• Local News

    1. Adam Lalim Running In Ward B For Watertown City Council

      KXLG LOGOA candidate has emerged to run in the Ward B Council Race for the seat currently held by Bill Rieffenberger.  Adam Lalim, says this his second try at the Ward B office after narrowly losing in the last election by two votes.

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      Lalim talked about his background.

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    2. Three Adults Arrested In Watertown Death Investigation

      watertown police car 2016

      **********UPDATE************

      On March 23nd, 2017 arrest warrants were served on 3 adults in connection with the death investigation of a 19 year old female at Watertown. Arrested were the following:

      Kayla Darlene Juhnke DOB: 05/22/1995 (21 years old) is charged with:

      35-9-2.3. Purchase of beverage by adult for person under twenty-one as misdemeanor. She is being held at the Codington County Detention Center on a $1,000 cash or surety bond.

      *35-9-2.3. Purchase of beverage by adult for person under twenty-one as misdemeanor is a class one misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in county jail and up to a $2,000 in fines.

      Brady Alan Johnke DOB: 02/04/1998 (19 years old) is charged with:

      35-9-1.1. Furnishing alcoholic beverage to person eighteen years or older but less than twenty-one years prohibited. He is being held at the Codington County Detention Center on a $500 cash or surety bond.

      * 35-9-1.1. Furnishing alcoholic beverage to person eighteen years or older but less than twenty-one years prohibited is a class two misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.

      Logan James Schilling DOB: 08/23/1997 (19 years old) is charged with:

      35-9-10. Social host prohibited from permitting consumption of alcoholic beverages by person age eighteen, nineteen, or twenty. He is being held at the Codington County Detention Center on a $500 cash or surety bond.

      *35-9-10. Social host prohibited from permitting consumption of alcoholic beverages by person age

       

      Three adults have been arrested at Watertown following the death of a 19 year female at a Southwest Watertown residence early Tuesday Morning.  Sgt. Chad Stahl is with the Watertown Police Department.

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       Sgt Stahl says the investigation is continuing into the death of the woman who appears to have died from alcohol poisoning.

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       He says the name of the deceased woman will not be released by the Watertown Police Department.

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      The 19 year girl was a student at the Lake Area Technical Institute, however her hometown wasn’t identified.

       

       

       


    3. Minnesotans Struggle to Find Healthy Food

      minnesota food storyST. PAUL, Minn. – About 340,000 Minnesotans don’t have access to healthy food on a regular basis because of either distance or income barriers, and about a quarter of a million live more than 10 miles from a large grocery store or supermarket.

      A recent poll commissioned by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota found state residents place a high value on being able to access healthy, affordable food for their families.

      Janelle Waldock, vice president for Community Health and Health Equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, says more than seven in ten say they would choose healthier food if more options were available in their communities.

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      “We’re one of the biggest agricultural states of anywhere in the nation, but yet we have many communities in the urban areas, in the suburban areas and in rural Minnesota that are food deserts and where people really struggle and have challenges accessing healthy food,” she points out.

      The poll found access to healthy food is a key influencer when it comes to where people choose to live.

      The Minnesota Legislature currently is considering a bill to provide funding for the Good Food Access Program, which was created last year to help business owners wanting to sell healthy, affordable food.

      Leah Gardner, Good Food Access Campaign manager for Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition, says food access is a problem all across the state.

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      “There are more and more communities that are finding themselves without a grocery store and having to travel 10 miles, even 30, 40 miles in order to find a full-service grocery store, which is where you’re going to find a full range of options that you need at an affordable price,” she states.

      Lawmakers currently are determining if the program will be funded in the future.


    4. Indivisible 605 Built to Challenge Republican Rule

      Indivisable 605Their motivation is to resist what is currently afoot in Washington. A grass roots group is continuing to shake up South Dakota politics. It’s called “Indivisible 605”.  Education is the first step, says organizer Katy Hayes.  She says they want to build the proper foundation with people who are political fledglings.

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      Philosophically, Hayes and her group wants to resist President Trump’s agenda. However, Hayes says all sides of the political spectrum need to pay attention to their process.

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      Looking ahead, Hayes and Indivisible 605 will be planning events at times when Congress is in recess.  Their plans are to meet with the delegation face to face when possible. South Dakota’s chapter of Indivisible is one of many groups that make up a nationwide movement.


    5. Prairie Lakes Adds Nurse Practitioner to Staff

      Megan 2017photo of Megan Merkel, CNP

       

       

      WATERTOWN, S.D. – March 22, 2017 – Prairie Lakes Healthcare System announces staff nurse Megan Merkel has advanced to a Certified Nurse Practitioner. Merkel will work with hospitalists and care for inpatients at the hospital. Hospitalists are medical doctors with advanced expertise in fields such as internal medicine. They work closely with Merkel and other staff to treat inpatients.

      Merkel graduated with her MSN-nurse practitioner degree from South University. She has twelve years experience being a nurse, ten years was spent caring for patients in the CCU. A Clark native, Merkel currently resides there with her husband and four children.

      “I am excited continue the career I love,” said Merkel. “I have learned so much during my time at Prairie Lakes. Now that I will be able to work collaboratively with the physicians and other advanced practitioners I hope to bring not only my nurse practitioner education, but also my years of nursing experience to this position. I will strive to provide exceptional patient care that focuses not only on the disease process, but more importantly on the patient.”


    6. Watertown Mayor Responds To Sarah Caron’s Announcement To Run For Mayor

      steve thorson 2015 photo to useMayor Thorson said he was very much surprised by Sarah Caron’s remarks that his administration hasn’t been open with the public. He says they have been very transparent with his office.  He also takes exception to her remarks that the city has taken some shortcuts on projects.  He said that did happen in the past and that’s why the city now has a new city Engineer, Shane Waterman.

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      He also disagrees with her assertion that staff isn’t getting the training it needs.  The Mayor said when he came into office that was the case, but isn’t now.

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      The Mayor said he doesn’t understand where she’s coming from when she makes reference to some getting preferential treatment.

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      The mayor also disagreed with remarks made by Caron that the city hasn’t been responsible in the way it’s addressing growth.

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      He also denied comments that he downplayed news from FEMA that the agency would be lowering Watertown’s flood insurance rates saying it was Sarah’s “baby” and she’s no longer with the city of Watertown.  He says those things would come through the city engineer Shane Waterman and then to his office.

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      He said he wasn’t surprised by her announcement today


    7. Listen Below To Hear All Of The Watertown Chamber Forum Discussing The Special Election To Repeal Ordinance 65

      forum pic 2forum pic 1Click on the audio tab below to hear the full one hour forum discussing the Codington County Special Election Ordinance 65 repeal issue.

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      Here are the polling places for the election

      CODINGTON COUNTY

      NOTICE OF SPECIAL ELECTION

      A Special Election will be held on Monday, March 27, 2017, for all voting precincts in Codington County.  If the polls cannot be opened because of bad weather, the election may be postponed one week.  At the election, the following question will be voted on:  Shall Codington County Ordinance #65 be approved or rejected.  The election polls will be open from seven o’clock a.m. until seven o’clock p.m. local time on the day of the election.  The polling place in each precinct in this county shall be as follows:

      Ward A, Precincts 1- 4; County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp******

      Ward B, Precinct 1 – 4; County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Ward C, Precincts 1 – 4; County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Ward D, Precincts 1 – 4; County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Ward E, Precincts 1 – 5; County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Dexter Twp., Fuller Twp., and Town of Florence – Florence Community Center

      Eden Twp., Phipps Twp., and Town of Wallace – Wallace Community Center

      Elmira, Germantown, Kampeska, Richland, and Rauville Twps. – County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Graceland Twp., Henry Twp., and Town of Henry – Henry Town Hall

      Kranzburg Twp. and Town of Kranzburg – Holy Rosary Auditorium

      Lake Twp., Pelican Twp., and Sheridan Twp. – County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp

      Leola Twp. and Town of South Shore – South Shore Community Center

      Waverly Twp. – Waverly Community Center

      *****SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS*****

      For voting at the County Ag. Building, 1910 W Kemp, voters should enter the building using the south parking lot and enter through entrance “H”.  Voters who normally vote at Lincoln School and the Days Inn will vote at the County Ag. Building for this election.


    8. Registered Professional Engineer Sarah Caron will run for mayor of Watertown

       

       sarah caron for mayor

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      Caron pledges to restore integrity and end favoritism in city government

      WATERTOWN, S.D.—March 22, 2017—Registered Professional Engineer Sarah Caron has announced her intention to run for election as mayor of the City of Watertown.

      “I will restore integrity by ending shortcuts, favoritism and special treatment in city government,” Caron said in announcing her candidacy. “I will pull back the curtain on critical decisions being made behind closed doors. Every citizen should be treated the same. Our city government should follow our city ordinances.”

      With more than 20 years of experience in municipal government, Caron worked as an engineer for the City of Bellingham, Wash. before joining the City of Watertown’s engineering department in 2006. Caron, 55, and her husband, Duane Caron, have three grown children. They moved to Watertown in 1995.

      Caron describes herself as a tireless advocate for citizens. Her dedication and extensive knowledge of public works and city government combine to make her uniquely well-qualified to serve as mayor.

      Her platform includes responsible growth, transparency in government, and drainage and flood protection.

      In addition to working as an engineer, Caron is a director of the Lake Kampeska Water Project District and the Watertown Concert Association. She is an active member of numerous community organizations including First United Methodist Church, the women’s PEO sorority, the Watertown Municipal Band, the T-Bones Rare trombone ensemble and others.

      For more information, email Caron at caronformayor@gmail.com.


    9. Local Sorority Raises 2,000 Dollars For Watertown Transit

       

      watertown transit photo of sororityHats off to the Watertown Beta Delta Sorority who presented a check last night to the Watertown Transit for $2000. 

      And here is a reminder from Watertown Transit
      Don’t forget to schedule
      your ride one day in
      advance, before 3pm.
      Call to Schedule Your Ride:
      (605) 882-5287

      Our vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

      Saturday Service Coming Soon

      Local Watertown Area Only
      – Starting April 1, 2017
      – 6:00 am to 4:00 pm
      – Rides must be scheduled by 3:00 pm the day before.
      – Rides for Mondays cannot be scheduled on Saturdays.
      – Saturday rides must be scheduled by Friday before 3:00 pm.
      – You may call in cancellations and will calls.
      – Last call for “will call” trips is 3:45 pm. If you do not call to cancel a “will call” trip that is not needed, you will be charged for that trip.
      – If you need a ride every Saturday, we can put that in a standing reservation, and you would only need to call if you need to cancel it.


    10. The Pros And Cons Of Codington County Ordinance 65

      forum pic 3 forum pic 2 forum pic 1With the special election to refer Codington County’s Zoning Ordinance 65 to a vote March 27th nearing both sides came together last night to make their pitch both pro and con.  A vote yes would keep Ordinance 65 in effect and a vote no would be to repeal the zoning ordinance.  Speaking as a proponent of keeping the Ordinance was Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann who said they are not using scare tactics when they say the repeal could have serious repercussions for anyone living outside the boundary of Watertown.  He said there will be consequences for anyone with flood insurance that would be withdrawn by FEMA and mortgages at risk with banks as well as building permit issues to name two.

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      Speaking in favor of repeal was Elmer Krueger who said the county could act fast to enact zoning laws if the need arises.

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      Codington County Planning Commission head Bob Fox said his board has been frustrated that more people don’t attend the meetings when they discuss these issues.  He said if CAFO’s are so bad why aren’t more people showing up at the meetings.  He assured those attending his board will be going back and review all of the zoning ordinances.

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      McCann said that “No existing ordinances would be repealed by a No vote. He said, ” We would revert back to this state of limbo where the status of the validity of our zoning ordinances is in question. They would be on the books but whether or not they are valid and enforceable would remain a question for the courts.”  But Krueger again argued the county has the authority to make fast decisions if the need arises.

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      The fear is that serious consequences could happen, especially for those who live in a flood zone in the unincorporated areas of Codington County like Lake Pelican and Kampeska Village, and who pay for flood insurance.  Those consequences include the loss of FEMA flood insurance and possibly their bank home mortgage.  The Codington County Zoning office received a letter in December from the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicating that if the flood plain ordinance were repealed those areas in Codington County would be included and that residents within those certain jurisdictions of the county would be prevented from purchasing flood insurance, renewing flood insurance or granted any Federal loans.  That ruling would apply to any parcels of land designated as flood hazard areas. In addition, no disaster assistance would be provided to insurable buildings that are located in these flood hazard areas either.  It also stated that no Federal Mortgage Insurance or loan guarantees could be provided in those same flood hazard areas by any lending institution. States Attorney Patrick McCann said he wanted to clear the air about the actual decisions that have been made by the court dealing with the county zoning laws as it pertains to the Waverly Dairy and Ordinance 30.  His says comments coming back to him that the county lost in court over challenges made regarding the Waverly Dairy and comments the county didn’t do what it was suppose to do are incorrect.  McCann says neither statement is true and that the circuit court actually found in favor of the county two different times.  McCann says the lower court ruled that the County board did everything proper in granting a conditional use permit for the Waverly Dairy when they approved Ordinance 30 last year. That ordinance, however, was appealed to the Supreme Court which ruled the lower court should take another look at how Ordinance 30 was adoptedMcCann says any idea that the county is creating language into Ordinance 65 to win a lawsuit isn’t true.  He says the county has already prevailed two different times in court.  McCann says,” some are creating a lot of confusion for people because they don’t know what the status of the case is.  Codington County voters go to the polls at the extension building Monday, March 27th to decide the Ordinance 65 repeal issue.  A vote yes retains the ordinance and a vote no repeals Ordinance 65.  You can also vote early now at the Codington County Courthouse.


    11. Butterfly House And Aquarium Planning Move To Downtown Sioux Falls

      butterfly houseSIOUX FALLS, SD — The Butterfly House and Aquarium in Sioux Falls plans to move downtown and greatly expand.
      “Right now we are in a beautiful park, in Sertoma Park, but we are easily forgotten by locals and easily missed by people who are visiting Sioux Falls,” says CEO Audrey Willard.

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      Willard says they are actively seeking a location downtown, possibly in the railyard development area, to build a new complex which will maintain the popular butterfly house, but include dramatically more space for aquariums.

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      “About four times the size we are now. Right now, we are 12,000 square feet. We want to go up to 40,000,”
      And not only will you still be able to walk among the butterflies, you will be able to swim among sharks and sea turtles in a large interactive pool, says Willard.

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      But Willard hastens to explain that the sharks will be friendly ones. No Great Whites.
      What really sparked the vision into reality was the state’s desire to purchase the current building at Sertoma Park for use by the Outdoor Campus. So it’s a win-win situation, says Willard.  She says the project will be done in phases, funded by the sale of the old building and through fundraising. The first of multiple phases is estimated at $8 million


    12. Watertown Police Department Hold Press Conference To Discuss 19 Year Woman’s Death From Alcohol Poisoning

      chad stahl 1At just after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning the Watertown Police Department and Paramedics were dispatched to an address in Southwest Watertown after receiving a call of a female who was not breathing.  Paramedics and Watertown Police Officers responded to the scene and discovered a 19 year-old female who was not breathing and had no pulse.  The cause of death appears to be alcohol poisoning, however the incident remains under investigation by the Watertown Police Department and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.  Sgt. Chad Stahl is with the Watertown Police Department.

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      Stahl said there were others in the home located in Southwest Watertown, although he described it as a small gathering.

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      At the request of the family the 19 year old girl’s name isn’t being released at the current time. She was a student at Lake Area Technical Institute Life-saving efforts were administered on-scene.

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      The police do have some strong leads into who purchased the alcohol and where it came from.  Stahl talked about binge drinking.

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      The girl did not live at the home but was acquainted with the residents.  An autopsy is pending to determine the blood alcohol content.  No arrests have been made at this time.


    13. South Dakota Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Landowners Over Water Access Issues In Northeast South Dakota

      jason frerichs 2016A recent South Dakota Supreme Court decision on flooded land could bring the issue back to the legislature. The court ruled that the Game, Fish & Parks Department doesn’t have the authority to allow people access to flooded waters or ice over private property. The lawsuit was filed by landowners in Day County, after their land was flooded in the late 1990s. Senator Jason Frerichs of Wilmot says it continues to be a difficult problem.

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      Frerichs says he hopes both sides can come together to find a solution.

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      Frerichs says there may have to be some payments made to those affected landowners.

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      The court has ruled that all waters in the state are public, but it is up to the legislature to decide on access to the so called meandered lakes.

       


    14. 19 Year Old Female Found Dead At Watertown Residence The Result Of Alcohol Poisoning

      KXLG LOGOAt 3:36am this morning (Tuesday) the Watertown Police Department and Paramedics were dispatched to an address in Southwest Watertown after receiving a call of a female who was not breathing. Paramedics and Watertown Police Officers responded to the scene and discovered a 19 year-old female who was not breathing and had no pulse. Life-saving efforts were administered on-scene. She was transported to Prairie Lakes Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The victim’s name is not being released at this time pending notification of her relatives. The cause of death appears to be alcohol poisoning but the incident remains under investigation by the Watertown Police Department and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. The Watertown Police Department has scheduled a press conference for 1 p.m. this afternoon.

    15. Dan Albertsen Running Again For Watertown Ward E City Council

      Dan AlbertsenSaying he has enjoyed his four years on the City Council, Ward E alderman Dan Albertsen announced today that he will be as seeking another term this year.  Many good things have been happening in the city, says Albertsen, but that the one thing they haven’t addressed yet is Lake Kampeska and that’s his ward.

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      Albertsen says the city needs to step up and do what it takes to get the lake in better shape than it is right now.

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      Committees that Dan serves on include below:

      • Public Works / Safety Committee
      • Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment
      • Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, Liaison
      • Urban Renewal Board Member

       


    16. Mayor Gives City Update To City Council

      Mayor's report 4 - ICE ARENA Mayor's report 3 - MORRIS ADDITION Mayor's report 2 - willow creek Mayor's report 1 - adiWatertown Mayor Steve Thorson repeated his presentation that he gave to BISCO about a week ago detailing the various stages of development that’s going on in Watertown. His report began with the airport.  ADI airlines began operations last August and has been soaring with passenger numbers progress in the East Park addition in East Watertown.

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      The only wild card in play at the airport now is the uncertainty of the Essential Airline Service is slated for the chopping block with President Trump’s budget. The mayor commented.

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      One of their areas the city is working on is parking.

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      He also updated the council on the East Park Addition saying that, although one retail store has delayed their construction for a year, two new hotels are planned for this summer and most of the available lots in that area have been purchased.

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      He also touched on the new softball complex and ice arena. Ground for the ice arena is hopefully going to be broke sometime in May if the bids don’t exceed the projected 8.2 million dollar cost. Steve Sheehan is with the Watertown Hockey Association.

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    17. South Dakota Drug Arrests Highest They’ve Been In A Decade

      Marty JackleyPIERRE, SD — Drug crimes soared by over 12 percent in South Dakota in 2016. That number sticks out like a sore thumb in the State Attorney General’s Annual Crime Report. Drug arrests were the highest they’ve been in a decade says State Attorney General Marty Jackley.

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      Crimes likely related to drugs, such as theft and burglary, were also up. Jackley says the state is trying to stay ahead of the epidemic with the ‘No Meth Ever’ campaign in the schools and with the Law Enforcement Task force that tries to stop meth from coming into South Dakota.

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       Also, hundreds more police officers have been hired by communities across the state. Still, government can’t do it all.

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      Jackley says the drug statistics are bad, but violent crimes were down last year.

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      “The crime statistics reflect that, overall, South Dakota remains a safe place to live as a result of strong community involvement and law enforcement efforts. Many categories of crime, including murder, rape, and sexual offenses were down in 2016.” says Jackley. South Dakota law enforcement agencies reported a total of 42,200 arrests involving 75,778 offenses in 2016. 

       


    18. Ribbon Cut For New Prairie Lakes Wellness Center Watertown

      WELLNESS CENTER GRAND OPENING 2 DANFORTH'S LANDING WELLNESS CENTER GRAND OPENING 3 DANFORTH'S LANDING WELLNESS CENTER GRAND OPENING 1Photo Left is Danforth’s Landing placed there as a bit of humor but also recognizing the amount of time that Alderman Mike Danforth spent at the new facility overseeing the constructdion.

      Photo Middle shows John Small Cutting the ribbon

      Hundreds attended the ribbon cutting Monday Morning for the new Prairie Lakes Wellness Center.   We have photos and audio below.  First to speak is Mayor Steve Thorson, Followed by Prairie Lakes head Jill Fuller and Prairie Lakes Wellness Center Director John Small.

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    19. Justin Is Bringing Home The Gold

      Justin gold medal use this oneSCHLADMING, Austria — As the Flame of Hope in the Planai Stadium on Saturday night, more than 2,500 athletes, including Justin Elliott of Watertown South Dakota participated. The event marked the opening of this year’s Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.  Already, Justin Elliott, who is competing in the World Special Olympic Games in Austria from Watertown, South Dakota, received a Gold Medal in the Alpine Intermediate Super G on Sunday. According to his mom he has two more skiing races to compete in.    
      Bib nr. Last name First name Nation Score Rank
      362 Elliott Justin SO USA 01:02.41 1
      283 Tataru Viorel SO Romania 01:05.64 2
      292 Mancini Thierry SO San Marino 01:06.00 3
      361 Egan Vincent SO USA 01:07.80 4
      34 Hollnsteiner Daniel SO Austria 01:10.73 5
      359 Dehn Kyle SO USA 01:52.23

    20. Noem Holds Townhall Meeting In Watertown

      Kristi Town HallAn overflow crowd estimated at between 200 and 250 people packed into the Watertown Police Department’s Community Room Saturday morning for a town hall meeting featuring South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem.  Normally Noem opens her meetings with a Congressional overview but skipped that Saturday going directly to questions instead. One of her first came from a Sioux Falls man who asked Noem for assurances his health insurance won’t continue increasing under the new Republican healthcare plan.  Noem responded saying Obama Care is failing on its own merits with double digit increases and insurers leaving the market.

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      Noem also touched on the score given to the new Trumpcare by the Congressional Budget Office showing the Republican Plan reducing premiums by 10 percent and the deficit by more than 330 billion dollars, but leaving millions, including 25,000 South Dakota residents, in fear of losing their insurance.

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      Noem says the tax credits offered by the Republican plan will benefit Americans who would see a net return of between two and fourteen thousand dollars.

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      When asked about Russian influence in the U-S Elections, Noem said there has been no evidence of interference in President Trump’s campaign.

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      And then, the thorny Medicare and Social Security issue surfaced with Noem saying changes are needed before both go broke.  She says both programs are struggling because less people are working and more money is being drawn out.

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      The attendees came from all over the state for the town hall meeting that featured a moderator to ensure the crowd didn’t get unruly.  The room filled to capacity more than an hour before it began.


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