South Dakota News

St. Louis jury awards $55M in Johnson & Johnson cancer suit
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A jury in St. Louis has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman who claimed the company's talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. Court records show the jury returned the verdict in favor of plaintiff Gloria Ristesund on Monday. It comes after a St. Louis jury in February awarded $72 million to the family of an Alabama woman who sued Johnson & Johnson over ovarian cancer she said was caused by using its baby powder and other products containing talcum. A Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman says the New Jersey-based company is beginning the process to appeal the Monday ruling. Spokeswoman Carol Goodrich says the decision goes against decades of research that supports the safety of cosmetic talc.

Mitchell's newly renovated Corn Palace has lighting problems
MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — City officials in Mitchell aren't happy with outdoor lighting at the Corn Palace tourist attraction, which recently underwent a $4.7 million renovation. Officials say the lighting doesn't adequately showcase the building's domes and corn murals at night. City Administrator Stephanie Ellwein says a Baltimore-based engineering company estimates fixing the problem will cost up to $121,000. The Daily Republic reports that the city could fund the work with leftover money dedicated to the renovation project. The City Council will make a final decision later. The Corn Palace is billed as the world's only palace dedicated to the grain. It attracts about 200,000 tourists each year. It also has an arena for concerts and high school and college athletic events.

Man accused of killing 2 in Faith pleads not guilty
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting an ex-girlfriend and a friend in the small town of Faith has pleaded not guilty. Berton Toavs pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder Monday in court in Sturgis. He's accused of killing Eliza Edgins and Nathan Gann on April 26 at a residence in the northwestern South Dakota community of Faith. A judge scheduled a May 16 status hearing. Gann and Edgins worked at a bar and grill in Faith. Toavs has been working at ranches and a livestock auction. About 430 people live in Faith.

Brother owners of Aberdeen mortuary facing drug charges
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — The owners of a mortuary business in Aberdeen are facing drug charges. The American News reports that 53-year-old George Schriver and 58-year-old James Schriver have been indicted on misdemeanor and felony drug-related counts. The brothers own Schriver's Memorial Mortuary and Crematory. George Schriver and the brothers' attorney both declined comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday. Police say they found nearly 3 pounds of marijuana and some methamphetamine during an April 14 search of the business. Authorities also seized 17 guns.

Juvenile fleeing police in stolen car crashes into church
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A Rapid City church was damaged when a juvenile driver fleeing police crashed into the building. KOTA-TV reports that the juvenile was in a stolen car and trying to evade authorities Monday night when he or she crashed into St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. The driver was treated for a head injury at a hospital and taken into custody. A passenger in the car wasn't injured. There was no immediate word on the amount of damage to the church.

Fireworks likely source of Mount Rushmore water pollution
KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) — A government report has concluded that past fireworks displays at Mount Rushmore National Memorial are the likely source of a pollutant found in water within the site in western South Dakota. The findings of the U.S. Geological Survey report were announced Monday. The report shows that the contaminant called perchlorate was found in groundwater and surface water within the park. The agency says perchlorate is used in fireworks and is a common component of rocket fuels and explosives. The agency says high concentrations of perchlorate in drinking water can affect the human thyroid gland, but the drinking water at Mount Rushmore is safe for public consumption. The agency and the National Park Service studied perchlorate and metals associated with fireworks in water and soil samples taken between 2011 and 2015.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press