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.
As protestors stop construction on the Dakota Access pipeline three other pipelines were given permits by North Dakota State regulators on August 17, 2016. One of these newly approved pipeline projects would provide some of the Bakken crude expected to travel through the Dakota Access pipeline.
Baker Hughes Inc. an oilfield services company reports the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. during the month of August was up by 10 to 491. One year ago with oil prices depressed there were only 885 rigs that were active. The U.S. rig count peaked in 1981 at 4,530 and bottomed at 404 in May of 2016.
David Z. Morris of Fortune wrote an article about transportation of oil via pipelines. This article features a summary of his article; Pipelines: The Worst Way to Move Oil, Except for All the Rest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Richard Leider, a founding partner of the Inventure Group, wrote in Forbes magazines, “People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.” In our world where internet openness provides a format for making quick, and sometimes regrettable comments, and where email and text communication is used too frequently in place of a personal conversation, how important are people skills in leaders?
The New Year brings new hope for people. If you are a leader, manager, supervisor, team coordinator, parent or spouse, you have an obligation to keep hope alive in those looking up to you.
For those of you who manage employees or work with family members, the issue of conflict can be especially challenging. Learning how to express your suggestions and give critical feedback can mean the difference between maintaining a solid relationship and losing a valuable person on your team.
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.
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.
For many years, experts have noted that if communities and organizations want to be effective at tackling complex problems, they need to be intentional about continuing to learn. Continually being open to learning new things keeps one nimble, flexible, and responsive in timely and meaningful ways.
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.
Great leaders make tough decisions and do whatever it takes to get results – right? According to author and BlackBird, Inc owner Jeff Haden, that is probably backwards. Instead, he has seen the power of vulnerability as a key trait for respected leaders.
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.
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?
SDSU Extension can provide what is called situational leadership program design. The Community Vitality 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.
SDSU Extension programming in sustainable local food systems is a multidisciplinary programming area involving Community Vitality, Food Safety, Horticulture, Livestock and Nutrition. Extension Community Vitality 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.
Marketing Hometown America empowers communities to create a vision to grow. Designed as a tool to create dialogue that moves toward action, it can be the spark to help a rural community look at itself in a new way.
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.
Growing Leaders SD is a one day leadership development workshop that focuses on building your individual leadership and learning how to apply those skills in group settings.
SDSU Extension Community Vitality offers individuals and communities a variety of opportunities to build and strengthen their leadership skills. We can work with any type of group, and will come right to your area. Topics we cover might include: organization, communication, understanding group dynamics, identifying assets, making meeting work, empowering others and problem solving.
Horizons IV offers rural South Dakota communities a chance to take action in building a strong leadership base to address difficult issues such as poverty, economic decline and youth leaving the area. The program is available for communities with less than 10,000 people. It is designed for communities ready to commit to gathering citizens and working toward positive change.
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.
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 Vitality will provide community coaching during the implementation of the action steps.
Like many small rural areas, Campbell County Economic Development Corp. faces challenges and they have succeeded in overcoming these challenges to attain several wins with economic development within their rural communities. I had an opportunity to speak with Andrew Van Kuren, coordinator for Campbell County Economic Development Corp. and below you will read his responses to the questions I asked.
Spread the Tunes, Inc. started in 2015, by several friends that live in or around Spearfish. The nonprofit spearheads the Canyon Acoustic Series that has raised over $8200 the past two years (2015 & 2016) for the Booth Society, the nonprofit group that supports the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.
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.
The 16h Annual Dakota Five–0 was held on Sunday September 4, 2016 which happened to be my third year of volunteering at one of the aid stations. It was also my first year of being able to get to the “Bacon Station” an aid station, to watch, assist and take in the action as the riders came, drank, ate bacon, rested and left.
Corn twists in the dry cracked ground. Dugouts dry up. Grass turns brown in pastures. But what happens to communities in droughts? Research had been conducted seeking the answer to this question.
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.
“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.
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.
Workforce development still is one of the dominate issues in economic development in South Dakota. There are “Hundreds of Jobs” in Mitchell, SD is a message proclaimed on a billboard along Interstate 90. Mitchell, SD and other places, have more jobs than they have qualified people to fill them.
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.
You might think a Job Fair is an event for larger communities or college towns. The Badlands Bad River Region in South Dakota set out to prove that concept wrong.
Aspiring and current business owners in the Wagner and Lake Andes area recently participated in Small Business Beginnings, a series of five business classes offered by SDSU Extension Community Vitality an organized by Wagner Area Growth. During these classes, participants planned for success in business by having the opportunity to write or update their business plans, participate in “board” meetings, and learn from a variety of speakers that covered everything from business structure to taxes and licensing to financial statements and finance options.
Each year Black Hills Economic Development names a Small Business of the Year. This year’s award was earned by 4th Avenue Floral of Wall, S.D. Owner, Cindy Hauk and her husband Dan, grew up in the region and are proud to support their area with a business that brightens people’s days.
For a business that started out over 50 years ago as a junk yard, Scotchman Industries has come a long way to become an employer of eighty people in the small Western South Dakota town of Philip. With sales in the metal industry now in 38-40 different countries, you might wonder why the company chooses to base its headquarters in such a rural area.
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.
The Kauffman Foundation releases a Startup Activity Index every year. Their 2015 release shows ascending activity for the first time since 2010. The 2015 rise represents the largest year-over-year increase in the past two decades, giving new hope to the revival of entrepreneurship.
Are you one of those people who clocks more than 55 hours per week on the job? If so, you may be interested in knowing that a new study from Stanford shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours. In fact, productivity drops off so much after 55 hours, there is no point in working any more.
TED Talks have some really interesting topics by well-educated people. I just finished watching Ernesto Sirolli, a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development, talk about the best ways to help entrepreneurs.
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.
Yes, I call it “must-do” marketing – because if you have a business, marketing is something you must do every day. If you have a business, you must brag. I heard one time that you can have a so-so product or service and thrive with fabulous marketing, or you can have an exceptional product of service and go broke because you have no marketing.