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LOCAL FOLK MUSICIAN GETS MAJOR PLAY: Freeman native Rachel Ries continues to emerge as a folk musician after playing a key spot on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” recently and releasing her third album, “Ghost of a Gardener.”

At 33 years old and now living in Vermont, Ries tours the U.S. and abroad and has a presence on iTunes and the Pandora music streaming service. She’s driven by a love of making music and the writing, performing and recording that goes with it. Earlier this month, she played for 10 minutes on NPR’s popular Sunday morning show and called the experience terrifying.

She recently played a home concert in Freeman in front of about 50 people at the home she grew up in and has created her own record label, known as SoDak Records. She says her new album, which is available now on iTunes and at her website, is her best work yet.

— The Freeman Courier


LEAHY INDUCTED INTO SCHOOL HALL OF FAME: Frank Leahy is one of Winner’s most famous sons and he recently was inducted into the school’s hall of fame for his time in high school during the 1920s.

He was posthumously inducted into the Winner School Hall of Fame Feb. 17 during halftime of a recent basketball game. Leahy grew up in Winner, played football, basketball and baseball at the school and gained notoriety as boxer, as well.

Leahy, who died in 1973, gained his fame by coaching the vaunted Notre Dame football team to four national championships in the 1940s and was 87-11-9 in his time as Fighting Irish head coach. He also played tackle for three seasons under legendary coach Knute Rockne at Notre Dame.

— The Winner Advocate


CITY BATTLES REPEATED WATER MAIN BREAKS: The City of Chamberlain had four water main breaks in a week’s time, putting stress on the city’s personnel to get the fixes done quickly. City engineer Greg Powell said the winter has been an unusual one, with the frost line down as far as four and a half feet in some places. “This is the deepest I’ve seen it in 17 years,” Powell said of the frost line’s low level. The city had breaks in four locations starting Feb. 18, including by St. Joseph’s Indian School and near the former Chamberlain Academy. Some of the city’s water pipes are 60 years old, according to Powell.

POLICE ADD DOG TO FIGHT DRUG RISE: The Chamberlain Police Department has added Arres, a 1-year-old German shepherd dog, to fight a rise in drug-related crime, particularly meth use.

In 2013, the police department made 15 arrests related to meth, up from four arrests in 2012. Five arrests have already been made in 2014 and Chamberlain police chief Joe Hutmacher said it’s often the same people being arrested, in part because of a lack of treatment resources available. As a state, South Dakota saw a 54 percent rise in meth-related arrests from 2012 to 2013, according to the state’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area data.

“The sad part is that we are seeing a large number of repeat-offenders in Chamberlain,” Police Chief Joe Hutmacher said.

Arres, who works alongside Officer Garrett Harmon, has already assisted with two drug-related arrests in his first few weeks on the job.

-Chamberlain-Oacoma Sun