Secretary Of State Closes 2017 Budget Year With Surplus

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says that her office has ended the 2017 budget year with a surplus, returning more than $30,000 to the state general fund.

Krebs said Tuesday that the office also generated roughly $7 million in general fund revenue in the 2017 budget year, an increase of nearly $460,000 over the previous year.

The 2017 fiscal year ended June 30.

Krebs’ office says it has taken steps to offer a more business-friendly experience including upgrading technology and reducing the time required to file new business documents by switching from mail to online.

Krebs says it’s important to her and her staff to be good stewards of taxpayer money.



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2 Arrested After Running From Police, Both Face Drug Charges

Police credit those living in a central Sioux Falls neighborhood for helping officers arrest two people in Pettigrew Heights.
An officer saw a driver not completely stop at a stop sign near 12th Street and Duluth Avenue and tried to stop the Chevrolet Tahoe. Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said the driver stopped for a short time between 9th and 10th Streets along Duluth Avenue before speeding away from the officer through another stop sign.
Officers were searching the neighborhood and witnesses told police that they saw two men run into an apartment. After talking with a woman inside, police found both the driver and passenger in a back bedroom.
Deondre Scott Jackson, 27, of Sioux Falls, was charged with aggravated eluding and driving with a suspended driver’s license. Detectives found drug paraphernalia inside the Tahoe after finding a strong marijuana odor coming from inside. Clemens said a .40-caliber pistol was also found inside the SUV.
Police got permission to search the apartment where they found paraphernalia like marijuana pipes as well as scales hidden in a freezer.
Officers also found five small bags of crack cocaine, a bag of marijuana and 20 pills of Clonazepam. They later charged Jackson and his passenger, 24-year-old Shanda B. Big Eagle, of Lower Brule, with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, paraphernalia, and possession with intent to distribute.
Clemens said the tenant inside the apartment was not arrested, but she could face charges in the future.
Police posted a photo of the seized drugs and thanked the neighborhood for the information that led to both arrests.
© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

Community awaits answers in fatal Minnesota police shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An Australian woman who called 911 to report what she believed to be an active sexual assault was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer in a case that has left many relatives and neighbors searching for answers.

Authorities have released no details about what led to the shooting of Justine Damond, a meditation teacher and bride-to-be who was killed late Saturday by an officer who reportedly fired his weapon from the passenger seat of a squad car.

There were no known witnesses other than the two officers in the car. A newspaper report said Damond was shot while standing alongside the car in her pajamas.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office on Monday night said Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen and classified her death as a homicide. The report identified her as Justine Ruszczyk, but she had begun using her fiance’s last name professionally ahead of their planned August wedding.

Her fiancé, Don Damond, said the family has been given almost no additional information.

“We’ve lost the dearest of people, and we’re desperate for information,” he said. “Piecing together Justine’s last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.”

Damond’s family in Sydney issued a statement Monday saying they were trying to come to terms with the tragedy and understand why it happened. On Tuesday, her father spoke out publicly for the first time.

“We thought yesterday was our worst nightmare, but we awoke to the ugly truth and it hurt even more,” John Ruszczyk told reporters. “Justine was a beacon to all of us. We only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstances of her death.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Tuesday that she too wants answers.

“I have the same questions everybody has: ’What happened?’” Hodges said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting. In a statement Monday, the BCA said more information would be provided once the officers have been interviewed.

The BCA said no weapons were found at the scene.

The officer who shot Damond was identified by his attorney as Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American. A city newsletter said he joined the police department in March 2015.

The attorney, Tom Plunkett, released a statement saying Noor offered his condolences to the family “and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers.”

Noor “is a caring person with a family he loves, and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing,” the statement said.

The officer was sued earlier this year after a May 25 incident in which he and other officers took a woman to the hospital for an apparent mental health crisis. The lawsuit claims Noor and the other officers violated the woman’s rights when they entered her home without permission and Noor grabbed her wrist and upper arm. Noor relaxed his grip when the woman said she had a previous shoulder injury, the lawsuit says.

KSTP-TV reported that city records show Noor had three complaints on file. The station did not provide details on the nature of the complaints, but said one was dismissed with no disciplinary action and the other two are pending.

The Star Tribune, citing three people with knowledge of the shooting, said the officers pulled into the alley in a single squad car, and Damond talked to the driver. The newspaper’s sources, which it did not name, said the officer in the passenger seat shot Damond through the driver’s-side door. A BCA spokeswoman did not return messages seeking to confirm that account.

Neighbor Joan Hargrave called the killing “an execution.”

“This is a tragedy — that someone who’s asking for help would call the police and get shot by the police,” Hargrave said.

Officials said the officers’ body cameras were not turned on and a squad car camera did not capture the shooting. Investigators were still trying to determine whether other video exists.

It’s not clear why the officers’ body cameras were not on. The department has phased in body cameras for all of its officers over the last year. Department policy allows for a range of situations in which officers are supposed to turn cameras on, including “any contact involving criminal activity” and before use of force. If a body camera is not running before use of force, it’s supposed to be turned on as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Once the investigation is complete, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman would decide whether to charge the officer. Freeman would not comment on the broader case Monday, but said both officers likely should have turned on their body cameras as they were approached by Damond in an alley.

Police Chief Janee Harteau called the killing a “tragic death” and said she understands why the community has questions.

“I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can,” Harteau said.

The Fulton neighborhood where the shooting happened is a mix of middle- and upper-middle-class homes about a half-mile from city lakes that are a popular destination for residents and tourists.

Damond’s death is the latest high-profile police shooting in the Twin Cities area in recent years. Last year, 32-year-old Philando Castile was killed by an officer during a traffic stop in a nearby suburb after he told the officer he was armed. And in November 2015, a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Jamar Clark during a struggle in which the officer said Clark grabbed his partner’s weapon.

Damond’s business website indicates she relocated to Minneapolis and worked as a yoga instructor, meditation teacher and personal health and life coach.

Originally trained as a veterinarian, Damond indicated on the site that she was “most passionate about supporting individuals and organizations to discover the power and potential within their own brains and hearts.”

Nancy Coune, administrator at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Minneapolis, said Damond came to Minneapolis about three years ago to be with her fiancé, and she had been teaching and speaking at the center for more than two years.

Damond’s mother was Australian, and she spent her formative years there, but also spent some of her early childhood in the Buffalo, New York, area, said Peter Suffoletto, a cousin of Damond’s father.

© 2017 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.


‘Let Obamacare fail,’ Trump says after GOP plan collapses

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Tuesday it’s time to “let Obamacare fail” after the latest GOP health care plan crashed and burned in the Senate, a stunning failure for the president, Republican leader Mitch McConnell and a party that has vowed for years to abolish the law.

In a head-spinning series of developments, rank-and-file Republican senators turned on McConnell and Trump for the third time in a row, denying the votes to move forward with a plan for a straight-up repeal of “Obamacare.” This time, it was three GOP women — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — who delivered the death blow.

All had been shut out of McConnell’s initial all-male working group on health care.

McConnell, who could afford to lose only two votes in the narrowly divided Senate, had turned to the repeal-only bill after his earlier repeal-and-replace measure was rejected on Monday. That had followed the failure of an earlier version of the bill last month.

The successive defeats made clear that despite seven years of promises to repeal former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Republicans apparently cannot deliver. Nonetheless, McConnell insisted he would move forward with a vote on his measure to repeal the law, effective in two years, with a promise to work — along with Democrats — to replace it in the meantime.

The vote could come as soon as Wednesday. It appears doomed to fail, but GOP leaders want to put lawmakers on record on the issue and move on.

At the White House, Trump appeared to recognize defeat, at least for the moment, while insisting he bore none of the blame.

“I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail,” the president said. “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you that the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they’re going to say, ‘How do we fix it?’”

Despite the current law’s problems, most health care experts do not believe it is at immediate risk of outright failure, and Democratic cooperation to adjust the law is far from assured.

Nor does it appear likely that Republicans can escape owning the problems with the law and the health care system overall, now that they control the House, Senate and White House, partly on the strength of campaigning against the law.

“They seem to have this notion that they can be a majority party, and have control of the White House, and not be responsible for bringing down the health care system,” said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Asked how he would justify the GOP’s failure on health care to voters, McConnell responded: “Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice” — suggesting inaction on health care would be forgiven because of that success along with some regulatory roll-backs.

As the day began Tuesday, McConnell was hunting for votes to open debate on a revived version of legislation Congress sent to Obama’s desk in 2015 that would have repealed major portions of Obamacare, with a two-year delay built in. He had turned to that approach after getting stunned Monday night by defections by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas on a repeal-and-replace bill.

Many Republicans support the repeal-only approach, and they question how senators who voted for the legislation two years ago could oppose it now.

“Were going to find out if there’s hypocrisy in the United States Senate in the next few days I’m afraid,” said Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia.

But for others, the implications were too severe now that the bill could actually become law with a Republican president in the White House ready to sign it. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that more than 30 million people would lose insurance over a decade under the legislation.

Collins voted against the legislation in 2015 while Murkowski and Capito both supported it. Murkowski told reporters Tuesday that repealing the Affordable Care Act without the promise of a replacement would cause uncertainty and chaos.

“To just say repeal and ‘Trust us, we’re going to fix it in a couple of years,’ that’s not going to provide comfort to the anxiety that a lot of Alaskan families are feeling right now,” she said.

Said Capito: “I did not come to Washington to hurt people.”

What’s next? Go back to the committee room and work on a bipartisan basis “in a way that the public feels that we are really working toward their best interests, Murkowski said. “It’s where we should have started. … And yes, this is hard.”

Alaska has extremely high medical costs because many residents live in remote areas, and it also benefits from Obama’s expansion of Medicaid coverage. Murkowski has been wary of anything that would jeopardize federal funds for her state.

Similar to legislation the House approved in May after its own setbacks, McConnell’s repeal-and-replace bill would have canceled Obama’s tax penalties on people who don’t buy coverage and cut the Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and nursing home residents. It would have rolled back many of the statute’s requirements for the policies insurers can sell and eliminate many tax increases that raised money for Obama’s expansion to 20 million more people, though it retained the law’s tax boosts on high earners.

More than 20 million people would have lost insurance coverage under the McConnell plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office — compared to more than 30 million under the repeal-only version rejected Tuesday.

© 2017 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

Graduate Spends Summer Delivering Food To Those Who Need Meals

Spending the summer behind the wheel of a delivery isn’t usually what an 18 year old wants to do during a break from school.
Yet for Katie Patrick, she has a lot to accomplish before packing her bags for University of California Berkley this fall. The recent Lincoln High School graduate had an idea to help feed kids during the weekends all summer long.
Every Friday you can find her and her mom hitting the streets with more than a thousand bags of food.
“So for me to be able to be that mom type, I get to give food to other kids now, because I’m lucky enough to have a mom that makes me dinner and has lunch stuff and has food on the weekends,” Patrick said. “It just seemed appropriate that the person that gave what I’m giving to these kids is with me.”
In tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND, Claire Lavezzorio shows you how the Patrick’s are driving out hunger one stop at a time.
© 2017 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.