South Dakota News

South Dakota PUC rules against wind power producer
South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission has ruled against an alternative energy producer seeking to force rural electric cooperatives to buy the wind power it plans to generate. Wisconsin-based Prelude LLC tried to use the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA, to get six co-ops to purchase its electricity. PURPA requires utilities in specific circumstances to buy alternative energy and applies to rate-regulated utilities. Under South Dakota law, however, rural electric co-ops aren't rate-regulated. Commissioners say the state Legislature doesn't allow that. The cooperatives involved in the dispute were Moreau-Grand Electric in Timber Lake, Rosebud Electric in Gregory, Butte Electric in Newell, Rushmore Electric in Rapid City, Grand Electric in Bison, and North Dakota's Basin Electric.

Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands
Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing annual wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region highlights the need for increased protection for birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its Status and Trends of Prairie Wetlands report earlier this month. The report shows that the wetlands in the region declined by an average of 6,200 acres per year — and some conservationists say the trend isn't slowing down. Conservationists and wildlife officials say more emphasis needs to be put on conservation easements and incentive-based programs that protect wetlands on farmland while reimbursing farmers for lost income. Officials say Prairie Pothole Region provides breeding and nesting habitat for more than 60 percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl.

SDSU hires 4 new people in athletic department
South Dakota State University has hired four new people in its athletic department, including two executives. The school announced Wednesday that Jeff Holm has been named senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, and Brian Brunner will be the assistant athletic director for annual giving. Holm has been the associate athletic director at Augustana College in Sioux Falls for the last four years. Brunner previously served in the Central Michigan athletic department. The department is also adding Carly Case as athletic academic adviser and Kadero Watson as football operations coordinator.

Unauthorized charges linked to county fair tickets
Brown County officials are investigating unauthorized charges on the credit and debit cards of some people who bought grandstand entertainment tickets for the county fair. Commission Chairman Duane Sutton says officials don't yet know whether the unauthorized charges are linked to the ticketing website with which the county contracts. Reports say that commissioners disclosed the problem after a Tuesday session that was closed to the public so officials could discuss legal matters. Sutton said the executive session was about the unauthorized charges.

Ordinance to ban roaming cats fails in Brookings
Cats in Brookings are still free to roam the city. Reports say that a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited cats from running at large died for a lack of a second at Tuesday's city council meeting. The council considered the ban on roaming cats after a resident complained about a feline that has been drifting through his yard for years. No citizens spoke up on in support of the measure.

Man ordered to prison for robbing Spearfish store
A man accused of holding up a Spearfish convenience store at knifepoint has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Twenty-six-year-old Tyler Weiers, of Spearfish, was convicted of one count of first-degree armed robbery and one count of third-degree burglary. Authorities say Weiers came into the Spearfish Fresh Start Valley Corner convenience store on Feb. 5 wearing a facemask and carrying a 10-inch knife. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. Reports say that Weiers will be eligible for parole in 2017, after serving 65 percent of his sentence.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

 

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