Local News Archives for 2021-01

Hardy out, Michael Ray in for Brown County Fair 2021

The Brown County fair has announced one of the leading acts for this upcoming summer fair has been replaced.  The country act Hardy will no longer be performing due to scheduling conflicts and instead country singer Michael Ray will headline.  Ray is known for hits such as “One That Got Away”, “Kiss You In The Morning” and “Whiskey and Rain”.  He will perform with Jodi Messina, who is still scheduled according to the fair’s website, Saturday August 28th

Noem holds presser Thursday

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem spoke to the media Thursday about a host of issues.  First she responded to the Dr. Deborah Birx interview where the former White House Coronavirus Task Force leader criticized her leadership and other governor’s who took  a “hands off” approach to the pandemic.  Dr. Birx even called out the Sturgis Motorcycle rally by name, calling it “not ok.” 


Despite this, Governor Noem defended her approach…





Governor Noem was also asked several times whether or not she believed President Joe Biden was elected in a free and fair election.  Noem has made comments following the November election to the contrary of that fact.  Governor Noem refused to say it was free and fair, but did say Biden is the president…





Governor Noem also talked about the lawsuit which has gotten underway in Pierre in regards to Amendment A.  Governor Noem admitted she brought the lawsuit against Amendment A and stands by it is the wrong thing for South Dakota, despite passing by  54 percent of the vote…


Anti-Vax bill introduced in Pierre

Another anti-vax bill has been filed in Pierre.  House Bill 1097 has only two sponsors Rep. Tom Pischke of District 25 and Phil Jensen of District 33, and would expand exemptions from getting vaccines before entering public schools from a “sincerely held religious belief,” to include “philosophical belief.”  The bill was filed Wednesday and has been assigned to House Health and Human services committee.    

Pennington County Sheriff calls of search for Serenity Dennard

The Penning ton County sheriff’s office has suspended its search for Serenity Dennard.  Dennard is a nine year old girl who went missing nearly two years ago.  She was considered a run away from the children’s home in Rockerville.  More than 1,500 people from 66 different agencies logged about 6,000 miles searching for the girl. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson reenters his compromise on D.C. statehood

Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) reintroduced the District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act, legislation that would revert the majority of Washington, D.C., suburbs to the state of Maryland. The National Capitol Service Area, consisting solely of the National Mall and federal buildings, would remain the District of Columbia.


“The District of Columbia-Maryland Reunion Act kills two birds with one stone,” said Johnson. “It removes the need for D.C. statehood, while also providing representation to individuals living in the district by merging the suburbs with Maryland. This proposal isn’t out of the question, Congress has done it before in 1847 when large parts of D.C. were returned to Virginia. My proposal accomplishes the goal of representation without creating a 51st state – that’s compromise.”


Additionally, Johnson introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal the 23rd Amendment which provides electoral college votes to the District of Columbia. If residential areas of Washington were returned to the state of Maryland, residents would have full representation in Congress, in addition to representation through the Electoral College.


A bill to give statehood to Washington, D.C., passed the U.S. House on June 26, 2020. President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have also expressed their support for D.C. statehood.

Dept. of Health seeks volunteers to help vaccination process

Today, the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) released a volunteer registration portal where residents from across the state can register to assist with COVID-19 vaccination efforts. While South Dakota is among those states leading in vaccine distribution and administration nationwide, an effective and streamlined volunteer pool that is willing and able to assist will be key as vaccination efforts are expanded. This becomes even more important as federal vaccine allocation is expected to increase in the weeks and months ahead.   


“The Department of Health and our hospital partners are responding to an outpour in support and willingness to help in bringing this pandemic to an end,” said Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon. “Since the beginning of the pandemic there is not a week that goes by in which we are not asked, ‘how can I help?’—this is part of what makes South Dakota such a great place to call home. We work with what we have, while helping as many as we can. I encourage state residents to sign up today!”


Volunteers who register on the portal can select what type of volunteer work they are seeking and answer simple questions as to the skills and experience they are offering. All are encouraged to apply, even those without a medical background. Registration only takes a few minutes, and this information will be vetted by staff at DOH prior to any volunteer opportunities being offered.


In addition to any future vaccination opportunities offered by DOH, their registration will also be entered into SERVESD and securely shared with PHASE I vaccinators (hospital systems), who may call upon them for vaccination assistance. Volunteers that are willing to assist in medical settings may also qualify to receive their COVID-19 vaccine ahead of time.


Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Monday

Beginning at approximately 9am on Monday, February 1st, 2021 water will be off in the following area for work on water lines:


On 20th Ave. NW & 24th Ave. NW beginning West of North 19th Street including Wylie Park 


The Public Works department suggests that residents in the affected area collect and store water for personal and restroom use.  Water is estimated to remain off all day.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible.

After three hours of argument, judge does not make ruling

A judge in Pierre did not make a decision Wednesday after three hours of arguments in the lawsuit against Amendment A, an amendment that legalized recreational marijuana for adults in South Dakota.  The judge in this case said she would give a written ruling on the matter, but did not give a timeline as to when that ruling would be delivered.  No matter the outcome, both parties say they plan to appeal the decision to the state supreme court. 

HB1076 passes house through "smoke out" rule

Despite the bill being defeated in committee, House Bill 1076 was brought to the floor Wednesday afternoon, debated and passed out of the House.  Lawmakers used a rule called a “smoke out” to bring it to the floor despite its initial defeat.  HB 1076 would require a birth certificate to reflect only the assigned sex at birth of a person and not allow changes to be made in the future.  Opponents have called the legislation anti-trans.  District 3’s delegation of Carl Perry and Drew Dennert both voted in favor of the legislation along with district 2’s Kaleb Weis and Lana Greenfield.  The bill now goes to the senate where it will again be heard in committee before a potential floor vote. 

Bipartisan bill to disclose how much security costs Governor Noem is spending while traveling

A bipartisan piece of legislation has been introduced into the house, seeking to disclose how much South Dakota taxpayers spend on Governor Kristi Noem’s security when she travels out of state.  HB 1089 was introduced to house judiciary Monday by Republican Representatives Tiffany Howard  and Phil Jensen both of District 33 and senator Democrat senator Reynold Nesiba of District 15.   Governor Noem’s office has refused to disclose how much has been spent on security while she travels  in and out of state.  Noem has traveled extensively towards the end of 2020 campaigning all over the country for former president Donald Trump’s reelection bid and the Georgia senate run off elections in January. 

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds calls impeaching president Trump while he is out of office unconstitutional

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds spoke Tuesday about the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the senate.  According to Rounds he believes impeaching a president now out of office is  unconstitutional. 


HB 1076 defeated in committee, but revived by "legislative smoke out"

A bill which would make it illegal to change a person’s sex on their birth certificate in South Dakota, was defeated in committee Tuesday 7-6 has been revived by what is called a “legislative smoke out." 


House Bill 1076, which has been called anti-trans legislation, was defeated Tuesday but will likely be voted on by the entire house late Wednesday afternoon.  A smoke out is when one-third of a house can require a committee to deliver a bill to the full body the next legislative day. 


The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Fred Deutsch of Florence moved to invoke the rule after the defeat.  It will require a larger majority to debate and pass however, due to the rule invoked to revive it.  The ACLU of South Dakota has already threatened to take the state to court on HB 1076 if made law.   

A law creating an online voter registration option passes out of Senate committee

A bill which would create an online voter registration system in South Dakota passed out of committee last week and will go to the senate floor to face a vote this week.  South Dakota Secretary of State Steve Barnett spoke in favor of the bill and says it provides a host of benefits…






Republican Senator Jim Bolin of Canton offered an amendment to the bill which would require those using the online resource, first register to vote in person.  Voters would then be allowed to use the online resources to change registration information…





Democrat Senator Tony Heinert of Mission argued against Bolin’s amendment saying it gut the purpose of the bill…


The bill passed as amendment 8-1 with Heinert voting nay after the amendment passed. 

South Dakota one of the top states in the nation in COVID-19 vaccine rates

According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker South Dakota is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.  According to the numbers, South Dakota has distributed 93,675 COVID-19 vaccine doses.  That comes out to 6.5 percent of the population being vaccinated so far, with the state using 64.9 percent of vaccines dolled out.  Only ahead of South Dakota is Alaska and West Virginia that sits in the top spot at 7.5 percent vaccinated.  The US as a country is far behind its projections however.  Operation Warp Speed hoped to have 20 million doses administered to Americans by the end of December.  According to the numbers, only about 9 million people have received vaccinations as of early last week. 

South Dakota native Tom Brokaw announces retirement

South Dakota native Tom Brokaw announced he is retiring from NBC after 55 years with the network.  Brokaw is 80 years old and was the lead anchor for NBC nightly news from 1982 to 2004.  He has been the network’s senior correspondent in recent years, contributing to NBC and MSNBC programs while also writing pieces for the network’s website.  Brokaw was born in Webster and is the great grandson of Richard P. Brokaw, the man who founded the town of Bristol.  He graduated from Yankton High School before ultimately earning a political science degree from the University of South Dakota. 

Aberdeen man sentenced on federal marijuana charges

An Aberdeen man was sentenced to probation on federal marijuana charges.  According for the US Attorney for South Dakota, 26-year-old Bravo Barrera pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was placed on one year probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.  He was indicted on charges in February after police stopped Barrera for erratic driving in Corson county.  Upon further investigation police found 3.5 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle. 

Watertown man accused of murder has trial changed

(KWAT - Watertown, SD) A new trial date has been set for a Watertown man charged with Second Degree Murder.


Forty one year-old Jeremiah Peacemaker is accused of killing 28 year-old Kendra Owen at her Watertown residence last year.


Owen's body was found the night of September 2nd after Watertown police were called there to conduct a welfare check.


It appeared she had been dead for several days by the time her body was discovered. There were numerous signs of trauma on her body.


Peacemaker was arrested the morning after Owen's body was found.


He has pleaded not guilty. A jury trial had been scheduled to begin on January 28th, but during a status hearing Wednesday, his trial date was moved to October 18th.


He's being held in the Codington County Detention Center on one million dollars cash-only bond. 

Legislative leadership recaps first full week in Pierre

The first full week of the legislative session wrapped up in Pierre Thursday.  Bills have been assigned to committees and those committees have begun holding hearings on such matters. 


Leadership from both Democrats and Republicans spoke to the media Thursday with a recap of events.  For the Democrats it speaking were Representatives Jamie Smith of District 15 and senator Reynold Nesiba also of District 15. 


Smith would say issues important to Democrats are being highlighted by the current agenda including cannabis regulations, community service providers support and education. 


Specifically with education, the governor is seeking $50 million to create the state’s first needs based scholarship for secondary education.  According to Nesiba it’s a good start but not enough…





Republican leadership also spoke about a host of issues after the first week.  One big one is regulating marijuana as voters legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in November.  Many are worried the legislature will not listen to the will of the voters as lawmakers have tried to roll back items approved by the voters in the recent past.  That includes the successful repeal of IM22 and the failed attempt to roll back minimum wage increases.


According to Republican house majority whip Michael Diedrich of District 34 it’s the job of the legislature to see the will of the voters carried out…




Lawmakers will return to Pierre next week to continue their work.   

Gov. Noem introduces legislation to help fund new livestock complex on state fair grounds

Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will introduce two pieces of legislation.


Governor Noem is introducing legislation that will authorize the Department of Agriculture – and future Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) – to contract for construction of the Dakota Events CompleX (DEX).


“In South Dakota, we see challenges as an opportunity to grow, to build for the future,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The new DEX will be a state-of-the-art facility which will attract regional and national events to Huron. I’m excited for DANR to get to work on this project and to complete the DEX by the 2022 State Fair.”


Additionally, Governor Noem is introducing legislation to protect charitable organizations from having their donor information doxed.


“South Dakotans should be free to give to charity without having their personal information released against their will,” continued Governor Noem. “I am committed to fighting for the privacy rights of all South Dakotans, especially those who generously give of their own treasures to support charitable organizations.”

State organizations respond to Keystone XL Pipeline cancelation

On day one of his presidency, President Joe Biden signed a host of executive orders to roll back much of his predecessor's, former President Donald Trump, legacy.


In those executive orders included the canceling of the Keyston XL Pipeline permit.  Construction of the pipeline had begun in 2020 in parts of South Dakota.  


Ian Fury, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's spokesperson, released the following statement from the Governor's office:

"It's unfortunate that President Biden is not standing up for American jobs and energy independence."


The ACLU of South Dakota also released a statement on the project's cancelation:


“We recognize that Indigenous people have been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice and protection. Tribal nations and communities are battling every day for the protection of their homelands and survival of ecosystems and ways of life. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline or a spill from the project would cause irreparable and devastating impact to local communities and ecosystems.


“That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota supported water protectors our Indigenous partners and their right to protest the pipeline. It’s why we challenged the “riot boosting act” in court in 2019 and opposed similar legislation in 2020 – both unnecessary efforts to legislative peaceful protest in South Dakota that were sparked by a desire to suppress protests around the Keystone XL pipeline. The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment. Hearing that President Biden canceled the Keystone XL permit is welcome news.”

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon gives vaccine update

(DRG - Pierre, SD) South Dakotans who fall into the Phase 1 Group D category became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination this week.


Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon says so far, the state has received about 11,000 doses of vaccine each week, so it’ll take a while to get through group 1D.






She says a variety of methods will be used to let the public know who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine and when.






Some states have had storage issues causing some doses of the vaccine to spoil, but Malsam-Rysdon says that hasn’t happened yet in South Dakota.






Free saliva tests are available and Malsam-Rysdon encourages South Dakotans to order them using the website.






According to, nearly 48,500 South Dakotans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination. Almost 10,000 people have completed the two shot series.

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Wednesday

 Beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 20th, water will be off in the following area to replace a curb stop: 11th avenue SE from South Arch Street to South State Street.  The Public Works Department Suggests that residents in the affected area collect and store water for personal and restroom u se.  Water is estimated to remain off for approximately an hour.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible. 

SB 44 filed which would legalize sports gambling in Deadwood

A bill which would make sports betting legal in South Dakota has been filed in the state legislature.  Voters approved a referendum on the subject during the 2020 November election with the passing of Amendment B.  SB 44 would allow Deadwood casinos to host sports wagering for a $2,000 annual fee.  Sports begging must take place inside a licensed casino within Deadwood and customers would only be allowed to wager on professional events. 

President-elect Biden to cancel Keystone XL Pipeline permit

One of the first things President-elect Biden may do once taking office will be to cancel a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline.  This long controversial pipeline has been in the works since 2008 and would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta Canada down to the cost of Texas.  Preliminary construction of the pipeline began in South Dakota last fall, along with construction in Montana and Nebraska.  Native American groups along with environmental activists have long been opponents of the pipeline.  The Lakota People’s Law Project released a statement praising Biden’s decision, though the decision itself has not been finalized. 

SD Senators Thune and Rounds calls on America to move on from the 2020 election

South Dakota’s two senators Mike Rounds and John Thune have both spoken to in state media, calling on people to move on from the 2020 election and saying president-elect Joe Biden won fair and square. 


Senator Rounds tells Dakota News Now, 60 different court cases and President Trump’s own Attorney General Bill Barr have found no fraud on a scale that would change the outcome.  He also said Joe Biden is the legitimate president-elect of the United States. 


Senator Thune tells Keloland President Trump did a disservice to people across the country in making them believe the election was stolen.  President-elect Biden will begin his four year term tomorrow with his inauguration. 

Fire at Gary's Auto Body in east Aberdeen

A fire caused serious damage to Gary's Auto Body,  a vehicle service shop in east Aberdeen.  Much of the damage appeared to affect the garage with Aberdeen Fire and Rescue truck #1 using its ladder to help quell the flames.  According to the Pulse Point App, the fire started before 6 a.m.


SD National guard deployed to US Capital

Members of the South Dakota Airmen and National Guard have been called for potential deployment to Washington D.C.  The South Dakota Broadcasters Association confirmed the news, however the number of troops being deployed is not yet known.  Guard members from across the country are being called up to help protect the capital as the nation readies for the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden which will take place on January 20th.  The deployment comes just over a week after an angry mob of Trump supporters overran the capital in D.C. causing members of congress and vice president Mike Pence to shelter in place or be relocated to safety. 

DOT to reopen portions of I-29

The South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety say Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls to the Iowa border and Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls to the Minnesota border will reopen at 6:30 a.m. CST this morning (Friday).


Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls north to the North Dakota border will reopen at 7:30 a.m. CST. Interstate 90 remains closed into Minnesota at this time as well.


Officials advise motorists that driving conditions remain difficult throughout much of the state. Roadways, especially across the eastern part of the state, are ice covered, snow-packed and slippery.


Travelers today are asked to use extreme caution, take your time, reduce speed, avoid distractions, wear your seatbelt (all occupants), do not use cruise control, be prepared for changing conditions and allow extra space between you and the car in front of you. Be especially cautious around bridge ends and overpasses.


SDDOT snowplows crews are out working and motorists are reminded plows travel at 25 mph or less and to stay eight car lengths behind the plow to allow ample stopping time on icy roadways. Never pass in a snow cloud and remember, they are clearing the road in front of you.


Visit, download the app (SDDOT 511) or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. Sign up for My511SD for closure notifications by text message or email.


If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.

  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Travel during the day
  • Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
  • Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
  • Use highly traveled roads and highways
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
  • Call 511 or visit for road conditions
  • Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car.  The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
  • Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
  •  Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant

If you do get stranded:

  • Stay in your vehicle
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
  • When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
  • When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
  • Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers

SD DOH to allow more vaccinations starting Monday

The South Dakota Department of Health announced Wednesday it will begin vaccinating prioritized population groups within its “Group 1D” classification of its vaccination plan this coming Monday.  Currently, frontline healthcare workers and long term care residents are priority when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  Due to more vaccine supply and revised regulations from the CDC, those eligible for vaccines will expand to persons 65 or older, high risk patients, persons with two or more under lying medical conditions, teachers and other school staff and funeral service workers. 

House votes to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time

The house of  Representatives voted Wednesday afternoon to impeach president Donald Trump for a record second time in a presidency.   The vote went 232 to 197 with 10 Republicans crossing over to vote yes. 


This was the most bipartisan impeachment of a President in history.  South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson voted no on impeachment.  In a statement he did say President Trump was partially responsible for what happened at the capital last Wednesday.


“Last Wednesday was a tragic event in our country’s history. Those who turned to violence must be held accountable for their actions, although political leaders deserve some blame, as well. That was true as violence rocked our cities last summer, and it is just as true now.


“But, a snap impeachment is the wrong approach. There is only one week remaining in the President’s term. It is an act sure to divide our country, and Democratic leaders are making a mistake pursuing it."


President Trump will leave office next week and Senate Majority  Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying he does not plan on reconvening the senate to take up the matter.  Therefore, Trump will finish out his term, but still could be removed even after leaving office.   

Northwestern to go online Thursday

Northwestern High School Superintendent Ryan Bruns annouced there will be no school in person Thursday.  All students will engage in online learning.  A reason for the decision was not given.  Northwestern is located in Mellette, SD.  The announcement also did not say if the school would be engaging in distancing learning longer than Thursday.  

Brown County fair board manager Derrick Ricci relieved of his duties

The Brown County Commission announced at the regular fair board meeting Wednesday night, it has relieved fair board manager Derek Ricci from his duties.  Commissioner Rachel Kippley went on to say the removal was due to personnel reasons.  Kippley went on to say the county will be hiring a new fair board manager.  Kippley also said she would no longer be serving as one of the fair board liaisons for the county commission and instead Commissioner Dennis Feickert would be taking her place. 

Search continues for missing Day county woman

(KWAT - Watertown, SD) Its been nearly three weeks since a rural Day County woman disappeared, and there's still no sign of her.


Amy Dougherty left her home near Andover in blizzard conditions early on the morning of December 23rd to drive to work in Bristol.


Day County Sheriff Ryan Rucktaeschel says since her disappearance, extensive ground and air searches have been conducted, including one this past weekend at a slough a half-mile west of Bristol that's become the focal point of the search...






He says with poor ice conditions, the search has been difficult...





There are a lot of sloughs in Day County, and Rucktaeschel says they've been searching all of them along Amy's path to work that are deep enough to conceal a vehicle...





Rucktaeschel says their best guess at this point is that Dougherty's vehicle left the road in whiteout conditions. He says that can happen easily in a blizzard...





Dougherty was driving a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer, black in color, with South Dakota license plate 22F 183.


Anyone with information on this case should contact the Day County Sheriff's Office at (605) 345-3222. 

Gov. Noem gives state of the state address to open legislative session

Lawmakers returned to Pierre Tuesday to take part in the 2021 legislative session.  South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave the annual state of the state address to open the session.  Teh speech lasted about 45 minutes and touched on a wde array of topics.


First, Governor Noem talked about how the business friendly enviornment in South Dakota has benefitted communities both large and small...




Governor Noem touched on her approach to COVID-19, saying South Dakota has always been open and will remain that way...




Noem then looked to education.  She did not talk about further funding education, but instead talked about her desired approach to teaching US history...




Finally, Governor Noem looked towards further abortions restrictions in South Dakota.  She said she would like to see legislation introduced protecting a fetus from abortion for the sole reason it has Down Syndrom...


Gov. Noem proposes ban on abortion of down syndrome children

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced via social media Tuesday she plans to introduce legislation which would ban abortions based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis.  The Governor then joined Fox News to talk about her proposed ban featuring a Wisconsin couple and former US Congressman Sean Duffy who’s child has Down Syndrome.  Similar bans on abortion have been put in place in other states including Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. 



Rep. Johnson answers constituent's questions at tele-town hall

(WNAX - Yantkon, SD) South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson held a telephone town hall last week, with a lot of questions about the November election and the perception that President Trump was cheated.


Johnson tried to lay out the scenario....





Johnson used South Dakota vote totals as an example...





Johnson says the pattern in South Dakota was the same as many other states...





Johnson told the town hall crowd that under the Constitution, Congress does not have the power to overturn certified election results.



Rep. Johnson answers constituent's questions at tele-town hall

(WNAX - Yantkon, SD) South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson held a telephone town hall last week, with a lot of questions about the November election and the perception that President Trump was cheated.


Johnson tried to lay out the scenario....





Johnson used South Dakota vote totals as an example...





Johnson says the pattern in South Dakota was the same as many other states...





Johnson told the town hall crowd that under the Constitution, Congress does not have the power to overturn certified election results.



Lake Poinsett drowning victims identified

( - Watertown, SD) The two people who drowned after falling through the ice on Lake Poinsett Saturday night have been identified.

The Hamlin County Sheriff's Office says 60 year-old Michael Berwald of Toronto died when the four-wheeler he and a nine year-old boy were riding on crashed through the ice on the northern end of the lake around six p.m. Saturday.

They were in the water for about 20 minutes before their bodies were recovered. Both were taken to Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown where they were pronounced dead.

A funeral announcement identifies the boy who died as nine year-old Jaxson Berwald of Toronto. 

Arrests made in shooting death in Mitchell

(KMIT - Mitchell, SD) Two people have been arrested in connection with a shooting in downtown Mitchell on Saturday night which left one man dead.


27-year-old Jose Morales Acevedo and 28-year-old Luis Perez-Melendez were arrested for 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of a 38-year-old male victim. The name of the victim is not being released pending next of kin notification.


On Saturday, around 11:07pm, officers of the Mitchell Police Department had responded to an address in the 500 block of North Main Street for a report of a shooting that had just occurred. On arrival to this address, officers located a male shooting victim in a hallway. The victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. Initial information gathered during the investigation indicated that the suspects knew the victim and that this was not a random act of violence.


An investigation continues.

One person killed in three vehicle Lake County accident

One person died and three others were injured in a two-vehicle crash Friday afternoon southeast of Madison.


Names of the four people involved are not yet being released pending notification to family members.


A 2009 Chevy Impala was westbound on 241st Street and failed to stop at the intersection. It collided with a 2004 Buick LeSabre traveling southbound on South Dakota Highway 19. The LeSabre went into the south ditch.


Both occupants of the LeSabre had to be extricated from the vehicle. The 69-year-old male passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The 61-year-old female driver sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Madison hospital.


The Impala’s 16-year-old male driver and 16-year-old male passenger each received minor injuries. Both were taken to the Madison hospital.


All four people were wearing seat belts.


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.

Gov. Noem signs executive order to give lawsuit against Amendment A standing

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order Friday which stated she directed the filing of a lawsuit against Amendment A, an amendment to the South Dakota Constitution which legalizes recreational marijuana for adults. Defendants in the Amendment A case have argued, those who brought the case, Pennington county sheriff Kevin Thom and Highway Patrol Col. Rick Miller do not have standing to bring a lawsuit. This order signed by Noem claims to give those bringing the suit standing and shows her support for such a challenge to an amendment passed by 54.18 percent of voters in November.

Man and young boy die after falling through ice on Lake Ponisett

One man and one boy have died after falling through the ice on Lake Ponisett. According to the Hamlin County Sheriff's office the incident occurred Saturday evening on the northern end of the lake. The 60-year-old man and 8-year-old boy were on an ATV when the vehicle broke through the ice. First responders did their best to rescue the duo and were able to pull the bodies from the water. The two victims were eventually pronounced dead at a local hospital. South Dakota Game Fish and Parks urges residents to check with them or your local county sheriff's office about ice thickness before going out.

South Dakota political leaders respond to events at the capital in DC Wednesday

South Dakota's delegation to Washington, along with Governor Kristi Noem released statements and held press conferences following the events which took place in Washington D.C. Wednesday.


A pro-Trump mob stormed the capital as joint session of congress began work on certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.  


South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson said this is the seeds of violence, sown by many over the last few years...





South Dakota Senator John Thune held a short press conference to give an update on the situation and said too many people have been exposed to disinformation about the election, leading to high tensions...




South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted out the following statement...

Finally, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds released the following statement...

"As a nation, we should stand together in opposition to the violent acts and lawlessness that occurred at the U.S. Capitol today. Violence and destruction are never the answer. We are better than this, and it's past time for cooler heads to prevail. I continue to pray for our great country."


In all, four people were killed in the mayhem, including one woman inside the US capital building.  Congress would evetually return and certify the results of the election.  

Dept. of Health announces new feature on dashboard to track vaccine progress

South Dakota has seen a decrease in active COVID-19 cases, but has also seen a decrease in the number of people getting tested.  State secretary of health Kim Malsam-Rysdon reminds residents who feel they need a test, there are free at home tests available through the department of health’s web site...






The state has also put on its covid-19 dashboard, which can be found at, a new chart showing where in the process the state is on vaccinations.  This will help South Dakotan's know where they stand in regards to  when they can get vaccinated...





Some states are expericing trouble distirbuting the vaccine, leading to waste.  State epidemologist Dr. Joshua Clayton says South Dakota has not had that problem because of the flexibility it is allowing in who gets vaccinated... 


Commissioner Fjeldheim named commission chair for 2021

The Brown County Commission nominated Doug Fjeldheim to serve as Commission Chair for the 2021 session.  The decision was part of a larger list of routine decisions made at the beginning of each year. 

Four people killed as pro Trump protestors storm US capital building

Four people were killed, including one woman inside the building itself as pro Trump protestors gained access to the US capital building in Washington DC Wednesday afternoon.  The group stormed the building, taking over offices and looting items, while lawmakers were either evacuated or ordered to shelter in place.  The protestors were while lawmakers were doing the work of certifying the 2020 presidential election victory of Joe Biden.  Some Republican lawmakers had planned to object to certification in what would amount in a feudal attempt to try and overturn the results of the election.  As law enforcement worked to remove the rioters from the capital, lawmakers were able to reconvene and certify the election results, many Republicans dropping their objection to certification following the incident which shocked American’s across the country.   The US capital has not been overrun like this, since the British did so in 1814 during the war of 1812.  President Trump had his twitter account locked  after he  tweeted a video calling on people to go home, but also praising them and continuing the lie the election was stolen from him.  President Elect Joe Biden called this act a form of insurrection. 

Myren sworn in as next state Supreme Court justice

Justice Scott Myren was sworn in as the latest State Supreme Court Justice.  Justice Myren was sworn in during a ceremony Tuesday morning according to a spokesperson for the state Supreme Court.  Myren was nominated to the state’s highest court in October by Governor Noem.  He has been serving as a fifth circuit judge since 2014.  Myren is the state’s 54th supreme court justice and will represent the state’s fifth district which stretches from the northwest corner to the northeast corner of South Dakota. 

Fatalities on SD roadways increase in 2020 from 2019

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety has released numbers showing highway fatalities in 2020 are up in South Dakota.  However, that is up from a new record low in 2019.  126 fatality related crashes were reported on South Dakota roadways, killing 135 people.  In 2019 there was a record low 88 fatal crashes that claimed 102 lives.  The numbers are preliminary and subject to change.    

Indiana woman pleads guilty to climbing Mt. Rushmore

An Indiana woman has pleaded guilty to climbing Mt. Rushmore, which is a federal offense.  21-year-old Molly Venderley entered her plea in a Rapid City federal court Monday.  For her guilty plea, two other misdemeanor charges were dropped.  She was fined $1,250 for the incident which occurred last Sunday.  Park Rangers spotted Venderley climbing in the dark.  She admitted to climbing in the dark because it was harder to see her and the park was closed. 

Warnock declared winner in Georgia, while Ossoff poised for victory

Following Tuesday night in Georgia, most results are in for the two US senate elections that took place.  These two races hold the balance of power in the US Senate for the upcoming session.  Democrat challenger Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler by a slim 50.6 to 49.4 margin.  Meanwhile Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff currently leads Republican incumbent David Perdue 50.2 to 49.8 with 98 percent of the vote counted.  Though the networks have not called that race quite yet, most election forecasters agree there are not enough votes left for Perdue to catch Osoff, making it likely Ossoff will win.  If that holds Democrats will flip the senate for at least the first two years of the new Biden presidency. 

Rep. Johnson files constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court justices at nine

South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson has filed his first bill of the new upcoming session of congress.  This bill is a constitutional amendment which would limit the size of the Supreme Court to nine justices.  There is no indication if this legislation will have support from either side of the isle.  The constitution does not say how many justicies belong on the Supreme court, just that the President shall nominate and the senate shall confirm.  The court has fluctuated in size since the beginning of our country. 

Georgia senate runoff elections take place tonight

The balance of the power in the US Senate will be decided Tuesday night with two runoff elections in Georgia.  Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue are in a neck and neck battle with Democrat challengers Raphel Warnock and John Ossoff.  Should Democrats be able to pull off the two victories, they would take power in the US Senate with vice president-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie breaking vote.  Should Republicans win won or both seats they will maintain their slim majority in the Senate.  South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was in Georgia Sunday serving as a campaign surrogate for Purdue and Loeffler. 

South Dakota hit by second earthquake in less than a month

The US Geological Survey announced a small earthquake shook South Dakota for the second time in just a month.  According to the USGS, an earthquake hit about six miles north of Tyndall in Bon Homme Count y, at about 8:55 a.m. Monday.  It registered at a 3.1 on the Richter Scale, which is just above the 3.0 mark on the scale where earthquakes can be felt by people.  This comes less than a month after a 3.2 magnitude earthquake near Bowdle and Hosmer.  According to historical data, South Dakota generally experience one earthquake per year on average. 

SkyWest flight forced to make emergency landing in South Dakota

A SkyWest flight bound from Milwaukee to Denver was forced to make an emergency landing in South Dakota Saturday.  According to SkyWest, the twin-engine aircraft was diverted to Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls and landed without incident around 10:45 a.m.  The Federal Aviation Administration says it is investigating the incident. 

Sobriety checkpoints planned for January

South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety will begin 2021 by holding 20 sobriety checkpoints in 17 counties during the month of January.


The 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.


Counties where checkpoints are scheduled are Brookings, Brown, Butte, Clay, Codington, Day, Douglas, Harding, Hughes, Jones, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Minnehaha, Pennington, Spink and Walworth.


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


Nevada man killed in Roberts county car accident

A Henderson, NV man has died from injuries sustained in a one-vehicle crash on Monday, Dec. 21, south of Sisseton.


A 2020 Nissan Maxima was southbound on Roberts County Road 34 when the driver lost control. The vehicle went into the east ditch, struck a power pole and rolled.


Robert Shepherd, 45, was the driver and only occupant. He was not wearing a seat belt and sustained life-threatening injuries. He was eventually transported to a Fargo, N.D., hospital where he died on Sunday, Dec. 27.


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.

Outdoor skating rinks now open in Aberdeen

The Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department are opening the Lincoln and Manor Outdoor Ice Rinks for the season on Friday, January 1 from 1-5pm.


The Holiday hours are:

                        January 1                                                      1 – 5 pm

January 2-5                                                   1 – 9 pm

January 6, Normal Hours Begin               Weekdays:  4 – 9 p.m.

                                                                                                Weekends:  1 – 9 p.m.


There is no admission charge. Skate rentals are available for $1 and hot chocolate is sold for 50¢ at both rinks. For Further information, contact the Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department at 626-7015.

Body found by authorities in Sioux Falls

(Dakota News Now - Sioux Falls, SD) Last night officers responded to the 6500 block of W. Pine Medows Place for reports of a person lying in the street. Officers located Mitchell James Houchins (27yo) near the intersection of Medows and Sandalwood Place. Medical personal transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Initial autopsy shows that he died from a gunshot wound to the chest, caliber is unknown. The crime scene is still under investigation. The shooting occurred around 11:20pm and the first call was received at 11:45. Matia says that certain things are on video but they will not allude to everything that is on video so as not to interfere with the investigation. The victim was in the street for 25 minutes before officers were called. People had driven by him and one man had even walked past him, he went up and asked another person if they wanted to see a dead body, that person called the police. Matia says the public is not in danger and they believe that the suspect knew the victim. No weapons have been recovered. Matia calls for the community's help with all investigations.