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Victoria Wicks

The Keystone XL pipeline has had a long history for something that so far does not yet exist. It's future has not been decided either.

South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission first permitted the pipeline to cut diagonally across the western half of the state in 2010.

But TransCanada did not complete the project within four years, and so state law required the company to make assurances that it could still meet the requirements of the permit.

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Mar 9, 2017

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Mar 9, 2017

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Mar 9, 2017

Victoria Wicks

The Keystone XL pipeline is at issue once again, this time in a South Dakota courtroom. Opponents filed an appeal in 2016 after the Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead for the pipeline the previous year. On Wednesday in Pierre, a Sixth Circuit judge heard oral arguments in the case.

Opponents say the PUC didn't do its job to ensure that TransCanada can build a safe pipeline.

But the PUC and TransCanada say the outcome followed state law.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks traveled to Pierre to get this report.

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Mar 8, 2017

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Mar 8, 2017

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Mar 8, 2017

U.N. Special Rapporteur Weighs In On DAPL

Mar 6, 2017
Courtesy UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

A U.N. representative who focuses on Indigenous issues around the world spent two weeks in the U.S. visiting Native American tribes in the Southwest and on the Northern Plains. We spoke with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People about what she plans to file in her official report about her visit.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz travels the world from her home in the Philippines to investigate issues of concern for Indigenous peoples.

Seabees Celebrate 75th Anniversary

Mar 2, 2017
Courtesy U.S. Navy

March 5 marks the 75th anniversary of the United States Naval Construction

Forces…more commonly known as “The Seabees”. Although the relatively small unit has played an integral part in support of America’s military operations around the world many people have never heard of them.

SDPB’s Jim Kent sat down with a couple of these servicemen who were trained to build…and to fight…and shares their story.

Victoria Wicks file photo

Paul Dean Jensen spent 20 years in prison, serving life without parole for a murder he committed in 1996 at the age of 14. In June, a judge reconsidered that penalty and imposed a 200 year sentence, with parole eligibility in 2021.

Now Jensen is appealing that second sentence. He says the sentencing judge abdicated his responsibilities to the parole board.

The South Dakota Supreme Court will consider this case on briefs during its March term. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

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Feb 20, 2017

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Feb 20, 2017

In 2014, South Dakota committed to using the services of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC. The consortium is located at UCLA and provides testing of K-12 student achievement.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, the South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral arguments from its opponents. Two South Dakota taxpayers filed suit through the Thomas More Law Center, an organization in Michigan that battles Common Core standards. The plaintiffs claim the consortium is an interstate compact requiring consent of the U.S. Congress and violates state and federal law.

In 2011, prison officer Ron Johnson was murdered by two inmates who were trying to escape. His widow, Lynette Johnson, sued the South Dakota Department of Corrections and certain of its employees, in particular then-Warden Doug Weber. She holds that prison officials knew the inmates were planning an escape, but concealed that information after the incident.

The suit has been dismissed by both a federal court and state court. Now Lynette Johnson has appealed to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

Victoria Wicks file photo

A package of legislation designed to address mental health issues in criminal justice has been presented to the legislature in Pierre. House Bill 1183 is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

Chief Justice David Gilbertson has led the effort to reduce recidivism and increase services to mentally ill people who often end up in jail.

Victoria Wicks

A psychologist from San Antonio's Haven for Hope came to Rapid City on Thursday, Feb. 2, to speak to a crowd of more than 200 people at the Dahl Arts Center. This was a second trip for Gilbert Gonzales. He also visited in 2011 to help city and county officials kick off plans for a comprehensive service center for homeless people. Gonzales says addiction and mental illness often underlie homelessness, and treating the issues can ultimately save taxpayers a lot of money.

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Jan 27, 2017

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Jan 27, 2017

Victoria Wicks

The Black Hills Celtic Society celebrates the birthday of Scots poet Robert Burns every year. The Bard of Scotland--the Ploughman's Poet--was born in the middle of the Eighteenth Century and died young. But before he went, he produced 12 children by four women and an impressive collection of poetry and song. His birthday, Jan. 25, is celebrated wherever Scots live throughout the world. And that includes Rapid City. SDPB's Victoria Wicks joined that group Saturday night.

Miss Weiss

On Saturday South Dakotans joined millions of people across the world for a one-day rally. The Women's March on Washington was established as a show of solidarity and a rallying cry that women's rights are human rights. Companion marches took place in all 50 states and across the globe.

In Rapid City, protesters filled the City Administration parking lot, marched through a few blocks of downtown, and then gathered in Memorial Park.

Sent by Suzan Nolan

One of the South Dakotans who joined the Women's March on Washington, D.C., was Suzan Nolan of Rapid City.

Nolan had initially made arrangements to travel to Hillary Clinton's inauguration. After Donald Trump's victory, Nolan heard about the Women's March and kept her plane ticket.

Nolan talks with SDPB's Victoria Wicks from Washington after the march.

SD Department of Corrections

It has been 17 years since Dottie Poage lost her son to murder. Three men were convicted of killing Chester Poage, and all three men have had different outcomes.

One of them is Briley Piper, waiting on death row in the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, he failed to have his death sentence overturned by a state judge in the Fourth Circuit.

Dottie Poage tells SDPB's Victoria Wicks that she has had to be patient all these years, watching Piper go through years of appeals to avoid execution.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

The importance of punctuation and grammar was at issue in the South Dakota Supreme Court on Wednesday. In a case involving open records, justices heard from lawyers representing the Argus Leader and the City of Sioux Falls. The dispute revolves around the wording of one short paragraph in the open records chapter and whether it allows government entities to keep records closed when they've entered into a contract. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s governor says he wants to fight methamphetamine by punishing bad behavior and reinforcing the good.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he wants to offer incentives to beat addiction. He says he supports allowing offenders who complete court-ordered treatment in a year one opportunity to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. Daugaard says he also supports mandatory jail time for people on probation or parole who fail drug tests.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

South Dakota inmate Daniel Charles came up before the South Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Charles' attorney asked for reconsideration of his 92-year prison sentence. Charles was 14 when he killed his stepfather in Meade County. He's now 32. He'll be 60 before he comes up for parole. His attorney argues that parole at retirement age doesn't allow Charles to have a meaningful life on the outside. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports.

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