South Dakota News

9 workers laid off at Regional Health hospital in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Rapid City-based Regional Health has laid off nine workers in an ongoing staff shake-up instigated last year by a new top executive. The Rapid City Journal reports that seven full-time and two part-time workers in the Marketing and Public Affairs Department at the Rapid City hospital were let go. Spokeswoman Denise Dancy says Regional Health has "restructured" the department. It comes about a month after Regional Health President and CEO Brent Phillips acknowledged significant turnover in the organization since he came on board Jan. 1, 2015. He said the turnover was related to his efforts to make Regional Health the top health care system in the nation. Regional Health has hospitals and clinics in more than 20 communities and employs nearly 5,000 people.

Low potential for major wildfires in western South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The potential for large wildfires in the Black Hills National Forest region appears low this year. State Fire Meteorologist Darren Clabo says wetter-than-average conditions expected in May and June will dampen the likelihood of major fires through the rest of the summer. There have been two big fires already this spring — The Cold Fire and the Storm Hill Fire that together burned more than three square miles. Clabo says warm, dry conditions contributed to those fires but that recent rain and snow has reduced the risk of a repeat. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows only a small pocket of abnormally dry conditions in the region, and no drought.

Trial being moved for Aberdeen man facing murder charge
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — Trial for an Aberdeen man accused of stabbing a woman to death is being moved out of Brown County and delayed. The American News reports that Judge Scott Myren granted a change-of-venue motion from defense attorneys for 34-year-old John Hemminger. Hemminger's attorneys worried about the ability to seat an unbiased jury, based on questionnaires of potential jurors. Hemminger was to stand trial in Aberdeen beginning next week. A new location and date for the trial wasn't immediately set. Myren said the earliest trial date likely would be in September. Hemminger is charged with murder in the death of 26-year-old Jessica Goebel, who died after being stabbed in January 2015.

Professional basketball league forming in Great Plains
MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A professional basketball league is trying to get off the ground in the Great Plains. The National Basketball League of America is affiliated with the National Basketball League of Canada. The goal is to help former NCAA and NAIA college basketball players who have regional connections get noticed by other, more established pro leagues. League President Darryl Greene tells The Daily Republic newspaper that the goal is to have six teams for the inaugural season that's scheduled to start in September and run through November. The Dakota Magic will be based in Mitchell, the Omaha Charges in Nebraska and the Sioux City Hornets in Iowa. Greene has been in conversation with officials in Rapid City, Bismarck and Fargo about starting teams in those cities.

APNewsBreak: South Dakota tribe sues feds over ER closure
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Native American tribe in South Dakota has sued the federal government over the nearly five-month closure of the only emergency room on its reservation. The federal lawsuit brought Thursday by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe asks that federal officials be forced to re-open the emergency room at the hospital administered by the Indian Health Service. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the complaint ahead of its official filing. IHS shuttered the emergency department of the 35-bed Rosebud Hospital in early December, two weeks after federal inspectors uncovered serious failures. The lawsuit argues IHS did not give Congress an evaluation of the closure's impact at least a year in advance of the shutdown, as required by federal law. IHS did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Thursday.

Attorney general explains referred youth minimum wage law
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Attorney General Marty Jackley has released an explanation for a law referred to voters that would carve out a $7.50 youth minimum wage. Jackley's office said Thursday the measure would not become law unless approved by a majority vote in the 2016 election. The law was passed during the 2015 session. It would apply to non-tipped workers under 18. Since opponents were successful in gathering enough support to put the measure on the ballot, it didn't go into effect as intended on July 1, 2015. Opponents of the youth minimum wage law have argued that it is an affront to voters who overwhelmingly passed an $8.50 minimum wage in the 2014 election. The wage bumped up to $8.55 in January because of a cost-of-living increase built into the law.

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