South Dakota News

Crazy Horse Memorial celebrating Native Americans' Day
CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. (AP) — The Crazy Horse Memorial is hosting its annual Native Americans' Day celebration on Monday. Activities will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mountain time, and a 10 a.m. program will feature cultural leaders, prayers, a Native American dance performance and the announcement of the Crazy Horse Memorial Educator of the Year. The award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to Native American education, and it includes a $1,000 grant to the recipient's school library or to student programs of his or her choice. South Dakota celebrates Native Americans' Day on what is widely recognized in the rest of the country as "Columbus Day."

Democrats plan new push for ethics commission over GEAR UP
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in South Dakota plan to renew their push for a state ethics commission as questions mount about the handling of public funds at an educational cooperative. Platte-based Mid-Central Educational Cooperative has come under scrutiny after an apparent murder-suicide involving a key employee. Representative Peggy Gibson is making another attempt to get discussions going about an ethics panel in the upcoming session. She says the events surrounding Mid-Central show why it's needed. Republicans holding supermajorities in the Legislature and controlling the governor's office have largely opposed re-establishing such a body. House Majority Leader Brian Gosch says an existing legislative oversight committee successfully exposed weaknesses in oversight of the educational grant program managed by Mid-Central. Gibson unsuccessfully sponsored an ethics commission proposal last session after the state's investment-for-visa scandal.

South Dakota men see success at National Senior Games
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A retired rancher and a retired veterinarian from South Dakota who did particularly well at this year's National Senior Games are partially attributing their successes to their active lifestyles in the ag business. The Tri-State Neighbor reports that 101-year-old John Zilverberg, of Highmore, was the oldest competitor and carried South Dakota's flag during the opening ceremonies. He placed first in the hammer throw and bowling events, and placed second in discus, javelin and shot put. Zilverberg says ranch life helped keep him in shape. He says people "get plenty of exercise" on the ranch. Eighty-five-year-old Don Phillips, of Sioux Falls, earned six gold medals in 50-, 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter races and the 400-meter relays. The next senior games will be held in 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell has head lice problem
MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell is dealing with an outbreak of head lice. The Daily Republic reports the school has sent students an email describing lice as "sesame seed-sized bugs." The school is leaving treatment up to students and is advising them to check for egg/nit sacks that are firmly attached to the hair follicle. Lice are parasitic insects that can be found on people's heads and bodies, and survive by feeding on human blood. Lori Essig is the university's vice president of marketing and communications. She says the outbreak was discovered during the last week of September. Essig wouldn't say how many students have been affected, but she says the school appears to be "winning the battle" against the insects.

Family escapes fire that destroys Fort Pierre home
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A family was able to safely escape a fire that destroyed their home in Fort Pierre. The fire broke out Saturday night at a house on Main Street. Fort Pierre Fire Chief Cody Lengkeek tells KCCR-AM the fire started in a gas grill on the porch. The family was at home when the fire started, and they all made it out of the house with no injuries. The American Red Cross is helping the family find a place to stay.

SD School of Mines to host rocks, fossils ID public event
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is inviting individuals to take their interesting backyard rock or fossil finds to the university's annual identification event. Paleontology staff and students will study and identify people's finds during the third annual Rock and Fossil ID Day Saturday at the school's Museum of Geology. Samantha Hustoft is the museum's program assistant. She says quartz is the most common rock brought to the event for evaluation. Paleontology staff and trained students from the Society of Economic Geologists, Tech Geological Association and Paleo Club will study and identify specimens. The museum showcases exhibits focusing on paleontology and mineralogy.

Federal grants to help SD programs for new farmers, ranchers
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two organizations in South Dakota will receive a portion of the $17 million in grants that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is handing out to help new farmers and ranchers. The federal agency says Dakota Rural Action and South Dakota State University will receive funding to help programs that train and support beginning farmers and ranchers. Dakota Rural Action in Brookings has been awarded $225,000 to train 50 beginning farmers and ranchers in whole farm planning, business management, value added marketing and sustainable production methods. The funding is also meant to help 90 beginning producers access several local food marketing initiatives. SDSU will get nearly $707,000 to provide a training and mentoring program that assists beginning beef cattle producers. The program includes workshops on livestock production, marketing, finance and leadership.

Sculptor unveils 5 pieces of public art in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A sculptor is gradually unveiling his gray granite public artwork in downtown Rapid City. Masayuki Nagase has completed about two-thirds of the $2 million project titled "The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water." The Rapid City Journal reports that he already has finished 14 of 21 stones, with the project expected to be complete in about two years. The artist recently revealed five of the stones he completed this summer. Sculpture project coordinator and Arts Rapid City director Anna Huntington says everyone who's involved in the project is excited to see how it's coming to life. Nagase will return to Rapid City next June to carve one of the 35-foot-high spires for the project, as well as four additional sculptures.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press