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Aberdeen police seize numerous drugs in traffic stop

The Aberdeen police department seized 157 grams of methamphetamine 11 ecstasy pills 117 pills believed to be fentanyl and over $6,400 in cash during a traffic stop.  According to police, officers stopped a vehicle and the Canine unit Neko indicated the presence of drugs.  Also found in the stop along with the drugs was a stolen hand gun.  Charges are currently pending against a 30-year-old driver from California who’s identity was not released. 

White, SD man identified as lone person killed in accident near Flandreau

A White, S.D., man has been identified as the person who died Monday morning west of Flandreau.  

 

Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, pulling an enclosed trailer, was northbound on Interstate 29 when the vehicle hit a patch of ice. The vehicle and trailer slid through the median and collided with a 2006 Nissan Murano, that was southbound on Interstate 29.

 

Pat Mitchel, the 75-year-old driver of the Nissan, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 76-year-old female passenger sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital. Both were wearing seat belts.

 

Two male passengers in the pickup were injured. One passenger, 18, suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital. The other passenger, 42, received minor injuries and was taken to the Flandreau hospital. Johannes Hofer, the 19-year-old male driver from Sioux Falls, was not injured. Seat belt use for all three pickup occupants is under investigation.

 

Both I-29 southbound lanes were closed to traffic for several hours.

 

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

House committee passes a ban on trans girls competing in girls sports

The House State Affair’s Committee passed the controversial SB46 via an 11-2 vote.  It will now make its way to the House floor for further consideration and could be on Governor Noem’s desk to sign by as soon as late next week. 

 

SB46 would ban transgender girls from competing on athletic teams that coiencide with their gender identity.  The ACLU of South Dakota has already warned lawmakers it plans to sue the state should this become law and similar bills across the country are currently held up in court as well. 

 

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's chief of staff Mark Miller has received criticism for comments he made in defending SB46 before the committee.  Miller compared trans girls competing on girls teams to terrorism...

 

 

 

Democrat Jamie Smith of Sioux Falls took exception to that comparison and the bill itself calling it uncessesary...

 

 

 

The House could vote on this bill as early as next week and it could be on Governor Noem's desk to sign by the end of next week.  

Justice Stephen Breyer to retire

The Associated Press reports Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire.  Breyer is one of the members of the liberal wing of the court and with his retirement will give President Joe Biden the opportunity to nominate the first justice to the Supreme Court in his term.  Roberts is 83 years old and has been on the court since 1994 appointed by then president Bill Clinton.  Breyer’s departure is expected to take place this summer.  Breyer is the oldest member of the court and when he retires the next oldest is Justice Clarence Thomas who is 73. 

One person killed and others injured in accident near Flandreau

One person died and three others were injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning west of Flandreau.  

 

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

 

Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, pulling an enclosed trailer, was northbound on Interstate 29 when the vehicle hit a patch of ice. The vehicle and trailer slid through the median and collided with a 2006 Nissan Murano, that was southbound on Interstate 29.

 

The 75-year-old male driver of the Nissan was pronounced dead at the scene. The 76-year-old female passenger sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital. Both were wearing seat belts.

 

Two male passengers in the pickup were injured. One passenger, 18, suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a Sioux Falls hospital. The other passenger, 42, received minor injuries and was taken to the Flandreau hospital. The 19-year-old male driver was not injured. Seat belt use for all three pickup occupants is under investigation.

 

Both I-29 southbound lanes were closed to traffic for several hours.

 

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 Thune to visit Aberdeen and northeast South Dakota Wednesday

South Dakota Senator John Thune will visit Aberdeen and northeast South Dakota today.  Senator Thune will first visit a school assembly at Aberdeen Christian School at 9:30 a.m.  He will then visit Glacial Lakes Area Development in Britton at 12:00 p.m.  Finally he will tour Rapid Precision Manufacturing in Britton at 1:30 p.m. He will also meet with community leaders from Britton, Langford, Eden, and Lake City during a luncheon in Britton during his visit.   

Gov. Noem appoints Jarrod Johnson as interim commissioner of School and Public Land

Today, Governor Kristi Noem appointed Jarrod Johnson as Interim Commissioner of School and Public Lands, effective February 1, 2022. The current commissioner, Ryan Brunner, will step down from his position and join and Governor Noem’s office as a senior policy advisor. Ryan’s last day in elected office will be January 31, 2022.

 

“Ryan has been a tireless servant to the people of South Dakota as Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and he has earned respect throughout the halls of the Capitol and across the state. We are excited to have him join our team in the Governor’s Office,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Jarrod will be a capable and qualified steward of the office until the next commissioner is elected by the people.”

 

Jarrod Johnson previously served as South Dakota’s Commissioner of School and Public Lands from 2007-2013. While in office he served on the South Dakota Investment Council, was President of the Western States Land Commissioner’s Association, and was a South Dakota representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. In addition, Jarrod also was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to the Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Committee of Montana and Dakotas.

 

Jarrod has served South Dakota Agriculture in several leadership capacities, including as past President of the Sioux Basin Cattlemen’s Association, the board of directors of South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership, a board member of the Western South Dakota Buckaroos, the property rights chairman of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, and appointed member representative of Agriculture United for South Dakota.  Jarrod is also a current member of the South Dakota Stock Growers Association and the General Beadle Club. Jarrod and his wife Nancy ranch in Minnehaha and Meade counties.

 

“I am grateful to Governor Noem for this opportunity to serve the people of South Dakota,” said Jarrod Johnson. “I plan to serve in this position in an interim capacity and will not be running for this office in the fall. My goal is to ensure a smooth transition to the next commissioner following the November election.”

Gov. Noem announces state has bought a new state-plane

Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that the state has taken possession of a 2015 King Air 350 after an extensive, nationwide search. Combined with the sale of two state-owned planes in 2021, the deal saved the State of South Dakota $3.31 million compared to what had been budgeted. The savings will be reverted to the State General Fund.

 

“It’s our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, so my goal from the beginning was to purchase the best plane for the state’s needs at the most affordable cost. We achieved that,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “This plane is newer, safer, and will save the taxpayers money in the long run in maintenance costs.”

 

In 2021, the legislature appropriated $5 million, plus the proceeds from the sales of the King Air 200 and one King Air 90, for the purchase of a new plane. The State retained the services of aircraft broker Verity Jet for $195,000. The net proceeds from the two planes were as follows:

  • King Air 200: $1.81 million (appraised for $1.73 million)
  • King Air 90: $1.24 million (appraised for $1.12 million)

 

Despite having nearly $8 million available for the purchase of a new plane, the Department of Transportation secured a much newer King Air 350, including all upgrades for just $4.7 million, and the state took possession of that plane last week.

 

Additionally, purchasing a newer plane saved the state at least $1.5 million in pending maintenance costs on the two planes that have been sold.

Special Committee on Investigation member Ryan Cwach wants committee to move faster on Ravnsborg impeachment probe

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) The South Dakota House Select Committee on Investigation doesn’t have any more meetings scheduled to discuss the possible impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

 

Committee member, Representative Ryan Cwach of Yankton, says it will be difficult to get done before the end of the legislative session…

 

 

 

Cwach says after two days of hearings and questions they have a large amount of evidence…

 

 

 

Cwach says he is concerned the investigation will get tied into republican politics…

 

 

 

Governor Kristi Noem is now pushing the committee to release their investigative files. Ravnsborg pled no contest to misdemeanor charges related to the death of Joe Boever on Highway 14 west of Highmore in September of 2020.

Sisseton man identified in Roberts county fatal crash

A Sisseton, S.D., man has been identified as the person who died late Wednesday night in a one-vehicle crash northeast of Summit.  

 

Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2008 Buick Lucerne was westbound on 127th Street when the driver failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle left the roadway, went into the ditch and rolled.

 

Shayne Cook, the 42-year-old driver, was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

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

 

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

Biden administration to distribute 400 million N95 masks free of cost

White House officials say starting next week the Biden Administration will be making 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free.  The goal of this program is to help flatten the current curve of COVID-19 cases across the United States.  According to the CDC a well-fitting N95 mask gives the best protection against the spread of COVID-19.  The masks will be made available at a number of local pharmacies and community health centers.  Each individual will be allowed three each.  The administration claims this is the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in US History. 

Aberdeen man faces second-degree burglary charges in Wednesday incident

The suspect accused of stealing a vehicle, entering an unrelated home, and taking part in a standoff with police that forced officers to lockdown C.C. Lee Elementary out of an abundance of caution made his first court appearance Friday.  32-year-old Holten R. Whitney has been charged with second-degree burglary, driving under the influence, possession of stolen property, grand theft and aggravated eluding.  The charges stem from an incident last Wednesday according to police.  Brown County State’s Attorney Ross Aldentaler says new evidence will likely elevate the second-degree burglary charge to the more serious first degree. 

Spearfish woman killed in Saturday morning domestic shooting

Authorities in Spearfish have released the name of a victim shot in killed in a weekend homicide.  According to police 43-year-old Destiny Dawn Rogers suffered a gunshot wound in her home in spearfish early Saturday morning.  She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  Her husband, 33-year-old Dreau Lester Rogers has been arrested on first-degree murder charges as well as a pair of drug-related charges.  He is currently being held in custody at the Lawrence County jail. 

Gov. Noem introduces legislation to further prevent abortions in South Dakota

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has introduced legislation the further limit a women’s access to an abortion in South Dakota.  According to a release from the Governor’s office, this new law if passed would mimic a law passed in Texas last year which would incentivize private citizens to bring lawsuits against women who receive abortions once cardiac activity is detected.  That is usually around the sixth week of pregnancy, usually before a woman may even know they’re pregnant. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson to visit Aberdeen and Britton Monday

South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson will be in northeast South Dakota Monday January 24th.  Representative Johnson will first visit United Grain in Britton at 11:15 a.m.  He will then tour Banner Engineering Inc. at 4:00 p.m. in Aberdeen and finally visit NSU’s center for public history and civic engagement at 7:00 p.m.

Comedian Louie Anderson dead at 68

Comedian Louie Anderson passed away Friday at the age of 68.  Anderson died due to complications with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer according to his publicist.  A native of St. Paul Minnesota Anderson was the second youngest of 11 children and was known throughout the comedy world for his clean humor and good hearted nature.  He hosted “Family Feud”, created a cartoon loosely based on his childhood called “Life With Louie”, had a long standup career and most recently won three consecutive Emmy awards for most outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role on the FX series “Baskets.”

Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen expects surge in COVID-19 patients

Avera St. Luke’s Hospital is carefully watching COVID numbers and making adjustments to be able to care for a potentially greater surge in patients.

 

In the next couple of weeks, Avera is expecting a potential surge of over 300 COVID inpatients in its hospitals. To put that in perspective, we rose from around 120 COVID hospitalizations in the system several weeks ago to more than 190 on Wednesday. At 300 cases, it would exceed the total number of hospitalizations Avera experienced during the previous 2020 peak.

 

This week, Avera St. Luke’s has had between 6 and 12 COVID patients in the hospital on any given day. During the surge last fall, Avera St. Luke’s had 30 COVID inpatients at its peak.

 

While the hospital prepares for a possible influx of inpatients, its outpatient areas continue to be extremely busy, including its COVID19 testing site where the positivity rate continues to be high.

“Fortunately, we are not seeing the rate of COVID inpatient hospitalizations that we would’ve seen last fall with the current number of positive cases and without a vaccine,” said Kelli Fischer, Avera St. Luke’s Chief Nursing Officer. “But we continue to have increased capacity with routine care, heart attacks, strokes and emergencies. Our Avera@Home staff are very busy. Our outpatient areas like Urgent Care are seeing a ton of people every day.”

 

Overall, there has been a gradual incline in inpatients since the fall when the Delta variant hit. Many of these patients are staying in the hospital much longer than they did in 2020.

 

“To deal with the expected influx of cases, we have been updating our surge planning and we continue to rely heavily on our employees in all areas of our organization to work extra shifts in patient care areas,” said Avera St. Luke’s Hospital Regional President and CEO Todd Forkel. “Whether they have clinical experience or not, there are many support tasks they can help with to ease the burden when our frontline staff are busy.”

 

“We continue to pull our team together and get them ready, because across the Avera system we may be entering the most difficult stretch yet of the pandemic and know our community is going to need us. I am very proud of our employees for all they have done throughout the pandemic to ensure our patients and residents get the care they need.”

 

The public can help ease this situation. The first line of defense is vaccination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are unvaccinated are:

  • 10 times more likely to die of COVID;
  • 10 times more likely to be hospitalized; and
  • 5 times more likely to get COVID.

 

“Due to variants, including Delta and Omicron, the waves of COVID keep coming. We’re still in the midst of this dangerous situation, so it’s important for all of us to stay vigilant and do what we can to protect ourselves and others,” said David Basel, MD, Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group.

 

Get vaccinated, and if the timing’s right, get your booster.

 

Don’t give up on all the other guardrails that can help:

  • Wash your hands;
  • Wear your mask when you’re in public areas with other people;
  • Stay home when you’re sick and get tested;
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others; and
  • Limit or refrain from indoor gatherings.

“And pray,” Fischer said.

Legendary rock star Meatloaf dead at 74

Legendary rock star Meatloaf passed away Thursday at the age of 74 according to a statement from his verified Facebook page.  According to the post he passed away with his wife Deborah by his side and daughters Pearl and Amanda with him as well.  A cause of death was not released.  Born Marvin Lee Ady but going by the stage name Meatloaf, he became one of best selling acts in rock music with his “Bat out of Hell” album released in 1977 selling 43 million copies worldwide.  Later in his career he got into acting as well and was known for his role as Bob in the hit 1999 film “Fight Club.” 

Legal challenge filed against Amendent C

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) A legal challenge has been filed on an amendment scheduled to be on the June primary ballot in South Dakota.

 

One of the plaintiffs is Dave Owen, President of the State Chamber of Commerce & Industry…

 

 

 

“Amendment C” on the June ballot would require super majority approval on ballot initiatives that raise taxes and spend money.

 

Owen, who is joining the suit as a citizen, says the amendment seems to have at least two topics…

 

 

 

Owen says they hope the courts rule before the June election, but the timing is not critical…

 

 

 

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that “Amendment A” approved by voters in November of 2020 legalizing marijuana was invalid because it violated the single subject rule.

One person killed in Roberts county fatal crash

One man died late Wednesday night in a one-vehicle crash northeast of Summit.  

 

The name of the person involved is not being released pending notification of family members.

 

Preliminary crash information indicates that a 2008 Buick Lucerne was westbound on 127th Street when the driver failed to negotiate a curve. The vehicle left the roadway, went into the ditch and rolled. The 42-year-old driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

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

 

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

Howard man faces child pornography charges

A Howard man has been arrested on child pornography charges.  According to the US Attorney’s for South Dakota, 26-year-old Lee James Thames pleaded not guilty last week to the charges he faces.  According to prosecutors Thames coerced a minor into participating in the production of child pornography between March and April of 2021.  If found guilty he faces up to 30 years in prison.  He remains in custody of the US Marshal Service pending trial.  He is considered innocent until proven guilty. 

 

Watertown police officer faces discipline after accident

A Watertown police officer face disciplinary action for crashing his squad car this week.  According to KWAT in Watertown officer Karter Lingen attempted to pull over a driver for speeding when he crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of third avenue and 11th street northeast Monday.  The driver of the other vehicle has been identified as 80-year-old Dean Spooner of Watertown.  Lingen and Spooner did not suffer injuries, however Spooner’s passenger a 41-year-old female was transported to a local hospital.  According to the Watertown police department the crash violates department policies and administrative action has been taken. 

Public testimony continues in Ravnsborg impeachment probe

The second day of public testimony took place Wednesday in Pierre about the potential impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. 

 

The House Special Committee on Investigation heard from the two North Dakota investigators brought in by the state department of safety to conduct interviews with Ravnsborg and try to figure out what happened the night he killed 55-year-old Joe Beover of Highmore. 

 

Special Agent Joe Arnez was one of the two men who testified and spoke to Ravnsborg following the accident.  He did not seem convinced of Ravnsborg’s story that he did not know he hit a man that night…

 

 

 

As the investigation unfolded it was found out Beover was carrying a flashlight the night he was killed.  That flashlight was found by investigators the following morning still turned on.  Questions remain not only how did Ravnsborg and the late Hyde county sheriff Mike volek not see that flashlight while looking over the scene for what Ravnsborg hit.  According to Special Agent Arnez Volek admitting to seeing said flashlight but brushed it off...

 

 

 

The other special agent, Supervisory special agent Arnie Rummel testified he felt Ravnsborg was not being fully truthfully with he and Arnez during the investigation...
 

 

 

 

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem criticized lawmakers Tuesday following the first day of public testimony into the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.  Noem told the Associated press parts of Tuesday’s testimony were “inappropriate” and “tragic”, saying lawmakers were attacking the integrity of law enforcement.  Noem has long called on Ravnsborg to resign following the accident that killed 55-year-old Joe Boever of Highmore. 

State senate overwhelmingly passes SB46

The South Dakota State Senate overwhelming passed SB 46 yesterday 26-7, sending it to the house for further consideration.  The bill would ban transgender girls from competing on sports teams that coincide with their gender identity at all levels in South Dakota. 

 

The house has their own version of this same bill, but with sharper enforcement mechanisms.

 

Republican senator Mary Duvall spoke in favor of the legislation…

 

 

 

Democrat Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls called the bill a waste of time and money…

 

 

 

Republican senator Art Rusch of Vermillion thinks this bill will get challenged in court and the state should wait for the Supreme court to decide other cases similar to this one before moving forward...

 

 

 

 

Redfield daycare provider charged with child abuse

A Redfield daycare provider has been charged with felony child abuse charges.  According to Keloland News 40-year-old Heather Roach made her initial court appearance on December 16th.  She is charged with hitting a two-year-old child.  Roach is not licensed with the state as a daycare provider, however the city of Redfield does not require such certification.  She is scheduled to be arraigned on child abuse charges on February 1st

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