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Victoria Wicks file photo

A jury trial has been set for January in a class-action lawsuit against Black Hills Federal Credit Union and the Credit Union National Association, or CUNA. Those agencies are accused of changing policies and raising rates for death or disability insurance without adequate notice to more than four thousand borrowers.

The suit has been going on for years. It was first filed in 2011. In August 2013, the South Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion that a class action could commence. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports from oral arguments and the opinion in that appeal.

SD Public Utilities Commission

The federal government cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent at the end of last year. In response, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission moved quickly to ensure that corporate utilities passed those savings along to their customers. SDPB's Victoria Wicks covered that story last December and has an update on the PUC's progress.

SD Department of Corrections

Convicted murderer Charles Rhines has lost another attempt to have his death penalty overturned, this time at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now his options are dwindling, but they have not yet run out. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the Eighth Circuit's ruling can be challenged in a couple of ways.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

Art Lien

In June the United States Supreme Court overturned decades-old precedent that denied states the authority to require out-of-state vendors to collect and remit sales taxes.

South Dakota pushed the issue, and in April, Attorney General Marty Jackley argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

South Dakota prevailed, in part on the strength of its state law that streamlines the tax collection process and does not seek to collect retroactively. That same law also suspends tax collection while litigation with vendors is ongoing.

Victoria Wicks

Hospital food has long been the butt of Jell-O jokes. But an online search of the term "hospital food" turns up mixed reviews, some of them raves.

Rapid City Regional Hospital's chef hopes to earn rave reviews for taste but also has been introducing patients to food that is healthy.

He buys local foods when he can and has future plans to grow much of it in a garden near the hospital.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks met Scott Brinker during a recent tour of farms near Newell and follows up in Rapid City.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Sioux Falls man convicted of manslaughter. David Randle Junior was convicted of carelessly handling a gun and causing the death of another man at a party in Sioux Falls on Oct. 24, 2015. The high court finds that the trial judge erred by not allowing the jury to consider excusable homicide. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report, taken from details outlined in the written opinion.

Victoria Wicks

Growing food without pesticides can be challenging. But a local tomato grower manages to do that by introducing natural enemies to the pests in her greenhouse. During a recent tour of specialty producers in Newell, SDPB's Victoria Wicks learned more about beneficial predators.

Victoria Wicks

Nemo, S.D., lies about 20 miles northwest of Rapid City, but it takes more than half an hour to drive there. The slow trip is worth it. Nemo Road winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills.

In the summer, Nemo is hopping. It's home to the Nemo Guest Ranch, a collection of cabins and vendors housed in buildings built 129 years ago for other purposes. The former train depot is now a bar and restaurant; the infirmary and the schoolhouse are now guest cabins.

Victoria Wicks

On a farm near Newell are two white greenhouses, each one 124 feet long and 30 feet wide. This is where Kirby Tomatoes are grown. The greenhouses are contained ecosystems, with controlled temperatures, air movement, and water. But the plants are set in the gumbo soil of the Newell area that once nurtured sugar beets, a fact Becky Kirby credits for the sweetness of her tomatoes.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks visited the greenhouses on a recent tour.

Victoria Wicks

Belle Valley Ancient Grains is a farm near Newell. There Brian and Linda Stambaugh cultivate grains that have been around for thousands of years. The couple recently hosted a tour of the operation for a group of people interested in farm-to-table production of healthy foods. Victoria Wicks joined them and visited this farm where ancient grains are grown, sorted, and milled into specialty flour.

Victoria Wicks

This weekend the Artists of the Black Hills kicked off their annual exhibit at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. The group consists of more than forty artists who create sculptures, photographs, and paintings in various mediums. One of the artists is Carol Lee Hilgemann, who assembles found objects into 3-D collage. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a First Circuit judge's decision to increase the sentence of a defendant who flipped him off in the courtroom. The high court heard oral arguments in April. At issue was whether the sentencing hearing had ended before the judge called the defendant back to reevaluate the sentence he had just imposed. SDPB's Victoria Wicks explains.

To read the full opinion, click here:

http://ujs.sd.gov/uploads/sc/opinions/28407dhae758.pdf

Victoria Wicks

A family of juggling unicyclists got a roomful of children all fired up at the Rapid City Public Library on Monday, July 23. The free event gave families an opportunity to see a rare form of entertainment. But beyond that, the children received a lesson in the payoffs of persistence. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... July 12, 2018 Show 377 Hour 1

From the shifting nature of news to the gift of the South Dakota outdoors, SDPB's Kevin Woster writes about life and politics, people and the wild that surrounds us.

You can find it on his blog, "On the Other Hand." 

The South Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion on Thursday, June 14, that state courts don't have jurisdiction over certification of the Keystone XL pipeline permit.

Pipeline opponents appealed the Public Utilities Commission's 2014 certfication of TransCanada's 2010 permit.

On appeal, a Sixth Circuit judge upheld the certification, and opponents appealed that decision.

Now the high court says neither the Sixth Circuit nor the Supreme Court has standing under state law to hear the appeal.

Franz Jantzen, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court is now deliberating whether it should amend or overrule its Quill opinion. That 1992 decision holds that Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate commerce among the states. And absent congressional action, states can't force businesses with no physical presence in the state to collect state sales taxes.

Last June, a convicted felon who disagreed with his sentence and flipped off the judge ended up with more time in prison. Now the South Dakota Supreme Court will decide if that First Circuit judge could legally impose that longer incarceration. The resolution depends on whether the defendant was no longer under the court's rule. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, April 17. SDPB's Victoria Wicks explains.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 17, from opponents and proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In 2015, the Public Utilities Commission accepted TransCanada's certification that it can comply with the conditions of its 2010 permit.

Opponents appealed that certification to the Sixth Circuit Court last year, and now appeals the court's decision to the state's high court.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Art Sign Works

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley is going before the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 17, to argue in favor of online sales tax collection and remittance. The case is titled South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

The state passed a law in 2016 requiring out-of-state vendors to collect taxes on sales to South Dakota customers. But South Dakota's law was deemed unconstitutional by state courts, based on a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota.

SD Department of Corrections

In 2014 the warden at the South Dakota State Penitentiary enacted a more stringent policy restricting access to obscene materials.

Inmate Charles Sisney sued in U.S. Federal District Court in Sioux Falls, leaving that court to balance an inmate's civil rights against the need to maintain a safe and orderly institution.

Under the newest policy, not only pictures are banned, but also prose. And images that can be banned include nudity in any context, including art or modern photography.

SD Department of Corrections

Annie Mae Aquash was found dead on the Pine Ridge Reservation in February 1976, killed by a bullet to the back of her head, but no one was charged with the crime for almost 30 years. Then two defendants were tried and convicted.

One of them, John Graham, has lost another appeal.

Graham was extradited from Canada in 2007 after he was implicated by his codefendant.

Avonlee Photography

South Dakota is going before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 17.

The state passed a law in 2016 that requires online vendors to collect and remit sales taxes from their South Dakota customers. South Dakota is asking the court to make that statute enforceable by overturning an earlier opinion in Quill v. North Dakota.

A nationally-recognized law professor says South Dakota's statute does not limit its collection authority to businesses in other states. And so overturning the Quill opinion does not resolve all of the constitutional issues.

Sutton for South Dakota

South Dakota is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to get online vendors to collect and remit sales taxes. Attorney General Marty Jackley is arguing the case on April 17. South Dakota's U.S. Representative Kristi Noem has sponsored a bill in Congress to try to accomplish the same thing through federal legislation.

Noem and Jackley, both Republicans, have announced they are running for governor of South Dakota.

Tribal reservations, as sovereign governments, have the authority to collect taxes. Eight tribes within South Dakota's boundaries, along with the National Congress of American Indians, are taking steps to make sure that authority remains intact.

On April 17, South Dakota goes before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that out-of-state and online vendors should collect and remit sales taxes from South Dakota customers.

Victoria Wicks

Rapid City is looking at ways to increase affordable housing. One proposal is to pass an ordinance permitting Accessory Dwelling Units such as mother-in-law apartments or converted garages. These units would be allowed in neighborhoods zoned for single-family houses where the property owner lives on site. Employees of Rapid City's Community Development Department hosted an open house at the downtown library on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Abena Songbird, SD School of Mines Office of Multicultural Affairs

February is National Black History Month, and it's a time when the National Society of Black Engineers comes into focus at the School of Mines and Technology. Two of that group's student representatives tell SDPB's Victoria Wicks that race relations have changed over the years, but not nearly enough. And they say South Dakota's overwhelmingly white population makes it a lonely place for them to live.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is now deliberating the federal lawsuit alleging unlawful handling of emergency hearings in Pennington County. Three appellate judges heard oral arguments in St. Paul on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Two tribes, along with Native parents, filed suit almost five years ago against the Seventh Circuit Court, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. They say officials in these agencies violate the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as due process protections under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Five years ago tribes and parents sued state and county officials in Pennington County for violating the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from those officials' lawyers, who say their clients should not have been sued because they didn't create the questioned policies. The officials are appealing a federal judge's decision that forced changes in the way emergency hearings are held in child custody cases. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City's federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought suit against state officials in Pennington County. They claim the process for handling abuse and neglect cases routinely violates ICWA and due process rights.

SD Department of Corrections

The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of Christopher Dean Kryger, who raped and strangled a Sioux Falls woman in her home in 2014.

Kryger appealed his conviction, saying the judge made errors at trial that prejudiced the jury against him, and that there wasn't enough evidence to support a guilty verdict.

At oral arguments last month, Assistant Attorney General Ann Meyers told Supreme Court justices that the jury had heard Kryger's objections to the evidence.

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