SD lawmakers decide how much budget can spend
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Legislature's budget-writing committee has decided the state will have more money to spend in the next year than economists had predicted.
The Joint Appropriations Committee has adopted revenue estimates that exceed projections from state economists by several million dollars. The committee will use those estimates as it puts the finishing touches on next year's state budget this week.
Members of the Appropriations Committee say they believe state tax collections will be strong because South Dakota's construction and agricultural sectors will prosper in the next year. The panel plans to meet again Thursday to consider proposed changes to the budget.
The House and Senate plan to pass a budget by Friday, the final day in the main run of this year's legislative session.
Case continued against SD jailer accused of rape
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota jailer accused of raping a female inmate is scheduled to enter pleas Friday after a magistrate judge ruled there is enough evidence to continue the case against him
Thirty-year-old Anthony Peet, of Oral, was arrested Feb. 16 in Bryan, Ohio, after authorities in Fall River County issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge that he raped the inmate in January. His bond was set at $2 million cash or surety.
The inmate who accused Peet testified during a hearing Monday that Peet violated her with his hands. The defense presented witnesses who testified the woman said in jail that she had feelings for Peet and wanted to touch him.
Magistrate Judge Heidi Linngren found probable cause for four of the five counts against Peet.
OLD MURDER-DNA TESTING
South Dakota murder convict won't get new trial
MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - A man convicted of a 1985 murder in South Dakota won't get a new trial, despite new DNA evidence that concluded he wasn't the source of two hair samples taken from the victim.
Judge Bruce Anderson has ruled that nothing in the DNA evidence exonerates Lewis Ashker. The Daily Republic reports that the judge also says DNA evidence must be considered with the other evidence in the case.
Ashker and Kurt Novaock, both of Wayne, Neb., were sentenced to life in prison for killing Jerry Plihal while trying to steal his gun collection. Authorities said Plihal was stabbed 21 times.
Ashker requested the hairs be tested using DNA technology that became available a few years ago. When the results came back he asked Anderson to overturn his 1986 conviction.
SD man pleads not guilty in Amber Alert incident
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A Rapid City man accused of beating his ex-girlfriend and taking their two young daughters has pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault and kidnapping charges.
The charges against 27-year-old Skye Burnham-Endicott stem from a mid-February incident in which he allegedly kicked, stabbed and choked the mother of his children and took the 1-month-old and 1-year-old children. Authorities issued an Amber Alert before finding the children unharmed a short time later.
Burnham-Endicott does not have custody rights to the children.
He remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bond. He could face life in prison if convicted of first-degree kidnapping.
Permit for Sioux Falls homeless shelter appealed
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Sioux Falls businesswoman has appealed a decision by the city Planning Commission to approve a permit for a proposed homeless shelter.
The Argus Leader reports that Marian Rieffer owns a store across from the proposed site. She says the shelter would be too close to schools and a public swimming pool, and she's also worried about crime.
The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls plans to spend more than $1 million buying and renovating an empty warehouse for the shelter. The diocese says it should reduce problems with vagrancy, panhandling and public drunkenness.
Chancellor Matt Althoff says the diocese is prepared for an appeal, and that it's good there's a process for people to voice their concerns.
The City Council plans a March 18 public hearing.
Augustana College names finalists for AD position
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Augustana College has named three finalists for its athletic director position.
The remaining candidates will participate in on-campus interviews starting next week. They are University of Arkansas-Fort Smith athletic director Dustin Smith, University of South Dakota associate athletic director Jon Schemmel and Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School activities director Slade Larscheid.
The school announced late last year that athletic director Bill Gross was stepping down after 28 years at the helm to take an administrative position with the college's Advancement Office.
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