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PIERRE (AP) — A Sisseton man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his role in a cattle grazing fraud scheme. Authorities say 49-year-old Keith Hagen and his former wife, Amanda Holy Bull, provided custom grazing services to ranchers on land they leased from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. U.S. Attorney Randolph Seiler says the two entered into fraudulent contracts and pocketed the money, defrauding ranchers out of $236,000.
PIERRE (AP) — Supporters of a proposed government ethics constitutional amendment have turned in more than 50,000 signatures to put the measure on the 2018 ballot, the initiative campaign said Wednesday. The amendment would tighten campaign finance and lobbying restrictions, create an independent ethics commission and require that laws changing the ballot question process pass a public vote, among other provisions. Supporters need nearly 28,000 valid signatures for it to go before voters in 2018.
DEADWOOD (AP) — A man is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Lawrence County. The Highway Patrol says the 49-year-old man was driving a pickup truck that went out of control on U.S. Highway 385 and rolled several times about 4 miles south of Deadwood. The crash scene was discovered Tuesday morning. The victim's name wasn't immediately released.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The harvest of row crops in South Dakota continues to remain well behind the average pace. The latest crop report from the federal Agriculture Department says there was considerable advancement in the soybean harvest over the past week, but rain in the west central and northern regions stopped harvest for many farmers late in the week. The soybean harvest is about half done, but about three-fourths of the crop should be harvested by now. The corn, sorghum and sunflower harvests also lag behind.
RAPID CITY (AP) — A transgender state employee is challenging a provision in the South Dakota employee health plan that excludes coverage of drugs or services for gender transformations. The Argus Leader reports that Terri Bruce, a transgender man, argues the health plan violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.
SIOUX FALLS — Two candidates for South Dakota governor have committed to supporting legislation that would give the public access to additional government records including officials' correspondence, a major potential shift in state open records law.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — The parents of an infant left outside overnight in the rain have told investigators that they were smoking K2 when they left their child alone. The Argus Leader reports that 28-year-old Mary Jennesse has been booked into jail on charges of abuse or cruelty to a minor under the age of 7. Her husband, 38-year-old Ronald Harrison, had previously been arrested after telling police that an argument led to the child being left outside.
RAPID CITY (AP) — Two bear cubs that escaped from a South Dakota wildlife park didn't get far, due in part to their curiosity. The Rapid City Journal reports that a man spotted the cubs lollygagging in his neighbor's yard about a block away from the Bear Country USA park on Sunday evening. Pennington County Sheriff's Deputy Kylie Kintigh says that when she arrived at the scene, the bears seemed more interested in following her around than making a getaway. They checked out her squad car and one even tried climbing on the hood.
RAPID CITY (AP) — The federal Indian Health Service agency is defending a contract it awarded to a company whose CEO formerly led a firm that paid $10 million to settle allegations of submitting false claims to government health programs. The agency awarded contracts in September to Arizona-based Tribal Emergency Medicine and Virginia-based Central Care Inc. to potentially run the emergency departments at IHS hospitals in South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska, the Rapid City Journal reported.
PIERRE (AP) — U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem is declining to sign Attorney General Marty Jackley's proposed clean campaign pledge in South Dakota's Republican gubernatorial primary. Noem said Tuesday that she's not interested in "campaign PR stunts." Noem says she's pledging to residents to take on tough tasks in Pierre to improve South Dakota. Jackley had earlier challenged Noem to agree to the deal. Jackley says he thinks the campaign should be about the candidates' experience and vision to move South Dakota forward instead of "mudslinging and name-calling."