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Grass near the Dakotafest grounds caught fire Monday when a garbage burn grew out of control. At about 11:45 a.m., six Mitchell firefighters responded to a call just west of the Dakotafest grounds, southeast of Mitchell, where a patch of grass caught flame. According to firefighter Rob Parker, who was the officer in charge of the incident, the land's owner, Gary Schlaffman, was burning a rubbish pile when the wind shifted and carried embers from the fire and burned less than one acre of grass.
A look at news from around the region, as reported by weekly newspapers: Freeman FREEMAN PUBLIC FACING FINANCIAL SHORTFALL: The Freeman School District is facing a financial challenge that could lead to a decision by the school board to opt out of the state-imposed tax freeze for the first time in 15 years. The district's general fund is currently in the red with a $35,444 deficit. At this time last year, the general fund balance was $465,270.
PIERRE — The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed a decision to bar public access to portions of two expanding sloughs in Day County. On Wednesday, the state's highest court upheld a circuit court decision to bar public access to the portions of Jesse and Duerre sloughs that lie on private land, but the court removed a portion of an earlier decision that would block the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks to allow public access if GF&P were authorized by the state Legislature to do so.
Friend de Coup is asking its fellow show choirs to "PAC" their bags. The Mitchell High School show choir is determined to fill up the school district's new $15.3 million performing arts center — referred as the PAC — today for the annual Show Choir Classic takes place. The event — which has been dubbed the Friend de Classic — begins at 8 a.m. with preliminaries. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. The top-six finalists will perform again at 6:30 p.m for the final round.
Five burglaries since the beginning of March in rural Davison County have prompted the Mitchell Police Division to ask for the public's help locating the responsible party. On March 1, a Grey Chevy Suburban was stolen from a residence at 40145 255th St., and was later discovered in a rural area a short distance from the residence, Mitchell police said Friday. The vehicle had been lit on fire and destroyed. Also on March 1, a new dog kennel was stolen from the back of a maroon 2006 Ford F250 Pickup at 25433 406th Ave. Also stolen was a pair of white leather gloves.
LAKE ANDES — Stealing more than $1 million from an area education cooperative was made possible by a change in accounting software. During a court hearing Wednesday at the Charles Mix County Courthouse, Judge Bruce Anderson asked Tim Flannery, audit manager for the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit, how the Westerhuises were able to take so much money from the organization. Flannery said it was a simple matter of using a different kind of software.
The following cases were disposed in Davison County Magistrate Court between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2. • Dennis Ashwill, 74, Dassel, Minn., seat belt violation, $25 fine. • Paige Ann Raschke 25, Mitchell, renewal registration during assigned month, $54 fine; $66 costs. • Angela H. Foster, 39, Wahoo, Neb., speeding on interstate highway; $19 fine; $66 costs. • Leslie Paige Carsrud, 19, Rapid City; failure to make proper stop at stop intersection; $54 fine; $66 costs.
PIERRE — A Wagner woman in prison for failing to care for a 2-year-old child is appealing her 22-year sentence. Laurie Cournoyer, 33, of Wagner, is appealing her imprisonment, issued in March 2013, after a child was found dead in her home. She is calling the sentence "cruel and unusual punishment" and "false imprisonment," court documents state. Cournoyer was sentenced for possession of a controlled substance, keeping a place for the use or sale of controlled substances, possession of meth in jail and failure to report the death of a child.
BURKE — A Gregory County man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for giving meth to a 14-year-old girl and having sexual contact with her. Donald Story, 52, of Dallas, was sentenced Monday by Judge John Brown to 10 years in prison for distribution of methamphetamine to a minor and 15 years for sexual contact with a child under 16, according to the South Dakota Attorney General's Office.
A morning stove fire caused significant damage to a one-bedroom apartment in northern Mitchell, but authorities said no one was injured. At about 8:30 a.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a smoke alarm at Meadowlawn Plaza, located in the 200 block of East 15th Avenue in Mitchell, according to firefighter Joe Degen. The Mitchell Fire Division found black smoke coming from a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of the building. Inside, they discovered an open flame on top of the stove.