South Dakota News

Lawmakers take up municipal sales taxes and autism coverage
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Lawmakers plan to consider this week measures on municipal sales taxes, insurance coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder therapy and athletics policy for transgender students. A measure to allow municipalities to collect up to an additional one percent sales tax for capital expenditures is set to be heard Friday in the House State Affairs Committee. The House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday is expected to take up a measure that would help ensure insurance coverage for a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder therapy. A proposal to void a High School Activities Association policy on transgender students is set to be considered in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. The policy requires the association to review requests by transgender students or their guardians to decide on which team the student can participate.

Gunman tries to hold up Sioux Falls casino; shot fired
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls police are searching for a gunman who fired a shot while trying to rob a casino. Police say the man entered the Recovery Room about 7 p.m. Saturday, displayed a handgun and demanded money from an employee. The suspect then fired one shot into the wall before running away without any money. No one was hurt.

Proposed ethanol plant in SD would push production westward
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Plans for South Dakota's westernmost ethanol plant are moving forward following the rezoning of land in Onida despite complaints from residents. The Tri-State Neighbor reports Onida residents don't want the proposed Ring-Neck Energy and Feed plant so close to the town. Investors hope that the plant on the edge of Onida will be running by fall 2016. Corn for the $65 million facility would come from a 100-mile radius including Sully, Potter, Walworth, Dewey and Stanley counties. Investors say the corn will be enough for the plant to reach its annual production capacity of 70 million gallons. The nearest ethanol plant to Onida is about 100 miles away in Redfield. South Dakota ranks fifth in the nation for its ethanol production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Ducks Unlimited opens Brookings office to expand habitat
BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Ducks Unlimited has opened an office in Brookings in its effort to expand the waterfowl habitat in South Dakota's Prairie Pothole Region. The group is located in the same research park building at South Dakota State University as Pheasants Forever, which opened a Brookings office last year. Ducks Unlimited hired SDSU graduate Steve Donovan as manager of conservation programs for the state. He says he'll work with private landowners, conservation partners and other agencies to develop and build habitat projects statewide, especially in the pothole region. Donovan says the creation of the office shows the group is committed to doing more to reverse the trend of declining waterfowl habitat. Ducks Unlimited earlier pledged to spend $1.8 million dollars on conservation programs in the state over the next five years.

Faulkton's ed board taking proposals for possible new school
FAULKTON, S.D. (AP) — The board of education in Faulkton is accepting proposals from architects and engineers for a new school. The Aberdeen American News reports the school district is looking to build a new facility to replace the main part of the school. Superintendent Joel Price says the three-story high school building opened in 1932 and the elementary wing in 1960. Price says the existing facility that houses the district's 200 students doesn't comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The district hopes to build the new facility in the existing school's parking lot to avoid disrupting classes. The school addition built in 2004 including a gym and community center wouldn't be replaced. Proposals are due April 10th. Officials say it could take up to five years before the new school opens.

Gymnastics coach in South Dakota to retire after 37 years
MILBANK, S.D. (AP) — Every member of the gymnastics team at Milbank High School since 1978 has been coached by Jeanne Sinclair. But that's about to end. Sinclair, a Sisseton native and University of South Dakota graduate, will retire from Milbank at the end of this school year. Sinclair tells The Public Opinion that during her 37-year career she's not only been a coach, but also "part-mother, part-counselor and part-friend" to the Bulldog gymnasts. Sinclair says one of the highlights of her coaching career was the opportunity to train her twin daughters, one of whom won the state Class A uneven bars title in 2003. The newspaper reports that while some schools have benefited from local gymnastics youth clubs, many of the Bulldog performers have no prior gymnastics training before participating in Milbank's program.

Brookings powerlifter raises money for sick children
BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — A weight training enthusiast from Brookings is using powerlifting to help kids with life-threatening medical conditions. Jackie Geppert was recruited several weeks ago to join the Midwest-based Relentless powerlifting team, which raises money for a large charitable effort called HopeKids. The mission of the organization is to provide ongoing events, activities and a supportive community for families of children with serious diseases or disorders, such as cancer. Geppert tells The Brookings Register that Relentless helps HopeKids by offering strong people who raise money and lift weights for those who cannot. She says her team will help kids in Minnesota and South Dakota by contributing money for their medical bills.

Andover man develops program to help farmers calculate costs
ANDOVER, S.D. (AP) — An Andover man has developed a program to help farmers calculate the costs of each crop and compare them to marketing opportunities. Scott Anderson worked for three months with formulas and algorithms to create CashCowFarmer. He wanted the software to be easy for farmers to use, while still providing them with beneficial information. The Aberdeen American News reports the cloud-based program tracks expenses and shows a continual picture of potential marketing options. The program calculates the per-acre costs of crops after the user enters prices paid for inputs, including seed, fertilizer, insurance, interest and more. It also allows the user to review what the costs and yields have been for fields in the past. Farmers can access CashCowFarmer through a subscription or a free 30-day trial.

Deadline approaching for Rapid City native arts show
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Native artists have a few weeks to apply for space at this summer's art market and cultural celebration in downtown Rapid City. The third annual event called A Gathering of People, Wind and Water will be Saturday, July 18th, at Main Street Square. The categories reflect the cultures of the Great Plains. The 2015 event includes a Friday night artists' reception at the Journey Museum and awards with more than $16,000 in prizes. In accordance with the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, participation in the Gathering is open to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes only, with preference given to artists from Great Plains tribes. The cost is $80 per space and applications are due March 20th at WWW DOT NativeArtsGathering DOT org.

South Dakota nun's book on Benedictine history reissued
YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — The book of a South Dakota nun and retired college history professor that explores Benedictine history has been reissued. "Benedictine Men And Women Of Courage: Roots And History" was written by Sister Ann Kessler, a Benedictine nun and member of the Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton. The first edition was published in 1996. Kessler tells the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan that she felt a revised version of the book had to be issued because there's still a demand for it. She says she found copies online selling for up to $500 each when she was only charging $30 apiece. The 480-page book looks at 1,500 years of Benedictine history. Kessler says the revised version includes new material that wasn't available when it was first printed.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press