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PARKSTON — Parkston Elementary School students learned Thursday morning what shoes and seat belts have in common. During a presentation sponsored by the high school's Family Career and Community Leaders of America group, state officials spent the morning highlighting the importance of correct seat belt usage among children, using various demonstrations and presentations. One of those demonstrations hit home with students, as a high school student and a third-grade student were asked to exchange shoes and attempt to walk a short distance. It didn't go well.
ETHAN — Tim Hawkins' life hasn't exactly gone according to plan. When Hawkins graduated from South Dakota State University, he accepted a teaching job in Ethan and he told administration he planned to stay for one year before moving back to the Brookings area. That was 26 years ago.
OLIVET — For Hutchinson County residents, it's all about the money. On Tuesday night, in a meeting dominated by dollar figures, the Hutchinson County Commission outlined its tentative plan for building a new courthouse in the county. And as commissioners were pelted with questions, they repeatedly reminded attendees projections for the $4.5 million project are estimates. And should bids come in too high, commissioners on Tuesday said they're prepared to back out of the project and adjust plans.
WOONSOCKET — The Woonsocket School District is contemplating a reduction to its administrative staff next year, leaving one man in charge of its duties. During a public meeting Monday evening, Woonsocket Superintendent Rod Weber introduced the idea of absorbing the elementary principal position and taking over those duties himself.
As suicide rates among those in the agriculture business rise, officials in the field are taking notice. Farmers have the highest suicide rate of any occupation in the U.S., according to a 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found the suicide rate for agricultural workers in 17 states was nearly five times higher compared with that in the general population. Males older than 16 in the farming industry showed a high suicide rate — 90.5 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest of any studied occupation.
TRIPP — As the Hutchinson County Commission's plan to build a new courthouse hangs in the balance of a public vote, Tripp city officials have offered up an enticing alternative. The county's resolution to build a new courthouse in Olivet to replace the 100-year-old building will be voted on by county residents on April 10 after more than 200 residents signed a petition countering the proposal, sending the resolution to a public vote. But Tripp Mayor Vic Olson has a different idea.
WINNER — The Winner School District's dream of an agriscience learning center has hit another snag. The idea for the 5,000-square-foot building surfaced late last year when FFA adviser Wyatt DeJong secured a $332,460 South Dakota Workforce Education grant. The school board in January declined the matching grant and vowed to search for alternate funding for the project. But DeJong, who has spearheaded the project, recently submitted his resignation, effective at the end of the school year, forcing the school board to put its search on hold until a new adviser is hired.
Superintendents of rural school districts hope an education funding bill killed by the state Legislature this month makes a return appearance. The proposed bill, House Bill 1135, introduced by Rep. Tona Rozum, R-Mitchell, would have allowed school districts to use two-year averaging when calculating enrollment for state aid purposes. Currently, state funding is determined by how many students the district has enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade on the last Friday of September, a method many area school leaders don't agree with.
FORESTBURG — There's been an abundance of change in the Sanborn Central School District this school year, and more could be coming. This week, the Sanborn Central School Board hosted a meeting to gather public input about a proposed $130,000 project to overhaul its football facility, creating a "more traditional" environment for 11-man football — a rank the school's football co-op rose to this year.
FORT THOMPSON — A Fort Thompson man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing a man during a fight in May 2017, according to recently filed federal court documents. According to the United States Attorney's Office, charges stem from a May 23 incident, in which Zachery Ziegler killed Thomas Witt "upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion." According to court documents, Ziegler entered a residence in the east housing area of the Crow Creek Reservation uninvited and was asked to leave, at which time he engaged in a physical confrontation with Witt.