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For many in the area, 2012 will be remembered for its tragedies -- a widespread drought that withered crops, buildings and lives lost in fires, three children's lives cut short and the loss of a South Dakota political icon. But the year's triumphs will also be remembered -- a heated race for mayor brings Mitchell residents to the polls, millions of dollars are invested in building Mitchell's future and an athlete from Parkston is brought to the national stage. The following stories were chosen by 10 members of The Daily Republic's newsroom as the top local/area stories of 2012. 1.
Mitchell Street and Sanitation Superintendent Ron Olson reminds Mitchell residents that: * There will be no garbage collection Tuesday on New Year's Day. * Tuesday and Wednesday collections will be picked up on Wednesday. * The Mitchell landfill will be closed Tuesday. * Through Friday, Christmas trees will be picked up, curbside only, during regular trash days. * Christmas trees can be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the compost site, 1405 W. Eighth Ave., Monday and Wednesday through Friday.
According to weather reports, Mitchell received 3.3 inches of snow as of 7 p.m. Friday's forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of snow before 9 a.m., with cloudy conditions and a high near 21 degrees. In Mitchell, plowing of East-West streets will begin at 7 a.m. today. Residents are asked to move their vehicles; however, there will be no ticketing and towing.
The Mitchell area is in a winter weather advisory that stretches across the southeastern part of the state. Widespread snow is expected over the area today and tonight as a storm approaches from the southwest, according to the National Weather Service. Heavy snow is not expected, but a steady snow with accumulations of 2 to 5 inches is forecast.
A Mitchell woman was arrested earlier this month and charged with third-offense drunken driving. Mitchell police were dispatched around 2 a.m. Dec. 7 after receiving a report of a woman hanging half-in and half-out of her vehicle in the 200 block of West Fifth Avenue, a police affidavit says. An officer responding to the report allegedly found Yolanda Garza, 45, passed out with the top half of her body in the driver's seat of her vehicle, which was running at the time. Garza then failed a series of field sobriety tests, the affidavit says.
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Offenders Facility in Pine Ridge operated at 432 percent of its rated capacity in June 2011, making it the most overcrowded American Indian correctional facility in the country. The facility, which has a rated capacity of 34 inmates, housed 147 inmates during its June 2011 peak reporting period. That's one of the findings from the Bureau of Justice report "Jails in Indian Country 2011." The report also shows the Pine Ridge facility had the highest June 2010 to June 2011 percentage increase in prisoners among 80 reporting American Indian jails.
As one of their last actions in 2012, the Davison County commissioners will set the salaries of elected officials. The commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Commissioners' Room at the courthouse, 200 E. Fourth Ave., Mitchell. It's unclear at this time if the commissioners will also set their own salaries on Thursday, or wait until the first meeting of the new year, as was the case in January. On Dec.
LOWER BRULE -- A Lower Brule man pleaded not guilty Thursday to assaulting a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer with an aerosol can. Elmer Laroche, 26, was indicted Dec. 11 by a federal grand jury on one count of assaulting, resisting and impeding a federal officer. The charge stems from a Nov. 1 incident in which Laroche allegedly assaulted a BIA officer using an aerosol can. Laroche faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. LaRoche was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. A trial date has not yet been set.
South Dakota is the nation's 10th fastest growing state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's population estimates. The state grew by 1.19 percent since 2011. North Dakota, thanks to its oil boom, is the nation's fastest-growing state since 2011, at 2.17 percent.
The Mitchell Fire/EMS Division will accept donations for the Mitchell Salvation Army from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at Third Avenue and Main Street in Mitchell as part of its holiday Fill the Boot campaign. Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris said his firefighters want to help because the Salvation Army has always been there for them. "They do great work and they help us out throughout the year, bringing us food and keeping us hydrated at fire scenes," he said. "They're out there helping people just as we are," Morris said.