Monthly Archives: August 2012

U.S. Attorney Johnson releases annual report

To read it, go here:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/sd/docs/AR%202011.pdf

What you’ll find, in summary, are more criminal cases filed and more defendants prosecuted. Indian Country crimes comprised the great bulk of both, and two reservations — Pine Ridge at 33 percent and Rosebud at 28 percent — had by far the largest shares of Indian Country defendants. The most frequent crimes involving defendants were revocations 42 percent, assaults 22 percent and sexual abuse 12 percents; drugs were just 5 percent.

Searching for Pe’ Sla references

Might any of you refer this scribe to published references to the Black Hills site called Pe’ Sla that’s been in the news lately as part of now-postponed ranch auction in the Black Hills? I’ve checked my bookshelves, including Dodge and Hoover/Hoover, and so far drawn a blank. There are some references on the Internet but they appear to be of recent (2012) vintage.

Jim River district budget hearing is set

The directors for the James River water development district will gather Sept. 11 to hold their annual budget meeting. It starts at 9 a.m. at the Aberdeen Ramkota. After the public hearing and approval of the 2013 budget the directors will set their 2013 tax levy. The district’s former manager and some of its board members, past and present, made plenty of news in recent years. With Dave Bartel now in charge as manager, the district’s affairs are on a path back to stability.

Eagle killer faces a big sentence, while illegal deer hunter gets a smaller one

By pleading guilty, Richard Coleman Jr. of Fort Thompson now faces a possible sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a possible fine up to $250,000 for being in unlawful possession of a firearm last winter. He had been previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.  Coleman admitted shooting a bald eagle last winter. For that he faces a possible sentence one year in prison and a possible fine of $100,000. Sentencing is set for Nov. 20.

Meanwhile another man, convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, has received a sentence of one month in custody, one year of supervised release, a $2,000 fine and a $100 payment into a victims assistance fund. U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange handed down those penalties to Alan J. Moon, of Mikado, Michigan, after he was caught possessing a rifle and a deer he had shot while hunting in South Dakota without a non-resident license. Moon was prohibited from possessing a firearm during the rest of his life as part of a 1989 felony sentence.

Speaking of unemployment insurance…

Here’s a link to a freshly released analysis from the Urban Institute regarding the status, recent history and challenges ahead for the U.S. unemployment insurance system. The author, Wayne Vroman, doesn’t provide state by state details in his seven-page summary, but he highlights key trends on a national level. It’s worth reading:

http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412639-Financing-Unemployment-Insurance-After-the-Great-Recession.pdf

How about some town hall meetings on cap-and-trade?

Democrat challenger Matt Varilek this afternoon issued a news release suggesting that Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem has bowed to criticism she hasn’t been sufficiently accessible to South Dakotans this summer. The two campaigns have jousted over holding debates. The Noem camp meanwhile is lambasting in round-about ways the mainstream media for not checking into Varilek’s past work in environmental matters, such as his advocacy for a cap and trade system to reduce air pollution and global warming, which Noem’s folks have labeled as cap and tax. Varilek so far has ignored that thrust.

So the solution seems pretty simple: They need to set up a series of a dozen town halls to talk about cap and trade/tax. The discussions can cover a lot of ground, from the cancelled coal-fired electricity projects in Grant and Walworth counties, to the effects of drought and more severe-weather events, to extension (or not) of the wind-electricity tax credit, to the cost of production of ethanol in dollars and water and corn and electricity, to oil development in the Dakotas, to the inability of Congress to pass a new transportation-funding package and the means to pay for it, to research grants in sustainable crops for fuels at SDSU’s Agriculture Experiment Station… and the list can go on long after that.

Those would be town halls worth attending — and covering as a newspaperman.

Hail eight S.D. environmentalists!

OK, conservationists, actually. Receiving 2012 South Dakota soil conservation awards are:

Kenneth Dickson, Beadle County district;

Raymond Urban, Brule-Buffalo district;

Will and Kathy Roe, Codington County district;

Tom Barnes, Custer County district;

Dennis Namken, Hamlin County district;

Heinricy Brothers, Moody County district;

Ron and Janeen Kohl, Roberts County district; and

Larry Skorepa, Yankton County district.

The recognition program was created by the Legislature in 2008 and is administered by the State Soil Conservation Commission.

Will President face Sioux City protest over river fee plan?

It takes a lot to unite South Dakota’s congressional delegation, governor, attorney general and at least one tribal chairman and several of his council’s members, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pulled off that feat with its pay-for-water proposal regarding the Missouri River reservoirs. On Saturday, the man who ultimately is in charge of the corps, President Barack Obama, takes his re-election campaign to Sioux City, Iowa. The Missouri runs through it. You have to wonder whether there will be protesters peacefully sending him a bipartisan message. The biggeer question is why wouldn’t there be?

UI Council recommends tough penalties for cheaters

People who have returned to work but continue to claim they’re unemployed would face some stiff financial penalties under a proposal endorsed today by the state Unemployment Insurance Council. In addition to facing criminal prosecution, the first offense would carry a pay-back requirement plus a penalty equal to 50 percent of the wrongful payment amount. Second offense would carry a 100 percent penalty. The decision will be up to the Legislature in the 2013 session. Federal Labor wants at least a 15 percent penalty in all 50 states.