• Local News

    1. Gov. Daugaard Declares State of Emergency Following Winter Storm

      brenda-kleinjan-director-of-communications-rural-electricPIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has declared a state of emergency for all of South Dakota following a Christmas Day storm that resulted in stranded motorists and electrical power outages.  The Governor, in issuing the Executive Order, has ordered that state government technical resources be made available to support county governments in efforts to restore normal travel conditions and emergency services. Those technical resources will be coordinated by the state Department of Public Safety’s Office of Emergency Management.   “Every part of South Dakota was impacted in some way by this holiday storm,” said Gov. Daugaard. “If it was not heavy snow, it was freezing rain and high winds. Many South Dakotans and visitors had to change their Christmas plans because of the storm’s impact.”  Blizzard conditions forced the closure of Interstate 90 from the Wyoming border to Chamberlain from Sunday night through Monday morning. Electrical power outages were reported in many parts of the state.  Office of Emergency Management staff already have been contacting counties about the type of resources needed and damages sustained.  Brenda Kleinjan is the Director of Communications for the South Dakota Rural Electric Association

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      Note: Here is a copy of the executive order as issued by Gov. Daugaard: 

      WHEREAS, the entire State of South Dakota has been impacted by a Christmas Day severe winter storm which brought freezing drizzle and rain, snow, and high winds leading to blizzard conditions in areas where snow fell; and, WHEREAS, The storm caused widespread hazardous travel conditions and road closures due to zero visibility; and, WHEREAS, The blizzard conditions interrupted the normal flow of emergency, school, mail, business and farm traffic; and, WHEREAS, Icing on power lines combined with strong winds caused thousands to be without power from the storm; and,  WHEREAS, Emergency shelters were needed to house stranded motorists caused by road closures and blizzard conditions as well citizens without power; and, NOW, THEREFORE, I, DENNIS DAUGAARD, Governor of the State of South Dakota, under provisions of SDCL 34-48A, otherwise known as the Emergency Management law, do hereby declare a state of emergency to exist in South Dakota. 

      IT IS FURTHER DECLARED, that technical resources available to state government will be utilized under coordination of the Department of Public Safety, Office of Emergency Management, in support of county government to restore normal travel conditions and emergency services.


    2. ADI Working To Get Stranded Fliers Home This Week Following Brutal Weekend Storm

      todd-syhre-2016adi-jet-latestWatertown Airport Manager Todd Syhre says the weekend storm that brought winds in excess of 60 MPH grounded all ADI flights, stranding passengers at Pierre and Watertown.  He says the runways were kept clean but that extreme winds made flying impossible in and out of the Watertown Airport.  He talks with KXLG news.

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    3. Thousands Lose Power In Holiday Ice Storm In Northeast South Dakota

      rural-electric

      On Monday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard used the state’s Emergency Management law to declare a state of emergency. This declaration will help facilitate the movement of out-of-state crews into South Dakota to aid with electric power restoration at electric cooperatives hardest-hit by the Dec. 25 winter storm.  Twenty-five workers from Iowa electric cooperatives and 10 workers from Minnesota electric cooperatives will begin arriving at the hardest-hit electric cooperatives on Tuesday. This is in addition to 40 workers from eight in-state cooperatives which started arriving at five cooperatives on Monday. These 75 workers are in addition to the nearly 180 employees working at the hardest-hit cooperatives.Electric cooperatives throughout western South Dakota and the northern half of the state continue to experience outages incurred in Christmas Day storms which brought blizzard, strong winds, freezing rains and even lightning strikes to the state. A handful of cooperatives were able to restore power to their members and are sending crews and equipment on to help restore power elsewhere in the state. On Monday evening, 12 cooperatives were reporting outages to 13,750 South Dakota co-op members’ homes and businesses. At least seven other cooperatives had also experienced outages in the storm but were able to make repairs by Monday afternoon. Cooperatives are advising it may be several days before power is restored into all areas. The storm has also affected cooperatives’ transmission suppliers, which bring electricity to local substations.  East River Electric Power Cooperative, headquartered in Madison, S.D., has damage in northeastern South Dakota from the Watertown and Clear Lake area north to the North Dakota border. Otter Tail Power Company, an investor-owned utility, is also having problems in the area, which in turn is affecting East River. Western Area Power Administration lines are also affected in the Summit area. EREPC continues to assess the damage, but is aware of at least 310 transmission structures damaged in the storm. For information on outages at electric cooperatives in the state, go to https://outages.sdrea.coop/outages/maps.  South Dakota’s 28 distribution cooperatives provide electricity in each of the state’s 66 counties and serve more than 120,000 South Dakota homes, farms/ranches and businesses. South Dakota’s electric cooperatives maintain more than 68,000 miles of distribution and transmission line and employ more than 960 people.  Dave Page is the manager of Whetstone Electric

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      customers without power include:

      Codington 213

      Clark 100

      Day 1,205

      Grant 2,000

      Deuel 665

      Roberts 1,500

      Marshall 1,500

       

      For information on outages at electric cooperatives in the state, go to https://outages.sdrea.coop/outages/maps

      South Dakota’s 28 distribution cooperatives provide electricity in each of the state’s 66 counties and serve more than 120,000 South Dakota homes, farms/ranches and businesses.


    4. Reflecting On The Job That South Dakota Teachers Do In Our Communties

      sdea-2016The Christmas break is a good time to reflect on the job that teachers do in our communities.  Mary McCorkle, President of the South Dakota Education Association, says teachers have to reach out to a number of people, besides their students.

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      McCorkle says many teachers now have a number of language challenges in their classrooms.

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      McCorkle says a teachers focus stays the same.

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      There are about ninety three hundred teachers in South Dakota.


    5. President-Elect Donald Trump And Members Of His Incoming Administration Are Pointing To The First One Hundred Days As A Time Of Fact Action

      thune1President-elect Donald Trump and members of his incoming administration are pointing to the first one hundred days as a time of fact action.
      South Dakota Senator John Thune says the process doesn’t work that way.

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      Thune says they will use the rules they have to move issues and people as quickly as they can.

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      Thune says he anticipates Congressional republicans will be ready to roll back many federal regulations.

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      Congress is scheduled to begin the new session on January 3rd.


    6. Here Is The Weather Story For The Next Few Days…Be Safe When Traveling Over The Christmas Holidays!

      weather-map-christmas-2016weather map courtesy of the National Weather Service

      Winter Storm Watch

      URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
      NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ABERDEEN SD
      334 AM CST FRI DEC 23 2016
      
      ...SIGNIFICANT CHRISTMAS STORM EXPECTED...
      
      .A STRONG LOW PRESSURE AREA WILL MOVE NORTHEAST ACROSS THE
      CENTRAL AND NORTHERN PLAINS CHRISTMAS DAY THROUGH MONDAY. THIS
      WILL BRING EVERYTHING FROM RAIN TO FREEZING RAIN... SLEET...
      SNOW... ALONG WITH VERY STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS CAUSING BLIZZARD
      TO NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS.
      
      
      INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...WHEATON...ORTONVILLE...BRITTON...
      SISSETON...WEBSTER...REDFIELD...CLARK...WATERTOWN...MILBANK...
      HAYTI...CLEAR LAKE
      334 AM CST FRI DEC 23 2016
      
      ...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH
      SUNDAY AFTERNOON...
      
      THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ABERDEEN HAS ISSUED A WINTER
      STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH
      SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
      
      * TIMING...FREEZING RAIN IS POSSIBLE FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH
        SUNDAY AFTERNOON.
      
      * ICE ACCUMULATIONS...TOTAL ICE ACCUMULATIONS UP TO A TENTH OF AN
        INCH OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE.
      
      * IMPACTS...THE ICE COULD RESULT IN DIFFICULT TRAVEL CONDITIONS.
      
      PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
      
      A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT
      SNOW...SLEET OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.
      CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

    7. KXLG Todays Is Featuring Johnson Appraisal Of Watertown As Another Focus On Locally Owned Businesses

      johnson-appraisalToday we celebrate another locally owned business on KXLG Radio.  Johnson Appraisal in Watertown is celebrating 40 years in 2016 and Brad Johnson, who took over the business from his father Barry, says it all began with residential appraisal services here in Watertown as well as in Milbank and Webster.  The business continued to grow eventually taking on bigger projects, including entire communities like Madison and Mitchell and beyond.

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      And just how does an appraisal business work?

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      Brad wears many hats in the business.

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      Brad said Watertown has a great small business environment.  He says it helps that local businesses are not being overly burdened with regulations. That, Johnson says, provides freedom to be as successful as you want to be.

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    8. Minnesota Groups Honored for Improving Lives

      minnesota-groups-honoredST. PAUL, Minn. – Some of Minnesota’s human-service groups and agencies have received a holiday present of sorts. This month, seven have been selected to receive the 2016 Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Awards from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

      Emily Piper, state commissioner of human services, said these are groups that help support healthy people, stable families and strong communities. Among this year’s winners is the White Earth MOMS program, which works with pregnant and parenting women and their partners to reduce the number of babies born with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.

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      Other groups honored this year include the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Human Services Division, Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, the Korean Center, Morrison County’s Accountable Community for Health, the Food Group and The Arts Center of St. Peter.

      Piper said the Arts Center of St. Peter is is a unique program that provides art-therapy classes to people with mental illnesses at Minnesota Security Hospital. This year, an art show was held with more than 200 works created by the patients on display.

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      Many of the groups that are honored each year, she said, may not otherwise be publicly recognized for the work they do to help people on a daily basis.

      More information is online at mn.gov.


    9. Highway 81 and 20th Avenue SE Four-Way Stop Functioning

      south-dakota-department-of-transportationWATERTOWN, S.D. — The South Dakota Department of Transportation says the all-way stop at the intersection at Highway 81 and 20th Avenue SE in Watertown is now fully functional.

       

      “Safety of the traveling public is our number one priority in the department,” says Jeff Senst, Aberdeen region engineer. “The installation of a four-way stop at this busy intersection is an interim measure designed to improve the flow of traffic and prevent crashes until the planned roundabout is built in 2018.”

      As part of the all-way stop, crews have placed overhead red flashing beacons, rumble strips and flashing stop and stop ahead signs. Stop bars will be installed when the weather is warm enough to paint the markings.

      When drivers approach the new all-way stop, they are advised to follow these right-of-way rules:

      • The first vehicle to the intersection has the right-of-way ahead of any vehicle that has not yet arrived;When two or more vehicles reach an intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right-of-way;
      • The vehicle with the right-of-way may move straight ahead or, if legal and after signaling, turn left or right; and,
      • When two facing vehicles approach an intersection at the same time, both drivers can move straight ahead or turn right. If one driver is going straight while the other wants to turn left, the driver who wants to turn left must wait. The driver who is traveling straight ahead has the right-of-way.

      Photos and a video of the intersection are available on the SDDOT Flickr account at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sddot/albums/72157676759251360.


    10. Rain And Wind May Be Big Factors With Weekend Storm System

      noaaweather-map-12-22-16

      National Weather Service green signals Blizzard Watch.  The blue signals Winter Storm Watch

      The National Weather Service has issued blizzard watches for the Western South Dakota this weekend and winter storm watches for the central region.  But, as of now at least, the eastern tier may be looking at more rain than snow because of warm temperatures expected throughout the KXLG listening area.  Mike Connelly is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen.

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    11. Judge Rules That a South Dakota Anti-Corruption Package Approved By Voters Cannot Be Separated Into Different Parts

      marsys-lawPIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a South Dakota anti-corruption package approved by voters cannot be separated into different parts.

      Circuit Judge Mark Barnett ruled Wednesday that leaving only part of the measure in effect would be inappropriate, since it was a comprehensive package. The judge has issued an order blocking the entire law from taking effect.

      Voters approved the measure last month. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has argued that the state should embrace a government ethics commission that is part of the package.

      The attorney general’s office is defending the law against a court challenge filed by Republican lawmakers and others.

      Opponents contend that provisions including the ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers are unconstitutional.


    12. Transgender Bathroom Debate And Legislation Expected To Surface Again In The 2017 State Legislature

      transgender-symbolA renewed transgender bathroom debate can be expected in the 2017 State Legislature in Pierre.  The Family Heritage Alliance, a conservative advocacy group, is putting together proposed legislation called the Student Privacy Act. Alliance Executive Director Dale Bartcher says it would require that public school students use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their biological sex.

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      He says accommodations would be made for transgender students.

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      “We totally understand that there will be those who are walking through a time of confusion in their life, or have special needs of one sort or the other. We want to see those students accommodated for” says Bartcher.  Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed similar legislation – House Bill 1008 – passed by the 2016 State Legislature, but Bartcher says he “totally expects a new result” this time. The group’s intention is to get the Governor’s input.

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      Transgender bathroom debates are like lightening rods for the national media and national advocacy groups – witness all the sparks flying in North Carolina. Nevertheless the Family Heritage Alliance is pushing forward with their efforts.

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    13. A Codington County Grand Jury Returns Embezzlement Charges against Watertown Man

      kxlg-logo

      Watertown, SD —  A Codington County Grand Jury has returned a Grand Theft indictment against 33 year old Adam Rounds of Watertown. The charge is related to a time in January of this year when Adam’s ownership of the Sears store in Watertown was winding down and the company was attempting to recover property that had been consigned to him.  During a store audit the Sears Corporation discovered a discrepancy of cash and property missing.  Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann says that more than 80,000 dollars in property and 14,796 dollars in cash was discovered missing.  The total value alleged to have been embezzled is 94,836 dollars.   Again, Grand Theft is a Class 4 felony if the value of the property is more than five thousand dollars but less than or equal to one hundred thousand dollars and is punishable by up to ten years in the state penitentiary and a fine of 20,000 dollars.  Rounds was arrested November 21st after some of the missing company owned property was discovered at his home.  He’s scheduled for a jury trial beginning March 16th and is currently released on a 1,500 dollar bond.  The company is now operating under new ownership.


    14. From The Desk Of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson

      steve-thorson-2015-photo-to-useListen below to hear Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson on KXLG’s From The Desk Of The Mayor.

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    15. Pierre Mayor Appointed To Small Community Air Service Working Group

      laurie%20gill%202015South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune has appointed Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill to the Small Community Air Service Working Group that originated in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.  Gill, along with South Dakota Department of Transportation Program Manager for the Office of Air, Rail, and Transit Jack Dokken of Pierre were appointed to the working group.  Gill says this means South Dakota will have a strong voice on important issues pertaining to small town airports…

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      Gill is optimistic her appointment will make a difference…

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      The Small Community Air Service Working Group will coordinate with local, state, and federal officials to help develop potential solutions to challenges faced by rural airports and the communities they serve, including reliability of air service and pilot training.  The first meeting of the Working Group will be January 25th in Washington DC.


    16. Harrisburg High School Assistant Principal Honored As National Hero

      ryan-rollinger-2 ryan-rollinger-1Ryan P. Rollinger right rescued Kevin A. Lein left from assault, at the  Harrisburg, South Dakota School September 30, 2015.

       

      HARRISBURG, SD — The assistant principal at Harrisburg High School, Ryan Rollinger has been named one of just 21 Carnegie Heroes nationwide for 2016.  Rollinger helped save his principal from further harm from a gun-wielding student last year.

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      He says he is humbled to be in such select company.

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      “I read some of their bios today, so some rare air, and like I said that’s probably what makes it so humbling,” says Rollinger.  During the 112 years of its existence, the Fund has awarded 9,914 medals. Only about 10 percent of those nominated are selected. The medal was founded in 1904 by weathy industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to honor persons who perform acts of heroism in civilian life.  Back in September of 2015, Harrisburg Principal Kevin Lein was shot by a student. He received only a flesh wound, but it could have been much worse if Rollinger and Athletic Director Joey Struwe hadn’t quickly pushed the armed teenager to the ground and held him until police arrived.

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      Below is the story as it appears on the Carnigie Hero Fund Commission web page:

      Ryan P. Rollinger rescued Kevin A. Lein from assault, Harrisburg, South Dakota, September 30, 2015.

      Lein, 56, a high school principal, was in his office when a male student, 16, entered and with a fully loaded, semi-automatic handgun fired a shot at him as he was seated at his desk. The shot struck Lein in an arm, and he fell to the floor.

      Rollinger, 39, assistant principal of Harrisburg, was in his office nearby and heard the gunfire. He ran to a door to Lein’s office, where he saw the assailant pointing the gun at Lein.

      Rollinger then circled the outside of the office to approach the assailant from behind, through another door. Nearing that door, he made eye contact with the assailant, who, still holding the gun, turned his attention to him.

      As Rollinger approached the assailant, the assailant ran toward and past him and continued to the school’s front doors. Rollinger caught up to him and tackled him to the floor, where they struggled for control of the gun.

      Another administrator responded and helped secure the assailant as Rollinger disarmed him, and police arrived shortly and arrested him.

      Lein required hospital treatment for his gunshot wound, and Rollinger was treated at the scene for cuts and scrapes, from which he recovered.

       


    17. Watertown Eye Doctor Melanie Weiss Enters Not Guilty Plea

      kxlg-logoWatertown optometrist Dr. Melanie Weiss who was arrested September 30th on 6 counts, including the use and possession of drugs was back in court at Watertown on Tuesday.  Five of the charges are felonies said Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann.  they included second degree burglary for unlawfully entering a home, possession of a controlled substance schedule 1 or 2 identified as hydrocodone, possession of a controlled substance schedule 3 or 4 identified as Tylenol with codeine, obtaining controlled substances by theft and ingesting a controlled substance.  A sixth count of criminal entry into a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor.  Weiss’s attorney, Scott Bratland of Watertown had asked for the case to be continued to December 20th at 9 a.m.   As expected, at today’s hearing, Weiss entered a not guilty plea before Judge Dawn Elshere.  A jury trial was set for 9 a.m. March 16th.   A status hearing will be held March 8th at 1:30 p.m. Bond had originally been set at 10,000 dollars for Weiss but was reduced earlier to personal recognizance because of a medical issue involved.  She was arrested in September after she alledgedly burglarized a home in the northeast part of town.   On the day of the arrest Weiss was found in possession of a prescription medication and garage door opener, both belonging to a Watertown homeowner.


    18. New Salt Based System Under Consideration In Watertown To Keep Streets Safter

      saltThis photo shows a similar salt based system that is being used in Boston, MA

      The Watertown Street Department is looking at some new ways to keep the intersections safe during the winter months. Street Superintendent Rob Beynon says a salt brine product has been tested as a pretreatment effort on the roads by the State DOT and seems to work well.  He shared his thoughts with the Watertown City Council last night saying the system would run the city about 15,000 dollars and would be used strictly as a pretreatment on some of the more heavily used streets and avenues in Watertown.

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      Beynon says the savings is nearly four times than using conventional methods of just dropping gravel and sand at the intersections. He says the state DOT has had success using this method of pretreating.

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      Some say the disadvantage is that the product is hard on the vehicles driving over it, however Beynon says applying it prior to an event and letting it dry allows the product to work from the bottom up, somewhat protecting the car. On another topic, Beynon says the city is looking at an alternate site to stack snow for the winter.  Currently the city is emptying loads at a location directly south of the Old Home Bread store.  The new location under consideration would be located on the softball field just east of the Municipal Utilities.

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      Saying, “it’s always to hard to lose a ball field”, Mayor Steve Thorson says it’s something that will need more discussion. The city used semi’s in the last clean up.  The mayor says the bigger rigs speed up the cleanup.


    19. Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether Sheds Democrat Label And Is Now Independent

      mike-heutherIt was a political announcement that caused a shake-up, but not what most had anticipated as the Democrats have one less member in their ranks.  During a gathering at the Downtown Library, Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether spoke on his own behalf about a personal decision regarding politics.

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      When it comes to his beliefs, Huether feels that he doesn’t fit within the current two-party system.

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      Plus, Huether feels that people are growing tired of politicians that are playing to fringe issues on either side of the aisle.

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      Huether says that he has been wrestling with leaving the Democrat party for two or three years before making it official.  Sioux Falls residents can be assured that the way City government runs will not change regardless of Mayor Huether’s political affiliation.


    20. South Dakota Electors Cast Their Votes For Trump

      electoralvoting-1Attorney General Marty Jackley and Pam Roberts joined Gov. Dennis Daugaard at the Capitol Building today to officially cast South Dakota’s electoral votes for Donald Trump and Mike Pence. A photo of the electors signing the certificates of vote is attached.

       

      The Governor and Attorney General appointed Roberts to take the place of Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, who was selected as an elector and could not be present. In the event that an elector cannot attend an Electoral College meeting, state law allows the remaining electors to appoint a replacement. Michels intended to join Daugaard and Jackley in casting a vote for the Trump/Pence ticket but could not because of a scheduling conflict.


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