South Dakota News

SD hospitals are equipped to handle Ebola patients
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Hospitals in South Dakota say they are equipped to safely manage patients infected with Ebola. Avera Health says it has rooms to host sick patients in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Aberdeen, Marshall, Mitchell and Yankton. Sanford Health says it has more than 30 rooms in Sioux Falls. Federal health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S. The patient is at a Dallas hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said 12 other people in the U.S. have been tested for Ebola since July 27. Those tests came back negative. The virus has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who've traveled to that region.

Custer buffalo roundup matches past turnout of 14K
CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. (AP) — The state of South Dakota says more than 14,000 people took part in the buffalo roundup at Custer State Park, matching crowd records from the previous six years. The 49th annual roundup took place Friday in the Black Hills. Horseback riders were joined by all-terrain vehicles and pickup trucks to gather about 1,200 bison into corrals, joining roughly 100 head brought in earlier. Craig Pugsley is the visitor service coordinator at the park. He says the event rekindles people's passion and interest in the American West. About 270 buffalo that were gathered during the roundup will be sold at the park's annual auction on Nov. 15. Next year's roundup is Friday, Sept. 25.

Conference offers how SD can benefit from ND oil
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's oil and gas production is a fraction of North Dakota's, but the organizer of a conference in Spearfish said the southern neighbor could prosper if companies step up to supply much-needed products and services to the burgeoning oil patch. Branden Bestgen says the Black Hills Bakken and Investor Conference was first held two years ago as a general introduction on the potential for South Dakota to play more of a role in North Dakota. He says this year's gathering on Wednesday and Thursday will include specifics on how business owners can tap the energy markets and expand that segment of South Dakota's economy, which is largely based on agriculture and tourism.

SD officials say Summerset woman committed suicide
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Authorities in South Dakota say a woman whose body was found in rural Custer County died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The South Dakota attorney general's office on Tuesday said the death of 59-year-old Nancy Kay Vickers was ruled a suicide by a Pennington County forensic pathologist. The remains of the Summerset woman were found Sept. 23.

4 SD schools receive national achievement honor
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Four South Dakota schools have earned national recognition from the U.S. Department of Education for gains in academic achievement. South Dakota's Blue Ribbon schools are: Howard Elementary School in Howard; Medary Elementary School in Brookings; O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls; and Timer Lake High School in Timber Lake. The public schools selected for the honor are nominated by the chief school officer in each state and private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. The federal agency on Tuesday recognized 287 public and 50 private schools across the country. The award recognizes schools where students are achieving very high learning standards or are making notable improvements to close the achievement gap.

SD woman sentenced in tribal group theft case
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota woman accused of stealing money from a tribal organization has been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says 44-year-old Lorelei Exendine will be on probation for two years and has to pay the $3,000 that she stole in 2009. The Pine Ridge woman pleaded guilty to theft from an Indian tribal organization in June. Authorities say Exendine served as the president of the Northern Great Plains Emergency Medical Services Association in 2009. At that time, she planned a conference for emergency medical personnel that an ambulance service group from the Oglala Sioux Tribe co-sponsored. Exendine received $3,000 in registration fees, but she kept the money instead of sending it to the tribe.

Man gets 3 years in underage sex trafficking case
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota man has been sentenced to three years in prison in an underage sex trafficking case. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says 25-year-old John Miller was also ordered to three years of supervised release. Miller is one of nine men who were arrested and federally indicted as a result of an undercover sex trafficking sting during the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The Rapid City man was convicted of attempted trafficking with respect to involuntary servitude and forced labor. Court documents show investigators placed multiple advertisements on the and websites offering young girls for prostitution. Authorities have said the men responded to the ads and then negotiated with undercover agents who were acting as the 12- and 13-year-old girls' pimps. Authorities say Miller offered $150 for a girl.

Sign detailing 1885 hanging reinstalled in Pierre
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A sign detailing an 1885 hanging is on display again outside the Hughes County Courthouse in Pierre, after being refurbished. The sign tells of the hanging of James H. Bell, who was jailed for killing another man with a hatchet. A mob dragged Bell from the jail and hanged him from a ladder leaned against a flagpole. It was the only hanging recorded in county history. The sign telling the story had been stained through the years by water from the courthouse sprinkler system. The Pierre-Fort Pierre Historic Preservation Commission removed the sign this past summer to be cleaned, sandblasted and repainted. It was reinstalled Monday, in a place away from the sprinklers. The sign is one of several the commission is refurbishing or replacing through a $4,000 federal grant.

SD gets $3.6M to make college more accessible
BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota has received a $3.6 million federal grant to make college more accessible to Native American students and reduce the time it takes them to complete their degree. The U.S. Department of Education announced the grant Tuesday. South Dakota State University will administer the grant. The Brookings school is one of 24 universities nationwide that received a "First in the World" grant. U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson says the money is meant to help 900 Native American and low-income youth through the state's Jump Start program. The initiative helps people get into college and then works with them throughout the academic year and summer to keep them on the path to graduation. The Jump Start program will be available at South Dakota's six public universities and the Oglala Lakota College.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press