PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Game, Fish and Parks Department is moving forward with replacement of the spillway at Lake Alvin recreation area southeast of Sioux Falls.

Its beach area and proximity make the man-made lake along Nine Mile Creek east of Harrisburg a popular spot for swimming and fishing.

Adam Kulesa, GFP’s administrator for park planning and development, outlined what’s coming during a presentation last week to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission.

The first phase is to remove trees in the next few months so that excavation can proceed on the spillway, which was damaged in 2019. The second phase is replacement of the spillway. That part will go to bid in December.

Kulesa said the timetable calls for the new spillway to be in place by spring 2025. “That would give the contractor basically an entire summer and fall to get the vast majority of that stuff done,” he said.

He noted there’s money in the Parks Division budget for beach improvements there, too.

LEGAL CHANGES: After a busy summer that included denials of two carbon-dioxide pipeline permits, the state Public Utilities Commission has made a variety of moves regarding its lineup of lawyers.

Adam de Hueck recently resigned his $112,805.04 position as a commission attorney, while Kristen Edwards recently moved from her staff attorney position to a commission attorney paying $130,968.21, where she succeeds Karen Cremer, who retired. Meanwhile, Logan Schaefbauer was hired as a staff attorney at $100,000, and he’ll work with staff attorney Amanda Reiss, who receives $112,947.70.

The commission is searching for another attorney, according to spokeswoman Leah Mohr.

Meanwhile, Ann Mines Bailey has moved from the civil litigation side of the state Office of Attorney General to a new $120,000 post with the Unified Judicial System, where she will be a staff attorney and serve as chief for the South Dakota Bar examinations.

“Her primary functions will be to provide extensive legal research, analysis and advice to the Supreme Court on matters arising before them and manage the bar exam process,” UJS spokesman Alisa Bousa said.

Bailey, whose specialties included water-rights law, recently thanked members of the state Water Management Board for their essentially volunteer service. She had served as a long-time legal counsel for the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, whose responsibilities include water matters.

HONORING A PAST LEADER: The state Board of Regents last week adopted a resolution recognizing the service of a past member. John Bastian of Belle Fourche was appointed to the board in 2014 by then-Governor Dennis Daugaard to fill the vacancy left by the death of Randy Morris.

Bastian served the remainder of that term and was reappointed to a new six-year term in 2016. Governor Kristi Noem announced in June she had appointed Randy Rasmussen of Vermillion as Bastian’s successor.

During his time as a regent, Bastian was chosen as the board’s vice president in 2018-2019 and served as the board’s president from 2020 through 2022.

At the meeting last week the current president, Tim Rave of Baltic, described Bastian as “an anchor and a guiding force to this board for many years” who had grounded Rave in the law and said the retired judge was the first to call Rave upon his appointment to the board in 2021.

Regent Pam Roberts of Pierre praised a special strength of Bastian. “He was always the one who read every sentence of everything,” she said, noting that a new regent, Judy Dittman of Madison, has shown the same trait too. Said Rave: “Every good board has to have one.” 

Although his successor began duties four months ago, the career summary for Bastian remains on the regents page of the state Boards and Commissions web site. It says: “John W. Bastian, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from South Dakota State University and a J.D. degree from Hamline University School of Law. He was a circuit court judge for the Fourth Judicial Circuit for 20 years and retired in 2013. Prior to that service, he spent 10 years in the attorney general’s office as an appellate attorney and prosecutor. Bastian is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. He serves part-time with the South Dakota Unified Judicial System and is assigned to preside over cases in the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Judicial Circuits. Appointed by Governor Daugaard in 2014, his second term will expire in 2022.”

NAMES AND PLACES: The governor has made several new appointments to state boards and commission.

Gary Drewes of Rapid City to the Board of Water and Natural Resources, succeeding Karl Adam.

Cody Seehafer of Watertown to the Council on Aging, succeeding Jean Person.

Pat Wiederhold of Hill City to the Health and Educational Facilities Authority, succeeding Norman Sebade.

Jeff Kjenstad of Brookings and Michael Plank of Rapid City to the Workers’ Compensation Council, succeeding Guy Bender and Randy Stainbrook.

Recent reappointments include:

Jacqueline Lanning of Brookings to the Board of Water and Natural Resources.

James Carpenter of Pierre and Dawn Morris of Pierre to the Civil Service Commission.

Valerie Husby of Brandon to the Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Amy Leon of Yankton to the 911 Coordination Council.

David Landry of Sioux Falls and Jerry Oster of Yankton to the Educational Telecommunications Board.

Terry Sabers of Mitchell to the Technical Education Board.

Charles Kludt of Viborg to the Public Safety Communications Council.

Have a news item or story tip about South Dakota state government and politics? You can reach KELOLAND News reporter Bob Mercer in the Pierre bureau at bmercer@keloland.com or by calling 605-280-7580 or through a direct-message on X (formerly Twitter) to @pierremercer.