The citywide elections will take place next Tuesday June 4th and early voting is already underway. Aberdeen will be selecting its next mayor and the two candidates have many unique qualities. The challenger, Travis Schaunaman is looking to get into local politics for the first time, while the incumbent Mike Levsen is seeking his fourth term.
Levsen is a 40 year resident of Aberdeen and has served as mayor since first being elected in 2004. Levsen says one of the best parts about being mayor these past 15 years is his ability to help almost anyone who contacts him, including the 260 people who work for the city.
According to Levsen, he is seeking re-election because under his leadership the city has seen consistent growth and he wants to see that keep going…
Mayor Levsen is proud of the work he and his colleagues have done to help make Aberdeen what it is today. That was a deliberate decision when it came to building new things…
With the growth Aberdeen has experienced, it has sometimes led to friction as the population diversifies. Levsen has been criticized in the past for being insensitive to the concerns of those in the community who do not see the growth of diversity as a great thing.
According to Levsen he sympathizes with those concerns, but says he has little control over the situation. He also says it is a fact, if we do not diversify we will not grow, the economy could become stagnant and jobs would go unfilled…
A Dell Rapids man received a life in prison sentence without the possibility of parole for his role in the death of his 18-month old stepson. According to KSFY 39-year-old Keith Cornette was sentenced Thursday after being found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his infant stepson Hayden Wigton. The child was found unresponsive in a Dell Rapids home in December of 2016. An autopsy was performed and showed the child died as a result of skull fractures after being hit in the head six times. Bite marks were also found on Hayden’s body.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board announced Thursday, a disease that can cause cows to abort has been found in South Dakota herds, specifically in southwest South Dakota. The disease is known as trich and is a parasite borne disease. Two bulls specifically were infected in a herd in Oglala Lakota County. Officials are working with the herd owner and other veterinarians to come up with a plan to control the disease, which is transmitted between animals during breeding.
Earlier this spring, the tribal council on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation announced it was banning Governor Kristi Noem from coming there.
The tribe is upset over legislation Noem supported that they say limits their ability to protest during construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The governor was asked if her relationship with the tribe has improved since the ban was announced…
Noem says on a statewide level, her relationship with South Dakota’s Native American community is very good….
Noem’s comments came during a stop in Watertown this week.
The citywide elections will take place next Tuesday June 4th and early voting is already underway. Along with the mayoral election is a city council election for a seat from the northwest district.
Jennifer Slaight-Hanson is seeking re-election and challenging her is Josh Rife. Rife is a native of Aberdeen who has spent 28 years of his life in the city, all within the northwest district.
When asked what issue he focuses on first while campaigning door to door, Rife says safety first comes to mind. He specifically pointed out the rise in methamphetamine and other drug crime as a problem. According to Rife, he has not only sought out the police’s perspective on the issue, but also people who have gone through the criminal justice system to give him a full perspective on the issue…
Rife also wants to help tackle the city’s water issues. Growth in Aberdeen has been consistent the past number of years which has lead to a strain on the city’s water supply. That demand is going to get worse with the new AGP soybean plant coming to town. According to Rife, expanding water sources could be a time consuming, expensive task…
Finally, Josh talked about the city’s relationship with the local economy. With retail stores, restaurants and hotels closing in Aberdeen, Rife feels the city has some tools to try and help spur new growth…
Four men have been arrested on burglary charges.
According to the Aberdeen Police Department, officers responded to a call Tuesday around 5:20 a.m. in the 400 block of South Roosevelt Street. Upon investigation police discovered coin rolls, liquor and lottery tickets had been stolen.
The following were arrested in connection with the burglary; 19-year-old Htoo Saw of Aberdeen was charged with burglary, 20-year-old Wis Ton of Aberdeen was charged with aiding and abetting, burglary, receiving stolen property, ingesting marijuana and ingesting a controlled substance, 24-year-old Musar Ko charged with receiving stolen property and 22-year-old Wel Ton of Amarallio Texas was charged with aiding and abetting, burglary and ingestion of a controlled substance.
The Aberdeen City Council Tuesday made the decision to keep a full-service on-sale restaurant liquor license at $100,000. The totals can be revisited every 10 years, but according to the Aberdeen American News, council members felt the $100,000 mark is fair value compared to other cities Aberdeen’s size across the state. According to state law, a liquor license can cost no less than $26,091.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Representative Dusty Johnson will be in Aberdeen today speaking at the annual Boys State event. South Dakota Senator John Thune spoke Wednesday. Johnson will be speaking from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. while Governor Noem will be in at 3:00 p.m.
Citywide spraying for mosquitoes is set for Thursday May 30, 2019 between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. The Adulticiding equipment is noisy and travels at 10 mph. The mosquito control trucks are identified and travel with a flashing yellow light. Residents may want to go inside just before their area is sprayed and stay inside for 20-30 minutes until the aerosol cloud dissipates. Residents should not run, walk or bike directly through the aerosol cloud behind the insecticide sprayer. Also, anyone who is sensitive to chemicals may want to close their windows during the ground spraying.
To ensure spray effectiveness during the spraying operations, the wind must be 10 mph or less and no inclement weather present. Winds higher than 10 mph or inclement weather will result in the spraying being suspended until conditions improve. Residents are encouraged to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before using them. Beekeepers are advised to cover their bees.
Aberdeen’s local city elections are less than a week away and early voting has already been happening for months. The election will take place Tuesday June 4th and feature a city council race for a seat representing the northwest district and a mayoral race.
The person challenging incumbent Mike Levsen is local businessman Travis Schaunaman. Schaunaman has owned several businesses in town, but according to him, his flagship is “Production Monkeys” which is a media company.
Schaunaman has wanted to get into local politics either as a councilman or mayor for a while now. Schaunaman sees his skill set being more geared toward being mayor than a councilman…
Schaunaman talked about the future of Aberdeen and his vision for the city. One way we can invest in children according to Schaunaman is highlight those who show potential and create a program to help them succeed here in Aberdeen. Schaunaman explained further…
When it comes to infrastructure Schaunaman seeds needs like everyone else. According to him, accelerating some of those projects might be the path forward…
Authorities have arrested a man on theft and forgery charges after a counterfeit $100 bill was passed at a Spearfish convenience store.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office says authorities responded to the Valley Corner in Spearfish last week after reports of a $100 bill that was used.
After an investigation, it was determined similar bills had been passed in Pennington, Meade and Butte Counties.
Authorities got a break in the case, and say a search warrant was obtained for a residence on Evans Lane in Spearfish. Inside the home law enforcement found several items of evidence that are consistent with producing counterfeit currency. Authorities also found methamphetamine, fake or altered I.D.’s and additional counterfeit currency.
Law enforcement arrested 34-year-old Tyler J. Andrews of Piedmont in connection with the investigation. He was arrested for outstanding warrants to include insufficient funds check, identity theft, forgery and parole violation.
Andrews is being held in the Lawrence County Jail with no bond.
South Dakota's lone representative in Congress, Dusty Johnson will be in northeast South Dakota Wednesday.
Rep. Johnson will be visiting Milbank at 9:30 a.m. to about 10:45 a.m. touring the United Hardware Distributing Company. He will then take part in an agriculture Q&A from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the community room fo the Milbank Chamber of Commerce.
Finally, Johnson will meet with Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate leaders from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Agency Villiage.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety reports a 4-year-old Conde girl suffered life threatening injuries Saturday in a two-vehicle accident. A 37-year-old Conde woman was northbound on state highway 37 when she approached the intersection of 166th street. A 37-year-old man driving east in a Dodge Ram failed to stop at the intersection and collided with the woman. The 4-year-old girl was flown to a Sioux Falls hospital, a second passenger, a 9-year-old girl along with the 37-year-old driver both received minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation, no citations
A 31-year-old man has died in a one-vehicle rollover that occurred Saturday southeast of Nisland.
A 2004 Kia Optima was traveling on Snoma Road, which is a gravel road, when the driver lost control. The vehicle went into the north ditch and rolled several times.
The driver, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.
The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
Will the official residence of South Dakota’s Governor soon be fenced in? According to a document found on the OpenSD website the Office of the State Engineer on behalf of the state Bureau of Administration is requesting Statements of Interest from companies that would be willing to provide design services for the installation of a fence around the Governor’s mansion. The S-O-I states quote: “The project will have a fast turnaround time with an A/E contract expected to be finalized in mid-May” end quote. The document goes on to state that design is to be finalized in mid-June, bidding and construction contract finalized in mid-July and construction to be finished no later than September 30th The Statement of Interest goes on to note that due to the fast turnaround time a sealed cost proposal should be sent with the S-O-I. The budget for the project is 400-thousand dollars but may change. Governor Kristi Noem’s spokeswoman Kristie Wileman says bids have not gone out on the project. She adds the Bureau of Administration along with the Department of Public Safety are “reviewing the security needs for the Governor’s residence, but no final decisions have been made.
The City of Aberdeen Water Reclamation Facility is reminding business and homeowners that sump pump discharges or any type of storm runoff or ground water is not to be discharged into the sanitary sewer system. Sump pump, storm or ground water must be directed to the storm sewer via the curb and gutter outside your home or business. If you have questions, please call the Public Works Office at 626-7011. Thank you for your cooperation.
British Prime Minster Theresa May announced Friday morning she will be stepping down as the Conservative Party leader in the UK. She will serve until June 7th and will continue to serve on an interim basis until a new conservative leadership contest takes place. May has been under pressure as backlash over the Brexit negotiations and deal continue to mount. Parliament has rejected the Brexit deal she negotiated with the European Union three times and she missed two Brexit deadlines.
Max and Erma’s may be getting new life according to a post on its facebook page. The restaurant which closed its doors recently has been sold to a group of new local owners. The building, property and business were all sold. The new owners were not immediately recognized.
An Aberdeen man will be sentenced at a later date not yet set, after being found guilty of raping a 6-year-old girl. According to the Aberdeen American News, 29-year-old Jerren D. Manning was conceited by a jury of two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual contact with a child under the age of 16. The incidents took place between June 2017 and September of 2018. The rape charges carry a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison with a $50,000 fine. Sexual contact with a child also carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a $30,000 fine.
A Portland Oregon man has been arrested in Aberdeen on drug and weapons charges. According to a release from the Aberdeen Police Department, 42-year-old Charles Anthony Stewart was arrested following an incident Wednesday. Police responded to a call at approximately 11:00 p.m. Wednesday of an armed individual consuming alcohol in the 100 block of South Main Street. Upon investigation police found Stewart along with five baggies of marijuana and a firearm. Stewart now faces distribution of marijuana, commission of a felony while armed, obstruction of law enforcement, resisting arrest and possession of a firearm in an alcohol establishment.
South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson spoke with local media Wednesday and highlighted what work was getting done in Washington D.C.
Partisanship is a problem in the nation’s capital, but Democrats and Republicans are working with one another to pass smaller legislation that doesn’t get widespread attention according to Johnson. The President recently walked out of infrastructure talks with Democrats due to their several investigations into his conduct.
Johnson says he hopes the president can continue to work with the other side…
Farmers across the country are hurting due to the trade war with China and Johnson is aware of that. He talked about the administration’s new trade deal with neighbors Mexico and Canada and says he is more confident the USMCA will pass.
However, when it comes to China, there currently appears to be no way out unless one country backs down. The administration plans on providing a second handout to farmers to help offset losses due to tariffs. Johnson explained how he thinks this will work this time…
Johnson also talked about this trade war in more detail. He explained why it is important to go at China head on; despite what hurt it may cause farmers…
Governor Kristi Noem today requested a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help South Dakotans and local governmental entities recover from property damage sustained during the statewide winter weather and flooding this spring.
The request is for FEMA assistance to help with repairs for damage done to both public property as well as to individual homes and businesses. A preliminary damage assessment indicates about $43 million in damage to public infrastructure in 58 counties and on three reservations. The preliminary damage assessment for individual assistance is about $3 million covering 16 counties and three reservations.
In a letter to President Trump, Noem wrote that “a historic severe winter storm of rare intensity” began in South Dakota March 13. She said the snow was followed by a rapid snowmelt and flooding. The severe weather continued through April 26.
“The winter weather and flooding caused many issues with public and private infrastructure throughout the state as well as the extreme emotional toll on impacted citizens,” wrote Noem. “Citizens continue to experience ongoing issues with their homes and businesses because of the flooding.”
Public property damage assistance is being requested for the counties of: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Oglala Lakota, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, and Ziebach, as well as the Cheyenne River, Lake Traverse, and Rosebud Indian Reservations.
Individual damage assistance is being requested for the counties of: Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Charles Mix, Dewey, Hamlin, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Jackson, Mellette, Minnehaha, Oglala Lakota, Todd, Turner, Yankton, and Ziebach counties as well as the Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, and Rosebud Indian Reservations.
Noem noted the severe weather impacted all parts of the state. The governor wrote that people had to be rescued from their flooded homes; city wastewater treatment plans and sewage lagoons were overwhelmed from high water; highways, ranging from the interstates to the county roads, were closed and damaged by both snow and water; power outages occurred in different parts of the state; and, the state’s agricultural industry was impacted by damage to fields and livestock.
In her letter to the President, the governor stressed that the impacts of this storm will be felt for a long time. She added that federal assistance is needed.
“South Dakotans pride themselves on being a hardy group of citizens, and we pull together to help one another, especially in times of disaster,” Noem wrote. “However, with the availability of federal assistance, combined with state, local, and voluntary assistance provided, it will help individuals, businesses, and government inch closer to recovering from this disaster.”
The governor’s request does not guarantee federal funding will be made available to South Dakota and its citizens. South Dakota last received an Individual Assistance declaration in 2011 for widespread damage from Missouri River flooding. The last Public Assistance declaration was granted in 2016 following a Christmas ice storm.
South Dakota currently has six open Presidential disaster declarations for other events and is working with FEMA on the recovery process for each of those disasters.
Police responded to an officer involved shooting at the Minnehaha County Jail Tuesday afternoon. According to the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s department a 44-year-old man with a glass bottle in hand was hitting a window near the front of the jail. When backup arrived to deal with the suspect, he became violent and according to authorities charged at them with a knife in hand. The deputy in question fired two shots, one hitting the suspect. He was transported to a hospital and his condition was unknown. An officer received minor injuries due to broken glass.
The new restaurant “Danger Von Dempsey’s” will have its grand opening in Aberdeen today. The restaurant will open at 11:00 a.m. and be open until 10:00 p.m. daily. Danger Von Dempsey’s is an offshoot to the “Dempsey’s Irish Pub” in Watertown.
According to “Dempsey’s” owner Sean Dempsey, this new restaurant is similar, but still different than the sister restaurant in Watertown…
The restaurant is known for its pizza and beers, with the dough being made in house and the beer brewed on location as well. Dempsey says what sets their pizza apart from others in town is how they make the dough…
The restaurant is located in the old “Last Chance” bar, right next to “The Zoo” on Main Street. Because of the unique design of the building, Dempsey says the restaurant has a one of a kind feel to it…
Former South Dakota senator and one time Senate minority leader Tom Daschle has accepted a position with Northern Swan Holding on their board of advisors. Northern Swan is an international cannabis industry. Daschle is an Aberdeen native and served in the United State’s senate from 1987 to 2005. He was also a candidate to be part of the Obama administration as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, but withdrew his candidacy.
According to the Edmunds County Sheriff’s office, the two victims in the Tolstoy fire over the weekend, died as a result of smoke inhalation. The victims have also been identified as Jerald and Shirlee Schack, a married couple who were the only residents of the home. According to authorities, the fire was accidental and cause by a wall-mounted heating unit. The fire was first reported around 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
Governor Kristi Noem today announced that Amy Iversen-Pollreisz will serve as Interim Secretary of Social Services. This follows the resignation of current Secretary of Social Services Greg DeSautel, which is effective May 22.
“I’m thankful for the ways Amy has served South Dakota through her various roles at DSS over the years,” said Noem. “I’m confident she’ll continue moving the department in the right direction during this interim period.”
“I am honored to serve the department in this capacity,” said Iversen-Pollreisz. “I look forward to continue working with Governor Noem and the diligent staff at the Department of Social Services.”
Iversen-Pollreisz currently serves as deputy cabinet secretary for the Department of Social Services where she has led extensive system change initiatives and infrastructure development for behavioral health services. Previously, she served in various roles within the Department of Human Services, including work as the director of the Division of Mental Health. She also served as an elementary school counselor in Stanley County.
Iversen-Pollreisz is a Pierre resident.
South Dakota Department of Public Safety officials are urging drivers to make sure this Memorial Day holiday is remembered for all of the right reasons.
This weekend’s Memorial Day holiday is considered the start of the summer travel season. That means with more people on the highways, there is an increased risk of roadway vehicle crashes.
“Especially with the hard, late winter we had this year in South Dakota, many people are anxious to get out on the roads in good weather and travel,” says Office of Highway Safety Director Lee Axdahl. “But it is important for drivers to remember they are not the only ones on the road. They need to always be careful, watch for others and most importantly wear their seatbelts.”
This year’s Memorial Day crash reporting period starts at 6 p.m. Friday local time and ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday local time. During the 2018 Memorial Day report, there were 112 total crashes, 25 injury crashes, 35 people injured and one fatality.
As of today (Monday), May 21, there have been 19 vehicle fatalities so far this year compared to the 43 fatalities at the same time in 2018. Fatal crashes also are down from 35 last year to 17 so far in 2019.
South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers also plan to be out on the highways, making sure motorists are obeying the law. One focus will be seatbelt use.
“Troopers will be out throughout the holiday weekend, making their presence known,” says Highway Patrol Major Rick Miller. “We know people are anxious to get where they are going for the holiday, but it does not do anyone any good if they don’t get there safely.”
Gov. Kristi Noem, along with state and local law enforcement officers, will stress a similar message Friday at a Safe Summer Driving event starting at 11 a.m. at the Sioux Empire Mall.
Both the Office of Highway Safety and the Highway Patrol are part of the Department of Public Safety.
Police in Spearfish say a man was arrested after allegedly holding up the Spearfish McDonald's restaurant.
Police say 20-year-old Brandon Allen Aldrich was arrested on the campus of Black Hills State University shortly after the robbery.
The restaurant reported the robbery at around 11:17 p.m. Sunday night. Staff say the man, who had disguised his face, came in to the business holding what appeared to be a handgun and demanded money. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash.
A person fitting the description of the robber was seen walking on the BHSU campus and police apprehended him around 11:42 p.m. Police say the suspect had an O.C. Spray that resembled a handgun, clothes consistent with the robbery and cash.
Authorities say Aldrich was an employee at the restaurant.
He is charged with robbery, grand theft and kidnapping.
The cause of the fire in which two people lost their lives in rural Edmunds County has been identified. According to the Edmunds County Sheriff’s Office a wall-mounted gas heating unit near a doorway was the sources of the fire. That information came following an investigation by the state fire marshal. The home was located in rural Tolstoy. According to the Aberdeen American News, citing a death notice, the two people involved included 81-year-old Jerry Schack and 74-year-old Shirlee Schack both of Tolstoy.
An Agency Village man has been indicted on federal charges she committed assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. According to the US Attorney’s office 48-year-old John Matthew Pilcher has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Allegedly Pilcher assaulted the victim with a knife or sharp-edged object with the intent to murder the individual during an incident on Nov. 19th. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A trial will take place June 25th.
A man fishing on shore of a western Minnesota lake was killed last Wednesday when a vehicle veered off the road and crashed won an embankment. According to the Stevens County Sheriff’s office 32-year-old Nicholas Hervin of Morris Minnesota was struck by a vehicle driven by 40-year-old Joshua Dewald of Brooten Minnesota. He was fishing on Long Lake in Stevens County. The case remains under investigation, but Dewald was arrested on several outstanding warrants.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks is considering the idea of ending a longstanding no-wake restrictions on Deerfield Lake. The Lake is a popular location in the Black Hills. The regulation as it stands limits speeds up to five miles per hour for boats on the lake. The proposed change would increase that limit to 25 miles per hour. The proposal will be considered at GFP’s June sixth meeting in Pierre. The five miles per hour restrictions have been in place for the past 55 years at least.
Republican congressman from Michigan Justin Amash tweeted over the weekend after reading the Mueller report in full, President Donald Trump did in fact engage in acts worthy of impeachment. Amash also said Attorney General William Barr deliberately misrepresented findings in the Mueller report to protect the president. Amash becomes the first Republican in either the House or Senate to take this stance, leading some allies of the president to wonder if this could lead to more in the future.
Sioux Falls police report two people sustained serious injuries after shots were fired in an apartment complex parking lot Friday night. The Shooting took place around 9:30 p.m. at the Hidden Hills Apartments in Sioux Falls in the 900 block of Cliff Avenue. Eye witnesses tell police a confrontation occurred in the parking lot before shots were fired. An adult victim sustained serious non-life threatening injuries while a juvenile was seriously injured but expected to pull through. No arrests have been made as of yet, but the public is not considered in any danger.
Two people were killed Saturday in a rural house fire in Edmunds County. According to Edmunds County Authorities the fire was reported just north of Tolsty, or South of Bowdle Saturday morning. Names of the victims in this case, or cause of death have not yet been released. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Maine governor Janet Mills signed a bill Thursday which bans public schools and universities from using Native American depictions as mascots. Mills’ office released a statement on the new law saying other states such as California, Oregon, and Wisconsin have similar restrictions and cited South Dakota as a state who has called for an end to the use of Native Americans as mascots.
Police in Aberdeen are investigating a vehicle crashing into a Aberdeen business Thursday morning. The crash was reported around 2:30 a.m. Thursday in the 700 block of South Main Street. Sergeant Tanner Jondahl with the Aberdeen Police Department tells the Aberdeen American News the crash appears intentional. No injuries were reported and the incident remains under investigation.
The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Wellness Committee hosts its next Wellness Symposium on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at the Johnson Fine Arts Center on the Northern State University campus. The topic will be opioid addiction.
There will be a four-speaker panel beginning at 6 pm. Speakers include:
- Dr. Shawna Schmidt, speaking about what opioid addiction is and the science behind it
- Detective Brad Jung with the Aberdeen Police Department, addressing the impact on our community
- Jamie Milbrandt, CAC, with the Avera Addiction Center, speaking about the treatment process
- Melanie Weiss, OD, sharing her personal story of addiction
Doors open at 5 pm and information tables will be available for attendees to ask questions and receive information. Speakers will begin at 6 pm. This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by AvoidOpioidSD.com, a program of the South Dakota Departments of Health & Social Services, and Avera Health.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioners voted to approve a permit, with conditions, for the construction of the Deuel Harvest North Wind Farm, a wind energy facility in Deuel County capable of producing up to 310.1 megawatts of energy. The action was taken at the commission’s regular meeting in Pierre on May 14.
The proposed project is expected to include up to 112 wind turbines and associated facilities, including a 345-kilovolt transmission line with an associated 345-kV interconnection substation located in Glenwood Township. Deuel Harvest expects to complete the $400 million project, spanning an approximately 48,730-acre project area, in 2020. A buyer for the power produced by the project has not been announced.
PUC staff and Deuel Harvest proposed more than 40 permit conditions that addressed issues including road conditions during construction, habitats of threatened or endangered species, assignment of a public liaison officer, land restoration, shadow flicker, detecting and reacting to ice conditions on turbine blades, and avian and bat mortality. The commission delved into other proposed conditions and made changes to those dealing with sound levels, cultural resources reporting, aircraft detection lighting systems, decommissioning, and turbine distances relating to both Lake Alice and Homan Air Field.
“Recently we’ve had too many arduous wind applications to deal with simultaneously, so we appreciate the patience of everyone participating in this docket,” noted PUC Chairman Gary Hanson. “Speaking for the commissioners, we really appreciate the citizen intervenors and PUC staff for all of their insight,“ Hanson said.
PUC Vice Chairman Chris Nelson commented on the commission’s authority in granting the permit with conditions. “The commission has to base its decision on what has been presented in the record and what state law allows us to do. Sometimes the supporting evidence we’d like to see isn’t there, but I think we were able to develop appropriate conditions with the information we have,” he stated.
“These dockets are difficult,” Commissioner Kristie Fiegen explained. “It’s so hard to balance the interests of landowners and wind developers. When I’m looking at an application as a commissioner, I really have to look at safety and welfare. I want to make sure that we’re protecting citizens to the best of our ability.”
Deuel Harvest filed its application with the PUC on Nov. 30, 2018. State law currently requires the commission to make a decision within six months of receiving a wind energy facility application. A public input meeting was held in Clear Lake in January. A four-day evidentiary hearing was held in Pierre in April. Parties to the docket included Deuel Harvest Wind Energy, PUC staff and seven intervenors. Intervenors John Homan, Watertown; Jon Henslin, Clear Lake; Will Stone and Heath Stone, Gary; Otter Tail Power Co.; and Minnesota residents Christina Kilby, Burnsville; and Garrett Homan, Hermanville, were active participants at the formal hearing and related proceedings.
The Deuel Harvest North Wind Project docket can be viewed on the PUC’s website at www.puc.sd.gov, Commission Actions, Electric Dockets, 2018 Electric Dockets, EL18-053 – In the Matter of the Application of Deuel Harvest Wind Energy, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345-kV Transmission Line in Deuel County.
The State of Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban Tuesday night. The bill now heads to the Alabama Governor’s desk where Republican Governor Kay Ivey says she is undecided on whether or not she will sign it. However, if she does veto the legislation, Republicans have the numbers to override said veto. If passed this would be the nations strictest abortion law, banning all abortions except for in the case of the mother’s safety. The bill would also make performing an abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison. Sponsors for the bill have outright said they hope this legislation will make its way to the supreme court where the new conservative majority will decided in its favor, effectively overturning Roe V. Wade.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has called for flags to be at half staff from sunrise today Wednesday May 15th to sunrise on Thursday May 16th in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. The call comes from even higher office, as President Donald Trump made a proclamation directing all US Flags across the nation to be flown at half-staff.
Police in Aberdeen investigated an alleged attack on a woman Tuesday afternoon. According to police a man approached a woman in southwestern Aberdeen Tuesday asking for money. The man then threatened physical harm. The incident occurred around the 900 block of Sixth Avenue Southwest at approximately 12:45 p.m. The suspect was cited for an alcohol related violation and taken into custody.
Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Monday which established legal ways within the state to bet on professional, collegiate and international sporting events. The bill also legalizes gambling on fantasy sports, internet fantasy betting and will eventually allow gambing on college sporting events statistics. Those taking part gaming in Iowa must be 21 years or older. Iowa becomes one of the first state’s in the nation to expand gambling after the United State’s Supreme Court ruling in 2017 cleared the way for such activities.
The Aberdeen American News reports a former Aberdeen doctor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fine $20,000 on felony charges of illegally distributing prescription painkillers, specifically oxycodone. 47-year-old Troy e. Adolfson admitted to writing prescriptions, which were then filled by a coworker and others, then given to Adolfson. Adolfson worked for Avera St. Luke’s hospital as a radiation oncologist from 2014 to 2017 during his time in Aberdeen.
The Brown County Area Republican women’s lunch will take place Thursday at Minervas in Aberdeen. The lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. and feature guest speaker Catherine Barranco. Barranco is the vice president of the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women. Also speaking will be mayoral candidate Travis Schaunaman and city council candidate Josh Rife.
The new Danger von Dempsey’s Pizza and Brewhaus restaurant has announced an opening date. According to its Facebook page, the Aberdeen restaurant is scheduled to open May 22nd and is located at 1023 South Main Street in Aberdeen, just south of the Zoo Bar. Also according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, managers are currently hiring. Dempsey’s is an offshoot of Dempsey’s pub and pizza in Watertown South Dakota.
The trial involving a 37-year-old Aberdeen man Jose A. Quinones-Rodriguez is set to begin today in Day County. Quinones-Rodriquez will face a bench trial, or a trial where only the judge hears the case. That judge will be Judge Richard Sommers. Quinones-Rodriquez faces murder, arson, burglary, commission of a felony while armed and aggravated domestic assault in the death of 25-year-old Tawny Rockwood. Rockwood was found dead in her Andover apartment after the building had been burnt down.
A 43-year-old woman from Oklahoma faces drug charges in Pierre after being arrested during security screening at the Pierre Regional Airport yesterday (Thurs.) evening.
According to the Pierre Police Department, Sue Ann Taylor of Sapulpa, OK, checked in for her flight to Denver and presented her checked baggage to TSA for screening. During the screening process, a container with marijuana was located. Additionally, drug paraphernalia and a substance which tested positive for methamphetamine were located in another of Taylor’s bags.
Taylor was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Under Two Ounces of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Ingestion of a Controlled Substance. Taylor was taken to the Hughes County Jail.
Local activist Cory Heidelberger of Dakotafreepress.com was part of the successful lawsuit against IM24, banning out of state money from being used to benefit ballot measures, constitutional amendments and referred laws. Federal Judge Charles B. Kronmann filed his ruling Thursday. Heidelberger talked about the lawsuit victory…
The lawsuit brought together a non-partisan group of both Democrats and Republicans against the state and its support for IM24.
Upon learning of the ruling, South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg released the following statemeng:
“We respect the decision of the Court. We are reading the decision and are examining the avenues available to our office that best coincide with protecting the best interests of the people and the State of South Dakota.”
IM24 was pushed by Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson and was passed by 56 percent of the vote. A majority of South Dakotan’s have little recourse when trying to ban out of state money. However, if this is important to voters Heidelberger says there are options…
According to Heidelberger, voters already have the power to see who is contributing to laws getting on the ballot and can make their decisions accordingly.
Heidelberger also explained how, according to the judge in this ruling, IM24 does little to actually limit the power of money in our elections…
An Aberdeen man convicted of felony aggravated assault and drug possession in March has been sent to a mental health facility, rather than Prison. According to the Aberdeen American News, 24-year-old Ehkhu Poe two mental health experts supported Poe’s not guilty by reason of insanity. Poe was shot twice by officers in the incident which led to his arrest in 2016.
The Trump administration today is expected to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports. The 25 percent increase is expected to take affect at 12:01 p.m. eastern time. China has already promised retaliation measure which will likely explode an already fraught trade war between the US and China.
South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson has introduced legislation to name the United States Postal service building in Rosebud, South Dakota after Ben Reifel. Reifel is a former South Dakota representative and had a career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Johnson gave his reasons for introducing this bill...
Residents of the city of Denver voted narrowly Wednesday to decriminalize psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in mushrooms that makes those who consume them high. The resolution passed by just 51 percent of the vote. Proponents of the measure say the goal is to keep people out of jail for simply having a drug linked to helping with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Psilocybin has been against federal law since the 1960s.
The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual golf tournament, themed A Jungle Safari, will be held on Monday, June 3 at Moccasin Creek Country Club. Teams will consist of four players. All teams receive a team handicap and will be flighted for the scramble format.
Registration and lunch begin at 10:30 am with a shotgun start at 11:30. Cost per team is $500 which includes lunch, golf and an evening meal. Golf carts must be reserved through the Chamber. Team mulligans and Buy-a-Drive will also be available. Registration can be made online at aberdeen-chamber.com by clicking on the Chamber Calendar link or calling the Chamber at 605-225-2860. Please have individual player handicaps available when registering your team.
The Center for Disease control and preventions says gains in healthcare coverage under the affordable care act are starting to decline. The study was released Tuesday and showed uninsured Americans age 45 to 64 jumped 10.3 percent from a year ago. One full percentage point from 2017. That is not the case for younger adults as the uninsured rate stayed consistent at 13.3 percent. Experts don’t find the numbers surprising as the Trump administration has taken steps to undermine the ACA, including supporting a current lawsuit claiming the bill is unconstitutional in its entirety.
The Aberdeen American News reports a Sioux Falls man received a partially suspended prison sentence for a burglary he took part in at the Mellette Travel plaza. 40-year-old Jeremy S. Mikuska received five years in prison, one year suspended and 371 days served on two charges including ingestion of methamphetamine and burglary. Both were felonies. Mikuska confessed to illegally entering the Melltte Travel Plaza where he stole lottery tickets and damaged an ATM.
According to numbers released by the federal government, the number of farms in South Dakota has dropped. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released statistics from a 2017 census that shows South Dakota’s farmland was worked by fewer farming operations from 2012 to 2017, the largest drop coming from farms between 10 and 1,000 acres. According to the associated press, there are a list of reasons why farming operations are disappearing including retirement, financial struggles and some farmers choosing other business opportunities.
One person died and another person was injured Tuesday morning in a two-vehicle crash south of Rapid City.
Names of those involved are not being released at this time pending notification of family members.
A 2010 Honda CRV was making a left-hand turn from Spring Creek Road onto South Dakota Highway 79 when it pulled in front of a southbound 2004 Ford Freestar. The two vehicles collided with the Honda CRV becoming fully engulfed in flames
The 26-year-old female driver of the Honda CRV was unable to get out of the burning vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ford Freestar suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Rapid City hospital. He was wearing a seatbelt.
South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.
The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
Aberdeen residents will get their first chance to hear from candidates tonight the a candidate forum. The forum will be held at the K.O. Lee Public Library in Aberdeen and will begin at 5:15 p.m. It will feature all candidates on the June 4th ballot. Early voting is already underway and can be done at the Brown County Courthouse. The event is sponsored by the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters. Mayoral candidates include incumbent Mike Levsen seeking a third term, challenging him is businessman Travis Schaunaman. Also up for election is a city council seat from the northwest district. Vying for that seat include incumbent Jennifer Slaight-Hansen taking on challenger Josh Rife.
South Dakota’s governor says the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s decision to tell her she’s “unwelcome” on their reservation came as a surprise.
Gov. Kristi Noem says the laws passed in a matter of days during this year’s legislative session are meant to address problems caused by “out-of-state rioters funded by out-of-state interests.” The legislation allows officials to pursue money from demonstrators who engage in “riot boosting,” or encourage violence during a riot.
Noem says the Keystone XL pipeline is coming through the state so she wanted a plan in place for how to handle possible problems.
Oglala Sioux Tribe president Julian Bear Runner said in the letter to Noem if she ignores the directive “we will have no choice but to banish you” from the Pine Ridge Reservation-- which is one of the nation’s largest with an area the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. The Tribal Council voted 17-0 (May 1, 2019) to approve the action.
Noem admits not talking to tribal leadership before the bills were introduced, but says they were part of the discussion before the legislation passed.
Noem says she’s been in contact with some of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s council members.
The governor says she was given friendly receptions during her trips to the Pine Ridge Reservation prior to the notice of being unwelcome.
The American Civil Liberties Union and tribes contend the law stifles free speech. The ACLU is suing Noem, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and a county sheriff in federal court on behalf of activists.
Activists and American Indian tribes plan on-the-ground protests against the Keystone XL pipeline if it’s built, similar to protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota in 2016 and 2017. Those demonstrations resulted in 761 arrests over six months and cost the state $38 million.
TransCanada Corp.’s planned Keystone XL pipeline would move Canadian crude through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with lines to Gulf Coast refineries. The $8 billion project has the backing of President Donald Trump but is being fought in the courts by opponents.
Banishment is a formal tribal process in which a person can be barred permanently from the reservation. Violations can result in fines or even jail time, but Bear Runner spokesman Chase Iron Eyes said the tribe’s goal is to show its unhappiness with Noem and that “no one wants to go through the steps to actually banish a sitting governor.”
According to a release from the Brown County sheriff’s department, an Aberdeen man in the custody of the Brown County jail died Sunday after being airlifted to a Sioux Falls Hospital. 28-year-old Mitchell Morrison was found in his cell after 10:00 p.m. with a noose around his neck. Officers tried to administer CPR, but Morrison was eventually sent to Sioux Falls. The death remains under investigation by the South Dakota Division of Criminal investigation and an autopsy has been performed. The results will be released at a later date.
A St. Francis woman has been sentenced to over two years in prison for accidentally killing a child by smothering it. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office 22-year-old Chelsea Nixon will serve 13 months for involuntary manslaughter, which she pleaded guilty to February 7th. Nixon fell asleep while bottle-feeding her child in August of 2018. After falling asleep her shoulder ended up covering the child’s face, blocking its airway and the child eventually died of asphyxiation. She had admitted to being up late the night before, using methamphetamine.
May 5th through the 11th serves as “National Small Business Week”, a chance to highlight the importance of small business across the county. In Aberdeen, the Small Business Development Center has plans to help celebrate the week, including a two-day virtual conference. Kelly Weaver with the development center ran down the list of the week’s events…
According to the federal definition of a small business, a small business is anything that employs less than 500 people. The owners of these businesses help put money back into the economy through tax dollars and even private donations from time to time. According to Weaver, it can be more convenient shopping online, but shoppers get more bang for their buck by keeping that money local…
Consumers have a wide variety to choose from in today’s economy which can make it easy for locals to take small businesses for granted. According to Weaver, that is something everyone can be guilty of from time to time...
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made news Sunday when he announced at a rally he has a plan to pass a national right-to-repair law for Farmers across the United States.
According to the policy rollout on his web site, Sanders calls for not only a national right-to-repair law so farmers can fix their own equipment, but also antitrust legislation to break up large agriculture firms and the reforming of patent law to protect farmers from seed patents.
Sanders is the third Democrat candidate to call for such a law, with the others being Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
A preliminary assessment begins Monday of individual properties damaged during the snow melt, rains and subsequent flooding in South Dakota.
FEMA staff members, along with state and local representatives, will conduct assessments starting Monday, May 6, 2019. Teams will assess the extent and severity of damage done to homes and business throughout various counties and tribal reservations.
Counties included in these assessments are Bennett, Bon Homme, Hutchinson, Jones, Minnehaha, Spink, and Yankton as well as the tribal reservations of Oglala Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
Officials continue to work with other counties and tribal governments throughout South Dakota as they finish their initial assessments. Additional counties and tribal governments will be assessed throughout the week.
Information gathered during the assessment process will help determine whether federal assistance should be requested and will form the basis for any disaster declaration.
A preliminary assessment of public infrastructure damaged by snow melt, rains and subsequent flooding will be done starting May 13, 2019.
The Aberdeen Public Works department has announced effective today May 6th, the Department will start summer hours. That means the Department will start work at 7L00 a.m. and complete their day at 4:00 p.m. This change affects utility, street, traffic control and solid waste division. City garbage customers are reminded that the public works department hour changes will affect their garbage service. Residents are to place their garbage out for pickup by 7:00 a.m. on their garbage day starting today.
According to a report in Bloomberg News, farmers personal income in the United States declined by an annual $11.8 billion between January and March. The data comes from the US Department of Commerce and shows this movement is the biggest first quarter drop in three years.
According to the numbers, the drop is driven in large part by the fallout from President Trump’s trade war which has caused commodity prices to plummet and flooding in the Midwest. The administration’s one time $12 billion subsidy plan given to farmers heart by the trade war helped stave off these numbers at the end of 2018, but has done nothing in the first quarter.
Minnesota Democratic senator and 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar released a plan Thursday to improve mental health care and fight substance abuse. According to a release from the Senator, the plan calls for $100 billion in spending over a decade to prioritize mental health and substance abuse treatment over incarceration for nonviolent offenders. The $100 billion would be paid for in large part by opioid manufactures who share responsibility for the crisis. They would pay through new fees on drug makers and massive legal settlements not yet in the works.
Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew passed away Thursday at the age of 74. Mayhew played Han Solo’s constant companion, the Wookie Chewbacca in the first three original Star Wars, all the prequels and finally the reboot to the series in 2015, the Force Awakens. Mayhew stood 7’3 and was an accomplished voice actor on top of his performance as Chewbacca.
A Mobridge man has been granted parole after serving 23 of his 100 year first degree manslaughter and rape charges. According to the Aberdeen American News, the state board of pardons and parolees granted 54-year-old Nicholas Scherr parole April 17th.
He will likely be released with in the next three to four weeks. Scherr was found guilty of the rape and murder of 18-year-old Candace Rough Surcace in the 1980s. A rancher found her body full of bullet wounds in a shallow bay on Lake Oahe nine months after she had been reported missing.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council voted Wednesday on a measure which informs South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, she is no longer welcome on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The move comes in response to Governor Noem’s support and passing of so called “riot boosting” bills, which are aimed at protestors at pipeline construction projects.
According to the tribe, the legislation unfairly targets Native Americans and allies who support the effort to keep oil pipelines away from tribal lands. Governor Noem’s office released a statement on the decision Thursday, saying the decision by tribal leadership is not consistent with her interactions with members of the Oglala community at large.
South Dakota secretary of Social Services has announced he is leaving his position, just months after being appointed.
Governor Kristi Noem's office announced the resignation of secretary Greg DeSautel effective May 22nd. No reason was given for the resignation.
DeSautel was appointed in January by Governor Kristi Noem.
An Auburn Hills, MI man has been identified as the person who died Saturday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash that occurred west of Arlington.
A 2017 Ford F-350 pickup was westbound on U.S. Highway 14 when the vehicle crossed the center line and hit head-on an eastbound 2016 Chevrolet Express Van.
Jeffery Demers, 29, was the driver of the van. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Jacob Jaton, 15, Nunda, S.D., was driving the pickup and was not injured. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts.
Charges are pending against the pickup driver.
South Dakota’s Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.
The Highway Patrol is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet announced Thursday he too will see the Democratic nomination for President to go against Trump in 2020. Bennet becomes the 22nd person to enter the primary and seventh member of the US senate to do so as well. Bennet is a lawyer by trade and has been a senator from Colorado since 2009. Many believe Bennet’s campaign is a long shot to win the nomination, but the fact that so many are entering the race, anyone with frontrunner status at the moment does not seem as formidable as in years past.
South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson is being accused by a state lawmaker of bullying or discouraging her from seeking higher office next election cycle. According to reports, Rapid City state representative Scyller Borglum says she felt ambushed by Johnson who was questioning whether or not she planned to primary current South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds in 2020. Borglum is a one term representative who began a “rural education initiative” this summer in order to listen to the needs of residents around the state. Johnson denies any malice or attempts to disway the Representative’s possible political goals and instead says he was offering advice.
A portion of South Centennial Street will be closed today as crews work on water line repairs according to a release from the Aberdeen Public Works Department. Work will begin around 8:00 a.m. and South Centennial Street will be closed from Milwaukee Avenue Southeast to Third Avenue Southeast. Work is expected to last all day, motorists are advised to take alternate routes until the work is completed.
According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, asphalt concrete work has begun on US Highway 281 between Aberdeen and Mellette. Work will include milling, asphalt paving and pavement repair. Traffic will be reduced to one lane with flaggers controlling traffic. The work is expected to be completed in Mid August and is part of a $17.1 million project in total.