ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INVESTIGATION
Court rules against reporter in death records suit
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A judge ruled against a journalist in a lawsuit seeking more information about the death of former state economic development director Richard Benda.
Circuit Judge Kathleen Trandahl says Attorney General Marty Jackley was justified in not releasing details into Benda's death out of privacy concerns for his daughter.
Journalist Bob Mercer filed the lawsuit against Jackley. He previously was unsuccessful in getting records through an administrative law process.
Benda's October death was ruled a suicide. At the time, Jackley was preparing to file felony theft charges against Benda amid allegations of financial misconduct at the Governor's Office of Economic Development.
Trandahl wrote Mercer failed to rebut the presumption that the forensic report is legitimate.
Mercer says the public deserves more and he'll appeal to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
ALCOHOL SHIPPING LAWS
Legislators discuss relaxing wine-shipping laws
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A state legislative committee has made progress in crafting a bill to let South Dakotans buy out-of-state wines directly from producers but still needs to work out some key details.
Legislators on the Alcohol Distribution and Shipping committee met Tuesday in Pierre.
The committee had planned to finalize the proposed bill that would allow residents to buy up to 12 cases of wine per year directly from wineries. But legislators received conflicting input on how to regulate out-of-state wineries and opted to revisit the issue in October.
Lobbyists for the state's retailers and wholesalers want out-of-state wineries to pay more in taxes and fees. They say it's necessary to ensure a level playing field in the state.
Supporters of the proposed bill worry restrictive rules will keep away wineries.
Al Neuharth Award for Excellence winner named
VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - Former USA Today editor Peter Prichard has been selected to receive the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media.
A presentation is scheduled for Oct. 9 at the University of South Dakota.
Prichard is the chairman of the Newseum's board of trustees. He served as the president of the museum and the Freedom Forum until January 2009.
The annual award for lifetime achievement is named for USA Today and Freedom Forum founder Al Neuharth, a South Dakota native and 1950 USD graduate.
SIOUX FALLS DRUG INDICTMENT
Girlfriend of slain dealer pleads guilty in SD
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The girlfriend of a marijuana dealer who was killed in December has pleaded guilty to her role in a federal drug conspiracy case linked to her boyfriend's homicide.
Twenty-one-year-old Faith Rasmussen pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges and faces a minimum of five years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 24.
Rasmussen was charged in March along with her mother and two others.
Rasmussen was the girlfriend of Jordan LeBeau, who was killed in what authorities say was a botched robbery planned by other dealers in the Sioux Falls area. Two Watertown teenagers pleaded guilty last month to assault and manslaughter in LeBeau's slaying.
Authorities say the drug conspiracy involved more than 200 pounds of marijuana and tens of thousands of dollars.
Aberdeen may control airport pump during flooding
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration would allow Aberdeen officials to control a planned pump at the airport during emergencies.
The Aberdeen American News (http://bit.ly/W7gjNh ) reports the pump is part of a water management plan at the Aberdeen Regional Airport to Brown County.
Cody Roggatz is the city's transportation director. Roggatz says the FAA won't grant permanent control over the pump to local officials, but the agency would allow the airport manager and city manager to decide when the faster-flowing of two pumps would be turned on in the event of flooding.
The newspaper reports that the project is expected to drain water from holding ponds on the airfield south and west into a creek near Aberdeen's wastewater treatment plant. The pumps would only operate after it rains.
Pulse plant near Harrold to employ 14 initially
HARROLD, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Pulse Processors plant near Harrold plans to employ 14 people initially and possibly expand to as many as 21.
The $4.5 million plant will process pulse crops such as lentils, field peas and chickpeas. CEO and President Steven Brown tells the Capital Journal (http://bit.ly/1plrsRL ) that production employees will earn $15 an hour, with managers earning more.
The company plans to start construction of the plant this fall and begin processing yellow field peas early next year.
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