South Dakota News

Biden-hosted conference in Sioux Falls targets cancer
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Scientists, oncologists, survivors and patients have gathered in Sioux Falls to participate in a cancer research conference remotely hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. Those gathered at Avera Health's cancer center have connected via video conference to what has been dubbed the "National Cancer Moonshot Summit." It's intended to strengthen Biden's final-year push to double the pace of research toward curing cancer. Biden says he believes "exponential progress" can be made in the fight against cancer over the next five years. After Biden's remarks, those gathered in Sioux Falls will hold a discussion that will address how to engage more patients in research, how to increase research funding and how to improve access to rural cancer care. Hospitals and other facilities around the country are participating in the summit.

Governor to call on private group to help mental hospital
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he'll bring in a quality assurance officer from the private group he previously directed to monitor South Dakota's state-run mental health hospital in Yankton. Daugaard told the Argus Leader that he asked a quality assurance leader at the Children's Home Society of South Dakota to step in to work with the Human Services Center's new administrator. Daugaard previously worked as the society's executive director. Daugaard says he hopes the move will help address problems at the center. They have included high staff turnover, a rising number of patient attacks on staff, poor record-keeping and misuse of restraints to control potentially unruly subjects. Phyllis Arends, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Sioux Falls, says she supports the governor's move.

10 sheep shot in Hughes County pasture; reward offered
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Hughes County authorities are investigating the shooting of 10 sheep belonging to a Pierre-area rancher. Connie Weldin Carroll tells KSFY-TV that someone shot 10 ewes in a pasture — seven in the head and three under the chin. She says her family doesn't have any enemies, and she's at a loss as to why someone would do such a thing. A $1,500 reward is being offered for information in the case.

Crews begin to suppress 1 1/12-square mile Crow Peak Fire
SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) — Crews have begun to suppress a wildfire on Crow Peak west of Spearfish. The 1 ½-square-mile blaze sparked by lightning Friday evening is at 5 percent containment. No structures have been lost, though a few have been threatened and some voluntary evacuation notices have been issued. About 470 people are fighting the fire on the ground and from the air. Officials say the public can expect to see smoke for some time. Fire officials have scheduled a community meeting at the Spearfish High School Auditorium on Wednesday night. The area is a popular recreation destination. Black Hills National Forest officials have issued a temporary closure order for the immediate fire area for public safety. Higgins Gulch Road also remains closed to the public.

Capitol flags at half-staff in memory of former lawmaker
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard has ordered flags at the state Capitol in Pierre flown at half-staff for the day in memory of former state legislator Glen McVay of Sioux Falls. McVay died on Saturday at age 86, and his funeral was being held Wednesday. McVay was elected in 1984 to represent the Canton area in the state House of Representatives. He served one term.

Funds available for HIV prevention, care of Native Americans
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The federal Indian Health Service is looking to provide financial assistance to tribes, tribal organizations and urban nonprofits across the country to improve HIV prevention and care outcomes among the Native American population. The agency will grant up to five awards together totaling no more than $200,000 a year for five years. The effort is meant to reduce the number of new HIV infections annually, cut the risk of transmission by changing behavior and encourage an open discussion about the virus. Rear Adm. Dr. Sarah Linde is the Indian Health Service's acting chief medical officer. She says more HIV education is needed because agency data show that as many as 26 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native people living with the virus do not know it.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press