Monthly Archives: April 2017

Sen. Richard Gregerson, 1932-2017

Gov. Dennis Daugaard said flags will be at half-staff Monday, May 1, for state Sen. Richard “Dick” Gregerson, R-Sioux Falls.

Gregerson died Tuesday, April 25, at the age of 84, two days short of his next birthday. He was born April 27, 1932. He served in the Senate from 1979 through 1982.

Gregerson, a lawyer, started at the Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith firm in Sioux Falls in 1963. He served on the state Transportation Commission for 16 years and was a long-time lobbyist.

For information on his funeral visit here.

Pettigrew is topic at Cultural Heritage Center

Former legislator and former U.S. Sen. Richard Pettigrew, who moved to Sioux Falls in 1870 and promoted the city for the rest of his life, will be the topic of discussion on the second Tuesday in May at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.

Pettigrew won election to the U.S. Senate from the newly seated Legislature after South Dakota received statehood in 1889. His Sioux Falls biographer, Wayne Fanebust, will lead the discussion May 9 starting at 7 p.m.

Fanebust said one of Pettigrew’s accomplishments as a senator was his involvement in passage of the federal forest reserve act in 1891 that allowed the president to create national forests from the public domain.

Fanebust said “it saved America’s forests that had been under assault for many years.”

Pettigrew won election as a Republican but later left to become a member of the People’s Party. He served two terms as a senator. He died Oct. 5, 1926.

Rounds’ second nominee accepted at West Point

Jonah Nelson of Sioux Falls Washington High School has been offered and has accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, according to U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds.

Rounds nominated Nelson. He is the son of Layne and Jennifer Nelson of Sioux Falls.

Last week Zachariah Markel of Watertown High School accepted an appointment to West Point. The senator nominated him.

Winter wheat outlook is slightly weaker

The condition of winter wheat planted in fall 2016 throughout the state has declined another percentage point, according to the latest weekly report from the South Dakota Wheat Commission.

The April 24 report shows 9 percent of winter wheat is now rated as poor. That is the highest so far for the fall 2016 planting.

Meanwhile 35 percent is fair, 55 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

South Dakota farmers planted about 900,000 acres to winter wheat last fall. That was down 24 percent from 2015, when farmers planted 1,180,000 acres in winter wheat. The previous fall, in 2014, they planted about 1.4 million acres to winter wheat.

Twelve S.D. residents charged in federal investigation

The U.S. attorney for South Dakota, Randy Seiler, has received federal criminal indictments for 15 people, including at least 12 persons with South Dakota addresses, in an alleged trafficking scheme involving sales of eagles and other migratory birds called Project Dakota Flyer.

The initial appearances in U.S. district courts are scheduled for May 1 in Rapid City and May 4 in Pierre, according to Seiler. The undercover operation spanned two years.

The 12 South Dakotans who face federal charges are:

Troy Fairbanks, 54, of Rapid City;

Majestic Fairbanks, 22, of Rapid City;

Troy Young Fairbanks, 24, of Rapid City;

Michael Primeaux, 32, of Parmelee;

Juan Mesteth, 39, of Pine Ridge;

Aaron David West, 64, of Eagle Butte;

Aaron David West Jr., 33, of Eagle Butte;

Valencia Neck, 38, of Parmalee;

Benjamin Iron Hawk, 44, of Kyle;

Chet Christensen, 66 of Tuthill;

Ronald Fisher, 64, of Kyle; and

David Jasper, 60, of Box Elder.

Also indicted were Alvin Brown Jr., 37, of Ethete, WY; Jorge Pena, 44, of Mt. Vernon, IA; and Gary Fisher, 69, of Gordon, NE.

Mitchell man faces fentanyl charges

State Attorney General Marty Jackley said Tuesday his office is prosecuting Jacob Hubbs, 20, of Mitchell on three criminal counts regarding drugs. The arrest was made by Mitchell police and the state Division of Criminal Investigation.

More than 1,000 fentanyl pills and $11,000 cash were seized Monday.

Hubbs is charged with:

Possession of fentanyl, a controlled substance, which a class 5 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine;

Possession with intent to distribute, a class 4 felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; and

Possession with intent to distribute in a drug-free zone, a class 4 felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Police in Mitchell, Watertown, Brookings and Yankton; drug task forces for the James Valley and Sioux Falls; the state Highway Patrol; and DCI assisted in the investigation.

Repubs and indies up, Dems down… again

Republicans and independents increased their voter registrations, while Democrats fell for the fifth month in a row, according to the latest numbers for South Dakota.

The web site for Secretary of State Shantel Krebs shows that, as of April 10, Republicans remained the dominant party, with 253,845 registered voters. That was a slight — nine total — downturn from March 1. But it was an overall increase from the 252,116 Republicans registered for the November general election, and the 243,523 Republicans registered for the June primary.

Then we have the independents and No Party Affiliation voters. Their combined total as of April 10 was 122,373. That was an increase of 662 since March 1. More significantly, it was an overall increase from the 118,669 independents and NPAs registered for the November general election, and the 110,839 registered for the June primary. Independents and NPAs climbed 14 months in a row.

Now for the Democrats: They have fallen five months in a row. As of April 10, there were 169,688 Democratic voters registered in South Dakota. That was a decrease of 369 since March 1. It also was an overall decrease from the 170,694 Democrats registered for the November general election. It was an increase, however, from the 168,301 Democrats registered for the June primary.

As for the smaller political parties, the Constitution Party stood at 493 on April 10, down from 500 for the November general; it became an officially recognized party again on March 31, 2016. The Libertarian Party had 1,682 registered voters on April 10, an increase from 1,620 for the November general. The Libertarians became an officially recognized party again on June 17, 2016.

Flip the calendar back to July 2009: Democrats stood at a peak of 206,086, while independents and NPAs totaled 86,310. At the rates they have changed since then — Democrats down more than 36,000 while the independents and NPAs up more than 36,000 — the independents and NPAs could overtake Democrats within seven to eight years.

If not sooner.