The praise ran deep and wide Wednesday for John Bastian.
Bastian, a retired circuit judge from Belle Fourche, chaired the panel that recommended Jim Rankin be president at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.
Bastian is a member of the state Board of Regents that announced Rankin’s hiring Nov. 7. Rankin grew up in Draper and Fort Pierre and is an alumnus of the state university in Rapid City.
Rankin starts Jan. 8 and replaces Heather Wilson, who accepted President Trump's appointment to be secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
The kind words Wednesday came from regent president Bob Sutton of Sioux Falls. He specially recognized Bastian for his efforts. “The result ended up fantastic,” Sutton told Bastian, thanking him for leading the Mines presidential search.
Bastian said 16 people, including four regents and University of South Dakota President Jim Abbott, took part in deciding who would be the four presidential candidates invited to campus.
“The group helped the board make the decision,” Bastian said. “It was a wonderful experience for me to work with all of them.”
Their remarks came during the regents meeting at School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls.
Sutton also credited regent executive director Mike Rush, system director of student affairs Molly Weisgram and others on the central office staff.
“We’re going to put you back to work on another one,” Sutton told Weisgram.
Abbott announced Sept. 27 he plans to retire from USD in June. Now 69, Abbott became president of South Dakota’s original public university at Vermillion on July 1, 1997. He is the longest-serving leader now in the state’s public universities system.
BISMARCK, N.D. | A draft legislative bill sets the framework for Native American tribes in North Dakota to levy state sales taxes on their reservations and keep a yet-to-be-determined share of the collections.
The bill, which would allow tribal leaders to enter into a tax agreement with North Dakota's governor, comes largely in response to tribes' concerns about dwindling federal dollars on the state's five Native American reservations, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said.
It also comes after Three Affiliated tribal officials doubled taxes on non-American Indian retail businesses that sell liquor, leading some to halt sales.
The draft legislation would forbid tribal governments that reach an accord with the state on sales tax collections to impose such taxes.
"What we want to avoid is dual-taxation," said Rauschenberger, whose agency would consult with the governor on any accord with the tribes.
Three Affiliated Tribal Chairman Mark Fox did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday for comment.
The bill is the work of the Legislature's newly formed Tribal Taxation Issues Committee, which met with tribal leaders in August and has another meeting planned Dec. 15 in New Town, on the Fort Berthold Reservation, home to the Three Affiliated Tribes.
"We heard from most of the tribal leaders that state sales tax is important for tribal governments — federal aid for the tribes is not enough for their budgets," said Rauschenberger, who is one of 10 members of the panel headed by Gov. Doug Burgum.
The Republican governor, in a statement, called the legislation "a good starting point for conversation."
Tribal businesses on reservations currently are not obliged to levy the state's 5 percent sales tax. Businesses that are within reservation boundaries and not owned by Native Americans are required to collect sales tax from nontribal members.
If tribes reach a sales tax accord with the state, all businesses and individuals would be subjected to the tax.
"The cash register would be blind to whoever is buying," Rauschenberger said.
Two years ago, the Legislature passed similar legislation that allowed the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in southern North Dakota to impose state sales tax but the agreement was canceled by the state after the tribe exempted its "casino and a few other businesses," said Republican Sen. Dwight Cook of Mandan, the chairman of the Senate's Finance and Taxation Committee.
Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Mike Faith did not immediately return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment on the previous and new legislation.
Cook, the lead sponsor and primary author of the new bill, said requiring tribal-owned casinos to collect and remit the sales tax may cause "heartburn" with some tribes.
The earliest any sales tax accord could be reached with the state is in 2019, when the Legislature reconvenes.
Cook, who also is a member of the Tribal Taxation Issues Committee, said the draft legislation likely has "a long way to go." He said the "whole purpose" is to talk to the tribes "about common sense tax policy and how to get it done."
Wind turbine blade plant closing
ABERDEEN | Ohio-based Molded Fiber Glass Companies is closing its wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in the northern South Dakota city of Aberdeen.
The company cites changes in market conditions and proposed revisions to federal tax policies impacting the wind energy industry for the decision.
The company says the MFG South Dakota plant will remain open through January to fill existing orders, with anticipated closure by mid-February.
The American News reports that the 325,000-square-foot plant was built in 2007. About 400 people work there.
House fire in Long Lake kills man
LONG LAKE | Authorities are investigating a house fire in Long Lake that killed a man.
The American News reports that the body of 64-year-old Jimmy Kolb was found in the burned-out home early Thursday, after a passer-by reported the blaze.
McPherson County Coroner David Roggenkamp says the death isn't necessarily suspicious, but an autopsy is being conducted.
State investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
Deadline for $1M award announced
SIOUX FALLS | Sanford Health next month will begin accepting nominations for its inaugural Lorraine Cross Award.
The Dakotas-based health system earlier this year announced the $1 million global medical research prize to honor advancements in medicine. The amount rivals that which goes to the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nominations for the award open Jan. 1 and close Feb. 28. The award will be presented next December and every other December after that.
Sanford Health is based in Sioux Falls and Fargo, N.D. It bills itself as one of the largest health systems in the nation, with 44 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics in nine states and four countries
PIERRE | South Dakota lawmakers raised their voices in song and bent their heads in prayer Tuesday at a Capitol memorial service for Rep. Craig Tieszen.
Tieszen, R-Rapid City, and his brother-in-law Brent Moline drowned Nov. 22 when their kayaks capsized in rough water off a South Pacific island.
The ceremony occurred minutes before the governor’s annual budget speech to a joint assembly of the Legislature in the House of Representatives chamber.
His public memorial Monday at Rapid City Civic Center drew an estimated 900 people.
Rep. Sean McPherson, R-Rapid City, led the legislative service Tuesday. McPherson said he was told as a first-year lawmaker to find someone he could trust — and do it fast. That person was Craig Tieszen, he said.
Lawmakers stood in unity and sang "Amazing Grace," followed by a prayer from Rep. Mike Stevens, R-Yankton. He asked for the Lord’s comfort and hope.
Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, was the seatmate of Tieszen. Karr told the chamber he never saw Tieszen be disrespectful toward anyone whether or not they agreed.
Sen. Deb Soholt, R-Sioux Falls, said she spoke with the former Rapid City police chief “almost every day” during legislative sessions.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard spoke about the late lawmaker before beginning the budget speech. "I know we were all shocked when we heard the news about Craig," Daugaard told House and Senate members. "He took his time to make the best decisions."
In the Page A4 story "Isolated Pierre among the best state capitals," published Sunday, Feb. 28, it was incorrectly stated that Pierre and Montpelier, Vt., are the only two state capitals not directly on an interstate. Montpelier is on Interstate 89. Also, Juneau, Alaska; Dover, Del.; and Jefferson City, Mo., are not directly on interstates.