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USS Sioux City support

Beef Products Inc. President Eldon Roth announced the Dakota Dunes, South Dakota-based company will donate $100,000 to the USS Sioux City Commissioning Committee.

“I have always been and remain deeply appreciative of the men and women in uniform who take an oath to defend freedom around the world. Let this contribution signify how grateful my family, as well as our company, are to those courageous service members who sacrifice so much to protect American values and our way of life across the globe," Roth said.

A littoral combat ship, the Sioux City is undergoing tests on Lake Michigan near the shipyard at Marinette, Wisconsin, where the vessel was built, christened and launched. The commissioning, planned for sometime in 2018 on a date to be decided, will take place in Annapolis, Maryland. Mayport, Florida, will be the Sioux City's eventual home port.

The Commissioning Committee, chaired by retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Thorp and co-chaired by Chris McGowan, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce executive director, hopes to raise between $800,000 and $1 million to pay for the weeklong commissioning event and establish an endowment to pay for education opportunities for crew members and their families for the 30-year life of the vessel. Planners hope to generate between $250,000 and $350,000 of the goal for the national fund-raiser locally.

New surgical center planned

Tri-State Specialists plans to open the $37 million Riverview Surgical Center next to Delta Hotels by Marriott in South Sioux City, Nebraska, in the fall of 2018, The Journal reported on Sunday.

Patients who need post-surgery care will have the option to recover in one of nine Riverview patient suites; some patients will have the additional option to stay in the adjacent Delta Hotels by Marriott with family under nurse and doctor supervision.

"We are very pleased and willing to work with the surgical center on providing guest rooms and food and beverage services for the patients," said John Gleeson, the hotel owner.

Wind farm planned

Pre-construction activities have begun on a $430 million wind farm, Rattlesnake Creek, across 32,000 acres of land between the Northeast Nebraska communities of Allen, Emerson and Wakefield.

Full construction of the Enel Green Power North America Inc. (of Andover, Massachusetts) project should begin in spring 2018.

The project will create 300 construction jobs and between 12 and 16 permanent jobs and produce an estimated $80 million in property tax and landowner payments in its first 20 years of existence, The Journal reported on Thursday.

When finished, the wind farm will be the second largest in Nebraska.

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Hmmm ...

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One during his just-completed, multi-country trip to Asia, President Trump said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is sincere in denials he meddled in the 2016 U.S. election for president.

He called former leaders in the U.S. intelligence community who concluded Russia did interfere in the election "political hacks."

A 70 percent raise?

A South Dakota legislative panel on Monday advanced a measure through which voters would be asked to give state lawmakers a significant pay raise, The Associated Press reported.

The Legislature's Executive Board approved a plan to link pay for legislators to the state's median income. The proposal would ask voters to amend the state Constitution to make this change, which would set pay at one-fifth of the median income.

Today, state legislators are paid $6,000 per session, plus a per-diem allowance.

Using 2015 Census numbers, the proposed change would represent a raise of 70 percent for the state's 105 lawmakers to nearly $10,200, according to the AP story.

We don't begrudge lawmakers in South Dakota a raise (their salaries haven't been increased since 1998), but 70 percent?

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