South Dakota News

HUD secretary to visit South Dakota on Tuesday
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will be in South Dakota Tuesday to get a firsthand look at the housing challenges in Indian Country. U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson and Castro will meet with leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They will also tour the Thunder Valley Community Development in Sharps Corner. The federal agency earlier this month announced that the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been awarded a $400,000 grant to repair and prevent mold damage in at least 75 low-rent units including bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Castro on Wednesday will visit Williston, North Dakota, to take a look at housing and infrastructure needs in the oil patch. Castro is considered a potential vice presidential nominee in 2016.

Report says South Dakota corn harvest lagging
Recent warm, dry weather helped South Dakota crops mature, but the corn harvest is a bit behind normal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service says 19 percent of the corn is out of the field, which is below the 45 percent average for this time of year. The agency's weekly crop report says 88 percent of soybeans have been harvested, which is ahead of average and also ahead of where the crop was last year. The fourth cutting of alfalfa was 70 percent done as of Sunday.

SD man sentenced in fatal New Year's Day crash
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man will serve 13 years in prison for a New Year's Day crash in Sioux Falls that killed a woman. Twenty-one-year-old Oscar Madrigal was sentenced Monday. Madrigal earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter and second-offense DUI in the death of 38-year-old Tanya Sanchez. Police say Madrigal ran a flashing red light early on Jan. 1 in a Jeep and collided with a minivan, killing Sanchez and injuring her husband. Authorities say Madrigal's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Madrigal apologized to Sanchez's family during the hearing. Judge Mark Salter sentenced Madrigal to 20 years in prison, with seven years suspended. Salter also gave Madrigal one year for the DUI offense, but that was also suspended.

Wildfire burns 150 acres in central South Dakota
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A wildfire has burned 150 acres of grass and brush near the Oahe Dam's emergency spillway. Fort Pierre Fire Chief Rick Cronin tells KCCR-AM that hunters may have caused the weekend blaze. But he adds that can't be determined. Cronin says high winds, warm temperatures and hilly terrain made fighting the fire difficult. Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours. No one was injured and no structures were damaged. Cronin is reminding the public to be cautious with materials that could start open fires.

Judge upholds conviction of SD man who shot wife
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A circuit judge has upheld the manslaughter conviction of a South Dakota man who shot his wife in five years ago while she scrubbed the kitchen floor. Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Trandahl on Monday upheld the conviction of Herman P. Kleinsasser, of Onida. He is serving an 80-year sentence at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls. It's unclear whether Kleinsasser has an attorney. Kleinsasser had appealed his conviction claiming that his defense team was ineffective, the state violated the plea agreement, and the judge presiding over his case failed to properly advise him of his rights before sentencing. Kleinsasser claimed self-defense in the January 2009 incident saying that his wife shot him first. One of his young children was an eye-witness.

Attorneys general letter targets human trafficking
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urging passage of three bills that target human trafficking. Jackley and more than 50 other state and territorial attorneys general signed the letter sent to the committee Monday. Jackley says strengthening federal law will assist in protecting sex crimes victims. The letter asks the committee to approve the Stop Advertising Victims Exploitation Act. The measure would add more oversight for websites that offer adult services. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013 is also mentioned in the letter. It would promote a victim-centered approach to cases. The Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act is the third bill that senators are being encouraged to approve. The proposal would increase federal penalties and victim restitution.

School of Mines getting $1.25M research contract
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is getting a $1.25 million contract to design more advanced underground ventilation systems for block caving mines. Block caving is an underground hard rock mining method that involves undermining an ore body and allowing it to progressively collapse under its own weight. It's the underground version of open pit mining. The five-year project from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health seeks to create safer and more comfortable working environments. The school says it also could lead to more efficient production for mining companies. The project will include several faculty members at the Rapid City university as well as graduate students. President Heather Wilson says it's the kind of research at which the university excels.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press