Local News

Murder/suicide investigated in Rapid City

(KOTA - Rapid City, SD) North Spruce Street in Rapid City was the scene of a grizzly double shooting Monday night, which local authorities are investigating as a parent murder/child suicide.

Brendyn Medina, community relations specialist for the Rapid City Police Department, said the deceased, 26-year old Trisha Paxton-Dennett and her four-year old son Russel Reeves, were discovered by a family member.




Resources have also been made available for responding officers, many of whom Medina said have children themselves.




Medina said in light of the working murder/suicide theory, the investigation has continued moving forward.




If you or anyone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts, resources can be found at

Brookings woman sentenced to 75 years in prison for killing neice

A Brookings woman has been sentenced to 75 years in prison in the death of her three-year-old niece.  A judge Wednesday sentenced 27-year-old Renae Fayant to first degree manslaughter, after Fayant had accepted a plea deal which would drop second degree manslaughter and cruetly to a minor charges.  The charges stem from an incident in the summer of 2019 when officers found a three-year-old girl dead at a Brookings home.  An autopsy would later confirm the child died of malnourishment and dehydration. 

Hindu faith leader calls out Governor Neom's comments on prayer in school

A Hindu faith leader has called out Governor Noem’s comments about prayer in school.  Governor Noem recently spoke with Real America’s Voice News and said she hopes to bring prayer back into public schools… 





The Hindu leader Rajan Zed, a noted interfaith leader from Nevada, who in 2007 took part in a Hindu prayer protest, says he supports Governor Noem’s calls for prayer in public school, as long as it includes prayers of diverse religious and all denominations practice in South Dakota and the nation at large.

State senate approves special session to address Ravnsborg impeachment

The South Dakota state senate has received the necessary 2/3rds majority to call a special session to move forward with the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.  Leadership began polling lawmakers electronically Monday whether or not they were willing to return to Pierre for a special session on the matter.  Results of the house vote has not yet been released and Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch says other than the final results, no specific data about who voted for what will be released.  If a special session is called, lawmakers would likely return to Pierre November 8th.  Speaker Gosch also said if Ravnsborg’s impeachment does move forwards hearings would be open to the public. 

Rounds says he and other Republicans holding debt ceiling hostage

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) Congress must come up with a way to fund the federal government by the end of the month and extend the debt limit.

Democrats have said they will attach the debt limit expansion to the government funding bill.


South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says republican are withholding votes on the debt limit to protest the spending bills democrats are backing…




Rounds says it should not be so difficult to agree on the debt limit…




Rounds says he will not support the debt limit expansion…




The debt limit deadline is sometime next month.

Name released in Grant county fatal crash

Sioux Falls, S.D. man has been identified as the person who died in a two-vehicle crash that occurred Friday afternoon south of Milbank.


Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2005 Volkswagen Jetta 2017 was southbound on 482nd Avenue when it failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection with 149th Street. The Volkswagen collided in the intersection with a 2014 Peterbilt semi-truck and trailer that was eastbound on 149th Street.


Matthew Blehr, the 28-year-old driver of the Volkswagen, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was wearing a seat belt.


Teresa Virchow, 58, of Lake Preston, S.D., was the driver of the semi. She received life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital. Her seat belt use is under investigation.


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 delays social studies standards

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced she is delaying the process to consider changes to the state’s social studies standards.  In a tweet about the situation Governor Noem says it’s clear more time is needed to bring in more public input and provide a greater balance and emphasis on our nation’s true and honest history.  The Governor’s administration had taken criticism from activists in recent weeks, claiming the standards as they are constructed now, would eliminate several aspects of Native American history.  The Department of Education’s next Board of Education Standards meeting will be held at  the Ramkota Convention Center in Aberdeen October 25th

Lawmakers circulate petition on calling special session to possibly impeach Jason Ravnsborg

South Dakota lawmakers have begun  distributing a petition, asking fellow lawmakers if they support a special session to answer the impeachment question against South Dakota Attorney General  Jason Ravnsborg.  To call a special session, lawmakers must have 2/3rds of both the house and senate agree to convene.  House majority leader Kent Peterson has already said he supports a special session to address Ravnsborg’s impeachment and hopes to convene in November.  Ravnsborg faces impeachment in regards to the accident he was involved in September 2019 which resulted in him killing 55-year-old Joe Boever of Highmore. 

Former SD GFP official says bounty program wrong for South Dakota

A former South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks leader with vast experience in wildlife management disagrees with current leadership on whether a state predator bounty program protects young pheasants or is the right way to get youth involved in outdoor activities. 


In an online panel discussion hosted by South Dakota News Watch on Sept. 15, former Game, Fish and Parks secretary and commissioner John Cooper said the Nest Predator Bounty Program enacted by Governor Kristi Noem in 2019 and continued since then does not belong in South Dakota.


South Dakota’s Nest Predator Bounty Program was created for political purposes rather than the health of the state’s habitat and wildlife, Cooper said during the discussion. The program, which has cost $2.4 million so far, gives $10 for each animal tail submitted by adults and children who trap and kill raccoons and other animals that eat the eggs and hatchlings of pheasants and ducks.


Some state wildlife officials, including GFP Secretary Kevin Robling, say the program is working to protect pheasants and has shown a steady increase in youths involved in trapping.  They acknowledge there is no scientific research in place to track whether removal of predator animals is actually leading to higher pheasant populations, but they say anecdotal evidence indicates the program is working.


Cooper said the program was “foisted” onto South Dakota without input from longtime trappers or hunters. He pointed to recent studies that suggest wide-scale, long-term, lightly monitored bounty programs, such as South Dakota’s, often don’t protect the intended species.  Robling defended the program during the panel discussion, saying it is key for creating future generations of hunters and trappers and keeping predators out of pheasant and other bird nests. 

Aberdeen man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

An Aberdeen man has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in connection to a fatal accident earlier this summer.  19-year-old Carson Maunu pleaded guilty Wednesday, and will remain out of custody while awaiting his sentence.  The incident occurred June 4th when Maunu was driving a pickup on 387th avenue in Aberdeen.  He crossed the centerline into the southbound lane and collided with 27-year-old Casey Kulm of Groton who was on a motorcycle.  Kulm died as a result of the accident. 

South Dakota to be one of four states not to resettle Afghan refugees

South Dakota is one of just four states which will not be resettling Afghan refugees according to the Associated Press.  The US will be taking in nearly 37,000 refugees who managed to escape Afghanistan in the closing days of the United State’s ending its longest running war.  Lutheran Social Service, the organization responsible for refugee resettlement in South Dakota, says it  decided not to take any refugees this time due to local conditions and the ability to resettle them. 

AG Ravnsborg joins threat to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has joined 23 other attorneys general from across the country threatening a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s recent federal vaccine mandate.  In a letter written by the group sent to President Biden Thursday, the AG’s say they will file a lawsuit if the mandate is implemented calling the situation “disastrous and counter-productive.”  Ravnsborg says vaccine mandates will hurt businesses and drive many dire frontline healthcare workers out of the workforce. 

Flags to be at half staff at the capital in honor of late lawmaker Bob Faehn

Governor Kristi Noem has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol from sunrise until sundown on Friday, September 17 in honor of former State Representative Robert (Bob) Faehn. Faehn served as state representative from 2005 to 2010, including as Majority Leader from 2009 to 2010 and as Majority Whip from 2007 to 2008.


“Bob was a dear friend, and it was a tremendous privilege to serve as his assistant majority leader. Bryon and I are praying for his family,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “He was a tremendous statesman and a gentleman besides. He advocated tirelessly on behalf of South Dakota’s technical colleges, helping to make them among the very best in America.”


A memorial service for Faehn will be held on Friday, September 17, 2:00 pm CT at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Watertown.

Road closures planned for Thursday in Aberdeen

Beginning at 8am on Thursday, September 16, 2021, the following intersection will be closed to thru traffic for road work: S 12th Street & 7th Avenue SW

Work is expected to be completed by end of day. Motorists are advised to take alternate routes until the work is completed.

Gov. Noem hires former president Trump impeachment lawyer Jay Sekulow to represent her in her lawsuit against Planned Parenthood

Governor Noem and the State of South Dakota have retained attorney Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to join the State’s legal team in the ongoing Planned Parenthood v. Noem litigation. South Dakota is appealing the current ruling to the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.


“Jay is a brilliant conservative legal mind,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “He’s argued 12 Supreme Court cases, including several religious liberty and pro-life cases. He will bring the same tenacity to protecting unborn children here in South Dakota.”


The State of South Dakota’s appeal in Planned Parenthood v. Noem seeks to uphold the South Dakota state law requiring that a pregnant woman consult with a pregnancy help center before deciding whether to abort her unborn child. This will ensure that women considering an abortion have all of the facts regarding their unborn child and the potential risks of an abortion procedure.


“On behalf of the ACLJ, I am honored to represent Governor Noem and the good people of South Dakota,” said Jay Sekulow. “This common-sense legislation protects mothers and the unborn children.


Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Sekulow led President Donald J. Trump’s defense team in its impeachment acquittal in January 2020. He is an accomplished Supreme Court advocate, renowned expert on religious liberty, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and a respected broadcaster.

Lake Area Tech in Watertown reports record freshman enrollment

Lake Area Technical College in Watertown has set a record for new student and freshman enrollment.

There are 1,005 new students seeking degrees--an increase of 8.1 percent from the fall semester a year ago.

Total enrollment at LATC is 2,190.

The most significant growth came from Diesel Technology, Energy Technology and Healthcare.

Name released in Pennington County fatal crash

A New Town, N.D., woman has been identified as the person who died last Thursday in a one-vehicle crash east of Rapid City.

Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 pickup was westbound on South Dakota Highway 44 when the driver failed to negotiate a right turn. The vehicle went across the centerline, into a ditch and rolled.

Both vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts and both were thrown from the pickup.

Candace Arapahoe, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene. Russell Martinez, 22, of Rapid City, sustained serious non-life threatening injuries. He was transferred to a Rapid City hospital. 

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.

Ariel mosquito spray scheduled for Tuesday in Aberdeen

The Mosquito Control division of the City of Aberdeen will be conducting an aerial application for Mosquitoes on Tuesday, September 14th between the hours of 6:30 PM and 8:00 PM.    

Mosquito Control surveillance program have noticed a high number of mosquitoes being collected in the traps. 

For more information, contact Aberdeen Mosquito Control Program at 626.7015

Medical cannabis rules passes interim committee

Today, the Legislature’s Interim Rules Review Committee approved the Department of Health’s proposed administrative rules to establish a medical cannabis program in South Dakota. The legislature approved 143 of 149 proposed rules.  


Following the legislature’s endorsement of the rules, Governor Kristi Noem and Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon released the following statements:     


“We are on track to implement a responsible medical cannabis program in South Dakota according to the direction given by the voters,” said Governor Noem“I commend the Department of Health for its  hard work to streamline the process. South Dakota will continue to implement the best, most patient-focused medical cannabis program in the country.”   


“The passage of today’s proposed rules package by the committee is the result of months of work. It’s proof that the public engagement process works,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “I am disappointed the rules review committee chose to take out the list of specific medical conditions for qualifying medical cannabis patients, a list the Department promulgated based on public input.”


On September 3, 2021, the Department of Health released the latest draft of its proposed rules for the states Medical Cannabis program. CLICK HERE to view them.  

One person killed in Pennington County fatal crash

One person died and another person was injured Thursday in a one-vehicle crash east of Rapid City.


Names of the two people involved are not being released pending notification of family members.


Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 pickup was westbound on South Dakota Highway 44 when the driver failed to negotiate a right turn. The vehicle went across the centerline, into a ditch and rolled.


Both vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts and both were thrown from the pickup. A 40-year-old female was pronounced dead at the scene. A 22-year-old male sustained serious non-life threatening injuries. He was transferred to a Rapid City hospital.


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.


Senator Rounds reflects on September 11th 20th anniversary

Saturday (Sept. 11, 2001) was the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 al Qaeda terrorist attacks in the United States.

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says like so many people, the attacks changed the path his life was on.




Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Tuesday

Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday September 14th, water will be off in the vicinity of the following area for work on a water line:  South Seventh Street from Third Avenue Southwest to Sixth Avenue Southwest and Fourth Avenue Southwest from South Seventh Street ot South Eighth Street.  Residents in the affected area urged to collect and store water for personal and restroom use.  Water is expected to be off all day Tuesday. 

House majority leader Kent Peterson calls for special session to address Ravnsborg's impeachment

South Dakota state House Majority Leader Kent Peterson is calling for a special session of the legislature to consider articles of impeachment against Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.  The House did draw up articles against Ravnsborg last session, but pulled back on acting on them to let the legal process play out.  In August, Ravnsborg pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors from the night he killed 55-year-old Joe Beover of Highmore.  Peterson, a Republican from District 19, is calling on the session to begin on November 9th.  South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem along with three of the state’s law enforcement organizations have all called on Ravnsborg to resign over the incident.   

City seeks input on whether or not part of Main Street be turned into a two way

The Aberdeen City Council is seeking input from the public about the idea of changing part of Main Street from a one way to a two way.  If you would like to give your input, you can take part in a survey with this link.  You can email comments about the situation to or physical letters can be sent to 123 South Lincoln Street Aberdeen, SD 57401.  Finally, public comment will be welcome at city council meetings Sept. 20th, 27th and Oct. 4th

Northern State offers direction for upcoming first game at Dacotah Bank Stadium

Northern State University will host the inaugural game at the brand new Dacotah Bank Stadium this Saturday vs. Southwest Minnesota State.  Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.  The University wants fans to tickets can be purchased online or at the gate on game day.  Tickets range from 16 to 31 for general admission.  Premium ticket holders can enter two hours before kickoff, general admission one hour before.  There are four entrances to the stadium, the Main entrance located off 15th ave southeast, the south entrance located next to the new softball field, the east entrance off the corner of South State Street and 15th avenue and through the Barnett Center. There are more than 400 free parking spots available, and 600 paid parking spots.  Tailgate lots will open three hours prior to kick off and close 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Beer and wine will be allowed in the Premier reserved tailgating lot and the Barnett Center priority lot only.  Concessions will be available in the stadium and Northern State will provide a kid zone located just north of the main gate at Dacotah Bank Stadium, in the green grass lot between the stadium and the Barnett Center.