South Dakota News

Mental health calls jump 35 percent for Aberdeen police
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — An annual report from the Aberdeen Police Department shows officers responded to 35 percent more mental health calls in 2014 compared to the previous year. The Aberdeen American News reports the department responded to 278 mental health calls last year, up from 206 calls in 2013. Officers went to 247 mental health calls in 2012. Brown County Mental Health Board chairman Mark Anderson acknowledges there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mental health calls in the past five years. He attributes it to increased awareness about mental health disorders. Anderson, who is a magistrate judge, says it's likely that reactions to social media posts are also behind the increase in calls to police.

Funding in trouble for rural libraries in Pennington County
WALL, S.D. (AP) — Rural libraries in western South Dakota's Pennington County could see a major cut to their funding. County Auditor Julie Pearson tells the Rapid City Journal that county library services have had a yearly deficit as high as $40,000. She says the deficit has been made up through library cash reserves, but she says those will be depleted by 2017. County contracts with Wall, Keystone and Hill City expire at the end of the year. The County Commission will have to decide whether to cut funding to rural libraries or pursue a tax increase to maintain services. Wall Community Library director Theresa Schaefer says county funding of roughly $16,000 makes up about half of her budget. Library services spending was approved by rural Pennington County voters in 1998.

Dakotas dairy farmers can enroll in federal price program
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dairy farmers in the Dakotas can now enroll in a federal price protection program for coverage in 2016. The Margin Protection Program is a voluntary insurance program that enables dairy farmers to protect themselves from low prices. The enrollment period runs through September 30th. The program protects farmers when the difference between milk prices and feed costs fall below an amount selected by the farmer. Minimum coverage costs farmers a $100 flat fee. U.S. Agriculture Department deputy secretary Krysta Harde says half dairy producers nationwide signed up for coverage during the previous enrollment period. Participating farmers will remain in the program through 2018 and pay the $100 administrative fee each year. Producers also have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

Badlands National Park in SD hosting astronomy festival
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, S.D. (AP) — Get your telescopes ready. The Badlands National Park is again hosting its Astronomy Festival in which novices and experts alike can participate. The event scheduled for July 17th through 19th will include public stargazing activities, solar observing opportunities, planetarium shows, several workshops, as well as equipment demonstrations. Organizers have also scheduled a model rocket building and launching workshop. Most events will be in the area around the Ben Reifel Visitor Center.

Charges pending in rollover that killed Spearfish woman
SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) — Authorities say charges are pending in a rollover crash that killed a Spearfish woman. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says 29-year-old Megan Kellogg was a passenger in a Jeep that rolled over on a gravel road five miles northwest of Spearfish just before 3 p.m. Saturday. The Jeep left the road, entered the ditch and returned to the road. The Patrol says the 32-year-old driver from Spearfish overcorrected and the SUV rolled. The patrol says neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt. Both were pinned under the vehicle The driver was taken to a Rapid City hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. The Patrol says alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

Authorities ID Brookings man killed in Interstate 29 crash
BALTIC, S.D. (AP) — Authorities have identified a Brookings man who died after he was rear-ended on Interstate 29 near Baltic. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says 60-year-old John Lu was driving a 1990 Geo Prism and was rear-ended by a 2013 Chevy Suburban just before 5 p.m. Friday. He died at the scene. There were five people in the Suburban. Four people were injured; three of them had serious but non-life threatening injuries. The Department of Public Safety says an investigation is ongoing.

SD Historical Society publishes biography on Red Cloud
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota State Historical Society has a new book out and it focuses on the only Native American leader who defeated the U.S. Army in a war. The biography of Red Cloud examines the Oglala (OHG'-lah-luh) leader's rise to prominence, his struggle against cultural domination and the victory that closed the Bozeman Trail in 1868. Jay Vogt is the director of the Historical Society. He says author John McDermott used little-known sources to explain Red Cloud's early childhood and worldview. In "Red Cloud: Oglala Legend," McDermott chronicles Red Cloud's diplomatic trips to the U.S. Capitol and examines his vision for maintaining Oglala life and culture. McDermott is a Rapid City resident, who served as a National Park Service historian. The book is available at bookstores and online.

Now playing: Harpsichord of Columbus' era sounds again
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A harpsichord that entertained the elites of Italy in the mid-1500s has been restored by a South Dakota museum and will soon bring its sound to 21st-century ears. The National Music Museum in Vermilion worked with Chilean-born keyboardist Catalina Vicens to produce the instrument's first full-length recording. The crowd-funded project resulted in a 20-track record that will be available for all in January. Vicens, who resides in Switzerland, says the record's compositions would have been performed in Naples when the instrument was in its youth. Museum director Cleveland Johnson says the recording is the equivalent of a "sound document." He says it will allow the facility to share a piece of its vast collections with the public, which often wants to know what the instruments on display sound like.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press