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   From the desk of News Director Kevin Larsen

Category: Local News

Art Institute To Open In Eagle Butte

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A nonprofit that has provided a variety of programs to youth on South Dakota's Cheyenne River Indian Reservation is set to establish an arts institute in 2017 that will provide the community greater access to traditional Lakota arts, fine art, and graffiti and street art.

The institute is a project of the Cheyenne River Youth Project nonprofit. It will eventually offer more than 100 arts classes each year, a number of community-focused art events and a gallery featuring rotating exhibitions.

Julie Garreau is the nonprofit's executive director. She says the organization wants to offer children "opportunities to grow and help them become well-rounded people."

Research has shown that an arts education can help youth strengthen their critical thinking skills and perseverance. The organization estimates the institute will serve about 1,700 children.

CategoriesLocal News

Gas Leak Occurs In Fort Pierre Thursday

Friday, January 20, 2017

A gas leak occurred in downtown Fort Pierre Thursday afternoon.

According to Stanley County Deputy Sheriff Greg Swanson, a trencher was working on an area in the 100 block of East 2nd Street when it hit a gas line. Montana-Dakota Utilities were called to the scene to shut off the gas and repair the leak.

The Fort Pierre Fire Department, along with Swanson, evacuated one square block around the gas leak as a precaution. The leak occurred about the same time as school was letting out in Fort Pierre, and Swanson notified the school to not send kids in the area of the gas leak.

MDU repaired the gas leak and everything was back to normal after approximately an hour. AMR ambulance also responded to the scene as a safety precaution.  

CategoriesLocal News

Head Start Day Held In Pierre Thursday

Friday, January 20, 2017

It was Head Start Day at the Capitol in Pierre on Thursday.

Head Start programs from across the state set up in the capitol rotunda, urging lawmakers and others to support some type of funding on the state level for the early childhood development programs.

SD Head State Association Executive Director Kathy Cruse says it’s important to invest in early childhood education…

(Kathy 1)

Senator Billie Sutton of Burke is eyeing some type of bill this session that would help fund head start programs across the state. Cruse says the bill is long overdue…

(Kathy 2)

Head start in South Dakota is strictly funded by federal dollars. She says if there were some additional funding, that would mean that more children could be served.

A few other lawmakers are eyeing a bill this session that would establish a council to look into the issue. 

CategoriesLocal News

Ethics Measure Backers Ask High Court To Join Case

Friday, January 20, 2017

(AP) — Supporters of a voter-approved government ethics overhaul are asking the state Supreme Court to allow them to join a lawsuit challenging the initiative filed by Republican lawmakers.

South Dakotans for Integrity, a political committee that supported the initiative, is arguing that a lower court judge was wrong in denying their push to intervene in the case.

The judge in December issued an order blocking the entire law from taking effect while the court challenge moves forward.

The group can't appeal that order because they aren't intervenors. South Dakotans for Integrity says the majority of voters who enacted the measure have the right to be represented by advocates whose allegiance is "unquestionable."

Those bringing the lawsuit contend that provisions in the law are unconstitutional. The attorney general's office is defending it.

CategoriesLocal News

Aviation Day Flies Up Wednesday

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Fourth Annual Aviation Day will be Wednesday January 25th at the South Dakota Discovery Center in Pierre.

The Pierre Elks Lodge will host the event. Organizer Steve Wegman says the event runs from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., which is an early dismissal afternoon for Pierre schools.

Individuals from the 28th Bomb Wing from Ellsworth Air Force base, 114th Fighter Wing South Dakota Air National Guard from Sioux Falls, South Dakota Army Aviation from Rapid City, South Dakota Civil Air Patrol, Mustang Aviation of Pierre, the Pierre Radio Controlled Airplane Club and SD Aeronautics Commission will all be in attendance.

Wegman says if you interested in what it takes to fly a $300 million plane, an F-16 fighter, or just your basic Blackhawk helicopter, here your chance to chat with the people who support and fly them. All are invited to this free event on Wednesday in Pierre.

Wegman will be a guest on the KCCR morning show just after 7am Monday to talk more about the event. 

CategoriesLocal News

Womens Prison Inmates Plead Not Guilty To Meth Smuggling Charges

Friday, January 20, 2017

Eight women facing charges in Hughes County state court related to using or dealing illegal drugs and assaulting guards at the state women's prison appeared before Judge John Brown for arraignments Friday morning.

The charges are related to a drug bust at the facility on September 11th of 2016.  According to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, who is prosecuting the case, six inmates face drug charges, two are accused of assault and another woman, who was released from the prison a year ago, is charged with failing to report a felony.

Seven of the eight inmates that face the drug related charges all pled not guilty. The eight, who took a plea deal and pled guilty to a failure to appear charge after failing to appear on a simple assault charge. She pled no contest to the simple assault charge. Brown sentenced Carsen Little Wounded to two years on each count in the Women’s Prison.

It was made evident by the defense attorneys for the women in the courtroom Friday that there are some inconsistencies in the evidence for some of the charges against the women. Jeremy Lund, one of the defense attorneys, went as far as saying “This is a six piece puzzle and I only have one of the pieces.” Brown ordered an in-camera review of the charges.

It was still not made readily available as to how the meth got inside the prison.

A Hughes County grand jury indicted the nine women. These individuals are presumed innocent until such time as proven guilty. A status hearing for the females has been set for March 10th.

This is the second time in less than a year that a meth drug bust occurred at the jail, with the fist once occurring in early November of 2015. 

CategoriesLocal News

Pierre Woman Honored With Tourism Award

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lt. Governor Matt Michels and the South Dakota Department of Tourism presented awards to top tourism industry leaders Thursday evening at the 2017 Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Pierre.

The Ben Black Elk Award honors someone who makes an outstanding contribution to the state’s tourism industry. The award was given to Maureen Droz of Pierre, a recently retired employee of the Department of Tourism who worked in the department for nearly four decades.

Michels says that “Maureen is someone who traveled all over the world to promote South Dakota and always gave more than was asked. The extreme passion and love for South Dakota was infectious to everyone that Maureen met during her global travels; we can’t thank her enough for the decades of her life she devoted to the State of South Dakota.”

CategoriesLocal News

SD Retirement System Bills Pass Out Of Committee

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A package of four bills related to the South Dakota Retirement System was approved unanimously Wednesday afternoon by the House Retirement Laws Committee.

The main two bills that state employees are keeping a close eye on, HB 1016 and 1017, would revise the method used to figure the cost-of-living adjustment and update the definition of compensation to promote consistency in the Retirement System.

Pierre Representative Mary Duvall says that package of bills is to keep the retirement system sustainable for decades into the future.

The other two bills in the package would revise how final average compensation is figured relating to retirement benefits, and update provisions relating to the salary of the retirement system’s executive director.

The package of bills now moves onto the full House for consideration, most likely Monday afternoon.

CategoriesLocal News

Fort Pierre Kicks Off Bicentennial Year Wednesday

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hundreds of people packed Drifters Event Center in Fort Pierre Wednesday night for the kick-off to a massive celebration in 2017 for Fort Pierre’s Bicentennial year.

The event coincided with the annual Governors Conference on Tourism that ends today.

Fort Pierre Bicentennial Planning Committee Chairperson Chris Maxwell is excited to share the Fort Pierre bicentennial year with everyone possible…

(Fort Pierre 1)

Maxwell adds that the next step is to finish planning all the events this year…

(Fort Pierre 2)

Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels was the featured speaker at the event Wednesday, and encourages everyone from across the state to get to know the rich history of Fort Pierre…

(Fort Pierre 3)

Fort Pierre has the honor of being the first bicentennial in the entire state. 

CategoriesLocal News

Marso To Retire From Avera St. Marys

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Paul Marso, Vice President of Support Services and Human Resource Officer at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre, has announced his retirement after 28 years of service. Marso’s retirement date is Feb. 24th.

According to Avera St. Mary's Communications Director Sigrid Wald, Marso grew up in Pierre and earned a degree from South Dakota State University. After teaching school for a year, he returned to Pierre where he worked in a variety of roles, including the State Department of Health, South Dakota Area Health Education Center, and owning private businesses.

In 1989, he joined St. Mary’s Hospital as personnel director. As he grew in HR leadership, his title was changed to HR Director and then to Vice President of Human Resources. He has been responsible for HR operations at Avera St. Mary’s and Gettysburg, including compensation, benefits, worker’s compensation, employee relations and more since he joined the organization.

In 1992, Marso also assumed the role of VP of Support Services, overseeing the functions of Linen, Environmental Services and Plant Operations.

Marso says that in human resources, the most rewarding aspects of his job have been recruiting capable staff and seeing them develop in their career paths. “It’s been great being able to work with people and give them the opportunity to come into a mission-based organization to fulfill their career goals.”


CategoriesLocal News
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