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Thursday, April 24, 2014

SURVEY: Dakotas Among Highest, Lowest in Home Down Payments

Lendingtree graphic

By Todd Epp
Northern Plains News

The Dakotas have among the highest--and lowest—home loan down payment percentages in the nation.

Lendingtree looked at what homebuyers put down on homes across the United States.

North Dakotans place the smallest percentage down on a home at 12.31 percent. South Dakotans place the seventh highest percentage down at 16.64 percent. The national average is 15.78 percent down.

Down payment rates for other Northern Planes states: Montana, ninth highest percentage down at 15.99 percent; Nebraska, second lowest percentage down, 12.51 percent; Iowa seventh lowest percentage down, 12.98 percent; Minnesota, 20th lowest down payment, 14.47 percent; and Wyoming, 18th lowest down payment, 14.4 percent.


New Jersey residents put the highest percentage down on a house in the U.S. at 19.36 percent.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.

Project AWARE Celebrates 12th Annivesary with Big Sioux River Cleanup


By Northern Plains News

SIOUX FALLS – Volunteers will have an opportunity this summer to work as aquatic garbage collectors – cleaning up, learning about and exploring 90 miles of the Big Sioux River between Sioux Falls and Westfield, Iowa, from July 12 to 19.

Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition, is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ annual volunteer river cleanup event. In addition to muscling trash out of the river, participants learn about watersheds, water quality, recycling and other natural resource topics.

This year’s expedition marks AWARE’s twelfth year. This  year the Iowa DNR and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department will team up on the Big Sioux River, which borders both states.

Volunteers participate by paddling down the river in canoes and cleaning up river trash along the way. Opportunities for land-based volunteers are also available. While the expedition lasts a week, volunteers may stay and help for as little or as long as they like.

In the past 11 years, more than 2,800 AWARE volunteers have cleaned up more than 877 river miles, removing 277 tons of trash (72 percent of which has been recycled) from rivers across Iowa.


For more information visit www.iowaprojectaware.com.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.

CORY ALLEN HEIDELBERGER: Rounds, Benda, Bollen, TransCanada and the EB-5 Money Machine

Columnist Cory Allen Heidelberger
By Cory Allen Heidelberger

I had a long drive, with plenty of time to think about Joop Bollen, Richard Benda, and their scheme to get rich funneling EB-5 money to TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. But it only took me about ten minutes out of the driveway to realize that the EB-5/KXL overreach was an outright violation of Bollen's contract with the state and the whole purpose of the state economic development office.

Recall the terms of Bollen's contract with the Governor's Office of Economic Development (the contract inked while Benda was GOED/DTSD chief, the contract that took Bollen's EB-5 operations private as SDRC, Inc., and out from under more strict state scrutiny):

A.    DTSD is an agency and instrumentality of the State of South Dakota empowered and directed to promote economic development in South Dakota and to enter into public-private partnerships for the purpose of promoting economic development in South Dakota.

...D. DTSD desires to contract with SDRC for the purpose of having SDRC administer the Regional Center and the EB5 Program and to market the EB5 Program for the benefit of South Dakota, all in conformity with applicable statutes and regulations [Department of Tourism and State Development, contract with SDRC, Inc., 2009.12.22].

Bollen and Benda sought to expand SDRC beyond South Dakota's borders in order to solicit EB-5 funds for stretches of the Keystone XL pipeline and pumping stations in Montana and Nebraska. The state contract allowed Bollen to work on EB-5 "within the Regional Center's territory," but the above text, GOED's mission statement, state law and common sense make clear that South Dakota's state economic development authority is supposed to promote economic development in South Dakota. Let's look at the statute establishing GOED's purpose:

The Governor's Office of Economic Development shall forge a private-public partnership among state government, local communities, higher education, and the private sector to create jobs that create goods and services for use within the state and for export outside the state, which results in the creation of new wealth [SDCL 1-53-3].

Funding Bollen and Benda's EB-5 promotion to lay pipe in Montana and Nebraska would not "create jobs that create goods and services for use within" South Dakota.

Remember also the basic tenet of government promotion of economic development: we spend tax dollars to make things happen that wouldn't happen without government help. TransCanada has said it needs no government assistance to build Keystone XL. TransCanada is an oil company. They are stinking rich. They've planned to fund the pipeline out of cash flow. And they've planned to build Keystone XL through South Dakota all along.

TransCanada didn't need any government incentive or crutch to choose a pipeline route through South Dakota. Bollen and Benda's desire to divert EB-5 money to TransCanada would not have created a single job or cranked out a single dollar of tax revenue that TransCanada didn't already plan to plow into South Dakota.


The only unique benefit of connecting EB-5 investment with Keystone XL would have been more money in the pockets of Joop Bollen, Richard Benda and their friends in the EB-5 money machine.
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.

CAP HISTORY: April 25, 2009- April 25, 2009: CAP Searches for Missing Sailplane in Sierra Nevadas

On April 25, 2009, Civil Air Patrol members from California and Nevada were called out to assist in the search of a missing pilot and passenger in the Sierra Nevadas.

An excerpt from a release from Nellis AFB:

5/6/2009 - MERCED, Calif. (AFNS) -- An HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue crew from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., found the wreckage an overdue aircraft in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range May 1.

The missing aircraft was the subject of the large-scale search by state officials and Civil Air Patrol members, but there were no survivors from the wreckage.

The family of the incident has been notified. 


Four helicopters and 24 Airmen from the 58th and 66th Rescue squadrons deployed to assist in the search for a pilot and passenger who were aboard a motorized sailplane that disappeared from radar April 24 nearMammoth Lakes, Calif.


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PHOTO: Ellsworth AFB Children Learn about What Their USAF Parents Do



Senior Airman Jared Phillips, 28th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, introduces his partner Rex to children of Airmen during a Month of the Military Child celebration event held in the Youth Center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 12, 2014. The event provided an opportunity for Airmen from a variety of career fields to interact with to military children and explain the importance of their parent’s work in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachary Hada/Released)
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Copyright 2013-14 Northern Plains News, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Columnists and other content providers syndicated on NPN retain all rights to their works. Views expressed in opinion pieces and columns are those of their authors or content providers and may not represent the views of Northern Plains News, LLC, its contributors or its subscribers.