NewsDecember 20 2017

Zion Lutheran celebrates Christmas

Posted by Lucy

Zion Lutheran celebrates Christmas 
 
Zion Lutheran Wednesday School children spread the joy of Christmas during their program Sunday evening. The children performed many Christmas carols with bells. Beth Mertens played the guitar and sang “Away in the Manger” while the preschool acted out the scene. The middle school played “Joy to the World” with bells. Jordan Zirpel played a solo on the piano of the “First Noel”. Pictured back row l-r: Justice, Lincoln, Jonas. Third row l-r: Chevelle, Quinn, Kenzie, Claire, Kaysha, Olerichs. Second row l-r: Chisum, Josie, Autumn, Jett, Soren, Lorelei. Front row: Damon. The play was directed by LeAnne Zirpel, Rita Herman, Colby Brakke, Betty Jean Mertens, Beth Mertens, Renee Miller, and Pastor Welton.

NewsDecember 20 2017

2017-2018 La Niña and Winter outlook

Posted by Lucy

2017-2018 La Niña and Winter outlook
 
    BROOKINGS, S.D. - The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center has officially declared a La Niña Advisory, as of November 9, 2017. 
   This means that La Niña conditions are observed and expected to continue,” said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist. 
   NOAA observes La Niña conditions using sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, Edwards explained. “For La Niña, ocean temperatures are cooler than average near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which can alter jet streams and storm tracks,” she said. 
   What to Expect Historically, La Niña has brought colder than average temperatures in winter for South Dakota. “There are varying strengths of La Niña, from weak to strong. Overall the colder temperatures are fairly consistent in any La Niña winter,” Edwards said. “What is more variable is snowfall.” 
   In weak La Niña events, there has historically been above average snowfall in the Northern Plains states. In strong La Niña events, this is not usually the case. 
   For our winter season ahead, Edwards said a weak La Niña is expected. “Thus the climate outlook shows an increased chance of above average precipitation,” she explained. This potential increase is snowfall is more likely to occur in mid- to late winter, or around January and February of 2018. 
   December Outlook Despite the very dry November, there was recently a large pattern shift in early December, which is now starting to look more like a typical La Niña pattern. 
   This will put South Dakota near the jet stream path, bringing colder air down from Canada and possibly some more chances of precipitation in the next couple of weeks,” Edwards said. 
   La Nina’s impact on agriculture This cold, and possibly wet, climate outlook may create challenges for South Dakota’s livestock producers who have already struggled with drought losses in pastures and forage. “One way that animals adapt to severe cold is to increase their feed intake, which is already a challenge in some areas,” Edwards said. 
   Shelter and protection from severe cold and some increased snowpack amounts may need to be considered as well.  Winter wheat growers may take some solace in the potential for increased snowfall, as this can insulate the crop in harsh cold temperatures. Also, increased snowfall can provide some soil moisture in the spring when it comes out of dormancy.

NewsDecember 13 2017

Lower Brule School receives over 90 hats from The Madhatter

Posted by Lucy

Lower Brule School receives over 90 hats from The Madhatter 
 
The Lower Brule School would like to thank Kathie Diedrich of Vivian, SD. Kathie made all of these hats herself and generously donated to our school to help keep our students warm throughout the winter.

NewsDecember 13 2017

Daugaard’s last budget a lean one

Posted by Lucy

Daugaard’s last budget a lean one

By Dana Hess For the S.D. Newspaper Association
 
   PIERRE — Despite the need to fill a shortfall in the current budget and the projection for another lean budget in FY 2019, South Dakota’s finances aren’t in bad shape. That was the message Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered in his budget address to the S.D. Legislature on Tuesday. 
   South Dakota’s working. We’re working better than many other states,” Daugaard said, noting the state’s high credit rating, its healthy pension plan and strong financial practices. “We’ve seen positive economic growth but need to be cautious given recent sluggish revenue growth.” 
   The governor’s proposed $4.7 billion budget for 2019 includes $1.7 billion in federal funds, $1.6 billion in the general fund and $1.3 billion in other state funds.  
   This is Daugaard’s last budget proposal. Constrained by term limits, he cannot run for governor again in 2018. 
   The general fund portion of the proposed budget includes $32.4 million in new spending. That amount will not include raises for state employees. School districts won’t have an increase in funds tied to inflation. Rather, they’ll see new money only as it relates to the expenses incurred by higher enrollments. 
   Daugaard said the state’s sluggish economy was due to a lack of growth in sales and use tax collections which account for 63 percent of state revenue. Four factors in the state’sslow sales tax growth have been low farm income, low inflation, a growth in e-commerce sales and rising health care costs. 
   Daugaard explained that lower farm income led to less spending on taxable items just as rising health care costs cut into discretionary spending. 
   The increase in health care spending has eroded the sales tax base,” Daugaard said.  
   Tracking e-commerce sales continues to be difficult, the governor said. 
   Some out-of-state sellers are voluntarily collecting their sales tax,” Dagaard said. “We know some companies are still not remitting tax.” 
   In addition to proposing a modest budget for FY 2019, Daugaard said the state must also revamp the current budget due to a revenue shortfall and increased expenses that total $33.7 million.  
   Contributing to the need to revamp the budget are $9 million in increased education expenses due to higher than expected enrollments and a shortfall of $20.3 million in revenue.  
   Daugaard proposed handling the shortfall by reducing state government expenses by $16 million and using cash from various state funds totaling $17.7 million. This includes tapping the state’s budget reserve for $7.2 million. 
   Daugaard noted that the $33.7 million needed to shore up the current budget amounted to about 2 percent of the general fund budget.  
   I think we’re in relatively good shape,” Daugaard said. “We’re honestly balancing our budget with ongoing revenue only being used for ongoing expenses.” 
   He noted that the budget situation is bleaker in other states. He said Montana just finished a special budget session. Oklahoma lawmakers spent eight weeks in a special session and failed to come up with a budget to fill a $250 million shortfall. In Illinois, state government is using one-time funds, much of it raised through borrowing, to pay for ongoing expenses. 
   Many other states find themselves in dire straits today because they fail to maintain that discipline that I’m proud South Dakota has historically maintained,” Daugaard said.
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