DAKOTAS GAS PRICES
Gas prices on pace for all-time highs in ND, SD
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Gas prices in the Dakotas are poised to reach all-time highs.
Triple A North Dakota spokesman Gene LaDoucer says he expects the state to break the statewide average of $4.08 a gallon. The average price in the state Friday was $3.98, with some stations charging as much as $4.29.
An AAA report shows South Dakota's highest statewide average to be $4.09 per gallon. The average price in the state Friday was $3.89.
Officials say increases are due to accidents at Midwest oil refineries and the planned temporary closures of 2 large refineries in Chicago, Illinois.
LaDoucer tells The Forum newspaper that it's a regional issue and should be "a short-term episode."
AAA South Dakota spokesman Chuck Mai tells the Yankton Press and Dakotan newspaper that the situation "chills you to the bone."
INDIAN CHILD WELFARE
SD officials say not enough notice given on summit
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The head of South Dakota's Department of Social Services says the state wasn't given enough notice about a conference on Indian child foster care in Rapid City.
The summit that wrapped up Friday brought together representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Justice, tribal and state judges, and representatives from tribes in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington and Minnesota to discuss the Indian Child Welfare Act.
There were no officials from state social services.
Social Services Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon tells the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that state officials learned about the date a week ago and could not make it work.
Malsam-Rysdon says child welfare is a "huge priority" for the state and her department works with the tribes on a daily basis.
EVENTS CENTER BOOKINGS
Fledgling SD events center already booking shows
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Officials have started to book shows at an events center that's taking shape in South Dakota's largest city.
Construction of the $117 million Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls began last summer. The arena will seat 13,000 people and include luxury suites.
Events center general manager Terry Torkildson tells the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that he has started to book events beginning in September 2014. He says he's reserving dates as far out as May 2015.
Torkildson would not comment on the events, other than to say, "It will surprise a lot of people."
The center is also scheduled to hold the annual Summit League men's and women's basketball tournaments.
Former Texas congressman to speak at SD Ag Summit
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Former U.S. Representative Charlie Stenholm of Texas will be the keynote speaker next month at South Dakota's annual Governor's Ag Development Summit.
Stenholm was a member of the Agriculture Committee during his 26 years in the U.S. House. South Dakota Agriculture Department officials say Stenholm earned a reputation for building bipartisan alliances in agriculture, resources conservation, food safety, Social Security, energy, health care and budgeting.
Stenholm is now a policy adviser at a Washington, D.C., law firm.
The agricultural summit will be held June 26th in Pierre. State Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch says department officials will provide an update on recent agricultural initiatives.
People can register for the summit by calling Nina Fromm at 605-773-5436 or emailing Nina DOT Fromm(at)State DOT SD DOT US. There is no cost to attend.
Prosecutors won't seek death penalty in SD killing
CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (AP) - Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty if a man accused of killing a Mitchell woman is convicted.
Thirty-6-year-old Kent Davidson is accused of fatally shooting 26-year-old Crystal Schulz in the head with a shotgun on March 11th. Her body was found three days later in a shed at her mother's residence in rural Chamberlain.
Davidson is charged with first-degree murder. The charge has a minimum sentence of life in prison with the option of a death sentence.
The Daily Republic reports that documents filed Friday show that the state reserves the right to revisit the death penalty issue "in the event of an unforeseen significant change in circumstances."
A spokesman for South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said Jackley was not available for comment on Friday.
Internal wrangling marks Dems' Senate campaigns
ATLANTA (AP) - Republicans aren't the only ones roiled by internal jostling and recruiting hiccups ahead of next year's midterm elections.
Two top-tier Democratic prospects recently bypassed running for Senate seats in Georgia and South Dakota. Their decisions highlighted the party's challenge of finding candidates whose ideologies line up with voters in Republican-leaning states.
Democrats say they'll be fine even though John Barrow in Georgia and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in South Dakota declined to seek seats left open by retirements. Both are moderate-to-conservative Democrats whose views would seemingly play well in their states, giving the party a chance to win on GOP turf as Democrats look to hang onto power in the Senate.
But without them running, Democrats probably will be forced to back more liberal, less-tested nominees who will likely have tougher races.
WATER PARK OPENING
Huron water park set to open next Friday
HURON, S.D. (AP) - Huron's $12.5 million Splash Central Water Park is set to open next Friday, but the opening of the 50-meter competition pool will have to wait.
City Engineer Mike Wever tells KOKK radio that ground water below the 12-foot end of the pool has caused some damage. Contractors and engineers on the project are recommending making repairs now, instead of patching the crack and fixing it next fall.
The repairs are being covered by the contractor on the project and will not be billed to the city.
The weight of 3 to four feet of water in the deep end would have prevented the crack, but extended winter weather prevented filling the pool earlier.
Splash Central manager Laura McGirr says the rest of the water park will be open for visitors.
NEW SD COURSE
Sioux Falls-area course on track for next summer
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Developers say a new Sioux Falls-area golf course designed by accomplished course architect Rees Jones should ready for play by late next summer.
Construction on the 18-hole Grand Falls Casino Resort course in nearby Larchwood, Iowa, is expected to be completed late this summer, which would allow seeding this fall and in the spring of 2014.
Jones tells the Argus Leader that every hole on the prairie golf course layout was designed with the wind as a factor.
Known as the "Open Doctor" for his redesign efforts, Jones has given facelifts to several courses in preparation for major championships. He has designed or redesigned more than 170 courses.
Jones is the son of renowned course designer Robert Trent Jones Junior, the architect of Oxbow County Club in Oxbow, North Dakota.
Tom Brokaw speaks at Mayo Clinic commencement
ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) - Former news anchor Tom Brokaw told Mayo Clinic students at their commencement ceremony to make money but not to forget to make a difference.
The 73-year-old journalist, who hosted NBC Nightly News for 22 years, also became the first recipient of an honorary degree from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine on Saturday.
The South Dakota native joined Mayo Clinic's Board of Trustees in 2008. He's also developed three documentaries about health care in America.
The Post-Bulletin of Rochester reports he urged the graduates to hold compassionate dialogue with patients, while also improving transparency about medical bills.
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