South Dakota News

Pioneering ethanol plant shuts down in South Dakota
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — One of the first ethanol plants in the country has been shut down. The Advanced BioEnergy plant in Aberdeen began operating in the early 1990s, as Heartland Grain Fuels. Company CEO Rich Peterson tells the American News that it's now too costly to operate because of outdated technology, and it was closed last week. The Minnesota-based company continues to operate a larger plant that opened in the city in 2008. That factory can produce up to 48 ½ million gallons of fuel annually, compared to 8 ½ million for the smaller plant. Peterson says the closure of the smaller plant won't affect customers. He says "a handful" of employees lost jobs.

Hartford government again in turmoil, with new resignations
HARTFORD, S.D. (AP) — What was supposed to be a new era for city government in Hartford has instead begun with more disorder. Mayor Bill Campbell and Councilman Bill Haugen Jr. abruptly resigned on Tuesday night, right before new council members were to be sworn in to office. It brings to five the number of resignations since November, when an unsuccessful effort to recall Campbell prompted months of turmoil. Campbell says it's taken a toll on the community of 2,500 people, and he think's its best to step down. Campbell also decried the tactics of the citizen group Growing Hartford, which was behind the recall petitions. Growing Hartford member Tony Randall says all of the controversy has led to a more engaged and active community.

Harrold man accused in police chase, grain bin standoff
HARROLD, S.D. (AP) — A Harrold man is in custody after allegedly leading authorities on a chase and then climbing a grain bin. The 25-year-old suspect stayed atop the grain bin for 3 ½ hours before finally surrendering Tuesday afternoon. The chase began when the man fled a traffic stop. It eventually involved officers with the city of Pierre, Hughes County, the state Highway Patrol, the state Game, Fish and Parks Department and the federal U.S. Marshals Service. The man ultimately was arrested on outstanding warrants. Charges related to the pursuit were pending.

Police arrest suspect in Prince graffiti case in Aberdeen
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Aberdeen police have made an arrest in a vandalism case that included spray-painted tags commemorating Prince. The American News reports that the 49-year-old suspect was identified through surveillance video. It wasn't clear if formal charges had been filed against the man. Police say they received 10 reports of vandalism downtown. Among the graffiti was a spray-painted rendering of the late musician's symbol, with the phrase "RIP Prince." Prince died April 21 in suburban Minneapolis at age 57.

Could Medicaid expansion be easier than previously thought?
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Paying for an expansion of Medicaid in South Dakota by reducing state spending on the program may be easier than previously anticipated for officials and others investigating the possibility. Officials hope to have a better idea next month whether federal moves to take on more Medicaid costs for Native Americans will allow South Dakota to cover expansion. The February policy changes apply to a broader array of services than the state was figuring. A recent state analysis shows the services add up to millions of dollars in state Medicaid spending. Kim Malsam-Rysdon, a senior adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, says that means more cost-saving opportunities for the state. Daugaard has said he would like a special legislative session to consider expansion if moving forward turns out to be viable.

Homeland security conference kicks off in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The state Department of Public Safety says a homeland security conference covering preparedness, prevention and response has kicked off in Sioux Falls. The agency said the conference started Tuesday and runs through Thursday. Experts will be discussing new technology, emerging security threats and emergency responses. Steve Pluta is South Dakota's Director of Homeland Security. Pluta says issues talked about at the conference won't just focus on terrorism, but will also involve natural disasters and man-made emergencies. He says the conference is meant to offer training and information that can be employed by responding agencies at all levels.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press