South Dakota News

Wind Cave National Park ready for controlled burn
National Park Service officials and fire fighters are ready for a nearly 2,200-acre planned fire at Wind Cave National Park in southwest South Dakota. The blaze is scheduled for Thursday and is expected to last three days. The burn will keep ponderosa pine trees from encroaching on the prairie land. The fire will be in the park's southwest corner. About 50 firefighters will be on hand. Smoke is expected to be heavy along Highway 385 and the surrounding region. Portions of the highway will be closed periodically because of the smoke. The prescribed fire program began in 1972. Parts of the park are burned in a controlled setting every year. The fire removes the buildup of dead brush that could fuel a wildfire and rejuvenates the prairie grasses.

Extension service says aphids showing up on wheat
The warm fall weather is likely to blame for aphids that have been reported on winter wheat in central and southern South Dakota. Counties where the bug has been spotted include Hand, Hanson, Davidson and Aurora. SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist Ruth Beck says the aphids carry a virus that is transferred to the wheat and can result in reduced crop yields. She says wheat farmers should look for the bug in their fields and call the agency or treat their crops if the infestation is bad enough. The aphids are dark-green and have a brown band across their abdomen.

Weiland raises $400,000 at tight Senate race's end
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Democrat Rick Weiland's U.S. Senate campaign says it has raised about $400,000 in the final fundraising period disclosed before the November elections. Campaign adviser Steve Jarding says Weiland raised the funds between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15. Reports detailing expenditures and money raised in that period are due on Thursday. Weiland had previously raised $550,000 in the quarter that ended on Sept. 30 and had about $250,000 on hand. Weiland is engaged in a tough four-way race for South Dakota's open Senate seat. Republican Mike Rounds and independents Gordon Howie and Larry Pressler are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat. Preliminary fundraising numbers from Weiland's opponents were not immediately available Tuesday.

Texas couple's motor home burns down on I-90
ALEXANDRIA, S.D. (AP) — A Texas couple has lost their motor home after it caught fire while they were traveling through South Dakota on U.S. Interstate 90. The Argus Leader reports ( ) Myrna and Robert Pendley, of Lone Oak, Texas, were driving the vehicle that caught fire near on the freeway near Alexandria. No one was injured. State Highway Patrol Trooper John Lord says the couple tried to put out the engine fire after noticing smoke but was unsuccessful. Sioux Falls lawyer R. Shawn Tornow saw the couple on I-90 and pulled over to help. Tornow says he helped detach a small pickup truck being towed by the motor home. He also helped the couple collect their dog and personal belongings, including a generator, before the motor home was engulfed in flames.

FBI investigating child's death on reservation
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Federal and tribal officials say they're investigating the death of a child on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in north central South Dakota. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven tells KSFY-TV that the child's death has been ruled suspicious. Loven did not give the news station any more details. He says more information will be released as the investigation continues.

Noem sailing toward win, Robinson lacking traction
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two weeks are left before the general election and Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem is still seen as the prohibitive favorite for another term, while her Democratic challenger Corinna Robinson has struggled to build name recognition. Noem and Robinson are vying for South Dakota's lone Congressional seat. Noem has been the favored candidate throughout the race in the conservative, incumbent-friendly state, while Robinson has struggled to gain name recognition. Noem, seeking a third term, says her priority after the election would be economic policies that would benefit South Dakota, including trade agreements that are being negotiating with nations in Asia and Europe that could increase the state's agricultural exports. Robinson says she would focus on stronger education legislation such as increasing teacher salaries and using more technology in the classroom.

Deer taskforce to recommend no harvest in Pierre
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A Pierre taskforce that manages the city's deer population plans to recommend that no deer be killed this year in light of unusually low population numbers in the area. KCCR-AM reports that this would be the first year Pierre's Deer Management Task Force recommends against a deer harvest. City Commissioner Jeanne Goodman says on average 24 deer were found on three separate counts last month. Goodman says that's considerably lower than counts in previous years. The number of deer to be harvested, set by the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, has reached as high as 70 in previous years. In the last two years, the department set the harvest number at 20 for the city.

Huron police detain man after hour-long standoff
HURON, S.D. (AP) — A Huron man has been detained after an hour-long standoff with police in which officers say he threatened to harmful himself while barricaded in his house. KOKK-AM reports that police were looking for the man 30-year-old man following a number of domestic violence-related incidents. Officers say he fled to his home in southeast Huron after officers tried to pull the man over in his car. Negotiators from the Huron Police Department and Beadle County Sheriff's Office were eventually able to talk the suspect into peacefully surrendering. The suspect is being held at the Beadle County Jail pending a mental health and medical evaluation. Pending charges and further details are being withheld at this time.

Feds reaffirm state's sex offender registry
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has reaffirmed South Dakota's compliance with a national sex offender registration act. Attorney General Marty Jackley says the state's Sex Offender Registry continues to comply with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. South Dakota currently has 3,300 registered sex offenders living in the state. Jackely says the state has a compliance rate of 98.9 percent and has had only 36 instances of non-compliance. South Dakota was the originally the fourth registry in the nation to be certified. South Dakota finished its renewal process in May. The Department of Justice reaffirmed the state's compliance status this week.

Chickens killed in shed fire near Aberdeen
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — An unspecified number of chickens died in a fire that destroyed a shed southeast of Aberdeen. Loy Stange with the Stratford Fire Department tells the American News that the cause of the Monday afternoon fire might never be known because of the extent of the damage. Stange says there was no heat lamp in the shed, which was about the size of a two-car garage. It was on property belonging to Dean Weismantel. No people were hurt.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press