Road legislation subject of cracker barrel

By Dan Bechtold


South Dakota lawmakers hear from persons in their district that the state needs to do more to help fund road and bridge repair.

This was one of several topics discussed at a legislative cracker barrel Saturday in Winner.

The meeting was sponsored by the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce.

District 21 lawmakers attending were Sen. Erin Tobin, Rep. Rocky Blare and Rep. Caleb Finck.

Rep. Finck said HB1237 makes an appropriation for the purpose of funding county, township roads and bridges.

The request is for $4 million to match a federal program for repairing bridges in South Dakota. Last year this money was able to fix 49 bridges and Finck hopes more bridges can be repaired if funding is approved.

The representative from Tripp also has a concern for townships. He is introducing a bill to repair small structures at the township level. The funds would come to the county and then be distributed to the townships.

“This is something that has not been done before,” said Finck.

He hopes the legislature will fund $9 million for this program.

The three legislators said this year there is more money available due to COVID-19 funds that the state received from the federal government.

Blare said there will be one time money available this year.

With the advent of electric cars the legislature is looking at how to charge a fee.

Currently, there are about 167 electric cars in South Dakota.

A representative from Sioux Falls has introduced a bill that would charge owners of a electric cars a yearly fee. The fee proposed is $50. Finck does not think this is enough. He noted the average South Dakotan pays more than that in fuel tax.

The proposed legislation only applys to cars and pickups.

“As much as we would like to think electric semis are a thing of the future it will happen sooner than we think,” said Finck. The new Amazon facility slated to be built in Sioux Falls has ordered 100 electric semis. “In the next two years we may see electric semis on the interstate,” added Finck.

Also discussed were term limits, infectious diseases and redistricting.

In addition to Winner, the lawmakers made stops in Platte and Gregory.

Horizon Health Care has announced the 2020 Horizon Health Care Provider of the Year

Submitted Photo
Len Wonnenberg, left, Huron, formerly of Winner, has been named 2020 Horizon
Health Care provider of the year. Wonnenberg is a physician assistant and works
at James Valley community health center in Huron.

Horizon Health Care has announced that Len Wonnenberg, PA-C, has been recognized as the 2020 Horizon Health Care Provider of the Year.

Wonnenberg is the son of Roger and Jackie Wonnenberg of Winner. Wonnenberg is a graduate of Winner High School.

Each year, Horizon Health Care recognizes an employee who embodies the spirit of care that Horizon strives to provide to its patients and communities. Selection is based on several items, including patient satisfaction, quality of care, service to community, and effective leadership. This is the fifth year a provider has been recognized with this honor.

Len is a primary care provider at Horizon’s James Valley Community Health Center in Huron.

 Len joined Horizon Health Care in 2012. A South Dakota native originally from Winner, Len attended graduate school at University of South Dakota and holds a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant studies.

Len is a dedicated provider, colleague, and part of the Huron community. His investment in patient care is evident in his patient satisfaction scores, where 93% of Len’s patients indicated he is the “best provider possible.” Though Len maintains a complex panel of patients, he works diligently to improve the quality of care provided to his patients. One of his patients shared, “I grew up never going to the doctor, until I came to Horizon Health Care and started getting medical care. I have diabetes and I have learned to take care of myself through my provider, Len. Len always makes sure I come in for my diabetes and pain control appointments. I can see he cares, he takes time to talk to me, and I’m not scared to come to the doctor anymore.”

Len is passionate about providing education and treatment for diabetes not only for his patients, but in his community and at the state-level. He is vice president of the South Dakota Diabetes Coalition and has been involved with many panel discussions and trainings surrounding diabetes. Locally, Len has collaborated with several other members of the Huron medical community to form the James Valley Diabetes Group and helped organize the Diabetes Day educational fairs in the past. He continues to speak regularly to community and civic groups.

Len and his wife, Amanda, reside in Huron with their three children.

South Dakota Cattlewomen officers were installed at the January meeting in Chamberlain.

Submitted Photo
South Dakota Cattlewomen officers were installed at the January meeting in
Chamberlain. Pictured from left are Ruth Farnsworth, Winner, past president and
installing officer; Mary Jessen, Holabird, secretary; Lindy Harkin, Winner,
president; Katrin Van Zanbergen, Winner, vice president; Noreen Krogman, White
River, treasurer and Norma Olson, Winner, membership director. The next meeting
will be held in Ft. Pierre on April 13.

Covid-19 Cases

There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Tripp County on Monday. There were also no probable cases. The number of active cases is 10. Since COVID started the total confirmed cases in Tripp County has been 546 with 99 probable.

A total of 621 persons have recovered from the virus. The total number of persons tested is 2,020. In Tripp County, there have been 14 deaths related to COVID-19.

Statewide, as of Jan. 18 there were 92 new cases reported with 24 probable cases. The number of active cases in the state is 4,613. There are 203 persons hospitalized.

Statewide deaths are at 1,667.On Monday the state started vaccinating persons in D1 group. This is for persons over 65 and older. Vaccinations started with those 80 and older.

SD Health Department Announces Beginning Stages of Priority Group 1D for Next Week

The South Dakota Department of Health is announcing that starting on Monday, Jan. 18,  the Department of Health and its health partners across the state started vaccinating a prioritized population group, within Group 1D, of the state’s vaccination plan. This first prioritized population group will be those 80 and over, as well as high-risk individuals and will be expanded to other groups within 1D as vaccines become available. The modification comes amidst the federal government’s plan to release vaccines to states to speed up vaccinationsnationwide.

“Given the progress we’ve seen in groups A through C, we are confident that with an increase in vaccine allocations, we can move into a limited population of group 1D. We will begin with those 80 and over and high-risk individuals, and from this starting point, adjust accordingly as allocation permits,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “We want to reassure those who’ve already received their first dose, and those in groups A through C who are already in the queue, that their second-dose will be available.”   

In addition to the release of COVID-19 vaccines, Operation Warp Speed announced it is changing how it will allocate such vaccines to states. Federal officials will increase weekly allocation to states based on the size of a state’s 65+ population and take into consideration how quickly each state is administering the vaccine to the general public. Currently, South Dakota has been receiving an average of 11,000 doses a week and has administered over 47,950 doses. 

“Given our strong partnerships with stakeholders, and the non-stop efforts of our healthcare systems, the Department of Health is proud to say that South Dakota remains among the top states in the country in vaccination efforts– Shots in arms, that’s our goal, ” added Malsam-Rysdon.

For additional information and the latest COVID-19 resources, visit COVID.SD.GOV.

COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Tripp County is 12.

There were no new cases reported on Monday, Jan. 11.Since COVID started the total confirmed cases in this county is 543 with 614 recovered cases.

The number of deaths from the virus is 13. Statewide, 130 new cases were reported Monday. The state active cases is 5,102 with1,585 deaths.

There are currently 242 persons hospitalized.

The statewide recovered cases is 96,812.

The state Department of Health also reported 31,473 people have received the first dose of the vaccine while 842 people have received both doses.

Judge Bobbi Rank Reappointed as Presiding Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit

Chief Justice Steven Jensen announced   the reappointment of the Honorable Bobbi Rank as Presiding Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.    Judge Rank’s reappointment follows the selection of Steven Jensen as Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court.    

Pursuant to Article V, Section 11 of the South Dakota Constitution, Presiding Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice and serve at his pleasure.    The Presiding Judges are administrative heads of their respective circuits.    The Chief Justice expressed his appreciation for Judge Rank’s continued willingness to serve the Unified Judicial System and people of South Dakota in this manner.     

The Sixth Judicial Circuit consists of Bennett, Gregory, Haakon, Hughes, Hyde, Jackson, Jones, Lyman, Mellette, Potter, Stanley, Sully, Todd and Tripp counties.

Covid-19 Cases

Tripp County saw no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Jan. 4.

The active cases were 25 and there have been 12 deaths in Tripp County. The number of persons who have recovered from the virus in Tripp County totals 594.

In South Dakota on Monday, there were 86 new cases. The state death toll is at 1,513.There are 6,031 active cases in South Dakota.

There are currently 268 persons in the hospital.

The numbers the state reported on Saturday included data collected from 1 p.m. Dec. 30 to 1 p.m. Dec. 31 according to the Department of Health.

Covid-19 Cases

There are 25 active cases of COVID-19 in Tripp County. As of Monday, Dec. 28, there were no new cases reported.

In Tripp County there have been 584 recoveries and 64 have been hospitalized. There have been 11 deaths in Tripp County.

Statewide, as of Monday there were 246 new cases reported. The total active cases is 6,523.There are currently 288 persons hospitalized.

The total number of deaths is 1,446. Since COVID-19 started the total confirmed statewide cases is 88,894.

The state health department reported on Saturday the state administered 12,910 doses of either the Moderna or Pfzier vaccine.

Covid-19 Cases

Tripp County saw four new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The total number of active cases is 89 with 490 recovered. The total number of cases confirmed in Tripp County since COVID-19 started is 519. There have been 59 persons hospitalized and 10 deaths.

Statewide on Monday, there were 272 new cases.

The total number of active cases is 12, 623. Currently, there are 441 persons hospitalized.

The total deaths in the state is 1,259.