Pennington County


In the state’s second largest county absentee voting has been extremely heavy this year. Pennington County received more than 37,000 absentee ballots, nearly double that from 2016.

Given that influx an absentee ballot board has been at work since 7 am, opening ballots and putting an official stamp on them and getting them ready to run through the tabulators.

The ballots won’t get tallied until after the polls close, which is 7 pm local time.

Peggy Seljeskog is an absentee ballot supervisor. She’s been working as an election official for 25 years.

News Special: Policing & Protests In South Dakota

Jun 5, 2020

In this In the Moment news podcast special, we are joined by two of the speakers from the peaceful protest in Sioux Falls, Congressman Johnson, Mayor TenHaken, and Captain Harrison with the Pennington County Sherriff's Office. 

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South Dakota’s public health lab has confirmed five cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. Governor Noem is partially activating the state’s emergency operations center. She says the state and its healthcare professionals are prepared to respond.

The confirmed cases are in Beadle, Charles-Mix, Davison and Minnehaha counties. The fifth case in Pennington county is related to a man in his 60’s with underlying health issues who died on Tuesday.

Governor Noem says COVID-19 is not confirmed to be the cause of death.

News: Dec 7 - 13

Dec 13, 2019

In this week’s South Dakota news, a civil trial at the Aberdeen federal courthouse challenges the implementation of HB 1094, and reports from counties in Minnesota and North Dakota show communities divided over refugee resettlement. Is the quarrel soon coming to South Dakota?

Pennington Increases Addiction Treatment Beds

Oct 17, 2019

Pennington County officials are doubling the number of addiction treatment beds in Rapid City.

It’s part of an effort to stop the revolving door in the criminal justice system and meth addiction.

West River officials cut the ribbon for a 64-bed residential addiction treatment wing at the Pennington County Care Campus in downtown Rapid City.

The county received a $2.2 million donation to complete the treatment wing. Rapid City donated $900,000.

In The Moment ... February 21, 2019 Show 520 Hour 1

Monday night 2/25/19 at 6:00 MT in room 112 at BHSU Rapid City, Hollie Strand presents "Current Trends in the Online Exploitation of Children. Hollie is a Forensic Examiner with Pennington County. This lecture takes place at the Black Hills State University extension in Rapid City.

In The Moment ... January 15, 2019 Show 495 Hour 1

Last years legislative session allowed for a mental health court in South Dakota. Pennington County was chosen to have this locaton as the pilot program. Jeff Connolly is a judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit and he heads up this program and joins us now to explain how it works.

Chynna Lockett

In The Moment ... May 15, 2018 Show 337 Hour 2

How do we keep our jails from filling with people who might better be served elsewhere?

The Safety and Justice Challenge, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, seeks to reduce the overuse of jails or, put another way, the over-incarceration of Americans.

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

Early voting or absentee voting starts Friday for South Dakota’s primary and special elections.

Registered voters can vote early or absentee until June 4.

One west river county auditor says they’re expecting a higher than normal turnout.

Of the 68,000 registered voters in Pennington County, Auditor Julie Pearson says she’s expecting a 35 percent turnout. She says that’s high for a primary.

She says that’s mainly due to two issues up for vote in Rapid City that aren’t party based – the Marsy’s Law adjustment and the referral of a new arena at the civic center.

Lee Strubinger

In The Moment ... October 4, 2017 Show 191 Hour 1

Lee Strubinger

In The Moment ... May 3, 2017 Show 085 Hour 2

This week's Dakota Political Junkies features Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, and Seth Tupper, enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal. We talk about the 2018 gubernatorial primary options, the power of Pennington County Republicans, and whether or not a Sioux Falls mayor has the chance at statewide office.

In The Moment ... March 29, 2017 Show 060 Hour 2

We begin hour two with the Dakota Political Junkies. Seth Tupper ( and Jonathan Ellis ( join us. We talk about how changes in immigration policies affect the tourism industry in the Black Hills, speeding statistics from the Highway Patrol, and the future of concealed carry legislation.

Pennington County Sheriff's Office

Pennington County Jail officials in Rapid City have expanded public visitation access to inmates.

Along with the traditional on site access, friends and family can now visit through mobile or computer devices.

The process is similar to a Skype or Face Time session. Jail officials say increased visitation has shown to lead to better inmate behavior.  

Victoria Wicks

The Pennington County State's Attorney is adding four new employees to handle additional responsibilities of working with crime victims.

The expansion of county government comes on the heels of Amendment S, or Marsy's Law. It was passed by South Dakota voters and takes effect this week. The law offers rights to victims of all crimes and to some of their relatives.

Charles Michael Ray

Eric Whitcher is director of the Public Defender's Office of Pennington County. He joins Midday to discuss the impact of criminal justice reform in South Dakota, the impact of SB70 in the state, and the intersection between poverty and justice.

South Dakota Fugitive On ‘Most Wanted’ List

Jul 27, 2016
Department of Justice

A South Dakota fugitive is now on America's top 15 most wanted list. The US Marshals added the alleged child sexual predator to the list. Federal authorities are working with Pennington County law enforcement on the case.

48-year-old David Bonness is wanted by the Pennington County Sheriff and State’s Attorney’s offices for multiple counts of pedophilia and rape. The U.S. Marshals offer a $25,000 reward for information leading directly to his arrest.

Western South Dakota In Drought

Jun 23, 2016
National Weather Service

Western South Dakota is sliding into a drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows several counties are experiencing moderate to severe drought. Officials say the drought is hitting Lawrence, Pennington and Meade counties the hardest.

Melissa Smith is a hydrologist with the Rapid City National Weather Service. She says areas around the Black Hills are in real need of precipitation.

Dakota Digest April 22, 2016

Apr 25, 2016

On this week's episode of Dakota Digest, the Sioux Falls Fire Department talks about fire safety with fire pits and summertime grilling. Also, an emergency shelter has introduced a new program, which is designed to support people who need temporary assistance. All of this and more...

Pennington County is a finalist in the Safety and Justice Challenge, a grant program through the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Sheriff Kevin Thom joins Dakota Midday to talk about what the department learned during the application process as well as criminal justice reforms.

Victoria Wicks file photo

A federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act in Pennington County is now back in motion. Judge Jeffrey Viken issued an order on March 30 last year, finding that judges, prosecutors, and child protection officials violated ICWA in the way they conducted hearings immediately after children were removed from their parents' care. For almost a year, Viken has been reviewing defendants' motions for reconsideration. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was filed in federal court in early 2013.

Pennington County Voters Reject Wheel Tax

Jan 5, 2016

Voters in Pennington County rejected a wheel tax proposal in a special election held on Tuesday.  

Human Trafficking is fast becoming a familiar topic in South Dakota. Captain Corey Brubakken (Pennington County Sheriff's Office) outlines what to look for and how to report suspected trafficking in your community. 

The South Dakota West River Human Trafficking Task Force invites the public to a screening of the Shared Hope International documentary "Chosen." It's the true story of girls whose lives were transformed after tumbling into the modern slave trade.

Pennington County Voters Consider Wheel Tax

Jan 4, 2016
Charles Michael Ray

Voters in Pennington County head to the polls on Tuesday, January 5th to decide on a county wide wheel tax.  

The tax adds to the fees paid during vehicle registration.  Motorists would see an increase of three to five dollars per wheel depending on the weight of the vehicle.

Image by Victoria Wicks

A defendant charged with child abuse is scheduled to go to trial for the second time Monday, Jan. 4. Patrick White Face was convicted in 2013, but that conviction was overturned by the South Dakota Supreme Court.

In the first trial, the state charged White Face with one count, a continuous act, although he stood accused of injuring his infant daughter on two separate occasions.