• Local News

    1. Don Roby Announces Re-Election Campaign For Watertown City Council In Ward A

      DON ROBY WATERTOWNMarch 8, 2017 WATERTOWN, SD Don Roby has announced he is running for re-election to represent Ward A in the upcoming June 2017 election.

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      A Watertown native, Roby and his family moved back to the city in 2003.

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      Roby has served in various capacities for many community organizations including president of the Arrow Education Foundation, president of the Lake Area Technical Institute Foundation, president of the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Foundation, member of the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Investment Committee, member of the Watertown Police Department Advisory Committee, board member of Junior Achievement of South Dakota, member of the Mount Marty Advisory Committee, and he belongs to Rotary International. Roby is a member of the “H2O-20” visioning process steering committee and was chair of the education segment.  In February 2011, Governor Dennis Daugaard appointed him to the South Dakota Transportation Commission.

      The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce named Roby “Businessman of the Year” in 2013. He has a sales and marketing background having served in sales, staff, and management positions in 11 years with the IBM Corporation.  For the past 22 years, Roby has worked for Winthrop Resources Corporation where he is currently a vice president and has fulfilled various sales, management, and training roles.  He has ownership interests in small companies including Watertown-based businesses Glacial Lakes Rubber & Plastics, Lake Stop 20, and Rising Star Hydraulics.  He is also chair of the Kampeska Capital Angel Investor Fund.

      Roby points to his diverse business experience as providing a helpful knowledge base in dealing with the various issues addressed by the city council. “My broad business background has been essential in truly understanding the challenges faced by the city.” he said.  “I would appreciate the support of Ward A residents in continuing to represent them and all of Watertown.”


    2. Four Finalists Announced For Watertown School District Superintendent

      watertown school districtIt’s down to four names now!

      This press release was sent to us this morning from the Watertown School District announcing the four individuals who have been selected as finalists in the selection process for Watertown Superintendent.  The four individuals who have been selected and have indicated their desire to continue in the selection process are Bradley Berens, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services at the Rapid City School District; Dr. Todd Brist, Middle School Principal for the Watertown School District; Dr. Jeff Danielsen, Superintendent of the West Central School District; and Shad Storley, Superintendent of the Redfield School District.

      Interviews are currently scheduled for March 21st and March 23.  Each candidate will be interviewed by the School Board and other members of the interview committee. The committee consists of Administrators, Directors, Teachers, Instructors, and community members.  The School Board is hopeful that the 11th superintendent of the Watertown School District will be secured and announced at the April 10th School Board Meeting with the start date of the new Superintendent July 1st of this year.


    3. Watertown Fire Rescue Called To Trailer Home Fire Tuesday Afternoon

      watertown fire rescue logo 2015Watertown Fire Rescue responded to a trailer home fire Tuesday afternoon located at 1405 11th Avenue Southwest.  The fire call came in at around 1:07 p.m..  On arrival crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from the mechanical area of the trailer.  Crews were hampered by high winds but were able to knock down the flames.  Watertown Fire rescue was on scene for about two hours and there were no injuries.


    4. Teacher salaries in South Dakota would be held flat for a year under terms of an amended bill

      Wismer_2017PIERRE, SD —  Teacher salaries in South Dakota would be held flat for a year under terms of an amended bill approved by the State House on Tuesday, as lawmakers struggle in tight times to balance the budget. Democratic Minority Whip Representative Susan Wismer of Britton expressed disappointment.

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      It’s breaking a promise argued Democratic Leader Spencer Hawley during floor debate.  Hawley

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      “We are willing to break our word again after we just went through this fight the entire session last year,” said Hawley referring to the long struggle over raising the sales tax to raise teacher pay.

       

       

       

      Republican David Anderson acknowledged there might be a promise involved, but sometimes promises are reluctantly broken by unexpected events.

      Anderson_2017

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      “You promise your kid or your grandkid that you are going to take them to a ballgame or to do something fun and maybe on the way to the game you get a flat tire, or maybe the game gets rained out. You didn’t want to break that promise,” explained Anderson during debate. 

      The amended bill would delay for a year increasing the state’s average teacher target salary to 48-thousand-985 dollars. The bill started in the State Senate so will have to go back there for a decision on this key amendment.

      It is unclear what Governor Dennis Daugaard will think about this. He proposed a one percent increase in education funding, despite the millions of dollars in revenue shortfalls.

       


    5. Codington County Commissioners Say They’re Not Source Of Robo Survey Calls

      ringing phoneCodington County Auditor Cindy Brugman outlined the voter logistics today for the County Commissioners for the upcoming Special Election that will be held March 27th to decide the outcome of Ordinance 65.

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      Watertown voters will vote at the Codington County Extension Complex and those in the rural areas?….Again Cindy Brugman.

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      On a related topic to the election, Commissioner Myron Johnson and Auditor Cindy Brugman also talked about the Robo Surveys that are being made to local residents ahead of the March 27th election.

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      There will be signage at the extension complex to help direct voters to the correct voting tables. Again, the vote will take place Monday, March 27th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


    6. Don’t Expect Clear Water In Lake Kampeska Again This Year!

      clearasThe Watertown City Council heard a detailed report last night from Roger Foote who heads the Upper Big Sioux Watershed Advisory group and who has been the lead on the filtration plant phosphorus removal facility. At last night’s meeting Foote said the phosphate removal experiment has been ongoing at the lake for the past 3 years with mixed results, although they have learned from their work.  He says to be effective they need a much larger removal system.

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      Foote said that following a year of extremely clear water conditions at Lake Kampeska, this year will not be a duplicate.

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      The net result of having more runoff into Lake Kampeska this spring?

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      Foote, has been conducting visible observations in recent days observing the clarity of the water.

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      He says that’s the doom and gloom in that the lake will not be as clear as last year. That brought him to his latest proposal that he’s been working on for more than a year involving the use of advanced biological nutrient recovery systems at an industrial scale.  The removal system is made by a group called Clearas.  According to the company’s Vice President Of Business Development and Engineering Services J. Garret Pallo, their company was able to successfully model two treatment scenarios for Watertown that are both cost-effective and would result in the phosphorus reduction goals of the community.  Again..Roger Foote.

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      Foote said it’s important to capture the phosphates because they don’t go away in a lake. He said they only way to stop the nitrates from overtaking the lake with algae is by removing the phosphates.  This system will take out six hundred pounds of phosphates yearly.  He says even in extreme high water years it would not set the lake back to square one.

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      He says there’s an incentive to improve the water quality of the lake, because the better the quality the more use it gets.   This question from Adlerman Bruce Buhler.

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      There are other systems available, says Foote, but the price at the scale they’re needing is much higher than the system manufactured by Clearas. Foote says there’s another point to be made.

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      The council liked the idea but wanted more information before committing the more than 40,000 dollars to the project.


    7. Mount Marty Holds Dove Soap Drive For Beacon Center

       

      MOUNT MARTY SOAPWATERTOWN, SD — Mount Marty College (MMC) Watertown students and faculty recently collected bars of Dove soap and donated them to the Watertown Beacon Center.

      Mount Marty College in Watertown along with the Mount Marty Yankton campus, held a drive in celebration of the feast of St. Scholastica. Scholastica is the patroness of all Benedictine sisters and nuns. Collecting and donating Dove soap seemed a fitting tribute to Scholastica, as it serves as a reminder of her soul’s flight into heaven.

      “We put together a small competition between the Watertown location and the main campus in Yankton. Although Yankton collected the most soap, the real winners are the individuals receiving the donated items,” Cassi Johnson, MMC Watertown Assistant Director said.

      Service to community is one of the four core values at MMC, along with Awareness of God, Hospitality, and Life-Long Learning.  The idea for the Dove soap drive was a way to honor the values of service to community.

      To learn more go to https://www.mtmc.edu/watertown or call (605) 886-6777.

      Founded in 1936 by the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, Mount Marty College is a Catholic, Benedictine school of higher education based in Yankton, South Dakota, with a location in Watertown. Mount Marty College Watertown offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with particular focus on student and alumni success in high-demand fields such as education, criminal justice, business, accounting and more. A community of learners in the Benedictine tradition, Mount Marty emphasizes academic excellence and develops well-rounded students with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills and moral, spiritual and social values. To learn more, visit mtmc.edu/watertown.


    8. Fire Marshal Urges Citizens to Change

      Spring-forward2PIERRE, S.D. – This weekend is time again to spring ahead and replace the old with the new.

      Daylight Saving Time starts at 2 a.m. local time Sunday morning. That means pushing clocks ahead one hour.  At the same time, South Dakotans are being reminded that this is also a good time to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

      “National statistics indicate that two of every three home fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms,” says state Fire Marshal Paul Merriman. “Just as bad is the number of fires that happen in homes where the smoke alarms are not working because of dead or missing batteries.”

      Residents can check their smoke alarms by pushing the test button on the alarm. Merriman says if the alarm doesn’t sound, the batteries should be replaced.

      “Testing your smoke alarms is a very easy thing to do,” says Fire Marshal Merriman. “By making sure the smoke alarms are working in your home, you could protect your family from a tragic incident.”

      Additional fire safety tips include: • At least once a month, press the test button on smoke alarm.  • For maximum protection, install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. • Smoke alarms lose sensitivity over time and should be replaced periodically.  They are usually good for about 10 years. • Make sure your family has an emergency exit plan in case there is a fire in the home. If your family doesn’t have a plan, this is a good time to develop one.

      The Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.


    9. Two Arrested In Early Morning Chase That Forced A Lockdown Of Roosevelt Elementary School

      watertown police car 2016Shortly after 9:30am this morning (Monday) a Watertown Police Officer attempted to perform a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 900 block of 4th Avenue SW.  The vehicle stopped briefly and then took off, when the officer exited his patrol car.  While pursuing the vehicle it was discovered that it was stolen from Sioux Falls. The officer pursued the vehicle to the 10 block of 5th Avenue SE, where the occupants fled the Ford F150 pickup. A foot chase ensued and the female was quickly apprehended in the area of Roosevelt Elementary School.  A perimeter was quickly established and police continued to search the area.  The male suspect entered a home in 10 block of 5th Avenue SE in an attempt to hide. Officers located him and took him into custody without incident.  The male, identified as Keith Swiftbird Hawk, 31, of Sisseton, SD and Serena Brandt, 25 of Agency Village, SD were transported to the Codington County Jail.

      Roosevelt Elementary School officials were notified of the incident and placed the school in lockdown until the male was taken into custody.

      Hawk was arrested for Aggravated Eluding, 2nd Degree Burglary, and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Driving While Suspended and Speeding.  Brandt was arrested for Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Aiding, Abetting or Advising.   Bond information is available through the Codington County Jail.


    10. Aspen Award Time Just About Here And LATI Is In The Hunt Again For The 8th Time!

      MIke Cartneyaspen top 10 2017Cartney KXLG photo powered by SPRINT

      Lake Area Technical Institute officials will be traveling to Washington DC this Sunday ahead of next week’s big announcement of the Aspen Award winners. Lake Area Technical Institute President Mike Cartney says the school has been in the top ten nationally for 8 years now.  He says the recognition speaks highly of, not only the staff, but everyone who went before the current staff and administration.  He says there is a long history of high achievement at the school.

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      KXLG is hoping to carry the announcement next Tuesday at about 11:30 central time.


    11. Child Advocacy Center Watertown Up And Running Listen Below

      patrick mccann newest 2016Patrick McCann

       

      Nic Ahmann                                         The Watertown Child Advocacy Center is now operational and according to Watertown Detective Nic Ahmann and Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann.  Listen below to hear the details on KXLG Radio.  Nic Ahmann

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    12. Bring On The Cows!

      dairy cafoWhile the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is looking to bring more jobs to the state, they are also concentrating on Ag development.
      Commissioner Scott Stern says they are focused on dairy development, because of the opportunities it would bring to South Dakota agriculture.

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      Stern says they are only working with counties that are interested in livestock expansion.

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      Stern says they want to help those areas that are interested by taking a lead position in finding an operation looking to expand.

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      Stern says each dairy cow would return more than twenty-six thousand dollars a year to the state.


    13. WFR Responds To Grass Fire

      watertown fire rescue truckWatertown Fire Rescue responded to a grass fire in rural Watertown Richland township at around 1115 Sunday morning.  WFR sent two brush trucks and a water tender to the scene.  Firefighters arrived to find less than one acre involved.  Firefighters used hose lines to extinguish the grass and rushes that were involved.   The land owner was burning some weeds and brush and the wind picked up and moved the fire faster than intended.  The fire was contained to the land owners property.  There was no damage caused by the fire.  Fire fighters were on scene less than 30 minutes.  WFR would like to remind county residents to use caution when burning vegetation this spring.  If you plan on having a controlled burn, please call Watertown PD dispatch prior to lighting the fire.  The phone number is 605-882-6210.

    14. Yankton Fire Turns Deadly

      Yankton fatal fire 030417A Friday night fire at a Yankton apartment building turned deadly. Yankton Assistant Fire Chief Larry Nickles.

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      Nickles says the people living at the apartment (at 808 Picotte Street) were evacuated.

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      Nickles says they had the fire knocked down within about ten minutes, and that’s when the victim was found.  Investigators from the State Fire Marshalls Office and the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms office are also on the


    15. University of South Dakota may become a so-called sanctuary campus

      USD LOGOVERMILLION, SD — The University of South Dakota may become a so-called sanctuary campus, which would be the first in the state.  The Student Government Association has approved a non-binding resolution asking University leaders to create policies to protect students who are undocumented immigrants. It is in reaction to the Trump Administration’s immigration orders says the SGA’s Josh Arens, the resolution’s sponsor.

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      Arens says the resolution calls for USD to establish a clearer process to help undocumented students who may get into trouble with federal authorities. It would also prohibit campus security from asking questions about a student’s immigration status.

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      Some critics say the proposal might put security officers in conflict with the law. Arens disagrees.

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      Arens won’t say how many undocuments immigrant students are on campus so as not to get anyone in trouble, but he says it is significant enough to have a policy in place.

       


    16. Watertown School Board Begins Superintendent Selection Process Today

      watertown school districtThe Watertown School Board will meet mostly in an executive session today to go over the applications submitted for Superintendent of Schools.  District Finance Officer Rick Hohn says the board has a lot of work facing them finding a replacement for retiring Dr. Lesli Jutting.

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      Hohn says there are some excellent candidates who have applied.

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      They’re hoping to have the new Superintendent on board by early summer.

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    17. Mitchell Breaks Ground For New 8.1 Million Dollar Aquatic Center

      Aquatic Center Plans mitchellThe long-awaited and anticipated ground-breaking of the new Mitchell Indoor Aquatic Center finally arrived on a blustery Wednesday afternoon. Stake-holders gathered to quickly “turn dirt” on the $8.1-million dollar project.  Mayor Jerry Toomey says it’s a big day for the community.

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      The indoor aquatic center includes a competition size pool plus a leisure pool and other amenities. It’s projected completion date is the summer of 2018.


    18. Vanity Stores To Close

      vanity store

      FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A Fargo-based women’s clothing chain plans to close its 140 stores after more than 50 years in business.

      Vanity board chairman Jim Bennett tells KFGO (http://bit.ly/2lVRdS8 ) the company has filed for bankruptcy protection. Bennett says competition from internet retailers significantly impacted the company’s bottom line.

      Vanity employs as many as 1,700 people, with more than 100 employees at its corporate headquarters in Fargo.

      Vanity has stores in 27 states, including Watertown. Vanity was incorporated in 1966.


    19. No immediate ruling made on Dakota Access pipeline work

       

       

      Dakota access pic 2 Dakota access pic 3Photos courtesy of the South Dakota Broadcasters Association
      Image 2 right;    Dakota Access Pipeline drill pad near Cannonball, ND March 1, 2017.  The pipeline is visible coming in from top right before going underground – seen near a single blue conex trailer.  The pipeline is routed beneath the Missouri River before re-emerging above ground on the eastern side of the river.

       

      Image 1 left:    Dakota Access Pipeline nears completion above ground at Highway 1806 near Cannonball, ND March 1, 2017.  The pipeline disappears beneath ground before crossing the Missouri River.  Once on the eastern side of the river, the pipeline emerges and continues above ground to point east.

       

       

      AP-US-Oil-Pipeline

      WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge said Tuesday that he’ll decide within a week whether to temporarily halt construction of the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline over claims that it violates the religious rights of two Indian tribes.U.S. District Judge James Boasberg told lawyers at a hearing that he wants to issue a ruling before oil begins flowing in the pipeline, which could be weeks away.

      Boasberg is considering a request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to order the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw permission to lay pipe under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The pipeline has prompted months of protests and hundreds of arrests.

      The stretch under the Missouri River reservoir is the last piece of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would move oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.

      Tribal attorney Nicole Ducheneaux argued during the 1 ½ hour hearing that the mere existence of an oil pipeline under the reservoir that provides water to neighboring reservations violates their right to practice their religion, which relies on clean water.

      Boasberg asked Ducheneaux how there could be a contamination issue if “the pipeline itself doesn’t even touch the water.”

      “Can you claim a property interest in the land as well as the water?” he asked.

      Ducheneaux said the judge appeared to be questioning the sincerity of the tribes’ beliefs and stressed there was no other source of clean water available near the tribe’s reservation.

      American Indian activist Chase Iron Eyes, an outspoken opponent of the pipeline, attended the hearing and said afterward that “from the way that the judge was asking questions, it’s clear that American or Western (courts) … lack a place intellectually or spiritually to comprehend the sacred relationship between the original peoples of this hemisphere and the waters, the sacred sites and the lands in our hemisphere.”

      When they filed the lawsuit last summer, the tribes argued that the pipeline threatens Native American cultural sites and their water supply. Their religion argument is new, however, and both the Corps and the company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, argue that the delay in raising it is a reason for Boasberg to reject the argument.

      Corps attorney Reuben Schifman said the tribes waited too long to raise the religion claims and argued that they haven’t shown that the pipeline creates a “substantial burden” on their religious practices.

      Representing the pipeline, lawyer David Debold noted that the lake has only existed since the 1950s and questioned how the purity of its water could be part of longstanding tribal religious beliefs.

      Earlier this month, Boasberg declined the tribes’ request to order an immediate halt to the pipeline construction, ruling that as long as oil wasn’t flowing through the pipeline, there was no imminent harm to the tribes.

      Boasberg’s decision on the matter won’t be the end of the court battle, as no final decision has been made on the merits of the tribes’ overall claims. Both tribes also have asked Boasberg to overturn the federal permission for the Lake Oahe crossing and to bar the Corps from granting permission in the future. The judge won’t rule until at least April.

      Hundreds and sometimes thousands of pipeline opponents who sided with tribal opposition to the pipeline camped on federal land near the drill site for months, often clashing with police. There have been about 750 arrests in the region since August. Authorities last week closed the camp in advance of spring flooding season and set up roadblocks to prevent protesters from returning.

      Work under Lake Oahe had been held up in the courts until President Donald Trump last month instructed the Corps to advance construction. The Army is involved because its engineering branch manages the river and its system of hydroelectric dams, which is owned by the federal government.

      Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners began drilling under the lake Feb. 8. The pipeline could be operating as early as Monday and no later than early April, according to Scherman.

      ___

      Blake Nicholson was reporting from Bismarck, North Dakota. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NicholsonBlake


    20. CapX2020 Big Stone South to Brookings County Transmission Line Project Making Significant Progress

      cap x 2 cap xPhotos courtesy of CapX2020

       

      Watertown, SD —  The CapX2020 Big Stone South to Brookings County transmission line project is making significant progress.  Helicopters are being used these days to assist in stringing operations while crews are also using implosive connectors to splice and connect conductors.  The connecter operation does create an extremely loud blast.  Landowners are being informed ahead of time.  The line will help expand and enhance the region’s transmission system, reduce congestion and provide access to low-cost energy sources, including renewable wind power.  We have an exclusive interview today with the CapX2020 Project Manager Jo Samuel.  You can hear it the interview and update below on the audio tab.

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