South Dakota News Watch

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S.D. hunter residency case creates ‘nightmare’ for retired combat veteran


The legal language describing who qualifies as a South Dakota resident when it comes to in-state hunting privileges is laid out in state law, but the real-world definition is now murkier than ever. A recent drawn-out, highly charged criminal case in South Dakota could have further defined residency, particularly when it comes to so-called “snow birds” or part-time residents. Instead, […]

California energy firm will turn S.D. farm wastes into usable natural gas


A new industry launching in South Dakota will use manure from dairy farms to generate usable natural gas, creating a new income stream for some South Dakota farmers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions along the way. California-based renewable energy company Brightmark Energy announced plans on Feb. 5 to capture, refine and sell methane gas rising off the decaying manure produced […]

Concerns arise that new S.D. electronic bill monitoring system makes state government less transparent


A new online system for drafting, co-sponsoring and tracking bills through the South Dakota Legislature has some people concerned that the modernized system has made the legislative process less transparent and has removed some of the human element from lawmaking. State officials said the new system was needed to update South Dakota’s legislative process and make legislative work more efficient. […]

SERENITY DENNARD DISAPPEARANCE: One year later, mystery still unsolved despite extensive search and investigation


Despite a search by more than 1,200 people covering 4,500 miles of woodlands, and an investigation tracking down more than 220 leads and involving 465 interviews, Serenity Dennard remains missing and her fate remains a mystery. Serenity was 9 on Feb. 3, 2019, when she ran away on a cold Sunday morning from the Black Hills Children’s Home, a residential […]

New elk hunting season proposed to reduce feed loss and property damage on S.D. prairies


North American elk are returning to the prairies of western South Dakota after more than 100 years of absence, a migration seen as a win for wildlife conservation but which has farmers and ranchers bothered by feed losses and property damage. The herding of Rocky Mountain elk as far east as Jones and Stanley counties has led to calls for […]

Effort begins to reduce risk of death of S.D. mothers during childbirth


New or expectant mothers in South Dakota — and across the United States — are dying during or after childbirth at higher rates than in nearly every other industrialized nation, and evidence suggests as many as 60% of maternal deaths are preventable. Nine mothers in South Dakota died in 2018 within a year of giving birth, and 10 South Dakota […]

As university enrollment falls, worries rise over possible cuts


Total enrollment is on a steady decline in the public university system in South Dakota, forcing higher education officials to seek new sources of revenue, realign infrastructure and potentially cut programs or faculty positions. At South Dakota State University in Brookings — the state school with the highest enrollment — an unexpected 4% decline in enrollment in the fall of […]

Wide-ranging reforms proposed to make S.D. youth treatment homes safer for residents

Governor’s recommendations follow News Watch investigation into abuses at youth home in Plankinton

  Gov. Kristi Noem has proposed a major overhaul to how South Dakota oversees, inspects and updates the public about conditions in privately run youth homes across the state. Youth treatment facilities in South Dakota would be subjected to far greater state scrutiny and oversight, and public access to inspection and complaint information would be heightened under a series of […]

S.D. retailers face uphill battle for survival amid frequent market changes


Overall retail sales have climbed steadily in South Dakota in recent years, but who is getting the money and how they are getting it are changing. Maintaining a successful brick-and-mortar retail business continues to be a challenge in South Dakota as online retail continues to surge, chain stores grow rapidly and low-price dollar stores pop up regularly in small towns. […]

A LOOK INSIDE A CAFO: S.D. farmers share stories of a life in livestock


The expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in South Dakota is without a doubt one of the most controversial topics in agriculture. CAFOs are large livestock farms that generally house 1,000 or more animals in a confined, indoor space at any one time. Supporters say the CAFOs are mainly well-run, efficient operations typically owned by families that raise […]


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