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PIERRE -- The case of a Mitchell man who claims he should have been given custody of his two children after a lengthy legal battle went before the South Dakota Supreme Court earlier this week. Oral arguments were presented Monday by the attorneys in the case. Appellant Jered Mandel's attorney Dava A. Wermers, of Mitchell, summarized the case for the court. Mandel and Angela Peterson lived together in Mitchell with their two young children until separating in January 2008.
A Mitchell man will spend three years in prison for beating another man with a baseball bat last spring. Colin Kelly Stands, 18, pleaded guilty July 17 to aggravated assault.
A Mitchell woman charged with multiple felonies for allegedly stealing and crashing two vehicles on Sept. 17 is denying the charges against her. Jade Dora Abdo, 23, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of grand theft, one count of first-offense drunken driving and one count of intentional property damage. The charges stem from an incident that, according to court documents, began at approximately 2:13 a.m. Sept. 17 when law enforcement received a 911 call from residents at a home on Betts Road in rural Davison County.
The investigation into the early Saturday morning fire that killed a 59-year-old Mitchell woman and destroyed a trailer home is finished with the cause of the fire still undetermined, Mitchell Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg said Monday. An autopsy of the woman killed in the fire, Cheryl Roop, was completed Monday and found no signs of foul play, Overweg said.
MENNO -- The sound of polka music and smell of German food has become as regular as the changing of the leaves when fall arrives in Menno. As has been the case for more than two decades, the Germans from the Russia Heritage Society will hold its Octoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Menno High School auditorium. The doors will open at 6 p.m. for a traditional German meal, followed by a 7 p.m. performance by Dain's Dutchmen, a Minnesota-based polka band. Space will be cleared in the auditorium for dancing during the show. "It's happy music," said event organizer Gary Jerke.
Mitchell students may have a harder time finding a seat in their lunchrooms this year. Preliminary counts show enrollment at the Mitchell School District for the 2012-2013 school year is up by about 50 students compared to last school year, according to Superintendent Joe Graves. "It's a little more than I thought," he said. The district had a "surge" in enrollment late in the summer, Graves explained, adding about 15 students shortly before the start of the school year. The district's total enrollment this year is between 2,580 and 2,600 students, Graves said.
If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plan to charge for water taken from Missouri River reservoirs is put into action, the cost will inevitably be passed on to consumers, area water system managers say. "It's going to be quite a cost increase if it is implemented," said Terry Wootton, general manager of the Bon Homme-Yankton (B-Y) Water District, which serves Mitchell.
PUKWANA -- Authorities believe a loose truck bearing scraped the road and caused sparks to shoot into a nearby field and ignited a series of grass fires at about 3 p.m. Friday north of Pukwana. According to Brule County Emergency Manager Katheryn Benton, the first fires started along 350th Avenue approximately five miles north of Pukwana. Firefighters from Pukwana, Kimball, Chamberlain, Reliance and Gann Valley all responded to the incident. They managed to stop the spread of the fires after about an hour, Benton said.
LAKE ANDES -- Authorities have released the names of the two people arrested Thursday following a lengthy high-speed pursuit through Douglas and Charles Mix counties. Jacob Abdo, 18, and Michael Clark, 27, both of Mitchell, are being held in Charles Mix County following an hour-and-15-minute chase that began when Douglas County Deputy Sgt. Jason Babl and Chief Deputy Gene Niehus attempted to stop a vehicle allegedly traveling 90 mph in a 55 mph zone in northwest Douglas County.
PLANKINTON -- Settlement talks are apparently ongoing between Aurora County and Thompson Farms, which could end a legal battle waged for more than a decade over a county zoning ordinance restricting dairy cow numbers. Keith Thompson, a former owner of Thompson Farms, acknowledged settlement negotiations had taken place but declined to provide details when contacted recently by The Daily Republic. Numerous calls made to Thompson Farms attorney Mark Meierhenry, of Sioux Falls, were not returned. At the heart of the issue between Aurora County and Thompson Farms is a 1998 county zo