Local News Archives for 2019-01

Republicans look to shorten early voting period

Republicans in the South Dakota legislature are looking to amend how early voting is conducted before elections.  Specifically, House Bill 1178 would lower the early voting period from 46 days down to 14. 


The bill’s main sponsor is Representative Less Qualm of District 21 and has several co-sponsors including District 3’s Carl Perry and in the senate District 2’s Brock Greenfield.


Perry said he feels the early voting period is too long, though he struggled to articulate exactly why...





If HB1178 becomes law, South Dakota would be below the nation’s average for length of early voting periods according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.  The average length of early voting is 22 days before an election.  Perry believes 14 days might not be the right answer, but a compromise can be struck..





According to Perry the original reason for the early voting period was to accommodate absentee voters.  Today, most people use the time simply to cast an early vote.  That is something he would like to change…


Aberdeen Taxi closes

According to compliance records with the city of Aberdeen, Aberdeen Taxi has ceased operations.  Rumors had circulated on social media before confirmation was made. 

Governor Noem to sign permitless carry bill

Two pieces of gun legislation are making waves at the capital.  First, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she will sign the permitless carry legislation which has passed both the house and the senate.  She will sign that bill at 12:00 p.m. today.  The GOP led legislature has long tried to pass similar gun deregulation in the past, but it was vetoed by then governor Dennis Daugaard.  The bill is opposed by many law enforcement groups. 


Second, the South Dakota Senate voted 22-10 against a bill that would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon in the state Capitol.  There is one further piece of legislation left that would allow someone with an enhanced conceal-carry permit to carry a gun in the capital if he or she notify security. 

Governor Noem to sign permitless carry bill

Two pieces of gun legislation are making waves at the capital.  First, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she will sign the permitless carry legislation which has passed both the house and the senate.  She will sign that bill at 12:00 p.m. today.  The GOP led legislature has long tried to pass similar gun deregulation in the past, but it was vetoed by then governor Dennis Daugaard.  The bill is opposed by many law enforcement groups. 


Second, the South Dakota Senate voted 22-10 against a bill that would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon in the state Capitol.  There is one further piece of legislation left that would allow someone with an enhanced conceal-carry permit to carry a gun in the capital if he or she notify security. 

Parks and rec cancels activities

Activities Cancelled

Outdoor Ice Rinks are closed

YAPAtorium Closed

Recreational Skating at Odde Ice Arena

Skate Lessons

ARCC Dance Classes

ARCC Classes & Activities

Men’s Basketball

FBI investigating the death of a suspect fleeing police on the Rosebud Indian Reservation

The FBI has opened an investigation into the death of a suspect on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.  According to tribal police, officers persued a man Sunday evening fleeing from his home after allegedly threatening his family in St. Francis.  Police followed him onto a gravel road where he rammed his vehicle through two police vehicles parked in front of  him to head him off.  After the collision, officers admit to firing on the vehicle which ended up going over a cliff and rolling to the ground below.  The driver was pronounced dead at the scene and has not been identified. 

South Dakota legislature passes permitless carry bill

The South Dakota House of Representatives Tuesday voted 47-23 in favor of a permitless carry bill, sending the legislation to the desk of Governor Kristi Noem where she will either sign it or veto it.  It is likely she will sign the bill as she has expressed support in the past for what proponents call “constitutional carry.”  This legislation will allow most adults to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.  The permit system will remain in place for those who wish to conceal carry in other states.  Legislation such as this has passed the legislature in the recent past, but was vetoed by then governor Dennis Daugaard. 

Aberdeen Police seeking info on runaway teen

The Aberdeen Police Department is seeking the public's help in locating a runaway team. According the police department's facebook page 17-year-old Jasmine Rombs is belived to be in the company of the man in the picture with her.  If you know of her whereabout you are encouraged to contact dispatch at 626-7911.

Brown County 4H archery canceled

Brown County 4H archery canceled for tonight due to weather. 

Garbage pickup to change due to bitter cold temperatures

Due to the projected extreme cold weather for Wednesday, January 30, 2019, City garbage pick-up will change. Residents who normally have their garbage picked up on Wednesday are asked to have their garbage out for pick up by 8 a.m., Thursday, January 31, 2019. Both Wednesday and Thursday’s garbage will be picked up Thursday.


Dependable Sanitation will be picking up recyclables as they can. For those residents that do not receive service this week, please place out for next week’s collection. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Legislation authored to allow non-commercial drivers licenses to be available in Spanish

(KCCR) -- A bill, dropped Friday during the final day for unlimited bill introductions, during this year’s legislative session would allow non-commercial driver’s licenses to be printed in Spanish.  The bill is sponsored by Senator Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls who, joined Democratic legislative leaders during their weekly press conference last week…





“It has bi-partisan support.  It has the support of the Sioux Falls Chamber, the Rapid City Chamber, the State Chamber, contractors; the Municipal League is going to join us as well.  It will allow driver’s licenses, non-commercial driver’s licenses in Spanish.  It’s been a workforce development issue, particularly in Sioux Falls, for those doing construction being able to simply hand the keys to the van to be able to drive to the work site and not being able to do it because they don’t have a driver’s license, a South Dakota driver’s license.”


Nesiba say South Dakota is one of six states that print licenses in English only…





“What this bill would do is…it would…its permissive in that it, there’s an early part of statue that prohibits, it says that English is the official language of South Dakota, so it carves out an exception for that.  It directs the Department of Public Safety to offer it only in Spanish, no other languages.  Just Spanish seems like it’s the most pressing issue, so if we need another language you’ll have to have another statute.”


It would give the state two years to implement…





“Directs the Department of Public Safety to be able pay for it and gives them until January 1st of 2021 to be able to do the translation.  To have the Bureau of Information and Technology be able to translate the code…most of our bigger cities, people use a computer system to take the exam.  Some of our smaller communities if you take the county, ah they use a paper exam, give them 2 years to work that out so, I’m hopeful for that.  It’s just really a workforce issue for us in South Dakota and it has bi-partisan support and I’m hoping folks come around on that.” 


Senate Bill 117 is being sponsored by 31 members of the Legislature including 12 Senators and 19 Representatives and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

SD State Fair announces third and final headliner for 2019

The South Dakota State Fair announced its third and final headlining act that will perform at the grandstand this year….




Assistant State Fair Manager Candi Briley made the announcement this morning…….


She says Brothers Osborne is a good fit for the kind of music the State Fair likes to bring in…..





The fair’s other headline acts are Little Big Town on Friday August 30th, and the Beach Boys on Saturday August 31st.


Tickets for the general public go on sale June 10th. For more information go to

Northern receives unanimous approval in the house to build new sports complex on campus

Northern State is one step closer to legislative approval on its desired on-campus sports complex.  The State house of representatives passed HB 1037 65-0 Monday, which gives Northern the necessary approval, and will now move onto the Senate.  The athletic complex is expected to cost $33 million and require legislative approval but there does not appear to be any significant pushback from lawmakers. 

Northern receives unanimous approval in the house to build new sports complex on campus

Northern State is one step closer to legislative approval on its desired on-campus sports complex.  The State house of representatives passed HB 1037 65-0 Monday, which gives Northern the necessary approval, and will now move onto the Senate.  The athletic complex is expected to cost $33 million and require legislative approval but there does not appear to be any significant pushback from lawmakers. 

Permitless carry bill passes house committee and is onto the floor

Being able to carry a concealed pistol without a permit is one step closer to becoming law in South Dakota.  The measure, which has passed on the Senate side, passed the House State Affairs Committee yesterday.  South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravsnborg (Rounds-berg) testified in favor of the bill.






The measure now heads to the House floor.

Lawmakers in Minnesota introduce legislation to legalize marijuana

The state of Minnesota could see marijuana legalized.  Lawmakers Melissa Franzen and Mike Freiberg both Democrats, introduced two bills in their respective bodies to legalize the drug.  The legislation calls for the creation of regulatory framework for sales of recreational marijuana by 2020.  The lawmakers see the bill as a new tax windfall for the state, though leadership feels it is unlikely to pass this year.

Watertown man arrested for holding a man at knife point and stealing his vehicle

According to Watertown police, a suspect is in custody after allegedly breaking into an apartment, threatening a person at knife point and stealing their car.  The incident occurred in the 100 block of 8th ave Southwest just before 3:15 a.m. last Thursday.  Police say the victim and suspect knew one another.  45-year-old Shane Archer was arrested around 9:30 a.m. Friday morning at a different apartment.  He faces first degree robbery, aggravated assault and theft of a motor vehicle. 

Presumptive probation debate set to take place in Pierre

A battle over presumptive probation is set to take place at the capital in the coming weeks.  Senate Bill 19, which would repeal presumptive probation, has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary committee.  Presumptive probation is a policy put in place in 2013 under the Daugaard administration and helped low level felony offenders avoid jail time.


New Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg campaigned on a platform of getting tough on crime, specifically drug related offenses.  His office is offering this legislation to the legislature in an effort to incarcerate more offenders in an effort to deter criminal activity.


The desire seems to have received a split reaction, some supporting the idea, some against it.  Senator Brock Greenfield of District 2 says he is an open mind heading into the debate on this issue...





The South Dakota Sheriff’s Association has announced support for the bill, saying it will allow judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing and battling the methamphetamine problem in the state.  The ACLU or American Civil Liberties Union has come out against the bill, citing cost.  According to numbers released by the state, taxpayers have saved an estimated $30 million since 2013 in avoiding sending these extra offenders to jail.  If SB19 passes, the ACLU claims not only would it cost the state those savings, but also force the state to invest over $200 million in a new facility to house the additional offenders.


According to Greenfield, this case needs further evidence before a decision can be made...





South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says she is undecided on whether or not to support the repeal of presumptive probation.

One person killed in Pennington County fatal crash

One person died Friday morning in a two-vehicle crash that occurred in Rapid City.

Names of the deceased and the other person involved in the crash are not being released pending notification of family members.


A 2017 Peterbilt TR semi-truck, pulling a trailer, was westbound on Interstate 90 when it left the roadway near mile marker 60. The truck and trailer crossed into the oncoming eastbound traffic and collided with a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo SUV. Both vehicles came to rest in the eastbound off ramp.


Pronounced dead at the scene was the 64-year-old female driver of the SUV. She was wearing a seatbelt.


The 53-year-old male driver of the semi truck was wearing a seatbelt and suffered minor injuries. He was treated at the scene. Charges are pending against him.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.


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

Trump campaign associate Roger Stone arrested

Former Trump campaign senior advisor and longtime friend of President Donald Trump, Roger Stone was arrested early Friday morning by the FBI.  Stone was indicted by special council Robert Mueller’s office on charges of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and making false statements.  According to the indictment, Stone sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks which would be damaging to President Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.  He did this in coordination with senior campaign officials.

Senate Education committee tables transgender sports participation bill

The Senate Education Committee Thursday tabled a bill by a 5-2 vote that would repeal the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s policy regarding transgender students competing in sports and replace it.  The policy would be replaced with a law that would force transgender students to compete in the sport identified with the gender on their birth certificate. 


The current SDHSAA policy allows a student to participate in a sport that is consistent with their gender identity.


Senator Jim Bolin of Canton sponsored SB49 and says it is about fairness in competition…





Bills like SB49 have popped up across the country.  Currently in Texas, transgender athletes are force to compete in sports that are consistent with the gender on their birth certificate.  North Carolina also tried to pass similar legislation, but backed down once public pressure mounted.


Speaking against the legislation were groups with different interests.  Executive director of the SDHSAA Dan Swartos spoke against the bill because he feels the policies in place are thought out and effective…




Also speaking against the bill was Debra Owen with the Sioux Falls Chamber of commerce.  Her objection was more about basic dollars and cents…


Congressman Dusty Johnson disagrees with Speaker Pelosi's decision to postpone state of the union

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told President Donald Trump the House won't authorize the State of the Union address in the chamber 'until government has opened'. Republican Congressman Dusty Johnson says that’s wrong….





He says cancelling the state of the union sets a poor example for America’s friends and foes…




President Trump Wednesday night announced he’s postponing the state of the union address until after the partial shutdown ends.


Johnson says the country needs to know the state of the union. At this point President Trump and Speaker Pelosi remain at loggerheads.

Senate State Affairs committee tables anti-nepotism legislation

The South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee Tuesday rejected a bill which would bar state officials from hiring relatives.  The committee voted 9-0 to table the bill, effectively killing it. 


The legislation was brought up this session after Governor Kristi Noem announced she would be hiring her daughter Kennedy to serve as a policy analyst.  Kennedy Noem worked on her mother’s transition team earning $40,000 and now makes $50,000 working for her mother’s administration.  Former South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard also received accusations of nepotism after hiring his son-in-law as chief of staff at $146,000 a year. 


One of the bill’s sponsors Senator Stace Nelson spoke in favor of the legislation calling nepotism government corruption…





Nelson brought this bill forward for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that 34 other states already have anti-nepotism laws on the books.  Also, according to Nelson, it is not fair to state government employees…





District 2 Senator Brock Greenfield moved to table the bill until the 41st legislative day.  Greenfield defended his position by questioning whether or not limiting the individuals who can work in state government is good for the state as a whole.  However, he seemed to fail to see the implications of nepotism in the future when he is not dealing with someone he trusts as governor…


No travel advised in parts of NE SD, including I-29 Watertown to ND border

Officials with the South Dakota Department of Transportation are advising motorists that No Travel Advisories are posted in northeastern South Dakota, including I-29 from Watertown to the North Dakota border.

High winds are causing blowing and drifting snow resulting in reduced visibilities near zero and hazardous driving conditions.

Motorists are asked to postpone travel plans in this area until morning and winds subside.

For complete road condition information, visit, call 5-1-1 or use the SDDOT 511 app.


Gov. Noem expected to address nursing home shortage in budget address

In her first budget address on Wednesday, Gov. Kristi Noem will discuss the underfunding of South Dakota nursing homes that has led to a recent wave of closures.


The governor’s speech is part of a growing momentum toward reform of nursing home funding during the ongoing legislative session in Pierre.


Three nursing homes closed over the past three years and two more are slated for closure next month, causing a loss of jobs and putting a hardship on displaced elderly and disabled residents and their families.


Another 17 former Golden Living Centers in South Dakota are facing financial challenges and are being operated by a state-approved receivership created after the New Jersey firm running the homes went bankrupt last year.


Industry officials say more closures are likely unless South Dakota improves its payment rate under Medicaid, which pays for the care of about 55 percent of the patients in the state's roughly 110 nursing homes. South Dakota has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the country, causing homes to lose $35 a day for each Medicaid patient and resulting in a $42 million overall annual funding shortfall for long-term care facilities across the state.


Randy Bury, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, which runs 32 senior care facilities in South Dakota including several nursing homes, said more homes are sure to close if state funding doesn’t increase soon.


“It’s not a risk of more closures, it’s a certainty,” said Bury, who became president of the society after its recent merge with Sanford Health. “It’s simple math. If you’re running a business and with over half of that business you’re losing money every day, you can Band Aid and cost cut and everything, but over time you’re going to end up in the red.”


Kristin Wileman, a spokeswoman for the governor, confirmed in an email to News Watch on Tuesday that Noem “intends to address nursing home funding and larger model of care issues in her budget address.”


Wileman did not provide specific details about what Noem will say or ideas she may put forward.

In a recent interview, however, Noem expressed a strong interest in helping nursing homes stay afloat. Noem said she was sad to see the recent closure of the nursing home in Bryant, S.D., the hometown of her husband, Bryon, and where he has an insurance office and they have a strong family connections.


“People want their families to be cared for and cared for in their communities close to them so they can be with them,” Noem said in an interview last month on WNAX Radio 570.


In that interview, Noem said the low Medicaid reimbursement rate is putting nursing homes at risk and that low pay is negatively affecting the ability of nursing homes to recruit qualified employees.


“If a big population in those nursing homes is on Medicaid, they’re losing money every day their doors are open,” Noem said. “They can’t recruit nurses and aides and doctors and professionals into those communities and pay them enough to be competitive.”


Noem, who will give her first budget address at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, hinted that she would support legislation to improve the financial stability of nursing homes both in small towns and urban areas.


“It is a concern,” Noem told the radio station. “It’s something I’m seriously looking at what we can do to continue to keep those services in our smaller communities. But … it’s not unique to a certain size of town or community in our state.”


Patient care costs have risen


The recent nursing home closures in Bryant, Rosholt and Tripp and the pending home closures in Madison and Mobridge have shone a light on the financial vulnerability of long-term care facilities in South Dakota.



Bury acknowledged that to some people the $181 per-day cost of care for a nursing home patient might seem high, and that he thought so, too, until he visited long-term care facilities.


Bury said that years ago nursing homes were more like clubhouses with mostly able-bodied residents. Now, he said, with greater patient access to health care and home care prior to arriving at a nursing home, residents come with more frequent and intensive medical needs that raise the cost far beyond providing room and board.


“The same facility that my parents went into looked very different,” he said. “Now, you see lots of people bed-bound, limited to a wheel chair and with serious medical conditions that take constant care.”


The Certified Nursing Assistants who do much of the basic patient care in nursing homes are generally underpaid, leading to extremely high position turnover and difficulty in attracting qualified employees, said Mark Deak, executive director of the South Dakota Health Care Association.


The average wage for CNAs in South Dakota is $12.47 an hour, or about $26,000 a year, the 46th lowest in the nation.


“We think the world of the CNAs; they’re really angels,” Deak said. “They do the heavy lifting and they’re there emotionally for the residents.”


Meanwhile, the thin margin at many nursing homes has reduced the ability of ownership to improve facilities. Most nursing homes in South Dakota are 40 years old, while the average in the Midwest is only 12 years old.


Deak has been meeting with lawmakers and other officials in Pierre to convince them to support meaningful and immediate funding reform for long-term care facilities across the state.

“This is a crisis that could turn into a statewide disaster if something isn’t done,” said Deak, who was scheduled to meet with Gov. Noem to discuss the topic on Tuesday.


Deak said awareness of the nursing home funding problems has heightened across the state recently, in part due to the closure of several homes and due to reporting by South Dakota News Watch and other media.


Deak said that he has been encouraged by recent discussions with lawmakers and state officials that some form of legislation or a funding source to boost Medicaid reimbursements will be found this session.


“There’s a lot of rumblings and it’s on folks’ minds and I’m very encouraged by appropriators I’ve spoken to,” said Deak. “My hope is that they will muster the will and identify the resources to do that so they can to help the folks who care for our elderly or disabled residents.”



Several funding options available


Deak said early projections of a revenue surplus in state coffers in the coming fiscal year could provide an opportunity to raise the Medicaid pay rate. He also mentioned the possibility that the new revenues from sales taxes collected on online retail sales could be a source of funding for nursing homes.


homes and agencies that provide community services to people on Medicaid did receive a funding bump of about 2 percent over the past couple sessions, according to state Rep. Sue Peterson, R-Sioux Falls.


Peterson, who sits on the Joint Committee on Appropriations, said she is hopeful lawmakers can find a more permanent solution either by increasing funding for Medicaid providers or reducing regulations that remove flexibility from operators.


“We need to make sure we’re doing it in a magnitude so it makes a difference,” Peterson said. “It’s a matter of not only doing something about it, but also doing the right thing with reimbursement rates and regulations or a combination of both.”

Peterson said that when former Gov. Dennis Daugaard implemented a 10 percent funding reduction for all state departments shortly after taking office amid a fiscal crisis, Medicaid funding never rose back to pre-cut levels.


Peterson said money could be allocated by the Legislature in one of three basic ways.

A standalone bill to increase funding could be filed by a lawmaker prior to the Jan. 30 individual bill filing deadline or through a committee by Jan. 31. A funding amendment could also be added to an existing bill throughout the session.


Peterson said a funding mechanism could also be added to the general spending bill that will be crafted by the Joint Appropriations Committee that then requires the approval of both chambers.


Any increase in state Medicaid funding likely would be matched at some level by the federal government, she said.


Peterson said she has studied Medicaid funding during her legislative career and supports funding reform for Medicaid service providers.


“I am keenly in tune to the problem, and very much focused on doing something about it,” she said. “I will use my position on the appropriations committee to try to right what is not right.”


If Gov. Noem indicates her support for increased funding for nursing homes and community service providers, it increases the chance money will be found, Peterson said. “If the case is made and she supports it, we know it’s more likely to be signed when it gets to her desk,” she said.


Bury said he senses that lawmakers are beginning to understand the depth of the nursing care crisis in South Dakota and he remains optimistic funding reform will take place this session to provide more financial stability for homes well into the future.


“Nobody is asking the government to come in and provide the profit margin or flip the scenario,” Bury said. “We’re simply asking the government to pay its fair share.”

Name released in McCook county fatal crash

A Salem woman has died as a result of injuries suffered in a vehicle-tractor crash that occurred Wednesday, Jan. 16, west of Salem.


A 1998 John Deere 7810 tractor was westbound of South Dakota Highway 38 when it was struck from behind by a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. The tractor had on its flashing rear amber lights. The collision resulted in the tractor overturning onto its passenger’s side and the other vehicle coming to rest in the center of both lanes of Highway 38.


Helene Eichacker, 85, was the passenger in the minivan. She was airlifted to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. She died Thursday, Jan. 17. 


Another Salem woman, Marlys Elliott, 72, was the driver. She suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.


Colin Brown, 28, of Spencer was the tractor driver. He was not injured.


All three persons involved were wearing seatbelts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash. The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

SHIINE program looking for volunteers

The South Dakota Senior Health Information and Insurance Education (SHIINE) program is currently seeking volunteers for all aspects of the SHIINE program.


Volunteer counselors are vital to the success of the program, as they provide opportunities for seniors to discuss their Medicare questions and concerns in person.


SHIINE volunteers receive training on all parts of Medicare and learn how to provide one-on-one Medicare counseling. All services are unbiased and confidential.


To learn more about becoming a SHIINE volunteer, please visit or call 605-394-2276.


SHIINE is a federal program designed to help individuals with questions about Medicare and protecting their benefits.


SHIINE is funded through the Administration for Community Living and administered by the South Dakota Department of Human Services Division of Long Term Services and Supports.

Oscars nominee list 2019

Best Picture
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”


Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”


Best Actress
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”


Best Actor
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”


Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “Vice
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”


Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”


Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Joel Coen , Ethan Coen)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Barry Jenkins)
“A Star Is Born” (Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters)


Best Original Screenplay
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay


Best Cinematography
“Cold War”
“The Favourite”
“Never Look Away”
“A Star is Born”


Best Costume Design
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (Mary Zophres)
“Black Panther”(Ruth E. Carter)
“The Favourite” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Sandy Powell)
“Mary Queen of Scots” (Alexandra Byrne)


Best Film Editing
“BlacKkKlansman” (Barry Alexander Brown)
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (John Ottman)
“The Favourite”(Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
“Green Book”(Patrick J. Don Vito)
“Vice” (Hank Corwin)


Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“Mary Queen of Scots”


Best Original Score
“Black Panther” (Ludwig Goransson)
“BlacKkKlansman” (Terence Blanchard)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Nicholas Britell)
“Isle of Dogs” (Alexandre Desplat)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Marc Shaiman)


Best Original Song
“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA

“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by Willie Watson, Tim Blake Nelson


Best Production Design
“Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enr??quez


Best Sound Editing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Quiet Place”


Best Sound Mixing
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”


Best Visual Effects
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”


Best Foreign Language Film
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)


Best Animated Feature
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman


Best Animated Short
“Animal Behavior”
“Late Afternoon”
“One Small Step”


Best Documentary Feature
“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen


Best Documentary Short
“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi


Best Live Action Short
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

Spearfish grandmother arrested for doing drugs while babysitting

A Spearfish grandmother has been arrested on felony child abuse and drug charges.  According to Lawrence County authorities, 43-year-old Michelle Humann allegedly ingested methamphetamine while babysitting her grandchild.  The child is just two years old and the incident occurred January 7th.  Upon returning the parents noticed the child acting strange, took the child to a hospital and it turned out the child had ingested drugs.  Humann is expected to enter a plea January 29th.   

Mayor Levson to give his state of the city address in February

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Leevson will give his annual “State of the City” address next month.  The speech will take place at the monthly Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce Community Affairs luncheon Thursday February 7th.  The event will take place at the Best Western Ramkota Convention Center.  Cost is $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers.  You can register today by contacting the chamber at 225-2860. 

California Democrat Kamala Harris to run for president in 2020

California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris announced on Good Morning America Monday morning she is running for President in 2020.  Harris is relatively new to the major political scene, winning her first and only term in the Senate in 2016 after serving as the attorney general of California beginning in 2010.  Harris is the first ever person of Indian or Jamaican descent to serve in the US Senate.  Harris joins an already crowded field, with more expected to announce in the coming weeks.  This makes her currently the fourth woman to announce she is seeking the Democratic nomination.    

One person killed in tractor accident

One person has died as a result of injuries suffered in a vehicle-tractor crash that occurred Wednesday afternoon west of Salem.


One other person was injured. The names of those involved are not being released pending notification of family members.


A 1998 John Deere 7810 tractor was westbound of South Dakota Highway 38 when it was struck from behind by a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. The tractor had on its flashing rear amber lights. The collision resulted in the tractor overturning onto its passenger’s side and the other vehicle coming to rest in the center of both lanes of Highway 38.


Both passengers of the minivan were injured. The 85-year-old female passenger of the Town and Country was airlifted to Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls. She died Thursday, Jan. 17.  The 72-year-old female driver suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.


The 28-year-old male driver of the tractor was not injured. .


All three persons involved were wearing seatbelts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash. The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Aberdeen community wins two tourism awards

The city of Aberdeen has received honors from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.  Noem bestowed two honors on Aberdeen during her tourism conference in Pierre late last week.  The two honorees include the Aberdeen community for the 10th annual Rooster Rush received the “Cacklin’ Community Award.”  The award is given to a community for its efforts in welcoming hunters and visitors to the area.  Second, Wiley Park and Storybook land received the “Excellence in Tourism, Innovation Award.  In a press release, Noem praised Storybook Land and Wiley Park for wowing visitors for over 40 years now

Air service no longer available in Watertown and Pierre

Essential air services to Watertown and Pierre are no longer available.  According to the Associated Press, the services stopped after California Pacific Airlines chose to no longer services those cities.  Currently, both cities have no scheduled air services.  The mayors of both Pierre and Watertown, with the Department of Transportation have called on proposals from airlines interested in service Pierre and Watertown.  The deadline for proposals will be January 30th.  For Pierre this is especially devastating as many travelers rely on plane travel for business or government work in the state’s capital.

Tourism numbers rise in 2018

State officials Thursday announced South Dakota tourism reached record levels of visitors and spending in 2018.  It is the ninth consecutive year of growth for South Dakota.  According to a study done by tourism economics, visitors spending reached about $4 billion in 2018, up 2.5 percent from a year ago. 

SD Highway Patrol seeking applications for new troopers

South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is looking for as many new troopers as it can hire.


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


“We are planning to hire a large class so we are encouraging all those men and women who are thinking about pursuing a career with the Highway Patrol to apply,” says Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price. “Due to retirements and other departures, we have positions to fill throughout the state.”


The Highway Patrol’s hiring and training process takes about a year to complete. The hiring period includes written and physical tests, 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.


“This is a lengthy and detailed process, but it is designed to be that way,” says Secretary Price. “We want to find the most talented people we can find.”


Recruiting seminars for women interested in joining the Highway Patrol will be held later this month in Aberdeen, Rapid City, Pierre, Sioux Falls and Watertown. Additional details on those seminars will be announced at a later date.


Those hired in this next period will begin training later this fall. A current nine-member Highway Patrol recruit class, which started last year, will graduate in April.


People with questions about the hiring process can call the Highway Patrol Training Division at 605-773-2231.


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

Garbage pickup to change in observance of Martin Luther King holiday

Due to the Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday, Jan. 21, city garbage pick-up will change.


Residents who normally have their garbage picked up on Monday are reminded to have their garbage out for pick-up by 8 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Both Monday’s and Tuesday’s garbage will be picked up on Tuesday.


Recycling will remain on the normal five-day schedule. Dependable Sanitation will be picking up recyclables on Monday.

Redfield Snow alert


City of Redfield




Chamber announces "cracker barrel" dates

The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Affairs Committee is hosting four cracker barrels in early 2019. All sessions, which are free and open to the public, will be held at 10 am in the Centennial Rooms inside the Student Center on campus at Northern State University. The dates are January 26, February 2, February 23 and March 2.


Legislators representing Districts 1, 2, 3 and 23 are invited to attend and give updates on what is happening in Pierre. This is your chance to interact with them and we hope you will attend.


The cracker barrels are made possible with the help of the following sponsors: Aberdeen American News, AARP, Aberdeen Development Corporation, Borns Group, Healthcare Plus Federal Credit Union, Helms & Associates, MIDCO, Northern State University, Northwestern Energy and Wells Fargo Bank.


Conceal carry without a permit passes committee and is onto the Senate

The Senate judiciary committee passed a measure that would allow South Dakotans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. 


Senator Stace Nelson of Fulton voted in favor of the passage…





Senator Art Rusch of Vermillion, a former circuit judge, spoke against the passage.  He says the courts have held that the constitution does not guarantee the right to carry a concealed weapon…






Senator Lynn Disanto of Box Elder spoke in favor of the bill and says she sees it as a measure to help women….





The South Dakota Sheriff’s Association testified against the bill.  The measure passed along a 4-3 vote and will now go the senate floor.


Similar measures have been passed in prior years but were vetoed by Governor Dennis Daugaard.  Governor Kristi Noem has indicated support for the idea.

Low wages continue to hamper SD workers

Jobs are plentiful in South Dakota, but most positions pay well below the national average and far lower than neighboring states.


In fact, South Dakota has the third-lowest average wage for employed people in the country behind only Arkansas and Mississippi. A News Watch analysis shows that the lowest-paying jobs -- in office support, food service and sales -- dominate the state workforce.


Despite attempts to lure new employers and improve pay for workers, the state has made little progress over the past few decades. After languishing near the bottom for years, the state had the lowest average pay in the nation in 2008 and has moved up only two spots since then.


The News Watch analysis of 2017 wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics within the U.S. Department of Labor showed that:

?Roughly 21 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 87,000 people, make under $30,000 a year; 41 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 169,400 people, make under $35,000 a year, and 71 percent of employed South Dakota residents, about 292,000 people, make under $40,000 a year.

?Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, South Dakota is third lowest in average annual pay at $40,770, with the national average at $55,470. The state is also at or near the bottom nationally for average pay in several occupational sectors, including office and administrative support (51st), architecture/engineering (51st), education (50th), production workers (50th), life/physical/social sciences (50th), construction and extraction (50th), arts/design/sports/media (50th), computer and mathematical (49th), community and social services (48th), legal (47th), transportation and materials movement (45th), community and social services (47th) and business and financial operations (44th).

?While doctors, medical specialists, dentists and CEOs are among the highest paid, the support staffs that work for them are among the lowest paid.

The numbers also show that South Dakota’s employment base is dominated by low-wage support service and food industry jobs. The three largest employment groups are office administration and support (15.3% of all jobs, $31,340 average annual salary), sales/related occupations (11.3% of all jobs, $37,130 average annual salary) and food preparation/serving (10.2% of all jobs, $22,610 average annual salary.)


People who don’t have technical training or a college degree are at a huge wage disadvantage in South Dakota, according to the federal wage data.


New Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, acknowledging the need for wage improvement, advocated in her first statewide address for the creation of new apprenticeship programs and job-skills training in the state K-12 education system that could increase opportunities and job-readiness of high school graduates.


“South Dakota does a lot of things right, but our economy has fallen behind,” Noem wrote to News Watch in an email.


Noem said she will work to remove barriers to business expansion and growth, and also seek ways to improve opportunities for South Dakota workers to better themselves.


“I want to make South Dakota a state where if those wage earners have the drive and desire to earn more, they can,” Noem wrote.


The state received some good news in January when the TruShrimp aquaculture company announced it would build a shrimp farm in Madison and eventually create up to 150 jobs, though state officials refuse to release what those jobs may pay.


In the meantime, thousands of South Dakota residents are among the working poor who take on a second job or need assistance to make ends meet, and it appears there is no easy answer to raising salaries in a rapid, meaningful way.


“There’s an awful lot of people in south Dakota who are really struggling and working hard to make ends meet,” said state Sen. Reynold Nesiba, D-Sioux Falls, who is an economics professor at Augustana University. “It seems like there’s a race going on between prosperity and poverty in South Dakota and I think poverty is winning.”


Moving away for better pay

South Dakota’s history of poor pay stems from several factors. The rural nature of the state tends to limit business opportunities. The state has only limited manufacturing employers, a minimum of white-collar jobs outside the Sioux Falls area, and an economy focused largely on tourism and the service industry. A shortage of highly educated workers hampers efforts to lure high-tech employers while low union membership reduces the ability of workers to organize and demand higher pay.


One consequence of low wages is that highly skilled and well-educated workers, including teachers and professionals, flee South Dakota for other states in order to make more money.

Nesiba said his two adult sons are both computer software developers who moved away for better jobs in other states.


“I would love to have them back here, but I can’t imagine there will ever be jobs that pay enough to entice them to come back to South Dakota,” Nesiba said. “With higher levels of student loan debt, and combine that with lower wages, and you can see why many of our best and brightest are leaving for other states. It’s a chronic problem for us to be able to attract and retain a workforce in South Dakota, and a lot of that is about wages.”


Beyond college graduates, other skilled workers are leaving the state for higher salaries.

Austin Shook, 20, is a native of Edgemont, S.D., who now lives in Rapid City where he attends Western Dakota Tech in the diesel mechanic program.


Shook now works at the Boss Truck Stop off Interstate 90 west of Rapid City, where he makes $13 an hour, or about $32,000 a year after bonuses. He said many young adults and some middle-aged students at the technical school are working full time and make less than $30,000 a year. He said full-time mechanics he knows are paid between $35,000 and $40,000 a year in western South Dakota.


“With a house and family and kids, I don’t know how they’re making it on that,” Shook said.


His plan is to finish his associate’s degree in May and then immediately apply for jobs at coal mining operations in and around Gillette, Wyoming where he knows he can make $50,000 a year to start with the potential to earn about $75,000 a year as he gains experience.


“I don’t dislike it here but there’s much better jobs elsewhere,” Shook said. “For now, I’m stable but later down the road in life, I don’t know if I could make it on the salaries paid around here.”


Finding a job is not hard in South Dakota, where the November 2018 unemployment rate was 3.0 percent, 11th lowest in the nation but still higher than the neighboring states of Iowa (2.4%) and Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota (all 2.8%).


Finding a job that carries benefits and provides a livable wage is tougher, however.

Lisa Johnson, manager of the state Job Service offices in Watertown and Sisseton, said a wide range of positions are typically open in northeastern South Dakota.


In mid-January, a job offerings analysis showed 428 position open in Clark, Codington, Deuel, Grant, Hamlin and Roberts counties, with the top occupational groups with openings as production, sales and related, education/training/library and farming/fishing/forestry.


Johnson, who said her agency does not track or list pay rates for open positions, said finding a job that pays a livable wage varies by job-seeker depending on their age, experience, skill set and education level.


“It’s hard to put a number on that because every city in South Dakota is different, though housing is high all over, so it depends on what that person’s mindset is and what is a good job to them and what lifestyle they want,” said Johnson. “For somebody who just wants a place to live and have a car, that number is different than somebody who might have a college degree and wants to own a home.”


South Dakota consistently ranks low among all states for its tax burden, though the sales tax that funds much of government is regressive in nature in that people from all income levels pay the same rate. As far as overall cost of living, South Dakota falls into the middle of the pack nationally.


The cost-of-living index allows for comparison among states on the prices of a variety of goods and services such as food, housing and transportation. A lower number and ranking indicate a lower cost of living. For example, to buy a $1 item would cost 98 cents in South Dakota compared to the rest of the nation, while that same item would cost about $1.08 in Montana. In the rankings, South Dakota has the 24th lowest cost-of-living index in the country, while Wyoming has the fifth-lowest in the country and Montana had the 34rd lowest, making it comparably the most expensive state in the region, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research.


The wage data for South Dakota looks bad overall but may obscure just how tough things are in some specific areas.


Low wages and high housing costs force many workers in the tourism town of Custer in the southern Black Hills to struggle financially or find creative ways to get by, said Mayor Corbin Herman.


“It’s something I think about every day,” Herman said.


The cost of living in Custer is so high, Herman said, that a $30,000 annual salary doesn’t go far.

“If I’m making the same wage in Custer as somebody in a similar town in eastern South Dakota, I’m probably making half of what they’re making or a third less,” he said. “I think it’s that drastic.”


As mayor, Herman said there is little local governments can do to raise salaries but he is working to lower rents and the overall cost of living in the town of about 2,000 people. For now, he said, the situation is almost untenable for many in the service and restaurant industries that prevail in the town that over the years has lost major employers such as a sawmill, a state hospital and the Star Academy for youthful offenders.


“You can’t pay somebody $70,000 a year to flip burgers, but you still need the worker and that worker still needs a place to live,” Herman said. “The employees get a little bit more creative; maybe four or five will live in small house or rent a trailer home outside town to make ends meet.”


As is common elsewhere in South Dakota, poor pay levels in Custer are often accompanied by a lack of benefits provided to workers, Herman said.


“I would be doubtful that there’s a lot of health insurance and retirement options out there for them,” he said. “I feel bad for the people who are living at that level.”


Focusing on education and workforce development

Nesiba said improving wages will require more effort on the part of lawmakers to expand educational opportunities both at 4-year colleges and at technical schools. He supports implementation of government-assisted pre-kindergarten programs that are common in other states. And he wants the focus on workforce development to include more efforts to lure high-paying companies to the state.


“As a policymaker, education is economic development, and we shouldn’t be distracted from that,” he said.


Improving education will lead to more skilled workers that will encourage businesses to increase wages, leading to more spending overall and a reduced need for government assistance, Nesiba said.


Noem said the credit card industry coming to the state in the ‘80s was the last “big thing” to aid the state workforce.


“It’s time to start looking for the next ‘big thing,’” she wrote.  


She said the state will:

? Identify targeted industries and market to attract the most innovative companies in those sectors.

? Over the next six weeks, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will develop and roll out a new, more user-friendly website that is more responsive to the needs of existing South Dakota businesses and those interested in moving here.  

? Draw on traditional strengths as an agricultural state by seeking out more value-added processing opportunities and enhance outlets that will benefit farmers and small communities.

?Become a leader in cybersecurity by capitalizing on the success of Dakota State University’s cybersecurity program.


Identifying new opportunities will generate high-paying jobs and build an economy to bolster South Dakota’s business environment for the next generation for a better life, she said.


Striving to get ahead

For those at the lower end of the wage scale in South Dakota, basic survival takes commitment and fortitude.


Robin Baldwin of Sioux Falls is a Michigan native who moved to South Dakota in 1993 to be closer to her mother. Armed with a high school degree and one year of college, she worked several years as a waitress before getting married and staying home to raise her three children and another unrelated child whose mother was murdered.


She spent eight years as a stay-at-home mother before a divorce forced her to reenter the workplace. Baldwin sought help by getting job skills and placement assistance through two intensive programs run by Dress for Success Sioux Falls. The nonprofit group provides women with the attire, job skills, mentoring, financial literacy training and emotional support to find and keep a good job and has clients that range in age from 18 to 78, said Lori Strasburg, a program manager at the group.


With that training, Baldwin, 45, landed a job at a veterinary office in Sioux Falls as a receptionist and a full-time wage of $10 an hour, or about $21,000 a year.


Not long after landing the position and obtaining a steady income, Baldwin said she lost her rent subsidy from the Sioux Falls Housing Authority and later was dropped from the federal food stamps program and lost Medicaid coverage for her son who has Type 1 diabetes.

Baldwin received raises at the vet clinic to $11.50 an hour and now makes $14.50 an hour, or about $32,000 gross pay a year. Like other support staff workers in South Dakota, she finds that her net pay of about $2,000 a month doesn’t go far.


She pays $795 a month in rent; chips in $100 a month to help her son, now an adult living outside the home, buy insulin; has utility bills of about $235 a month; and spends about $400 a month on groceries. She rarely eats out, shares a cell phone with one of her sons and drives a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am that is only somewhat reliable. She said she cannot afford to join her company medical plan and is unable to afford a $350-a-month health insurance plan offered on the federal Affordable Healthcare Act marketplace.


Her regular monthly bills allow her about $400 a month for gas and other expenses, but nothing for savings or retirement. “I try to save but it seems like something always knocks you back and you have to pay for that,” Baldwin said.


Strasburg said many of the women she assists have child-care challenges, transportation issues and a lack of job skills or experience, so even a job that pays well below the statewide average of $40,770 a year would be a big step up.


“A $30,000 job, sadly, would be a good place to start for these ladies,” she said.

When Baldwin was asked to describe her current financial situation while making about $32,000 a year, she said, “I’m doing the best that I can, and striving.”


Baldwin worries most about the long-term health of herself and her sons, but also whether her car will start or about what would happen if she suffered a crisis like a broken leg or other acute medical of financial issue.


“I would be up the river,” she said. “I have thought about a setback and that worries me because I don’t have any backup for support.”


Baldwin said she joked to her son the other day that maybe she should quit work and go back on government housing, food and medical assistance. “When I wasn’t working, at least I knew there was going to be food on the table and a roof over our heads,” she said.

That notion was quickly rejected.


Baldwin said she enjoys her work and is now seeking a higher-paying administrative job in the health care industry. She would love to someday go back to technical school and obtain a business degree of some sort.


She also insists on being a positive role model for children and other people she knows who are living on the margins.


“With working, it feels good to pay my own way,” Baldwin said. “I feel really independent and proud of myself for how far I’ve come, and I don’t want to go back.”


This story was produced by South Dakota News Watch, a non-profit news organization. Find more in-depth reporting at

Veblen man to serve three years in prison for aggravated assault

A Veblen man has been sentenced to three years in prison for felony domestic aggravated assault.  60-year-old Kenneth J. Anderson pleaded guilty to one count from an incident back on September 16th, which resulted in the victim’s eye socket, nose and ribs being broke.  He received 10 years in prison with seven suspended.

Police arrest Aberdeen woman for fourth DUI

The Aberdeen Police Department has arrested a woman for her fourth DUI while her child was in the vehicle.  According to a release from police, officers responded to the 2700 block of 1st ave se on Monday around 2:35 p.m. to investigate and intoxicated driver with a child in the car.  The driver initial stopped, but then took off westbound on 6th avenue.  According to the release, officers had to use spikes near South Lincoln Street to stop the vehicle.  30-year-old Rena Raelle Robinson of Aberdeen was arrested and charged with her 4th DUI, child abuse, eluding law enforcement, false impersonation with intent to deceive law enforcement, simple assault, probation violation and failure to obey a traffic control device.  The child was unharmed.

House rejects measure to investigate Dem member

The South Dakota legislature Tuesday shot down the idea of forming a special committee to investigate Democrat Representative Peri Pouier and whether or not he met rhe state residency requirements in order to get elected.  Pouier represents the Pine Ridge area.  The measure was shot down 62-5.  Proponents of the measure argued there was enough evidence Pourier was not a state resident for two years before getting elected with is required by the South Dakota constitution.  Republican leadership dismissed the claims. 

Northeast Area Horse racing pushing for bill to help fund racing operations

Representatives from the Northeast Area Horse Racing Association spoke in front of the Brown County Commission Tuesday to confirm they planned on having horse races this year.  Despite horse racing’s strong tradition in South Dakota, the sport has fallen on hard times due to funding issues.


The organization is seeking public money to bridge a two year gap until alternative funding can be found.  Though the bill does not have a number yet, Buddy Haar, President of the racing association says it has support in Pierre…





Haar says the organization is seeking $300,000 from the legislature that would go towards funding both horse racing operations in Fort Pierre and Aberdeen.  Should the legislature decide not to support horse racing, it is likely horse racing would have to consolidate to one location, either Fort Pierre or Aberdeen.


For years the state legislature had set aside money to support horse racing, but decisions to move that money around during the Janklow administration left the operation underfunded.  On top of that, sports gambling is down according to Haar…





Haar is confident sports betting money will help infuse new life into horse racing in South Dakota.  That can be done at the legislative level as well.  With a 2018 United State’s Supreme Court decision, sports betting has been opened up across the country.  It is not known yet if and how South Dakota would incorporate sports betting in the future.

Online TV platform Netflix to raise prices in the US

The online movie and television streaming platform Netflix has announced plans to raise its prices by 13 to 18 percent in the United States.  The jump is the largest price increase the company has announced in its 12 year history.  In actual figure, customers in the US will likely see their price jump from $11 a month to $13.  This is the fourth time Netflix has raised its prices in the United States. 

Online TV platform Netflix to raise prices in the US

The online movie and television streaming platform Netflix has announced plans to raise its prices by 13 to 18 percent in the United States.  The jump is the largest price increase the company has announced in its 12 year history.  In actual figure, customers in the US will likely see their price jump from $11 a month to $13.  This is the fourth time Netflix has raised its prices in the United States. 

Authorities in McCook county identify the body of deceased pilot who's plane crashed

Authorities in McCook County have identified the pilot who died in a small plane crash Sunday.  According to authorities the pilot was Comet Haraldson of Sioux Falls.  Haraldson was flying a single engine plane when he began experience health problems between Canistota and Bridgewater.  In contact with air traffic control he struggled to bring the plane to the ground safely and crashed in a cornfield.  The wreckage is being stored currently because federal investigators are currently unactive due to the government shutdown. 

Beach Boys to play State Fair in Huron

A legendary band that dates back to the early 1960’s is coming to the South Dakota State Fair this summer….




Assistant Fair Manager Candi Briley says fans of the Beach Boys span generations…..




The Beach Boys join the band Little Big Town on this year’s fair entertainment lineup.


One more state fair concert will be announced this month—a show scheduled for Sunday September 1st.

Mitchell man pleads guilty to first degree manslaughter

A Mitchell man was sentenced to 18 years in prison today in connection with the stabbing death of another Mitchell man in August of 2017.  50-year old Anthony Lewis pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter in the death of Quinn Schleuning (sh-loon-ing) outside of an apartment in downtown Mitchell.  Lewis had claimed self-defense.  However, Judge Chris Giles (jiles) said the evidence, which included surveillance video from a local business, showed that Lewis followed Schleuning and stabbed him in the side once and in the back three times.  Giles sentenced Lewis to 40 years in prison with 22 suspended and credit for over 500 days served.  Lewis will be eligible for parole.

SD Democrats respond to first week of the legislative session

South Dakota Democrats reflect on the first week of the 2019 legislative session.  Party leadership in Pierre chose to spend most of the early portion of the press conference to focus on what Democrats have in common with the new Noem administration.


Senate minority leader Troy Heinert of District 26 say Democrats want to work with the administration on continuing to develop a workforce as well as habitat conservation.


House minority leader Jamie Smith of Minnehaha says one major area Republicans are not talking about is in the healthcare sector.  Specifically, nursing home costs and community assistance programs…





Governor Noem gave her state of the state address after being sworn in as South Dakota’s first female governor.  During that speech, Noem focused a lot on the need to preserve pheasant habitat and proposed the idea of a bounty program on predatory animals. 


Senator Heinert hopes Democrats can work with the administration on other preservation methods, because what was proposed by the governor won’t work in other parts of the state…





Finally, Senator Heinert spoke on the Keystone XL oil pipeline.  The construction of the pipeline has been a long sorted history full of legal challenges, including one current federal challenge that is holding up the project.


Heinert is worried the state is not prepared enough in the event of an emergency.  Until it is better prepared in the event of a spill, he hopes it does not move forward…


Government shutdown affecting local brewery

The United States is about to end the third week of a partial government shutdown.  The shutdown has occurred due to President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign legislation funding the government without $5 billion earmarked for a border wall with Mexico.


Washington DC can feel far away for many in northeast South Dakota.  However, when the federal government shuts down, its effects can be felt here as well. 


Dakota Territory Brewing, a brewery in Aberdeen, is currently at a standstill because of the shutdown.  Brewery owner Brodie Mueller can get beers to the market he is already producing, but anything new is stalled. 


Mueller says due to the shutdown, simply dumping beer is a possibility…




The specific agency causing problems for brewers like Mueller is the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB.  This agency is in charge of ensuring products relating to alcohol and tobacco have the appropriate government warnings for consumers making decisions to purchase said products. 


According to Mueller this government shutdown hurts both large and small breweries alike…





This also stifles creativity for brewers.  Anyone who has brewed beer knows it is as much an art as it is a science.  Mueller has had to put plans on hold during this shutdown, preventing him from experimenting further…


President of Rosebud Sioux Tribe urges lawmakers to expand medicaid

The president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe on Thursday urged South Dakota lawmakers to expand Medicaid and work with tribal officials to fight the opioid and methamphetamine epidemic. President Rodney Bordeaux gave the fourth State of the Tribes message, asking legislators and Gov. Kristi Noem to promote higher education tuition waivers for Native American students and to make the availability of mental health services in rural areas and reservations a priority: (dl 185)




He referenced a period of time during his second term as President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe when the suicide rate spiked dramatically: (dl 186)





He also recommended a government-to-government summit on meth and opioids. He says "The epidemic is depriving children of their parents, families of their relatives,  and communities of their neighbors".

Ipswich man sentenced to 60 days in prison for bestiality

An Ipswich man has been sentenced to 60 days in prison on bestiality charges.  58-year-old James Schumacher admitted to engaging in sexual acts with two calves near Bath in July of 2017 and was sentenced recently.  He received two years in prison, all but 60 days suspended, received five years probation and must pay several thousand dollars in court and other costs.   

Marshall County sheriff Elsen appeals decision to revoke law enforcement certification

Former Marshall County sheriff Dale Elsen who had his law enforcement certification revoked due to lewed behavior on the job has announced he is appealing the state’s decision.  In a statement published in the Britton Journal, Elsen says he will also stay on as sheriff during the appeals process.  He apologized for his behavior in the statement as well.  While in a hearing on the matter, Elsen admitted to at least seven claims of sexual harassment made by Marshall County employees. 

Aberdeen man pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a minor via text message

An Aberdeen man has pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a minor via text messages.  According to court documents 42-year-old Greg Hubert was charged in September with two counts of soliciting a minor, from at least two incidents in March and April.  The court alleges Hubert and an accomplice 20-year-old Krystina Church met the teen at a bowling ally and later through text messages propositioned her for a three-way.  Solicitation carries a maximum punishment of 10 year sin prison and $20,000 fine. 

AG Ravnsborg pushing for legislation to end presumptive probation

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has endorsed legislation to end presumptive probation in drug related cases.  Senate Bill 19 would end the practice of suspects at sentencing for a class 5 or 6 felony, often low-level non-violent drug offenses, receiving probation rather than jail time.  Proponents say it is a tough on crime measure, specifically drug crime, which is what Ravnsborg ran his campaign on, while critics say it is excessive incarceration that will lead to millions of more dollars spent on corrections.  According to the ACLU, ending presumptive probation could result in the need for a new facility to house these extra prisoners at the cost of an estimated $224 million.

Senator Rounds speaks on government shutdown

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds spoke with the media about the current government shutdown and what paths there are forward to solving the problem.


Senator Rounds was quick to pass blame onto the President and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  According to Rounds, it’s those two at the negotiation table and the senate is on standby…




President Trump in recent days has floated the idea of declaring a national emergency to enact special executive branch powers and get the wall he wants built on the US’s southern border.  It is unknown if a President has that authority and should he go that route it will likely be challenged in the courts.


Despite  the contemporary claims of a national emergency, the President and his allies failed to even try to get border wall funding during the first two years of the administration when all the levers of power in Washington DC belonged to the Republicans.  Senator Rounds says this new found urgency does leave him and some of his colleagues puzzled…





Should the president try and exercise executive power by claiming a national emergency, the money to build the wall would come out of the defense budget.  Senator Rounds has authored legislation with four other members of the senate to fully fund the wall project in hopes of preventing the need to dip into the defense budget.


No matter how this shutdown ends, it’s clear now with the President seeking money from congress, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall.  This despite the claims the President made on the campaign trail in 2016.  Senator Rounds seemed to acknowledge the President’s falsehoods on that matter…


Gov. Noem nominates Secretary of Social services

Governor Kristi Noem today announced that M. Gregory DeSautel, MD will join her cabinet as Secretary of Social Services. He will officially be appointed February 1.


“Greg is full of new perspectives,” said Governor Noem. “His deep care for people and willingness to serve, work hard, and produce results will be valuable to my team as we work to educate the state about the need for foster families, adoptive families, and safe homes for every child.”


“I’m deeply honored to serve with Governor Noem,” said DeSautel. “As we strive to increase awareness about the issues affecting families in our state, I’m committed to working relentlessly to make sure our families are stronger tomorrow than they were yesterday.”


DeSautel currently works at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls where he serves patients from all walks of life. Additionally, he has taught as an assistant clinical professor at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine since 1997.


DeSautel and his wife, Susan, live in Sioux Falls with their four children. 

Mobridge woman dies as a result of hypothermia

A Mobridge women died as a result of hypothermia.  According to the Walworth County State’s attorney’s office the woman is believed to be in her late 50s and was found on the ground near her mobile home Tuesday morning.  No foul play was suspected and an autopsy is being performed to rule out any other cause of death. 

SD Supreme Court chief justice David Gilbertson gives state of the judiciary speech

Lawmakers in the State Capitol gathered Wednesday to hear the annual State of the Judiciary message presented by South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson.  Gilbertson says the Rural Attorney program that started five years ago has 50-percent participation from eligible counties.  The program is expanding to include municipalities.  The retention portion of the program is working..




Gilbertson says the states system of drug and alcohol courts are working to keep people out of prison…




Gilbertson says comprehensive legislation passed in 2017 to speed up mental health evaluations in the criminal justice system…




Gilbertson also touched on the states expanding trust legislation, changes to the State Bar Exam and took time to remember Justice Steven Zinter, who passed way last year.

Legislature gearing up for a discussion on cannabidiol or CBD

The South Dakota legislature is gearing up for a battle over the future of cannabidiol’s, or CBD, availability across the state.  Proponents of  CBD medicine say GW Pharmaceuticals, a British pharmaceuticals company and its subsidiary Greenwich BioSciencese, currently has a monopoly on CBD in South Dakota because of Senate Bill 95. 


 SB 95 was passed by the legislature in 2017 making CBD a schedule four drug thus clearing the way for CBD products to be sold legally in South Dakota.  However, lobbyists from GW Pharmaceuticals managed to convince lawmakers to add language requiring CBD products to be FDA approved.  Currently, one of the only available CBD products with FDA approval is a GW product known as Epidiolex.  Epidiolex is estimated to cost roughly $32,500 a year for patients with a prescription according to Yahoo Finance.


Melissa Mentele with “New Approach South Dakota”, a marijuana advocacy group explained why she feels this is a company on a quest to entrench its own profits...




With the passing of the most recent farm bill in Washington DC industrial hemp is now legal to grow in the United States.  Along with that, the Food and Drug Administration chose not to schedule CBD, meaning it is federally legal to use CBD medicine.  By going state to state GW Pharmaceuticals hopes to keep CBD a scheduled drug, thus maintaining Epidiolex as many patients only real option.


Some members of the legislature are working on an amendment to Senate Bill 95 to be better in line with federal law including Democrat Susan Wismer of District 1.  According to Wismer this whole situation requires a lot of new education for both the public and legislature...




Mentele framed the discussion in regards to the free market.  If more CBD products were allowed to be sold in South Dakota, patients and consumers would have access to higher quality products than the one offered to them by GW Pharmaceuticals...


Gregory County man sentenced to life for second degree manslaughter

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and Gregory County State’s Attorney Amy Bartlingannounce that Chance Glenn Harruff, 48, Hamill, was sentenced to life in the South Dakota State Penitentiary today at the Gregory County Courthouse in Burke, South Dakota. 


On November 1, 2018, Harruff was convicted of 2ndDegree Murder for the death of Kristi Olson, a 38-year old mother of seven who was found dead in her home in Dallas, South Dakota on June 1, 2017. The charge is a Class B Felony that carries a mandatory life sentence. 


In addition, Harruff was given credit for 587 days served and ordered to pay court costs, funeral expenses, witness, transcript and court appointed attorney fees, and costs of prosecution including medical expenses, and Winner City Jail expenses.


Harruff remains in the custody of the Gregory County Sheriff pending his transportation to the state penitentiary.


“This has been a tragic case of domestic violence and murder,” said Ravnsborg, “Hopefully the family of Ms. Olson receives some degree of closure knowing that justice was served and the defendant received a life sentence and will not be free to harm anyone ever again.”


This case was investigated by the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Gregory County Sheriff’s Office, the Gregory Police Department and was prosecuted by the Gregory County State’s Attorney and the Attorney General’s Office.

South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson says he will defer pay until government shutdown is over

South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson says he will defer his congressional salary until the current government shutdown is over.  


So far Johnson is the only member of South Dakota's delegation to Washington who has made such a pledge.  


Aberdeen woman claims multi-million lottery reward

Brandi Jo Hanson’s lucky numbers will pay dividends to the tune of $1,000 a day for the rest of her life.


The 23-year-old Aberdeen resident claimed her life-changing prize from the South Dakota Lottery after becoming the state’s first Lucky for Life top prize winner. Hanson purchased her ticket at Ken’s SuperFair Foods in Aberdeen prior to the Dec. 31 drawing.


“I feel very blessed. I’m very grateful,” Hanson said. “It’s life-changing. It’s a little overwhelming. I was really scared at first, and I didn’t know what to do. Now, after talking things out with my financial advisor, we have a plan.”


Hanson somewhat created her own luck in ringing in the new year with the top prize. She notes that she purchases lotto tickets about once a week, and when she does, she chooses her numbers based on her grandmother’s birthday, her grandfather’s birthday or their anniversary.


In this instance, she chose her grandmother’s birthday, which makes her win even more special.

“It makes me feel like she’s watching over me up there,” Hanson said.


Hanson’s Lucky for Life win granted her a unique dilemma. She could either choose the game’s $1,000 a day for life prize or a one-time payment of $5.7 million.


“At first, I didn’t really understand,” Hanson said. “At first, I thought it was only for 20 years, so I was originally going to take the lump sum. But after doing the math with $1,000 a day for life, I could get about five times that amount.”


Hanson and her family wasted little time seeing if she was the winner after the drawing. She notes that her mother learned of South Dakota’s winning ticket early the next morning, and the rest was history.


“My mom got up at about 3 in the morning to check her tickets, and she saw somebody from South Dakota won,” Hanson said. “She told me to check if I won, so I went to the website and knew right away that those were my numbers.”


Now that the initial shock of winning has subsided a bit, Hanson is beginning to make plans for her new wealth. Most importantly, she’s hoping to give back to those closest to her.


“There’s a lot going on in my head,” said Hanson “There’s so much I want to do. The important thing I want to do is give back to people. I have a nephew who is 9, and I want to set up a college fund for him. I have a lot of ideas.”


Hanson noted that she plans on continuing to play lotto games, and she left some advice for her fellow players.


“A lot of people don’t play, but it can be pretty fun,” she said. “I like choosing my numbers, and you should just go with what you feel in your gut.”

For profit college to forgive nearly half a billion in student loan debt in SD

Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg announced today that Career Education Corp. (CEC) has agreed to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting more than $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally, in a settlement with state attorneys general.


The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today caps a five-year investigation.


CEC agrees to forgo any and all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement. In South Dakota, 1,011 students will get relief totaling $1,593,219.


Nationally, the average individual debt relief will be about $2,852.

CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states. South Dakota’s share will be $50,000.  

CEC is based in Schaumburg, Ill., and currently offers primarily online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. 


CEC has closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Its brands have included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown. 


A group of attorneys general launched an investigation into CEC in January 2014 after receiving several complaints from students and a critical report on for-profit education by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.


The attorneys general alleged that CEC pressured its employees to enroll students and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices. These practices included making misleading statements or failing to disclose information to prospective students on total costs, transferability of credits, program offerings, job placement rates, and other topics.


As a result, some students could not obtain professional licensure and incurred debts that they could not repay nor discharge.


CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general but agreed to resolve the claims through this multi-state settlement.


Under the agreement, CEC must: 


  • Make no misrepresentations concerning accreditation, selectivity, graduation rates, placement rates, transferability of credit, financial aid, veterans’ benefits, or licensure requirements. 
  • Not enroll students in programs that do not lead to state licensure when required for employment, or that due to their lack of accreditation, will not prepare graduates for jobs in their field.  For certain programs that will prepare graduates for some but not all jobs, CEC will be required to disclose such to incoming students.


  • Provide a single-page disclosure to each student that includes: a) anticipated total direct cost; b) median debt for completers; c) programmatic cohort default rate; d) program completion rate; c) notice concerning transferability of credits; d) median earnings for completers; and e) the job placement rate.


  • Require students before enrolling to complete an Electronic Financial Impact Platform Disclosure, which provides specific information about debt burden and expected post-graduation income. CEC is working with the states to develop this platform.


  • Not engage in deceptive or abusive recruiting practices and record online chats and telephone calls with prospective students. CEC shall analyze these recordings to ensure compliance. CEC shall not contact students who indicate that they no longer wish to be contacted.


  • Require incoming undergraduate students with fewer than 24 credits to complete an orientation program before their first class that covers study skills, organization, literacy, financial skills, and computer competency. During the orientation period, students may withdraw at no cost.


  • Establish a risk-free trial period. All undergraduates who enter an online CEC program with fewer than 24 online credits shall be permitted to withdraw within 21 days of the beginning of the term without incurring any cost. All undergraduates who enter an on-ground CEC program shall be permitted to withdraw within seven days of the first day of class without incurring any cost.

Relief eligibility


CEC has agreed to forgo collection of debts owed to the it by students who either attended a CEC institution that closed before Jan. 1, 2019, or whose final day of attendance at AIU or CTU occurred on or before Dec. 31, 2013. 


Former students with debt relief eligibility questions can call CEC at 844-783-8629, or email them

Eagles Club in downtown Aberdeen to close

The Eagles  Arie #632 club in Downtown Aberdeen announced via its Facebook Page Tuesday, the building will be closing its doors Monday January 14th.  According to the post, the building’s size has become untenable at this time.  The post did not close off the idea of the Eagles relocating, calling 2019 a year of possible rebirth, and said it would contact any customers who may have had events booked at the location. 


Gov. Noem addresses the media following state of the state address

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave a press conference following her state of the state address to open the 2019 legislative session. 


Noem did her best to touch on a wide array of topics that are of interest and concern to South Dakotan’s.  One area in particular is the rise of meth use across the state.  Governor Noem has even sent four members of the South Dakota National Guard to the US border with Mexico as she says most of the meth coming into South Dakota comes from Mexico.  According to Noem the key to battling meth is to prevent teens and young adults from ever picking up the habit...





Governor Noem also spoke in her speech about the pheasant population and the economic importance of keeping the bird numbers high across South Dakota.  In order to achieve this, governor Noem is seeking private/public partnerships between land owners and foundations dedicated to maintaining pheasant habitat.  Governor Noem explained her ideas further...





Finally, governor Noem continued to discuss an issue that her predecessor, Governor Dennis Daugaard tried to reform during his time in charge and that is licensure issues.  Often times when people move to the state they are required to get licensed to continue practicing their profession, whether that be in cosmetology, massage therapy or other professions.  According to Noem, streamlining the process and getting those people back to work will be important...


Mitchell man dies from severe head injury suffered in bar fight

A 59-year old man who suffered severe head injuries during a fight outside of a Mitchell bar has died.  The incident occurred last Thursday night.  The man and 26-year old Dylan Thompson of Mitchell were involved in an altercation inside Thirsty’s.  Thompson then allegedly struck the man outside of the bar, causing the 59-year old to fall to the ground and strike his head.  Thompson was originally charged with aggravated assault.  He now faces a manslaughter charge which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  An investigation into the incident continues.

Name released in Bon Homme County fatal crash

A 21-year-old female from Yankton, S.D., has been identified as the person who died Thursday night when her vehicle collided with a Burlington Northern railroad train near Scotland.


A 1990 Chevy CG21305 was northbound on South Dakota Highway 25 when the vehicle collided with the train. Isabelle Plath, who was the driver of the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene. She was the only person involved.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.


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

Kristi Fiegen begins another term with the PUC

PUC Press Release: 

South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen was sworn in to office on Saturday, Jan. 5 to officially begin her new term. South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Janine Kern administered the oath at a ceremony held in the State Capitol in Pierre.


Fiegen began serving on the PUC in August 2011 when Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed her to fill a vacancy. She was elected to her first full, six-year term in November 2012 and was re-elected in November 2018. She served as the commission’s chairperson in 2017 and 2018 and vice chairperson in 2012, 2015 and 2016.


“South Dakota is my passion. It’s the state I grew up in and the state I’m raising my family in. That’s why protecting South Dakota consumers is so important to me,” said Fiegen. “I’m grateful to the people of South Dakota for the confidence they have instilled in me and I look forward to continuing to dive deep into the issues that impact utility consumers in our state.”


Fiegen currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Southwest Power Pool's Regional State Committee and is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Gas and Subcommittee on Pipeline Safety. She is also a member of the Gas Technology Institute's Public Interest Advisory Committee where she provides guidance related to the interests of the public and gas consumers.


Prior to her time at the PUC, Fiegen was the president of Junior Achievement of South Dakota for 17 years, spent nine years as the South Dakota area manager for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and served four terms as a legislator in the South Dakota House of Representatives.

During the oath ceremony, Fiegen’s husband, Tim, held the Bible that belonged to the commissioner’s mother, Evelyn Olson. Several other family members were also in attendance at the event.

Republican lawmakers looking to pass anti-nepotism laws

Republican lawmakers are planning legislation in the new congress aimed at preventing state officials from hiring relatives.  Republicans Stace Nelson, Lance Russell and Sam Marty say they plan to bring a bill to the floor ending quote “the long sordid history of state officials hiring their relatives.”  Nepotism has been given a spotlight after it was announced newly elected Governor Kristi Noem hired her daughter Kennedy Noem to work in her administration as a policy analyist, paying her $40,000 in the process.   

Police arrest four in connection with theft and drug charges

The Aberdeen Police Department says four people have been arrested in connection with dozens of stolen items, linked to nine burglaries.  A stolen trailer and snowmobile was first found last Friday afternoon in the200 block of 4th ave NE.  Police obtained a search warrant and upon further investigation found dozens of stolen items.  Methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia was also seized in the search. 

Police arrested:

34-year-old Nathan Allan Marzenell - charged with possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, keeping a place for the use or sale of a controlled substance, possession of drugs while in jail, and possessing or receiving stolen property.

29-year-old Tasha Marie Marzenell - charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, keeping a place for the use or sale of a controlled substance, possession of drugs while in jail, and possessing or receiving stolen property.

35-year-old Matthew David Tutor - charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession or receiving stolen property, probation violation, two counts of burglary 3rd degree, grand theft auto, and ingesting a controlled substance.

29-year-old Dewayne Detanuski Ross - charged with possession of a controlled substance, possessing or receiving stolen property, two counts of burglary 3rd degree, petty theft in the 1st degree, grand theft auto, and ingesting a controlled substance.

Aberdeen Police find no credible evidence of facebook viral story

The Aberdeen Police Department says a local story which went viral on facebook over the weekend had no basis in reality.  According to the post on Facebook, a group of men were in the Walmart parking lot looking to abduct females of all ages.  Other than that, little more information was given from the post.  According to the Police Department, an investigation into the allegations found nothing and the claims appear to be completely manufactured.   

Aberdeen Police find no credible evidence of facebook viral story

The Aberdeen Police Department says a local story which went viral on facebook over the weekend had no basis in reality.  According to the post on Facebook, a group of men were in the Walmart parking lot looking to abduct females of all ages.  Other than that, little more information was given from the post.  According to the Police Department, an investigation into the allegations found nothing and the claims appear to be completely manufactured.   

Noem readies for first legislative session as governor

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is inheriting a state on solid financial footing as she enters her first legislative session as governor.


During a press conference immediately following the Oath of Office Ceremony Saturday, Noem said finishing her proposed budget is Job #1 today (Mon.).





Noem said she wants to be a governor for the next generation, which means bringing the next big industry to the state.





Not only is Noem the first female governor of South Dakota, but she has chosen quite a few women to serve in cabinet positions and as high level members of her staff. She said it wasn’t a conscious effort on her part.





Legislators gather tomorrow for the start of the 2019 session and Noem's first State of the State address. Noem says she'll release her policy priorities at the speech and propose a state budget in the coming weeks.


Sobriety checkpoints scheduled for the month of January

South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety will continue its sobriety checkpoint program in 2019 with 15 checkpoints planned in January.


The program is designed to discourage people from drinking and then driving. Monthly checkpoints are funded by the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety and conducted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.


January checkpoints are scheduled for 13 different counties.


Checkpoints will be held in the counties of: Brown, Beadle, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Lawrence, Minnehaha, Meade, Moody, Pennington and Roberts.


Both the Office of Highway Safety and the Highway Patrol are part of the Department of Public Safety.


Groton man involved in fatal crash near Wall

A Pierre, S.D., woman has been identified as the person who died in a three-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon west of Wall.

All three vehicles were westbound on Interstate 90.  At the time, the road was covered by snow and ice.

A 2007 Saturn Ion lost control while attempting to pass a 2014 Cadillac Escalade. The Saturn slid into the right driving lane where it was hit by the Escalade. The third vehicle, a 2016 Hyundai, also struck the Saturn.


Katie Kloos, the 19-year-old female passenger,  in the Saturn was pronounced dead at the scene. The 19-year-old male driver, Nathan Fjelstad of Groton, S.D., sustained serious non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a Rapid City hospital. Charges are pending against the driver.

Both occupants of the Escalade were injured and transported to a Rapid City hospital. There were no injuries in the Hyundai.


Seatbelt used by the deceased is under investigation. All of the others involved were wearing seatbelts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.


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

Golden Globe Results


Best Motion Picture - Drama

"Black Panther"


"Bohemian Rhapsody" *WINNER

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

"A Star Is Born"

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

"Crazy Rich Asians"

"The Favourite"

"Green Book" *WINNER

"Mary Poppins Returns"


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Glenn Close ("The Wife") *WINNER

Lady Gaga ("A Star Is Born")

Nicole Kidman ("Destroyer")

Melissa McCarthy ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?")

Rosamund Pike ("A Private War")

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born")

Willem Dafoe ("At Eternity's Gate")

Lucas Hedges ("Boy Erased")

Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody") *WINNER

John David Washington ("BlackKklansman")

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Emily Blunt ("Mary Poppins Returns")

Olivia Colman ("The Favourite") *WINNER

Elsie Fisher ("Eighth Grade")

Charlize Theron ("Tully")

Constance Wu ("Crazy Rich Asians")

Best Director

Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born")

Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma") *WINNER

Peter Farrelly ("Green Book")

Spike Lee ("BlackKklansman")

Adam McKay ("Vice")

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Christian Bale ("Vice") *WINNER

Lin-Manuel Miranda ("Mary Poppins Returns")

Vigo Mortensen ("Green Book")

Robert Redford ("The Old Man and the Gun")

John C. Reilly ("Stan and Ollie")

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Amy Adams ("Vice")

Claire Foy ("First Man")

Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk") *WINNER

Emma Stone ("The Favourite")

Rachel Weisz ("The Favourite")

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Mahershala Ali ("Green Book") *WINNER

Timothee Chalamet ("Beautiful Boy")

Adam Driver ("BlackKklansman")

Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?")

Sam Rockwell ("Vice")

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture

Marco Beltrami ("A Quiet Place")

Alexandre Desplat ("Isle of Dogs")

Ludwig Göransson ("Black Panther")

Justin Hurwitz ("First Man") *WINNER

Marc Shaiman ("Mary Poppins Returns")

Best Original Song in a Motion Picture

"All the Stars" ("Black Panther")

"Girl in the Movies" ("Dumplin'")

"Requiem for a Private War" ("A Private War")

"Revelation" ("Boy Erased")

"Shallow" ("A Star Is Born") *WINNER

Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture

Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

Adam McKay ("Vice")

Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma")

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara ("The Favourite")

Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie ("Green Book") *WINNER

Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language



"Never Look Away"

"Roma" *WINNER


Best Animated Film

"Incredibles 2"

"Isle of Dogs"


"Ralph Breaks the Internet"

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" *WINNER


Best TV series - Drama

"The Americans" *WINNER



"Killing Eve"


Best performance by Actress in a TV series - Drama

Caitriona Balfe ("Outlander")

Elisabeth Moss ("The Handmaid's Tale")

Sandra Oh ("Killing Eve") *WINNER

Julia Roberts ("Homecoming")

Keri Russell ("The Americans")

Best performance by an Actor in a TV Series - Drama

Jason Bateman ("Ozark")

Stephan James ("Homecoming")

Richard Madden ("Bodyguard") *WINNER

Billy Porter ("Pose")

Matthew Rhys ("The Americans")

Best TV series - Musical or Comedy


"The Good Place"


"The Kominsky Method" *WINNER

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV series - Musical or Comedy

Sasha Baron Cohen ("Who Is America?")

Jim Carrey ("Kidding")

Michael Douglas ("The Kominsky Method") *WINNER

Donald Glover ("Atlanta")

Bill Hader ("Barry")

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV series - Musical or Comedy

Kristen Bell ("The Good Place")

Candice Bergen ("Murphy Brown")

Alison Brie ("GLOW")

Rachel Brosnahan ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel") *WINNER

Debra Messing ("Will & Grace")

Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

"The Alienist"

"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" *WINNER

"Dirty John"

"Escape at Dannemora"

"Sharp Objects"

"A Very English Scandal"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Antonio Banderas ("Genius: Picasso")

Daniel Bruhl ("The Alienist")

Darren Criss ("The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story") *WINNER

Benedict Cumberbatch ("Patrick Melrose")

Hugh Grant ("A Very English Scandal")

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Amy Adams ("Sharp Objects")

Patricia Arquette ("Escape at Dannemora") *WINNER

Connie Britton ("Dirty John")

Laura Dern ("The Tale")

Regina King ("Seven Seconds")

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Alan Arkin ("The Kominsky Method")

Kieran Culkin ("Succession Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story")

Ben Whishaw ("A Very English Scandal") *WINNER

Henry Winkler ("Barry")

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Alex Borstein ("The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel')

Patricia Clarkson ("Sharp Objects") *WINNER

Penélope Cruz ("The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story")

Thandie Newton ("Westworld")

Yvonne Strahovski ("The Handmaid's Tale")

Fourth "Golden Apple" awards given out by the Public School Foudnation

The Aberdeen Public Schools Foundation announced the fourth annual Golden Apple Awards on January 2, 2019, to recognize individuals that are dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference in the Aberdeen School District.  This year’s honorees were Carol Vetter, Nicole Schutter and Janet Deuel.  Each received $500 and a golden apple.


Carol Vetter, CC Lee Elementary Educational Assistant, works selflessly to make sure staff and students are taken care of both in school and after school hours.  Her efforts are an important part of why they experience success each and every day.  She is dedicated to students and staff and is always there to lend a helping hand.  Vetter loves children and has dedicated her life to theirs, and has a true servant’s heart.  She helps students learn by helping them sound out words, listening to them while they are learning to read, and just helping wherever it is needed.


Vetter is not only dedicated during school hours, she puts in countless hours after school volunteering with Central High School fine arts activities.  She has worked with the show choirs and specializes in assisting students with just the right hairstyle for performances.  She also does costuming for numerous plays at CHS and has come up with many designs on her own.  She sews and alters costumes to fit each student.  She often buys several props and costuming items on her own that she thinks would be great for the play.  From material to hats, jackets, and even furniture items, she is always on the lookout for things that will add to the students’ performances. 


Over the years Vetter has chaperoned events, coordinated fundraisers, and logged many hours on the road in all kinds of weather.  One of her colleagues states, “I can’t say enough great things about her.  She is one of the most selfless people I know.  Always giving and I know the success of our students will be her grand reward.  She has dedicated her life and heart tirelessly to our kids.” 


Nicole Schutter, Mike Miller Elementary Principal.  From her nominator, “We are parents of a child who has struggled behaviorally and emotionally which is starting to get better with Mrs. Schutter’s help, guidance, encouragement, and support.  She has always encouraged us to believe that tomorrow is a new day.  She helped get a team together to assist our son and would take time out of her day to help with anything he needed to have a good day.  Over the years she has helped him calm down using kid yoga, would regularly check in with him during the day, and created and reworked behavior plans based on what was or was not working.  She kept us informed and was always upbeat that we would get there.  As parents, we want our child to excel at school, have fun, and be safe - which has happened with Mrs. Schutter’s help.


It has always been Schutter’s goal to ensure that students, families, and staff feel welcome, important, and respected.  She had the unique opportunity of opening a brand new school and piloting the iPad initiative, as well as forming a new embedded classroom experience with NSU students.  Schutter writes, “We have an amazing team serving our students and families each day, and I am beyond grateful to be part of such a wonderful organization.” 


Janet Deuel, Holgate Middle School Office Assistant, is a great example of going above and beyond and does so much for students.  One characteristic that needs to be noted about her is her welcoming personality.  She approaches each day as a new day and does it with a friendly smile and greeting.   She is known for acknowledging people in the morning, calling them by name, and asking how their day is going.  Deuel is the frontline for students sent to the office for any reason.  She cares for students who come to the office sick, angry, or lost with the same cheerful demeanor.  She is nurturing when she needs to be, shows tough love when necessary, and always has a smile on her face.  Her job requires several opportunities for student supervision, answering the phone, managing attendance issues, subbing in classrooms when needed, helping students with their school work, and staying after school to manage student detention.  She is truly a jack of all trades and does it with just the right amount of toughness.  One of her colleagues notes, “In all of the years I have worked for the school district, I have never heard a student speak disparagingly of her. I could go on and on about all the things she does”


In addition to her required job assignments, Deuel manages the school sunshine account, organizes her city league volleyball team, and participates in Relay for Life.  She works several extra activities including ballgames, concerts, and high school registration.  Deuel states, “My job is so rewarding and making a difference in a student’s life is the best reward.  At the end of the day, a hug from a student brings another day and another smile.  The students and staff have given me more in my 18 years then I ever thought possible.” 

Gov. elect Noem picks New Underwood native for policy team

Governor-elect Kristi Noem today announced that Jason Simmons, a New Underwood native, will join her staff as a policy advisor.  


“Jason’s commitment to service and process will be an incredible benefit to my team,” said Noem. “I look forward to utilizing his experience and knowledge as we work to design a balanced budget and shape legislation to create a stronger South Dakota.”   


Simmons is presently the principal fiscal analyst at the South Dakota Legislative Research Council where he’s worked with the legislature to craft legislation and develop the state budget since 2013. Prior to his work with the LRC, Simmons served as a utilities analyst with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.  


Simmons is a partial owner of his family’s livestock and small grain agriculture operation near New Underwood.

Aberdeen Public school district encouraging incoming kindergarten students to get registered

The Aberdeen Public School department is encouraging parents of incoming kindergarteners to get registered asap.  Registration began January 2nd.  Parents are asked to register their children a ttheir neighborhood school between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Early registration is encouraged as classes fill up quickly.  If a class is full it could force a child to attend a school outside their home area.  Children who qualify must be five years old by September 1st 2018.  Parents must bring the child’s birth certificate, immunization records and proof of residency. 

Former Day County sheriff Hillestad named interim Roberts county sheriff

Former Day County sheriff Barry Hillestad has been named the interim Roberts County sheriff by the Roberts County Commission after sheriff-elect Korey Ware had his law enforcement license temporarily suspended.  Ware won the Republican primary in June and ran unopposed for the position, but is currently battling assault charges in Brown County.  The South Dakota Law Enforcement Standards and Training Commission made the decision to temporarily suspend Ware’s license in December. 

One person killed in three vehicle crash near Wall

One person died and three others were injured in a three-vehicle crash that occurred Tuesday afternoon west of Wall.

Names of those involved are not being released pending notification of families.


All three vehicles were westbound on Interstate 90.  At the time, the road was covered by snow and ice.

A 2007 Saturn Ion lost control while attempting to pass a 2014 Cadillac Escalade. The Saturn slid into the right driving lane where it was hit by the Escalade. The third vehicle, a 2016 Hyundai, also struck the Saturn.


The 19-year-old female passenger in the Saturn was pronounced dead at the scene. The 19-year-old male driver sustained serious non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a Rapid City hospital. Charges are pending against the driver.

Both occupants of the Escalade were injured and transported to a Rapid City hospital. There were no injuries in the Hyundai.


Seatbelt used by the deceased is under investigation. All of the others involved were wearing seatbelts.


South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.


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

Sisseton native "Mean Gene" Okerlund dead at 76

Sisseton South Dakota native and longtime professional wrestler announcer Mean Gene Okerlund passed away January 2nd at the age of 76.  Okerlund started his career in radio before joining the American Wrestling Association in the 1970s then the World Wrestling Federation in its heyday between 1984 to 1993.  He also worked for World Championship Wrestling during what was known as the “Monday Night Wars” through the 90s before returning to WWE in the early 2001s where he has been ever since.  Okerlund is also a member of the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association’s hall of fame with his band “Gene Carroll & the Shades”

Multi-million dollar lottery ticket sold at Ken's in Aberdeen

A multi-million dollar lottery ticket was sold at Ken’s Super Fair Foods in Aberdeen.  The winner, who has not yet come forward, won the Lucky for Life game with the numbers 4, 10, 15,19, 43 and a Lucky Ball number of 8.  The winner has the choice to collected $1,000 a day for the rest of their life or a one time payment of $5.7 million.  The South Dakota Lottery says the winner should sign the back of his or her ticket immediately and contact the South Dakota Lottery office in Pierre as soon as possible at 773-5770. 

Two people hospitalized following early Tuesday morning accident

Two people were taken to a local hospital following an accident Tuesday morning.  According to the Aberdeen Police Department, 33-year-old David Ogden of Aberdeen was traveling south in the 700 block of South Second Street when a pickup backing onto the street collided with the car.  The incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. the driver of the pickup drove away according to police.  Ogden was not injured but two passengers, 24-year-old Lisa Krokel and 28-year-old Nocholas Krokel were both take by ambulance from the scene.  No one was wearing their seatbelt during the accident.