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Month: February, 2016

Another big weekend for Mitchell HS Show Choir

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Facing some of the best show choirs in South Dakota as well as The Headliners from Sioux City East High School, Friend De Coup claimed top honors on Saturday night in Vermillion at the Rhythm in Red Show Choir Invitational. FDC finished 1st overall in the daytime preliminary round, coming out a solid 31 points ahead of the next best scoring group, Sioux City East. Mitchell also came home with a clean sweep of the caption awards earning Best Band, Best Choreography (their 3rd straight this season) and Best Vocals. Next action for the show choir has them heading to Chatham, IL for their 4th competition of the season on Saturday March 5. 

Photo Credit: Lori Nettinga


Mt. Vernon man hurt in traffic accident

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A one vehicle accident Thursday afternoon landed a 21 year old man from Mount Vernon in the hospital. Officer Kelly Loudenberg says Zachary Vawser was southbound on Sanborn Boulevard just before 5:30, when his 1995 Nissan Pathfinder left the road on the westside, struck a Mitchell, Telecom box and the street sign at the corner of West Fourth and Sanborn before striking a tree just west of the intersection. Loudenberg says Vawser was apparently not wearing a seatbelt and hit his head on the windshield and his face on the steering wheel.

He suffered several lacerations. A passerby took him to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital for treatment and observation. Loudenberg believes alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

However Loudenberg uncovered a small amount of marijuana in a glass container in the front seat area of the vehicle. He says charges are pending and the accident is still under investigation.


J.P. Skelly


Mitchell woman arrested for attempted murder

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On 02-24-2016 The Mitchell Police Division arrested 38 year old Mitchell resident Roberta Dawn Woodside, date of birth 01-28-1978 for the offenses of Aggravated Assault and Attempted Second Degree murder. The charges stem from an incident that occurred in an open field located just south of The Davison County Jail at approx. 2:00 a.m. on 02-24-2016.

Woodside is accused of intentionally hitting a 40 year old man who was walking in the field, with a car that she was driving. After allegedly striking the man, Woodside allegedly turned the car that she was driving around and struck the man again and drove over the top of the man before leaving the scene.

The man was found by a jail employee. The man suffered broken bones and other injuries and was transported to Queen of Peace Hospital. It appears that the male was in the car with Woodside, prior to the incident and that the two knew each other.

Aggravated assault is a class 3 felony punishable by 15 years imprisonment in the state penitentiary and fine of $30,000. Second degree murder is a class B felony, punishable by life imprisonment in the state penitentiary and a fine of $50,000.

The Davison County Sheriff’s Office and The South Dakota Highway Patrol assisted with the investigation.


Mitchell Police Department


Locally owned banks announce merger

Monday, February 22, 2016

Two locally-owned, community banks with a shared vision and values recently announced their upcoming merger.

BankWest Chairman, President and CEO Charles H. Burke III and First State Bank Chairman Paul Lewis announced the merger Monday morning in a joint release. First State Bank, which has branches in Armour, Delmont, Geddes and Tripp will become a part of BankWest later this year, pending regulatory approval.

Burke said the merger will result in greater financial services and products for its many customers. He added that First State Bank customers will continue to enjoy the banking relationships they have established during the past many years.

“We know that banking is all about personal relationships and we want to ensure those relationships remain intact,” Burke said. “The only changes customers can expect are enhanced services like mobile banking, mobile deposit and Apple Pay.”

BankWest, headquartered in Pierre, has a 127-year tradition of serving South Dakota residents. The bank was originally established in 1889 as Pierre National Bank and its name changed to BankWest as its footprint grew. BankWest currently has 13 branches in 10 communities including Gregory, Kadoka, Kennebec, Mitchell, Onida, Pierre, Rapid City, Selby, Vivian and Winner. It also has stand-alone insurance offices in Salem, Presho, Murdo and Spearfish.

“First State Bank is simply an exceptional bank and an organization that we have always respected,” Burke said. “Their leadership and employees have upheld the values and ideals of community banking and we see this as an outstanding partnership between our organizations.  BankWest has served a variety of businesses and individuals in communities very similar to First State Bank and we are very confident of our ability to provide excellent customer service to the area.”

Lewis echoed those sentiments, “This is an exciting opportunity to combine two financially strong banks with very similar cultures, core values and guiding principles, as well as a shared commitment to building long-term customer relationships with exceptional customer service.”

BankWest Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Mark Litton said the merger should be seamless for both customers and employees.

“Our top priority is to make sure the customers at First State Bank experience a smooth transition and enjoy the security of continuing to bank with people they have grown to know and trust,” he said. “We will remain proactive corporate citizens supporting economic growth in the communities we serve.”

BankWest is held by South Dakota Bancshares, Inc.  The bank has approximately $915 million in assets as of December 31, 2015. The merger will add approximately $113 million in assets including the four new locations. Burke said the merger is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.


State House approves teacher salary legislation

Monday, February 22, 2016

Two Mitchell educators are pleased with Monday’s passage of HB 1182 that bumps the state sales tax by a half-cent to raise teacher salaries and reduce property taxes.

Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School Principal Vicky Harmdierks is a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on education. “I had faith that it would happen”, said Harmdierks. “We finally had the right players at the table.”

Superintendent Joe Graves is pleased.  “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time”, said Graves. “We’re absolutely delighted that the House was able to give it approval today, even on a very strong majority vote required.”

The final vote was 47 “yes”, 21 “no”, and two excused. Both District 20 representatives Tona Rozum and Josh Klumb voted “yes”. Last week Klumb voted against the measure.

J.P. Skelly

Educational co-op files $2-million dollar lawsuit against former manager's estate

Thursday, February 18, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Platte-based educational cooperative thrust into the spotlight after authorities said its business manager killed his wife and kids, set the family home ablaze and killed himself has filed a $2 million claim against the man's estate.

Mid-Central Educational Cooperative officials filed the claim this month, saying there's a reasonable probability that Scott Westerhuis may have improperly misappropriated funds from the co-op.

Investigators say Westerhuis killed his wife and four children in September, just hours after the state Department of Education informed Mid-Central that it was losing its most recent $4.3 million GEAR UP contract because of financial problems and failure to follow proper accounting procedures.

Court files also show claims against Westerhuis' estate for $15,000 in American Express credit card debt and $4,500 owed to an online payment system.  

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press


Mitchell-based National Guard Unit up for national award

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MITCHELL, S.D. - The U.S. Army announced the South Dakota National Guard's 147th Army Band as one of two finalists for the Chief of Staff of the Army Supply Excellence Award.

The national award recognizes Army units who demonstrate excellence in supply operations, property accountability and resource management. The Mitchell-based unit, whose primary purpose is to provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations, for Soldiers and civilians, will compete in the Army-wide modification table of organization and equipment unit supply category.

The 147th Army Band's submission packet, prepared by Staff Sgt. Timothy Storly, the unit supply NCO, was so well received that he was asked to allow it to be used as the standard for future Supply Excellence Award submissions.

"It's important to stress that this selection is for the unit as a whole, not an individual," said Storly, who also serves as a musician and leads the

Music Performance Team: Black Ops. "It speaks to the quality of Soldiers in the Army Band, especially this unit. I have been fortunate enough to have top-notch leadership that makes it possible for me to do my job to a very high standard."

The next phase in determining the national winner is an onsite inspection by the SEA evaluation team. SEA program evaluators are scheduled to visit the unit in March and will then compare the supply operations of the band with one other National Guard MTOE unit, in order to select the top unit.

The national award winner is scheduled to be announced by September.


Teacher pay bill falls short in State House

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The South Dakota House has narrowly defeated a measure to boost teacher pay through a half-cent increase in the state sales tax. The vote was 46-23 with one excused, one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The bill is up for reconsideration Friday.


Corn Palace Festival entertainment announced

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The World’s Only Corn Palace is excited to announce the entertainment lineup for the 2016 Corn Palace Festival.  Ticket sales, lineup dates, and concert times will be released on March 17th.  This year’s festival is a star studded lineup including American rock band STYX, country music star Gary Allan and Happy Together which includes The Turtles, Mark Lindsay, Gary Puckett, Chuck Negron as well as The Cowsills and Spencer Davis Group.   The Corn Palace Festival will kick off the entertainment in brand new style this year hosting South Dakota’s own rock band Judd Hoos at the outdoor freedom stage.   Please follow as the release date gets closer.  


Birds of healing and recovery

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

DELMONT, S.D. (AP) — The community of Delmont is turning to wooden birds to further unite residents as they continue recovering from a tornado last spring.

The Cardinal Project involves having residents cut out the wooden birds from wood, paint them and hang them in trees around town as well as on two area farms hit by the twister last Mother's Day.

A shop class at Tripp-Delmont School also has been enlisted to help.

The tornado that ripped through Delmont wiped out four blocks, damaged or destroyed 84 structures including the town's new fire hall and a century-old church, and injured nine people.

Residents have been holding regular recovery meetings. At the next one, in March, they're expected to discuss plans for an anniversary event.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press