• Local News

    1. Lake Area Technical School Wins Top Aspen Prize Honors As Top Community College In The Nation!

      BREAKING NEWS:

      LATI LOGO 2014 UPDATEaspen top 10 2017The fourth time was the charm for Lake Area Technical Institute after being picked by the ASPEN Institute as the best community college in the nation.  Lake Area Technical Institute has been named the top community college in the nation.  The announcement was made at a luncheon in Washington DC Tuesday afternoon.   LATI beat out more than 1,100 community colleges across the nation to win the coveted ASPEN prize.

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      Lake Area Technical Institute President Mike Cartney says it’s a wonderful honor.

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      Governor Daugaard also commented for KXLG News.

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      LATI will also receive a 600,000 dollar cash award for being selected. This is the fourth time that LATI earned a place on the ten finalists list and been named a finalist with distinction every year the Prize has been awarded.  Governor Daugaard likened it to winning the Final Four in basketball.


    2. Prairie Lakes Bash Event April First — Details Below!

      BASH-2017-website-event-graphicDoors open at 5 PM Saturday April 1st for BASH 2017.  Prairie Lakes Hospital Foundation head Allison Gilbertson and Dr. Jeffrey Smith, specializing in Dermatology  stopped in for a visit today at the KXLG Studios talking about the upcoming event at the Watertown Event Center.  You can hear all of the interview below on the audio tab.

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    3. Randy Tupper To Seek Another Term On Watertown City Council In Ward D

      randy tupperIncumbent Alderman Randy Tupper has indicated that he’s running for another term on the city council in Ward D at Watertown. You can hear his comments below on the audio tab.

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    4. South Dakota Kids to ‘Kick Butts’ on March 15

       

      kick butts dayAction urged to protect kids from candy-flavored tobacco products

       

      WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kids in South Dakota will unite against tobacco use on March 15 as they join thousands of young people nationwide to mark Kick Butts Day. More than 1,000 events are planned across the United States and around the world for this annual day of youth activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

      On Kick Butts Day, kids encourage their peers to be tobacco-free, reject tobacco companies’ devious marketing and urge elected officials  to help make the next generation tobacco-free.

      This year, Kick Butts Day is focusing attention on how tobacco companies are enticing kids with a growing market of sweet-flavored products such as electronic cigarettes and cigars, threatening to addict a new generation. These products have proved popular with kids. From 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped from 1.5 percent to 16 percent nationwide, and more kids now use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. In addition, more high school boys now smoke cigars than cigarettes. E-cigarettes and cigars are sold in a wide assortment of candy and fruit flavors, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and fruit punch.

      Tobacco companies also continue to spend huge sums to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, much of it reaching kids. Nationwide, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year – one million dollars every hour – on marketing. In South Dakota, tobacco companies spend $24.4 million annually on marketing efforts.

      “On Kick Butts Day, kids stand up to the tobacco industry, and our nation’s leaders must stand with them,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “We’ve made great strides in reducing youth smoking, but candy-flavored products like e-cigarettes and cigars threaten this progress. We need strong FDA regulation to protect kids from these sweet-flavored products. And elected officials at all levels should support proven strategies that prevent youth tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, funding prevention programs and raising the tobacco age to 21.”

      In South Dakota, tobacco use claims 1,300 lives and costs $373 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 10.1 percent of South Dakota’s high school students smoke.

      On Kick Butts Day, kids join in creative events that range from classroom activities about the harmful ingredients in cigarettes to rallies at state capitols.

      In South Dakota, activities include:

      Youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Watertown will host an anti-tobacco rally open to the public where they can learn about the dangers of smoking through games and activities. Time: 4:30 PM. Location: 1000 3rd Avenue N.W., Watertown. Contact: Kyle Thyen (605) 886-6666.  You can hear Kyle talk about the event below.

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    5. Poland Confirms Minnesota Man As Nazi Commander

      michael-karkocBC-EU–Poland-Nazi Commander,1st Ld-Writethru

      Eds: Updates with detail.

      WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland will seek the arrest and extradition of a Minnesota man after confirming he was a Nazi unit commander suspected of ordering the killing of 44 Poles during World War II, a prosecutor said Monday.Robert Janicki said that various evidence gathered in years of investigation into U.S. citizen Michael K. confirmed “100 percent” that he was a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of burning villages and killing civilians in Poland.

      The Associated Press has identified the man as 98-year-old Michael Karkoc, from Minneapolis.

      Karkoc’s family denies that he was involved in any war crimes.

      Prosecutors of the state National Remembrance Institute have asked a regional court in Lublin, Poland, to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, as Poland does not allow trial in absentia, Janicki said.

      He said the man’s age was no obstacle in seeking to bring him before justice.

      “He is our suspect as of today,” Janicki said.

      If convicted of contributing to the killing of civilians in the villages of Chlaniow and Wladyslawin in July 1944, Karkoc could face a prison term for life.

      Prosecutors in Germany previously launched their own investigation of Karkoc after stories in 2013 by The Associated Press revealing that he had been a former commander in the SS-led unit that had committed war crimes in Poland.

      They never expressed doubts about Karkoc’s identity, but shelved their investigation after saying they had received “comprehensive medical documentation” from doctors at the geriatric hospital in the U.S. where he was being treated that led them to conclude he was not fit for trial


    6. Legislature Approves Four And A Half Billion Dollar Budget

      Larry TidemannThe South Dakota Legislatures approves a four-and-a-half billion dollar state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The House voted 63-4 to pass the budget Friday as the main part of this year’s legislative session came to an end. The Senate earlier voted 33-2 for the measure. The Legislature has been dealing with lower-than-anticipated state tax collections. Lawmakers last month settled on revenue targets about 30-million dollars lower than those the Governor announced in December. Appropriations Committee Chair, Senator Larry Tidemann of Brookings, says the budget will serve the state’s citizens for the coming year and positions South Dakota for future growth. It includes a point-three percent increase for education, Medicaid providers and state workers.

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      He says helping cover their health care costs will go farther than a straight raise.

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      He says they needed to change the measure that implemented the half-cent sales tax increase.

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      Lawmakers will return to Pierre March 27th to deal with any gubernatorial vetoes.


    7. Snow Clean Up Gets Underway

      snow removalThe City of Watertown received more than 2 inches of snow accumulation. As a result, the Watertown Street Department will be plowing.

      On Monday, March 13th, 2017 beginning at 4:00 AM, the Watertown Street Department will be plowing highways 212, 81 and 20 and emergency snow routes. Following that, they will be plowing streets.

      On Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 beginning at 3:00 am, the Watertown Street Department will be plowing the Uptown Business District. Following that, they will be plowing avenues.

      Streets are plowed on: Monday, Wednesday and Friday

      Avenues are plowed on: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

      Please assist us by not parking on the roadways during the time that roadway is scheduled to be plowed.

      The Watertown Street and Police Department appreciate the cooperation and understanding of residents in removing cars to provide for effective snow removal on City Streets.


    8. Bill To Control Public Protest On Public Land Approved

      Neil Tapio 2017 use thisA bill that would seek to control the number of people that could protest on public land was passed (Friday) by the South Dakota Senate. SB176 would only allow twenty people on any tract of public land in the state. The bill is aimed at the large type of demonstrations that took place in North Dakota over the Dakota Access pipeline. Senator Neal Tapio of Watertown says the state can’t afford a costly demonstration and clean up.

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      Senator David Novstrup (nor-strup) of Aberdeen says the state needs to protect its public lands. Novstrup_2017

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      The conference committee report was approved on a vote of twenty-five to fifteen. It now goes back to the House for a final vote.

       


    9. Semi Burns Last Night South Of Watertown On Interstate 29 NO Injuries But Northbound Traffic Stopped More Than An Hour

      Semitrailer fire shuts down Interstate 29 for approximately 1 hour

      interstate fire 03-11-17Photo courtesy of Hamlin Sheriff’s Office

      Watertown Fire Rescue along with the Castlewood Fire Department responded to a semitrailer fire on Interstate 29 at approximtely 9:40 pm last evening (March 10, 2017). The northbound lanes of I-29 were closed for approximately 1 hour due to the heavy smoke and fire. The driver of the semi was pulling double trailers when he noticed he had a brake fire on his back trailer. The driver was able to separate the truck from trailer and safely move away. The driver was unharmed. When crews arrived the fire had spread from the wheels and tires to the contents inside the box. Crews from both the Watertown and Castlewood fire departments battled the fire for over an hour. The trailer was considered a total loss.  The contents, unnamed, in the box sustained heat and smoke damage. Assisting on scene was the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Codington County Sheriffs Office, Hamlin County Sheriffs Office, Hamlin County Emergency Management, and Performance Towing.


    10. Train Derails Explodes Into Fire Carrying Ethanol In Northwest Iowa

      NW Iowa train derailed 031017BREAKING NEWS:  A train derailment in northwest Iowa early this (Friday) morning produced an explosion and massive fire that could been seen from eight miles away. Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes (SHUL-tiss) says the accident happened near Graettinger just before 1 a.m.

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      The tanker cars were carrying ethanol. The Union Pacific train was pulling 101 loaded tanker cars which had recently been filled at an ethanol plant in Superior, Iowa. Railroad officials were able to unhitch most of the tankers and move them from the crash site.

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      The engineer and conductor aboard the train escaped unharmed. Residents in four homes nearby were evacuated. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board will be working to determine the cause of the derailment.


    11. It Could Be The One-Two Snowy Weather Punch This Weekend In Eastern South Dakota

      snow eventsWeather maps courtesy of the National Weather Service

       

      Two snow events are expected this weekend. In the near term today, some very light snow will occur at times, but mainly confined to along and west of a Yankton to De Smet South Dakota line. Snow amounts in these areas today will likely be a half inch or less. Tonight, the atmosphere will saturate up more producing the most snowfall for this first event, with light snow lingering on Saturday. It still appears that the James River Valley is on track to receive most of the snow, with 3 to 4 inches expected all the way from late this afternoon through Saturday. Heading east, amounts from Marshall Minnesota to the Iowa Great Lakes region will be very minimal due to dry air near the surface. One good thing, it will not be very windy at all. Because of this, travel destinations should be reachable, just slow down, do not use cruise control and allow some extra time to get there. The second system on Sunday and Sunday night could be more significant, especially east of the James River Valley. In fact southwest Minnesota who will receive the least amount of snow tonight, may receive the most snowfall with the second round.  Here in the Milbank and Watertown region we’re looking at from 6 to 8 inches of snow this weekend.  The maps are to the left of our story today. The National Weather Service says there’s good probability that snow will be moving into the area starting today and will be a factor throughout the weekend, especially on Sunday. Forecaster Scott Doering says the snowfall could be significant.

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      Doering says February was a good month but that winter is returning in March.

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      Temperatures are expected to warm again by next Thursday when the 40’s are predicted, although there could be more waves of precipitation too.

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    12. S. Dak. Joint Appropriations Committee Works Late Into The Night Thursday To Finalize Plan For Teacher Pay, Healthcare Providers And State Employees

      john wiik 2016The Joint Committee on Appropriations of the South Dakota legislature late last night finalized a plan for raises for teachers, health care providers and state employees.  Committee Member Senator John Wiik of Big Stone City says it’s definitely a tough budget year, but they have proposed a .3 percent increase for those three groups.

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      The Joint Appropriation Committee is set to meet this morning to complete the state’s budget for fiscal year 2018. Both chambers will then have to approve the budget and the governor will have to sign it before it can take effect according to Wiik.

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      He adds that balancing the budget was a lot of hard work this session, but they kept “ringing the towel” until something came out.

       


    13. BISCO Sponsored One-To-One-To-One Student Mentoring Program Hitting A Homerun In Wwatertown

      bisco 03-09-17 bierschiedPhoto powered by SPRINT and shows Cooper Bierscheid

      Featured at Thursday’s BISCO Luncheon was Cooper Bierscheid the founder of Protosthetics, an industry he created after graduating from NDSU in North Dakota. Bierscheid is a former Watertown Grad and at the young age of 24 has been a lifetime learner and entrepreneur.  His company has exploded on to the prosthetics and orthotics industry in recent years with his innovative designs and 3D manufacturing techniques.  It’s that new technology that is making affordable prosthetics and orthotics products to individuals across the nation and world who otherwise might not be able to finance their artificial limb replacement costs.  He said it’s his passion and why he turned down lucrative offers from large technology firms.  Here is some of what the audience heard from him Thursday at the BISCO function.

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      Bierscheid was given a standing ovation for the work he is doing to help some of the more than 550 Americans who lose their limbs every year to diabetes, accidents and other physical problems. Also featured on the program were two young ladies who are working their way to their high school graduation.  They are being helped with a BISCO student mentoring program.

      Former school board member and now Watertown Teacher Garret Priest, along with Watertown Special Ed Teacher, Erin McBurney have been working the program.  The program is called one-to-one-to-one mentoring and is into the fourth year of operation. Priest said the goal is for the district is to have all students graduate.  The district is currently at a 98 percent graduation rate.

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      Ten seniors will graduate from the one-to-one-to-one program this year.

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      bisco 03-09-17 one pluse one plus one pic 3(KXLG photo is Jasmine Hindman)

      Jasmine Hindman moved to Watertown from Groton.

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      (KXLG photo is Mary Hannah Thomas)

      Mary Hannah Thomas is another young lady who has lived a good portion of her life without the luxury of a support system in place to help her.  That translated to her starting work as a young teen, eventually handling and being on her own altogether with the finances and day-to-day living all her responsibility.  Despite that, she has held down a job at Caesars Pizza and is now working to obtain her high school degree through the BISCO mentoring program.  She said school was a struggle for her and that without the one to one to one program she wouldn’t have been there talking about her story.  She is now a top supervisor at Little Caesars Pizza in Watertown.         bisco 03-09-17 one pluse one plus one pic 2

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      And then there was this from Garret Priest, one of Mary’s teaching mentors, after her short presentation.

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      Bisco serves in an advisory role to the school district to foster unique and innovative programs with a business orientation consistent with the mission of the school district.


    14. Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson Uses BISCO Luncheon To Present A State Of The Community Report

      BISCOThe Watertown Business Industry School Coalition (BISCO) community luncheon featured several different segments touching on life in community of Watertown. The event, which hundreds attended at Lake Area Technical Institute Thursday began with a business update from Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson.  The Mayor says a large number of available land parcels have been purchased near and around Willow Creek Drive in east Watertown near Hobby Lobby and that announcements will be coming soon regarding two new hotels that will be constructed in that area and a third near the interstate.

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      The mayor couldn’t release the names of the hotels or the individuals who are building the structures, but assured the BISCO attendees that a lot of building activity will be kicking in this summer in that area of Watertown, including new retail. In addition to that area another parcel of land in North Watertown from 14th Ave. North has also been purchased and will be rezoned for a new housing development.  That reported 75 acre tract could handle up to 350 new homes says Mayor Thorson.

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      And then there’s the new Prairie Lakes Healthcare Wellness Center that’s opening this month.

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      The mayor said the city’s 5.2 million dollar softball complex will also be opening this spring with some major tournaments already scheduled. He said they are now getting their first look at the plans for the new ice arena as well.  The plans are that it will include two sheets of ice and house upwards of 1800 spectators while featuring a special glassed in mezzanine area.

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      They are projecting the facility costs at around 8 million dollars. The mayor said that other plans are also in the works including a new skate and splash park.

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      The mayor gave a shout out to the Downtown that he said is making big strides with unique venues ranging from beer breweries to great eating establishments.


    15. Governor Gives Shout Out To LATI For Aspen Award Recognition

      aspen lati 03-09-17dennis daugaard picSouth Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard did a shout out to Lake Area Technical Institute today for the school’s inclusion again on the Aspen Top 10 list!

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    16. South Dakota Retailers Welcome Court Judgment Over State’s Lawsuit Against Three Large Online Retailers

      hugh bartels 2The South Dakota Retailers Association  is welcoming a summary judgment from Circuit Court Judge Mark Barnett regarding the state’s lawsuit against three large online retailers.  The retailers group says the ruling was needed to move South Dakota one step closer to tax parity between South Dakota brick and mortar stores and giant out-of-state companies.  And, although Barnett’s ruling favored out-of-state online retailers, it will help move the issue to the next level towards a U-S Supreme Court reconsideration of what South Dakota retailers say are outdated laws.  Earlier, Amazon said they would begin collecting the state sales tax, however not every sale will be taxable says Watertown State Representative Hugh Bartels who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

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      Bartels says he understands why people like shopping online because of convenience, however he’s quick to point out that no sales tax dollars in means no sales tax dollars out for the state of South Dakota.

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      The state’s lawsuit was filed one year after U-S Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy recognized in his opinion that the internet is making far-reaching systemic and structural changes in the economy.  In his opinion he called on the legal system to find an appropriate case for the Supreme Court to reconsider its prior decisions that were made in 1967 and 1992 favoring internet businesses.  South Dakota’s retail community is hopeful the ruling will eventually help move the issue back to the U-S Supreme Court for reconsideration.

       


    17. Dignity Sculpture License Plate Bill Approved By South Dakota Legislature

      Photo courtesy of Pat Callahan

      ‘Dignity’ One of South Dakota’s Great Faces
      New sculpture at Chamberlain 
       

      One measure that easily passed through both houses of the South Dakota legislature this year is SB 118 which is An Act to allow for special motor vehicle license plates depicting the Dignity sculpture near Chamberlain. The new law states that any owner of a motor vehicle who is a resident of South Dakota and who has complied with all of the laws of this state in relation to the registration of a motor vehicle can obtain license plates bearing a special design depicting the Dignity sculpture. She is easily one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever photographed, and I have no doubt she will quickly take her rightful place as one of South Dakotas great faces.  Sturgis artist Dale Lamphere created the sculpture. 

      Dignity Sculpture pic 2 near chamberlain Dignity Sculpture pic 1 near chamberlainHere’s what Patrick Callahan has to say about the sculpture in an article that was published in a photography blog last fall after visiting the sculpture shortly after it was erected.  “Dignity rises 50 feet into the air overlooking the Missouri River at Chamberlain and is easily accessible to visitors at the I-90 visitors center. The sculpture is lit at night and visible from the road from both directions, but trust me – you’ll want to stop and spend some time observing the finer details of the nearly 50 ton stainless steel metal work.”  Callahan continues, “Lamphere does not attempt to overpower the natural beauty of the Missouri River bluffs. Instead, ‘Dignity’ seems to join you in welcoming the sunrise and admiring the night sky. She’s at peace in and with her surroundings, she’s timeless.  ‘Dignity’ stands facing west toward the sacred Black Hills.” 

      The McKie family of Rapid City donated the work and Lamphere asked three different women to model for ‘Dignity.’ 

      It is truly a gift to the People of South Dakota and over time I expect it will emerge as a treasure much greater than its physical dimensions.


    18. Could Trump Administration Help Ease South Dakota Medicaid Woes?

      Blake CurdAmid the Republican rollout of a plan to provide healthcare for Americans, South Dakota officials brought their concerns to the new leaders in Washington, D.C.  Governor Dennis Daugaard and State Senate Majority Leader Dr. Blake Curd had an audience with the new Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price. Curd says the main intent was to enlighten Price on the state’s reservations health care needs.

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      If the state could get more federal support, Curd has some specific areas where the Tribes would see the rewards.

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      It’s estimated that $93 million could be used for new health programs to serve the Tribes.  According to Curd, Secretary Price was alarmed that a high percentage of South Dakota’s budget is spent on Medicaid.


    19. From The Desk Of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson For Wednesday March 8th 2017

      steve thorsonListen below to hear Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson on KXLG’s From The Desk Of The Mayor

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    20. Meanwhile Back At The “Hodge Podge” Ranch!

      HOdge Podge ranchHere is a new venture that’s getting started in our area to make horseback riding more accessible to the public.  It’s part of an effort by the owners of the Hodge Podge Ranch Watertown.  It’s a cool story and we have it below on the audio tab with Hodge Podge Ranch owner Pamela Carlson.

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