South Dakota News

South Dakota district trains 'sentinel' for armed defense
COLTON, S.D. (AP) — The first South Dakota school district to allow approved employees to carry guns appears to be moving ahead with the program — but officials have declined to provide details. One applicant from the Tri-Valley School District was approved for this summer's required training, but the state and the district won't identify the trainee. Superintendent Mike Lodmel declined to provide details to The Associated Press about the school sentinel program or even confirm it's active. He said the information could give a would-be attacker an advantage. Both the district and the attorney general's office, which conducted the applicant's 80-hour training, declined to release most details requested. They cited exemptions in South Dakota's public records law.

Lawrence County voters reject rock quarry in scenic valley
DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) — Lawrence County residents have resoundingly rejected a proposed rock quarry in scenic Centennial Valley. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,749 people who took part in Tuesday's special election voted against allowing Rapid City-based Mountain View Ranches LLC to develop a 192-acre sand, gravel and rock quarry off Crook City Road. The County Commission in June had narrowly approved the project. But area residents who opposed it gathered enough petition signatures to force the public vote, and a judge later rejected an attempt by Mountain View Ranches to block the election. Opponents feared the quarry would jeopardize historic trails and lead to other problems including noise, dust and road damage. Mountain View Ranches maintained that the area is appropriate for a quarry and said the operation wouldn't be disruptive.

Case of Aberdeen man accused in killing heads to jury soon
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Jurors will soon be deciding the fate of an Aberdeen man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend nearly two dozen times. Thirty-four-year-old John Hemminger is on trial in Fort Pierre in the January 2015 death of Jessica Goebel. About a week of testimony wrapped up Tuesday, and attorney closing arguments were scheduled for Wednesday morning. After that, the case will go to the jury. Hemminger could face life in prison if convicted of murder. Prosecutors maintain Hemminger stabbed Goebel 23 times when she refused to take him back after a breakup. The defense maintains that someone else is responsible for the killing, and that police bungled the investigation. The trial was moved out of Aberdeen due to defense concerns about being able to seat an impartial jury there.

Company planning large wind farm pulls permit application
AVON, S.D. (AP) — A Dell Rapids-based company planning a 36,000-acre wind farm in Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties has pulled its application for a state permit. Prevailing Winds LLC in June applied for a permit for the 201-megawatt wind farm. The facility was to include 100 wind turbines, along with related infrastructure and equipment. The state Public Utilities Commission held a public meeting on the project in Avon on Aug 24. It drew proponents who said alternative energy is good for the environment but also opponents who said the large farm would be an eyesore. The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reports that Prevailing Winds moved to withdraw its permit application Tuesday. Attorney Lee Magnuson said the company will "revisit its options regarding the project."

Rapid City police search for missing girls; 1 is endangered
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Authorities in Rapid City are searching for two girls, one of whom they believe might be endangered. Police say 6-year-old Jeniya Hayes and 2-year-old Kaylahni Hayes were taken by their noncustodial mother, Alissa Hayes, on Tuesday during a supervised visitation. They have not been seen since 7 p.m. Authorities say Kaylahni Hayes is believed to be endangered because she has a seizure disorder that requires daily medication that she does not have with her. Police are asking anyone with information about the children's whereabouts to contact them.

Sioux Falls mayor: Everyone, help improve water quality
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether is pushing cities along the Big Sioux River to help improve water quality in the impaired waterway. Huether said Tuesday that Sioux Falls has a significant role to play, highlighting the city's decision to implement buffer strips along the Big Sioux and Skunk Creek. The city has added about 16 acres of buffer strips in 2016. Huether also says he supports a statewide measure encouraging buffer strip usage. Backers of a bill vetoed this year that would have offered tax incentives to put in buffer strips between farmland and waterways plan to try again in 2017. Gov. Dennis Daugaard's office has said he supports the concept and will offer a buffer strip proposal this year to the Legislature's Ag Land Assessment Task Force for consideration.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press