Victoria Wicks

SDPB Freelance Reporter/Producer

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She has in the past been a newspaper reporter, and she spent about 14 years advocating for crime victims in Rapid City and Aberdeen. Vicky is also a creative writer; several of her short stories have been published, one of them in an anthology titled Fishing for Chickens: Short Stories about Rural Youth. In addition, Vicky is a visual artist, creating pottery, watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, and photographs. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of South Dakota.

US Attorney's Office

U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler is stepping down at the end of December. Sioux Falls attorney Ron Parsons has been nominated by President Donald Trump to take over the position. Parsons was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Dec. 14. He now awaits confirmation by the full Senate. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more of this report.

Victoria Wicks

Jim Yellowhawk and his father, Gerald Yellowhawk, are artists in the traditional indigenous way, with some notable variations. Their art combines the historical with the modern, often with humor and irony.

Their art is now on display at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City, through March 3.

For the rest of this story, click on the audio arrow above.

Not all speech is free speech under the First Amendment. For instance, libel, slander, fighting words, and yelling "fire" in a crowded theater are not protected. And neither is speech that conveys a credible threat.

The South Dakota Supreme Court drove that fact home in its recent opinion upholding the conviction of Edward Draskovich. Justices say it's not just the speaker's intent that's at issue. It's also the fear inspired in the listener. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

Luke Corwin took the stage in April, on Earth Day, at the culmination of the March for Science. That march started at the School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, where Corwin teaches, and continued to the Central States Fairgrounds.

On the stage there, Corwin called for open and courteous dialog between those who trust in science and those who don't.

During his speech, Corwin said he is a Christian and sometimes struggles with the conflict between his religious and scientific beliefs.

Hank Harris

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his hard heart has endured through time since December 1843. That's when Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol was first published. It has been acted out year after year on stage and on screen. And this weekend, it was performed at the Rapid City Public Library by Flower and Flame, a South Dakota troupe of one actor and four musicians.

For more information about Flower and Flame and its touring schedule, click on this link:

http://www.flowerandflame.com/home.html

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the state's liability for flood damage to the property of five Lincoln County families. A lower court found in 2014 that the state Department of Transportation's construction and maintenance of Highway 11 did not adequately provide drainage in an eight-year rainfall event, and the damage was foreseeable. The state appealed, but in a 3-2 split opinion, the high court sided with the landowners. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of John Eric Hemminger. The Aberdeen man stabbed his former girlfriend to death on Jan. 6, 2015, and was convicted by a Brown County jury.

Hemminger claims that officers should have had warrants to take his phone and blood-spattered clothing into evidence.

During oral arguments last month, Assistant Attorney General Patricia Archer told justices that officers didn't need a search warrant. She said Hemminger encouraged officers to search his phone, and that interaction was recorded.

SD Public Utilities Commission

South Dakota's PUC chairwoman says the Nebraska Public Service Commission is bound by state law, as are the public utility commissions in all states. And so she says the Nebraska PSC had to make its decision to permit the Keystone XL pipeline based on the evidence they received.

Kristie Fiegen says commissions have to interpret state law and apply that to the evidence and filings.

Nebraska Democratic Party

The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted three to two on Tuesday, Nov. 20, to permit the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the state. Afterward landowners and activists for the environment and tribes gathered to declare their continued opposition. Bold Nebraska posted that rally online, and SDPB's Victoria Wicks listened to bring us this report.

To read TransCanada's statement, click on this link:

Nebraska Public Service Commission

The Keystone XL pipeline now has permission to cross Nebraska. The state's Public Service Commission announced its decision on Monday, Nov. 20. But two commissioners dissented, and one of them read into the record several reasons why she voted no. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

A Sioux Falls woman contesting her insurance settlement is asking the South Dakota Supreme Court to allow her case to go to trial. Earlier this year a Second Circuit court granted summary judgment to two drivers in the collision that left Kathy Schaefer injured. Schaefer says she signed a settlement without understanding it, and a jury should hear the facts. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

A woman fired from an assisted living center in Lead wants a jury to hear her grievances. The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Shirley Harvey says she was fired in 2012 after fellow employees falsely reported her for slapping and isolating a resident. But her employer says she admitted to the conduct and was legally fired under state law. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Blake Little

Los Angeles resident Gregory Hinton is a writer and filmmaker. He's also the producer of Out West, an LGBT museum series that is expanding across the nation.

Hinton started Out West after visiting the Autry National Center in Los Angeles and realizing the film Brokeback Mountain was not represented in the center's film archives.

From there Hinton went on to get a fellowship at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., where Hinton lived during much of his childhood.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Joseph Patterson. He was convicted in 2015 of killing the two-year-old son of Ashley Doohen and former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. The case made national headlines.

Justices have issued a unanimous opinion that the Second Circuit trial court did not make reversible errors, and the conviction stands. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

People who volunteer their time and skills provide community services that might not otherwise exist. The Helpline Center in Rapid City coordinates Black Hills services by emailing and posting volunteer opportunities. And once a year, the center hosts a Volunteer Expo to allow potential volunteers to meet agency reps face to face. This year's Expo was held Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Dahl Arts Center. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more.

http://www.helplinecenter.org/

Victoria Wicks

The Keystone XL pipeline got the go-ahead from the Trump administration in March. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission had already done the work to allow it to cross this state. But still the pipeline is not a done deal. There are appeals pending in the South Dakota Supreme Court and Montana federal court. And Nebraska still hasn't permitted it.

Russell Ray Bertram was convicted of first-degree murder in 2016. A jury found that he intentionally killed his girlfriend with a shotgun while they were hunting in Gregory County in 2009.

Bertram appeals his conviction on two points. He says the prosecution should not have been allowed to introduce evidence of his infidelity to his girlfriend. And he says the judge should have allowed the jury to know he had taken a polygraph.

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Wednesday, Oct. 4. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Andrew Bork, SDPB

A Second Circuit judge ruled earlier this year that a newly constructed house in the McKennan Park Historic District of Sioux Falls has to be remodeled or torn down. The homeowners have appealed that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Justices heard oral arguments Tuesday, Oct. 3. Homeowners contend that a monetary settlement should suffice. But neighbors say the huge house is a nuisance.

An Aberdeen man convicted of stabbing his former girlfriend to death is asking for a new trial. The South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

John Eric Hemminger says the state should not have been allowed to present evidence taken without a search warrant. And he says the state unnecessarily introduced 26 autopsy photos, which inflamed the jury. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Terri Leclercq

The Argus Leader sued the City of Sioux Falls for violating South Dakota's Open Records Act. The city entered into a contract with Denny Sanford Premier Center contractors to keep contents of a settlement confidential.

The city maintains that one subpart of the Open Records Act allowed that contract to happen legally. A lower court agreed, and the Argus Leader appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

During oral arguments in January, much was made of the placement of one comma and a shaky concept in legal writing called the Doctrine of the Last Antecedent.

In a case that made national headlines in 2015, Joseph Patterson was convicted of murdering the two-year-old son of former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Patterson appealed his conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court, who heard arguments Monday, Oct. 2.

At trial, the state brought out testimony that Patterson had a history of harshly punishing other children. Patterson says the evidence unfairly impugned his character. But the state says it was legitimately used to prove motive and absence of accident.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Long-term video surveillance by law enforcement is a search requiring a warrant. That's the decision just issued by a split South Dakota Supreme Court.

The case out of Brookings resulted in the conviction of a drug offender. But the high court did not reverse the conviction. Justices found that the investigator acted in good faith when he installed the camera without first getting a warrant. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Argus Leader in its open records dispute with the City of Sioux Falls.

The city relied on state law to claim it could keep secret the details of a settlement with a contractor. The case involved sub-par metal siding on the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

The Argus Leader sued to gain access to the settlement. A lower court ruled for the city, and the Argus leader appealed.

At oral arguments in January, Argus attorney Jon Arneson said the city's interpretation of state law defeats the intent of open records laws.

Victoria Wicks

A former employee of the South Dakota Department of Revenue pleaded guilty Monday, Sept. 18, to bank fraud and money laundering. Seventy-year-old Steven Arthur Knigge appeared in federal court in Rapid City before U.S. Magistrate Danetta Wollmann.

In a plea agreement, Knigge admitted to two charges, in exchange for dismissal of more than a dozen others.

SD Unified Judicial System

The South Dakota Supreme Court has issued an opinion that both parties knew was inevitable. Justices have ruled that a state law requiring out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers is unconstitutional.

As SDPB reported in late August, state authorities knew the bill was unconstitutional but passed it into law anyway and then tried to enforce it.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has the latest development on this ongoing story.

Victoria Wicks

American Idol held auditions in Rapid City on Sunday, Sept. 10, and 349 contenders showed up. Rapid City is one of 21 tryout locations for the 2018 season.

Two additional auditions at Houston and San Antonio were canceled because of Hurricane Harvey.

The Fox network hosted the talent show for 15 season, ending it in April 2016. Now ABC is picking it up.

National attention has been drawn to a South Dakota Supreme Court case heard Tuesday, Aug. 29. It centers on a law passed by legislators who knew it could not be enforced.

The law requires out-of-state internet vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers and remit the money to the state.

Both sides agreed in advance that justices should not reverse a lower court decision that the law is unenforceable.

The state wants justices to clear the way for the issue to get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

SD Legislature

The state legislature in 2016 passed a law requiring out-of-state vendors to collect sales taxes from their South Dakota customers. The law is particularly aimed at online sellers. Legislators acknowledged that the law is unconstitutional, and that they instigated it to try to get the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the highest court considers hearing it, however, the law and its aftermath have to face scrutiny from the South Dakota Supreme Court. That happens Tuesday, Aug. 27, when justices hear oral arguments from both sides.

Victoria Wicks

The Great Plains Native Plant Society is building a memorial garden and visitors center just south of Hermosa. It takes up a small corner of the 340 acres of land dedicated to the cause by South Dakota rancher Linda Hasselstrom.

People can go there and hike over grassland--or sit on it, or lie on it--to discover the diverse ecosystem in South Dakota's slice of the Great Plains.

Comments made by a Troy Township supervisor were pivotal in a South Dakota Supreme Court partial reversal. The court made its opinion public on Thursday, Aug. 17.

At issue is the vacating of roads in three townships in Day County. Game, Fish & Parks appealed those vacations to the Fifth Circuit, saying the township boards were trying to cut off public access to disputed bodies of water in Day County.

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