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Victoria Wicks

The School of Mines and Technology is hosting a conference to discuss research at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The event started Friday, May 12, and continues to Tuesday, May 16.

This is the second conference of this sort. The first was held in 2015. Associate physics professor Richard Schnee chairs this year's conference organizing committee. He says holding the conference every two years seems to be the right timing.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that South Dakota's Common Core assessments are constitutional and follow state law.

The court heard arguments in February from the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan, representing two South Dakota taxpayers.

Plaintiffs argued that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC, is an interstate compact requiring consent of Congress. And they said the testing process violates state law.

However, the high court disagrees.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

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South Dakota Game Fish & Parks has asked the state Supreme Court to define what constitutes public interest. The high court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 25. GF&P maintains that townships in Day County did not serve the public interest when they vacated roads leading to certain public lands or water. A Fifth Circuit judge ruled for the townships, and GF&P appeals.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Buffalo Chip Campground became an incorporated city after the Meade County Commission authorized an election in May 2015. The city of Sturgis and local landowners challenged the incorporation, and a Fourth Circuit judge nullified it. He found that the Meade County Commission erred when it allowed the election to go forward. Meade County appealed that decision to the South Dakota Supreme Court, who heard arguments on Tuesday, April 25.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Unified Judicial System

The South Dakota Supreme Court had a majority of female justices for one case on Tuesday, April 25.

Justice Steven Zinter disqualified himself from a case involving incorporation of Buffalo Chip Campground as a city.

Retired Justice Judith Meierhenry sat in on oral arguments, joining Justices Janine Kern and Lori Wilbur to make a 3-2 majority of women.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson announced this historic event to the audience in the courtroom:

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Victoria Wicks

Saturday's March for Science in Rapid City was part of an international Earth Day movement.

Scientists typically don't get involved in politics, but according to national news feeds, they're feeling threatened by proposed federal budget cuts to the EPA, NASA, and other science-based programs.

Some Rapid City signs referred to politics: "Science Trumps Opinion," "Science Is Not an Alternative Fact," "Save the EPA."

Victoria Wicks

To see the stars, you must find the dark. And because it's rare to find darkness these days, human-made light is considered to be pollution. This weekend in Rapid City, as part of this year's Earth Day celebration, people gathered at Main Street Square to learn more about it. They saw captive owls and talked with astronomers, the creatures who work by night.

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Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the 200-year sentence of Paul Dean Jensen. The prison inmate was 14 when he murdered Michael Hare in Fort Pierre 20 years ago.

Jensen was sentenced to life without possibility of parole, the only penalty available to him at the time. After the U.S. Supreme Court found mandatory life sentences for juvenile murderers to be unconstitutional, Jensen came up for a new sentence hearing in June last year.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports this latest development in an ongoing story.

Victoria Wicks

Earth Day activities this weekend in Rapid City will include a March for Science. A junior at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is organizing a march on Saturday from the campus to the Central States Fairgrounds. Cole Sawyer says this is a nonpartisan and diverse group coming together to emphasize the importance of evidence-based research.

Marchers will gather at the Surbeck Center parking lot Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The march ends north of the 4-H building at the Central States Fairgrounds.

For more information:

Victoria Wicks

Recently there has been a national push to get more girls and women involved in the field of technology. One of those efforts is Girls Who Code.

In South Dakota, the club is found at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls and the public library in Rapid City.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks visits the small Rapid City gathering for this report.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has reversed the DUI conviction of a Brookings man. Steven Stanage was arrested in October 2014 after driving up to a fast-food pick-up window. He was convicted of first-time DUI, but the magistrate stayed sentencing pending the outcome of the appeal. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in October last year. The court's majority finds that the arresting officer did not have sufficient cause to stop Stanage's vehicle. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

A Rapid City artist whose paintings are based on his own collages is displaying his work at the Dahl Arts Center. The exhibit, Occasional Void, opened this weekend. Luke Gorder's paintings mix incongruous images for an often surreal result. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

The exhibit Occasional Void is at the Dahl Arts Center until June 24. Also showing is Comic Spirit, artwork with humor as a theme, compiled from the works of various Native artists from the 1970s to now.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the 92-year sentence of Daniel Charles, who murdered his stepfather in 1999. Charles was 14 at the time. He had been sentenced to life without parole, but was given a second chance resulting from a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2012.

Charles appealed that second-chance sentence, saying it was too harsh given his youthful immaturity at the time of the crime.

The state high court rejected that argument. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Victoria Wicks

The history of birth control and abortion is a long one. In the United States, abortion and contraception were legal from Colonial times until the late 1800s. Then state legislatures, pushed by the American Medical Association, began outlawing abortion. And some states adopted and expanded Comstock laws, set by the federal postal service to ban the shipping of contraceptives and informational pamphlets.

At about the same time these laws were passed, the concept of the right to privacy began to emerge.

Victoria Wicks

The legal status of birth control and abortion has evolved over the years, resulting in an established right to privacy that continues to play out in the courts.

A Black Hills State professor led a panel discussion on that topic on March 28 in Rapid City.

About two dozen people came together inside the Dahl Arts Center meeting room, as about the same number of protesters stood outside the window.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Manlove Psychiatric Group

A two-day conference called New Paradigms in Mental Healthcare starts Friday in Rapid City.

The conference will highlight emerging treatments for mental health issues, treatment-resistant depression, and brain injuries.

The conference is hosted by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center and the Manlove Psychiatric Group. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

The conference runs Friday and Saturday, March 24-25, at the Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza, with six presentations per day. The conference is open to the public with a fee of $100 each day.

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