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PIERRE (AP) — Medical marijuana supporters who came up empty at the South Dakota Legislature and ballot box are emboldened to try again after an overwhelming vote in North Dakota to make cannabis available to patients there. Backers of the South Dakota effort hope to soon gather enough signatures to put the question on the November 2018 ballot after the strong showing last fall in North Dakota, where 64 percent of voters supported a similar plan.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A man who was fined $190 for allowing his pet snake to slither freely in a South Dakota park says he's disturbed by an animal control officer's suggestion that he restrain the reptile on a leash while in public. The Argus Leader reports that Jerry Kimball was ticketed for "animals running at large" last week after a woman complained that his Fire Bee Ball Python was roaming freely at Falls Park in Sioux Falls. Kimball says he was "dumbfounded" by the leash recommendation.
PINE RIDGE (AP) — The U.S. attorney for South Dakota is opening an office on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as part of a partnership among tribal, state and federal authorities to combat gun violence there. U.S. Attorney Randolph Seiler says that starting next week, his attorneys will staff the office at the Criminal Justice Center in Pine Ridge and be available every Wednesday to answer questions and take reports about crimes. Oglala Sioux President Troy Scott Weston said the initiative has been one of his top priorities.
SPEARFISH (AP) — Authorities have concluded that five children killed in a Spearfish house fire died of smoke inhalation. Police on Friday said the determination was made following autopsies conducted by the Lawrence County coroner's office. Officials also confirmed the identity of the victims. The investigation into the cause of the early Saturday fire is ongoing.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Plains farm aid nonprofit that has steadily grown since being launched in North Dakota a dozen years ago is expanding into a sixth state. Farm Rescue will provide haying and hay-hauling help, free of charge, to farmers in need in Nebraska this year. It has already provided assistance with crop planting, harvesting and hay for more than 400 farm families in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota and Iowa since 2005.
RAPID CITY (AP) — Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against two defendants in the alleged murder for hire of a Rapid City woman two years ago, should those suspects be convicted. Twenty-seven-year-old Jonathon Klinetobe and 36-year-old Richard Hirth are charged with multiple felonies including first-degree murder in the May 2015 stabbing death of 22-year-old Jessica Rehfeld. Her body was found in a remote grave near Rockerville last summer. Rehfeld was the ex-girlfriend of Klinetobe. He and Hirth both have pleaded not guilty.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Four Nebraska beer stores on the border of a South Dakota Indian reservation should close because the area doesn't have sufficient law enforcement to respond to the frequent fights, drunken driving and other crimes in the tiny village, opponents of the liquor stores said Thursday. Their testimony came during a hearing before state alcohol regulators who are considering whether renew their licenses to sell alcohol in Whiteclay, a northwest Nebraska village with nine full-time residents.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Sanford Health Plan has filed a lawsuit alleging the federal government owes it nearly $9 million in payments under a program included in former President Barack Obama's federal health care law. The program, which lasted from 2014 to 2016, established "risk corridor" payments to health insurers to help offset any uncertainties of selling individual insurance plans on the newly created exchanges, the Argus Leader reported. Sanford Health serves South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.
PIERRE (AP) — Supporters of a voter-imposed government ethics initiative that Republican lawmakers repealed this year plan to return to voters with an anti-corruption constitutional amendment in 2018. Represent South Dakota, the group sponsoring the amendment, said Thursday that supporters view it as a necessary response to the Legislature's "brazen repeal" of the government ethics overhaul during the 2017 legislative session.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Spring fieldwork and small grains seeding is underway in some parts of South Dakota. The weekly crop report from the federal Agriculture Department says 2 percent of the state's oats crop is planted and 6 percent of the spring wheat is in the ground. Topsoil moisture supplies statewide are rated 86 percent adequate to surplus, and subsoil moisture is 80 percent in those categories. South Dakota's winter wheat crop is rated 53 percent in good to excellent condition.