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.

SD Legislative Research Council

State Senator Red Dawn Foster spoke last before the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission at hearings held this week at Saint Francis. The freshman senator from Oglala Lakota County said she opposed the Keystone XL pipeline during the 2019 legislative session. She told commissioners that there's a "clash of world views" between state officials and indigenous people.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Legislative Research Council

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission heard from politicians and activists this week at its two-day hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline. The gathering was held at Saint Francis. TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) was notified of the hearing but did not send a representative.

Commissioners heard from leaders of several tribes, as well as State Senator Red Dawn Foster and State Representative Shawn Bordeaux.

YouTube screenshot

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Utilities Commission is holding two days of hearings on the Keystone XL pipeline. The commission is responding to TC Energy's plans to build a pipeline that crosses Rosebud trust land adjacent to the reservation. The commission served notice of the hearing on TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, but no representatives showed up. The hearing started on Tuesday, May 28, and continued the next day. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

NARF

Earlier this year the Governor of South Dakota did not consult tribes while planning legislation to deal with pipeline protests.

Because of that decision, the Oglala Sioux Tribe banned Kristi Noem from visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Noem says tribes were left out because the proposed Keystone XL pipeline does not cross reservation land.

But a lawsuit filed in Montana federal court by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe says otherwise.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline are asking for more information before South Dakota Water permits are granted for pipeline construction. Opposing parties want the Water Management Board to compel discovery from pipeline parent company TC Energy Corporation, previously known as TransCanada. These issues were the subject of a hearing held Wednesday, May 8, in Pierre to determine rules and scheduling for future hearings.

File photo

EB-5 has become code for one of South Dakota's most complex political scandals. EB-5 is the program by which foreign investors buy a chance at getting a visa by investing a half million dollars to create jobs.

EB-5 is alive now in federal court, with foreign investors suing to be repaid a loan of $32.5 million.

The money came from a limited partnership called SDIF, which brought in 65 foreign investors putting up $500,000 each.

A limited liability company, or LLC, called Tentexkota, borrowed the money to build the Deadwood Mountain Grand casino and event center.

A former employee of Northern State University has appealed her firing to the South Dakota Supreme Court. The former director of the student affairs counseling center says she was fired in December 2017 as retaliation for whistle-blowing. Her university supervisors and the Board of Regents say she didn't go through proper channels to appeal her firing.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday, April 30. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Churchill, Manolis, Freeman, Kludt & Burns, LLP

A hearing set for Wednesday, April 24, to consider TransCanada's request to use water for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been postponed.

TransCanada says it plans to start construction on worker camps in August.

The company has asked the South Dakota Water Management Board to exclude tribes and environmental groups from the permitting process.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Environmentalists have been quick to sue President Donald Trump for issuing a new permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. The president issued a new permit that bypasses the U.S. State Department on March 29.

One week later, two pipeline opponents filed a complaint in Montana federal court.

That new permit has kicked off a flurry of activity in Montana federal court.

Feds say the president is within his rights to sign a new permit, and the project will still be subject to federal review.

ACLU SD

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a challenge to a new South Dakota law designed to protect construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from "riot boosters."

Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg are included as defendants. In the last full week of the 2019 legislative session, Noem pushed through two bills to prevent another Standing Rock situation if the Keystone XL pipeline is built.

Noem signed the new legislation on Wednesday, March 27, and the ACLU filed its complaint in South Dakota federal court on Thursday, March 28.

Anne Dilenschneider online

The Hiawatha Indian Insane Asylum at Canton opened in 1902 and operated for more than 30 years. The facility housed indigenous people from across the country who were deemed insane for rebelling against white rule.

Two South Dakotans have been giving presentations for years to call attention to this piece of state and national history.

On Friday evening, they'll speak with a Rapid City audience at the Journey Museum.

Victoria Wicks has this story.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Keystone XL pipeline has been on-again, off-again since 2008. That's when TransCanada first applied for a presidential permit to build the pipeline across the U.S./Canada border.

South Dakota rancher John Harter has known since the beginning that the pipeline is planned to cross his land near Winner.

He says he's relieved that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals left a Montana injunction in place, but he realizes this might not be the end.

Construction on the Keystone XL pipeline remains on hold until an appeal to the Ninth Circuit plays out. That order came out Friday, March 15.

The pipeline was stopped late last year, when a Montana federal judge put an injunction on the project until the U.S. State Department does more work on the permit.

TransCanada appealed that order to the Ninth Circuit and asked that the injunction be lifted while the appeal proceeds. The appeals court has turned down that request.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more.

SD Department of Corrections

A Milbank man convicted of second-degree murder is getting a new trial.

A Third Circuit jury found Michael Swan guilty in September 2017 of stomping his wife to death a year earlier. Swan was at that time 63 years old, and his wife was 77.

The trial judge refused to give the jury an instruction that they could also consider a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The Supreme Court says the trial judge abused his discretion by doing so.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

Two controversial bills addressing the cost of hosting pipelines have landed on the governor's desk ready for Kristi Noem's signature.

One law sets up a fund to pay for the pipeline-related costs incurred by state and local governments.

The other introduces the term "riot boosting" and links the actions of rioters to the organizations that support their causes.

Deb Soholt online

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has moved hemp cultivation a step closer to being legal in South Dakota. Committee members heard more than two hours of testimony and discussion on Thursday, Feb. 28, before voting to send HB 1191 to the floor of the Senate.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has more of this story.

A former Rapid City police officer is not entitled to survivor's benefits, because she and her deceased wife were not married at the time of the retirement. That's the decision of the South Dakota Supreme Court in an opinion released Thursday, Feb. 21.

The court says the couple could have legally married in another state to satisfy South Dakota's retirement laws.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Victoria Wicks

The Black Hills Figure Skating Club held its 14th annual Gold Rush competition this weekend in Rapid City. And for the first time, the event brought in nationally qualified judges to conduct testing so skaters can advance to the next level. Skaters say that skating is a tough sport that requires muscular strength and years of constant training.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

U.S. District Court-Montana

A Montana federal judge has loosened restrictions on preconstruction activities for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The federal court halted the pipeline in November until the U.S. State Department completes an accurate and updated environmental impact statement.

TransCanada appealed the injunction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the Montana federal court to lift restrictions pending appeal.

An environmental lawyer says once construction starts, opponents lose.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

NARF

The Keystone XL pipeline has landed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court has opened five cases stemming from a Montana federal court order issued in November and amended in December and again on Friday, Feb.15. Those orders stop pipeline construction until the U.S. State Department receives an environmental impact statement that conforms with the National Environmental Protection Act, or NEPA.

Associated School Boards of SD

Prosecutors and school administrators traveled to Pierre earlier this week to stand up for Senate Bill 67. That bill allows judges to more easily send troublesome juveniles to the supervision of the Department of Corrections.

The bill undoes some of the reforms of 2015, when the state passed the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Initiative.

SD Legislative Research Council

South Dakota farmers wanting to grow hemp crossed a legal hurdle on Thursday, Feb. 7.

The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources approved a bill that lays out regulations for hemp cultivation.

This state legislation follows the decriminalization of hemp in the 2018 federal farm bill.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Legislative Research Council

South Dakotans possessing edible marijuana products will continue to face a Class 5 felony if they're caught. A bill designed to equalize punishments failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The bill's sponsor says the intoxicants in edibles is the same as in leaf marijuana, but opponents say it's more highly concentrated.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Attorney General; Moreno & Bachand; SDLRC

Defendants facing allegations of third-degree rape might not be able to rely on the claim that they didn't know a victim was too intoxicated to consent. Senate Bill 107 has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is designed to undo the effects of a 2011 state Supreme Court opinion that overturned a rape conviction.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

SD Legislative Research Council

An attempt to include same-gender sex in the state's definition of adultery has been shot down in the House Judiciary Committee. Current South Dakota law specifies that adultery is an extramarital affair with someone of the opposite sex. House Bill 1107 eliminated gender references so that adultery is an affair with another person outside the marriage. The bill was sent to the forty-first legislative day by a 7 to 6 vote.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

SD Department of Corrections

A prison inmate convicted of child rape and pornography will not get a new trial. The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Waylon Uhre, whose appeal was heard on Oct. 3.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

IMDb

Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power came out in January 2017, but it was all but impossible to find a showing in South Dakota. An online search shows only the Sierra Club sponsored a screening in Vermillion in September that year.

Gore's first documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, made a much bigger splash. It won an Academy Award for Best Documentary and was part of a body of work that earned Gore, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel Peace Prize.

SD Legislative Research Council

Hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, is on its way to being clearly removed from a list of scheduled drugs in South Dakota.

The Health and Human Services Committee passed an amended bill on Wednesday, Jan. 23, to clear up concerns of hemp activists who testified last week against Senate Bill 22. They said the bill appeared to criminalize possession of hemp CBD without a prescription.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Victoria Wicks

For the third year since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, women have marched in locations across the nation to call for equality. A renewed demand for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment has been a central theme.

Included in this year's Rapid City march, held Saturday, Jan. 19, were three 16-year-olds born long after the ERA failed. SDPB's Victoria Wicks asks what inspired them to march in cold temps through snow to hold signs and chant.

Victoria Wicks

The third-annual Women's March in Rapid City on Saturday included many men. One of them is Dan May. He says he considers himself to be a feminist. And he says he supports not only women's equality, but also the range of issues represented on the signs people carried in the march.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

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