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Farmers across South Dakota may be battling dry conditions this year as agriculture experts say drought or near-drought conditions could cause trouble during planting and beyond. South Dakota State Climatologist Laura Edwards said snowfall this year has been lower than usual — especially in the central and western areas of the state — which could cause a lack of moisture for the foreseeable future.
Regulations have kept zebra mussels contained to only a few South Dakota waters, but wildlife officials recently enacted changes to make the laws easier to follow for boaters. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) Commission made changes to the aquatic invasive species (AIS) regulations in early 2017, including the creation of local boat registries, which allow boaters to transport boats locally between contaminated waters.
One day frozen in time. That's how an official at Mitchell's Prehistoric Indian Village described the site's latest finding. This week, students from Augustana University in Sioux Falls and the University of Exeter in England uncovered six bison scapula hoes, a bone scraper and an unknown stone tool. Similar tools have been found at the site before, but never so many in one cluster. The location of these items is what stood out to Cindy Gregg, executive director of the site, as they were found inside a lodge that burned to the ground approximately 1,000 years ago.
SANBORN COUNTY — A man will not be included in his deceased mother's trust after the state's high court upheld a decision saying he did not file an appeal in time. Thomas Briggs filed a formal complaint in 2015 in Sanborn County nearly two years after his mother, Elizabeth Briggs, died and left him no property, but a circuit court decided Thomas filed the claim after the statute of limitations was up, and the South Dakota Supreme Court agreed.
HANSON COUNTY — Conservation is booming in Hanson County as farmers enrolled nearly 2,000 acres of land into a federal reserve program this year. Hanson County acres enrolled in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have skyrocketed this year, according to Hanson County Conservation District (HCCD) Manager Annette Steilen, who said more than three times as many CRP acres were enrolled in the county than last year.
CANISTOTA — Independence Day spirit sparked a new business in Canistota, bringing what's believed to be the first fireworks stand to the town in decades. Brad and Misty Miller have operated Triple Play Storage and Campground for the past four years next to the town's baseball, football and softball fields, but this year, the couple decided selling fireworks was the right step in expanding their business. "I just kind of come up with these random thoughts I throw by (Misty)," Brad Miller said, "and she kind of looks at me like, 'Are you nuts?' "
After 50 years as a nurse in Mitchell, Judy Barnes got the surprise of her life when a replica of her first car pulled in front of her home. On Saturday, Barnes was surprised with a maroon 1967 Ford Mustang, which was built the same year she became a registered nurse, according to Barnes' nephew, Mark Kreutzfeldt. But the car held a deeper meaning for Barnes, who works at Mitchell Clinic, who purchased the same model almost 50 years ago. "This is like probably one of the biggest surprises in my lifetime at this point," Barnes said.
No veteran should be forgotten. That's what Jessica Davidson, Davison County's veterans service officer, believes, and that's why she volunteered her time Saturday to the Veterans for Veterans Annual Poker Run. This year, Veterans for Veterans partnered with Girl Scout Troop 57005 to raise funds toward the goal of installing permanent headstones for veterans who were buried with a temporary marker that was never replaced by a more permanent memorial.
A new probation-based substance-abuse treatment program may make its way to Davison County before the end of summer. Ron Freeman, chief court services officer for the First Judicial Circuit, which includes Davison County, met with state, county and local officials Thursday to discuss the possibility of bringing the Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program to Davison County, and he said everyone was willing to give it a shot. "After our initial meeting today, I'm very encouraged and hopeful," Freeman said.
GREGORY — Amid constant chatter about rising drug crime in South Dakota, some counties are finding success as felony drug charges dwindle. Judge Bobbi Rank has sat behind the bench in Gregory, Tripp, Todd and Bennett counties since her appointment in October. She joins the Sixth Judicial Circuit at an interesting time, as charges of possession and ingestion of Schedule I and II drugs, which include methamphetamine, plummet in one of her counties and skyrocket in another.