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Duane Haiar uses a snow blower to clear a sidewalk Feb. 11 on West Fourth Avenue in Mitchell. (Daily Republic file photo)

YEAR IN REVIEW: February: Winter unleashes full strength

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By The Daily Republic

Frigid temperatures, wind and snow joined together to bring major storms to the Mitchell area in February.

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On the last day of January, the National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and warnings throughout North and South Dakota, predicting wind chills that could drop as low as minus 55 degrees, resulting in many schools in South Dakota calling off classes or starting late. The weekend of Feb. 9-10 piled up 9.9 inches of snow, according to the NWS, which described it as the biggest local winter storm in several years.

The last time Mitchell received as much snow in one day as it did Feb. 10 was March 31, 2009, when 12.8 inches were dumped. The largest report of snow in the state came from Webster, where 16.5 inches fell. One positive from the storm was the snow’s high moisture content, a boon to an area that desperately needed moisture.

Across the state, officials closed Interstate 90 between Sioux Falls and Wall, and Interstate 29 between Sioux Falls and Watertown due to snow-packed and slippery roads with sometimes heavy drifting and near-zero visibility.

Following are summaries of other local and area news from February editions of The Daily Republic.

Feb. 1: Mitchell firefighters contained a house fire at the corner of Williams and Minnesota streets to an attic. The temperature at the time of the initial response was 3 degrees below zero, with a wind chill factor of 28 below.

Congress passed legislation to permit the government to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars more to meet its obligations, averting a first-ever government default that had loomed.

Feb. 2: A Mitchell man led police on a circuitous 15-mile chase that varied from 20 to 100 mph and ended in a cornfield with the use of a stun gun. Johnathan Daulton, 36, was arrested on drunken driving, aggravated eluding and open container charges.

Alexa Van Laecken, a junior, scored her 1,000th career point and helped the Mitchell Christian girls’ basketball team to a 56-27 victory over Menno.

Feb. 4: The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in the Super Bowl, despite a power outage that put the nation’s biggest sporting event on hold for more than a half-hour.

Kerri Young scored her 1,567th career point, setting a Mitchell High School girls’ basketball career-scoring record in a 65-37 win over Spearfish at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.

Feb. 5: The Mitchell City Council approved a contract for architectural services between the city and Puetz Corp. for the second sheet of ice in the Mitchell Activities Center.

Feb. 6: A developer presented a $34 million casino project proposal to the Oacoma area, a project being pursued by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

Feb. 7: Thirty-three players were announced as new Dakota Wesleyan University football recruits on National Signing Day, including 18 from South Dakota.

Feb. 8: Bridgewater-Emery school officials canceled classes and all school activities following an outbreak of extreme illness that left about 31 of 80 high school students out sick, according to the middle school and high school principal Chris Schultz.

Feb. 9: There were 82 fires in Mitchell in 2012, it was reported, which was 25 more than the previous year, according to monthly reports prepared by the Mitchell Fire Division.

Feb. 11: Logan Wagner scored her 1,000th career point and helped lift the Parkston girls’ basketball team over Bridgewater-Emery 67-52 in Parkston.

Feb. 12: Pope Benedict VXI announced his resignation.

Feb. 13: The International Olympic Committee’s decision that wrestling would not automatically appear in the 2020 games caused an uproar, including from South Dakota’s wrestling community.

Feb. 15: For the first time since 1973, South Dakota did not have a high school district wrestling tournament to qualify for state. Due to declining numbers, the state eliminated the district tournaments and combined them into region tournaments.

Feb. 16: Chris Miller, 39, of Scotland, was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his infant son, 4-month-old Jacob. Miller also was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated assault and another 10 years in prison for violating his probation from a 2009 conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Feb. 18: McCook Central School in Salem, Hanson School District in Alexandria and Gregory Public Library each received South Dakota Broadband Initiative grants to improve technology.

Mitchell High School’s Macy Miller scored her 1,000th career point in a girls’ basketball game against Huron. The Kernels won 80-52.

Feb. 19: Superintendent Rusty Weinberg told the Davison County commissioners that vandalism to county road signs was costing county taxpayers about $4,000 a year.

Feb. 20: “The Invisible War,” an Oscar-nominated documentary, included commentary from Stace Nelson, of Fulton.

The Mitchell City Council expressed concern and confusion over a newly proposed athletic program that would bring Sanford Health instead of Avera Health to the city’s Recreation Center.

Feb. 21: The Mitchell Kernels were nominated as one of five South Dakota schools for the best high school mascot in the nation, a search conducted by USA Today.

Feb. 22: Al’s Oasis in Oacoma announced it would be operated by a partnership formed by U.S. Hotels, after 94 years of ownership by the Mueller family.

Feb. 23: Donika Rae Gonzales, a 22-year-old Gann Valley woman, was arrested in connection with the death of a 4-year-old child.

Feb. 25: Parkston claimed the Class B state wrestling title and broke the all-time scoring mark of 157 set in 1981 by Redfield. The Trojans recorded 164 points and finished the tournament with 10 place-winners and two state champions.

Tyson Sprinkel finished in eighth place at 220 pounds as the Kernels’ only wrestler to earn a podium spot at the Class A state wrestling tournament.

Feb. 26: A Pew Center study claimed South Dakota would suffer the largest share of loss of federal grants as a percentage of state revenue from federal sequestration budget cuts.

Wayne Stone, a 1941 Mitchell High School graduate, was to be inducted into the South Dakota High School Basketball Hall of Fame, along with 15 others, including Mitchell native and then-Miami Heat player Mike Miller.

Feb. 27: Johnathan Daulton, 36, of Mitchell, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading no contest to one count of aggravated eluding and one count of second-offense drunken driving following a 15-mile chase with police.

Feb. 28: A South Dakota legislative committee voted 8-5 against a texting-while-driving ban.

The South Dakota Senate gave its approval, 21-14, of HB 1087, the so-called school sentinel bill that allows armed sentinels in school buildings.

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