Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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State & National News

STATE:

Historical Society Annual History Conference April 26-27 in Pierre

PIERRE, SD – “New Insights into Old Stories” is the theme for the 2019 annual history conference of the South Dakota State Historical Society, to be held April 26-27 at the Ramkota RiverCentre in Pierre.

“The ways we discover, use and share South Dakota’s history are continually changing,” said Chelle (SHEL-ee) Somsen, director of the State Historical Society-Archives, whose office is organizing the conference program. “The conference in Pierre will showcase innovative historical research projects from across the state. Attendees will hear how modern tools, techniques and resources transform our understanding of South Dakota’s history.”The conference will include pre-conference tours and a workshop on moving images Friday morning. The conference program opens Friday afternoon with a keynote presentation by Deborah Thomas, manager for the National Digital Newspaper Program at the Library of Congress.

Additional sessions will include a showing of the “Governors’ Centennial Salute” film from 1961, a middle-school educator and students highlighting their South Dakota History Day projects, a presenter on the Harvey Dunn x-ray project, two professors from Dakota State University presenting on digital humanities, two presenters on using remote sensing data, a presentation on the South Dakota Public Broadcasting “Images of the Past,” a panel of project staff who are working on digitization projects across the state, and a family historian who will talk about how performing family genealogy has changed over the years.

The Governors Awards for History and the State Historical Society trustee election dinner will be held Friday evening.

Teachers can obtain one certificate renewal credit for attending. More detailed session information and registration information is available at history.sd.gov/aboutus/HistoryConference/ or by contacting the State Historical Society at 605-773-6000.

For more information, contact the State Historical Society-Archives at 605-773-3804 or visit history.sd.gov. 

About the South Dakota State Historical Society

The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.

NATIONAL:

Vacancies and Acting leaders mount in Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson resigned her position and leaves her office this week, and Director of the U.S. Secret Service Randolph Alles has announced that he too will be leaving his position.

According to an NBC report, Kevin McAleenan was named acting secretary of homeland security to replace Nielsen, Patrick Shanahan has been acting defense secretary since Jan. 1, David Bernhardt has been acting interior secretary since Jan. 2, though he has been nominated to become the permanent interior secretary.

Many critics have expressed concerns about the number of people in acting roles within the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Federal Vacancies Act of 1998, the standard acting time someone can serve in an acting status is 210 days.

The Vacancies Act determines who can serve in temporary positions, how long that person can serve, and how the agency does or does not get work done after that 210 day time period.

Vacancies in educational institutions, business and other institutions often means that workers are overburdened with their own job and the job of the vacancy, or that the best or most willing candidate takes the position until the ideal candidate is found or until the time allotted for the filled vacancy is exceeded.

The concern that top positions of the nation’s national security department put the nation at a greater risk.

“We don’t have established leaders in really important places in our government,” says Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership for Public Service in an NPR report by Brian Naylor.

Stier compared the acting positions to substitute teachers, “They might be amazing educators or amazing leaders in their own right,” Stier says, “but they’re not set out for success. They’re not going to be perceived as having complete and full authority by those that are around them.”

“These are jobs that are fundamental to keeping us all safe,” Steir said.