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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

A look at news from around the region, as reported by weekly newspapers:

Freeman

LOW NUMBERS THREATEN FOOTBALL PROGRAM: With just 14 boys in grades 8-11 committed to playing in 2014, the status of football at Freeman Public School is in jeopardy, according to school Superintendent Don Hotchkiss.

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"If we get to August without more than 10, 12 kids, it's pretty hard to have a football team," Hotchkiss said.

While the school was interested in a co-op agreement with Freeman Academy for football, that may not provide any help for the Freeman Public.

Freeman Academy Superintendent Pam Tieszen told Hotchkiss that no academy students plan to play football next season.

Co-op agreements with other schools for 2014 are also bleak because the co-op would then likely be forced to play 11-man football. Hotchkiss said the school could cancel its varsity schedule and play strictly a JV slate, but that may cause some students to open enroll and play for another school.

The team had 17 players in 2013. That diminished to 11 players by season's end, due to injuries.

-- Freeman Courier

Avon

SCHOOL SECURITY TO BE BOLSTERED: The Avon School District will have improved school security next year after putting a federal Department of Homeland Security grant into use.

Superintendent Tom Culver said the school will install cameras on the playground this summer and will issue identification badges to all school staff. Culver said the school will enclose the entryway of the school, which will force visitors to enter the school through the office area, something that is becoming more commonplace in schools around the state.

-- The Avon Clarion

Lyman County

COUNTY, CITIES CONTRIBUTE TO RAIL PROJECT: Lyman County and the cities of Presho and Kennebec have committed $160,000 to the matching funds that will go toward the refurbishing of the railroad west of Chamberlain.

The state Department of Transportation is applying for a grant from the federal government that would cover $14 million of the estimated $28 million cost. Another $14 million has been pledged by the state rail board, the regional rail authority and a $7.2 million commitment for a state grant from the Legislature.

The group "Rails to the Future" continued to accept donations from local businesses, local government agencies and several commodity organizations, totaling $800,000. The group has said it will go as far west as the money will take them.

Kennebec and Presho have committed to $10,000 and $50,000 respectively, while Lyman County will contribute $100,000 to the matching project.

Kennebec has agreed to pay $1,000 per year for a 10-year period, while the city of Presho will pay $5,000 per year for 10 years to fulfill its pledge.

The county would use 25 percent of the taxes accrued from a new grain facility in the county to put toward the railroad match up to $10,000 per year.

-- Lyman County Herald

Bon Homme, Jerauld counties

BURN BANS IMPLEMENTED: Burn bans are in effect for two area counties because of dry weather raising the threat of fires.

In Bon Homme County, a temporary burn ban has gone into effect after commissioners approved the measure April 15. Open burning will not be allowed, including campfires, charcoal grill fires or any prescribed burnings of fence rows, fields, wild lands, trash or debris.

The burning ban in Jerauld County went into effect April 11 after a couple of rural fires broke out last week and was put into place by the county's commissioners.

Both bans are in place indefinitely and carry a fine of up to $200, if violated.

-- Scotland Journal, Wessington Springs True Dakotan

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