By Bob Mercer 6/27/17 at 4:40 p.m.
PIERRE — State government's Aeronautics Commission approved financial help Tuesday for nine public airports, including projects in Winner, Parkston and Gregory.
The panel also gave a green light to South Dakota's first seaplane base.
It will be on Lake Cochrane, south of Gary and east of Castlewood, off SD Highway 22 near the Minnesota border.
The commission delayed the seaplane decision at its May 23 meeting to consult with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department.
GFP operates a recreation area at Lake Cochrane.
Katie Ceroll, director for GFP's Division of Parks and Recreation, sent a letter June 19 supporting the seaplane base.
Commission members also asked at the May meeting why James Ekholm filed the application for the seaplane base.
On the application Ekholm listed himself as past president for the Lake Cochrane Improvement Association. However, no one from Lake Cochrane took part in the May meeting.
That oversight didn't happen again Tuesday.
The improvement association's current co-presidents, Ron Ruud and Dean Maeyaert, joined the commission meeting by telephone.
They also sent a letter May 24 explaining the association's rules required Ekholm to continue on the board for one year after his term as president ended.
"I believe your questions were answered," Jack Dokken told the commission members Tuesday. He is administrator for the state office of air, rail and transit.
The commission's chairman, Eric Odenbach of Eureka, thanked the Lake Cochrane men for telephoning into the meeting. "We appreciate your participation," Odenbach said.