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Friday, April 18, 2014

Updated at 2:50 p.m.

Kadoka man dies in early-morning crash near Philip

A 54-year-old Kadoka man died Friday in a one-vehicle crash near Philip.

The state Highway Patrol has identified the victim as Jeremiah Iron Moccasin. He was driving a 1981 Chevrolet K10 pickup when the accident occurred at 5:15 a.m. Friday on South Dakota Highway 73 five miles south of Philip.

According to a press release, Moccasin’s vehicle was going north when on a curve, the vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway into the left ditch, crossed the road and then rolled into the east ditch.

Iron Moccasin was not wearing a seatbelt. He was thrown from the vehicle and was dead at the scene.

The Highway Patrol continues to investigate.  The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the accident scene.


Fort Pierre Horse races start Saturday

They are off and running again starting Saturday.

The annual Fort Pierre Horse Races begin Saturday at the Stanley County Fairgrounds. There are no races Easter Sunday, but races the next two weekends.

Track Manager Dennis Booth says there seems to be a lot of anticipation about the horse races this year.

Booth estimates the betting handle last year to have been between $30,000 and $40,000 each weekend. Booth says crowds last year were strong and the good weather helped. He says losing a day to Easter Sunday does impact the final total.

The quality of horses also is expected to be strong. Booth says there should be some excellent races.

Post-time Saturday is 1 p.m. The opening day includes free admission and free hot dogs for the first 400 people.


Absentee voting starts for the June 3 primary

Absentee voting started Friday in South Dakota's 66 counties for the June 3 primary.

The voting can be done either in person or by mail.

In a press release, Secretary of State Jason Gant says those voting absentee must complete an absentee ballot application, sign it and either have it notarized or provide a copy of their photo identification car before returning it. The county auditor will then mail them a paper ballot for the voter to complete and return.

Absentee voting applications are available at county auditor offices or online at sdsos.gov. “The Auditor will then mail a paper ballot to the voter to complete and return.”

Voting absentee can also take place in person at county auditor offices. There, the voters will confirm their voter registration, complete an application for an absentee ballot, vote and then return it to the auditor.

In South Dakota, election officials must receive applications for absentee ballots no later than 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. Once an absentee ballot is completed, a voter may return it to the County Auditor in person or by mail.


Pierre Elks Easter Egg Hunt Sunday

Everyone, including the Easter Bunny, is ready for Sunday's 61st annual Pierre Elks Easter Egg Hunt. The event, for children 12 years old and under, starts promptly at 1 p.m. on the lawn of the Governor's Residence. Governor Dennis Daugaard received his basket this week from the Easter Bunny. Also present, left to right, were Elks members Steve Wegman, who has organized the hunt for 31 years; Ryan Brunner, Graham Oey and Justin Goetz. Children's entertainer Phil Baker will perform starting at 12:15 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Pritchard)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good morning from the KCCR Newsroom..

Good Friday today; many schools, offices closed

It is Good Friday today as many local residents continue to observe Holy Week.

Because of the solemnity of the day, which remembers the death of Jesus, many local churches have services planned for this afternoon and evening.

Most schools are not in session today. Most government and professional offices will be closing early; most by noon.

Residents having business with such offices should try to get that done this morning.


Good Friday play to be performed tonight

A class paper has now been converted into a play about Good Friday.

Pierre Riggs High School teacher Jay Mickelson has written the play “Three Conversations on Good Friday”. The six-member cast, all Riggs students, will perform the play at 6:30 tonight at Lutheran Memorial Church.

Mickelson says he wrote the play as part of a final project in a World Religions class he took three years ago at Northern State University.

The play, Mickelson says, is divided into three scenes, with two people each. The scenes happened on Good Friday as Jesus is led to his death. The play imagines how people react to what is happening that day.

Mickelson says the first scene happens behind the judgment seat in Pilate’s palace. There, Mickelson says, Pilate (played by Justin Oakland) encounters his wife (Sarah Kanz).

The second scene happens at the foot of the cross. Mickelson says there, Mary the Mother of Jesus (played by Lydia Kanz) holds the body of her son Jesus (Cayne McKaskel).

Mickelson says while the first two scenes have some historical and Biblical content, the third scene is mainly fictional. He says it is a conversation between the supposed grandchildren of Saints Simeon and Anna who first saw the Christ child when he was presented at the Temple as an infant. Mickelson says the two grandchildren, now supposedly married (Joni Willoughby and Austin Lentsch), reflect on what has happened.

The six students have performed on stage or in class before. Mickelson says the roles challenged them as well.

There is no admission fee for the play.


Helping out the backpack program

Students in the eighth grade Language Arts classes at Georgia Morse Middle School have been major contributors to the Pierre-Fort Pierre Food Pantry this year. Earlier this winter, the students collected almost 800 cans of soup. Now, in just a one week blitz, the classes gathered almost 1,500 pudding cups, Jello cups and fruit snacks. Among the students involved are, clockwise from the floor, Sami Gortmaker, Kaylee Becker, Arden Koenecke, Dawson Puepke, Caleb Lusk, Lincoln Turman, Austin Senger, Will Turman, Evan Rumrill, Davis Anderson, Kade McTighe, Emily Kist, and Jesse Jares.  Their teacher is Leslie Isburg. (Courtesy photo)


Fort Pierre clean-up planned for May 5

A city clean-up for Fort Pierre residents only is being held next month by the city.

Officials say in a press release, that the emphasis is on beautifying the exterior appearances in the city.

Local residents must have their materials at the curbside no later than 8 a.m. Monday, May 5. City crews will pick up the material during the week based on the city’s street sweeping schedule.

Residents must secure items in such a manner to avoid blowing debris. Materials at the curbside also must be separated by categories such as rubble, metal (which includes white goods), and tree trimming. If the items are not separated, they will not be picked up.

The city will not accept any household garbage, tires or appliances with freon.

Special consideration will be given to the disabled and elderly but please call in advance.

For more information call the city at 223-7690.


Fort Pierre woman selected to sing national anthem

A Fort Pierre woman has been selected to sing the National Anthem at a major national convention later this year.

Doctor Jodi Owen, clinical director of the Capital Area Counseling, has been invited to sing the National Anthem at the opening ceremony of this year’s American Psychological Association Convention.

The event is being held in August at Washington, DC.


Pierre man’s novel named award finalist

A Pierre man’s first novel is being considered for a prestigious award.

Bill Markley’s novel “Deadwood Dead Men” is one of five finalists in the category of Best First Western Novel. The award is presented by the Western Fictioneers, which is the organization of professional authors of western novels and short stories.

Markley’s book is a historical fictional account of the wild days in Deadwood.

The winner will be announced in June.


Supreme Court prepares for another transition

When State Supreme Court Justice John Konenkamp retires December 31, it marks the end of an era for Chief Justice David Gilbertson.

Konenkamp is the last of the justices who were on the bench when Gilbertson joined the Supreme Court in 1995. Gilbertson says it is always sad to see a justice leave the court.

Konenkamp turns 70 this year and South Dakota law requires justices to retire at age 70. Gilbertson says none of the four remaining Supreme Court justices are near that retirement age.

Governor Dennis Daugaard will ultimately select the new justice. His first appointment to the court was Pierre judge Lori Wilbur in 2011.



Norbert's in the pool

Norbert is the new inhabitant of the Pierre Aquatics Center. The 14-foot long inflatable pool toy made its debut at last Sunday's Underwater Easter Egg Hunt held at the Aquatics Center. It was the children who gave Norbert his name. Norbert will be used for various programs and events. The Oahe YMCA, Avera St. Mary's Hospital and the city of Pierre made contributions to bring Norbert to the center. (Photo courtesy of Grandpre Photography)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update at 4:40 p.m.

Jason Todd Garreau leaves the Hughes County Courtroom after pleading to Attempted First Degree Murder Thursday afternoon. He is escorted by one of the several law enforcement officers that were part of courthouse security.

Garreau pleads guilty to attempted murder charge

Jason Todd Garreau pleaded guilty Thursday in Hughes County Circuit Court to one count of Attempted First Degree Murder stemming from a standoff with law enforcement last year at a Pierre trailer home

The Eagle Butte man, 27, will be sentenced May 28 and could face up to 25 years in prison.  As part of a plea bargain, a second similar charge was dropped. A pre-sentence investigation also was ordered.

The charges stem from a nine-hour standoff October 31 at a Pierre trailer home where Garreau exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers. Two Pierre Police officers were injured. Neither injury was considered serious.

Thursday’s hearing before Judge John Brown took only five minutes. Security was tighter than anyone working at the courthouse could remember. On most days when court is held, there is usually just one or two officers in the courthouse. Adequate security at the courthouse has been a concern for employees of many county offices for some time.

Officers were located on all three floors, law enforcement vans blocked the back entrance and armed guards were outside. Garreau was transported in a caravan, with sirens blaring, from the Hughes County Jail to the courthouse and back.

When entering the courtroom, Garreau, whose hands and feet were shackled, waved to two family members and said, "Love you."

Garreau has already pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the same incident. He has pleaded guilty in Pierre Federal Court to one count of Assaulting, Resisting and Impeding Federal Officers and one count of Discharge of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence.

Sentencing on the federal charges is June 2. A plea bargain indicates that both sides will ask for a maximum 10 year prison sentence on each federal charge. The sentences would run consecutively.

As part of a plea bargain with federal authorities, 17 other charges against Garreau have been dismissed. That included his actions that occurred October 30 in Hyde County where 24-year-old John Garreaux of Dupree was killed in a shootout with law enforcement.

Garreau's girlfriend, Kelsey Howe, who has pleaded guilty to lying to law enforcement about Garreau's whereabouts, is scheduled to be sentenced in Pierre Federal Court later this month.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good morning from the KCCR Newsroom...

Garreau to be arraigned on state charge today

An Eagle Butte man is scheduled to be arraigned today in Pierre on an Attempted Murder charge stemming from a standoff with law enforcement last October.

Jason Todd Garreau, 27, will appear in Hughes County Circuit Court at 1:15 p.m. According to federal court documents filed earlier this year, Garreau has agreed to plead guilty to a state charge of Attempted Murder. He had originally been charged with two counts of Attempted Murder involving two police officers.

Court documents indicate that both sides will ask for a 20-year sentence on the state charge.

Garreau held law enforcement at bay for almost nine hours October 31 at a Pierre trailer home. Gunfire was exchanged and two Pierre Police Officers were injured.

At the same time, Garreau has already pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the same incident. He has pleaded guilty in Pierre Federal Court to one count of Assaulting, Resisting and Impeding Federal Officers and one count of Discharge of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence.

As part of a plea bargain with federal authorities, 17 other charges against Garreau have been dismissed. That included his actions that occurred October 30 in Hyde County where 24-year-old John Garreaux of Dupree was killed in a shootout with law enforcement.

Garreau will be sentenced in federal court June 2. He remains in custody at the Hughes County Jail.


Pierre woman arrested for assault

A 40-year-old Pierre woman was arrested for kicking a Pierre man in the face and head.

Captain Elton Blemaster says officers were called at 1:21 p.m. Wednesday to the 300 block of Crow Street of a male being down and possibly not breathing. Blemaster says the 39-year-old male had suffered injuries to his head and face after being kicked in those area.

Later arrested in the 600 block of West Dakota Avenue was Inez Taken Alive. She was charged with Aggravated Assault Domestic and taken to the Hughes County Jail.

Blemaster says the victim was transported by ambulance to Avera St. Mary’s Hospital. There is no update on his condition.


Governor Dennis Daugaard receives his Easter basket from the Pierre Elks Easter Bunny. The bunny will be part of the Elks' Easter Egg Hunt which takes place Sunday at the Governor's Residence. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Pritchard)

Governor ready for Elks Easter Egg Hunt

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he is ready to have the Easter Bunny over to his house again this year.

Daugaard and First Lady Linda play hosts each year to the Pierre Elks Easter Egg Hunt. This year’s hunt, the 61st annual, starts promptly at 1 p.m. Sunday on the lawn of the Governor’s Residence.

When Daugaard hosted the hunt for the first time in 2011, the Governor admitted he wasn’t exactly sure what the event was all about. But after watching thousands of children swarm across the lawn to gather candy and other prizes, Daugaard says he has found the day to be great fun.

The Easter Egg Hunt also has become personal for the Daugaards. The Governor says the couple’s two grandchildren also will participate.

Children, ages 12 and under, are invited to attend the hunt. Children’s entertainer Phil Baker will start performing at 12:15 p.m. on the lawn.


Playground equipment project exceeds goal

An effort to raise money for new playground equipment has exceeded its goal and officials won’t stop now.

Pastor Brad Urbach says thanks to the contributions of many, the $10,000 goal needed for the project at LaBarge Park was met in only about a month. So far, the total has reached $11,150 with more contributions expected.  Urbach says he was not surprised by the support shown for the project.

The project consists of installing playground equipment that has a firefighter theme in LaBarge Park. There is a fire hall and antique fire engine also there. Urbach says the combination of children and firefighters made the project easy for the community to rally around.

The KaBoom! company has provided a grant for the project. Besides the community financial support, community residents are required to actually install the equipment. Urbach says a Community Build is planned for late August.

Urbach says the new equipment area will be dedicated during the Sunday of Fire Prevention Week.


Riggs students named to Girls State

Five Pierre Riggs High School juniors have been selected to attend South Dakota Girls State this summer.

The five are Mikayla Hutchinson, Anna Maher, Samantha Merrill, Marie Zander, and Allie Knofcynski.

Girls State, which is hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary, is June 2-7 at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.


New ex. director for South Dakota Advocacy Services

A long-time Pierre resident has been named as the new executive director of South Dakota Advocacy Services.

Tim Neyhart will start June 16. He replaces Robert Kean of Pierre who is retiring.

Neyhart has been with South Dakota Advocacy Services since 1990, working as a case advocate and program director.

The organization is headquartered in Pierre with offices also in Rapid City, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Updated at 1:20 p.m.

Riggs band, chorus members at competition

Pierre Riggs High School’s band and chorus members today are participating in an important competition.

The groups are attending the Region Six Large Group Contest in Mobridge. Several other high schools also are there.

Riggs Chorus Director Rodd Bauck and Band Director Mackenzie Block say the event is a chance for the choruses and bands to be judged for their performances. Bauck says this is a major event each year for the entire chorus department.

The same goes for the band, according to Block. She says this is not an actual contest against other groups, but more of a chance for the bands to receive ratings, with superior being the highest.

Also part of Region 6 is Sully Buttes High School. Stanley County is in Region Seven which had its Large Group Contest last month.


Fire destroys tractor; driver not injured

Nobody was injured Tuesday night when a fire destroyed a tractor in the Peoria Flats area of Hughes County.

The fire was reported at about 9 p.m. near the intersection of 199th Street and 282nd Avenue, which is west of Highway 1804

Pierre Rural Fire Chief Jason Roggow says Tom Tveit was operating a John Deere 8420 trac tractor, doing disk work, when the fire started. Roggow says it appears that corn material and other debris got into the areas between the tracs, became hot and started on fire.

Roggow credits Tveit, who noticed the fire, for driving the tractor onto land already disked and parking the vehicle downwind. Roggow says that kept the blaze from extending either into nearby vegetation or the attached disk.

The tractor was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived. Estimated property loss was $140,000.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 9 p.m. Tuesday. They were there for about two hours.


Chicken ordinance supporters say they will try again

Supporters of a chicken ordinance say Tuesday night’s rejection by Pierre City Commissioners is not the end.

After a 90-minute hearing, the commission unanimously voted down a proposal to allow city residents to house up to six hens on their property.

Anne Lewis, one of the main organizers of the ordinance, say she was not totally surprised by the decision. But she says the supporters now have a better idea of who the opponents are and their concerns.

Lewis is not sure how a new ordinance will be crafted, but says there will be one. Many of the opponents testified that they were worried that a neighbor with chickens would impact their homes and their property values. Lewis says the supporters can address that issue.

Mayor Laurie Gill says she was pleased with the hearing because both sides got a chance to state their case. She says it is up to the supporters to decide if they want to try again.

More than 100 people, most of them supporters of the ordinance, attended the hearing. Lewis says that indicates that many people in the community support the idea.


New name for organization

Now that a proposed chicken ordinance has been heard by the city commission, the group that brought forth the plan has changed its name.

The group, Pierre Urban Chicken Reform, has transitioned to the Greater Oahe Action League (GOAL).

Organizer Anne Lewis says the change in names was always planned. She says the chicken ordinance group was more of an ad-hoc coalition of citizens. Meanwhile, the Greater Oahe Action League is the Central South Dakota chapter of the statewide Dakota Rural Action.

Lewis says GOAL plans to be involved in several different projects and activities.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good morning from the KCCR Newsroom....

Sentencing delayed after defendant violates bond

Before he could be sentenced, a Fort Pierre man was sent to jail Tuesday for violating bond conditions.

Flint Dahl, 27, was scheduled to be sentenced in Hughes County Court on charges in both Hughes and Stanley Counties. But before the hearing could start, Judge John Brown was informed that Dahl had violated the bond conditions.

Brown ordered that Dahl be placed into custody. Dahl was handcuffed and later taken to the Hughes County Jail.

Dahl will eventually be sentenced for pleading guilty to violating probation on two 2009 charges in Stanley County – one was the Inhumane Treatment of an Animal when he rode a horse he did not own around Fort Pierre and the other was Reckless Driving.

In Hughes County, Dahl was charged in 2013 with three different crimes: A Possession of a Controlled Substance which he pleaded no contest; and charges of Boating Under the Influence and DUI, he has pleaded guilty to both.

When Dahl is sentenced at 1:15 p.m. April 29, Dahl could face a maximum of 12 years in custody on the Hughes County charges and another 375 days on the Stanley County charges. As part of a plea bargain, other charges were dropped.


Firefighters respond to gas line break

No evacuations were needed Tuesday afternoon when a gas line break was reported near Pierre Riggs High School.

Pierre Fire Chief Ian Paul says a contractor was working on a retaining wall at 312 North Jefferson Avenue when the line was hit. It was a private residence east of the high school.

Paul says the contracting crew was able to pinch off the line to reduce the amount of gas being released, thus lessening the hazard. He says fire crews and law enforcement blocked off the area to the public until MDU crews arrived.

The call was reported at 3 p.m. Paul says initially the contractor reported to police dispatch that the break had occurred at Jefferson Elementary School. Firefighters were sent there first until the contractor realized he was near the high school.

Firefighters were on scene for about 40 minutes.


Not much moisture expected in latest storm

While the forecast calls for rain and snow in the local area today, the National Weather Service in Aberdeen says there will not be much if any.

Today’s Pierre-Fort Pierre forecast calls for a chance of light snow mixed with rain throughout today. A chance of about one inch of snow is predicted.

Pierre-Fort Pierre  this morning has received some light rain and large snowflakes. Scott Doering of the National Weather Service in Aberdeen says the storm will intensify as it moves east.

Doering says after today, the weather should change for the good with temperatures climbing

Today, however, could be chilly. The high is expected to reach 40 degrees with north winds 20 to 25 miles an hour.


August 2015 school opening still target

Despite the need to re-bid three different construction packages, Pierre School District officials have not given up hope that the new elementary school can open in time for the start of the 2015 school year.

School Board members rejected the three different bids because of price and the belief that a re-bid would produce a better value. One of those packages covers the general construction of the building such as cement and other items.

Advertising for the three re-bids will go out this week and bid openings will be in late April. While that pushes the construction schedule back, Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt says it is still the board’s hope that the school is ready to open in August, 2015. He says logistically, moving into a new school before classes start is better than moving during a school year.

When construction begins, Glodt says the board and administrators will start to address other new school-related issues such as the redistricting for the three elementary schools – Buchanan, Jefferson and the new school.

As part of building the new school, two current elementary schools – McKinley and Washington – will be closed. The Washington property has been sold to private developers. The McKinley property has not yet been sold.


Pierre School Board approves resignations, hirings

As happens at this time of the year, it is the time of resignations and hirings in the Pierre School District.

Board members Monday night approved some of both:

There were four resignations. Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt says most were because teachers were moving out of town. Resignations were accepted for:

*** Michelle Lichti, special education teacher, Jefferson Elementary School. Four total years in education and two in Pierre.

*** Samantha Bass, sixth grade language arts, Georgia Morse Middle School. One total year in education and that was in Pierre.

*** Sandy Zimmerman, teacher aide, Jefferson Elementary School. Seven total years of service in the Pierre School District, all at Jefferson.

*** Rick Meyerink, history teacher and coach, Georgia Morse Middle School. One year in the Pierre School District.

There also were several recommended hirings: They were for:

*** Shelby Heckenlaible, third grade, Buchanan Elementary School

*** Kayla Stough, sixth grade math, Georgia Morse Middle School

*** Renae Lehman, librarian, Georgia Morse Middle School

*** Joseph Lehman, seventh grade social students, Georgia Morse Middle School

Glodt says there is still about 18 positions, teacher and otherwise, that still need to be filled. Besides already having about 100 applications on hand, Glodt says district officials are attending job fairs to look for prospective employees.

The annual district Retirement Tea is 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7 in the board room of the school administration building. The district plans to honor 14 retirees and one employee who has resigned after more than 10 years of service.


61st annual Elks Easter Egg Hunt Sunday

Prizes of all kinds will be scattered around the Governor’s residence lawn Sunday.

It is the 61st annual Pierre Elks Easter Egg Hunt. It is open to children ages 12 and under. The hunt starts promptly at 1 p.m.

Organizer Steve Wegman says an added attraction will be children’s entertainer Phil Baker who will perform on the lawn starting at 12:15 p.m. Wegman says Baker has performed in the past at the White House Easter Egg event.

Wegman says besides thousands of pieces of candy, there will be other prizes as well.

This afternoon, the traditional photo with the Easter Bunny and Governor Dennis Daugaard takes place at the Capitol.


More “Operation RAV” open houses scheduled

Local veterans who couldn’t attend Tuesday night’s “Operation RAV” open house in Fort Pierre will have other opportunities this spring and summer.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has started a year-long effort to identify and contact all of the state’s veterans. Officials have said there are 75,000 veterans in the state and they believe there about 20,000 that need to be found. The goal is to make sure the veterans know what services and benefits are available to them.

One way is through open houses like the one on Tuesday in Fort Pierre. Steve Oliva of the Department of Veterans Affairs says officials are trying to make contracts with all veterans.

Oliva says about nine such open houses will be held in this area through September. The next one is scheduled from 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. May 13 at the Oahe Electric Cooperative Building in Blunt. Another open house in May is May 20, 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m., at the Harrold School Auditorium.

For more information, call the Hughes County Veterans Service Office at 773-6975.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Updated at 9:40 p.m.

City Commissioners reject chicken ordinance

A proposed chicken ordinance failed to fly the coop Tuesday night.

Pierre City Commissioners unanimously rejected on a 5-0 vote a proposal that would have allowed property owners a chance to house up to six hens on their property. The proposed ordinance prohibited roosters, require coops and stated that the chickens would need to remain in the backyard.

The commission's decision came after about 90 minutes of testimony by supporters and opponents followed by rebuttal comments. By one count, an estimated 102 people attended the meeting, filling the commission room, the hallway and a nearby conference room. Most of those attending appeared to support of the ordinance.

Members of the
Pierre Urban Chicken Reform had brought forth the ordinance. Nine people testified in support of the ordinance. A main theme was that those who would have chickens would be responsible for them and that the city should have faith in the chicken owners to do the right thing.

But the seven opponents who spoke out argued that the chickens would attract predators and hamper the ability of neighbors to enjoy their properties. They also doubted that the ordinance provided enough enforcement authority against those chicken owners who might violate the law.

Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill and the four commissioners (Jeanne Goodman, Steve Harding, Jamie Huizenga and Jim Mehlhaff) all said that while they had received many comments from supporters, they also had received a large number of comments from opponents.  The commission members said there were too many questions about the ordinance and the impact on other residents for them to support it.

Anne Lewis, the chief organizer of the ordinance drive, said after the meeting that she was not disheartened by the decision. She said it was evident that the supporters had "not moved the needle enough" in getting commissioners to support the proposal.

Lewis said the group plans to review the testimony and comments. Lewis said the group plans to "craft" something different, but said it is too early to know what that will be.

Decision to offer money for bid project explained

Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill Tuesday night said the city had to offer financial funding to get a major street project done this year or risk losing a major incoming business.

As first reported by the KCCR Radio, the city last week offered $750,000 in an effort to have the state Transportation Commission accept the low bid to do this year's planned expansion of North Garfield Avenue.

The two submitted bids were about $1.5 million above the engineer's estimate of $4.6 million. The Transportation Commission accepted the low bid of a little more than $6.1 million submitted by Morris, Inc.

Gill Tuesday night said that city faced the prospect of both bids being rejected. That would have meant the project would not have been done this year.

Such an option, the Mayor said, was unacceptable because the project needed to be done this year to accommodate the construction of the new Menards store and new elementary school in that area.

Gill says not having the project done this year would have hampered development of the northeast part of the city and may have meant the loss of Menards coming to Pierre. She says such a loss was too big of a risk.

The North Garfield Avenue project  includes the expansion from two lanes to four lanes of North Garfield, also known as the truck bypass, from the Fourth Street intersection north to U.S. Highway 14. There also will a traffic light system added.

Work is expected to be done this year.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Updated at 1 p.m.

Chicken ordinance supporters ready for hearing

Supporters of an ordinance that would allow chickens to be raised in Pierre say they are anxious to address whatever concerns or issues are presented at tonight’s public hearing.

The Pierre Urban Chicken Reform has submitted a proposal that would allow a resident to house up to six hens on their property. The ordinance would require tightly-controlled conditions.

Pierre City Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the issue at tonight’s commission meeting and then take some type of action. Both supporters and opponents are expected to testify.

Anne Lewis of the Pierre Urban Chicken Reform says that group is ready to present its case. Lewis says a main focus will be to convince the commission and the public that raising chickens in an urban setting is nothing like raising chickens on the farm.

While optimistic about the ordinance’s chances, Lewis admits there is opposition. Even if the ordinance is rejected by the commission, Lewis expects the group to collect valuable information about what concerns and arguments the opponents may have.

Lewis says if the ordinance loses, she says the group will review the issue and then likely try again. “We are not going away,” she says.


Commissioners say they are undecided on proposal

Pierre’s city commissioners say they are all keeping an open mind on whether to support a proposed chicken ordinance.

Mayor Laurie Gill and Commissioners Jeanne Goodman, Steve Harding, Jamie Huizenga and Jim Mehlhaff all say they want to hear the testimony first at tonight’s public hearing before taking final action on the proposal.

A group wants to allow local residents to keep up to six hens on their property within the city limits. This is the first time the city has dealt with this issue.

All of the commissioners say they have received numerous contacts from both supporters and opponents of the proposal. Huizenga says everybody he has talked to has an opinion on the issue.

Harding says this issue has generated the most comments of any during his time on the commission. Goodman, who is chairperson of the Deer Management Task Force, says this issue has the same emotional reaction for many residents as the deer management issue has had.

Mehlhaff says he has questions that he needs answers to before he makes a decision.

Tonight’s hearing starts at 5:45 p.m. in the commission room of the Pierre City Hall.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good morning from the KCCR Newsroom...

Capital outlay certificates to pay for new school

Pierre School Board members Monday night approved the issuance of $10 million in capital outlay certificates that will be used for the construction of a new elementary school.

The action, while expected, moves the district forward to building the school in the northeast part of the city. “I guess we are building a new school,” said board president Randy Vance after the action was approved.

Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt says approval of the certificates is another step towards eventual construction.

At the same time, officials say there is still much work to do. Advertising for re-bids on three bid packages, which were initially rejected by the board, is expected to happen this week with the bid opening April 28.

Glodt says officials still believe the re-bidding will not significantly delay the school’s construction schedule.

The school is expected to open in August, 2015. Glodt says officials would like to have the school open before the start of a school year instead of trying to move into a new school in the middle of the year.


School board recognizes students, staff

Several students and staff were recognized by the Pierre School Board Monday night for their accomplishments.

While Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt says it is not an all-inclusive list, it does reflect the successes of those in the school district.

Those honored Monday were:

*** Riggs Students Macy Halverson was elected President and Austin Lentsch Secretary for the Capital Area Region for the 2014-15 school year. The elections took place at this spring’s State Student Council Conference. The region covers Pierre, Stanley County, Lyman, Jones County, Winner and Kadoka.

*** Pierre elementary school students who qualified for the State Geography Bee were Juan Flores, fifth grade, Jefferson; Jack Ferris, fifth grade, Buchanan; Raegan Spomer, fourth grade, Washington; and Spencer Kelly, fourth grade, McKinley.

*** Riggs students who received Outstanding Performance awards at the state One Act Play were Lydia Kanz, Eileen Leong, Jennifer Palmer and Joni Willoughby.

*** At the small group choral contest, 48 Riggs choir students received a Superior rating as a solo, duet or part of an ensemble:

*** Three Riggs basketball players were selected to the All-State second team: Kaitlyn Severyn and Sydney Palmer, girls; and Brevin Kaiser, boys. Severyn also is a finalist for South Dakota Miss Basketball.

*** Georgia Morse Middle School assistant principal Kyley Cumbow has obtained her doctorate degree in education. She becomes the Morse Middle School principal next year.

*** Ann Noyes, a seventh grade math teacher at Georgia Morse Middle School, has now been elected as the Region Six Teacher of the Year. She had earlier been named the Pierre Teacher of the Year. Noyes is now eligible for the state award. Noyes next year will be a fifth grade teacher at Washington Elementary School.


Pierre sets record temperature low

If it is going to be cold this time of the year, might as well make it a record cold.

This morning’s low temperature of 12 degrees in Pierre set a new record low for an April 15. The old mark was 20 degrees set in 1988.

It will be warmer today with a high of 60 degrees expected. Rain and sleet are predicted for overnight.


New Stanley County Highway Superintendent hired

Kelly McCollam was hired Monday as the new Stanley County Highway Superintendent.

County Commissioners approved the hiring at a special meeting. The commission had conducted several interviews for the position in the last few weeks.

McCollam, who starts April 28, will replace Leo Sullivan who retired.


Pierre man arrested after damaging property

A Pierre man faces several charges after he did an estimated $1,000 in damage to three vehicles and two different pieces of property early Saturday morning.

Police Captain Elton Blemaster says Benjamin Hernandez, 27, was leaving a home in the 300 block of South Harrison Avenue at 4:20 a.m. Saturday.Blemaster says Hernandez, while backing out of the driveway, hit two parked vehicles, the garage doors and ran over a set of shrubs.

Hernandez left the scene and was found a few minutes later at his home. He is charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Driving Without a Valid License, Reckless Driving and Failure to Provide Insurance.

Blemaster says damage estimates were: $500 to Hernandez’ 2006 Dodge; $100 to a parked 1993 Cadillac; $100 to a parked 2009 Mazda; $100 to the garage doors and $200 to the shrubs.


Wear Purple today in honor of Military Kids

Purple is the favorite color today.

Today is “Purple Up! for Military Kids Day.” April has been declared as the Month of the Military Child in South Dakota and purple is the official color.

People are urged to wear the color today in honor of those children whose parents serve in either the active or reserve military or Guard.

Marne Dooley, who is a member of the Air National Guard, is one of the organizers of the local Operation Military Kids group. She says the group is available to help children who have a parent gone for any length of a deployment.

Dooley says several activities are planned this month to honor Military Children.

The South Dakota Discovery Center will have free admission for military kids, veterans and active duty military personal from today through Easter Monday.


Operation RAV open house tonight in Fort Pierre

Area veterans are invited to an open house tonight to find out what services and benefits they are entitled.

“Operation RAV” is a year-long, statewide campaign by the state Department of Veterans Affairs. Staff member Steve Oliva says the goal is to reach out to all of the state’s veterans.

Oliva says the effort to reach veterans has worked well. He says many veterans and their families don’t realize what services and benefits are available.

Today’s open house is 4 p.m.-6 p.m. at the Community Youth Involved Center in Fort Pierre.


Pierre City Commission meeting tonight

Pierre City Commissioners will be briefed tonight on this spring’s Go Green and Clean program.

The effort, held each year, is designed to get citizens, groups and organizations involved in sprucing up the community. A clean-up project of public lands is planned for April 26.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the commission room of the Pierre City Hall. The public is invited to attend.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Updated at 5 p.m.

Pierre to contribute $750,000 to truck bypass                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Pierre officials have agreed to contribute $750,000 in city funds so the expansion of the North Garfield Avenue project can be done this year as scheduled.

The state Transportation Commission last week unanimously accepted a bid from Morris Inc. of Fort Pierre for a little more than $6.1 million. It was the lowest of the two bids submitted; but both were higher that the estimated cost of almost $4.6 million.

Final action was taken last Thursday after the commission had delayed a decision on the bid last month. Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill says the city commission believed the city had to provide extra funding to make sure the bid was accepted and the project be done this year as planned.

The North Garfield Avenue project is considered the city’s most important street project of the year. It includes the expansion from two lanes to four lanes of North Garfield, also known as the truck bypass, from the Fourth Street intersection north to U.S. Highway 14. There also will a traffic light system added.

With the development of Menards on the east side of Garfield and a new school to the west side the streets improvements are needed to accommodate the predicted increase in traffic. Construction on both of those projects will start soon and more business development in that area is eventually expected.

Gill says if the street project was not done this year, the city risked losing the Menards project.

Options on where the extra $750,000 will come from are being considered now, according to Gill.


Record cold possible early Tuesday morning

It will be close to record cold Tuesday morning in Pierre.

The forecasted low overnight is 21 degrees. The record low for an April 15 is 20 degrees set in 1988.

But you won’t be shivering for long Tuesday. The projected high is 61 degrees.


Wear Purple Tuesday to honor military children

When digging through your closet for something to wear Tuesday, look for something that has the color purple.

Tuesday is “Purple Up! for Military Kids Day.” April has been declared as the Month of the Military Child in South Dakota and purple is the official color.

People are urged to wear the color Tuesday in honor of those children whose parents serve in either the active or reserve military or Guard.

The local Operation Military Kids group was organized last fall and is hosting several activities this month. Marne Dooley, one of the organizers, says purple represents all branches of the military. It combines Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. 


“Operation RAV” open house Tuesday in Fort Pierre

The state Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting one of its “Operation RAV” open houses Tuesday in Fort Pierre.

This is a year-long effort to identify and make direct contract with all of the state’s veterans. The goal is to make sure the veterans know what services and benefits are available to them.

Tuesday’s open house is 4 p.m.-6 p.m. at the Community Youth Involved Center. Veterans and their families are invited to attend to speak with Veterans Affairs officials about what services are available.


Correction

The headline in this morning’s Capital Cit-E News regarding the Pierre School District 5K Run/Walk was incorrect.

The event’s actual date is May 3. It was right in the story, wrong in the headline.

We apologize for the error.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Good morning from the KCCR Newsroom....

Juvenile female injured in rollover in east Hughes Co.

A 15-year Pierre rural juvenile female was injured in a rollover Saturday night.

Hughes County Sheriff Mike Leidholt says the accident was reported at 6:58 p.m. on 205th Avenue, which is a gravel road about five to six miles south of the Blunt Junction. Leidholt says the juvenile was driving a 2003 Yukon eastbound when the vehicle drifted to the north shoulder of the road. Leidholt says the driver overcorrected and the vehicle went into the south ditch.

Leidholt says the vehicle entered the ditch sideways and then rolled down an embankment. Pierre Rescue Squad members were called to free the driver whose legs were pinned underneath the roof.

The driver was taken by ambulance to Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre. There is no further word on her condition.

Leidholt estimates the vehicle to be a total loss. He says the investigation into the accident continues.


Lots of rubble and the west wall are left of the old Pierre City Auditorium.

Demolition of city auditorium continues

If all goes well, by the end of this week, nothing will be standing any longer at the site of the old Pierre City Auditorium.

Briggs Contracting, which has the bid for the project, spent all week tearing down the majority of the building, which had been closed since 2011 because of structural concerns. The work has included knocking down everything but the west wall.

Owner Cody Briggs says this week will be spent removing rubble and wood from the auditorium’s basement. He says work has moved from east to west and the plan calls for taking down the west wall by Friday.

Last week’s demolition work attracted numerous residents driving by and stopping to take photos of the landmark coming down. Briggs says such interest never surprises him.

Briggs says one resident watching the work told him she had once been crowned prom queen in that auditorium.


Mayor: Considerable input on chicken ordinance

Numerous comments on both sides of the proposed chicken ordinance are being received by Pierre’s city commissioners. That’s according to Mayor Laurie Gill.

The commission Tuesday night is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the issue of whether chickens can be raised within the city limits. The Pierre Urban Chicken Reform has submitted a proposal that would allow a resident to house up to six hens on their property. The ordinance would require tightly-controlled conditions.

A first reading on the proposed ordinance was given two weeks ago. The public hearing, which is part of the regular city commission meeting, is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and then the commission will take action.

Whether such an ordinance should be approved has generated much discussion. Gill says she and the four commissioners have received input from both supporters and opponents.

In her 15 years on the commission, Gill says there have been several issues that have generated public comment. She says this is one of them.

A large crowd is expected for the hearing, being held in the commission room of the Pierre City Hall.


Everything has been moved from the staff room, located behind the front desk, at the Rawlins Library so expansion work can start on that side of the building.

Expansion project underway at Rawlins Library

An expansion project has started at the Pierre Rawlins Library.

The work is to add 10 feet to the north end of the building. City Administrator Leon Schochenmaier says a dividing wall is being built inside the library to separate the staff and patrons from the demolition work to be done on the north side.

A security fence now surrounds the north end of the building. Schochenmaier says the public will be kept out of that area.

Inside the library, new glass windows have already been added to the west side as well as a new emergency exit. Total cost of the project is $988,600 and is scheduled to be done by September 30.


Lennixx Lee, Megan Keyser honored at prom

Lennixx Lee and Megan Keyser were named King and Queen Saturday night at the Pierre Riggs High School prom.

Both are seniors.

Other nominees were King: Conrad Adam, Matthew Blaseg, Nathan Blaseg, Alexander Gray, Justin Oakland and Graham Protexter; and, Queen: Lydia Kanz, Cartney Knecht, Eileen Leong, Carly Jo Schroer, Kaitlyn Severyn and Abbie Wieseler


Pierre School District 5K Walk/Run May 3

The third annual Pierre School District 5K Walk/Run is May 3 at Pierre’s Steamboat Park.

Registration is 8 a.m.-8:45 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m.

The registration fee up today is $10 and guarantees an event T-shirt. Registration on the day of the race is $15 and a T-shirt is not guaranteed.

For more information, check out the information at the Pierre School District website at http://pierre.k12.sd.us/media/pierreschoolsfactor360com/uploads/tfriggs/Files/PSD5K14.pdf


Pierre School Board meeting tonight

Discussion about the Destination Imagination program is on the agenda for tonight’s Pierre School Board meeting.

Also on the agenda is a recommendation about the adoption of a new science textbook.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the Pierre School Administration building. The public is invited to attend.


Local Democrats host Governor's candidate tonight

Gubernatorial candidate Joe Lowe is the guest speaker at tonight’s Hughes and Stanley County Democratic meeting.

Lowe is one of two Democrats running in the party’s June 3 primary. The other is Representative Susan Wismer.

Tonight’s program featuring Lowe starts at 7 p.m. at the Longbranch in downtown Pierre.

Meeting participants also will discuss the upcoming McGovern Day celebration and state Central Committee meeting. Another agenda item will be discussion on how to help local candidates this year.

An informal dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Longbranch for all interested people.


Highway Patrol graduates eight new troopers

Eight new graduates Friday became state Highway Patrol troopers.

A graduation ceremony was held in the state Capitol Rotunda. Governor Dennis Daugard spoke at the ceremony.

The eight are part of Class 54. It takes about one year, from initial application to graduation, for the students to through the process. That includes eight months of training, which starts with basic law enforcement training and then is followed by the South Dakota Highway Patrol Recruit Academy.

After graduation, the troopers left for their duty stations. Among the eight graduates John Peary, who is working in Pierre.

The other seven and their duty stations are Trey Bedford, Belle Fourche; Michael Boyd, Beresford; Chance Davis, Wall; Andrew Miller, Wessington Springs; Codie Schmeichel, Chamberlain; Andrew Thomas, Belle Fourche; Garrett Wellman, Watertown.



Weather from Weatheye


Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 78. Breezy, with an east southeast wind 16 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.

Tonight
: A slight chance of showers between 1am and 4am. Partly cloudy, with a low around 44. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 14 to 23 mph becoming west after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Saturday
: Mostly sunny, with a high near 69. Northwest wind around 15 mph.

Saturday Night: 
Mostly clear, with a low around 38. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Sunday
: Sunny, with a high near 77. Southeast wind 6 to 13 mph.

Sunday Night
: Mostly clear, with a low around 43.


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