Rounds, Johnson and Biden carry the day in primary election

   Republicans went to the polls last Tuesday to cast ballots for two US Congressional seats in the primary election. Incumbent senator Mike Rounds won over his opponent Scyller J. Borglum in a close race, 308 – 292.  Newcomer and northwest South Dakota native Liz Marty May won over incumbent representative Dusty Johnson in another close contest, 314 – 287. 
   Johnson carried the day statewide, however, and both incumbents won the right to appear on the General Election ballot in November.
Voters registered as Democrats in Perkins County had only one ballot to cast: Bernie Sanders vs. Joseph Biden for President of the United States. Biden handedly won the race, 83-26.
   The county commission met last Thursday, early for their June meeting, to canvass the votes from that election.
Also at that meeting, Corina Molnar, Director of Equalization, announced that she has hired an experienced assessor/appraiser for her office. Effective June 1, Lila Teigen, a former director in Harding County accepted the position, starting at $18.26/hr. Teigen brings 10 years of experience to the Perkins County office.
   Molnar continues to advertise for one more position in her office and also for a part-time summer help person. 
She and her staff will be conducting reappraisals in Lemmon and Lincoln Township this summer. Molnar shared some guidelines that they will use to be cognizant of the Coronavirus. Included in those guidelines will be a phone call to each client prior to their visit to learn each client’s comfort level for meeting in person. They won’t visit any homeowner who shows hesitancy in meeting with them. They will not inspect properties in which they are informed that the occupants are in an at-risk category for COVID-19. Gloves and masks will be worn and distances respected.
   Molnar also passed on a request from the state’s 8-1-1 service. It’s the number that is called when there are underground utilities to be located prior to any digging to prevent damage to them. They wish to use her electronic maps at no cost to improve their service. Others pay $4,000 annually for the privilege of using those Shape Files. The board agreed they would be providing a service to the county and honored the request.
   Rebbecca Miller, 4-H advisor, sought input from the commissioners about summer 4-H programs, including 4-H rodeos and the Perkins County Fair. 
Current SDSU guidelines allow no contact with others so meetings have been on-line only. Starting July 1, SDSU will allow 15 4-Hers to gather but they must wear masks. In August that number will increase to 50. 
   Those numbers hinder both 4-H livestock judging at the end of July and participation in the county fair. 
   The same youth who are in 4-H could enter their exhibits in open class but would not receive 4-H credit. Static exhibits could be entered.
   The commission debated the risks of holding those events.  Commissioner Mike Schweitzer said, “As of today, I see no reason to say ‘no you can’t’.” 
   Because the future holds uncertainties, with a virus outbreak a possibility, the board was cautious but told Miller to proceed as if the events would be held. She’s to return to their July 7 meeting to re-evaluate the situation.
   Highway Superintendent Lincoln Shuck informed commissioners about a low water crossing on Borderline Road, in the far northwest corner of the county that recently washed out in heavy rains. Shuck designated it an “emergency” and has closed the road until repairs can be made. Because of the urgency, it won’t be necessary to bid the project.
   He also requested that the five-man county board sign documentation for the upcoming state signage project. The Department of Transportation will be placing many new signs throughout the county starting next year, at no cost to local taxpayers. The ensuing maintenance on all of those signs, however, will be at Perkins County’s expense. He indicated he may need to add personnel to keep up with that project. “We’ll have ten times the amount of signs, if not more,” he said.
   Paperwork was also signed to replace a bridge with a box culvert on the Zeona/Hoover Road, which will be a haul route for an upcoming project. That bridge and others in Harding and Butte County will be at no expense to the individual counties. Shuck has negotiated with the users to include repair to the road on each side of the bridge. 
   States Attorney Shane Penfield introduced his summer intern, Jessica Colville, a Lemmon native. 
   He also spoke on behalf of the newly re-organized Lemmon EMT Association that now has many new certified recruits and a new board of directors. Local firefighters are training to assist as drivers.
   Tori Voller, representing Bison Commercial Club, made a request for the organization to use the courthouse lawn and power outlets, if needed, during Bison’s Gala Day celebration, June 19-21.
   In upcoming months, county finance officer Sylvia Chapman and the board will be busy preparing the 2021 county budget and accepting requests from various entities. 
   Jason Lillich, Three Rivers Mental Health and Chemical Dependency, was the first to enter a request. He is asking to be funded for $7,500. He said that the majority of his clients (40%) are Perkins County residents. Many are on a sliding fee schedule, which is partially funded through state grants but more funding is needed. Schweitzer, who sits on the Three Rivers board, said, “It’s a strength, not a weakness, to ask for help.” 
   Penfield has recently been named to a state oversight committee for mental health and is interested in visiting privately with Lillich.
   In other business, an old sheriff department vehicle, a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria, was declared surplus and transferred back to the City of Lemmon. A new Women Infant Children (WIC) contract with the State of South Dakota was approved. Air conditioning in the courthouse is only running at half its capacity and will be repaired. The parts are covered under a service agreement but the county will pay labor and travel costs. An insurance claim in the amount of $2,154 was receipted back to the budget following a county vehicle’s collision with an antelope. 
   The commission meets next on Tuesday, July 7.

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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