- Member for
- 4 years 10 months
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.
After three and a half hours of deliberation Friday afternoon, a Davison County jury decided Aurora County is liable to pay damages in an earlier decision won against the county by Thompson Farms. The decision could put the county and its taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in a controversy that is now 14 years old. A judge has already determined Thompson Farms is owed money because county zoning laws passed during the late 1990s forced the family to lose its dairy business. The determination of an amount of damages has been on hold since 2009 while the county's insure
Trial testimony in a lawsuit pitting an insurer against Aurora County centered Thursday on whether the insurer's file notes from 2001 indicated knowledge of a potentially large claim. The insurer, the South Dakota Public Assurance Alliance, is suing Aurora County to avoid paying damages in a decision that Thompson Farms already has won against the county. Thompson Farms successfully claimed it was wrongfully forced out of its dairy business by the county's zoning laws.
Aurora County is in court again this week defending itself against a lawsuit by an insurer. A Davison County jury decided in August 2010 that Aurora County's liability insurance provider was not responsible to pay a family that had won a previous decision against the county. In that decision, a judge found the Thompson family had lost its farm due to a cap on the number of dairy cattle the county imposed in 1998. The judge in that earlier case ruled that the cap amounted to "inverse condemnation" -- a taking or damaging of private property without just compensation.
It took eight minutes for the Mitchell Fire Division, which is located downtown, to reach the house fire three miles away Monday morning on the north shore of Lake Mitchell. That has some people in the city talking anew about an old idea -- placing a satellite fire station in the northern part of Mitchell. "It's something that's been talked about and looked at for at least 10 years, because the population is growing to the north and northwest with residential housing," said Paul Morris, assistant fire chief.
A former Crow Creek Sioux Tribe chairman has appealed his federal criminal convictions. Duane Big Eagle, 62, was convicted Nov. 30 on two counts of conspiracy to bribe tribal officials and one count of bribery. Big Eagle took payments from a contractor hired to build on the reservation, which is headquartered in Fort Thompson. Big Eagle's attorney, Dana Hanna, of Rapid City, said during the trial in November that prosecutors did not give enough evidence to prove Big Eagle knew the payments were bribes. Big Eagle and Hanna must file a brief by Feb.
The cause of a fire that destroyed a large lake house Monday morning in Mitchell was still undetermined later Monday because the remains were too hot to sift through, said Lyndon Overweg, chief of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety. The house at 170 N. Harmon Drive, on the north side of Lake Mitchell, was engulfed in flames by the time the Mitchell Fire Division arrived on the scene at 6:30 a.m. A neighbor across the lake reported the incident at 6:20 a.m., said Paul Morris, assistant fire chief.
A large lake house in Mitchell was destroyed by fire Monday morning. The house at 170 N. Harmon Drive, on the north side of Lake Mitchell, was engulfed in flames by the time the Mitchell Fire Division arrived on the scene at 6:30 a.m. A neighbor across the lake reported the incident at 6:20 a.m., said Paul Morris, assistant fire chief. The Mitchell Police Division arrived on scene first and determined it was a structure fire, he said. Owners Dennis Brakke, Mitchell, and Rodney Brakke, of Omaha, Neb., were not at the residence at the time of the fire.