News Across South Dakota-AM EditionBy
- SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A man convicted of raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl is scheduled for execution in South Dakota, ending a 22-year-long legal saga that left a mark on the people of Sioux Falls. Sixty-year-old Donald Moeller abducted the girl as she walked to a grocery store in May 1990. He was sentenced to death in 1992, but his execution was delayed by appeals and legal complications. It’s scheduled for Tuesday. The child’s mother, Tina Curl, plans to drive back to Sioux Falls from her home in New York to watch the execution. She said the death of her daughter Becky led her into years of alcoholism. Residents said the case changed how they felt about their city.
- SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – After the death of former Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, his family asked that donations be made in his memory to an organization that distributes food to needy people across the state. The family’s request is paying off for Feeding South Dakota, which has received donations of about $16,000 in the week since McGovern’s death. Matt Gassen, executive director of Feeding South Dakota, says the organization has been processing a lot of donations since McGovern’s family asked for such donations instead of flowers. Gassen says a man from Spain called to make sure his donation was received in memory of McGovern. McGovern worked for decades to fight against hunger around the world.
- PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – The South Dakota Open Meetings Commission meets Monday in Sioux Falls to consider complaints against two state boards and a county panel. The commission will hear complaints against the state Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, the state Board of Massage Therapy and the Union County Weed Board. The commission is made up of five state’s attorneys. If the commission finds that a state or local board has violated the open meetings law, it can issue a public reprimand. South Dakota law requires that state and local boards and commission must provide public notice of meetings at least 24 hours in advance. Those panels can meet in closed sessions only to consult with legal counsel or to discuss issues dealing with personnel, students, contract negotiations or publicly owned businesses.
- GARY, S.D. (AP) – An organization of utilities is holding public open houses this week on a 70-mile high-voltage transmission line that will run from Big Stone City to just north of Gary. CapX2020 officials will take comments and answer questions from landowners and interested stakeholders. Route options for the 345 kilovolt line have been narrowed to two potential routes since the last round of open houses in June. Maps of the routes will be on display. The meetings are scheduled for Monday at the Gary Community Center and Tuesday at the McKnight Community Center in White. Times at both locations are 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
- OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – As winter approaches, energy prices in Nebraska and South Dakota appear stable, but consumers could still see higher bills if the weather is colder than last year. Northwestern Energy officials say the price of natural gas remains significantly lower than it has been, so consumers will be able to expect lower utility bills if this winter is mild. But if more normal winter temperatures return this year, then utility customers will use more energy and see higher bills than last year. Northwestern’s Bobbi Schroeppel says the utility encourage customers to make their homes as efficient as possible to help reduce their utility bills. Homeowners are encouraged to install programmable thermostats and add caulk around doors and windows to seal air leaks. Upgrading windows and doors can also reduce energy use.
- SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota jury has awarded $700,000 to the family of a motorcyclist killed in a 2009 crash with a vehicle driven by a teenager on a busy Sioux Falls street. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the estate of 60-year-old Tommy Little. The award reflects funeral expenses and income lost from Little’s death. The jury found that Nick Rezac, who was 18 at the time, made a careless left turn onto a street on July 25th, 2009. The jury concluded that Rezac’s vehicle struck Little’s motorcycle and the crash caused Little’s death. Jurors also determined that Little had not been riding his motorcycle recklessly or traveling at excessive speeds.
- RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Sturgis officials say the city’s profits for running the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally more than doubled this year. The city spent about $960,000 this year to host the August rally, which attracted hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists to the Black Hills in western South Dakota. The city generated about $1.4 million in revenue, leading to a net profit of about $400,000 for this year’s rally. That’s more than double the city’s $197,000 profit last year. Rally officials estimate that 450,000 people attended this year’s rally, up about 7 percent from last year. According to the official rally website, more than 1,000 vendors registered for this year’s rally and had gross sales of $13.1 million.
- RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Record heat and extended drought sparked a huge increase in the number and severity of wildfires in South Dakota this year. The number of fires nearly doubled this year compared with last year. That put a strain on the budgets of small fire departments, caused the cancellations of July 4th fireworks displays, led to bans on open campfires and stressed firefighters. The state has spent about $4.5 million fighting wildfires so far this year, up from $970,000 a year ago. Firefighters in South Dakota this year fought 1,113 fires that burned more than 103,000 acres. According to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, South Dakota last year had only 631 fires that burned 65,000 acres.