Ruth A. Moller|The Miller Press

Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

ACCOMMODATING WEATHER has helped construction workers at the new elementary school get ahead of the game before winter really sets in. When the building is enclosed, workers can continue the project throughout the winter.


Rural development program encourages input from residents

Interested residents from six counties recently met to learn more about a yearlong training program designed to assist rural regional teams in developing new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities.

Hand, Beadle, Clark, Spink, Jerauld and Kingsbury counties have partnered to become the James River Valley Regional Team, one of only two regions in South Dakota selected to participate in the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program.

Administered by USDA-Rural Development and South Dakota State University Extension, the SET program is an opportunity for current or newly-formed rural, multi-county teams to receive the latest tools, training and technical assistance to help their region move forward and take advantage of positive growth and quality of life opportunities.

During the year-long program, the selected regions will receive: 1) Valuable intensive strategic planning training for their regional team; 2) database tools designed to examine the critical drivers for their region and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages; 3) technical assistance and regional support; and 4) other educational and information sharing opportunities with more than 40 other SET regions around the country.

Elsie M. Meeks, state director for South Dakota USDA-Rural Development, commented, “The SET program is a unique opportunity for participants to learn how to determine what economic opportunities exist in the region, and then develop a practical plan to capitalize on their potential.”
She added, “In addition, the SET program encourages involvement from all regional residents as their diverse personal and professional experiences can add valuable perspective to an economic development plan.”

According to LaDonna Wharton, director of On-Hand Development Corporation, residents from all walks of life, of all ages, in whatever employment capacity, who are interested in knowing more about the SET program and upcoming training sessions in the James River Valley Region, should contact her. Call her at 853-3098, or e-mail