Local News

Watertown man accused of murder has trial changed

(KWAT - Watertown, SD) A new trial date has been set for a Watertown man charged with Second Degree Murder.


Forty one year-old Jeremiah Peacemaker is accused of killing 28 year-old Kendra Owen at her Watertown residence last year.


Owen's body was found the night of September 2nd after Watertown police were called there to conduct a welfare check.


It appeared she had been dead for several days by the time her body was discovered. There were numerous signs of trauma on her body.


Peacemaker was arrested the morning after Owen's body was found.


He has pleaded not guilty. A jury trial had been scheduled to begin on January 28th, but during a status hearing Wednesday, his trial date was moved to October 18th.


He's being held in the Codington County Detention Center on one million dollars cash-only bond. 

Legislative leadership recaps first full week in Pierre

The first full week of the legislative session wrapped up in Pierre Thursday.  Bills have been assigned to committees and those committees have begun holding hearings on such matters. 


Leadership from both Democrats and Republicans spoke to the media Thursday with a recap of events.  For the Democrats it speaking were Representatives Jamie Smith of District 15 and senator Reynold Nesiba also of District 15. 


Smith would say issues important to Democrats are being highlighted by the current agenda including cannabis regulations, community service providers support and education. 


Specifically with education, the governor is seeking $50 million to create the state’s first needs based scholarship for secondary education.  According to Nesiba it’s a good start but not enough…





Republican leadership also spoke about a host of issues after the first week.  One big one is regulating marijuana as voters legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in November.  Many are worried the legislature will not listen to the will of the voters as lawmakers have tried to roll back items approved by the voters in the recent past.  That includes the successful repeal of IM22 and the failed attempt to roll back minimum wage increases.


According to Republican house majority whip Michael Diedrich of District 34 it’s the job of the legislature to see the will of the voters carried out…




Lawmakers will return to Pierre next week to continue their work.   

Gov. Noem introduces legislation to help fund new livestock complex on state fair grounds

Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will introduce two pieces of legislation.


Governor Noem is introducing legislation that will authorize the Department of Agriculture – and future Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) – to contract for construction of the Dakota Events CompleX (DEX).


“In South Dakota, we see challenges as an opportunity to grow, to build for the future,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The new DEX will be a state-of-the-art facility which will attract regional and national events to Huron. I’m excited for DANR to get to work on this project and to complete the DEX by the 2022 State Fair.”


Additionally, Governor Noem is introducing legislation to protect charitable organizations from having their donor information doxed.


“South Dakotans should be free to give to charity without having their personal information released against their will,” continued Governor Noem. “I am committed to fighting for the privacy rights of all South Dakotans, especially those who generously give of their own treasures to support charitable organizations.”

State organizations respond to Keystone XL Pipeline cancelation

On day one of his presidency, President Joe Biden signed a host of executive orders to roll back much of his predecessor's, former President Donald Trump, legacy.


In those executive orders included the canceling of the Keyston XL Pipeline permit.  Construction of the pipeline had begun in 2020 in parts of South Dakota.  


Ian Fury, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's spokesperson, released the following statement from the Governor's office:

"It's unfortunate that President Biden is not standing up for American jobs and energy independence."


The ACLU of South Dakota also released a statement on the project's cancelation:


“We recognize that Indigenous people have been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice and protection. Tribal nations and communities are battling every day for the protection of their homelands and survival of ecosystems and ways of life. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline or a spill from the project would cause irreparable and devastating impact to local communities and ecosystems.


“That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota supported water protectors our Indigenous partners and their right to protest the pipeline. It’s why we challenged the “riot boosting act” in court in 2019 and opposed similar legislation in 2020 – both unnecessary efforts to legislative peaceful protest in South Dakota that were sparked by a desire to suppress protests around the Keystone XL pipeline. The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. Hearing that President Biden canceled the Keystone XL permit is welcome news.”

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon gives vaccine update

(DRG - Pierre, SD) South Dakotans who fall into the Phase 1 Group D category became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination this week.


Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says so far, the state has received about 11,000 doses of vaccine each week, so it’ll take a while to get through group 1D.






She says a variety of methods will be used to let the public know who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and when.






Some states have had storage issues causing some doses of the vaccine to spoil, but Malsam-Rysdon says that hasn’t happened yet in South Dakota.






Free saliva tests are available and Malsam-Rysdon encourages South Dakotans to order them using the website.






According to, nearly 48,500 South Dakotans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. Almost 10,000 people have completed the two shot series.

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Wednesday

 Beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 20th, water will be off in the following area to replace a curb stop: 11th avenue SE from South Arch Street to South State Street.  The Public Works Department Suggests that residents in the affected area collect and store water for personal and restroom u se.  Water is estimated to remain off for approximately an hour.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible. 

SB 44 filed which would legalize sports gambling in Deadwood

A bill which would make sports betting legal in South Dakota has been filed in the state legislature.  Voters approved a referendum on the subject during the 2020 November election with the passing of Amendment B.  SB 44 would allow Deadwood casinos to host sports wagering for a $2,000 annual fee.  Sports begging must take place inside a licensed casino within Deadwood and customers would only be allowed to wager on professional events. 

President-elect Biden to cancel Keystone XL Pipeline permit

One of the first things President-elect Biden may do once taking office will be to cancel a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This long controversial pipeline has been in the works since 2008 and would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta Canada down to the cost of Texas.  Preliminary construction of the pipeline began in South Dakota last fall, along with construction in Montana and Nebraska.  Native American groups along with environmental activists have long been opponents of the pipeline.  The Lakota People’s Law Project released a statement praising Biden’s decision, though the decision itself has not been finalized. 

SD Senators Thune and Rounds calls on America to move on from the 2020 election

South Dakota’s two senators Mike Rounds and John Thune have both spoken to in state media, calling on people to move on from the 2020 election and saying president-elect Joe Biden won fair and square. 


Senator Rounds tells Dakota News Now, 60 different court cases and President Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr have found no fraud on a scale that would change the outcome.  He also said Joe Biden is the legitimate president-elect of the United States. 


Senator Thune tells Keloland President Trump did a disservice to people across the country in making them believe the election was stolen.  President-elect Biden will begin his four year term tomorrow with his inauguration. 

Fire at Gary's Auto Body in east Aberdeen

A fire caused serious damage to Gary's Auto Body,  a vehicle service shop in east Aberdeen.  Much of the damage appeared to affect the garage with Aberdeen Fire and Rescue truck #1 using its ladder to help quell the flames.  According to the Pulse Point App, the fire started before 6 a.m.


SD National guard deployed to US Capital

Members of the South Dakota Airmen and National Guard have been called for potential deployment to Washington D.C.  The South Dakota Broadcasters Association confirmed the news, however the number of troops being deployed is not yet known.  Guard members from across the country are being called up to help protect the capital as the nation readies for the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden which will take place on January 20th.  The deployment comes just over a week after an angry mob of Trump supporters overran the capital in D.C. causing members of congress and vice president Mike Pence to shelter in place or be relocated to safety. 

DOT to reopen portions of I-29

The South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety say Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls to the Iowa border and Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls to the Minnesota border will reopen at 6:30 a.m. CST this morning (Friday).


Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls north to the North Dakota border will reopen at 7:30 a.m. CST. Interstate 90 remains closed into Minnesota at this time as well.


Officials advise motorists that driving conditions remain difficult throughout much of the state. Roadways, especially across the eastern part of the state, are ice covered, snow-packed and slippery.


Travelers today are asked to use extreme caution, take your time, reduce speed, avoid distractions, wear your seatbelt (all occupants), do not use cruise control, be prepared for changing conditions and allow extra space between you and the car in front of you. Be especially cautious around bridge ends and overpasses.


SDDOT snowplows crews are out working and motorists are reminded plows travel at 25 mph or less and to stay eight car lengths behind the plow to allow ample stopping time on icy roadways. Never pass in a snow cloud and remember, they are clearing the road in front of you.


Visit, download the app (SDDOT 511) or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. Sign up for My511SD for closure notifications by text message or email.


If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.

  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Travel during the day
  • Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
  • Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
  • Use highly traveled roads and highways
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
  • Call 511 or visit for road conditions
  • Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car.  The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
  • Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
  •  Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant

If you do get stranded:

  • Stay in your vehicle
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
  • When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
  • When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
  • Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers

SD DOH to allow more vaccinations starting Monday

The South Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday it will begin vaccinating prioritized population groups within its “Group 1D” classification of its vaccination plan this coming Monday.  Currently, frontline healthcare workers and long term care residents are priority when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  Due to more vaccine supply and revised regulations from the CDC, those eligible for vaccines will expand to persons 65 or older, high risk patients, persons with two or more under lying medical conditions, teachers and other school staff and funeral service workers. 

House votes to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time

The house of  Representatives voted Wednesday afternoon to impeach president Donald Trump for a record second time in a presidency.   The vote went 232 to 197 with 10 Republicans crossing over to vote yes. 


This was the most bipartisan impeachment of a President in history.  South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson voted no on impeachment.  In a statement he did say President Trump was partially responsible for what happened at the capital last Wednesday.


“Last Wednesday was a tragic event in our country’s history. Those who turned to violence must be held accountable for their actions, although political leaders deserve some blame, as well. That was true as violence rocked our cities last summer, and it is just as true now.


“But, a snap impeachment is the wrong approach. There is only one week remaining in the President’s term. It is an act sure to divide our country, and Democratic leaders are making a mistake pursuing it."


President Trump will leave office next week and Senate Majority  Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying he does not plan on reconvening the senate to take up the matter.  Therefore, Trump will finish out his term, but still could be removed even after leaving office.   

Northwestern to go online Thursday

Northwestern High School Superintendent Ryan Bruns annouced there will be no school in person Thursday.  All students will engage in online learning.  A reason for the decision was not given.  Northwestern is located in Mellette, SD.  The announcement also did not say if the school would be engaging in distancing learning longer than Thursday.  

Brown County fair board manager Derrick Ricci relieved of his duties

The Brown County Commission announced at the regular fair board meeting Wednesday night, it has relieved fair board manager Derek Ricci from his duties.  Commissioner Rachel Kippley went on to say the removal was due to personnel reasons.  Kippley went on to say the county will be hiring a new fair board manager.  Kippley also said she would no longer be serving as one of the fair board liaisons for the county commission and instead Commissioner Dennis Feickert would be taking her place. 

Search continues for missing Day county woman

(KWAT - Watertown, SD) Its been nearly three weeks since a rural Day County woman disappeared, and there's still no sign of her.


Amy Dougherty left her home near Andover in blizzard conditions early on the morning of December 23rd to drive to work in Bristol.


Day County Sheriff Ryan Rucktaeschel says since her disappearance, extensive ground and air searches have been conducted, including one this past weekend at a slough a half-mile west of Bristol that's become the focal point of the search...






He says with poor ice conditions, the search has been difficult...





There are a lot of sloughs in Day County, and Rucktaeschel says they've been searching all of them along Amy's path to work that are deep enough to conceal a vehicle...





Rucktaeschel says their best guess at this point is that Dougherty's vehicle left the road in whiteout conditions. He says that can happen easily in a blizzard...





Dougherty was driving a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer, black in color, with South Dakota license plate 22F 183.


Anyone with information on this case should contact the Day County Sheriff's Office at (605) 345-3222. 

Gov. Noem gives state of the state address to open legislative session

Lawmakers returned to Pierre Tuesday to take part in the 2021 legislative session.  South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave the annual state of the state address to open the session.  Teh speech lasted about 45 minutes and touched on a wde array of topics.


First, Governor Noem talked about how the business friendly enviornment in South Dakota has benefitted communities both large and small...




Governor Noem touched on her approach to COVID-19, saying South Dakota has always been open and will remain that way...




Noem then looked to education.  She did not talk about further funding education, but instead talked about her desired approach to teaching US history...




Finally, Governor Noem looked towards further abortions restrictions in South Dakota.  She said she would like to see legislation introduced protecting a fetus from abortion for the sole reason it has Down Syndrom...


Gov. Noem proposes ban on abortion of down syndrome children

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced via social media Tuesday she plans to introduce legislation which would ban abortions based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis.  The Governor then joined Fox News to talk about her proposed ban featuring a Wisconsin couple and former US Congressman Sean Duffy who’s child has Down Syndrome.  Similar bans on abortion have been put in place in other states including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. 



Rep. Johnson answers constituent's questions at tele-town hall

(WNAX - Yantkon, SD) South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson held a telephone town hall last week, with a lot of questions about the November election and the perception that President Trump was cheated.


Johnson tried to lay out the scenario....





Johnson used South Dakota vote totals as an example...





Johnson says the pattern in South Dakota was the same as many other states...





Johnson told the town hall crowd that under the Constitution, Congress does not have the power to overturn certified election results.



Rep. Johnson answers constituent's questions at tele-town hall

(WNAX - Yantkon, SD) South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson held a telephone town hall last week, with a lot of questions about the November election and the perception that President Trump was cheated.


Johnson tried to lay out the scenario....





Johnson used South Dakota vote totals as an example...





Johnson says the pattern in South Dakota was the same as many other states...





Johnson told the town hall crowd that under the Constitution, Congress does not have the power to overturn certified election results.



Lake Poinsett drowning victims identified

( - Watertown, SD) The two people who drowned after falling through the ice on Lake Poinsett Saturday night have been identified.

The Hamlin County Sheriff's Office says 60 year-old Michael Berwald of Toronto died when the four-wheeler he and a nine year-old boy were riding on crashed through the ice on the northern end of the lake around six p.m. Saturday.

They were in the water for about 20 minutes before their bodies were recovered. Both were taken to Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown where they were pronounced dead.

A funeral announcement identifies the boy who died as nine year-old Jaxson Berwald of Toronto. 

Arrests made in shooting death in Mitchell

(KMIT - Mitchell, SD) Two people have been arrested in connection with a shooting in downtown Mitchell on Saturday night which left one man dead.


27-year-old Jose Morales Acevedo and 28-year-old Luis Perez-Melendez were arrested for 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of a 38-year-old male victim. The name of the victim is not being released pending next of kin notification.


On Saturday, around 11:07pm, officers of the Mitchell Police Department had responded to an address in the 500 block of North Main Street for a report of a shooting that had just occurred. On arrival to this address, officers located a male shooting victim in a hallway. The victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Initial information gathered during the investigation indicated that the suspects knew the victim and that this was not a random act of violence.


An investigation continues.

One person killed in three vehicle Lake County accident

One person died and three others were injured in a two-vehicle crash Friday afternoon southeast of Madison.


Names of the four people involved are not yet being released pending notification to family members.


A 2009 Chevy Impala was westbound on 241st Street and failed to stop at the intersection. It collided with a 2004 Buick LeSabre traveling southbound on South Dakota Highway 19. The LeSabre went into the south ditch.


Both occupants of the LeSabre had to be extricated from the vehicle. The 69-year-old male passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The 61-year-old female driver sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Madison hospital.


The Impala’s 16-year-old male driver and 16-year-old male passenger each received minor injuries. Both were taken to the Madison hospital.


All four people were wearing seat belts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. All information released so far is only preliminary.


The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Gov. Noem signs executive order to give lawsuit against Amendment A standing

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order Friday which stated she directed the filing of a lawsuit against Amendment A, an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution which legalizes recreational marijuana for adults. Defendants in the Amendment A case have argued, those who brought the case, Pennington county sheriff Kevin Thom and Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller do not have standing to bring a lawsuit. This order signed by Noem claims to give those bringing the suit standing and shows her support for such a challenge to an amendment passed by 54.18 percent of voters in November.