NewsNovember 19 2014

Transportation Secretary visits South Dakota rail rehab project

Posted by Lucy

Clockwise from the left: State Sen. Mike Vehle, of Mitchell, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, State Rep. Jim Schaefer and Sen. John Thune speak following a press conference held at Cedar Shore Resort at Oacoma, Tuesday, Nov. 11th. Vehle and Schaefer were instrumental in securing state funding through the SD Legislature for the rail rehab project from Chamberlain west to Presho, while Sen. Thune worked with Secretary Foxx for approval of the $12.6 million TIGER grant to assist with the project. A number of dignitaries including Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Foxx and Thune toured the rehabbed rail line from Pukwana to Chamberlain prior to the press conference. Rail rehab project to Presho is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

NewsNovember 19 2014

National Gas Average Nears Four-Year Low

Posted by Lucy

AAA South Dakota, Nov. 18, 2014 – The national average price for regular gasoline has remained below $3.00 per gallon for 17 days, with more than three-quarters of U.S. gas stations now reporting prices below this benchmark. Today’s national average price is $2.88 per gallon, which is the lowest since December 1, 2010. The price today is down a nickel from a week ago, a quarter less than one month ago and 33 cents below the price posted on Nov. 18, 2013, according to
South Dakota’s average price for self-serve regular today is $2.925, the lowest mark since Dec. 3, 2010. The state’s price has fallen for 22 straight days, from $3.180 on Oct. 31.
 “We have an extra reason to be grateful this year around the Thanksgiving tables,” said Marilyn Buskohl, spokeswoman for AAA South Dakota. “These low crude oil prices are giving motorists the cheapest holiday prices since 2009 when the national average was $2.63.”
Falling global oil prices have been the primary contributing factor to the price at the pump declining for 54 consecutive days. This is the longest streak of declines since 2008. West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped to its lowest level in more than three years this past Thursday ($74.21 per barrel). At the close of formal trading yesterday, WTI settled at $75.64 per barrel.  AAA expects the downward pressure on prices to continue through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Market analysts continue to speculate on what action the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will take during the upcoming meeting, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, Nov 27. Should the cartel opt to cut production, the price at the pump for motorists could move higher.  If OPEC instead chooses to maintain market share by leaving production unchanged, global oil prices could slide even further. 
Across the country, state averages continue to tick downward with consumers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. experiencing lower week-over-week prices at the pump. Drivers in South Carolina ($2.63), Mississippi ($2.65) and Tennessee ($2.66) are paying the nation’s lowest averages for retail gasoline.

NewsNovember 17 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 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.

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