South Dakota News

Friend: Alleged SD shooter 'no monster'
SISSESTON, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota authorities say autopsies are being performed on the bodies of four people found dead after a shooting in a home. Among the dead is the suspected shooter, 22-year-old Colter Arbach of Sisseton. His body was found among the dead after authorities initially thought he may have fled. The Division of Criminal Investigation says interviews continue and the South Dakota Crime Lab is working on shooting reconstruction and performing ballistic tests. Names of the victims are expected to be released Monday. A Sisseton hospital official said a woman wounded in the attack was flown to a Fargo, North Dakota hospital. Her condition was not available Sunday. William Ryan of Sisseton tells the Argus Leader he was friends with Colter, and that Colter's "choice and actions were wrong" but "he was no monster."

3 arrested after deadly stabbing in Wagner
WAGNER, S.D. (AP) — Authorities are holding three people after a deadly stabbing in Wagner. The Charles Mix County sheriff's office says a person was stabbed on Friday night in tribal housing. The suspects left in a vehicle but were pulled over with the help of Yankton Sioux Tribal Police. KELO-TV reports three people were arrested and were in jail Sunday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping investigate.

US Sen. Johnson raises awareness about adoption
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Senator Tim Johnson is raising awareness about the importance of foster care adoption. Johnson says every child deserves to be raised in an "environment that allows them to flourish." Johnson this month participated in the 10th annual Adoptive Family Portrait Project, which highlights the experiences and needs of families that have adopted children from foster care. Johnson has worked to expand the adoption tax credit and was a founding member of the bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption. He is also the grandfather of two adopted children. More than 1,500 children live in foster homes in South Dakota. The state currently has more than 300 children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Johnson will retire by the end of the year.

Sioux Fall surgeons' group stops selling implants
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A group of Sioux Falls surgeons has stopped selling surgical implants at a local hospital amid concerns over conflicts of interest and legality. The Argus Leader reports Great Plains Surgical Distributors is owned by nine Orthopedic Institute surgeons who work at the nearby Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital. The hospital management launched an inquiry into the distributor this summer and ordered a cease and desist. Its owners say such distributorships can lower health care costs and that they have been closely following federal laws. Critics say doctors profit from the devices they use in surgeries, which gives them an incentive to do more procedures. Federal laws prohibit doctors from receiving kickbacks on products they use. One of the nine surgeons says the group is changing its business model to eliminate doubts about its legality.

Rapid City residents protest Starbucks sign
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Rapid City residents are protesting a large Starbucks sign affixed to a historic downtown hotel. The Rapid City Journal reports the 12-foot diameter lighted logo on the Hotel Alex Johnson has inspired an online petition urging its removal. More than 270 people have signed the petition. Wart Wirtz says he started the petition because he was "enraged" when he saw the sign, which he says is "over the top." The coffee shop in the hotel's lobby was recently converted from a Seattle's Best to a Starbucks. The city's Historic Sign Review Committee approved the addition of the Starbucks logo in July. The committee denied a second 300-square-foot Starbucks sign proposal from the company that owns the hotel. Representatives from the hospitality company declined to comment.

South Dakota workers 'hi-rail' for safety
CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (AP) — Record crop yields and the North Dakota oil boom have led to a resurgence of rail transit in South Dakota, and it's Lynn Kennison's job to make sure the tracks are safe. He's a transportation specialist at the state Department of Transportation and inspects the rail lines using a road-rail, or "hi-rail," vehicle. The specialized truck can ride on the road and on the tracks. Kennison's job will only get more important as the state continues investing in rail infrastructure. The latest is a $28 million project to repair a roughly 42-mile section of mostly derelict track from Chamberlain to Presho, which has spurred tens of millions of dollars in agricultural development. The state has one of the hi-rail trucks now but hopes to get another for the project.

SD group sponsoring farming training for veterans
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A nonprofit organization that assists veterans and their families is sponsoring scholarships for a farmer and rancher training program. The Farmer Veteran Coalition is offering the financial assistance for the 10-session training program that will take place during the winter in Rapid City. Participants will learn about low-cost, sustainable methods of farming and ranching, as well as ways to launch a profitable enterprise. The grassroots group Dakota Rural Action will be hosting the seminar. Classes will be taught by local farmers, ranchers and agriculture professionals. The group says more than 80 percent of graduates over the past five years are engaged in farming activities.

DOT awards $1.1M in grants to small SD cities
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The state's Department of Transportation has awarded $1.1 million to six small South Dakota cities and one county for road improvements. The funds were given through the Community Access grant program to improve roads leading to schools, main business areas, hospitals, grain elevators and other economic areas in the communities. The grants will pay for 60 percent of the construction costs. The cities receiving the funds are: Arlington, Burke, Groton, Ipswich, Menno and Wessington Springs. Sully County was also given a grant.

Access restricted to Belle Fourche's Tequila Beach
BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials are restricting camping and vehicle access to Belle Fourche Reservoir's Tequila Beach. Joe Hall with the bureau's office overseeing the Dakotas says camping in recreational vehicles and motorized vehicles are no longer allowed at the beach. Pedestrian-only access and tent camping will be permitted. Hall says the changes are out of public safety and resource damage concerns. Tequila Beach is located on Reclamation-managed lands in the Gadens Point area of Belle Fourche Reservoir. Hall adds the bureau is planning a day-use-only graveled vehicle parking area near the beach. The area is used for swimming, fishing, camping and other activities.

Searl Creek proposed for waterway in northern SD
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Board on Geographic Names has recommended a name for a creek north in north-central South Dakota near the North Dakota border. The panel chose Searl Creek for the unnamed waterway north of Pollock that drains into Lake Pocasse. Written comments on the proposal are due by Dec. 20 and then the board will make a final decision.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press