Road construction planned for S.D. Highway 50 bypass

Road construction planned for S.D. Highway 50 bypass Road construction is scheduled to begin in June on the S.D. Highway 50 bypass in Vermillion.

The work will begin west of the Highway 50/Highway 19 junction on the city's western edge, and continue 5.3 miles to east of Vermillion.

The project will include crack sealing, asphalt concrete resurfacing, drainage modification, approach slabs and gaurdrails.

Traffic will be maintained with signs and flaggers. There will be a 14 foot width restriction.

The work is expected to be completed Aug. 15.

by David Lias

Plain Talk Editor

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.Tuesday, June 4 in all voting precincts in Clay County for South Dakota's primary election.

The only local race in the county to be decided is the Democratic election for county commission. Democrats will be asked Tuesday to select two of five candidates for office: Barbara Yelverton, incumbent Gary Iverson, Leslie Kermit Kephart and Brendyn Richards, all of Vermillion, and William P. O'Connor, Burbank.

The top two vote-getters in this race will face Republicans George Ufford and incumbent Gerald Sommervold, both of Vermillion.

Candidates in other local races are unopposed, and automatically will be nominated. They include, for sheriff, Andrew Howe, Vermillion; for county auditor, Ruth Brunick, Vermillion; and for register of deeds, Betty McCambridge, Vermillion.

Running for District 17 state representative are two Democrats, Ted Muenster and incumbent B.J. Nesselhuf, and two Republicans, Donna Schafer and Jere Chapman. All four candidates are from Vermillion and will be automatically nominated as candidates for the November general election.

District 17 state senate candidates are incumbent John J. Reedy and Judy Clark, both of Vermillion who also are automatically nominated for November.

The polling place in each precinct of the county is:

Glenwood/Riverside � Experimental Farm, 29970 University Road.

Star/Bethel/Wakonda Town � Senior Citizens Center/Wakonda.

Pleasant Valley / Garfield Townships � Dalesburg Lutheran Church, 30595 University Road.

Prairie Center/Spirit Md/ Meckling/Norway � 4-H Center/Fairgrounds.

Vermillion/Fairview � 515 High St., Vermillion.

Irene Town � Community Center, Irene.

Vermillion City, all precincts � National Guard Armory, Princeton St.,Vermillion.

Voters with disabilities may contact the county auditor's office for information and special assistance in absentee voting or polling place accessibility.

Questionairres were sent to all five Democratic candidates for county commission. Their responses follow:

Name: Barbara A. Yelverton

Age: 44

Family: Charles, one cat, two dogs, two horses.

Occupation: Registered nurse, managing partner of Reinschmidt Farms, LLC.

Education: University of South Dakota, BS, AA, University of Florida (Pensacola) BSN.

Why are you running for Clay County Commission?

I believe I would bring a fresh perspective to the commission. I have 10 years experience with local government and understand well the complexities and process of community government. In addition, I am actively involved with management of the family farm. I understand the challenges the agricultural producer faces in today's ever-changing marketplace.

Clay County needs a commissioner able to represent concerns of city and rural residents. I have the background and experience to accomplish this task.

What kind of commissioner would you be?

An active listener for Clay County residents issues and concerns. I will be an active participant at each commission meeting bringing innovative ideas to the table.

I will be a well-informed commissioner enabling me to make

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sound decisions affecting Clay County. Being accessible to citizens and respectful of all

viewpoints will be my trademark.

What are the biggest challenges facing Clay County?

The financial restraints that government bodies have in providing necessary county services is always a challenge.The county has a finite source of revenues with ever increasing cost of services. The challenge for the commission is to look for new revenue sources, increase efficiency of county services, contain costs, yet continue to deliver high quality service to Clay County residents.

I believe this is the biggest challenge the commission faces; it is the responsibility and obligation of the commission to Clay County citizens to address

budgetary concerns in a fiscally responsible manner.

If you could change something tomorrow about Clay County, what would it be?

Clay County is a beautiful county; we are fortunate to have the topography of two river valleys within the county. This provides for fertile farm ground and picturesque landscapes. I have bicycled all the oil roads in the county. Bicycling gives one a close up view of the county both good and bad.

Maintenance of the oil roads is a concern that needs to be addressed, the contrast between Clay County and adjacent counties is quite obvious. The debris that litters our ditches throughout the county is an ongoing problem that needs to change. As a commissioner I will focus on this problem and help devise an acceptable solution. The aesthetics of Clay County are important to me.

What is your number one goal, if elected?

1. A priority goal of mine if elected commissioner is to increase access to the public of county commission business. The commission needs to engage the citizens � city and rural. There is little media coverage of county issues; meetings are held at a time when the general working public is unable to attend. Agenda items need to be more publicly displayed.

2. It is time the commission review and modernize county ordinances to ensure protection of Clay County's ground and surface water, drainage issues,

erosion, and land use.

3. The commission needs to collaboratively work with county landowners and the conservation district in identifying and planting new shelterbelt sites, adding to old and dying tree belts, and monitoring irresponsible destruction of healthy tree groves. The commission needs to take an active role in protecting Clay County's natural resources.

General Comment

I believe I would be an asset to the commission. I am an active listener and articulate my thoughts and ideas well. The commission is five members that must work as a team, for the team to be effective it must embrace the practice of negotiation and compromise. I am a consensus builder and will bring a new energy to the commission. I would appreciate your support on June 4.

Name: Brendyn N. Richards

Age: 29

Family: Engaged.

Occupation: Financial advisor.

Education: Bachelor degree in political science and history from The University of South Dakota; masters degree in political science from Hamilton University.

Why are you running for election to Clay County Commission?

To be a voice that my constituents can count on to serve to the best of my ability.

What kind of commissioner would you be?

I would be very active and will always make myself available for the residents of Clay County. The first item of business I would do is to provide the residents of Clay County with my home phone of 253-2333 that they can feel free to call with their questions and concerns.

If I won the primary election in June and the general election in November, my first item of business would be to ask the other county commissioners to join me in a forum open to the public where residents can come before the commission to raise questions and concerns that they might have.

I feel as though this should be an ongoing forum with future dates added, not just a one time event.

What are the biggest challenges facing Clay County?

One of the biggest challenges we face is the challenge to keep property taxes affordable. As county commissioner, I would strive to help keep property taxes in line as not to over burden our tax payers.

If you could change something about Clay County tomorrow, what would it be?

I see many intersections of our main highways in the country as a potential hazard. I live next to a main intersection that I continually see vehicles sliding through because they did not realize that there was a stop sign at that location. Many times I have watched these same vehicles nearly collide with other vehicles, narrowly missing serious accidents. I see many counties around us adding a deterrent called "rumble bars," which basically are small strips of the road that are slightly raised to give a "rumbling" effect as you drive over to remind the motorist of a stop sign. I believe that if these simple rumble bars save just one life, they would be well worth it!

What is your number one goal if elected?

Increased cooperation and communication between the county government and the public as a whole. This position is an elected position, "by the people and for the people." I will strive to serve the residents of Clay County in an open and fair environment. This is why I feel as though an

open forum of the public with the commissioners would be very helpful and important.

Name: Les "Kerm" Kephart

Age: 55

Family: Wife, Anita; daughter Kirsten, her husband Scott Haberl and grandson Nicholas and Joshua, Moville, IA; daughter Julie Bertrand, teacher for DoDDS in Iceland; daughter Christine, her husband Glen Nitz, granddaughters Nichole and Michaela of Pierce, NE; daughter Ericka and her husband Keith Lapour, step-granddaughter Miranda and grandson Cash of Sioux Falls; daughter Heather, her significant other Kurt Doeden and grandson Jacob of Sioux Falls.

Occupation: My present occupation is chief deputy sheriff of the Clay County Sheriff's Office. I've been here over 26 years and will retire at the end of September. I love the occupation but it is time for a change. I think the world of the good folks of Clay County will miss this job.

Education: I graduated from Vermillion High School in 1965. I have also been through the police academy in Pierre in 1976 and have gone through assorted classrooms in law enforcement-related areas.

Why are you running for election to the Clay County Commission?

I am running for the Clay County Commission as I feel I still want to continue to serve and work for the good people of Clay County.

What kind of commissioner would you be?

I will be a very good commissioner and my promise to all of you is to be greeted as a friend. I will listen to you and then work for you. I cannot always promise you the answer you want, but I will research and give you an honest answer with as much information as possible regarding the decision reached.

What are the biggest challenges facing Clay County?

I believe the biggest challenges facing Clay County are #1 public safety since 911 and attracting new business ventures to our county. Hopefully, some will be farm related as well as industrial.

If you could change something about Clay County tomorrow, what would it be?

If I could wake up tomorrow and all the trash/junk/old cars, etc. littering our beautiful county would be gone I would be extremely happy. I am not, however, in favor of removing the old homesteads as they are our history.

I also love trees and shrubs and all the birds and animals that come with them. So I would love to see a tree/shrub planted somewhere for each one removed.

What is your number one goal if elected?

My number one goal is to listen to the people of Clay County and then work very hard to the best of my ability for them.

General comment

Clay County is a great place to live and keeping it safe, happy and healthy is something we all want. Our educational system is tops and our farmers are very hard working and good at what they do. We need to get more competitive in attracting new business to our county.

Name: William P. O'Connor

Age: 52

Family: Wife, Paula; four children, Will, Shane, Caroline, Don.

Occupation: Farmer and owner of O'Connor Kiln and Dryer, Inc.

Education: 12 years.

Why are you running for election to the Clay County Commission?

I am running for three main reasons. First, I believe that the county can use taxpayers' money more efficiently, thereby effectively increasing the budget. Also, we need to strongly encourage near- and long-term business and industrial development. This economic growth will bolster the tax base. Finally, I am also very concerned with water rights, usage and conservation.

What kind of commissioner would you be?

I will apply to the county commission the same hard-working, honest, common sense approach I use in business every day.

What are the biggest challenges facing Clay County?

Aside from the three issues I already mentioned, the possible future opt-out of the Vermillion School District is something to keep an eye on.

If you could change something about Clay County tomorrow, what would it be?

I would end the paid health insurance for county commissioners because they only work on average 20 hours per month. Commissioners could retain the coverage if they reimburse the county. I think this would only be fair to all the other workers who spend for more time on their jobs.

What is your number one goal if elected?

I would bring accountability and openness to the commission, while being more responsive to the community's wishers.

General comment

Please, everyone get out and vote, even if it is not for me. Each individual vote counts.

Iverson did not respond to the questionairre.

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