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Local News Archives for 2021-10

Road closures planned for parts of Aberdeen Friday

Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. today Friday Oct. 29th, the following intersection will be closed to thru traffic for road work: South 8th Street and 5th Avenue southwest.  Both north and south and east and west traffic will be impacted.  Motorists are advised to take alternate routes until the work is completed.  The intersection is expected to reopen Friday evening. 

Two lawmakers calling for further investigation into state lawmaker's son receiving state COVID-19 relief funds despite living in Texas

Two lawmakers are calling for an investigation into more than $700,000 in state COVID-19 relief dollars going to a son of a state senator who lives in Texas.  According to South Dakota News Watch, State Senator Gary Cammack’s son Chris received the money meant for South Dakota businesses, for his taxidermy outfit located in Texas.  Democrats Representative Linda Duba and senator  Reynold Nesiba are calling on auditing firms hired by the state for other work be used to look into this issue further. 

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Friday

Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. Friday Oct. 29th water will be shut off in the following area to replace fire hydrant:  South Harvard to Railroad Avenue and 1st Avenue Southeast and Railroad Avenue to Greenwood and Greenwood Street.  Residents in the affected area are advised to collect and store water for personal and restroom use.  The work will be completed as quickly as possible. 

State Supreme Court announces search warrant into child pornography probe affecting Denny Sanford must be released

The South Dakota Supreme Court Wednesday announced it had decided to unseal search warrants in connections to a child pornography investigation Denny Sanford was named as an “implicated individual.  The Argus Leader along with the national outlet Pro-Publica filed a lawsuit to unseal these documents, which will be released in time, as Sanford has 20 days to appeal for another hearing on the matter.  According to court documents, law enforcement obtained its first search warrant into the case in 2019, three months later obtaining four additional warrants.  Sanford, the state’s richest man, was never charged in the case.   

Gov. Noem signs executive order limiting federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Today, Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-14, protecting state employees from President Biden’s federal vaccine mandates. She also released this video announcing her decision.


“South Dakota is fighting back against President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandates,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Our state has many contracts with the federal government, and President Biden is attempting to use those contracts to force state employees to be vaccinated against their will. My executive order will protect their rights to medical and religious exemptions under any federal vaccine mandates. I am already talking with legislators about extending these protections to private employees through legislation as well.”


For the medical exemption, employees need a written statement from a physician stating that the COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated for medical reasons.


For the religious exemption, a form will be made available by the Bureau of Human Resources that shall read in full, “I, [insert person’s full name], dissent and object to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds, which includes moral, ethical, and philosophical beliefs or principles.”


Due to established precedent, this Executive Order does not apply to service members with the South Dakota National Guard who must meet federal readiness responsibilities for deployment.


During the 2022 legislative session, Governor Noem will work with the legislature to make these protections for state employees permanent, and to extend similar health and religious liberty protections to employees of private businesses who adopted mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.

SD Supreme Court rules against Arugs Leader and South Dakota Newspaper Association in the case against Speaker Gosch

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled against the Argus Leader and South Dakota Newspaper Association in the case against Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch.  The two entities sued Gosch after he refused to release the results of a vote by the house to call a special session of the legislature to address the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.  Gosch maintains individual lawmakers are welcome to reveal if they voted yes or no on the issue to call the session.  The impeachment hearings will be open to the public and are set to begin November 9th

Watertown officers investigate the death of a 2-year-old child

Authorities in Watertown are investigating the death of a 2-year-old Wednesday.  According to the Codington County Sheriff’s office authorities were called to the 900 block of 41st street in southwest Watertown Wednesday morning.  The officers were responding to reports of an unresponsive child.  The name of the deceased child has not yet been released.  Codington County Sheriff Brad Howell says investigators are treating the investigation like that of a crime…



Further information released about fatal shooting in Wessington Springs

Further information has been released about the fatal shooting in Wessington Springs which occurred Sunday.  According to court documents, 38-year-old Mitch Leroy Caffee of Wessington Springs has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second degree murder and two counts of manslaughter.  He also faces kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault and the violation of a no contact order.  The victim has been identified by authorities as Lorraine Redmann.  Caffee was with two women when the fatal shooting occurred.  He then allegedly took the other woman hostage.  The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident. 

City manager Joe Gaa says water pipeline project still a long ways away

The Aberdeen City Council disgusted the cost of a proposed pipeline that would carry water from the Missouri River to the city at a meeting last Thursday. 


According to the specs of the plan, the pipeline project would cost anywhere from $270 million to over $300 million depending on size of the pipe and other aspects.  Federal and state dollars would need to be secured to cover 70 to 80 percent of the cost of the project if it is to become a reality. 


Aberdeen City Manager Joe Gaa says the meeting was good, but this is all very preliminary…




The proposed pipeline would run water 104 miles from the Missouri River at Lake Oahe near Mobridge into the city's water treatment plan.  Aberdeen currently runs about 10 million gallons of water per day, mostly out of the Elm River and from city water wells.  If the city wants to keep expanding additional water supply will be necessary in the future.  

DCI takes over investigation into fatal shooting in Wessington Springs

The South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation has taken over an investigation into a murder kidnapping in Wessington Springs.  Officials have released the name of the prime suspect in this case, Mitch Caffee who surrendered to police after they received a call about a gunshot victim.  He is being held on a $1 million bond.  The name of the victim in this case has not yet been released. 

Senator Thune talks social media reform following release of the "Facebook Papers"

(Mitchell Radio Group - Mitchell, SD) South Dakota Senator John Thune called for social media reform during a speech on the Senate floor last week.  He says algorithms have changed the information social media users see.




He says algorithms can be useful if properly utilized.




But algorithms, he says, have become more problematic than positive.



Thune, who is a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband, says he is working on two bills which would help increase online transparency and accountability for consumers of all ages.

Rep. Drew Dennert talks redistricting

The South Dakota legislature will meet Nov. 7th at a special session of the legislature to try and pass redistricting maps that will be in place for the next decade.


Representative Drew Dennert of District 3 is on the House committee handling redistricting and has put forth the "Grouse" plan.  

When it comes to Aberdeen the, city is too large to keep in one voting district.  Dennert explained...




Since Aberdeen has to be split up, the question then becomes where and why?  Dennert's proposal would split up Aberdeen mostly along main street with the west going into district 3 and the east into district two.   Dennert explained why that makes sense...




Dennert talk about the process and how passing the redistricting might look...


Dept. of Public Safety encourages residents to begin winter prep now

Winter has started to make its presence known in South Dakota already this year, and state officials say now is the time to prepare for winter weather.


Wednesday, Oct. 27, is Winter Weather Awareness Day in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety and its Office of Emergency Management say the public needs to be ready.


“Take the time now to prepare your homes and vehicles for winter because after a winter storm starts, it is too late,” said Tina Titze, director of the Office of Emergency Management. “By preparing now, you can be ready when the cold and snow actually begin.”


For tips on winter weather preparation, check out the OEM winter weather guide at


OEM children’s mascot Tommy the Turtle is featured in a book for children regarding winter preparedness. It is available at


 The Office of Emergency Management is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

605 now must be dialed in South Dakota to make local calls

Beginning Sunday, South Dakotans will now need to dial the 605 area code to make local calls within the state.  The new 605 policy comes from the FCC’s plan to establish 988 as the new number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by next summer.  The change will affect 82 area codes in 36 states including South Dakota.  From now on, if you do not dial a 605 before the number the call may not go through. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson explains his no vote to hold former President Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt of congress

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) The US House voted to hold Steve Bannon, a long-time aide to former President Trump in contempt of Congress after he ignored a subpoena from the committee investigating the January 6th Capitol riot.


The vote was mostly along party lines, with South Dakota republican Congressman Dusty Johnson voting “no”…




Johnson says it is more about politics than an investigation…




The US Attorneys office for the District of Columbia now must decide whether to prosecute Bannon.

Mistrial declared in case against Mitchell man who made a scene at Mitchell School Board meeting

A mistrial has been declared in the case against a Mitchell man who went viral when he refusal to wear a mask at a school board meeting and resisted officers as they tried to remove him.  Reed Bender faced obstruction of law enforcement charges, which is a misdemeanor, from the incident which occurred at a Mitchell school board meeting in September of 2020.  The jury in this case was unable to reach a verdict and a new trial has been set for January.   

Day County Sheriff Ryan Rucktaeschel resigns

The Day County Commission accepted the resignation of Ryan Rucktaeschel at its regular meeting Tuesday.  According to the commission, chief deputy Jerred Schreur has been promoted to sheriff following the commission accepting Rucktaeschel’s resignation.  According to the Aberdeen American News, Rucktaeschel is resigning because he has accepted a different job elsewhere.  He was last elected to serve as sheriff in 2018, which means the next sheriff election in Day county will be held in 2022. 

Attorney for state Sen. Gary Cammack explains his arrest and sealing of court doucments

(KBHB - Sturgis, SD) The attorney for South Dakota Senator Gary Cammack on Monday released a letter in response to a blog post that broke last week of his client’s arrest over a year and half ago.

Nathanial Nelson of the Nelson Law Firm is Sturgis is the attorney representing Gary, and he wanted to update the public about what happened the night in question and the subsequent sealing of the document.

Nelson says Gary and his wife were traveling to the home of their son Reed who had been injured by a cow earlier in the day. A highway patrol trooper stopped the Cammack’s for failing to dim their high beam headlights and for traveling 9 mph over the posted speed limit.

The officer noted an odor of an alcoholic beverage on Mr. Cammack’s breath and asked him if he had been drinking.

Nelson says Mr. Cammack told the officer he had finished one whiskey and coke approximately 10-15 minutes prior to being stopped. Mr. Cammack consented to a Preliminary Breath Test, or PBT, which did not provide probable cause for his arrest. After being called to the trooper's car, Mr. Cammack volunteered to perform field sobriety tests, to provide a sample of his blood for testing and a second PBT. When the second PBT was administered, it registered .082% – or two one hundredths of one percent above the legal limit to drive of point-oh-eight.

Attorney Nelson says the results of the second PBT, while not admissible in court, is strong evidence Mr. Cammack was under the legal limit at the time he was stopped and would have remained under the limit until he reached his destination had he not been pulled over. Nelson says, however, having been stopped, the alcohol from Mr. Cammack’s very recent drink continued to enter his bloodstream as he sat in the trooper’s cruiser. When Mr. Cammack’s blood was drawn, its BAC was .07%, with .004% margin of error – under the legal limit.

Rather than going to a jury trial, Nelson says Mr. Cammack decided to avail himself to the privilege of a suspended imposition of sentence by pleading guilty to speeding and careless driving. That would seal his record from public view. Nelson says it is a privilege every resident of South Dakota has.

Nelson says Cammack’s record was supposed to be sealed, but noticed on October 1 it hadn’t while performing a routine check of open files. He says he sent an email to the Meade County Clerk of Courts and while the state did not object to granting Mr. Cammack the immediate seal he was entitled to, the clerk responsible for correcting the paperwork snafu was unable to address the request until Monday, October 4th. On October 5th, apparently by sheer coincidence, a political blogger discovered the record  before it was sealed. The following day, the error was corrected and the record was sealed, as it should have been months before.

Nelson says while the coincidental timing of the events appear suspicious, they are not. He says that is the reason Mr. Cammack wanted to voluntarily share the private details of this private matter with the public.

Rapid City police investigating stabbing death

Police in Rapid City are investigating a stabbing that left one person dead.  According to a press release from Rapid City Police, officers were dispatched early Tuesday morning for a reported stabbing in the area of 120 Surfwood Drive.  Upon arrival police found the victim who has been identified as 24-year-old Leon Richards of Rapid City, with stab wounds and transported him to a local hospital.  He would later die as a result of his injuries.  Police also say the suspect and victim likely knew each other and this was not an random attack.  The investigation remains ongoing.    

Government audit committee seeking meeting with people involved in controversial Governor Noem meeting

The Government Operations and Audit Committee has requested meetings with two individuals involved in a meeting with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, her daughter Kassidy Peters and a state employee overseeing Peters’ application for a real estate appraisers license.  The committee sent letters to Secretary of Labor and Regulation Marcia Hultman and former director of the state’s appraiser program Sherry Bren who were both present at the meeting.  The two are expected to meet with the board, which is controlled by Republican lawmakers next week. 

Sioux Falls man arrested for DUI pedestrian accident

A Sioux Falls man has been charged with a DWI after a car/ pedestrian accident overnight Sunday.  According to police, the incident occurred around 1:00 a.m. near 10th street and Summit Avenue when the suspect was westbound on 10th street and failed to see a crossing pedestrian.  29-year-old Jeffery Alan Grossman hit the person crossing the street, causing life-threatening injuries, a broken leg and possible skull fracture.  The victim was identified as a 69-year-old man.  Grossman faces third degree DWI, careless driving, vehicular battery, resisting arrest and having an open container in a vehicle. 

Lawmaker marijuana subcommittee to offer legislation legalizing marijuana for adults

The South Dakota Adult-Use Marijuana Study subcommittee has announced plans to draft legislation looking to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law and instead go for full legalization for adults.  The proposal would legalize possessing up to one ounce of marijuana and up to 22 grams of marijuana concentrate for recreational use by anyone 21 and older.  The state department of revenue would oversee commercial ventures and personal growth operations would be made illegal.  The state Department of Health would continue to issue medical marijuana cards for patients under 21 years old. 

Cattle, and vehicles involved in accident in Brookings county

Six drivers were involved in an accident in Brookings county on I-29 Saturday when approximately 90 head of cattle got loose from a pen and began walking across the interstate.  According to the Brookings county sheriff’s office, the incident occurred north of Brookings at approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.  Multiple vehicles struck multiple cattle.  In total, 12 cattle were involved in the accident.  The combined damage to the vehicles is estimated to be more than $26,000 while the loss of cattle is estimated to cost approximately $11,500. 

Harrisburg resident arrested passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle

A Harrisburg resident was arrested Friday morning around 9:00 a.m. after they were found passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle.  The identity of the person arrested was not released by police other than the person is 49-years-old.  The driver was arrested for their second DU”I, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and drug paraphernalia. 

Former secretary of state Collin Powell dies due to complications with COVID-19

Former secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush, Collin Powell has died due to complications with COVID-19.  He was 84 years old.  According to Powell’s family he was fully vaccinated and was receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center.  Powell was the first African American to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later secretary of state.  He was confirmed by the US Senate in 2001 with a unanimous vote.  Powell famously helped make the case for the United State’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, claiming Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction at the United Nations in 2003. 

Belle Fourche man identified as person who died in two vehicle accident near Philip last Sunday

A Belle Fourche, S.D., man has been identified as the person who died last Sunday morning in a two-vehicle crash northeast of Philip.


Preliminary crash information indicates that a Ford F150 pickup was northbound on 212th Avenue, which is a gravel road, when the driver attempted to turn towards the east ditch. The vehicle collided with a southbound 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup.


Sheldon Mead, the 50-year-old driver of the Ford pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two male passengers, ages 59 and 12, suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and were transported to the Philip hospital. Both passengers were Box Elder.


Both male occupants of the Dodge pickup were not injured.


None of the people involved in the crash 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.

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen on Monday

Beginning at approximately 8:00am on Monday, October 18, 2021, water will be off in the following areas to remove a water valve:

South Jay Street from 7th Avenue to 8th Avenue

Residents in the area are advised to collect & store water for personal use.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible.  

Son of state senator received coronavirus relief money despite allegedly not living in South Dakota

(South Dakota News Watch) The son of a South Dakota state senator received more than $1 million in COVID relief funding for a business he says is located in Union Center, S.D., but which public records and other data indicate actually operates in Texas. Chris Cammack, son of Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack, received more than $700,000 in state coronavirus relief funds designed to help businesses in South Dakota recover losses suffered during the pandemic. Rules of the program require that small businesses “must be physically located in South Dakota” in order to qualify for the funding. Chris Cammack owns Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios, a business he started more than a decade ago in a building on the Cammack family ranch in Union Center, a town of400 in Meade County.  Cammack received $709,792 in state coronavirus  relieffunds in early 2021 to cover losses he reported at the Union Center business during the pandemic. Cammack also received more than $300,000 in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government to keep 10 workers at the Union Center location employed.  However, a News Watch investigation using tax and property documents, source interviews, website information and a public statement from Chris Cammack indicates that Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios is run from a site in Cypress, Texas, where Cammack owns a 7,300-square-foot studio building and he and his wife Felicia own an $880,000 home.


Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios was merged with Brush Country Studios of Cypress, Texas, in late 2014 or early2015, and Chris and Felicia Cammack now own and operate the combined Brush Country/Prairie Mountain business in Cypress, according to the company web site and Texas property records.  The taxidermy studio in Union Center still exists, but a nearby business operator, Brian Walker, said there had been no recent commercial activity there. News Watch visited the site three times in 2021 and saw no activity or people present. Sen. Cammack, in an interview, told News Watch that his son’s taxidermy studio is located in Texas.  Chris Cammack did not respond to phone calls or an email seeking comment for this article, and state officials overseeing the coronavirus relief program declined to comment on individual grant applications or recipients.  The state Coronavirus Relief Fund program was started in2020 as a way to distribute federal Cares Act funds to help South Dakota businesses remain viable by covering some of their cash losses incurred during the worst of the pandemic.  As of September 2021, the South Dakota relief program had distributed more than $490 million in payments to5,833 applicants. Grants were awarded under several separate programs, including small businesses, small nonprofits, acute healthcare providers, community providers, safety-net organizations and startups.  Providing false information to the state coronavirus relief program or the federal PPP program can be considered fraud. To date, no fraud has been uncovered by two firms hired by the state to audit the coronavirus relief grants, according to Colin Keeler, director of financial systems at the South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management.


About a dozen complaints of potential fraud and abuse, and dozens of application mistakes, are being investigated by the state and its contractors, Keeler said.  Chris Cammack testified by phone before the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on March 3,2020, in favor of a bill that would allow non-residents of South Dakota to get a special license to hunt on land they own in the state.  Cammack told the committee that while living and working on his family’s ranch in Union Center, he started Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios more than a decade ago. Cammack told lawmakers that eventually, his South Dakota taxidermy business “outgrew” the Union Center location and that he and his wife “ended up purchasing a taxidermy shop in Houston, Texas, which is where were side, where our home mostly is now,” according to a tape of the hearing.  Cammack added: “I still own cattle, I still own land in South Dakota, I still come back to South Dakota every chance I get, but work calls me to Texas.”The combined Brush Country/Prairie Mountain studios inCypress, Texas performs taxidermy and also constructs elaborate trophy rooms.  After Chris and Felicia Cammack bought Brush Country Studios, Texas tax records show the businesswasregistered with the state on Dec. 30, 2014 underownership of Chris Cammack. On Feb. 5, 2015, a limited liability company called PM Wildlife Studios at the same address in Cypress was registered with the state of Texas under ownership of Chris Cammack.  Property records from Harris County show that Chris Cammack owns adjacent properties in Cypress — a7,341-square-foot building at 16526 Cypress Rosehill Road, which Google maps lists as the Brush Country


taxidermy studio; and a 4,415-square-foot single-family residence at 16522 Cypress Rosehill Road owned by Chris and Felicia Cammack.  A satellite view of the Cypress address for Brush Country Studios on Google Maps shows a long building with several cars in the parking lot. A large home sits just south of the studio building.  On the Brush Country/Prairie Mountain company website, the address for the business is listed as 16526 Cypress Rosehill Road in Cypress, Texas, and separate Facebook pages for Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios and Brush Country Studios both list the Cypress address. The Facebook pages and business website have phone numbers with area codes in the Houston area. Texas state tax records show Chris Cammack as the owner of Brush Country Studios in Cypress and another business called PM Wildlife Studios, also located at the business address in Cypress. In South Dakota, Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios is listed as an LLC in good standing under ownership of Chris Cammack. State records show it has a physical address at16970 Highway 34 in Union Center, on the Cammack family ranch. A News Watch reporter visited the Union Center site twicein June and again in mid-July and saw no activity at thesite. During the July visit, Sen. Cammack drove up and gave abrief, taped interview.“He’s in Texas, but this is where he lives, here,” Sen.Cammack said of his son. “Most of the time he spends on people’s job sites.”Asked about Chris and his wife listing a Texas address on the state taxidermy association website, Sen. Cammack replied: “They go there once in a while because of his


business being there,” adding, “this is home here ... this is where he lives; his mail comes here, he votes here.”Sen. Cammack later added: “That [Texas] is where the studio, the business is. This is the home address; the studio, like I told you, is the address down there.”Other than the main home on the Cammack family ranch, the other residential structure is a 640-square-foot loft above the taxidermy studio, according to Meade County property records.  Brian Walker, a 15-year resident of Union Center who manages the CBH Co-Op Cenex convenience store across the highway from the Cammack ranch, said in July that he had not seen recent activity at the studio building.“I haven’t seen Chris for a long time, so I don’t know that he’s living or working here; it’s been a year, probably two years,” said Walker, who noted that he is often at his convenience store business seven days a week. In late September, News Watch called Walker again.“It was very shortly after you came around, we started seeing them over there, and they’re actually building things there,” Walker said. “It was kind of a weird coincidence.”Chris Cammack’s businesses also received forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government for two taxidermy businesses with nearly the same names in South Dakota and Texas.PPP loans are forgivable loans designed to help companies suffering financial losses during the pandemic to keep employees paid and working. Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios in Union Center received a $153,600 PPP loan in April 2020 to protect 10 jobs with an annual payroll of $737,280 in 2019, according to Smal lBusiness Administration information on Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios of Union Center received


a second PPP loan of $161,417 in January 2021.At the same time, Cammack’s LLC in Texas, PM Wildlife Studios, received a $241,600 PPP loan in April 2020 to protect 25 jobs at an estimated annual 2019 payroll of$1.16 million; PM Wildlife Studios in Texas then received a second PPP loan of $241,600 in January 2021

Body of fisherman who drowned found on Dry Lake #2

( - Watertown, SD) A fisherman is dead after his boat was found capsized on a Clark County lake, and his body was located a short time later.

Clark County Sheriff Rob McGraw says another fisherman had noticed a pickup and boat trailer parked in the same spot at Dry Lake #2 north of the town of Willow Lake for several days last week, and it had not been moved.

He became suspicious and called authorities, and a search of the lake began Saturday morning.

Codington County Search and Rescue along with conservation officers from the Game, Fish and Parks Department found the man's capsized boat about 200 yards from shore on the northwest side of the lake.

The man's body was found a short time later floating near the boat.

The man's name was not released, but McGraw says he was 75 years old, and from the Sioux Falls area.

Foul play is not suspected.

McGraw says the victim may have suffered from a medical condition while he was in the boat and fell overboard. 

Mandatory 10 digit dialing takes affect across South Dakota Oct. 24th

Beginning Oct. 24, mandatory 10-digit dialing will start to take effect across South Dakota. On and after this date, you must dial the area code + telephone number for all local calls. Local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed. Instead, a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed.

This new required dialing pattern is the result of the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to establish 988 as a three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

“It’s important to remember that the transition to 10-digit dialing is an essential step in a bigger effort to make vital services and support available to those who need it most. The new 988 dialing code will be available nationwide by July 16, 2022 and will provide a fast and easy to remember way to reach suicide prevention and mental health services, much like 911 is available for emergencies,” explained PUC Chairman Chris Nelson.

To prepare, the PUC recommends consumers take proactive steps prior to the upcoming deadline.

“Updating contacts lists to include 10-digit phone numbers, along with all the technology you use on a daily basis or have around your home or office, prior to Oct. 24 can save you a lot of headaches. Be sure to check the settings of things like smart home devices, medical monitoring devices, home security systems, calling networks within companies, and call forwarding or voicemail services, just to name a few,” said PUC Vice Chairperson Kristie Fiegen. “It’s also a good idea to speak with your neighbors, children, parents and grandparents about this change and the need to update their contact lists and technology settings. Those conversations, and possible assistance in making those updates, will help ensure this transition goes smoothly,” she added.

To help facilitate the creation of 988 as a new three-digit dialing code, all area codes that use 988 as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, are required to move to 10-digit dialing. Nationwide, 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory will be impacted.

“Ten-digit dialing for local calls was made available in affected area codes in April of 2021 to help ease this transition and individuals and businesses alike should take advantage of this grace period. In addition to updating all of your technology settings and contact lists, you may also want to be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, business cards, personal and business checks, pet ID tags and any other contact information items to ensure the area code is included,” commented PUC Commissioner Gary Hanson.

Starting July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will route your call to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Until then, customers wishing to reach the Lifeline must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

For additional information on 10-digit dialing, contact your local telephone service provider or visit the PUC website at

Rep. Taffy Howard announces bid for congress

South Dakota lawmaker Taffy Howard made her candidacy for congress official Tuesday at a pair of events in Sioux Falls and the Black Hills.  Howard is a Republican representing district 33 in the state house of Representatives and is challenging incumbent Dusty Johnson for the Republican nomination.  Howard has held her seat in the state legislature since 2017.  South Dakota’s primary election will be held June 7th 2022 and South Dakota’s general election will be held Nov. 8th 2022. 

Rep. Dusty Johnson recaps under 35 tele-townhall

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) In a recent tele-town hall, South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson gave callers a choice to rank six important issues…




The Biden Administration has forgiven the student debt of about four hundred fifty thousand borrowers.


Johnson says advanced education is worth the investment…




Johnson says he can’t support cancelling student debt…




About forty million people still have some student loan debt.

One person killed in two vehicle accident near Phillip

One person died and two others were injured in a two-vehicle crash that occurred Sunday morning northeast of Philip.


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


Preliminary crash information indicates that a Ford F150 pickup was northbound on 212th Avenue, which is a gravel road, when the driver attempted to turn towards the east ditch. The vehicle collided with a southbound 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup.


The 50-year-old male driver of the Ford pickup was pronounced dead at the scene. The two male passengers, ages 59 and 12, suffered serious non-life threatening injuries and were transported to the Philip hospital


Both male occupants of the Dodge pickup were not injured.


None of the people involved in the crash 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.

Northern seeking $29.5 million to replace Lincoln Hall

Northern State has announced plans to build a new hall on campus, replacing the old Lincoln Hall which was constructed in 2017.  The school presented the plan to the board of regents Thursday at a meeting in Rapid City and says it is seeking $29.5 million in state general fund money to complete the project.  The regents approved the preliminary facility statement and facility program plan, but it will need further approval by the state legislature before going forward.  The facility would be used primarly for Northern’s school of business and nursing. 

Water to be off in parts of Aberdeen Friday

Beginning at approximately 8:00am on Friday, October 8, 2021, water will be off in the following areas to replace a water valve:


12th Ave Southeast and 12th Ave Southwest from S Washington St to South 5th St.


South 5th St. from 12th Ave SW to 13th Avenue SW


Residents in the area are advised to collect & store water for personal use.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible. 

Road closures planned for Friday in Aberdeen

Beginning at 8:00am on Friday, October 8, 2021, the following road will be closed to thru traffic for a water valve replacement:


12th Ave SW from South 2nd Street to South 3rd Street


Motorists are advised to take alternate routes until the work is completes.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible.



Holiday garbage pickup to change Monday

Due to the Native American Day Holiday observance on Monday Oct. 11th city garbage pickup will change.  Residents who normally have their garbage picked out for pickup by 8:00 a.m. on Monday are reminded to have their garbage out for pickup by 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.  Both Monday and Tuesday’s garbage will be picked up on Tuesday.  Recycling will remain on a normal five day schedule.  Dependable Sanitation will be picking up recycling on Monday. 

SD redistricting committee to host listening event in Aberdeen Tuesday

The South Dakota redistricting committee has planned three listening sessions to receive input on the process from voters.  The committees will meet Tuesday Oct. 12th in Watertown, Mobridge and Aberdeen.  The Aberdeen meeting will be at 1:00 p.m. at the Aberdeen Recreation and cultural center at 225 third avenue southeast.  Redistricting takes place once every 10 years with the goal of drawing voting districts that preserve as equal a population distribution as possible and character of a certain area. 

Teacher pay in South Dakota remains near the bottom of the nation

South Dakota News Watch reports despite the initial success of the half cent sales tax increase to raise teacher pay in South Dakota, progress has now slowed.  The increase was passed by the legislature in 2016, but five years later South Dakota has failed to keep up with other state’s when it comes to teacher pay.  According to the National Education Association, South Dakota is near the bottom of the nation when it comes to teacher pay and is at the bottom when compared to other states in the great plains region.  South Dakota’s average teacher pay is $48,984, about $11,000 less than the highest teacher paid state in our region which is Wyoming.   

Augustana breaks ground on new ice arena for upcoming hockey program

Augustana University broke ground Tuesday on a new ice arena its men’s hockey program will play in, in the near future.  The ceremony was hosted by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.  The Arena will be called the Midco Arena and cost an estimated $40 million.  It will host the state’s first and only Division I college hockey program. 

Vermillion school district voters approve $26 million bond for new elementary school

Voters in the Vermillion School District have approved a $26 million bond issue to fund construction of a new elementary school. Yes votes totaled 902; there were 304 no votes. Of all voters who participated, 74.79% voted for the bond issue. A sixty percent approval margin was needed. The new school will be built adjacent to the existing middle school.

Senator Thune questions Facebook's business practices following whistleblower reports

(WNAX - Yankton, SD) Big tech companies are again being questioned about their business practices by Members of Congress.


South Dakota Senator John Thune says the big sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google should let consumers find what they want without direction…




Thune says those big companies shouldn’t act as filters…




Thune says the sites don’t tell their users how they operate…




Thune is ranking member of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband of the Commerce Committee.

Aberdeen Fire and Rescue responds to structure fire on Melgaard road

Aberdeen fire and rescue responded to a structure fire Monday night.  According to a release from Aberdeen Fire and Rescue, crews responded around 9:16  p.m. to an apartment at 111 West Melgaard road.  Upon arrival smoke was coming out of the second story of the apartment building and people were in need of evacuation from the building.  Crews were able to put out the flames and fire damage was contained to the apartment building alone.  No one was injured in the incident.  Investigators believe the fire was caused by a bathroom exhaust fan. 

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Tuesday

Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. Tuesday October 5th water will be off in the following areas to replace a fire hydrant: 4th Avenue northeast to 6th avenue northeast and state street.  Residents in the affected area are advised to collect and store water for personal and restroom use.  Work will be completed as quicley as possible. 

Authorities in Hamlin county investigating dead body

Authorities in Hamlin County are investigating the suspicious death of a 49-year-old man discovered last Thursday.  According to the Hamlin country sheriff’s office, deputies discovered the man unresponsive inside a home, later pronouncing him dead at the scene.  An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of death.  Authorities did not reveal if there were any immediate signs of injury or trauma.  Authorities conducted a search of the home where the body was found Friday after obtaining a search warrant. 

Water to be shut off in parts of Aberdeen Monday

Beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. today Monday October 4th, water will be shut off to replace a water valve in the vicinity of South Harvard Street from 2nd Avenue Southeast to Railroad Avenue and Railroad Avenue southeast to Greenwood Street South.  Water will be off throughout the day.  Work will be completed as quickly as possible.  Residents in the affected area are urged to collect and store water for personal and restroom use.