney Patrick McCann.

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      McCann says that, “Specifically the ballot will read in part that “No existing ordinances would be repealed by a No vote.” We would revert back to this state of limbo where the status of the validity of our zoning ordinances is in question. They would be on the books but whether or not they are valid and enforceable would remain a question for the courts.”    Codington County Zoning Official Luke Mueller who is with the First Planning District tells KXLG news that, “This ordinance would not affect each individual community, that is, Watertown, Florence, Henry, Kranzburg, Wallace, South Shore because they are their own jurisdiction according to FEMA.  Codington County’s jurisdiction, according to FEMA, encompasses all of the unincorporated area of the county.  That means the townships and unincorporated villages of Waverly, Grover, and Kampeska Village are included in that jurisdiction. 

      There could be some serious consequences however, especially for those who live in a flood zone and pay for flood insurance.  Luke Mueller said his office received a letter in December from the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicating that if the flood plain ordinance were repealed those areas in Codington County would included and that residents within those certain jurisdictions of the county would be prevented from purchasing flood insurance, renewing flood insurance or granted any Federal loans.  That ruling would apply to any parcels of land designated as flood hazard areas. In addition, no disaster assistance would be provided to insurable buildings that are located in these flood hazard areas either.  It also stated that no Federal Mortgage Insurance or loan guarantees could be provided in those same flood hazard areas by any lending institution. Some other ordinances that would be repealed as part of the repeal effort is one that allows the Rauville Station to sell fireworks and LATI to erect a sign northwest of Watertown on highway 20.  Yet another, if repealed, would prevent building permits in Kampeska Village west of Watertown.  Another would impact the new Wallace Elevator Fertilzier plant.  The structures are already built and in use, but under the current repeal no replacement structures could be allowed if there were a disaster.  That’s because it would now be located in a non-conforming area.

      States Attorney Patrick McCann said he wanted to clear the air about the actual decisions that have been made by the court dealing with the county zoning laws as it pertains to the Waverly Dairy and Ordinance 30.  His says comments coming back to him that the county lost in court over challenges made regarding the Waverly Dairy and comments the county didn’t do what it was suppose to do are incorrect.  McCann says neither statement is true and that the circuit court actually found in favor of the county two different times.

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      McCann says the lower court ruled that the County board did everything proper in granting a conditional use permit for the Waverly Dairy when they approved Ordinance 30 last year. That ordinance, however, was appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled the lower court should take another look at how Ordinance 30 was adopted.

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      McCann says any idea that the county is creating language into Ordinance 65 to win a lawsuit isn’t true.  He says the county has already prevailed two different times in court.  McCann says,” some are creating a lot of confusion for people because they don’t know what the status of the case is.”

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      Codington County voters go to the polls at the extension building Tuesday, March 27th to decide the Ordinance 65 repeal issue.

       


    9. WINTER STORM WATCH KXLG LISTENING AREA–MAYBE 10 INCHES OF SNOW IN FORECOAST–MORE BELOW

      weather map 02-22-17Winter Storm Watch

      LISTEN HERE TO RENEE WISE WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE IN ABERDEEN

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      * Snow Accumulations…There is the potential for accumulations of  4 to 10 inches. Periods of heavy snow with accumulations of 1  to 2 inches per hour are also possible.

      * Winds / Visibilities…Significant reductions in visibility due  to the combination of heavy snow and northeast winds gusting to  40 to 50mph Thursday night into Friday.

      * Impacts…Plan on difficult driving conditions. Precautionary/Preparedness actions…A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant snow…sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel.  Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

      Hazardous Weather Outlook

      have trended the storm track northward, and as such we now have the potential to see significant accumulations along and south of highway 14 in central South Dakota and for much of northeast South Dakota and western Minnesota. There still remains a high degree of uncertainty as to how far north accumulating snow will fall, as well as how far north the heaviest snow will extend.  Strong winds are also expected around this system, particularly Thursday night and Friday. With falling snow and strong winds, expect poor visibility and hazardous travel conditions.  Improvement is expected during the day Friday as the system moves to the east.


    10. Returning First Avenue South In Watertown Back To A Two-Way On Schedule For Summer

      KXLG LOGOThe Watertown City Council is inching closer to turning first ave. South in Watertown back to a two-way street versus the one-way that it is currently. But, for that to happen numerous signage and other changes will have to be made first.  That was a topic in the Watertown City Council’s work session last evening.  Shane Waterman is the city’s engineer.

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      Other areas still needing to be addressed is road striping and handicapped accessibility issues along with parking near the intersections.   Alderwoman Beth Mantey.

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      Waterman says there will be some loss of parking spaces, but that it won’t be significant. Mayor Steve Thorson.

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    11. Law Enforcement Behavioral Deflection Program Helping Mentally Ill Incarcerated

      n-JAIL-CELL-large570The Watertown City Council had a busy work session last evening leading off with a presentation on a Law Enforcement Behavioral Deflection Program for Codington County. Sarah Petersen is the Director of the Codington County Welfare Office.  The program dates back to 2015 when the county passed a resolution to sign onto the National Stepping Up Initiative.  The idea is to reduce the number of people with mental illness in our county jails.

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      In addition to reducing the numbers of people with mental illness in jails, the initiative also attempts to also rehabilitate these individuals.  She says that more than 1 in 5 people in the U-S are dealing with some kind of mental illness while those in jail those numbers are 1 in 3.  Petersen says the local committee meets on a monthly basis.

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      Out of that, about 22.2 percent of those individuals have a severe mental illness and 44.4 percent have what they identify as a moderate form.

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      To help those individuals they use what are called intercept steps.  The idea is to get the inmate out and reduce recidivism.

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      She says the Behavioral Deflection Program uses certain methods when officers come into contact with an individual dealing with a mental illness issue.  It can range from arrest to de-escalating the scene.  Sgt. Steve Rehorst is with the Watertown Police Department who says their goal is to get them help.

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      The group last night requested from the council a letter of support that will be used to obtain additional training and dollars to help fund the initiative.

       


    12. Mall Road To Get Makeover

      PotHoleA stretch of road about 800 to 900 feet long will be getting a sort of makeover soon thanks to dollars put up by the Watertown Mall and surrounding businesses. Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson informed the council last night that the potholes in that area have caused the road to deteriorate badly.  The city will do the work, however it will be paid by businesses nearby.

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      The council agreed to the plan last night. The goal is to hold the road together until a long term fix can be identified.


    13. Deuel County Commissioners Will Have Final Say Over Wind Tower Ordinance Changes

      wind powerThe Deuel County Commissioners will have another opportunity to discuss a pending ordinance change in the county that could decide the fate of wind power development in that area of the state. Proponents of the project say a recently approved planning commission ordinance increases the setbacks on wind tower construction along the eastern tier of Deuel County and that it’s restrictive. Opponents say the towers need lengthier setbacks to ensure there’s minimal noise and less flicker effect. They also claim the towers are unsightly.  Supporters of the project say the Deuel Harvest Wind Energy Project will provide jobs and much-needed tax revenues to help fund schools, fix roads and relieve stress on taxpayers.  Opponents had asked the board to increase the setbacks for the towers from 1000 feet to 3,280 feet.  However, the board opted instead for 1,500 feet. They also left unchanged a 50 DBA decibel noise level requirement for individuals who are participating in a wind tower contract, but lowering the number to 45 for non-wind tower participants. The board is also recommending additional setbacks in what are called Deuel County’s Lake Park Districts.  That portion of the ordinance requires a two mile setback from Lake Cochrane south of Gary and Lake Alice east of Tunerville, while requiring one mile setbacks from Bullhead Lake north of Goodwin.  It was also the recommendation of the board to require no more than 30 hours of flicker effects annually.  A flicker effect occurs when the sun strikes a rotating blade creating an on-again, off-again shielding pattern. The 30 hour per year number is based on German regulations and is arrived at using the angle of the sun over the horizon.  In most cases wind towers don’t exceed that threshold and rarely go over 30 minutes on the worst day of a year. The recommendations reached by the Deuel County Planning and Zoning Board have now been passed along to the Deuel County Commissioners for final approval. The next County Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 28th at 1:30 P.M.  It’s unknown if the commissioners will take action at that time.


    14. Watertown Eye Doctor Offered Plea Deal

      KXLG LOGOA Watertown eye doctor who was facing felony charges has been offered a plea deal. The offer comes from the Codington County State’s Attorney’s Office.  The deal has apparently been offered to Dr. Melanie Weiss.  Weiss was arrested last September after she was seen entering a home.  She was found then to be in possession of prescription drugs that belonged to the homeowner.  She was also found in possession of garage door openers for the home. She was facing numerous felony counts including criminal entry of a vehicle.  A status hearing is set for March First.  At the time she will have an opportunity to accept the deal.


    15. Steve Thorson To Seek Another Term As Watertown Mayor

      steve thorson 2015 photo to useWatertown Mayor Steve Thorson announced this week he will seek another term as Watertown Mayor.  This would be his second term.  Thus far no other candidates have expressed an interest in the position.  The joint Watertown city and school elections are held in June.


    16. Approaching Winter Storm Will Bring Heavy Snow And Strong Winds Somewhere In The Northern Plains This Week!

      weather 02-21-17 number 2 weather 02-21-17An approaching winter storm will bring heavy snow and strong winds somewhere in the northern plains late this week. Todd Heitkamp at the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls says they are getting more information on snow amounts.

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      Heitkamp says there will be lots of wind with this storm.

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      Heitkamp says the storm could also signal a pattern change.

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      Heitkamp says the heaviest snow will fall from late Thursday through about mid-day on Friday.


    17. Commissioner of the South Dakota Bureau of Administration retiring

      Jeff HoldenJeff Holden, the Commissioner of the South Dakota Bureau of Administration, is retiring from state government.  Holden says he is pursuing another opportunity outside of state government.

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      Holden started his career in state government at the Department of Commerce and Regulation in 1985. After receiving several promotions at that department, Holden then went to the Bureau of Administration where he was hired as an administrator and purchasing director. Holden was promoted to be the deputy commissioner in 2011 under Commissioner Paul Kinsman and was then appointed by Governor Daugaard to serve as commissioner in late 2015.  Holden was in the forefront of the controversial Hilger’s Gulch changes by Daugaard and the BOA. He says a lot has happened is his short time as Commissioner.

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      Holden adds that he has been privileged to work in state government.

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      Holden and his wife Staci will continue to reside in Pierre. Daugaard plans to name a replacement for Holden later this month.

       


    18. Council To Give First Reading To Video Lottery Location Ordinance

      video lottery machineThe Watertown City Council has both a work session and regular council meeting scheduled for tonight with the proceedings beginning at city hall at 5:30 p.m.  Among the items on the agenda is a request by Mayor Steve Thorson to the council for an appropriation of 10,000 dollars to enter into an agreement with the Watertown Mall to repair the road leading by the mall.  That road has been a source of controversy for many years.  The mayor says the city dollars would be blended with similar dollars from the mall to make the necessary repairs that will last long enough, possibly up to two years, until a permanent fix can be made.  Mayor Thorson says the final fix will have to be part of the city’s long range planning.  On another topic the Council is expected to give first reading to an ordinance that will remove the city’s zoning restrictions on casinos and other gambling establishments.  The action follows research by city attorney Justin Goetz showing the city clearly has the power to enact zoning ordinances, but they can’t enact laws regulating where the state has quote, “wholly occupied the field of that subject, to the exclusion of any local regulation.” In other words, the Court recognizes that the State has all regulatory authority over gambling, in part, to prevent local interference in gambling.  That includes locations where the establishments can operate.  Further, the Court noted that in only one statute is a municipality given any power with regard to video lottery. That law is SDCL 42-7A-64 and allows a municipality to consider, when issuing two types of on-sale alcoholic beverage licenses, certain factors relevant to the placement of video lottery machines.  With that small opening, the Watertown City Council is empowered to consider certain video lottery concerns, but only in approving or rejecting the application for the underlying on-sale wine or malt beverage alcoholic beverage license to which the applicant seeks to attach video lottery.  Bottom line?  The city can’t tell a video lottery establishment where to set up shop.  Only the state has that authority.


    19. Codington County Justice Advisory Committee To Mull Over Six Options At Tonight’s Meeting

      codington county courthousecodington county detention centerWhen The Codington County Justice Advisory Committee meets this evening they’ll have plenty of options and costs to talk about.  The Codington County Justice Facilities Study has presented the committee with six different options with the cheapest being option one.  That one targets a new jail only with cost pegged at nearly 16.6 million dollars.  The second option would be a new jail and existing jail that’s remodeled with the Sheriff’s office’s staying in their present location at the current jail.  That choice is estimated at 18.5 million.  The third option would include the construction of a new jail and an existing jail remodel that would not include the sheriff’s office’s moving.  It would also include courthouse remodeling.  That cost is estimated at just over 20 million dollars.  The fourth option is a new jail and new sheriff’s operations area at a projected cost of just over 22 million dollars.  The fifth option is a new jail and new sheriff’s operations area, but keeping the existing jail and remodel it.  That comes in at just over 24 million dollars.  The sixth, and final option, would include a new jail and new sheriff’s operations area, keeping the existing jail but remodeling both the jail and courthouse.  That cost comes in at just shy of 26 million dollars.  When the committee decides on a final option Codington County voters will have an opportunity to vote.  It’s expected that will happen with the joint city school elections in June.


    20. Senator Rounds Introduces Legislation To Dismantle Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Calling It Inefficient

      South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds has introduced legislation that would dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was set up by the Dodd-Frank banking regulation act.Mike Rounds seanate 2015

      Rounds says the CFPB illustrated it’s inefficiency in the Wells Fargo fake account issue.

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       Wells Fargo was found to have created thousands of fake accounts in a sales promotion.  Rounds says Congressional committees looked at how the CFPB reacted to the Wells Fargo situation.

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       Rounds says the functions of the CFPB can be handled by other, existing federal agencies.

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       Rounds says halting the CFPB is a first step in reforming the regulations imposed on banks by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

       


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