NewsNovember 12 2014

Growing rural communities

Posted by Lucy

Herb Sundall (left) greets Slater Barr (right), who presented "Imagining Our Future: Thoughts on Growing Rural Communities" to a crowd of more than 70 people at the Kennebec fire hall Wednesday, Nov. 5th. Sponsoring Mr. Barr’s presentation were Rod Bowar, of Kennebec Telephone Co., and Steve Hayes, of Dakota Prairie Bank (pictured in the background). Mr. Barr, President of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation encouraged community members to work together to prepare for future growth expected to come with the re-opening of the railroad through Lyman County.

NewsNovember 12 2014

Schaefer re-elected to third term in House

Posted by Lucy

Voter turnout in Lyman County for the November 4, 2014 General Election was approximately 55 percent.  Iona, Reliance and Kennebec precincts recorded the highest number of voters with 70 percent or more of the registered voters casting ballots.
Kennebec native James Schaefer (R) was re-elected to serve District 26B for another two-year term in the South Dakota House. Schaefer was challenged by newcomer Marty Jandreau (D) also from Kennebec. 
Schaefer led in the Lyman County vote 781 to 441 and took 63 percent of the vote in the District to earn his third term in the House.
“I was glad that Marty ran,” said Schaefer referring to his challenger and neighbor.  “It’s a process, and I was happy he got involved.”
Both candidates live on ranches about five miles apart.
Schaefer said he looks forward to another term in the house, adding he is interested in promoting economic growth to the south central part of the state. 
“I’d like to see us increase our population or at the least maintain,” said Schaefer.  “Bringing new businesses into the area is one way to help.”
Troy Heinert (D) from Mission defeated John Koskan (R) 3747 to 2883 votes to win the District 26 Senate seat.

"I was about 1200 behind before Mellette and Todd County came in," said Heinert. "Todd County was the big push that put me over."

He carried 81 percent of the vote among Todd County voters.

Heinert, who served one term in the House representing District 26A and former legislator John Koskan were vying for the senate seat vacated by Larry Lucas, who moved out of the district.

"Larry was a good senator for our area," said Heinert. "He was very effective."

Heinert served on the Health & Human Services committee for the past years and has requested a return to that committee.

"Education funding is an important area, also," added Heinert. "Every dollar put towards eduction is money well spent."

Lyman County voters followed the statewide trend in voting for Republican candidates.

"Republicans did very well this year," said Schaefer. "Rounds winning the Senate race was a big one."

See complete election results by local precinct printed on page 11.

NewsNovember 10 2014

Thune to Hold Transportation Roundtable With Secretary Foxx in Rapid City and Oacoma

Posted by Lucy

Thune to Hold Transportation Roundtable With Secretary Foxx in SD

Sioux Falls, S.D.—U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced that on Tuesday, November 11, he will hold a transportation roundtable with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Governor Dennis Daugaard (R-South Dakota), and several other South Dakota transportation stakeholders. The roundtable discussion, which is closed to press, will be immediately followed by a media availability at the Mount Rushmore visitor center. 
The event will highlight various transportation priorities in South Dakota and the importance of an efficient transportation system to move freight and agriculture commodities to market. Following the roundtable and media availability, Thune and Daugaard will join Foxx for additional events, including a tour and briefing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, which is also closed to press, a tour of the state-owned rail line near Chamberlain, and another media availability.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014:
WHO:        Sen. Thune, Sec. Foxx, Gov. Daugaard, and other transportation stakeholders

WHAT:      Post-roundtable press conference

WHEN:      11:00-11:30 a.m. MT

WHERE:    Mount Rushmore visitor center

WHO:        Sen. Thune, Sec. Foxx, Gov. Daugaard, and other transportation stakeholders

WHAT:      Press conference with state-owned rail line stakeholders

WHEN:      4:45-5:10 p.m. CT (note time zone change)

WHERE:    Cedar Shore Resort, Oacoma

NewsNovember 06 2014

Reliance residents express concerns with rezoning in city limits

Posted by Lucy

Reliance residents express concerns with rezoning in city limits

Approximately 20 people attended a community forum hosted by the Reliance Town Board Monday night to discuss the potential impact the railroad will have on the town once the line is upgraded and reopened to train traffic. 

Guest speakers included Brian McGinnis, Community Development, with Planning and Development, District III, and Bruce Lindholm,  Program Manager, of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

Lindholm explained the history of funding for the reconstruction of the MRC line from Chamberlain, west to Presho, and clarified  that even if the cost of the rehab project exceeds the estimate, the state is required to complete the work on the line to Presho.

“It’s a line item grant,” said Lindholm in reference to the TIGER grant awarded to the state for the rehab. “Which means we have no choice, the scope of the project is 41.6 miles, from Chamberlain to Presho.”

While preliminary work on the line has started, Lindholm estimated people won’t see any major work until next spring.
Reliance residents in attendance, many who live near the track, expressed concerns about train traffic through town; the additional noise generated and hours of operation.

Lindholm was asked if he knew how many shuttle trains the new load out facility to be built in Kennebec would generate per week. 

Lindholm estimated that 40 to 50 trains could haul grain out of Kennebec per year. 

“During harvest you might see two a week, but normally a couple trains per month is more realistic,” said Lindholm. “They load when they come in, whether that’s two o’clock in the morning or the afternoon. 

The track will be upgraded to Class II which could accommodate trains running at 25 miles per hour, but Lindholm said today Dakota Southern, who leases the line from MRC, operates at about 10 miles per hour on the track east of Chamberlain.

The town board has discussed rezoning residential property along the rail line between Railway Street and Alumni Street to commercial to allow development of new businesses along the railroad.

McGinnis explained that the town board is trying to be proactive and be welcoming to economic growth by addressing zoning issues early. He added that commercial property is taxed at a higher rate than residential or ag land in South Dakota.
“The best new growth for rural counties is through commercial property,” said McGinnis.

Brad Karlen of Reliance owns property along the railroad track, from the east edge of the property owned by Wheat Growers Elevator, on Railway Street,  to the east edge of town. He is actively working to develop the area and bring a Pulse Processing Plant to Reliance that could generate up to 30 jobs.

Property owners expressed concerns over increased truck traffic and the dust and problems that could come with rezoning to allow another grain handling facility to operate in  town.

McGinnis, who would assist the town in the rezoning procedure, explained the process involved from the planning committee, to the public hearings required. He stated conditional uses could be put in place to control what type of commercial businesses would be allowed within the city limits.

"Something is going to happen in Reliance," said McGinnis. “It’s coming. Are you ready?”

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