- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

Aberdeen American News, Aberdeen, May 3, 2016

“If you build it, they will come” goes the now-cliche line from “Field of Dreams.”

That looks like the reasoning behind Northern State University’s new Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship.

The new space, announced last week, is meant to be a collaborative space for Northern students of all majors and disciplines. A place to congregate, connect and create.

Basically, a box to put all your ideas in.

It’s a good first step. What the concept seems to lack is any guidance or purpose.

We don’t want to be negative about another attempt to change and innovate, especially at our local state university. But details were scarce at a Friday news conference meant to launch the center’s concept. Maybe that’s why, in reading a news release announcing the center released the previous day, the idea was hard to grasp.

Basically, it’s a room.

Maybe a better way to look at it is a first step.

When we think of a “center for creativity,” we think of 3-D printers, virtual reality cameras, smartboards. But this situation is more BYOB - bring your own breakthroughs. And maybe that’s exactly what will come from the center.

Beyond the physical stuff, however, true innovation comes from culture change. Students, pulled in a hundred different directions all the time, will need those savvy faculty members to facilitate their growth and collaboration.

Maybe some goal-oriented prizes or grants would help kickstart this movement. Give students and community members something to strive for, some purpose for being in the room.

Northern is blessed with a gorgeous, intimate campus. A refurbished student center offers plenty of nooks and comfy chairs for any group to mingle and create.

The opportunity for creativity has always been at Northern.

Maybe all that was missing was this room.


Rapid City Journal, Rapid City, May 3, 2016

GOOD: Even though Pennington County voters rejected a wheel tax that would have made the county eligible to receive Bridge Improvement Grant funds, $590,000 of that money is coming to Rapid City. The state announced its first round of awards last week for the new program. Rapid City will receive money for three improvement projects - the 12th Street bridge over Rapid Creek, the Cambell Street bridge and the Cherry Avenue bridge. The city will contribute another $151,000 for those three projects. Other first-round award winners were Meade County, which received a little over $1 million for three projects, and Fall River County, which will get nearly $190,000 for one project. Overall, the state awarded more than $8 million in BIG funds. It’s good to see some of that license plate fee money coming back to West River locations.

BAD: Meade County Commissioner Alan Aker has been charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for allegedly using a chain saw to remove railing from the Deadwood home of a client, who was unhappy with work done on the project. According to court documents, the homeowner had withheld $2,500 of an approximately $12,000 bill for the construction of a new deck, citing concerns about aspects of the job that he wanted corrected before he would pay the entire amount. In response, Aker is charged with trespassing on the property and removing 50 feet of railing. A Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy said that Aker admitted he did it, apparently feeling comfortable that this was an appropriate conflict-resolution move. If true, it makes you wonder about the county commissioner’s judgment on matters of public concern.

UGLY: The federal government seems able to assert its considerable authority with the greatest of ease with no apparent limit on its ability to force compliance on individuals, businesses, and state and local governments. There appears, however, to be at least one glaring exception. Last week, the Journal reported that the Environmental Protection Agency was unable to complete a thorough assessment of the impact of hazardous substances from long-abandoned uranium mines near Edgemont. The reason: property owners wouldn’t give them permission to come on land where huge piles of mine waste is kept, which seemingly would be a critical area to inspect. Can you imagine the IRS taking no for an answer if it was auditing your tax returns?


The Daily Republic, Mitchell, May 2, 2016

CHEERS to Mitchell Technical Institute and its Architectural Design and Building Construction program, which hit a milestone last week with the completion of its 100th house.

Since the school’s inception in 1968, the architectural design and building construction programs have allowed students the opportunity to design and build homes in both the shop on campus and on-site in Mitchell.

The program has multiple benefits for our community, including hands-on learning for MTI students, partnerships with local businesses that contribute the materials, and it puts homes on the ground in Mitchell to help our community expand.

Here’s to another 100 homes to be constructed by MTI.

HISSES to the sad death of South Dakota’s famed artist, Terry Redlin.

Redlin died April 24 in Watertown at the age of 78 after a nine-year battle with dementia.

The nature and Americana artist had beautiful work that is displayed in his namesake art center in Watertown, which opened in 1997.

South Dakota is a better place for having had Terry Redlin.

CHEERS to some University of South Dakota political science students who assembled a map tracking the complicated financial connections involved with the GEAR UP program.

The map shows an outline of the state and key locations where major figures in GEAR UP lived and worked.

GEAR UP is the federally funded program intended to help low-income students and families learn what is necessary to continue the students’ education after high school. The program is under scrutiny in South Dakota with its connections to the misconduct at Mid-Central Educational Cooperative.

The USD students put in some impressive work that should help our state’s leaders in understanding what exactly went wrong with the financial mismanagement of grant money.

HISSES to the man who led authorities on a statewide search after he allegedly killed 28-year-old Baptiste White Eyes, of Wagner, earlier this month.

Jared Stone, 21, finally surrendered to police last week after a high-speed chase through western Nebraska before he was taken out in Wyoming.

Stone led officers on a 65-mile chase that reached speeds of up to 100 mph, firing shots at patrol cars trying to stop him.

If the police reports are accurate, we say thank goodness this man is finally behind bars.

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