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    1. Initiated Measure 22 Replacement Bills Up For Consideration This Week

      mark mickelson 2016South Dakota legislators this week will see bills intended to replace provisions of IM22. That initiated measure was repealed by legislators earlier in the session. House Speaker Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls says several bills are moving.

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      Mickelson says the ethics commission in the new bills should get bipartisan support.

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      Supporters of IM22 says legislators are not addressing the major issues of the initiated measure.


    2. Lawmakers Back At Work And Budget Takes Center Stage

      Spencer HawleySouth Dakota lawmakers are back to work, with the budget soon to take center stage. House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley of Brookings says the projections show a growing gap.

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      Hawley says democrats want to protect education funding from any potential cuts.

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      Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton of Burke says the reserve fund has grown for a number of years. billie sutton

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    3. Those Supporting The Repeal Of Ordinance 65 In The Upcoming Codington County Special Election March 27th Say That County Officials May Be Misleading The Public

      Those supporting the repeal of Ordinance 65 in the upcoming Codington County Special Election March 27th say that county officials may be misleading the public as to the fallout from repeal of the zoning law.  Terry Little, who lives southwest of Watertown, says this issue began for him in March of last year when the Codington County zoning board gave the green light for a chicken farm in his area that would allow up to 1.4 million birds.  He says the idea of that happening in his neighborhood one-half mile from his house wasn’t pretty.  listen below to hear Little on KXLG Radio.

      codington county courthouse

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    4. Minnesotans Make Their Voices Heard on Social Security, Medicare

       Minnesota residents heard on social security medicare

      While Congress takes a break this week, senators and representatives are bound to be hearing a lot from their constituents – particularly those over 50. Minnesota’s 8th-District Congressman Rick Nolan says about nine in ten calls and emails he gets from constituents say they want Medicare and Social Security protected, and they want health care they can afford. Nolan says some in Congress would turn Social Security and Medicare over to Wall Street and the insurance companies if they could – but he’s sure Minnesotans wouldn’t allow that to happen.

      3 laura edwards

      Nolan says people need to make their voices heard. He suggests bringing those concerns about Social Security, Medicare or health coverage to some of the listening sessions and town hall meetings that are being held around the state.

      Seth Boffeli with A-A-R-P Minnesota says one idea that’s being circulated in Congress is to turn Medicare into a voucher system, giving each person a fixed amount to spend on health care. A-A-R-P doesn’t think that’s workable.

      Since there’s a lot at stake, Boffeli says it’s important to become part of the conversation.

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      Tag 2:  More information about A-A-R-P’s take on these issues is online, at ‘aarp.org.’

       


    5. Wet Spring And Wintry March Predicted

       ThunderstormState Climatologist Laura Edwards expects a wet Spring in South Dakota, and the region. She’s talking about the latest precipitation projections for March through May from the Climate Prediction Center. 

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      “I think we are more likely to be wetter than not for the Spring season, which may be good or bad news depending on where you are at,” says Edwards.   She says moisture should not be an issue this planting season for farmers. 

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      “Hopefully thought we can get some warm weather to keep the soils dry so we won’t have too much of a flooding issue,” says Edwards.,

      She expects March to come in like a lion with the return of real winter weather.

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      The region has been enjoying unusually warm weather for much of February. Edwards says Sioux City, Iowa, could hit 70 degrees on the weekend, only the third time that’s happened in that city’s history. 

       


    6. Political Tension Causing Delays In Filling Appointments

      Mike Rounds seanate 2015The sheer volume of changes in Washington D.C. along with considerable tension between opposing political parties has caused some delays in the approval process for U.S. Senators. Senator Mike Rounds acknowledges the problems with the pace and calls for cooler heads going forward.

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      For the most part, Rounds along with most South Dakotans agree with the Trump Administration’s direction with room for a few exceptions.

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      Rounds attributes a lot of the strain to the shock of Trump’s election win along with Republicans being able to control the Senate.  Along with all the cabinet positions that need confirmation from the U.S. Senate, hearings for Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch will begin in March.


    7. House Committee Approves Bill Allowing Cultivation Of Industrial Hemp In South Dakota

      Industrial hempA House committee has approved a bill that would allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in South Dakota. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 9-2 to approve the plan Thursday.  Supporter Rep. Elizabeth May of Kyle says hemp would be a useful product for South Dakota’s agriculture industry.

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      The bill would allow people to apply to the state Department of Agriculture for a license to grow industrial hemp if they pass background checks. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to develop hemp pilot projects. North Dakota has an industrial hemp program. An industrial hemp proposal failed last session after it passed through the House. May adds new this year, they have more evidence on the benefits of industrial hemp.

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       Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard said last year that he’s against industrial hemp, and said he doubts its cultivation would amount to much economic activity.


    8. NRA Backing South Dakota Conceal Carry Bill

      nraPIERRE, SD —  The National Rifle Association strongly supports a bill in the South Dakota State Legislature that would drop the requirement for a permit for concealed carry.  The NRA’s Lars Daleseide disagrees with Governor Dennis Daugaard that dropping the permit requirement would allow undesirables to conceal carry firearms.

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      The permitless concealed carry bill squeaked by in a state house committee, so its chances are unclear even though the State Legislature is overwhelmingly Republican. Still, Daleseide is hopefull it will get to Daugaard’s desk.

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    9. Agreement Reached Between City And Mall To Repair Service Road

      steve thorsonA deal has been reached with the owners of the Watertown Mall to fix the road that runs alongside the mall, Dacotah Bank,  Hyvee and Arbys.   Mayor Steve Thorson said the council will have to agree but that he reached agreement yesterday as part of cost sharing approach to make the road repairs. The announcement today follows a meeting yesterday between  the Mayor and mall manager Scott Snitker, who oversees both the Alexandria, Minnesota and Watertown, South Dakota malls.  The mayor commented today.

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    10. Watertown Area United Way Hits Goal!

      United Way 2017 - pic 3 - Mark Stein United Way 2017 - pic 2 -- Mayor and Shelly city United Way 2017 - pic 1 - eric sinclair montgomerysPhotos Powered By Sprint:

      Mark Stein President of United Way; Cory and Tiffany Herzog United Way Chairs with Mayor Steve Thorson and City Finance Officer Shelly Ebbers, and Eric Sinclair with Montgomery’s Furniture Watertown

      More than 30 non-profit agencies in Watertown are resting a bit easy today after the United Way announced they have reached their goal. KXLG was on hand at Montgomery’s Furniture in Watertown last evening where we caught up with United Way Executive Director Tracy Hlavacek and Watertown Area United Way leaders this year.

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      And then it was on to the big Montgomery’s Furniture 5,000 dollar room United Way makeover promotion.  Eric Sinclair with Montgomery’s Furniture hosted the event and the drawing.

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      Again Austin Sheehan is the winner of the Montgomerys Furniture makeover.


    11. Codington County Special Election March 27th Will Impact County Residents Differently Says Watertown Mayor

      steve thorson 2015 photo to useWatertown, SD —  The upcoming election in Codington County referring Ordinance 65 to a vote may not impact Watertown, Henry, Florence or South Shore proper residents, but will create issues for the rest of those residents who live outside the boundaries of those communities.  That’s the assessment of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson.  The measure, if approved Codington County voters March 27th in a special election, would repeal all of the county’s zoning ordinances dating back to 2003.  The overall impact is still unknown and an evaluation is currently underway by the planning and zoning office, however, State’s Attorney Patrick McCann says it will dramatically effect anyone with flood mortgage insurance and those wanting to apply for a building permit to mention just two.  Mayor Thorson commented on the special election this week on KXLG’s From The Desk Of The Mayor.

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      KXLG asked Mayor Thorson why Watertown and other Codington County communities would not experience the impact of the repeal.

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      The mayor did point out, however, that Lake Pelican residents could be severely affected.

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      Thorson said for anyone living outside the city limits in Codington County this repeal is a big-big deal.

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      The same applies to building permits says Thorson.  He says in towns around the county who have their own ordinances, residents are not restricted by a building permit moratorium that was approved recently by the County Commissioners.

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      The mayor says this ordinance could affect a lot of people in Codington County and that he feels sorry for anyone who may get caught up in the backlash of a repeal of all of the county’s zoning ordinances.  Again, the vote will take place March 27th at the County Extension building.   The ballot has not been prepared yet.


    12. Legislation Barring Post Secondary Employees From Engaging In Collective Bargaining Passed Out The House Education Committee Wednesday

      state capitolA bill barring post secondary employees from engaging in collective bargaining passed out the House Education Committee today.   Speaking as a proponent for HB 1184 was Representative Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls.  He brought the legislation forward to help Southeast Technical Institute improve their student numbers.  He says they’re down, in big part, because of collective bargaining that’s creating an inflexible and inadaptable climate to attract good instructors.  Southeast Technical Institute currently has 187 employees with six employee union contracts.  He says that a decline in student numbers is directly linked to collective bargaining and he cited computer programming and networking as an example where Southeast Tech should be stronger.

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       Also speaking in support of the bill was Bob Faehn of Watertown, who is a former legislator and business owner at Watertown.  He says many highly skilled and highly paid employees are coming out of the tech schools and that the problem arises when students go into the work place making more than their teachers.  That, he says, is leaving the tech schools scrambling to hire the best instructors against a backdrop of strong private sector competition.  He says that Lake Area Technical Institute has no collective bargaining units, has record setting numbers of students and a happy workforce that is rated tops in the country.

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      Debra Hunking has been with Southeast Tech for many years as a teacher and administrator.  She rose in opposition to the bill saying collective bargaining already allows for adaptability and flexibility.

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       Mary McCorkle, who heads the South Dakota Education Association, also opposed the bill.

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       Following a fairly lengthy discussion the committee passed the bill on a 9-5 vote.  It will be sent to the House Floor with a due pass recommendation.

       


    13. From The Desk Of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson

      steve thorson 2015 photo to useListen below to hear Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson on KXLG’S From The Desk Of The Mayor

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    14. Watertown Superintendent Search Continues

      watertown school districtThe search is narrowing for a new superintendent for the Watertown School District following the recent announcement that Dr. Lesli Jutting will be retiring at the end of this school year.  The search committee is headed by Watertown Finance Officer Rick Hohn who tells us how the process is going.

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    15. Joint Appropriations Committee Agrees ON Budget Target

      Jeff PatridgeThe Joint Appropriations Committee of the South Dakota legislature agreed Tuesday on a budget target of one point five nine billion dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.

      The target would be about twenty-eight million dollars less than estimated in Governor Dennis Daugaard’s budget, laid out in December.

      Senator Jeff Partridge of Rapid City headed a subcommittee that came up with the final numbers.

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      Partridge says they don’t have much confidence in the revenue forecasts.

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      The committee split the difference between estimates from the Bureau of Finance and Management, and the Legislative Research Council.

      Committee Vice Chair, Representative Jean Hunhoff of Yankton, says they wanted to err on the side of lower estimates. Jean Hunhoff

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      Committee members also lowered current year spending by twenty five million dollars.Those budget numbers will decide the success or failure of most spending bills through the end of the session.

       


    16. Codington County Voters Now Faced With Two Elections — Details Below!

      Lee GabelThe Codington County Justice Advisory Committee has settled on it’s recommendations for a new jail and court services upgrades. Commissioner Lee Gabel, who chairs the committee presented an explanation for the commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.

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      The committee is hopeful the price will come in at less than 20 million dollars:

      On another topic Commissioner Myron Johnson says he has been informed by planning and zoning official Luke Mueller that an executive summary will be ready soon explaining to the public the impact of the upcoming March 27th Referendum asking voters to either support or oppose repealing Ordinance 65, which comprises literally all of the county’s zoning ordinances.

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      Myron Johnson

      In the meantime a moratorium on building permits remains in effect in Codington County for at least another week as the county looks over the impact of a possible repeal of all of the county’s zoning laws. County Auditor Cindy Brugman says plans are moving ahead for the special election March 27th.

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    17. Bone Marrow Match To Be Held At LATI Next Week

      BetheMatchflyer-01Here is some information regarding an upcoming bone marrow match that will be held at LATI on feb 21st and 22nd from 11-1. As many may already know, Kristin VanLaecken of Watertown was diagnosed with B-cell ALL leukemia 2 weeks ago. She is currently undergoing chemo in Sioux Falls, and is going to need a bone marrow transplant.  There is a group at LATI working with Be The Match to try and help find a match for her.  Beth Kunkel, who is helping to coordinate this event, says any word we can get out would be greatly appreciated.  every 3 mins someone is diagnosed with blood cancer.  70% of patients do not have a matching donor in their family. They must rely on Be The Match to find a donor.  The best donors are ages 18-44.  Beth Kunkel is helping to organize the two-day matching event.

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      For more information visit https://bethematch.org


    18. More Wind Tower Power Coming To Grant And Codington Counties

      dakotarange_map apexMark Mauersberger with Dakota Range Wind power appeared before the Codington County Commissioners Tuesday with details of their plans for a major wind power development project that, when constructed, would run from Big Stone City in Grant County through Codington and points south.   Mauersberger is the Senior Development Manager for a wind power company called APEX, which is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia.  APEX is a company that acquires wind power projects throughout the country, develops the project, builds, operate.   Their goal is to sell their projects to utilities while retaining a share of the ownership.  Some companies who have purchased from them in the past are Google, Microsoft and 3-M.   He says wind power development is moving along rapidly right now thanks to the Production Tax Credit  which was renewed for five years in the Omnibus Bill.

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      He says that one of the reasons they picked this area is the robust wind resources, but also because of the close proximity to existing and newly constructed power lines.

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      It’s expected that tower and other infrastructure Construction should get underway in 2019.  He’s hopeful they can come back before the Codington County Commissioners in about 60 days for a conditional use permit.  In Codington County the towers would spread out over mostly Germantown, Leola and some of Rauville townships.  The project in both Grant and Codington Counties is pegged at just shy of 100 wind turbines.  A more fine-tuned map of the layout is expected to be ready in about a month.  When asked about the noise emitted from the towers Mauersberger said it’s minimal.   Commissioner Myron Johnson agreed, referencing his own family’s farm near Toronto.

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      The cost of producing electrical wind power generation has dropped dramatically over the last ten years from nearly 65 dollars per megawatt to 20 dollars today.

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      The Codington County Zoning office is expected to brief the commissioner soon on the impact of the project.


    19. Assisted Suicide Initiated Measure May Face South Dakota Voters In 2018

      Heinemann_2017Senate Concurrent resolution 11 was up before the house Monday afternoon.  Representative Leslie Heinemann, who is a Dentist, says the measure opposes physician assisted suicide. He presented the bill for two reasons.

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      Heinemann says the resolution will appear as an initiated measure on the South Dakota ballot in 2018 and that currently five states that have passed a similar resolution.

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      He says the Attorney General’s opinion states that the law would apply to adults 18 and older who are terminally ill and of sound mind. Two doctors must also agree and so also would a state psychiatrist or psychologist.  This would all have to take place within a 6 month timeframe the person’s death.

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      Heinemann says the 14th amendment of the US Constitution states we must protect competent as well as non-competent people.  He claimed in his remarks Monday that the Netherlands, where legal euthanasia has been legal for some time, has come to a point where more than 50 percent of, quoting Heinemann, “killings now are non-voluntary”.

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       He says it’s not about choice in the Netherlands or sound mind or about comfort care, but rather about costs.

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       The initiated measure that will be before South Dakota Voters in 2018 states the physician cannot give the drug, the individual does not have to contact their family, and no state reports can list the act as a suicide or assisted suicide. He had this warning for legislators.

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       The measure passed out of the house on a 67 to 1 vote in support of the resolution.

       


    20. KXLG’s Katie Hansen Picked By Lund Boats To Be Pro Staff Rep In 2017

      provglheader-1440x0-c-default katie hansenKXLG’s Katie Hansen was informed over the weekend that she has been selected by Lund Boats to be one of their Pro Staff representatives this year. Katie will be representing Dave’s Marine in Webster. Katie said she was excited to get the news.

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      She talked about her summer schedule.

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      We asked her how she was picked to be part of the pro staff team?

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      Katie’s will be using a new 2017 Lund 189 Pro V Glass boat. The rig will be on display this weekend at Dave’s Marine in Webster during their in-house boat fund.  The boat also features a 200 Horse Merc engine.  The boat will eventually be rigged with the latest Humminbird fishing technology. It will also feature a 15 horse kicker with a Minnkota electric troller. This Saturday Katie will be in Webster at Dave’s Marine showing off her new rig and giving some fishing seminars throughout the day.  The public is invited.  She also hosts “Katie’s Fishing Tips And Techniques” fishing program Saturday mornings on KXLG.


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