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    First Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years Begins Operation

    The United States first “new” nuclear power plant, the Watts Bar 2 reactor, has become operational in Tennessee. This Tennessee Valley Authority, (TVA) 1,150-megawatt reactor is online and producing electricity for 650,000 homes and businesses. The Watts Bar 2 is the 100th nuclear reactor to operate in the United States and the first new reactor to open in 20 years.

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    Colorado Fracking, Faulty Wells and Water Contamination

    Neela Banerjee of Inside Climate News wrote an article on how a study of fracking does not necessary contaminate drinking water wells. The research finding shows that methane contamination of water wells in Colorado is due to faulty oil and gas well construction rather than hydraulic fracturing. The study of aquifer contamination within Colorado was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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    Water Conservation and Efficiency During Times of Drought

    As drought conditions continue to expand across the state this year, more thought is given towards South Dakota’s limited water resources. We live in a state where weather conditions and rain patterns seem to comfortably exist at the extremes; we either have way too much or nearly not enough. While this isn’t always the case, it is important to keep in mind that our water resources are finite and all of us should be thinking about doing what we can to protect them.

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    Drought

    As South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and communities deal with the challenges brought on by drought conditions impacting more than half the state, SDSU Extension is connecting individuals with resources and research-based information.

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    Wind Boom in Western North Dakota

    During the past 10 years there have been more than 400 wind turbines placed on the Western side of North Dakota and there are an additional 550 proposed to be constructed by 2018. North Dakota’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved every wind farm in the state and there will be more wind farms to approve in the future because the states wind capacity is the best in the Country.

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    Milestone Reached: 1 Million Electric Vehicles in the World

    Reaching 1 million electric vehicles worldwide is a milestone, albeit, a small one compared with the goal that is set for 2050. The International Energy Agency (IEA) did some number crunching and realized the 1 million electric vehicle mark was reached in late 2015. This is small compared to the goal of having over 1 billion electric vehicles by 2050.

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    Going With Green Energy; The U.S. Economy would Gain Two Million Jobs

    A recent study sponsored by a nonprofit that advocates clean energy, reports that retooling the U.S. Energy industry to reduce the reliance on carbon-based fuels may result in a gain of 2 million jobs by 2050. The Virginia based consulting firm ICF International’s study shows that large-scale shifts to renewable sources for generating electricity would increase U.S. employment by 1 million jobs by 2030 and 2 million by 2050.

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    Being Present

    How can you tell if someone is listening to you? I mean truly paying attention and comprehending the words you are saying. Being present has become a profound topic because we seem to come up with more distractions all the time. We can easily blame our distractions on our electronic devices, our workload, and the appointment we need to keep tomorrow. While we value connection, we often fail in connecting with the people who matter the most.

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    What Keeps Steering Committee Members Coming to Meetings?

    There are a couple of regional projects developing that I am lucky to be a part of because great people keep coming back together to work towards a common goal. What encourages them continue to make these projects, and the necessary meetings that go along with them, a priority? According to Abigail Stevenson, Collective Impact Forum, some “f-words” could be the deciding factor in keeping steering committee members coming back.

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    The Real Trends to Follow in 2016

    Every year experts make predictions about the new trends to watch in the future. This year is no exception, but I came across an interesting article by James Manyika, Director of McKinsey Global Institute that really hit some trends that I think are worth noting. Manyika cites four powerful forces disrupting the global economy and throwing many of our old assumptions into question. Each one is big on its own, but they are happening together and amplifying each other.

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    Does Your Organization Have an Innovative Mindset?

    Every organization, large or small, has a culture. Sometimes that culture is intentional and strategic, and sometimes it happens through a reputation that is built organically. Some organizations post their mission statements visibly and others would have a hard time finding theirs’. Other subtleties make culture evident when meetings are allowed to consistently start late, or in the way new Board members are selected.

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    Face-to-Face Interaction Grows Your Network

    The balance between face-to-face interactions and other fast, easy ways to communicate with many people at the same time is in question. Today’s technology offers options never before possible like mass email messages, Facebook alerts, Twitter feeds and even meetings over personal computers. How do you measure the impact of fast and easy versus the importance of in-person contact?

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    Motivating Your Team

    Two years ago we heard a speaker at the SDSU Extension Fall Conference who spoke about Emotional Intelligence. That is a real interest of mine, especially as it relates to leadership styles. Daniel Goleman, author of the book, “Emotional Intelligence,” (EI) points out many ways that good leaders can work on relating more positively to the people they lead by staying connected to them.

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    Board Development: Elected & appointed services

    SDSU Extension can provide what is called situational leadership program design. The Community Development Team will analyze the situation that the board is in and determine what training might be appropriate. The program can be tailored to meet your specific board development needs. The Board Development Program can be delivered in blocks of 4 hours of training. The content varies depending on the analysis of the individual board.

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    Sustainable Local Foods

    SDSU Extension programming in sustainable local food systems is a multidisciplinary programming area involving Community Development, Food Safety, Horticulture, Livestock and Nutrition. Extension Community Development focuses on increasing access to food by helping local teams develop or enhance their community food projects. We work to provide development opportunities for local food entrepreneurs through trainings and personal coaching. Additionally, we partner on state-wide efforts to enhance the local food system of South Dakota.

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    Small Business Beginnings

    Small business is a vital part of South Dakota’s economy, representing nearly 97% of all employers and more than 60% of the state’s private sector workforce. SDSU Extension has developed a series of tools designed to provide technical assistance to early stage entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing small firms. These tools assist business owners in determining the feasibility of a proposed business venture and creating a solid business plan to support it.

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    Stronger Economies Together

    Stronger Economies Together (SET) is a partnership between USDA Rural Development, the Southern Rural Development Center and SDSU Extension. The program has been used in 25+ states and has a proven track record. Stronger Economies Together (SET) enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multicounty region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region.

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    Great Community Book Read

    The Great Community Book Read is offered to encourage citizens to learn about and discuss  community-wide issues that are impacting the sustainability of South Dakota’s small towns. Each participating community will be challenged to identify and implement simple action steps to address the issues that are selected. SDSU Extension Community Development will provide community coaching during the implementation of the action steps.

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    SDSU Extension Community Development Team Bits & Pieces

    SDSU Extension uses the Appreciative Inquiry approach as we assist organizations and communities with strategic planning. Our 1-day session, recently used by the Yankton Chamber of Commerce, allows groups to find their strengths, and then to build on those strengths for future growth. As participants reflect on what has gone well in the past, they can vision about possibilities for the next 1-3 years that eventually turn into action ideas for the future.

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    South Dakota Road Trip – Headed East: Part II

    Taking the less-traveled roads in South Dakota may very well mean great incentives for the traveler – such as a slower pace and the opportunity to discover treasures that others may simply pass by. If you read my previous article, I hope I convinced you to take a quick trip yet this fall to visit some of our communities and locations that offer opportunities to enjoy nature and explore.

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    South Dakota Road Trip – Headed East:  Part I

    “Look for chances to take the less-traveled roads. There are no wrong turns.” This is a quote from Susan Magsamen, author of The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers. A few weeks ago, my parents and I decided to take this advice and instead of leaving South Dakota for a little vacation as we usually do, we decided to visit places on the very eastern side of South Dakota that we have never seen before. After all, South Dakota’s number 2 industry is tourism and we couldn’t think of a reason we couldn’t be tourists in our own back yard.

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    Stronger Economies Together Making a Difference in Western South Dakota

    Recently South Dakota USDA Rural Development and SDSU Extension announced that a northwest South Dakota Region was selected as a Stronger Economies Together (SET) region. The northwest South Dakota Region consisting of Perkins, Corson, and northern Meade counties will now participate in a focused initiative to develop and implement an economic development plan for the region that builds on the economic strengths of the region. Twenty-two regions representing 13 states will participate in SET during 2015. This is the third year that regions in South Dakota are participating in SET.

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    Using Community Savings Accounts to Change the Future of Your Community

    Think about your hometown… perhaps the place you grew up and helped shape the person you are. As a community member, you may have volunteered on committees and given of your time and your talents to make your community better. But think about your financial resources. Does your community have a way for you to contribute financially in a way that allows your gift to continue to give, even after you are gone? A Community Savings Account can be one way that you can share your financial resources, large or small, to make your community better.

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    Conference Promotes Business in South Dakota

    Each year the Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosts a conference aimed at promoting and growing business in South Dakota. This year’s conference was held in Sioux Falls in mid-April, and featured a keynote speaker on customer service, common-sense breakout sessions for communities of all sizes, and awards given to individuals and a community for their efforts in economic development.

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    Selling Doesn’t End at the Purchase

    What is the difference between making a sale and building a business? Making a sale is just that. You exchange money for the purchase of a good or a service. Building a business is what you do to encourage that customer to return to make future purchases. There are businesses that do a good job of what you may call “catch and release”. The customer is there, makes a purchase, and then leaves – maybe to never return again.

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