South Dakota News

US Attorney in South Dakota releases annual report
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The annual report of the office of the U.S. Attorney in South Dakota shows that the top federal prosecutor in the state filed 450 cases last year, half of which involved violent crimes in Indian Country. Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph Seiler announced the release of the 2014 report Tuesday. Among the fraud prosecutions highlighted by the report is that of a group of former University of South Dakota football players who admitted filing bogus tax returns to the tune of $1.1 million. The report also highlights prosecutions from Indian Country and provides a breakdown of the number of defendants by Indian reservation. Pine Ridge led the reservations by number of defendants with 133, followed by Rosebud Sioux with 81 and Cheyenne River Sioux with 61.

Youth wage, election changes go to voters in 2016 election
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's youngest workers won't see a drop in their minimum wage to $7.50 per hour this week as the state's voters will be able to decide the law's fate in the 2016 elections. The secretary of state's office announced Tuesday activists working to defeat the law secured enough valid signatures to put it before voters in 2016. Since the law is up for a vote, minors' wages won't drop a dollar to $7.50 Wednesday. Activists working against a package of election-law changes also secured enough signatures to put the law to a vote. Opponents of the election-law changes, which include different filing deadlines and signature gathering requirements, say they make it harder for candidates to run for office. Activists argue the changes are especially difficult for smaller parties.

Bond set at $5M for man charged with murder in infant death
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A judge in western South Dakota has set a $5 million bond for a man facing murder and other charges in an infant's death. The bond for 26-year-old Kristopher Houchin was set Tuesday. The Rapid City man has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree rape and child abuse. Houchin was arrested after a 6-month-old girl died of injuries at a Rapid City hospital Friday. Preliminary autopsy results indicate the girl died from brain bleeding as a result of blunt force trauma. Police in Rapid City say the girl, who wasn't a relative of Houchin's, was under his care before she was taken to the hospital. The Associated Press doesn't generally identify alleged victims of sex crimes. It's unclear if Houchin has an attorney.

Ellsworth AFB leasing space to in-home health care company
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (AP) — A Virginia-based in-home health care company has signed a lease for space at Ellsworth Air Force Base in western South Dakota. The Governor's Office of Economic Development says Advance Health will open its third location in the nation at the base. The company is the first one in South Dakota to take advantage of a federal program allowing private businesses to lease underutilized real property. Advance Health provides health assessments and care coordination to seniors and other people in vulnerable health. Health professionals associated with the company deliver care directly into people's homes. The company expects to fill over 200 jobs during the next three to five years. Gov. Dennis Daugaard says comprehensive health care and services will be in higher demand as the state's population continues to age.

Proof of insurance threatens 4-H rodeo in northeastern SD
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — A rodeo for 4-H members scheduled for this weekend in northeastern South Dakota is in jeopardy because organizers have not submitted proof of insurance to local officials. Brown County commissioners on Tuesday threated to deny a lease allowing the Hub Area 4-H Rodeo to take place at the county fairgrounds if they don't receive proof of coverage. Commission chairman Duane Sutton says commissioners need the documentation to ensure the county won't be liable in the event of a serious injury at the rodeo. Brown County 4-H youth program adviser Becca Tullar says she is under the impression that the insurance coverage for the event is already in place and is working to get the documentation to commissioners. The rodeo is scheduled to begin Saturday.

APNewsBreak: $50 million in claims for grasslands fire
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Ranchers and landowners filed more than $50 million in damage claims over a prescribed burn that veered out of control and burned 16,000 acres in North Dakota and South Dakota. That's according to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in which he denies the claims. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter to Sen. John Thune — sent last week— on Tuesday. Sixteen landowners filed claims after the Pautre (PAW-tree) Fire burned out of control in April 2013. The fire began as a 130-acre controlled burn by the U.S. Forest Service on the Dakota Prairie National Grasslands. In explaining the denial, Vilsack said the forest service relied on forecasts from the National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, that ultimately proved inaccurate.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press