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  1. Producers of lamb meat and wool in South Dakota have seen demand and market prices plummet during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the industry made up mostly of small producers is weathering the storm by adapting and changing processes.
  2. South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravsnborg said he thought he hit a deer on Sept. 12, when in fact he had struck and killed 55-year-old Joseph Boever while driving on U.S. Highway 14 west of Highmore. Ravnsborg left the scene that night and found Boever's body the next morning upon return. An accident reconstruction expert says it is improbable that Ravnsborg would not have known he struck a person, and another expert said it could be negligence if Ravnsborg's car left the travel lane and struck Boever on the shoulder.
  3. Two cousins who were close to the man killed when struck by a car driven by South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg are concerned that investigators may not be seeking the full truth about what happened to their cousin. Joseph Boever, 55, was stuck and killed the night of Saturday, Sept. 12 by a car driven by Ravnsborg, who was driving home from a GOP event in Redfield around 10:30 p.m. Ravnsborg, who has a history of speeding violations, told authorities he thought he had struck a deer.
  4. Despite the pandemic and frequent claims by President Donald Trump that the 2020 general election will be rife with fraud, South Dakota auditors and election officials say they are ready to hold a fair, accurate and timely election that will produce reliable results. Safeguards are in place to ensure accurate voting by mail; preparations are being made to process a record number of absentee ballots; and precautions are being taken to make in-person voting at polling sites as safe as possible.
  5. Some environmentalists and farm groups are concerned about Gov. Kristi Noem's proposed merger of the state Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in part because almost no substantive details about the new agency have been released, but also because the move will combine the agency that promotes agriculture and agricultural development with the agency tasked with regulating agriculture.
  6. Even with the state economy mostly up and running, many restaurants continue to struggle as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Employees have lost jobs, owners are fighting to pay bills and stay open, and communities are facing the loss of eateries that serve as foundations for dining and socializing.
  7. With little or no state or school district guidance in place, many South Dakota teachers who hope to decrease the risk of COVID-19 infection in their classrooms are spending their own time and money to erect barriers and partitions aimed at reducing the spread of the airborne virus.
  8. State health officials say they have ramped up contact-tracing efforts and are comfortable they are effectively reducing the spread of COVID-19. But some experts worry that without more testing and faster results, and an increase in the contact-tracing workforce, that the virus will continue to spread across the state and nation and slow the economic recovery.
  9. Unemployment and other financial challenges have pushed an increasing number of South Dakotans who rent homes or apartments to the brink of eviction, with many turning to government assistance or charities to get money for rent. Experts worry that as some government benefits dry up and charitable resources run out, even more renters may soon be at risk of losing stable housing.
  10. Research shows that smoking cigarettes and other activities that inflame the lungs are linked to heightened risk of serious complications from COVID-19. Doctors in South Dakota and beyond are urging those who smoke tobacco, vape or use marijuana to stop in order to reduce their health risks during the pandemic and to improve their long-term health.
Inform. Enlighten. Illuminate.
About News Watch
South Dakota News Watch is an independent, nonprofit organization reporting stories that shed light on the issues and concerns of all citizens. As 2019 ends, we would like to thank our supporters for their generous contributions during the matching funds campaign and all year long. Because of you, South Dakota News Watch will continue the mission of bringing in-depth issues to light into the new year and beyond.