• Local News

    1. Initiated Measure 22 Repeal Approved By Legislature And Governor

      Dennis Daugaard 2016South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed HB1069 not long after it was passed by the Senate. The bill repeals IM22 which was approved by voters in the November election.Daugaard says the measure, as written was badly flawed.

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      Daugaard says the public financing section stood out as a problem.

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      Daugaard says backers of the measure ran misleading ads about lobbyists paying off legislators.

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      The Senate has now passed a bill backed by Attorney General Marty Jackley that add criminal conflict of interest penalties for public officials.


    2. First Watertown Glacial Lakes Energy Unit Train Ready Rolls!

      BRAD SCHULTZ DIECTOR OF COMMODTIES GLEThe first Glacial Lakes Energy 96 car Unit Train was loaded and ready for transit over the weekend.  The bio-fuel producer says both ethanol  and distillers grain product will be downloaded onto rail cars using the new circular tracker that is nearing completion in South Watertown.  Brad Schultz, who  is the Director of Commodities & Risk Mgmt at Glacial Lakes Energy.  Listen below for the details on the audio tab.

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    3. Meth Meeting Set For Milbank School Auditorium Saturday Morning

      meth milbank meetingPierre, S.D. – As part of the statewide methamphetamine awareness campaign, “Meth Changes Everything,” a community meeting will be held in Milbank tomorrow morning. The meeting will take place tomorrow morning 10:00 am at the Milbank High School Theater located at 1001 East Park Ave. Milbank. Prevention provider Jeanne Pufahl-Ward will speak about meth and the effects it has on communities, and give individuals.  Listen below to here more with Jeanne on KXLG Radio.

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    4. Lifelight Festival Pulling The Plug

      lifelight twoLifeLight, one of the world’s largest Christian Music Festivals, held annually on a farm near Worthing, South Dakota, is pulling the plug.  Festival Founder Allan Greene says the focus now will be on a ministry of directly meeting people’s needs, especially as Sioux Falls grows.

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      Lifelight has been going for 19 years. Greene admits the festival’s end won’t be easy.

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      .

      Greene acknowledges that putting on a free festival each year has been an expensive undertaking, but that money is just part of the reason for shifting focus.

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      The festival will be replaced with a program called CityServe and a smaller musical component called CityFest, over Labor Day. Greene says Lifelight wants to work with local churches and nonprofits to serve community needs – everything from a meal to a haircut.  The Lifelight Festival started  in 1998 in a Sioux Falls church with a small crowd of about 2,000 people and grew to crowds of over 300,000. It became a national event, bringing in top Christian music acts


    5. Annual Report Shows Arrests Down In Watertown Overall But That Drug Arrests Increase15 Percent

      Lee McPeekThe Watertown Police Department has released it’s report for last year stating that in 2016 we the total number of calls were 21,825.   The percent of change is -2% from the previous year (2015) and -7% for the 5 year average.  Overall the calls for service were down 2% from 2015 and down 7% for the 5 year average.

      Adult arrests, overall, were also down slightly at 1% from 2015 and down 5% from the 5 year average. The department also saw a 6% decrease in arrest for possession of marijuana from 2015, however there was a 15% increase in arrests for possession of a controlled substance which is up 81% from the 5 year average. He said they also referred another 91 cases for the possession of a controlled substance to the State’s Attorney. Methamphetamine has made a resurgence in Watertown and across the state of South Dakota. McPeek said they’re working closely in partnership with several entities to combat and reverse this trend through drug courts, public education, rehabilitation programs, and increased law enforcement efforts. 4

      Juvenile arrest are down 26% from 2015 and down 17% from the 5 year average.

      Traffic citations are up 23% from 2015 and 21% from the 5 year average. In 2016 we issued 1647 traffic citations and 2450 warnings citations. We attribute this increase to a federally funded traffic safety program they participate in that addresses speeding and seat belt usage. The Watertown Police Department is participating in this program to try and reduce the amount of accidents in Watertown. The city continued to average 790 accidents a year. We are hoping to get this number below 700 through increased patrol and education.

      McPeek says that, as a department we strive to be as transparent as possible so that community members can see and know what we do. He thanked the members of the police department for their hard work and dedication to community service.

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    6. The Tax Man Cometh But Help Is Available

      tax manMinnesotans should have gotten their W-2 forms and bank statements in the mail by now and may be worrying about how to fill out those sometimes complicated income-tax forms for Uncle Sam – but there’s free help available across the state. The A-A-R-P Foundation’s Tax-Aide program is the largest free tax preparation service in the country. Jay Haapala with A-A-R-P Minnesota says it’s available now until April 18th. The focus is on people age 50 and older, or those who can’t afford to use a paid tax preparer, but the service is available to anyone who needs it. Haapala says volunteers help thousands of people every year fill out I-R-S forms.

       

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       “Others might just have a few questions that they need answered and our volunteers can assist with people’s questions, but they can also help people complete their filings, too.”

      In Minnesota, the Tax-Aide program has more than a thousand volunteers who work in 150 different sites, including libraries, churches, and community centers.

      ***

      Another bit of advice – file early. Not only will the wait for your refund be shorter, but Dan Hendrickson with the Better Business Bureau in Minnesota says scam artists have devised a number of ways to steal your Social Security number, so they can take your refund.

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       “They definitely do some dumpster diving. We know there have been a number of high-profile breaches, data breaches, in recent years. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of information out there on all of us.”

      For help preparing your income-tax returns, A-A-R-P has a Tax-Aide locator that can pinpoint the nearest location by putting in your ZIP code. Look online at ‘aarp.org’ and search for the term ‘Tax-Aide.’


    7. HB 1069 Passes Senate

      1069 pic 1 - senator peters 1069 pic 1 - stace nelson 1069 pic 3 protest respect our votePics courtesy of South Dakota Broadcasters Association from HB 1069 Senate repeal of IM22 and a related public protest.

      The South Dakota Senate voted 27 to 8 yesterday (Wednesday) to approve HB1069, a bill that repeals IM22, which was passed by voters last November. The initiative created an ethics commission, public campaign financing, and limitations on lobbyists gifts to legislators.  Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd of Sioux Falls, says he would like to see the ethics reforms continue.

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      Curd says most of the measures provisions will come back in other bills.

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      IM22 supporter Rick Weiland says legislators questioned the constitutionality of the measure, which won’t be tested now.

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      Weiland says legislators overstepped the will of the people.

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      The bill passed with the emergency clause, which means it can’t be referred to a public vote.


    8. Splash Park – Slash – Ice Skating Rink Combo In Discussions For St. Ann’s Hill Watertown

      splashparkWatertown Mayor Steve Thorson says some new ideas are floating about regarding the possible location of a new Splash Park in Watertown and that the latest idea might be to locate the attraction along Skyline Drive where it could be converted to an ice rink in the winter with a warming house nearby. This idea comes from a meeting the mayor had this week with two individuals who want to do quote, “some things for Watertown.”

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      The idea would be to locate the attraction at the top of the St. Ann’s Hill and would make year-round use a possibility.

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    9. From The Desk Of Watertown Mayor Steve Thorson

      mayor thorson for headline page 2015Listen below to KXLG’s From The Desk Of The Mayor for Wednesday February 1st, 2017 with Mayor Steve Thorson

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    10. Senator Rounds Comments On Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch

      Mike Rounds seanate 2015President Donald Trump has nominated Neil Gorsuch for the vacant position on the US Supreme Court. He has been serving on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The nomination will now go to the Senate for confirmation. South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says he isn’t sure how minority democrats will work with the process.

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      Rounds says there were attempts in the past to bypass the sixty votes necessary for confirmation.

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      Rounds says democrats are still working through the election losses.

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      The nomination will first go to the Senate Judiciary Committee, before moving to the floor.

       


    11. Lake Area Tech Spring Semester Enrollment Increase Continues Upward Trend

      lati 2015WATERTOWN, SD    Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney announces that Lake Area Tech enrollment continues its remarkable upward trend this spring semester, topping last year’s numbers by an overall 12% increase. With 328 new students entering spring-start programs, the overall enrollment to date is 2393 students.

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      President Cartney comments, “Our goal was to top 2300 students by the end of summer 2017. Having done so sooner than expected is good for the college, the community, the region, and in turn good for South Dakota’s workforce.”  The continued success of the college can be attributed to the highly-skilled instructors and the outstanding programs they have developed, the outstanding students who choose to attend Lake Area Tech, and the employers who hire the graduates.  Cartney continues, “Lake Area Tech is privileged to experience the continued growth and overwhelming success of its graduates. Our current student population is what we projected to have by the year 2040 which defies the national trend of declining community college enrollment.”

      Lake Area Tech offers 28 programs of study as well as 12 online E-degrees.  The college has a consistent retention rate of 80%, the highest graduation rates in the nation at 79%, and a 99% placement rate of its graduates.  For the fourth consecutive time, LATI is one of the nation’s top 10 community colleges, making it eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, to be announced in March.  Lake Area Tech was named an Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Finalist with Distinction in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

      Cartney said, “Our strong K14 approach, Build Dakota and Stretch-the-Million Scholarships, and notoriety from the Aspen Prize for College Excellence are all key contributors to our growth. Our exceptional staff, great industry partners and strong community and statewide support help make LATI a magical place for students


    12. Minnesotans Urged to Bundle Up, Walk or Bike Today

      walk minnesota 02-01-17

      Minnesota winters can be brutal, and it’s sometimes hard to get people motivated to get outside, but it’s important to make sure folks keep moving, even when it’s cold out. That’s the idea behind “Winter Walk and Bike to School Day.” In 1969, about half the state’s children walked or biked to school, but today fewer than 13 percent do. At the same time, the American Heart Association says childhood obesity has skyrocketed to 27 percent in Minnesota, and recommends kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Barbara Beck is with “We Bike Rochester,” a chapter of the Bicycle Alliance Minnesota. She’s retired and is an avid cyclist who hopes kids don’t let the cold scare them from enjoying time outdoors.

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      “It’s just so easy for kids to get this by walking and biking to school rather than being transported by car or bus.”

      The American Heart Association says less than half of Minnesota students report having had 60 minutes of physical activity in five or more days of the last week.

      The Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition is pushing the state Legislature to provide more funding to make cities across the state more bicycle friendly. Beck says many parents don’t want their children to walk or bike to school, even though they live nearby, because it just isn’t safe.

      “My own neighborhood, we’re under a mile from the nearest elementary school where the kids go, and it’s not safely walkable because we don’t have sidewalks.”

      Lawmakers are being asked to allocate six-million dollars to the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Program to make sure kids can get to and from safely each day. The money would go for improved street crossings and sidewalks or trails near the schools.

       


    13. Watertown’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration is March 18

       

      st patricks day watertown 2017Get ready for “Peace-Love-Green in 2017” on Saturday, March 18, as Watertown hosts its annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

      This fun-filled day will include the Shamrock Shuffle 5K Fun Run/Walk, Knights of Columbus pancake feed, Little Miss Shamrock and Mr. Leprechaun Contest and St. Patrick’s Celebration parade!

      “It’s not too early to start planning a parade entry for your family, business or organization,” said Megan Olson, President and CEO of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce. “The parade has grown each year and we hope to see even bigger participation this year.”

      The parade route starts at the Knights of Columbus Hall on First Avenue South in downtown Watertown and continues west to the corner of First Street around to Kemp and east to the Senior Citizen Center. Parade entries are now being accepted at the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce at 1 E Kemp.

      There is no cost to be in the parade, and prizes will be awarded for Best Use of Green, Best Almost Irish, Craziest Clan and Best Blarney entries.

      Registration for the 3rd Annual Shamrock Shuffle 5K Fun Run/Walk will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The 5K will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end with a green “color explosion” celebratory finish. Participants again this year are encouraged to wear festive attire as awards will be given to best dressed man, woman, boy, and girl.

      The Little Miss Shamrock and Mr. Leprechaun Contest will take place at 11:00 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall and the winners will ride in the “Peace-Love-Green in 2017” parade.

      To round out Saturday’s celebration, the Kampeska Krushers Derby Dames are planning an evening pub crawl in uptown Watertown.

      Members of the Chamber’s Saint Patrick’s Day committee have begun selling commemorative buttons for $5.00 and the chance to win a trip for two to Ireland is available for each $20 raffle ticket sold. Buttons and tickets are also available at the Chamber office and several businesses around the city.

      The lucky button holder again this year will win a fridge filled with Guinness and corned beef, said committee chairman Tom Beadnell. Both drawings will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, March 20, at Dempsey’s Brewery, Restaurant & Pub.

      For additional information on any of the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration activities, contact the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-886-5814.

      —————————————————

      UPDATE:

      Bill Dempsey selected as Watertown’s 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Parade Marshal

      South Dakota’s “official bagpiper” has been selected as the parade marshal for Watertown’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration parade on Saturday, March 18.

      “It’s a huge honor,” said Bill Dempsey, 65, who believes he’s been “involved since the beginning” of Watertown’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

      As pipe major of the Glacial Lakes Pipe and Drums, his enthusiasm for the holiday has been expressed through playing the bagpipe during many parades and other events. Over the years, he has played in multiple parades throughout South Dakota and Minnesota, at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and at the state capitol in Pierre, where he was declared the “official bagpipe player of the State of South Dakota.” The proclamation, issued February 24, 2012 is posted at the restaurant.

      Activities in this year’s “Peace-Love-Green in 2017” celebration in Watertown will include the Shamrock Shuffle 5K, a pancake feed, Little Miss Shamrock and Mr. Leprechaun Contest and the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration parade.

      Watertown’s “Peace-Love-Green in 2017” St. Patrick’s Day Celebration parade begins at noon (March 18) in downtown Watertown. For additional information, contact the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-886-5814.


    14. Reppe, Schull Elected Board Chairs

      reppe and schullThe Watertown Area Community Foundation Board elected Angie Reppe as its new chairperson during the Board’s first meeting of 2017. Angie was appointed to the Board by the City Watertown and has been serving on the Board since 2015. Reppe earned her Sales/Marketing/Management degree from Lake Area Technical Institute. She and her husband, John, own Backspin LLC which manages the Foley Building in downtown Watertown. She is very involved in developing plans for a revitalization of the City Center. The couple has two children. Reppe is a member of the Codington County Historical Society, SEEK Watertown, H20-20, past chair of NESD MLS and a former member of the Urban Renewal Board. “I’m excited about 2017,” Reppe said. “We’re off to a great start. We’ve just implemented a new program to support area schools and I know we will be impacting many more organizations and programs as we continue to partner with others investing in this wonderful community.” Reppe succeeds Laurie Benson, 2016 chairperson. Lee Schull was elected vice chair. Schull holds a business management degree from Colorado State University and has been with Building Products, Inc. since 1977. He has been president of the company since 1983. BPI’s corporate office is in Watertown and the company also has locations in Waterloo, IA; Council Bluffs, IA, Fargo, ND, and Sioux Falls. He and his wife, Jan, have four children. Both Reppe and Schull are Watertown High School graduates and have roots deep in the community. WACF has grown to roughly $16 million in assets since its humble beginnings in 1979. The Foundation has awarded nearly $6 million in grants since it began awarding grants in 1981. Other WACF Board members are: Benson, Dr. Lesli Jutting and Charlie Ewalt. Trustee Representatives are Tyler DeBoer, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; and Scott Olson, Great Western Bank. Staff includes Jan DeBerg, executive director; Greg Blow, donor development, Julianne Endres, marketing/donor services; and Jill Slobotski, administrative assistant.


    15. Pierre Mayor Serving On Small Community Air Service Working Group

      LaurieGill2015

      Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill traveled to Washington DC last week as part of the Small Community Air Service Working Group that originated in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.  Gill, who is the only South Dakota mayor on the group, was appointed by Senator John Thune. It means South Dakota will have a voice on important issues facing air service in rural areas of the state, including Watertown. Gill says much of their time at the first meeting was used to organize.

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      She adds that the group has established some clear-cut goal.

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       Gill says air service in the capital city is unique and critical all at the same time.

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      The Small Community Air Service Working Group will coordinate with local, state, and federal officials to help develop potential solutions to challenges faced by rural airports and the communities they serve, including reliability of air service and pilot training.  The Group will meet for the second time in mid-February.

       

       


    16. Senior Advocates Make Moves to Protect Medicare

       medicare

      SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite campaign pledges made by now President Trump, there is concern that some in Congress may move to change Medicare to a voucher-based system. AARP is launching a campaign to protect the program.

      Erik Gaikowski, the state director of AARP in South Dakota, says that would be difficult for a large number of senior citizens.

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      “There’s definitely concern, especially in a state like South Dakota that relies so much upon Medicare,” he said. “We’ve got nearly 147,000 beneficiaries here in South Dakota, and another 170,000 that will be coming in the next 15 years.”

      Gaikowski says the government could save money and cut costs by eliminating fraud and waste in the programs. He also says Medicare is important to protect health-care delivery in the state.

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      “It is incredibly important to our health-care costs in South Dakota as well,” he added. “Obviously those costs continue to rise, if we don’t have that stopgap of Medicare to take care of that, we’re really going to have a big issue in South Dakota and nationwide.”

      Gaikowski says they want the president to live up to his campaign promises.

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      “He said along the campaign trail that we made this deal a long time ago and we’re going to live up to it,” said Gaikowski. “Now our campaign is focused on Congress and making sure they stick to the president’s campaign pledges.”

      The average yearly income for senior citizens in the country is 25,000 dollars a year, with one out of every six dollars being spent on health care.


    17. Catholic Schools Week Observed At Immaculate Conception Catholic School

      catholic schools week mayor pic 2catholic schools week mayor pic 1catholic schools week mayor pic 3 carolIC KIDS CANDYPhotos Powered By Sprint and show Catholic Schools Week log, kids in the gym, Mayor Steve Thorson and Principal Carol Dagel.  The last photo shows Sawyer Mack and Haley Young both sixth graders at IC School who are delivering candy bouquets for Catholic Community Day in Watertown.  KXLG was one of the recipients.

       

      This is Catholic Schools Week and here at Watertown Immaculate Conception Catholic School began the day Monday with a mayoral proclamation from Mayor Steve Thorson.

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      At the morning gathering of students in the gym, Principal Carol Dagel made a special announcement.

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      She said they’re overjoyed they have made the initial cut and will now move onto the last state in the nominating process.

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      This year’s them is Catholic Schools, Communities Of Faith, Knowledge And Service.  There are 7,094 Catholic schools spread out across the nation.


    18. Ethics Bill To Be Debated In The Senate This Week After Lawmakers Forced A Delay Last Week

      Rusch_2017

      Debate had just started in the South Dakota Senate Thursday on HB1069, a bill that would repeal most of IM22, when Senate leaders used a 5 – 17 maneuver to delay action on the bill until Wednesday.  Republican Senator Art Rusch of Vermillion says he isn’t sure why debate was halted.

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      Much of the opposition to the repeal effort is focused on the emergency clause on the bill. Rusch says there is a good reason to add that.

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      The emergency clause would make the bill effective as soon as it is passed and signed by the Governor. It would also prohibit a referendum effort.  Rusch says they also can’t wait for the case to make its way through the Supreme Court.

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      A number of questions about HB1069 and the repeal process were raised at the District 17 legislative forum Saturday in Vermillion.

       


    19. Transgender Locker Bill Could Cost South Dakota Tens Of Millions Of Dollars

      transgender symbolSIOUX FALLS, SD —  If the transgender locker bill becomes law, it could cost South Dakota tens of millions of dollars, warns Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Legislative Expert, Mark Lee.

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      Lee says that all you have to do is look at what happened to North Carolina with boycotts by sports and business after a transgender law passed there, to predict the economic impact here.

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      Lee says if big companies considering relocation find that South Dakota has laws not consistent with their core beliefs they are much less likely to come here. 

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      The new bill in the State Legislature would require transgender students to use school locker rooms and dressing rooms based on their biological sex.

       

       


    20. Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese Represented At March For Life 2017

      march for lifeWASHINGTON, DC — Somewhere in the sea of people at the 44th annual March for Life in Washington was a small contingent from the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese.  Spokesman Eric Gallagher says about 105 people took two buses to the march.

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      Andrew Welbig of Sioux Falls says he marched because he says life is precious, even when it’s inconvenient.

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      Tom Kessler from Aberdeen says the crowd was so large that if you take your eyes off your own people, you might lose them.

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      He made the long trip to Washington by bus to be part of the message.  The U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 ruled that abortion is part of a woman’s 14th Amendment right to privacy.

       


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