• Local News

    1. Sales Tax Collections Continue Slide In Many South Dakota Cities

      As sales tax collections continue to slide, Yankton city officials are making budget revisions.  City Manager Amy Nelson says they needed to act after seeing sales taxes down one point five percent in the first quarter of the year.

      Nelson says they are already factoring in the tax situation for their next budget.

      Nelson says while major cuts are not needed yet, they are making some changes in their hiring for summer help.

      Nelson says they are optimistic that spring and summer months will see sales taxes improve.


    2. Watertown Initiative To Prevent Sex Trafficking hosted Monica Miller

      The Watertown Initiative To Prevent Sex Trafficking hosted Monica Miller yesterday. Monica, who was born and raised in a small rural southern Minnesota community, was sexually exploited as a child in both rural and metro cities in Minnesota.  Today Monica is not only a survivor of sexual exploitation but a strong advocate in raising awareness of the sexual exploitation and trafficking that is happening in many rural communities. What is unique about Monica is that she uses her story to raise awareness and educate others in an area where people commonly deny this problem exists.  She is determined to get the message out to rural communities that it does happen here.  She recalled a time after her healing began and when she was in college when the exploitation issue came home hard and real to her.

      She says it’s important to intervene early to prevent youth from getting pulled into sex trafficking.

      Monica’s story and the conflicts she faced has shaped her as a counselor for victims of sexual exploitation. She says it’s crucial that we start to view victims as people and treat them accordingly and that only then can the healing begin.  She says there are solutions.


    3. Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead Gives A Riveting Behind The Scenes Account Of The Lake County Manhunt

      SIOUX FALLS, SD — (KELO AM) — Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead gives a riveting behind the scenes account of the Lake County manhunt this week for the guy who had shot and wounded a deputy.

      Milstead tells KELO Radio’s Greg Belfrage Show that he was in bed when he got the first call of what was breaking very early Wednesday morning.

      “I could hear my deputies siren going and he was telling me ‘look I’m on my way, we’ve got a deputy shot’. Of course, you’re heart just sinks. You’re trying to wipe the sleep out of your eyes. It’s like, tell more more and it’s like, not our deputy, its a neighboring deputy, but you’re still…kiss your wife goodbye and head north..” recalls Milstead.

      Milstead posted some of his deputies at rural checkpoints to help Lake County authorities, searching for the gunman still on the loose. It was a very tense time.

       “We have officers stationed in a perimeter out in the country in the dark of night with a lone gunman – we know he was armed – and no idea, you can’t see if he’s walking up to your car, if he’s going to shoot another officer.”

      The suspect was eventually located, holed up in a ditch, and after a long standoff, surrendered. Milstead was in the command center when the word came through.

      “When that word came across that he was in custody, the group broke out into applause and shouts of joy, cause thats what we wanted to do. We wanted this guy apprehended without hurting himself, or hurting any more officers.”

      McCook County Sheriff’s Deputy Dylan Hillestad was shot in the arm. He’s going to be just fine.

      The suspected gunman, 37-year-old Matthew James Rumbolz of Montrose, is now behind bars. 

      Multiple agencies were involved in the manhunt and standoff. Here’s just a few: the Sioux Falls Police Department, Codington County SWAT team, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Lake County Emergency Management, the FBI, the DCI, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations.



    4. Artwalk Ribbon Cutting Friday In Downtown Watertown

      The Watertown Artwalk ribbon cutting event will be held 11 a.m. Friday in downtown Watertown.  The event is coinciding with the chamber’s BBQ which is open to the public.  Earlier today the installation of the new sculptures began and KXLG talked with Jullie Knutson with the Watertown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

       


    5. Project Reach Moving Closer To Start Up Phase In July

      Watertown, SD —  Here’s something that KXLG Radio will be promoting and supporting the week of May 15-19 during, “GO BLUE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT!!”  The new Child Advocacy Center (now known as PROJECT REACH) is moving closer to the start up phase July first.  REACH stands for Respond, Educate, Advocate, Counsel, and Heal.  Codington County States Attorney Patrick McCann says the purpose of the REACH program is to help children who may be living in abusive homes.

      McCann and other team members, including Watertown Police Detective Nic Ahmann, will be taking the lead with the new initiative.

      Ahmann says  it will be located in Watertown and reach out over a 13 county area in Northeastern South Dakota.

      The Child Advocacy Center is a partnership with Sanford Health and the Northeast Multidisciplinary Special Victims Unit. Sanford Health Watertown Clinic has committed to providing the team with space on the second floor of the clinic to see patients. Child’s Voice, a child advocacy center based at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, will provide a pediatrician specially trained in forensic interviewing. A forensic interviewer will also be part of the team. As part of the work at the Watertown-based advocacy center, the pediatrician will evaluate patients (children). The Child Advocacy Center will now have a place to call home, but is seeking additional funds to open their doors to provide the services northeast South Dakota desperately needs.”  The new REACH program is attempting to raise more than 60,000 dollars to help fund the program initially.  Here at KXLG we are making blue light bulbs available to the public.  We’re hoping that everyone will stop by the KXLG studios in Watertown and in Milbank to pick them up.  The first blue bulb is available for whatever donation you would like to give with additional bulbs available at 5 dollars each.  All of the dollars raised will be donated to REACH.  We’re hopeful homes and businesses will light up blue during GO BLUE week May 15th through the 19th.  The blue bulbs are also available in Milbank Visitors center which houses both the Milbank Chamber and Administration offices.


    6. Arts Funding On The Chopping Block

      The New York Times did a story showing the statewide impact in South Dakota of almost one million dollars in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. That funding has been proposed for major cuts by the Trump Administration. Senator John Thune says there have been attempts in the past to shut down funding for the N.E.A.

      Thune says it’s likely that arts funding will be cut as more dollars are moved to defense programs.

      Thune says local programs may have to find more match money to keep the federal funding.


    7. Three Way Race Now In Ward D Watertown

      And then there were three. Jo Snyder is the latest to enter the Ward D city council race joining incumbent Randy Tupper and Josh Weyh.  Sndyer said he made the decision on one hard fact. Snyder said he loves his town and is ready to bring new perspective into the city council.

      Snyder calls himself an optimistic person but would like to see more thing benefiting more people.

      Ward D is located in Southeast Watertown.

      Snyder is part owner of Diamond Realty and has been in the real estate business for more than 4 years.



    8. During Stroke Month, Acting FAST is Key

      Eric Tegethoff

      SIOUX FALLS, S. D. – May is National Stroke Awareness Month, and health groups and medical professionals are encouraging people to assess their own risk factors for stroke.

      Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in South Dakota, but is largely preventable if people stay on top of such indicators as high blood pressure.

      Steve Painter was at a hospital in Sioux Falls receiving treatment for a heart flutter two weeks ago when he had a stroke. Painter said he was lucky enough to be near a doctor who could perform an embolectomy, a procedure to remove clots and restore blood flow to his brain.

      “So, the fact that he was so close and they were able to do that in a relatively short period of time, I think, made a huge difference in my case,” Painter said, “because, as I’ve been given to understand, the longer it takes to clear the blockage, the more damage in the brain there’s likely to be.”

      Painter currently is in physical therapy and his doctors have told him he’s on the path to a full recovery.

      Someone has a stroke in the United States every 40 seconds. If treatment is received quickly, strokes are much more manageable than they have ever been in the past.

      According to Chrissy Meyer, communications director for the American Heart Association in North and South Dakota, about 80 percent of strokes are preventable. She credits the awareness efforts by her organization and the American Stroke Association for the nation seeing a decline in deaths attributed to stroke over the last several years.

      “We feel that this is largely a factor of educating people about their risk factors of stroke,” Meyer said, “but also helping people to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke using acronyms like FAST, and people getting treatment in a timely fashion.”

      The acronym FAST is used to recognize the most common warning signs of stroke: “F” stands for face drooping, “A” for arm weakness, “S” for speech difficulty, and “T” for time to call 9-1-1 if a person is showing any of these symptoms.


    9. 2017 Mosquito Control Program Information

      The City of Watertown is gearing up its Mosquito Control Program for the 2017 season. The program is designed to reduce the threat of West Nile Virus which is transmitted to humans through bites by infected mosquitoes.

      There are 43 known species of mosquitoes in South Dakota and only nineteen are known vectors of West Nile Virus. It is estimated that less than 1% of mosquitoes are infected with the West Nile Virus. And less than 1% of the people bitten by infected mosquitoes will get seriously ill. The chances are very small that you will be infected with the disease, but, even one case of West Nile Virus is considered one case too many.

      Part of the City’s Mosquito Control Program involves controlling the mosquito population while they’re in the water-borne larvae stage before they develop into the annoying flying mosquitoes we’ve all become familiar with. This is accomplished by eliminating areas of standing water or treating these breeding areas with larvicide.

      The City of Watertown uses an organic larvicide which contains a naturally occurring, spore-forming bacterium found throughout the world in soil and aquatic environments, which is toxic to mosquito larvae upon ingestion but harmless to people and animals. The City plans to apply larvicide throughout the mosquito season. This will be applied not only to known breeding areas on public property, but to all storm sewer drains as well. Additional applications will occur as circumstances (wet weather) and surveillance dictates.

      Mosquito spraying is conducted when mosquito traps indicate significant populations of specific mosquito species that are likely to carry West Nile virus. The public will be notified in advance when and where any spraying for adult mosquitoes will take place. Spraying usually occurs between dusk and early morning. Announcements will appear in the Public Opinion, on local radio stations, and on the City of Watertown’s webpage.

      Although the chance of most people experiencing any health affects from mosquito spraying is quite low, people who suffer from chemical sensitivities, or feel spraying may aggravate a preexisting health condition (especially the elderly) should take special measures to avoid exposure. Consult your physician if you have specific medical concerns regarding how you might be affected by the mosquito spraying.

      The following are some common sense measures that should be followed when mosquito spraying becomes necessary in your neighborhood:

      1. If possible, remain inside whenever spraying takes place.

      2. Keep children inside during spraying and for about an hour after spraying.

      3. Close windows and doors and turn off your air conditioning (or set it to circulate indoor air) before spraying begins.

      4. If you must remain outside, avoid eye contact with the spray. If you get mosquito spray in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water. M:\2017\2017 Mosquito Control Program News Article.docx 2 of 4

      5. Wash exposed skin surfaces with soap and water if you come in contact with the mosquito spray.

      6. Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

      7. Cover outdoor tables and play equipment, or wash them with soap and water after spraying.

      8. Bring laundry and toys inside before spraying begins. Wash with soap and water if exposed to mosquito spray.

      9. Bring pets inside and cover ornamental fishponds to avoid direct exposure.

      10. Consult your physician if you think you are experiencing health affects from the spraying.

      To reduce exposure to mosquitoes and the risk of becoming infected with West Nile Virus, the following steps are also recommended:

      1. Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening.

      2. Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven materials whenever you are outdoors.

      3. Spray clothing with mosquito repellents containing picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products, or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.

      4. Apply mosquito repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective DEET repellent will contain 35% DEET (N,N-diethlmeta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 35%) provides no additional protection. For children, use repellents containing no more than 10% DEET.

      5. Mosquito repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.

      6. Whenever you use mosquito spray or an insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.

      7. Note: Vitamin B and “ultrasonic” devices are NOT effective in preventing mosquito bites.

      8. Turn off any lights that can attract mosquitoes. Use yellow “bug lights” for outdoor lighting. Yellow lights are less attractive to insects.

      9. Keep grass and weeds cut short to reduce mosquito hiding places.

      10. Screens on windows and doors should be “bug tight”. M:\2017\2017 Mosquito Control Program News Article.docx 3 of 4

      As mentioned earlier, the City’s mosquito control program efforts are focused on reducing the local mosquito population by identifying, monitoring, and treating areas within the city limits that have been determined to be the major local breeding areas for mosquito species that are more likely to carry West Nile Virus. All of these areas are located on city-owned property.

      There is much that can be done by individual property owners to control mosquitoes on their private property. If everyone would take a few minutes each week to check the following potential mosquito breeding areas around their home, the mosquito population in your neighborhood would be greatly reduced:

      Cans and Buckets. Discard them, store them inside, or turn them upside down.

      Old Tires. Store in basement or shed where they won’t collect rainwater.

      Barrels and Garbage Cans. Drain them and store tightly covered or upside down.

      Roof Gutters. Clean out leaves and debris that trap and hold water. Repair sagging gutters.

      Bird Baths. Change and clean water every day.

      Wading Pools. Change the water every few days, but make sure that the water you dump out drains away. Turn upside down when not in use.

      Canoes and Boats. Cover with a tight-fitting tarp, or turn upside down. Open drain plug and tilt boat so water flows out.

      Ornamental Ponds. Stock with small fish that will eat developing mosquitoes.

      Puddles and Swampy Areas. Grade to drain off the water, or fill with dirt.

      Flower Pots and Vases. Drain standing water from pot saucers and change water in outdoor vases every couple of days.

      Leaky Faucets and Hoses. Repair leaking faucets and drain area beneath.

      Tarps or Plastic Sheets. Make sure the coverings on boats, swimming pools, compost piles, etc. are pulled tight and sloped so that rainwater runs off.

      Pet or Livestock Watering Pans. Empty frequently, clean, and refill.

      Wheelbarrows. Store under cover in a basement or shed or upside down.

      Drainage Basins. Remove stagnant water from sump pits, dry wells, or drainage basins.

      Cesspools and Septic Tanks. Make sure systems are tightly covered, operating properly, and not overflowing. M:\2017\2017 Mosquito Control Program News Article.docx 4 of 4

      Storm Drains. Check to see that water flows freely and is not blocked by leaves and debris.

      Tree Holes. Remove stumps or fill stumps or tree holes with sand or other filler.

      For more information about mosquitoes or the West Nile Virus, check out the following websites on the Internet:

      http://watertownsd.us/westnile

      http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/wnv/

      http://www.cdc.gov/westnile

      If you have any questions, contact:

      Jay DeLange, Director

      Parks, Recreation, and Forestry

      Phone: 882 – 6260

      .us

       


    10. EAST HIGHWAY 212 PROJECT GETS UNDERWAY AND DETOURS ARE IN PLACE

      The work has officially begun on the east highway 212 project and according to Matt Brey with the South Dakota Department of Transportation at Watertown the detours are up and in effect beginning today.  Listen below to hear more.


    11. Mike Davis Becomes Third Candidate To Enter Watertown Mayoral Race

      The man who calls himself the city council’s, “Watchdog” announced today that he is entering the Watertown Mayoral race alongside incumbent Steve Thorson and Sarah Caron.  Mike Davis, who is a former city councilmen and who has run for mayor before, says he’s trying again to bring more conservative spending values back to city hall.

      Davis, who is best known for wearing a hard hat wherever he goes, has been a long-time critic of city hall.


    12. Watertown Skate Park Bids Come In High But Hope Remains It Can Be Up And Running Yet This Year

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      The Watertown Skate Park bids came high this week according to Park and Recreation Director Jay Delange.  He talked about it during a council work session last night.

      DeLange says they’re hoping to get to about 225,000 dollars.

      The Brad he’s referring to is Bradley Carter who has helped spearhead the efforts to construct a new skateboard park for Watertown.

      There was confidence they could get the numbers lowered because the company is coming through this area this summer on their way to Michigan to construct a skate park there and this would make it convenient for them to do the project here. DeLange says the company, Green Skate Park, seems willing to negotiate with the city and do the project if they can reach a deal. Patrick Buller is one the young people using the skate park and a big proponent of the new one.

      During the official meeting the council voted unanimously to reject the current bids and go out for new ones.  Mayor
      Steve Thorson.

      They’re hoping the work can begin this summer. Shane Waterman is the Watertown city engineer.

       


    13. Goss Opera House Changing Ownership

      Photo taken by PJ Anderson

      Watertown, SD —  KXLG news has learned that a group of Watertown businessmen are in the process of assuming ownership of the Goss Opera House in Downtown Watertown.  Details of the change in ownership haven’t been released yet, however it appears the group is hopeful a non-profit management agreement can be formed to keep the business up and running.  The facility might be operated by a board of investors and community members.  A source close to the negotiations said the, “Friends Of The Goss” stepped up to ensure the facility remains open and, open for a long-long time to come.  The exact details of the ownership change from the previous owner Dave Berry haven’t been announced yet, but are expected to be released later this week or early next.  The “Friends Of The Goss”  group is hoping to engage the community in the search for new ideas and suggestions to make the Goss a destination stop and venue.  Some new ideas are already being floated.


    14. Watertown City Council Considers Expanding Beer And Wine Licenses To More Businesses

      City Attorney Justin Goetz

       

      The Watertown City Council took on a thorny issue in their work session last night when they discussed the possibility of extending the beer and or beer and wine licenses to other stores in Watertown. Target had approached the city planning commission and was successful with a request to do just that.  Other box stores and convenience stores would also like to have the ability to sell beer and or beer and wine in their stores.  City Attorney Justin Goetz says the city is not allowed to write ordinances dealing with this topic but can use discretionary authority to grant the licenses.  He explains.

      Watertown Police Chief Lee McPeek doesn’t favor expanding the licenses.

      He says Watertown is unique is that no stores other than liquor stores sell alcohol. He says the studies show that the density of alcohol in a community leads to more crime.  Darrel Sawyer representing Walmart approached the council last night saying that wherever his group has alcohol licenses there have been no problems and that it has added significantly to their bottom line sales.

      He said it helped sell other commodities as well like pop, chips and house wares. No decisions were made last night, although the council did put restrictions on other stores who made similar requests in the past.  Alderman Mike Danforth did make an interesting observation however that had everything thinking.


    15. DuPont Pioneer Supports SD FFA Foundation Living to Serve Day

       

       

      Photo: DuPont Pioneer representative with FFA members at the FFA Living to Serve Day.

      (Bath, SD) – May 1, 2017 –   The blue corduroy jacket is a familiar symbol of the FFA organization, worn as part of official dress during most FFA activities. On April 24th at the South Dakota FFA convention in Brookings, as part of a SD FFA Living to Serve Day, members removed their jackets and replaced it with an apron, hair net and plastic gloves to help fight hunger.

      DuPont Pioneer donated $5000 toward the SD FFA Living to Serve Day as part of the DuPont Pioneer sponsorship program.  This service project exemplified the portion of the FFA motto which states “Living to Serve” by teaming up with the DuPont Pioneer to fund a Meals of Hope, hands on project that combats hunger.  SD FFA members measured, poured, sealed and boxed 52,032 meals in assembly line fashion throughout the day-long event. Members stopped in between workshops and competitive events throughout convention and left the event knowing that by giving a few minutes of their time they would make a significant difference in the life of a person less fortunate then themselves.

      For less than $.25/meal, Meals of Hope food packages include a comforting bowl of Macaroni and Cheese or Beans and Rice (both fortified with soy protein and 21 vitamins and minerals).  The 52,032 meals will be distributed across SD by accredited food bank partners.  Meals of Hope recognizes the need to start with charity at home, and focus on offering more than nutrition, providing a bit of hope to carry those in need through another day.

      “The FFA organization believes strongly in the fourth line of the FFA Motto “Living to Serve”, which is why we are very excited to receive this grant from DuPont Pioneer,” says Sandy Osterday, SD FFA Foundation President.  Osterday shares, “The past few years we have incorporated a community service event into our annual South Dakota FFA state convention. The event gives students the opportunity to work together with FFA members from across the state to make items that will help those in need, and DuPont’s grant allowed us to do a larger project.”

      The SD FFA Foundation is proud to support Agricultural Education and the FFA’s mission to make a difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.   For more information about the South Dakota FFA Foundation and South Dakota’s FFA programs, visit www.sdffafoundation.org or like us on facebook.

      Pioneer makes contributions to community-based organizations on behalf of the business and employees. Consideration for outreach grants is given to communities where Pioneer sales representatives, DuPont Pioneer employees and customers live and work and that support quality-of-life initiatives to create an improved, sustainable lifestyle for people worldwide.

       

       


    16. Jane Gebhart Putting Others First

      Helping at events like the Black Hills Stock Show was common for the late Jane Gebhart.  She is pictured with Shawn VanderWal educating students at the 2017 show.

       

      Putting others first was the philosophy of South Dakota Farm Bureau member Jane Gebhart of Meadow, S.D. Two days before Gebhart passed away following a brief illness, she spent her time assembling welcome bags with her grandchildren that were donated to help women and children at a shelter in Spearfish, S.D.

       

      “She was very passionate about working with women’s and children’s shelters,” said her daughter-in-law Renae Gebhart. “Jane took great pride in making sure new families coming to a shelter had necessity items and spent a lot of time making the bags to make sure families had what they needed to start their new lives.”

       

      The bags contained items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, brushes, combs and towels. The retired educator and ranch wife began the project serving a shelter in Lemmon, S.D., and expanded her efforts to donating items for other shelters in her Farm Bureau district.

       

      The last bags were delivered by her grandchildren to the Artemis House in Spearfish. They enjoyed helping her fill the bags over the years and are hoping to continue the tradition.

       

      Gebhart was a member of the SDFB Women’s Leadership Team and support to purchase items was made possible by donations from the Butte/Harding and Lawrence County Farm Bureau.


    17. Senior Event Planned For Watertown May 19th

      The Watertown Senior Activities Center will be a busy place on May 19 between the hours of 11:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. with the 5th annual Senior Health Fair. Twenty vendors are lined up for this years event. There will be multiple free screenings available during the fair including ones for hearing, blood sugar and blood pressure.  The 60’s Plus Dining will also have food available for purchase during the event so come hungry. This event is  open to anyone interested in the health of seniors. Feel free to come by anytime during the 2 hour period and check out all the booths. There is no fee for attending the event, so they hope to see everyone that day.


    18. Governor Speaks Out On Faith Based And Public Restroom Topics

      South Dakota legislators passed, and Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a bill this year (SB149) that protects faith based adoption agencies from state penalties if they refuse to place a child due to moral or religious objections. Daugaard says the bill is not similar to actions taken in other states.

      Daugaard vetoed a bill last year that would have restricted the use of public restrooms and locker rooms by trans-gender students. He says that may have stalled similar action this year.

      Supporters of the trans-gender restrictions have said they may bring a ballot measure on the issue next year.


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