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   From the desk of News Director Kevin Larsen


Category: Local News

You Might Want To Make Advantage Of The 80 MPH Speed Limit, As It Soon Might Change

Friday, April 24, 2015

If you enjoy the new 80 MPH speed limit in South Dakota, you might have to act quickly to continue to enjoy it.

A lengthy stretch of Interstate 90 in western South Dakota may possibly see the speed limit permanently rolled back from 80 mph to 75 under a proposal by the state Transportation Commission.

The commission decided Thursday morning to officially set a public hearing date to reduce the speed limit at 75 mph on I-90 from the Wyoming border to the Rapid City area, a stretch of about 55 miles.

Department of Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist says the possible reduction is strictly about safety issues…

(Darin Bergquist1)

There also will be a special hearing to discuss the 65 mph zone on I for the 26-mile segment between Sturgis and Rapid City that would be in effect July 24 through Aug. 10 this year.

Extremely high traffic is expected during the seventy-fifth annual motorcycle rally at Sturgis. Rapid City is a hub for many of the bikers attending the rally.

The commission voted Thursday to set a public hearing on those possible changes for May 28th in Pierre starting at 9 a.m. CT in the commission’s meeting room at the Becker-Hansen Building located at 700 E. Broadway Ave.

Last month, the Legislature increased the speed limit for South Dakota’s two interstate highways to 80 mph from 75.

The change to 80 mph is part of a broad package of tax and fee increases to provide more funding for maintenance and repair of highways and bridges at the state and local levels.

A new speed limit has sparked a lot of concerns from South Dakotans, and many are calling on the Commission to try and reduce the speed limit back down to 75 in the remainder of the state, not just west of Rapid City.

Bergquist says the commission does not have the authority to do that…

(Darin Bergquist2)

The Commission made it clear at their meeting that they were not the ones who raised the speed limit on the interstates to 80 MPH.

In other action Tuesday, The commission will also consider at their May meeting whether to reduce speeds on a short piece of Highway 273 in Lyman County.

The current 55 mph zone on Highway 273, starting at the Interstate 90 junction for Kennebec, would be reduced to 35 mph for about one mile. A 45 mph limit would be set for the next two-tenths of a mile.


CategoriesLocal News,

Senate GOP Caucus To Meet In Pierre Next Month

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Senate GOP caucus is scheduled to meet in Pierre next month to fill the leadership void created when two top Senate Republicans resigned.

Senate President Pro Tempore Corey Brown said Thursday caucus elections are scheduled for May 9th.

The Republican conference will at least vote to fill the roles of Senate majority leader and assistant majority leader.

The leaders play key roles negotiating policy positions for the Senate.

Brown says he is running for majority leader. Senators Ernie Otten and Brock Greenfield say they intend to run for assistant leader. Senator Deb Soholt says she is considering a run for assistant leader or president pro tempore.

Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton says he hopes Republicans choose a leader who can bridge the gap between conservative and moderate Republican members.


CategoriesLocal News,

Pierre/Ft. Pierre Volunteer Firefighters Distributing Smoke Detectors Next Weekend

Friday, April 24, 2015

Local Pierre and Ft. Pierre volunteer firefighters may be knocking on your door next weekend as part of their smoke alarm distribution event.

Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul highlights what is being done with this huge event…

(Ian1)

Paul says it was a struggle to decide what areas of town to distribute the alarms…

(Ian2)

Paul adds that they hope to make this an annual event.  The firefighters are distributing the smoke alarms to areas of town that have seen some fires in the past, mainly older parts of Pierre.

Crews were out earlier this week and put door hangars on homes to let residents know they’ll be returning on May 2nd to bring smoke detectors and help get them installed.

Paul says that the firefighters are still looking for some volunteers…

(Ian3)

Paul also reminds citizens that free smoke detectors are available through the department at any time of the year by contacting Station Number 1 in Pierre or the Fort Pierre Fire Hall.


CategoriesLocal News,

VA Changes Eligibility For Veterans In Veterans Choice Program

Friday, April 24, 2015

In order to expand eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it will determine eligibility for the Veterans Choice Program based on the distance between a Veteran’s place of residence and the nearest VA medical facility using driving distance rather than straight-line distance. This change has been published in the Federal Register and is effective immediately.

 “VA is pleased to announce the distance calculation change from straight-line to driving distance for the Veterans Choice Program,” said Secretary Robert McDonald.  “This update to the program will allow more Veterans to access care when and where they want it. We look forward to continued dialogue with Veterans and our partners to help us ensure continued improvements for Veterans’ to access care.”

 The change from straight-line to driving distance roughly doubles the number of eligible Veterans.  Letters are being sent to the newly eligible Veterans to let them know they are now eligible for the Veterans Choice Program under this expansion. If a Veteran does not remember receiving a Veterans Choice Card or has other questions about the Choice Program, they can call (866) 606-8198.

Effective immediately, VA is also changing the mileage calculation for beneficiary travel. The change will ensure consistency in VA’s mileage calculations across the two programs. The beneficiary travel calculation will now be made using the fastest route instead of the shortest route.


CategoriesLocal News,

Expect Traffic Delays Near Sioux And Pierre Street Starting Sunday Morning

Friday, April 24, 2015

To accommodate the relining of the sanitary sewer on the 300 block of South Pierre Street, drivers should expect temporary traffic control changes at the intersection of Sioux Avenue and Pierre Street.

Beginning early Sunday morning, eastbound traffic on Sioux Avenue will be reduced to one lane near the Pierre Street intersection. 

Additionally, southbound traffic between Pleasant Street and Pierre Street will not be able to make left-hand turns at the corner of South Pierre Street and Sioux Avenue.

These traffic control changes will increase safety for vehicles traveling near the intersection and are expected to remain in place for four to five days.

Additionally, the public is reminded that Dakota Avenue from Fort Street to Coteau Street will be closed intermittently between Sunday and the completion of the sewer relining project.

The sewer relining is one piece of the Historic Pierre Street construction project. Pierre Street from Sioux Avenue to Dakota Avenue is currently closed to traffic and will remain so until completion of the project.

Downtown businesses will remain open throughout the construction.  Pedestrian access on Pierre Street will be maintained throughout the majority of the construction project.  Additionally, most businesses located in the construction zone have back door access to their stores.


CategoriesLocal News,

Expect Traffic Delays Near Sioux And Pierre Street Starting Sunday Morning

Friday, April 24, 2015

To accommodate the relining of the sanitary sewer on the 300 block of South Pierre Street, drivers should expect temporary traffic control changes at the intersection of Sioux Avenue and Pierre Street.

Beginning early Sunday morning, eastbound traffic on Sioux Avenue will be reduced to one lane near the Pierre Street intersection. 

Additionally, southbound traffic between Pleasant Street and Pierre Street will not be able to make left-hand turns at the corner of South Pierre Street and Sioux Avenue.

These traffic control changes will increase safety for vehicles traveling near the intersection and are expected to remain in place for four to five days.

Additionally, the public is reminded that Dakota Avenue from Fort Street to Coteau Street will be closed intermittently between Sunday and the completion of the sewer relining project.

The sewer relining is one piece of the Historic Pierre Street construction project. Pierre Street from Sioux Avenue to Dakota Avenue is currently closed to traffic and will remain so until completion of the project.

Downtown businesses will remain open throughout the construction.  Pedestrian access on Pierre Street will be maintained throughout the majority of the construction project.  Additionally, most businesses located in the construction zone have back door access to their stores.


CategoriesLocal News,

Pierre Man Convicted On Possession Of Unregistered Firearm Charges

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Pierre man has been convicted of possession of an unregistered firearm and prohibited person in possession of a firearm charges.

40 year old Clyde Aquallo was sentenced to 46 months in custody for the possession of a unregistered firearm and 46 months in custody for the prohibited person in possession of a firearm charge. Both charges will be served concurrently. In addition, Aquallo was sentenced to two years of supervised release and a 1,000 dollar fine.

Charges stem from a February 27th 2014 incident when Aquallo was living at a residence on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. As part of a domestic violence call, tribal officers were called to the home where he was living and learned there were firearms at the residence that the victim wanted removed from the home. As the investigation progressed, officers learned Aquallo was using methamphetamine and possessed several firearms.

After conviction Monday, Aquallo was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshall's Service. 


CategoriesLocal News,

Noem Applaudes Senate Passage Of Human Anti-Trafficking Package

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Representative Kristi Noem applauded the U.S. Senate for passing a sweeping anti-trafficking package, which includes legislation the congresswoman authored to help ensure shelters and facilities looking to provide housing for trafficking survivors have access to critical funding, among other things.

“Trafficking victims and survivors have been exposed to the worst of humanity,” said Noem.  “We have a fundamental responsibility to protect these young people, and when such efforts fail, we must help intervene and assist victims in the healing process.  I’m hopeful my legislation and the additional provisions passed by the Senate today will help facilitate prevention, intervention and recovery efforts to protect those involved or at risk of becoming involved in this criminal industry.  I applaud the Senate for today’s step forward.”

Rep. Noem’s language was first introduced as the Human Trafficking, Prevention, Intervention and Recovery Act in 2014. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives in both 2014 and 2015, but was not taken up by the Senate until now. The Congresswoman’s legislation takes a three-pronged approach in combatting human trafficking:

•             Improves existing Department of Justice grants, ensuring the grants support shelters for survivors.  Currently, there are just 200 beds available in the United States for underage victims.

•             Launches a review by the Interagency Task-Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  The review will be done in consultation with nongovernmental organizations and will work to identify and develop best practices to prevent trafficking.

•             Requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.


CategoriesLocal News,

Golden Eagle Treated In Pierre Will Soon Be A Free Bird

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A golden eagle struck by two vehicles near Rapid City more than a month ago has survived and likely soon will be a free bird.

The nearly 8-pound bird was struck on state Highway 79 on March 3rd. It was treated at the All Creatures Animal Hospital and Oahe Wildlife Center in Pierre.

Veterinarian Virginia Trexler-Myren says that the eagle had bruised lungs, which can easily kill a bird. She says she's very pleased with how the eagle has recovered.

The eagle has been in a flight pen for more than a week. Trexler-Myren says it's probably well enough to be released back into the wild, but she's waiting for a spell of warm weather.


CategoriesLocal News,

Class Of 2015 Trail Of Governors Revealed

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three new statues will be revealed as part of the trail of Governors in Pierre this summer.

The statues will be revealed in the Capitol Rotunda of June 12th at 1:00 P.M.

Trail of Governor Foundation Board member Tina VanCamp reveals the class of 2015…

(Trail of Govs1)

Richard Kneip was South Dakota’s 25th governor, Governor George T. Mickelson was our 18th Governor, and Charles Herreid was South Dakota’s 4th Governor.

VanCamp explains where Governor Kneip will stand at in the trail…

(Trail of Govs2)

VanCamp revels where George T. will stand…

(Trail of Govs3)

The Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission approved both locations for Kneip and Mickelson at their meeting Tuesday.

Governor Herreid will stand on lower Pierre Street in downtown Pierre at the west side.

At the end of the project, all the former South Dakota governors will have a statue, along with any future governors. 

(Pictured is the Kneip statue)


CategoriesLocal News,

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