South Dakota News

The Latest: Police say 141 pipeline protesters arrested
CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Authorities have updated to 141 the number of people arrested when law enforcement officers evicted protesters from private property in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. Donnell Hushka, a spokeswoman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department, says most of the protesters were arrested for conspiracy to endanger by fire or explosion, engaging in a riot and maintaining a public nuisance. The nearly six-hour operation to evict the protesters began at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Hushka says protesters started numerous fires during the course of the day, including setting three pieces of construction equipment on fire.

South Dakota residents have choice of 2 insurers on exchange
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — An analysis for The Associated Press shows South Dakota residents who buy health coverage through the federal insurance marketplace will have more choices when it comes to insurers than people in some other states. The analysis by Avalere Health and the AP found that South Dakota will have two participating insurers in all 66 counties next year, the same as the Affordable Care Act's 2016 enrollment period. Avera Health Plans and Sanford Health Plan are the insurers that will offer plans in the marketplace during the enrollment season that begins Tuesday. About one-third of U.S. counties will have only one health marketplace insurer next year. That's more than 1,000 counties in 26 states — roughly double the number of counties in 2014, the first year of coverage through the program.

High court: Hospitals don't have to turn over documents
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's Supreme Court says hospitals don't have to turn over documents related to doctor performance even when there's evidence they committed fraud against patients. The high court in a Wednesday opinion reversed a lower court ruling that plaintiffs suing two South Dakota hospitals and several doctors should have access to certain materials used by hospital peer review committees to review physicians' performance. Circuit Court Judge Bruce Anderson said the statute that protects the disclosure of those materials can be breached under a crime-fraud exception. The Supreme Court ruled that the exception doesn't exist and that creating one is better left to the Legislature. Anderson is overseeing more than 30 lawsuits against Dr. Allen Sossan, who is accused of killing and injuring patients in Yankton between 2008 and 2012.

Authorities ID 2 victims of fatal crash in Meade County
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — Authorities have identified two people who died in a crash in western South Dakota's Meade County. The Highway Patrol says two pickup trucks crashed at the intersection of two rural roads north of Sturgis shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday. Sixty-seven-year-old Ronald Audus, of Belle Fourche, was driving one of the pickups, and 32-year-old Leah Hankins, of Nisland, was a passenger in the other vehicle. Both were killed.

County won't move early voting center outside Pine Ridge
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — The Oglala Lakota County Commission has decided to keep an early voting center outside the village of Pine Ridge on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The state Democratic Party and tribal officials had asked county and state officials to consider relocating the voting site that's at the SuAnne Big Crow Center, citing in part safety concerns. The center's parking lot was the site of a deadly shooting earlier this month. County commissioners voted unanimously this week to reject the request, after deciding there wasn't another suitable location. County and tribal officials are working with law enforcement agencies to boost security as Election Day nears.

State investigators probe drugs at mental health hospital
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — State authorities have launched an investigation into drugs at South Dakota's mental health hospital in Yankton. Attorney General Marty Jackley declined to tell the Argus Leader newspaper what his office is looking for, citing the ongoing investigation. But he referred to the probe as "a controlled substance investigation." The Yankton County Sheriff's Office was called two weeks ago to investigate an incident in which methamphetamine was brought into the Human Services Center. Sheriff Jim Vlahakis said the incident involved a patient. National Alliance on Mental Illness official Phyllis Arends says the incident might call for the hospital to take a closer look at security. The hospital provides chemical dependency treatment for adults. It's run by the state Department of Social Services, which has declined to comment on the investigation.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press