Local News

Aberdeen Fire and Rescue responds to false alarm

Aberdeen Fire and Rescue responded to a call at 509 S. Jackson Street Monday evening, which turned out to be a false alarm.  First responders went out at about 5:23 p.m. after receiving a call from a neighbor to the house in question about sparks flying and seeing smoke.  Upon further investigation no fire was found and a heating technician looked over the area in question and did not deem anything a problem.  Firefighters were at the location for about an hour. 

SD state parks see revenue dip in 2019

The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission has announced state park and recreation areas brought in less money in 2019 than the previous year.  According to the numbers, South Dakota state parks saw fewer paid visitors and campers to the tune of four percent overall.  Parks officials tell the Associated Press, the likely cause of the downswing was spring flooding and excessive rain.  Game Fish and Parks will be interested to see if things can rebound as entry fees are set to go up this year at state parks and rec areas. 

PUblic rec areas closed due to weather

The Following are all closed for 1/17/2020:


YAPA-Youth Center

Outdoor Ice Rinks at Manor and Lincoln Parks

Indoor Ice Rinks at Odde

Gov. Noem calls for government offices to close due to weather

Gov. Kristi Noem has ordered a 1 p.m., local time closing for state government executive branch offices in 42 counties included in the current blizzard warning.


Those counties with state executive branch offices closing at 1 p.m. local time are:


Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Douglas, Edmunds, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Turner, Union, Walworth and Yankton.              


State government executive branch offices in other non-blizzard warning counties remain open.


The public is encouraged to call the state government offices before traveling to that office.

ACT volunteer party postponed

ACT volunteer party postponed until Sunday at 6:30 p.m. 

Waubay officials warn Yellowstone trail could be dangerous in this weather

Strong southerly winds are blowing snow off of Bitter Lake and across Yellowstone Trail in Waubay, creating deep snow drifts along this road and it may become impassable as the day goes on.


Waubay Officials are encouraging motorist NOT to travel along Yellowstone Trail at this time. The deep snow may cause your vehicle to become stuck and it will be difficult for first responders to get to


Chief Justice Gilbertson gives "State of The Judiciary" speech

(KCCR - Pierre, SD) South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson, for the final time Wednesday gave his annual State of the Judiciary message to a joint session of the South Dakota Legislature.  Gilbertson says 11 years ago specialty courts were non-existent in the state and today they are making a difference…





Because of that success, Gilbertson is encouraging further expansion of diversion programs…





Gilbertson says the states Unified Judicial System is exploring the use of mental tele-health services to remotely make mental health services available to rural law enforcement…





Gilbertson also talked about the expansion of programs to bring lawyers to rural parts of South Dakota, making sure high-quality students are graduating from the University Of South Dakota Law School and the expansion during his time as Chief Justice of rules to bring expanded electronic coverage of circuit court proceedings to the media.

US and China come to terms on "Phase 1" trade agreement

The United States and China signed what has been called phase 1 of a trade agreement in efforts to end the now years long trade war between the two powers. 


The deal sees China purchasing $200 billion worth of US goods over a two year period, including doubling ag purchases to $40 billion.  China also made concessions on intellectual property, currency and access to financial services. 


In exchange the US will reduce some tariffs.  South Dakota representative Dusty Johnson praised the deal...






While the deal may bring some needed relief to ag producers across the country, some experts argue the US failed to get highly prioritized structural changes to China’s economy, and its also unclear if Chinga can or will totally fulfill its obligation to buy US products, also the guarantee is only for two years. 

HB 1057 introduced which would criminalize doctors from working to help children transition genders

Less than a week into the legislative session and already bills interesting to the public have cropped up.  House Bill 1057, introduced by Rep. Fred Deutsch of Florence would make it a Class 4 felony for a doctor to perform surgery or even prescribe medicine to help a trans child affirm their gender identity. 


Proponents say they are protecting children, while opponents, such as Libby Skarin, policy director with the ACLU of South Dakota call it discrimination...





The bill has been assigned to the State Affairs Committee and will have its first hearing this Friday at 7:45 a.m.  

Firefighters respond to early morning fire in Watertown

(KXLG - Watertown, SD) Watertown Fire Rescue was called out to a structure fire shortly after 2:00am this morning in the 1500 block of South Highway 81.


According to Watertown Battalion Chief Tyler McElhaney, the owner of Four Seasons Small Engine Repair, who lives next door to the business, looked outside and saw the business on fire and called 911.


McElhaney says the east half of the building was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived...




McElhaney says the cause of the fire is unknown at this time…..





McElhaney says that nobody was inside the building at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.

Three flu related deaths reported in South Dakota

Today South Dakota reported three flu-related deaths, the first deaths of the 2019-2020 season. The deaths were reported in Deuel and Mellette counties and the individuals were all aged 50 years and older. To protect patient confidentiality, additional information about the deceased is not being released.


“Our sympathy is with the families. Their losses serve as a reminder to us all that influenza can be a very serious illness,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the department. “It is not too late to get vaccinated for this flu season, and if you haven’t yet received your annual flu vaccination, the time to do so is now.”


Clayton noted that flu activity in communities across South Dakota is classified as widespread. To date, the state has reported 1,555 lab-confirmed cases of flu and 59 flu-related hospitalizations.


Each year, an average of 46 South Dakotan deaths are reported to the Department of Health following influenza infections. To protect against flu complications, annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. Groups like pregnant women, children younger than 5 years, people over 65 years and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Healthcare workers and household contacts of high-risk populations, such as those with young infants, should also be vaccinated.


Influenza is a viral infection spread by respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Common signs and symptoms of the flu include fever of 100 degrees or greater, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and runny or stuffy nose.

Minnehaha County commission votes to keep accepting refugees

The Minnehaha County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to keep accepting refugee resettlement within the county.  The Trump administration in 2019 signed an executive order which gave county governments more control over accepting refugees, thus setting up this situation.  According to the ACLU of South Dakota’s twitter page dozens of people showed up to speak about the issue.  In the end a public show of hands showed only two people were there to speak for preventing refugees from resettling while dozens were there in favor of the effort.   

Escaped inmate from Yankton Trustee Unit caught

An inmate from the Department of Corrections Yankton Trustee Unit who left his community service worksite almost two weeks ago, was captured yesterday (Tues.) in Pierre.


Pierre Police captain Bryan Walz says shortly after noon yesterday, they received information that Richard Barela was hiding out at a residence in the 1200 block of East Summit Avenue. Pierre Police along with deputies from the United States Marshal’s Office and Hughes County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the residence and attempted to take Barela into custody. Barela didn’t cooperate and barricaded himself in the residence. Walz says officers attempted to negotiate with Barela for his surrender, however negotiations broke down after nearly three hours.


Members of the Central South Dakota SWAT team introduced gas and pepper spray into the residence. Officers were able to isolate Barela near an entry, but he continued to refuse to cooperate so SWAT team members used less than lethal munitions to take him into custody.


As a precaution, Barela was treated at Avera St. Mary’s before being taken to the Hughes County Jail.


Barela, who is serving a 10-year for possession of a controlled substance out of Hughes County, took a pickup belonging to the State of South Dakota Jan. 3 in Yankton. The vehicle was later found in Pierre.

SD highway patrol seeking new recruits

South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is looking for a group of new troopers to carry the agency through the new decade and beyond.


Applications are now being accepted for the Patrol’s next hiring period. Deadline to apply is Feb. 28.


“With recent retirements and other departures, we have positions to fill throughout the state,” says Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price. “That means we are looking to hire as many qualified men and women we can. We hope our new recruiting class is a big one.”


The hiring process includes a physical test, interviews and other examinations. Once the recruits are hired, those who are not currently certified as law enforcement officers in South Dakota or another state must first attend the 13-week South Dakota Law Enforcement Training Academy. That is followed by the South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruit Academy which lasts 10 weeks and is followed by another 10 weeks training in the field.


“We always tell the prospective hires that this is a lengthy and detailed process, but we want it to be that way,” says Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Rick Miller. “We want to leave no stone unturned in finding the most talented people we can.”


A current 12-member Highway Patrol recruit class, which started last year, will graduate this April.


Application information can be found under the “Search for Jobs” section of the Bureau of Human Resources website at If you have further questions or to contact a highway patrol recruiter you can email


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

South Dakota Senator John Thune talks about potential witnesses at upcoming impeachment trial

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) As the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump approaches, there is debate over the outline and if witnesses should be called.


Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has said he would testify if called.


South Dakota Senator John Thune says that is one option...




Thune says House democrats had a chance to hear from Bolton...




Thune says they will start with what ever the House presents to them...




The trial in the Senate could start by the middle of next week, depending on when the Articles of Impeachment are delivered.

Waubay man identified as fatal victim in two vehicle accident near Watertown last week

A Waubay, S.D. man has been identified as the person who died Thursday night in a two-vehicle crash west of Watertown.


A 2002 Toyota Highlander was westbound on South Dakota Highway 20 when it collided head on with an eastbound 2001 GMC Yukon. It appears the Highlander crossed the centerline into the eastbound lane.


Both occupants of the Yukon had to be extricated from the vehicle. Ronald Olson, the 56-year-old driver, died from his injuries. Renee Olson, the 54-year-old passenger, suffered life-threatening injuries and was transferred to a Sioux Falls hospital. Both are from Waubay, S.D.


Kaden Larsen of Watertown, who was the 17-year-old driver of the Highlander, sustained serious non-life threatening injuries. He was transferred to a Sioux Falls hospital.


It is unknown whether either driver was wearing a seat belt. The female passenger was wearing a seat belt.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash. All information is only preliminary at this point.


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

SD State Fair announces grandstand headlining acts

The South Dakota State Fair is proud to announce that the Fire on the Mountain Tour with the Charlie Daniels Band and Marshall Tucker Band will make the South Dakota State Fair grandstand a stop on Friday, September 4, 2020.
From genre-defining southern rock anthems to Country Music Awards (CMA) award-winning country hits and Dove Award winning gospel albums, few artists have left a bigger mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels.
“I love what I do,” says Daniels of his 60-plus years in the music business. “I look forward to entertaining people. When show time gets here, I’m ready to go, ready to go play for them. It’s a labor of love. I just thank God I make a living at what I enjoy doing.”
The accolades have poured in for Charlie Daniels over his career, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Musicians Hall of Fame, a star on the Music City Walk of Fame, and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Marshall Tucker Band’s influence can be felt far and wide through many respected contemporaries and the artists who have followed in their footsteps.
“The Marshall Tucker Band helped originate and personify what was to become known as Southern rock, and I was privileged to watch it all come together in the ’70s, night after night,” confirms the legendary Charlie Daniels. “In fact, the Charlie Daniels Band has played more dates with the Marshall Tucker Band over the past 45 years than any other band we’ve ever worked with.”
“The combination of the Charlie Daniels Band and the Marshall Tucker Band is definitely going to be a show to see,” said Peggy Besch, South Dakota State Fairgrounds manager. “We’re looking forward to both of these legends taking the stage at the 2020 State Fair on the same night.”
Members of the media can download images here.
A pre-sale on VIP tickets will begin May 18, followed by backrest holders on June 8 and June 11 for Friends of the Fair. General public ticket sales will begin June 15.
The 2020 South Dakota State Fair will run from Thursday, September 3, through Monday, September 7. Channel Seeds Preview night will be Wednesday, September 2. This year’s theme is “Perfect Vision of Fun.” For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800-529-0900, visit or find them on Facebook or Twitter.
Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $32.5 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 132,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


2019 Oscar nominee list

Best Picture
1917 (Universal)
Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
The Irishman (Netflix)
Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
Joker (Warner Bros.)
Little Women (Sony)
Marriage Story (Netflix)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony)
Parasite (Neon)

Actor in a Leading Role
Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Actress in a Leading Role
Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Actress in a Supporting Role
Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)
Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
Florence Pugh (Little Women)
Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Actor in a Supporting Role
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
Al Pacino (The Irishman)
Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)
Sam Mendes (1917)
Todd Phillips (Joker)
Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Adapted Screenplay
The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)
Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)
Joker (Todd Phillips & Scott Silver)
Little Women (Greta Gerwig)
The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)

Original Screenplay
1917 (Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns)
Knives Out (Rian Johnson)
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
Parasite (Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han)

International Feature Film
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Les Miserables (France)
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea)

Production Design
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari (Andrew Buckland & Michael McCusker)
The Irishman (Thelma Schoonmaker)
Jojo Rabbit (Tom Eagles)
Joker (Jeff Groth)
Parasite (Jinmo Yang)

1917 (Roger Deakins)
The Irishman (Rodrigo Prieto)
Joker (Lawrence Sher)
The Lighthouse (Jarin Blaschke)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Robert Richardson)

Visual Effects
Avengers: Endgame
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Costume Design
Jojo Rabbit 
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 
The Irishman
Little Women

Sound Mixing
Ad Astra
Ford v Ferrari 
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 

Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari 
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Original Score
1917 (Thomas Newman)
Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir)
Little Women (Alexandre Desplat)
Marriage Story (Randy Newman)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Documentary Feature
American Factory (Netflix)
The Cave (National Geographic)
The Edge of Democracy (Netflix)
For Sama (PBS)
Honeyland (Neon)

Documentary Short Subject
In the Absence
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Life Overtakes Me
St. Louis Superman
Walk Run Cha-Cha

Makeup and Hairstyling
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dreamworks)
I Lost My Body (Netflix)
Klaus (Netflix)
Missing Link (United Artists Releasing)
Toy Story 4 (Pixar)

Animated Short Film
Dcera (Daughter)
Hair Love

Live-Action Short Film
Nefta Football Club
The Neighbors’ Window
A Sister

Original Song
"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" (Toy Story 4) — Randy Newman
"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" (Rocketman) — Elton John & Bernie Taupin
"I'm Standing With You" (Breakthrough) — Diane Warren
"Into the Unknown" (Frozen 2) — Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez
"Stand Up" (Harriet) — Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo

Senator Rounds talks aftermath of Soleimani killing.

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) Members of Congress were briefed Wednesday by the Administration on military actions between the US and Iran.


South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says he supports the attack ordered by the President...





Rounds says they hope Iran backs away from further confrontations...




Rounds says the US is giving Iran time to change their direction...




Top Iranian leaders were still promising “harsher revenge” for the killing of General Soleimani.  (so-la-mah-nee)


PUC Commission Chair Gary Hanson seeking reelection

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman Gary Hanson announced Wednesday he is running for re-election to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.


Hanson is currently in his third term on the South Dakota PUC. Since being elected to the commission he has held many leadership roles including serving six times as the PUC’s Chairman and representing South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Committee on Electricity. He has also served on the executive committee and as treasurer of the Organization of MISO States, and on the steering committee of the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative. He also serves on the Advisory Council for New Mexico State University’s Center for Public Utilities, is Vice President of the 14 state Mid-America Regulatory Conference and working groups on Electric Vehicles, Utilities for Low Income Families, and Conflict of Interest Policy.

Prior to his election to the PUC, Hanson was elected to two terms as mayor of Sioux Falls, and also served seven years as Sioux Falls’ Commissioner of Utilities where he oversaw the development and day-to-day activities of the city’s three municipal utilities.


Hanson was cofounder, president, COB of the now $600 million Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.


Hanson stated, “I have worked to preserve dependable and safe utility services at a fair and affordable price; to promote responsible renewable energy, enhance communication services, provide for a transparent and fiscally responsible PUC, and protect our citizens. I hope to continue my work in the PUC to make the quality of life in South Dakota even better.”


Hanson was appointed chairman by Gov. Mike Rounds to the South Dakota Underground Pipeline Task Force, to the state’s Task Force on Wind Development, and South Dakota's Energy Task Force. Gov. George S. Mickelson appointed Gary to the Cumulative Environmental Evaluation of Black Hills Mining Task Force. His service to the state also includes three terms in the State Senate where he was chairman of the committees of Bonding and of Government Audit and Operations, and vice chairman of the Taxation Committee. Prior to public service Hanson owned 3 businesses.

The election for the PUC will be held November 3 as part of the general election.


Hundreds turn out to mourn late tow-truck driver

(KXLG - Watertown, SD) Hundreds of mourners turned out Thursday morning to honor a man who meant a lot to a lot of people. 


Dale Jones was remembered by family and friends at Cornerstone Church in Watertown. 

Hundreds of Tow Operators with their trucks came to honor Dale and to show respect to his family and co-workers.  Watertown Police Say the procession was about 2.5 miles long. 


Jones was killed Saturday while performing his job as a tow truck operator removing a car from a ditch in the 200 block of 20th Avenue South in Watertown.  Police say the 77 year-old driver of the car lost control on the ice and struck Jones. 


Jones was well-respected and left a legacy that many will not forget any time soon.  He was laid to rest in Wessington, SD Thursday Afternoon.  Their investigation into the crash continues by the Watertown Police Department.  

One person killed and two injured in accident near Watertown

One person was killed and two others seriously injured after a two vehicle accident near Watertown.  The incident occurred around 5:25 p.m. Thursday on Highway 20 north of Lake Kampesak.  Jaws of Life were used by first responders to get people out of both vehicles.  The names of those involved have not yet been released and the incident remains under investigation. 

Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project talks about efforts to legalize the substance in South Dakota

South Dakotans have many choices they must make when going to the polls each election cycle, but this year could prove even more interesting.  Two initiatives will be on the ballot this November regarding marijuana and its usage in South Dakota. 


One of those initiatives would legalize medical marijuana and the other would make the plant legal for adult use 21 years or older.  It would also require the state to regulate tax and issue licenses for growth and allow residents to grow up to six plants at home. 


Recreational marijuana made the ballot through the efforts of South Dakotan’s For Better Marijuana Policy with help from the Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana advocacy group out of Washington D.C.  MPP’s deputy director Matt Schweich says polling show South Dakotans favor legalization…





Schweich says this is just the beginning of a campaign to help sure up support for both ballot measures come November.  It appears national attitudes about the substance are changing.  Right now, recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and Washington D.C. with Michigan being the most recent to legalize.  Several other states have already legalized medical marijuana including North Dakota.  According to Pew Research, two thirds of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.


Despite its wider acceptance, not everyone is on board.  For instance, Pennington County sheriff Kevin Thom has already come out against the recreational measure calling marijuana a gateway drug.  Schweich disagrees with that thought process…





If marijuana were to be legalized by the voters it would mean a whole new revenue stream from the state.  Schweich says there are already examples of other states where these laws are working…


Influenza cases on the rise across the state

Influenza activity continues to rise across South Dakota…






Dr. Joshua Clayton of the State Health Department says the majority of the flu cases being seen are the Influenza-B strain…..





Flu cases are likely to reach their peak next month…




Clayton says the zero flu-related deaths in South Dakota is not likely to hold through the winter….




Dr. Clayton says there have been no reports of vaccine shortages.


Body Identified found on the banks of the Missouri River

(KCCR - Pierre, SD) Authorities investigating the discovery of a body found along the Missouri River in Pierre Monday have learned the name of the woman found just off the Lewis and Clark Trail just east of the Down’s Marina Peninsula….





Pierre Police Captain Bryan Walz says the fingerprints were obtained by officers at the autopsy being performed on Bear Stops.  He says the cause and manner of death may take time to learn…




Walz says now that investigators have a name they can try to narrow the focus on what may have happened…




Bear Stops was found approximately 250 yards east of the Down’s Marina Peninsula by a person walking their dog along the Lewis and Clark Trail.  Walz says he’s not sure if the identification of the body as Bear Stops will lead to an increase in calls to the Pierre Police Department Crime Tips Line.  He says approximately 14 calls have been received so far, however some of the calls may have been made in relation to missing bodies being investigated in Sioux Falls and Montana.  The Pierre Police Department Crime Tips Line number is 605-773-7420.  Anyone who may have information about Bear Stop’s death is asked to call the Tip Line.