South Dakota News

Thune wants visa ban from Ebola-affected countries
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Senator John Thune has joined other Republicans in calling for a temporary visa ban on those attempting to travel to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa. Thune says he has "questions" about the country's ability to manage "the threat that Ebola poses" to the transportation sector, including airports and ports. The proposed legislation would suspend new visas and revoke current visas for individuals who are permanent residents or nationals of a country the CDC has designated as a country for "widespread transmission of Ebola." Some exemptions would apply. The White House has pushed back against overly restrictive measures, including proposals for travel bans. The World Health Organization has said the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has sickened more than 15,100 people and caused more than 5,400 deaths.

Rounds picks committees, has immigration concerns
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Republican Senator-elect Mike Rounds is expressing concerns over President Barack Obama's expected administrative actions on immigration. Rounds on Thursday told reporters that Obama's decision to act unilaterally will hurt his already damaged relationship with Congress. But, Rounds warned, he doesn't expect lawmakers to use spending-bill tactics to shut down the government over Obama's decision. Defying the GOP and bypassing Congress, Obama prepared to use his executive authority Thursday night to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation. In a wide-ranging discussion with reporters, Rounds also said he has put in requests to serve on three U.S. Senate committees. He selected the armed services; banking, housing and urban affairs; and environment and public works committees. Rounds says he also found an apartment 10 blocks from the Capitol.

Services scheduled for former Fort Pierre mayor
FORT PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Memorial services have been scheduled for former Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball. Tidball died Tuesday, after an illness. He was 90. He had retired last May from his job as mayor, which he had held for 16 years. He was a city councilman for six years before that. Feigum (FY'-guhm) Funeral Home says services will be at First Congregational Church of Christ in Pierre. Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Friday with a prayer service at 7 p.m. The funeral is 10 a.m. Saturday. Burial is scheduled later in the day at Hillsview Cemetery in Isabel, where Tidball grew up. Flags in Fort Pierre are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday. Mayor Gloria Hanson says Governor Dennis Daugaard (DOO'-gahrd) authorized the tribute.

3 SD Indian communities joining buyback program
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Three South Dakota communities are part of an expanded effort to consolidate tribal lands owned by multiple individuals. The Interior secretary says 21 Native American communities in 12 states will join the land buyback program by 2017, bringing the number of locations in the program to 42. The program was a central piece of a $3.4 billion settlement in 2009 of a class-action lawsuit that claimed Interior Department officials mismanaged trust money held by the government for hundreds of thousands of native landowners. The added South Dakota communities include the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation and the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Roughly 245,000 owners of fractionated land on 150 reservations are eligible to participate in the program.

Gaming commission drafting Amendment Q legislation
DEADWOOD, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Commission on Gaming is moving on legislation to implement the new voter-authorized games in Deadwood. The commission voted on Thursday in the Black Hills town to draft legislation to allow craps, keno and roulette with the goal of having regulations and the games in place by July 1st. Passage of Amendment Q on Nov. 4 gave the Legislature authorization to expand the games offered in Deadwood. The goal is to help casinos compete with surrounding out-of-state hotspots. Commissioner Ralph Kemnitz says the committee will propose legislation "that carries out the public mandate." Opponents view the additional games as an expansion of gambling. Deadwood Gaming Association executive director Mike Rodman says it's important the new games hit casinos in July during Deadwood's peak season.

Pierre firefighters rescue 6 newborn kittens
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Firefighters in Pierre have rescued six newborn kittens whose mother stashed them underneath a trailer home. Rescue Squad Captain Ron Bren tells KCCR-AM that the cat was trying to protect her litter from the cold and "squirreled" them deep into the insulation underneath the home. He says the cat escaped from the home a few days ago before delivering the kittens. The homeowner contacted firefighters after hearing the cats and fearing they were in danger because of the cold. Bren says four firefighters crawled under the trailer and made a hole in the insulation in order to reach the kittens. He says the rescued kittens didn't even have their eyes opened yet.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press