Tribal officer fired after stun gun incident
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - An Oglala Sioux police officer has been fired for improperly using a stun gun, and the police chief's job might also be in jeopardy.
Tribal Councilman Garfield Steele tells the Rapid City Journal that Cpl. Becki Sotherland was fired Thursday for an incident last week in which she used a Taser several times on a man lying on the ground. A passer-by shot video and posted it online, drawing attention to the incident.
Steele says a Tribal Council committee is recommending Chief Ron Duke be fired for lack of leadership. Duke says he'll fight any effort to remove him.
Sotherland is being investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. A telephone listing for her couldn't be found and it wasn't immediately clear if she has an attorney.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTIGATION
Reporter sues over Benda death reports
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota journalist is suing Attorney General Marty Jackley for more information about the death of former state economic development director Richard Benda.
Bob Mercer was unsuccessful in getting records earlier through an administrative law process. The Argus Leader reports that he's now taken the matter to circuit court.
Jackley says he has followed the law.
Benda's October 2013 death has been ruled a suicide. At the time, Jackley was preparing to file felony theft charges against Benda amid allegations of financial misconduct at the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Independent candidate for governor Mike Myers says he thinks Benda might have been killed. He held a press conference in Rapid City on Thursday in which he re-enacted the scenario under which authorities say Benda killed himself.
Rapid City businessman fined for illegal workers
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A Rapid City business owner has been fined $3,000 for employing people living the country illegally to work in his restaurant.
The Rapid City Journal reports that 49-year-old Benjamin Munoz-Botello reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which he admitted to knowingly employing three such workers in his restaurant from 2008 to 2011.
Prosecutor dropped a charge against Munoz-Botello of cashing checks and wiring money for illegal workers employed by logging companies.
SD school gets over $59K for training of miners
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has received more than $59,000 in federal funds for health and safety training of miners.
The U.S. Department of Labor says the school's grant is part of the more than $8.3 million the agency is allocating this year to provide federally mandated training to miners.
The agency says the money covers training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal, and metal and nonmetal mines, including miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations.
States first received funding to provide this kind of training in 1971. Forty-seven states, including South Dakota, and the Navajo Nation are receiving grants for mandated training of miners during the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
Farm Rescue nonprofit nears another milestone
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Farm Rescue nonprofit in the Upper Midwest is approaching another milestone.
The volunteer organization based in North Dakota will help its 300th farm family in the region by the end of the year.
Farm Rescue plants and harvests crops for farmers in need in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and eastern Montana. It's been operating since 2006, supported by donations, business sponsors and about 1,000 people who volunteer to help with fieldwork in the spring, summer and fall.
It helped its 100th farm family in 2009 and its 200th in 2012.
Founder Bill Gross says if Farm Rescue can increase funding, it hopes to expand assistance in a year or two. The organization currently is helping about 50 farm families each year, on an annual cash budget of about $450,000.
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