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PLANKINTON -- Aurora County will not appeal a Jan. 6 decision that found the county liable to pay damages in a farm family's lawsuit, and the controversy now heads to a trial at which the amount of damages will be determined. Roger Tellinghuisen, the county's attorney in the dispute, received permission from the county commissioners Jan. 10 to waive the county's right to appeal the liability decision.
WESSINGTON SPRINGS -- Residents of Jerauld County and the surrounding area are worried the potential loss of a local Farm Service Agency office will hurt their economy. A group of 60 gathered Monday at the Wessington Springs 4-H building to lobby for the retention of the town's FSA office, despite federal regulations that dictate it should be considered for closure. "We've talked about keeping jobs in Wessington Springs. That's important to everyone in this room," said Jerry Caffee, of Wessington Springs.
A Dakota Wesleyan University student pleaded guilty to burglary and accessory Friday at the Davison County Public Safety Building in Mitchell. Vincent Piercefield, 18, admitted to stealing change from another student's dorm room and taking a stolen iPad from another student on the DWU campus on Nov.
WESSINGTON SPRINGS -- Federal budget cuts could close some small-town Farm Service Agency offices, including one in Wessington Springs. The South Dakota FSA announced recently that Jerauld, Jackson, Harding and Campbell counties may lose offices due to several factors, said Kent Politch, national FSA communication services. The agency had to look at the amount of business conducted at each office, the number of employees and whether FSA can serve those customers as well in other offices.
Mitchell's eight City Council members all appreciate some aspects of the vision for a "next generation Corn Palace," but none is ready to proceed with the entire project at its full cost. The $35 million vision presented Monday by Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, an architecture design firm in Minneapolis, contained good ideas, council members said when interviewed this week by The Daily Republic. But many expressed concerns about funding and said residents will not support a property tax hike to pay for renovations to the historic building.
WHITE LAKE -- The South Dakota Highway Patrol arrested a Sioux Falls man Monday for fleeing law enforcement. Joseph Rizzo, 29, is accused of leaving the Farmer's Co-op in White Lake without paying for his gasoline. Rizzo, who was on his way back to Sioux Falls from Lower Brule, told South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Nelson he didn't have any money to pay for gas, so he drove off. Law enforcement received a description of Rizzo's 1999 Mazda 626 from the attendant about 3:20 p.m. Nelson said law enforcement chased Rizzo south onto Betts Road from Interstate 90.
The estimated cost of proposed improvements to the Corn Palace got a cold reception at some Mitchell hangouts Tuesday, but many people acknowledged something should be done to upgrade the iconic structure. "I agree something should be done, but stay out of my pocket," said Dale Houchin, of Mitchell. Houchin and his wife, Sharon, own rental properties in the downtown Mitchell area and said they would not be happy if property taxes increase to fund a Corn Palace renovation and expansion. They said their property taxes have already tripled in the last year, thanks to updated assessments.
FORT THOMPSON -- A Crow Creek tribal council and school board member pleaded not guilty Jan. 4 to a December indictment for misprision of a felony and making a false statement. Loren "Rocky" Fallis, 58, of Fort Thompson, allegedly hid information from authorities that he knew a felony had occurred, namely conspiracy to commit bribery of a tribal official. A jury trial has been set for March. Fallis' case is intertwined with other Crow Creek tribal officials who have been found guilty of bribery, conspiracy to bribe an official or similar charges.
Two trial dates have been set for lawsuits against the city of Mitchell. Three former Palace Transit employees each filed a lawsuit last year accusing the city of age and disability discrimination. A trial for all three plaintiffs on those issues is scheduled for June in Sioux Falls, according to federal court documents. Curtis Dumas, one of the former employees, also filed a lawsuit including a Federal Medical Leave Act claim.
Local legislators expect the 2012 legislative session to begin and likely end on a positive note. South Dakota's 35-day legislative session begins Tuesday at in the Capitol building in Pierre. Gov. Dennis Daugaard will present the State of the State address at 1 p.m. "I think it's going to be a lot more pleasant than it was last year," said Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell. "There'll still be money issues, but last year it was where to cut and how much. This year we have more money so it's going to be, 'How do we divvy up the money we have?" Reps.