SD lawmaker will propose repeal of death penalty
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A state lawmaker who previously supported the death penalty says he will ask the 2014 South Dakota Legislature to repeal capital punishment.
Rep. Steve Hickey of Sioux Falls, who also is a pastor, says he changed his mind on the death penalty after reviewing the Bible. He says he also believes it does not deter people from committing horrible crimes, save money on appeals or improve public safety.
Hickey says his bill would not affect the three people currently on death row, but would ban the death penalty in future cases.
Attorney General Marty Jackley says he will oppose the bill because he believes the death penalty is appropriate for the most vile crimes. He says the death penalty does not increase appeals costs and can prevent other crimes.
Rapid City about to unveil landfill expansion
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - The Rapid City landfill is about to unveil a $4.4 million citizens' campus that officials say will make it safer and faster for residents to use.
Landfill superintendent Karl Merbach tells the Rapid City Journal that the new facility is expected to be partially opened by the end of the month, with the rest of the campus opened in phases after the first of the year.
The addition has been under construction since March.
Merbach says the facility will allow residents to drop off smaller loads near the facility's main gate, while reserving the main pit for commercial customers, garbage trucks and heavy equipment.
The campus also includes an educational center and a recycling center that will allow 24-hour drop-offs and a more efficient scale system.
SD DOT releases traveler app for iPhones
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The South Dakota Transportation Department has released a traveler information app for smart phones using the iPhone operating system. An app for Android phones was released earlier this year.
State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist says the South Dakota 511 mobile application is another way to help people travel safely.
The 511 app provides the same information as the Transportation Department's SafeTravelUSA website, but in a format compatible with mobile phones. Current information on road conditions, highway closures, travel advisories and construction projects is available for all interstates and all U.S. and state highways.
The app is free. It can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes store by searching for SDDOT 511. The Android app can be downloaded from Google.
Lake Area Technical Institute president retiring
WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) - The president of Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is retiring.
KWAT reports that Deb Shephard will step down from the post at the end of June.
Watertown School District Superintendent Leslie Jutting made the announcement to the school board on Monday night.
Shephard began her career with Lake Area Tech in 1978 as an instructor in the recreational therapy program. She advanced to counselor, director of enrollment and vice president before taking on the top job.
Shephard says she and her husband will continue living in Watertown.
DRY EDIBLE BEANS
USDA: SD's dry edible bean crop down 14 percent
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 14 percent drop in dry edible bean production in South Dakota for 2013.
The South Dakota office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service is estimating the crop at 23 million pounds for 2013.
Total planted acres for dry edible beans are forecast to be 12,000 acres, down 1,000 acres from 2012.
The 11,500 harvested acres are down 1,400 acres from last year.
The statewide yield for 2013 is forecast at 2,000 pounds per acre, down 60 pounds from a year ago.
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