South Dakota News

Planned Parenthood clinic closing in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is closing its clinic in Rapid City. When the doors shut on December 5th, Sioux Falls will be the only South Dakota city with a Planned Parenthood clinic. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota CEO Sarah Stoesz says a study indicated there are other clinics capable of providing affordable reproductive health care in the Rapid City area. Community Health Center of the Black Hills CEO Tim Trithart says he's confident his organization can absorb the patients from Planned Parenthood and provide similar services. Abortions are not performed at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Rapid City, though abortion referral is a listed service. The Rapid City Journal reports that the Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls is the only place in South Dakota offering abortions.

US Senate hopefuls square off in boisterous debate
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The candidates fighting to replace outgoing U.S. Senator Tim Johnson have met for their final public sparring match before the November 4th elections. Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland and independents Gordon Howie and Larry Pressler on Wednesday squared off at a debate sponsored by KELO-TV in Sioux Falls. They argued over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial EB-5 visa program that Rounds oversaw as governor and health care reform. Weiland, Pressler and Howie mounted dogged attacks against Rounds in the boisterous debate, calling on him to tell South Dakotans the "truth" about the investment-for-visa program. Rounds brushed off the attacks as "trash talking" and attempted to link Weiland and Pressler to President Barack Obama's policies, which he said are unpopular with voters.

Group to spend $255,000 on TV ads backing Weiland
WASHINGTON (AP) — An outside group plans to spend an additional $255,000 on ads in the final days of the South Dakota Senate race in an effort to boost Democrat Rick Weiland and attack independent candidate Larry Pressler. Every Voice Action said Wednesday it would air a new ad statewide through Election Day. The new spending would take the group's investment to $1.2 million in South Dakota. The new TV spot criticizes Pressler as not standing strong for Medicare and Social Security. It also praises Weiland as someone who will "stand up to special interests." Every Voice Action's president, David Donnelly, says the group is backing Weiland because it sees as winnable for Weiland. Republican nominee Mike Rounds, the favorite, and independent Gordon Howie are also running.

Independent US senator endorses Larry Pressler
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Larry Pressler has picked up the endorsement of Independent U.S. Senator Angus King. King says Pressler would "build bridges between Democrats and Republicans" who wants to help his state. King is a former governor of Maine. Pressler has served as a Republican congressman and senator and is running against Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Gordon Howie for Senator Tim Johnson's seat.

Noem criticizes election ads at high school forum
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Congresswoman Kristi Noem says the TV ads this election cycle have turned too negative and don't show where candidates stand on issues that matter to voters. Noem on Wednesday spoke on a wide range of topics before a group of students at Sioux Falls Christian High School. Noem is up for re-election as South Dakota's lone member of the U.S. House. The Republican congresswoman says negative ads don't help voters determine why they should support a given candidate. Noem, seeking a third term, is being challenged by Democratic candidate Corinna Robinson, who is a retired Army Veteran. Noem has been seen as the prohibitive candidate and has out-fundraised Robinson. Unlike Noem's race, negative ads have been prevalent in the four-way race for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson.

SD poll: 60 percent support for Keystone pipeline
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A scientific poll done by two media organizations found wide support among South Dakotans for the Keystone XL pipeline. The statewide survey commissioned by the Argus Leader and KELO-TV shows 60 percent backing for the project, with 30 percent opposed and 10 percent undecided. The TransCanada Corporation project would transport oil from Canadian tar sands through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries along the Gulf Coast. The South Dakota portion is about 315 miles long and would extend from the Montana border in Harding County to the Nebraska border in Tripp County. The White House said earlier this year it was putting off a decision on Keystone indefinitely.

Media poll shows wide support for 'patient choice'
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakotans who answered a poll indicated strong approval for the so-called patient choice act on next week's ballot. The survey done by KELO-TV and the Argus Leader shows Initiated Measure 17 has support from statewide voters by a 55-28 percent margin. Seventeen percent were undecided. Mason-Dixon Polling and Research conducted the telephone survey of 800 registered South Dakota voters October 20th through 23rd. The measure has split the medical community, with the state's medical association — dominated by doctors and specialty hospitals — in favor of it and health insurers and large hospital networks opposed. If approved, doctors who agree to the conditions set forth by insurers, including payments for services provided to patients, could join an insurer's preferred providers list.

Authorities searching for man empty grain bin
BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Authorities are emptying a grain bin full of corn at a Brookings elevator as part of the search for a man who was last seen nearly a week ago. Police Chief Jeff Miller tells The Brookings Register that there is no evidence of foul play in the disappearance of 26-year-old Jacob Heisinger (HY'-sihng-ur). He was last seen leaving a bar early on Oct. 23. Authorities began searching the grain elevator area on Tuesday after a tip from the public. KBRK radio reports the search and the bin-emptying efforts continued Wednesday. Heisinger is from California but has been living in Brookings for at least a couple of years. He's been taking classes at South Dakota State University. Other students on campus tell KELO-TV that they hope the mystery is solved soon.

City must modifiy center to meet ADA standards
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Federal officials have given Rapid City 30 months to make changes to the city's events center to meet ADA standards. The Rapid City Journal reports the changes to Rushmore Plaza Civic Center must be done regardless of whether the city decides to build a new arena. The city's attorney has presented to the center's board of directors a draft settlement agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, which oversees violations to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Modifications to the Don Barnett Arena could cost around $38 million. The arena was built in 1977 and never adapted to the 1990 standards. An anonymous complaint was filed nearly two years ago against the center. The federal agency recently made its first attempt to force the city to meet the standards.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press