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  1. The number of Independent or No Party Affiliation voter registrations in South Dakota has grown nearly 70 percent since 2006. Candidates are scrambling to attract this growing and influential voting bloc.
  2. South Dakota News Watch has been chosen to receive matching funding through the national NewsMatch program. A South Dakota philanthropist has added additional funding, so your donation of $1 to $5,000 will be matched up to $50,000. Donate now and help us keep telling important stories.
  3. Camps to house up to 1,400 Keystone XL Pipeline workers will open in rural South Dakota soon. The influx of population worries some officials in neighboring small communities. But the pipeline expansion also will contribute significant money to counties, cities and businesses along the route.
  4. State law could force counties in pipeline route to pay a large share of any protest costs before the state would help. Some counties' bills could reach as high as several million dollars, leading one official to say a significant protest could 'bankrupt' small counties.
  5. Thieves use online mapping, Internet sales sites to steal cattle, sheep and hogs. Law enforcement officials turn to surveillance video and DNA testing to solve the crimes.
  6. Corrections officials say the atmosphere at the Women's Prison in Pierre is more relaxed than at the men's prisons. Eighty-five percent of the inmates are sentenced for non-violent crimes, usually drug-related offenses. The average stay is about eight months.
  7. The number of women in prison in South Dakota has grown 35 percent over the past five years. Most are serving sentences for drug crimes and some say addiction treatment rather than incarceration would be more effective in changing behaviors.
  8. Deteriorating streets can hurt economic growth and thwart population growth. But there are few funding options available for small communities hoping to maintain quality roadways.
  9. State's hunting rules allow loaded guns to be uncased in vehicles and permit firing at pheasants and other small game from and across highways. Safety advocates say road hunting is dangerous. But others support the laws because they allow those without access to private land to hunt and eliminate the need for long distance walking.
  10. Republican Kristi Noem and Democrat Billie Sutton offer different approaches to protecting South Dakota river quality. Read their statements here.
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