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Law governing use of lakes on private land made permanent

PIERRE, S.D. — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed a bill to make permanent an expiring law that governs the use of lakes on private land for recreation.

The Republican governor initially pushed the Legislature during the 2018 session to move the law's June expiration to 2021, but lawmakers instead sent him a bill that removed the sunset. He wrote in a recent column that the water rules are working.

"Although access to public waters will always be an issue, after twenty years we have finally brought certainty and found an answer that is working for landowners and sportsmen," said Daugaard, who signed the permanent extension into law on Friday.

The new rules were the product of a June special legislative session on so-called nonmeandered waters.

Nonmeandered waters are bodies of water that weren't specially designated during government surveys in the late 1800s. Some private property has since flooded, forming new, unofficial bodies of water and creating good fishing. But that has come at the cost of farmland and pastures lost by agriculture producers.

The issue has long vexed landowners and outdoor enthusiasts. Eric Cleveringa, a lobbyist for the South Dakota Wildlife Federation Camo Coalition, told a state Senate panel in January that the law violates the public trust doctrine by allowing private control of public water.

The law signed June 12 restored access to nearly 30 specific lakes for public recreation hampered after a state Supreme Court decision that year. State officials intervened after the high court said the Legislature needed to decide the extent the public could use the waters on private land for recreation.

The law also says lakes on private property are open for recreational use unless a landowner installs signs or buoys saying an area is closed, though property owners could still grant permission to use the water.

Daugaard has called the lakes an "economic engine," saying their closure hurt small-town businesses. Donna Bumann's bait shop and motel in Lake Preston suffered "crippling" sales declines after the state restricted access to a lake called "Dry #2." Business stayed down all summer.

Bumann said she's concerned a lot of people traveled elsewhere last year and will return to those places instead of coming to South Dakota.

"Man, I would really love to see the Department of Tourism do something to let people know that this is a good place for a sportsmen again, let them know that our lakes are open, we welcome you, we missed you, we'd love to see you again," Bumann said. "If people don't come back this summer, then you will not be calling me in 2019, I can tell you that. I need the people to come back."

Newell, Iowa, woman dies in Webster County crash

FORT DODGE, Iowa | A Newell, Iowa, woman has died after authorities say she fell out of a pickup truck and was hit by a car following the truck on Friday. 

The incident occurred around 8:45 p.m. Friday on Highway 169 in Webster County, according to an Iowa State Patrol crash report. 

According to the report, 29-year-old Sarah Jensen fell out of a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 31-year-old Joshua Jensen, also of Newell, that was traveling north on the highway. She was then struck by a 2010 Mazda four-door driven by 31-year-old Cynthia Andrews of Joplin, Missouri, that was following the vehicle.

Jensen was transported to Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge, where she was pronounced dead. 

The drivers of the two vehicles were uninjured. The report does not explain how Jensen fell from the pickup. 

The Associated Press 


Sioux City event draws Iowa Democratic Party chairman Price

SIOUX CITY -- State party chairman Troy Price will discuss the 2018 election landscape in a Woodbury County Democratic Party event Tuesday night.

The event, which runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 310 Virginia St., also will feature Jason Kander, a former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri. Kander, now with the Let America Vote organization, heads an office in Iowa for the group that is pushing for the election of voting rights advocates.

Iowa Democrats are trying to rebound after consecutive poor election results in 2014 and 2016. The Tuesday meeting is called a Back To Blue event, since Democrats are aiming to turn Iowa from red to blue.

In his last stop in the Sioux City metro in November, Price said it is time for Democrats to stop licking 2016 wounds.

Price said a lesson from the election was the so-called coordinated campaign, where candidates tap the state party for help, "has not been working, it has been too top down." This election cycle, he said, state officials are doing more listening to grassroots Democrats, and will aim to rebuild the party in each of the 99 county organizations.

Price has been state chairman since July, after replacing Derek Eadon, who was elected in January 2017 but was forced to step aside due to health reasons.

Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal