NORTHERN PLAINS STORM
Winter storm continues in northern Great Plains
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Transportation officials in the Dakotas are cautioning residents about hazardous travel conditions as a winter storm continues in the northern Great Plains.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol says snowy, icy conditions contributed to at least one fatality on Tuesday. Fifty-nine-year-old Ronald Waters, of Watford City, died when the semitrailer he was driving rolled in a ditch south of the city.
The National Weather Service has posted various winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for the region through Wednesday evening, with snow tapering off throughout the day. Parts of the Dakotas got anywhere from a couple of inches to more than half a foot on Tuesday.
Forecasters say the snow will be followed by bitter cold, with low temperatures dropping to 25 below zero Friday and Saturday in some areas.
SIOUX FALLS SHOOTING
Formal charges filed in Sioux Falls slaying
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Formal charges have been filed against two Watertown teenagers accused in the death of a Sioux Falls man.
Eighteen-year-old Brian Anderson and a 17-year-old boy face murder, attempted murder, assault, burglary and robbery charges in the shooting death Monday of 20-year-old Jordan LeBeau in his home. Authorities say his 48-year-old father was shot and wounded when he tried to help his son.
It was not clear if Anderson or the 17-year-old had an attorney.
The Argus Leader reports that court documents allege the two hoped to steal $100,000 from LeBeau's home.
Two 20-year-olds from Dell Rapids were arrested on charges of being accessories to robbery, burglary and aggravated assault. Police spokesman Sam Clemens says the two were not in the home at the time of the killing.
High Court overturns ruling in SD teen homicide
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Supreme Court has overturned a ruling by a circuit court judge that a Pierre teenager accused of murder should be tried as an adult.
KCCR radio reports that the high court ordered Judge John Brown to reconsider the issue - without using the testimony of a psychologist who examined 17-year-old Braiden McCahren.
Brown ruled in September that McCahren should be tried as an adult in the shooting last Dec. 18 of 16-year-old Dalton Williams in McCahren's home, when McCahren was 16. His lawyers have argued that the shooting was accidental, and McCahren has pleaded not guilty.
The defense argued earlier this year that a psychologist who examined McCahren went too far with her questioning and that McCahren's rights had been violated. Supreme Court justices agreed.
Officials probe cause of fire at Spearfish sawmill
SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - Officials are investigating the cause of a fire at the Spearfish Forest Products sawmill.
The Black Hills Pioneer reports that the Monday evening blaze was contained to a planer building and an adjacent shavings bin and did not cause significant damage. General Manager Tom Shaffer says the business was fortunate.
Fire Chief Wallace White says it took firefighters about an hour to get the blaze under control.
The sawmill employs about 200 people.
SEED COMPANY DISPUTE
ND settlement proposed in Anderson Seed case
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Jan. 6 hearing has been scheduled at the Cass County Courthouse in Fargo on a proposed settlement in the case of a failed seed company.
Mentor, Minn.-based Anderson Seed shut down its sunflower processing facility in Redfield, S.D., in 2012 without paying farmers for millions of dollars' worth of delivered seeds.
North Dakota's Public Service Commission late last month approved a proposed settlement in which farmers with cash claims will get about 43 percent of what they are owed and those with credit sale claims will get about 80 percent.
The PSC says valid claims total about $3 million.
South Dakota regulators last year got a judge's approval to use a $100,000 company bond to give partial payments to farmers in that state who lost about $2.6 million.
Brandon Valley voters approve $6 million school
BRANDON, S.D. (AP) - Voters in the Brandon Valley School District in southeastern South Dakota have approved a new school to house fifth- and sixth-graders.
Seventy-seven percent of the 1,645 people who cast ballots Tuesday approved borrowing about $6 million for the school, well more than the 60 percent majority required.
The 20-year bond will cost the owner of a $200,000 home an additional $56 in taxes per year.
Construction of the school is to start in the spring. It's scheduled to open in August 2015.
School group appreciates governor's budget plan
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The head of an association representing South Dakota's school boards says Gov. Dennis Daugaard's proposed increase in state aid to schools is a step in the right direction, but school officials hope the Legislature will give school districts even more money.
State law requires that aid to school districts increase each year by the rate of inflation, up to 3 percent. That would require an increase of 1.6 percent next year. Daugaard's proposed budget would give schools a 3 percent boost next year.
Wade Pogany of the Associated School Boards of South Dakota says the governor's proposal would help schools.
But he says school board members will seek a 3.8 percent increase, which would return funding per student to the amount provided before a 2011 budget cut.
OPERA HOUSE FUNDRAISING
Homestake Opera House kicks off $4.2M campaign
LEAD, S.D. (AP) - The Homestake Opera House has kicked off a $4.2 million capital campaign to renovate its stage.
The Black Hills Pioneer reports that a $50,000 anonymous donation pledging matching funds has kicked off the effort celebrating the opera house's 99th anniversary.
Organizers hope to raise $99,000 by the end of the year to start the renovation project with a goal of completion for an August 2015 grand reopening.
Executive Director Sarah Carlson says the project will preserve a remarkable piece of architecture that is also a powerful economic engine for the city. She says the project is a rehabilitation, not a restoration.
Carlson says she's reaching out to community grounds, civic organizations, governmental bodies, corporate sponsors and the general audience.
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