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RAPID VALLEY (AP) — Authorities in southwestern South Dakota are investigating a woman's suspicious death that may be linked to illegal drug activity. Pennington County officials say 43-year-old Tamra Jo Ness, of Rapid City, was found dead in Rapid Valley after someone called to report a cardiac arrest Thursday night. A statement from Pennington County says authorities arrested a 43-year-old Rapid City woman. She's in jail on suspicion of ingesting a controlled substance.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The federal judge who will decide whether oil flows through the disputed Dakota Access pipeline has shown sympathy for the historical plight of American Indians, but has also made clear that he doesn't think that should play a role in judicial decisions.
PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota's dominant political party is set to vote for its next leader in the first contested GOP chair race in recent memory. Incumbent Chairwoman Pam Roberts and former state Sen. Dan Lederman are competing for the party's vote Saturday. Both candidates want to serve as the party's banner-carrier, responsible for fundraising and managing staff as state Republicans prepare for another busy election season next year.
SISSETON (AP) — A fire in the school gym has forced hundreds of students to evacuate an elementary school in northeastern South Dakota. The fire broke out Friday morning in the gymnasium at Westside Elementary School in Sisseton. District Superintendent Wally Leipart (LEEP'-hart) tells KWAT Radio the fire was in a mechanical room of the building. Leipart says the cause of the fire is still being determined but it was accidental. He says students and staff evacuated the building and walked to a nearby church.
RAPID CITY (AP) — The South Dakota Department of Health is claiming success in fighting childhood obesity despite numbers that show an unchanged percentage since it began tracking the rate nearly two decades ago. The Rapid City Journal reports the department announced Tuesday that 32.1 percent of South Dakota children ages 5 to 19 years were either overweight or obese during 2015 to 2016 school year. The results are compared to the previous year of 32.2 percent.
RAPID CITY (AP) — A Rapid City man accused of killing one man and injuring two others with a bayonet has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. Twenty-six-year-old Joseph Rich is charged with first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of Juan Legarda Jr. on New Year's Day. Rich is also accused of using the bayonet, which was attached to a gun, to attack two other men. The Rapid City Journal says Judge Jane Pfeifle denied a defense request to reduce $100,000 cash bond to about $25,000 during an appearance in 7th Circuit Court Thursday.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's Republican U.S. senator is among a group of party members urging President Donald Trump to get tough on Russia. Susan Collins joined a group of senators that sent a letter to Trump calling for the administration to take a "tough-minded and principled police" toward Russia. The letter says the U.S. should condemn Russia's aggression toward Ukraine.
RAPID CITY (AP) — A man charged with a fatal beating at a Rapid City motel has pleaded not guilty to charges. Thirty-four-year-old Clifford Gilbert is accused of using a walking stick to violently beat Robert Smith at the Stardust Motel Dec. 27. Prosecutors say Gilbert then used his fists and feet to deliver the fatal blows while the 61-year-old victim was on the floor. Court documents say Gilbert told investigators he "snapped" in anger while he was in a motel room with Smith and a woman.
PORCUPINE (AP) — Authorities say the frozen body of a missing woman was found near her mother's grave on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. An initial investigation found 49-year-old Donna Scout died from exposure on the property of Lakota Mennonite Church in Porcupine Tuesday. Scout was last seen the last week of January. Oglala Sioux Police say Scout wasn't reported missing initially because she was supposed to be on her way to some relatives. When she failed to reach her destination, a search began.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Sen. Angus King is co-sponsoring a bill aimed at improving the quality of rural communications. King, an independent, says persistent dropped calls are a major problem in rural communities around the country. He cites a 2012 test call project that found nearly one in five calls to rural areas delayed, incomplete, or of poor quality.