Local News Archives for 2020-12

Prosecutors waiting on debris test results in AG Ravnsborg case

The Associated Press reports a group of prosecutors are waiting on the results of a piece of debris in the case against South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Ravnsborg killed a man September 12th in an accident near Highmore. The victim, 55-year-old Joe Boever was on the side of the road when Ravnsborg hit and killed him. Ravnsborg was distracted at the time of the accident according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has criticized the speed of the investigation saying she was “frustrated” with the lack of progress in the case, calling it a disservice.   

Road closures planned for Tuesday in Aberdeen

Beginning at 8 am on Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 the following intersection will be closed to thru traffic for utility work:


Milwaukee Avenue NE & S Melgaard Road/BC 19


The Northbound lane will be closed to thru traffic, and left turns Northbound from Milwaukee to N Roosevelt will be prohibited. Work will be completed as quickly as possible.  Motorists are advised to take alternate routes.  Please call the Public Works office at 605-626-7010 for more information.  

Officials warn against COVID-19 vaccine scams

Officials are warning residents about potential COVID-19 vaccine scams which may try and take advantage of people at this time. Vaccines are limited at the moment and are being administered to front line workers and high risk individuals first. The Better Business Bureau warns as more doses become available, scammers will look to use the uncertainty surrounding the vaccine to prey on people’s fears. If you want to gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine the best bet is to contact your healthcare provider.

Viborg woman identified in one vehicle accident Wednesday

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety has released the name of Viborg woman killed in a one-vehicle accident Wednesday near Viborg. The victim, 75-year-old Mary Nelson was westbound on 459th avenue when she lost control of her 2020 Chevy equinox. The vehicle went off the roadway and entered the north ditch, ultimately rolling. She suffered life-threatening injuries and was ultimately flown to a Sioux Falls hospital where she would die due to her injuries. A passenger, 75-year-old Warren Nelson suffered serious non-life threatening injuries. He was taken via ambulance to a Viborg hospital.

DCI investigating shooting in Mitchell

The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation is looking into an early morning shooting in Mitchell.  According to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, the Mitchell police department responded to call s of shots fired Sunday morning around 2:00 a.m. in the 700 block of South Rowley Street in Mitchell.  According to authorities, one victim suffered non-life threatening injuries .  The situation then situation turned into a pursuit.  One individual was taken into custody by the DCI.  The investigation remains ongoing. 

"Shop With a Cop" event held Saturday in Aberdeen

The first ever “shop with a cop” event took place in Aberdeen Saturday.  Dakota Broadcasting in partnership with the Aberdeen Police Department and many sponsors helped 15 families in need get their Christmas shopping done.  Officers from the Aberdeen Police Department shopped alongside the families as they picked out items for their families.  This was the first event of its kind in Aberdeen and Dakota Broadcasting hopes to make it an annual event.   

Iconic Aberdeen pastor Harold Salem passes away at 99

Longtime television evangelist and Aberdeen resident Pastor Harold Salem passed away Friday morning at the age of 99.  Salem for the last 40 years had broadcast the world famous Christian Worship hour every Sunday morning.  Salem began his ministry in 1944 serving at the first Baptist Church in his home town of Belle Fource South Dakota.  After 13 years he answered a call to minister in Aberdeen where he served for more than 52 years.  He began the Christian Worship hour in January 1979 and from there grew to a worldwide ministry affecting millions of people. 

Tyson foods fires managers found to bet on COVID infections

Tyson Foods has fired seven top managers at its largest pork producing plant in Iowa City Iowa following an independent investigation into allegations these managers bet on how many employees would test positive for COVID-19.  The investigation was led by former US attorney General Eric Holder and confirmed the allegations made by whistleblowers.  In all, an outbreak at the plant infected more than 1,000 employees and at least six died.   According to the findings, these managers put $10 into a pool while mass testing of workers took place.  They then drew out of a hat a percentage and the person with the correct percentage won $100 dollars.   

Gov. Noem says she will take the COVID vaccine but not likely until after 2021

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has said through her spokesperson she will get the vaccine, but it won’t likely be until 2021.  According to the governor she will take it when it is quote “readily available after those who need it most have been given an opportunity to take it.”  South Dakota received 7,800 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine and is expected to get another shipment of the Moderna vaccine from the manufacturer once it is approved.  According to the COVID tracking project, South Dakota led the nation two weeks ago for new cases per capita, but has since dropped to sixth in the nation. 

Ravnsborg joins other conservative AG's in suing Google

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has announced the state will join with 10 other conservative states in filing a lawsuit against Google for quote “anticompetitive conduct” with its role in the online advertising industry.  According to the suit Google has violated multiple Federal and State anti-trust laws by succeeding or attempting to monopolize products and services.    The suit was filed initially by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and includes Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. 

Deadline for drivers license renewal Dec. 30th

The state Department of Public Safety is reminding drivers the deadline to renew expired driver’s license is approaching.  Renewal exemptions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic expire Dec. 30th.  The exemptions put in place by Gov. Kristi Noem, allowed people more time to renew their state issued drivers license or ID card if that card expired on or after March 13th.  Anyone who wants to renew their card must make an appointment in advance and can do so at the safety department’s web site    

Aberdeen police say no evidence of viral story

The Aberdeen Police Department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday it has no knowledge of a story circulated on social media by Aberdeen residents recently.  According to the story, a woman was entering her parked vehicle when she noticed a figure, possibly a male, hiding in her backseat.  The female was able to escape the situation and the man ran away.  The police department says it has not received any calls relating to such an incident and says there is nothing to indicate the information in the post is legitimate.  The Department went on to encourage people to take steps to keep themselves safe and if anyone observes suspicious activity, they are urged to contact police. 

Chronic waste disease found in central SD counties

(KCCR - Pierre, SD) Chronic wasting disease, which impacts deer, moose and elk has been found in four new central South Dakota counties in the last month.  Those counties include Sully, Lyman, Ziebach and last Friday Mellette.  Wildlife Program Administrator Chad Switzer with the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department says the movement east is of interest to them…




Switzer says the Game, Fish and Parks Department is getting good participation from hunters with surveillance for Chronic Wasting Disease…




Switzer says while Chronic Wasting Disease is worth watching other diseases that afflict big game are of more concern, especially to hunters…




Sully, Lyman and Mellette Counties are the farthest east C-W-D has been found and Sully County means the disease has crossed into East River South Dakota. 

SD Supreme court upholds Aberdeen man murder conviction

The South Dakota Supreme Court upheld the conviction of an Aberdeen man convicted of murder in 2019. The court found the case against 39-year-old Jose Quinones-Rodriguez was conducted appropriately and his conviction in the murder of 25-year-old Tawny Rockwood of Andover was lawful. Rockwood's remains were found in a burnt down Andover apartment. Autopsy results showed Rockwood died from two gunshot wounds. Quinones-Rodriguez was found guilty of murder, arson, commission of a felony while armed and aggravated domestic assault. He was sentenced to life in prison.

AG Ravnsborg speaks on Sept. accident for first time

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg broke his silence Monday and spoke to medai about the September 13th accident he was involved in near Highmore where he killed a pedestrian 55-year-old Joe Beaver. Ravnsborg said some things which have come out about the case are not accurate. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety has said Ravnsborg was “distracted” at the time of the accident, but would not say what that distraction was. Ravnsborg's fate is in the hands of deputy Hyde County State's Attorney Emily Sovell. Ravnsborg also said he never intended on taking a leave of absence despite killing a man.

Eagle Butte man sentenced in child pornography charges

An Eagle Butte man has been sentenced on charges of sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.  According to the US attorney’s office 41-year-old Dustin Red Legs has been sentenced to 22 years in prison followed by five years supervised release.  Red Legs was indicted and found guilty by a jury in 2019 on an incident stemming from September 2018 when he knowingly used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of said conduct. 

Country music legend Charley Pride dies due to COVID-19

Legendary country music singer and an African American pioneer in the genre, Charley Pride passed away Saturday Dec. 12th due to complications with COVID-19. He was 86 years old. Pride was best known during his top recording years between 1966 and 1987. He had 52 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. He was also named entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association in 1971. Pride did attend the Country Music Awards in person a month ago leading some to speculate if he contracted the virus there. The CMA's have released a statement following his death saying the organization followed specific protocols to mitigate COVID spread.

SD state senator Reynold Nesiba tests positive for COVID-19

State senator Ryan Nesiba, Democrat from Sioux Falls, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is the second lawmaker who attended Governor Kristi Noem's budget address last week to come down with the virus. The other person confirmed to have COVID was senator Helene Duhmael of Rapid City. Nesiba is 54 years old and says he is experiencing minor symptoms. He first started experiencing them last Friday morning. Nesiba says while at the capital he took all necessary precautions including wearing a mask, taking it off only when necessary.

SD Dept. of Health to roll out at home COVID testing

The South Dakota Department of Health, in partnership with Vault Health, Inc., is now offering convenient at-home COVID-19 testing kits, available to all South Dakota residents at no cost to them. The saliva-based test can be requested by visiting the Health Department website or by clicking HERE, and is geared towards people who have had close contact(s) with confirmed positive cases.

“Continuing to deliver increased access to COVID-19 testing has been at the forefront of our battle against COVID-19,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “This convenient testing kit will make it easier for South Dakotans to get tested and limit COVID-19 spread. Our Department and the Noem Administration remain steadfast in delivering the best testing options to individuals, families and small businesses across our state.”

Users of the kit follow a provided step-by-step sample collection procedure while being assisted by trained medical staff via a web conference service. The sample is then mailed back to a laboratory for medical analysis and results are delivered users via email within 24-48 hours.

The at-home testing kits are available to the public in addition to previously announced drive-thru testing facilities across South Dakota. As of 12/11/2020, over 660,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed statewide.

While awaiting results, individuals who have been tested whether at-home or at a medical facility should follow CDC guidelines and take steps to help prevent the virus from spreading to people in their home and community.

For more information and the latest resources, visit COVID.SD.GOV.

Name released in Aurora county fatal crash

A 64-year-old man from Sequim, WA died Wednesday afternoon in a one-vehicle crash near White Lake.


A 1983 Chevrolet Suburban was eastbound on Interstate 90 when the driver, Matthew McWilliams, lost control. The vehicle went into the median, across the westbound lanes and eventually rolled. The driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was wearing a seat belt.


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


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

Yankton city council approves mask mandate

The Yankton City council Wednesday night voted 7-2 to mandate masks within the city.  The ordinance will go into effect Friday and remain in effect until March 1st 2021.  The mandate means people most wear a mask when six feet of social distancing is not possible.  There is no legal enforcement of the mandate, but the ordinance also states businesses must try to enforce the mandate within reason.  Yankton is the latest city in South Dakota, along with Mitchell, Huron, Sioux Falls and others to mandate mask usage. 

District 32 Senator Duhamel tests positive for COVID-19

District 32 state senator Helen Duhamel of Rapid City has tested positive for COVID-19.  The positive test came after she visited Pierre to attend Governor Kristi Noem’s budget address.  According to reports Duhamel was asymptomatic through most of the day, before starting to show symptoms.  Upon returning to Rapid City she underwent a COVID test and was positive.  According to KOTA her symptoms included a quote “searing headache and nausea.”  Duhmael did interact with many lawmakers and took part in an event at the Governor’s mansion the night before the budget address.

South Dakota joins Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn 2020 election

The state of South Dakota has joined onto a lawsuit, first filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, seeking to have the Supreme Court overturn the 2020 presidential election by throwing out the complete results of four states including Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  In a statement by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, he says South Dakota will join this suit because of all the calls and emails from concerned citizens his office has received.  Legal scholars are in lockstep this is a last ditch gambit to try and disenfranchise millions of voters and likely has very little chance of succeeding.

Brookings man dies from injuries sustained in accident

A 31-year-old Brookings man has died of injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash that occurred early Saturday morning north of Brookings.


A 2004 Ford F-150 pickup was northbound on 470th Avenue when the driver lost control. The vehicle went into the east ditch, went back across the roadway and into the west ditch where it rolled.


The driver, Andrew Dahl, was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He suffered life-threatening injuries and was transported first via ambulance to the Brookings hospital and then airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital. He died there on Monday, Dec. 7.


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


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

Mitchell woman sentenced in child abuse case

A Mitchell woman who pleaded guilty to felony child abuse after a deadly house fire in April was sentenced on Tuesday.  26-year old Ayla Barna was sentenced to eight years in prison.  Her six-year old daughter died in the house fire, which was started when the girl played with a cigarette lighter after Barna left the children unsupervised at night.  Two of the children escaped the fire with the help of neighbors.  Judge Chris Giles (jiles) called the incident a tragedy that was preventable, adding that Barna was responsible for the care, custody, and control of the three children.  Barna faced a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison.  In exchange for the guilty plea in September, other charges were dropped.

Gov. Noem gives budget address Tuesday

(photo courtesy of Patrick Callahan)


South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave her budget address to a joint session of the state house and senate Tuesday at the capital.  The proposal the Governor laid out is not binding, but it is a way of letting lawmakers know her priorities heading into the new legislative session.


South Dakota is looking at a record surplus this coming fiscal year as the state has experienced better than expected tax revenues and currently has a large influx of federal money due to the COVId-19 pandemic.


Governor Noem talked about COVID-19 and defended what she called a unique approach to how to handle the virus…





Governor Noem commented on what she called the disappointing vote to legalize recreational and medical marijuana in South Dakota.  She says it will require new spending to get both programs off the ground…





Governor Noem also talked education and says she is proposing the state go above and beyond what is required by statute when it comes to funding…





Included in her proposal was a new animal barn on the State Fairgrounds in Huron, expanding the state’s radio infrastructure and upgrades to Ellsworth Air force Base among many others.   

Gov. Noem gives budget address Tuesday

(photo courtesy of Patrick Callahan)


South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave her budget address to a joint session of the state house and senate Tuesday at the capital.  The proposal the Governor laid out is not binding, but it is a way of letting lawmakers know her priorities heading into the new legislative session.


South Dakota is looking at a record surplus this coming fiscal year as the state has experienced better than expected tax revenues and currently has a large influx of federal money due to the COVId-19 pandemic.


Governor Noem talked about COVID-19 and defended what she called a unique approach to how to handle the virus…





Governor Noem commented on what she called the disappointing vote to legalize recreational and medical marijuana in South Dakota.  She says it will require new spending to get both programs off the ground…





Governor Noem also talked education and says she is proposing the state go above and beyond what is required by statute when it comes to funding…





Included in her proposal was a new animal barn on the State Fairgrounds in Huron, expanding the state’s radio infrastructure and upgrades to Ellsworth Air force Base among many others.   

SD legislature rules committee gives approval to industrial hemp regulations

The South Dakota legislature rules review committee gave its final clearance Monday to regulations governing the cultivation of industrial hemp.  The regulations passed via a 5-1 vote, no one spoke in opposition to what was presented before the committee.  The rules were given clearance by  the US Department of Agriculture before going before the committee as well.  This means industrial hemp cultivation will soon be a reality in South Dakota. 

Chamber to partner with city to distribute masks and sanitizer

The Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the  City of Aberdeen to supply  hand sanitizer and face masks at no cost to a number of small Aberdeen area businesses.  If interested in receiving these items for employees and customers, businesses can fill out a brief survey by following this link  Quantities are limited and distribution will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gov. Noem to give budget address Tuesday

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem will give her budget proposal address to a joint meeting of the legislature Tuesday Dec. 8th


Governor Noem is currently working with a record surplus of nearly $200 million due to better than expected tax revenues and millions of federal dollars pouring into the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Governor Noem gave an overview of where she wants to see that Money spent…  





Gov. Noem reminds residents, the state was in a much different situation the last time she gave this same address... 



Rudy Guiliani tests positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump announced via his twitter account Sunday his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for COVID-19. Giuliani has been all over the country trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on behalf of President Trump. Giuliani is 76 years old and was admitted to a Georgetown hospital following his diagnosis.   

Marijuana legislation moving both federally and locally

The United States House of Representatives voted in favor of the MORE act on Friday which would decriminalize and tax marijuana on the federal level. This was the first time ever a federal chamber took up such legislation. The bill now heads to the senate where Republican leader Mitch McConnell likely won't bring it up for a vote. The bill passed along party lines with Republicans all voting against the legislation. South Dakota representative Dusty Johnson voted against the bill but put out a statement following his vote saying he is staying “open minded” after the state he represents voted to legalize marijuana in November.


Locally, the lawsuit filed against Amendment A in South Dakota has had some developments. First, Judge Christina Klinger has accepted four South Dakotan's to intervene on the suit and they through representation will work to defend the amendment in court. Those four include Randy Seiler, former US attorney, Melissa Mentele, executive director of the marijuana advocacy group New Approach South Dakota, Bill Stocker, a retired Sioux Falls Police Officer and Chuck Parkinson, former staffer for senator Jim Abdnor and former appointees of president Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush.


South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg called on the state's legal challenge to amendment A to be tossed out. Ravnsborg's office asked a judge in court filings to dismiss the lawsuit Thursday. As Attorney General, it is Ravnsborg's responsibility to determine if measures belong on the ballot or not and his office gave approval to both Amendment A and IM 26.

Noem talks COVID as deaths in the state surpass 1,000

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) The death toll in South Dakota from Covid-19 went past one thousand people this week with an expected surge from Thanksgiving still unfolding.


Governor Kristi Noem says she hears the calls from some people asking her to “do something.”...





Noem says they are following the guidelines that were laid out earlier this year...




Noem says families will have to make more decisions about the holidays through the end of the year...




Noem says despite the imminent arrival of vaccines, the impacts of the pandemic will linger across the state for a year or more.

SD hospitals at capacity, airlifting patients out of state

The strain of a months-long surge in coronavirus cases has reduced hospital capacity to care for those with severe symptoms, making it increasingly uncertain whether the sickest South Dakotans will be able to get treatment in the state, health providers say.


Both the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls and Monument Health Rapid City Hospital have reported that their Intensive Care Units are out of space. On Dec. 2, Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls reported that 6.7% of its ICU beds were available for use. Statewide, the number of available ICU beds has been steadily declining as coronavirus cases have continued to climb.


Major hospitals are still taking patients when they can, but some sick South Dakotans are being sent out of state, forced to use expensive urgent transportation systems to get care hundreds of miles away from their families. 


Rose Mary Kor, who lives outside the Black Hills city of Custer, was rushed to the Emergency Room at Monument Health Custer Hospital on Nov. 2 after struggling to breathe for nearly a week. Kor, 70, said she thought her asthma had been acting up. Then, after an emergency X-ray, doctors told Kor that she had pneumonia due to COVID-19 and needed immediate hospitalization at a more well-equipped facility. 


The problem was that Monument Health Rapid City Hospital, where critically ill patients from Custer are usually sent, was full and couldn’t accept new COVID-19 patients.


Monument Health had taken steps to prepare for surges in COVID-19 patients. Some hospital staff volunteered to work extra shifts, nurses have cross-trained to work in the ICU and the hospital is working to add six new ICU beds, said ICU Medical Director Dr. Srinivas K. Gangineni. 


With patient volumes expected to remain high and are expected to surge again following the holidays, the Monument Health Rapid City ICU and others likely willl have to continue diverting at least some patients to other hospitals. 

10 day quarantine period now standard for South Dakota COVID exposure

The CDC has updated its quarantine guidelines to shorten the time someone needs to isolate after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.  State Epidemeologist Dr. Joshua Clayton explained…






According to Dr. Clayton the 10 day quarantine will now serve as the standard for the state of South Dakota.  Also, people exposed to COVID-19 being released early from quarantine are still encouraged to monitor their symptoms for the remaining 14 days following early released. 

Gov. Noem orders flags at half staff Friday in honor of late lawmaker

Governor Kristi Noem has ordered flags at the South Dakota State Capitol to be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. until sunset on Friday, December 4, 2020, to honor the life of former State Representative Milton Lakness.   


Lakness represented Hamlin County and the surrounding area in the State House of Representatives from 1975 until 1980. 

Senator Mike Rounds talks stimulus negotiations

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) Negotiations between the House and Senate over the next economic stimulus plan may be seeing some movement before Christmas.


South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says there is still a gap between the two sides...





Rounds says some of the differences involve spending and policy...





Rounds says rolling out the Covid-19 vaccines will change the direction of any recovery...





Negotiators also have to find a way to fund the federal government beyond December 11th, when the current agreement runs out.


Johnson among bipartisan group of lawmakers backing new 900 billion stimulus plan

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the senate and house, including South Dakota’s Dusty Johnson have come out with a compromise proposal for COVID-19 relief.  Republican senator Mitt Romney spoke at a press conference about the bill which proposes $908 billion in spending that would include an additional $228 billion into the paycheck protection program.  State and local governments would receive aid under this bill as well, but not included was direct stimulus checks to American citizens.  US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and House speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to meet Tuesday.  The two have not negotiated on COVID-19 relief since before the Nov. 3rd election.    

Sobriety checkpoints announced for December

South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety has released the list of counties where sobriety checkpoints are planned to be held during December.


Monthly checkpoints are designed to discourage drivers from drinking and then driving. The checkpoints are funded by the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety and conducted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol with the help of local law enforcement.


Officials plan to hold 21 checkpoints in 16 different counties. The counties are: Beadle, Brown, Brule, Codington, Custer, Hutchinson, Jackson, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Meade, Pennington, Roberts, Stanley and Yankton.


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

Remains found in Watertown cold case not that of missing person

Deuel county authorities say remains found at the bottom of a well at the center of a cold case were animal bones and not the bones of Pamela Dunn, a Watertown woman who went missing in December 2001.  Investigators excavated on an abandon farm near Clear Lake on Nov. 3rd following a tip Dunn’s body may have been dumped there.  Analysts have determined the remains belonged to an animal likely a deer or young calf.  Investigators say the search for Dunn will continue despite this setback. 

One person sentenced in case which sent Central into a lockdown

One person has been sentenced in connection to an incident which forced Aberdeen Central into a lockdown earlier this month.  18-year-old Carson M. Fridrich of Sioux Falls pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a bb gun on school premises.  He will serve 60 days in jail, 58 suspended with credit for two days served.  He was also ordered to pay $397.  Two other people have been charged in this incident.