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BHSU reaches record $32M in capital campaign

Black Hills State University has announced its record-breaking goal to raise $32 million through a Capital Campaign for student scholarships and campus advancement.

On Nov. 28, community members, alumni, and donors gathered at the BHSU Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center (Joy Center) to celebrate the announcement of the university’s most ambitious campaign ever. At the announcement, Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement, thanked donors for their generosity.

“Our campaign’s theme is ‘Because of You, Anything is Possible,’” Meeker shared. “We very much appreciate everyone’s support — it’s critical for the future of BHSU, so I thank all of you who are supporters of our university.”

Meeker announced that BHSU has been in the quiet phase of the campaign since July 2014. Since that time, the university has received 4,699 donations, raising $23.7 million. From that amount, 46 new scholarship endowments have been created.

“BHSU ranks fifth out of six state institutions in scholarships awarded to our students, so we had to initiate a campaign that focused heavily on scholarships for our students,” Meeker said. “The campaign also features some capital projects for our campus.”

Goals for the campaign include $24.5 million for scholarships, $3 million for a fitness center addition to the Young Center, $1.5 million for an addition to the E. Y. Berry Library-Learning Center, and $2 million for athletic facility upgrades. BHSU aims to complete this campaign by December of 2019.

Dr. Tom Jackson Jr., BHSU President, said gifts from individuals, alumni, and corporations are crucial in supporting BHSU students with the necessary funds to attain a high-quality education.

“Scholarships are crucial for incoming students. Scholarships also enable current students to devote more time and energy to pursuing their degree and actively building a career, without the burden of excessive debt,” said Jackson. “Awarding these scholarships is our university’s way of saying, ‘We want you here, and we want you to succeed.’”

More than 600 students graduate from BHSU annually, including the largest number of education graduates of any school in the state of South Dakota.

“Because of community and alumni support, we can celebrate the strides the Capital Campaign has already made toward supporting our students,” said Jackson. “We invite the community to join us in our effort to finish our campaign strong.”

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Regional Health announces partnership with new support services provider

Regional Health announced today a partnership with Compass One Healthcare, a nationwide provider of hospital culinary and support services, to serve Rapid City Regional Hospital’s dining, intra-hospital transportation, environmental services and laundry needs of patients and families.

“This partnership reflects our focus on enhancing the patient and family experience. Compass One serves hospitals all over the United States, and it has the experience and resources to bring a true hospitality focus,” said Wes Paxton, vice president of Facilities Management at Regional Health, in a release. “With Compass One serving the hospitality needs of our patients, families and caregivers, Regional Health can focus on the medical needs of our patients."

When the Compass One transition occurs Feb. 1, all of the 210 Regional Health caregivers in dining, intra-hospital transportation, environmental services and laundry will be offered positions with Compass One.

Pay and benefits will be comparable to those offered by Regional Health, and Compass One will recognize their original hire dates for the purpose of paid time off and other benefits.

Compass One is the result of a January 2014 merger between Crothall Heathcare and Morrison Food Service. The company is based in Wayne, Penn., and serves more than 1,600 hospitals and health system locations in 48 states, with 46,000 employees.

Regional Health joins a growing list of institutions that have partnered with specialized firms to provide services beyond the central scope of their primary missions.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Black Hills State University contract with outside firms for dining and other services.

For decades, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial have worked with private-sector partners to provide lodging, dining, recreation and retail services.

For caregivers, providers and the public, the transition will be seamless, the release stated.

The most visible change will be in the hospital cafeteria and food service, which will see a redesign of the first-floor dining area into a bistro-style eatery.

There will also be changes in room service for visiting family members and broader menu choices for patients and restaurant patrons, the release said. The restaurant serving and dining are redesign will feature lots of light, natural stone, wood trim and green plants.

The plan also calls for a pergola-like outdoor dining area and a nearby fire pit.

US to review end of protections for Yellowstone grizzlies

BILLINGS, Mont. | U.S. officials said Wednesday they'll review the recent lifting of protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears in light of a court ruling that retained protections for gray wolves in the Great Lakes.

About 700 bears in and around Yellowstone National Park lost their threatened species status on July 31, opening the door to future trophy hunts in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Just a day later, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., said in the wolf case that wildlife officials needed to give more consideration to how a species' loss of historical habitat affects its recovery.

Like wolves, grizzly bears have seen a strong recovery over the past several decades in isolated regions of the U.S., but remain absent from the vast majority of their historical range.

In its response to the appeals court ruling, the Fish and Wildlife Service said it's now seeking public comment on the potential implications for Yellowstone bears.

The animals will stay under state jurisdiction and off the threatened species list while the review is pending, said Fish and Wildlife spokesman Steve Segin. The agency plans to release its conclusions by March 31.

Grizzlies remain protected as a threatened species outside of the Yellowstone region and Alaska.

Other species could be affected by the ruling, Segin said, adding that it likely would have to be under similar circumstances where a decision was being made on just a segment of a species' entire population.

Andrea Santarsiere with the Center for Biological Diversity said Wednesday's announcement was an attempt to paper over what she called "fatal flaws" in the decision to lift protections.

"Yellowstone's grizzly bears remain at risk and no amount of bureaucratic jujitsu by the Trump administration will change that fact," Santarsiere said.

The question in the Great Lakes wolf case was whether some members of an animal population can meet the legal definition of recovered even as the species struggles or is nonexistent elsewhere.

A three-judge panel concluded federal officials erroneously considered the status of the Great Lakes population in a vacuum, leaving wolves elsewhere in the country in "legal limbo" after wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota lost protections. Those protections later were restored by a federal judge.

Yellowstone's bears make up one of the largest populations of grizzlies in the Lower 48. They've been isolated for decades from other concentrations of bruins, including an estimated 1,000 grizzlies in northwest Montana.