GOOD, BAD & UGLY: Bighorn sheep struggling for survival
UGLY: It has been a grim stretch in the Northern Hills for a herd of transplanted bighorn sheep. In the past few weeks, five of 26 animals that were relocated in 2015 from Alberta, Canada, have died, according to South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks officials. One drowned, one fell off a cliff, another was found severely injured along a highway and a fourth apparently succumbed to a bacterial infection. It is the fifth death, however, that concerns GF&P the most. It has reason to believe the animal died from a strain of pneumonia that is highly virulent, which could put the entire herd at risk. The state spent two years working to bring bighorn sheep to the Black Hills. Let’s hope the other 19 survive the winter and thrive in the future. They are a striking addition to the diverse wildlife of Western South Dakota.
BAD: Like a bad dream that won’t end, there is yet another chapter unfolding in the saga of South Dakota’s EB-5 immigrant-investor program. Joop Bollen is being sued again, this time by Deadwood Mountain Grand investors who claim he asked them to personally guarantee loans received through the EB-5 program even though it does not require such guarantees. Bollen, along with the state, is being sued by Chinese investors. He also is being sued by the state of South Dakota and faces criminal charges for allegedly spending $1.2 million of EB-5 money for personal reasons. Bollen ran the EB-5 program as a state employee from 2004 to 2009 and has a contracted employee from 2009 to 2013. As a result of all this and other issues, federal officials now seek to terminate the state’s EB-5 program, which means South Dakota could be deprived of a lucrative source of investments for big projects.
GOOD: It was a year ago when scarves, stocking caps and gloves started appearing on the statues of presidents in downtown Rapid City. The city’s initial response was to remind everyone that this was not permitted and the items had to be removed. While we all know that rules are rules, this one seemed cold-hearted. Mayor Steve Allender agreed and authorized the placement of the items and the unofficial program flourished. Starting today and continuing through March 15, residents, churches and organizations can again put winter items on the statues for our neighbors who need more than warm wishes to get through the winter in relative comfort.
- South Dakota
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