South Dakota News

Westerhuis auction to include watercrafts, trucks, hot tub
PLATTE, S.D. (AP) — An auction of the estate of a Platte man who authorities say killed himself and five family members after embezzling more than $1 million will include personal watercraft machines, trucks, tools and building supplies. The estate of Scott and Nicole Westerhuis is to be auctioned Sept. 16. A judge last month ruled that the family's remaining property could be sold to pay off creditors. Scott Westerhuis last year shot his wife and their four children, then set fire to their home and killed himself. Westerhuis allegedly took more than $1 million from the Gear Up program, which provides higher-education assistance to low-income students, while working at the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative in Platte. The Daily Republic reports that other items being auctioned include a hot tub, sauna and pool equipment.

Hundreds turn out to help with storm cleanup in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, S.D. (AP) — Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help residents of Springfield after a weekend storm displaced 70 people. The Bon Homme County Emergency Management Office says the early Monday storm brought straight-line winds of up to 110 mph that destroyed four homes and damaged dozens more. No serious injuries were reported. Emergency Management spokesman Lee Rettig says more than 430 volunteers showed up to help with cleanup. They brought more than 60 pieces of heavy equipment, including tractors, dump trucks and skid-steer loaders. More than 80 first responders from Springfield and four other area towns led the effort to remove downed trees and clean up debris. The storm caught the community of 2,000 people by surprise. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp says it didn't have a history of damaging winds.

2-vehicle crash in Boulder Canyon near Sturgis kills man
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A crash involving a car and a pickup truck in Boulder Canyon near Sturgis killed the driver of the car. The Highway Patrol says the 72-year-old man failed to negotiate a turn on U.S. Highway 14A, crossed the center line and collided with the pickup that was pulling a camper and a small trailer. The crash happened about 9:45 a.m. Monday. The driver of the car was pronounced dead at the scene, about 3 ½ miles west of Sturgis. His name wasn't immediately released. The two people in the pickup weren't hurt.

Youth wages law up to voters; OK'd minimum-wage hike in '14
ARLINGTON, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota businesses that hire teenagers after Election Day may not have to pay them the state's current minimum wage due to a paused law that's going to November voters. The law referred to the ballot would establish a youth minimum wage of $7.50 an hour for workers under 18. Activists and the state Democratic Party say the law is discriminatory and an affront to voters who overwhelmingly in 2014 passed a hike to the minimum wage, which now sits at $8.55 an hour. But supporters argue it would help young people get their first jobs. Because activists sent the law to the voters, it didn't go into effect as intended in 2015.

Tribe asks federal judge to block work on parts of pipeline
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is asking a federal judge to temporarily stop work on parts of the Dakota Access Pipeline to prevent the destruction of sacred and culturally significant sites near Lake Oahe. A hearing on the tribe's motion for a temporary restraining order is Tuesday before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg. The tribe wants construction stopped on the pipeline route for a length of about two miles west of Highway 1806 and within 20 miles on either side of Lake Oahe. If granted, the order would stop construction there while Boasberg weighs a broader request to halt construction on the pipeline. He will rule on that request by Friday. The tribe is challenging federal regulators' decision to grant permits for the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would cross the Dakotas and Iowa to Illinois.

South Dakota recovery group works to expand in North Dakota
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A South Dakota-based recovery organization is looking to change how addiction is treated in North Dakota. The Williston Herald reports that Face It Together, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is working to establish outposts in Bismarck and Fargo. Face It Together advocates approaching addiction as a chronic disease and including employers in recovery efforts. Jim Sturdevant of Face It Together says addiction treatment centers aren't getting people well and that the organization is bringing a new approach to the problem. The group partners with companies willing to help fund employees' treatment and tries to encourage treating chemical dependency rather than hiding it. Their plan includes offering long-term recovery coaches and working to shift public perception on addiction.

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