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  1. Court documents provide details of how farmers who commit grain fraud orchestrated their schemes and how they spent their ill-gotten gains.
  2. As organic farming in the U.S. has evolved into a $63 billion a year industry, some farmers have turned to fraud and others have exploited loopholes in the organic regulatory system in order to make millions. But legitimate farmers in South Dakota and beyond are working to protect their reputations and build more trust in organic labeling by pushing for more regulation, oversight and transparency within the industry.
  3. The latest variant of COVID-19 -- which is more able to evade immunity from prior infection or vaccination than previous variants -- is causing infection rates to rise in South Dakota and across the country even though it appears less likely to put patients in the hospital. Unless COVID-19 cases jump dramatically, officials in South Dakota government, health care and education do not appear poised to pursue any active interventions at this time.
  4. The 24/7 Sobriety program, launched in South Dakota several years ago to combat alcohol-related crimes through daily testing, is being considered as a national model that could get Congressional support and funding. Despite claims that it infringes on the rights of some criminal defendants, the program is seen as a major success by many in the law-enforcement community.
  5. Mirroring a national trend, churches across South Dakota are experiencing consistent declines in church affiliation and attendance, which has led some churches to close and is leaving religious leaders concerned about potential weakening of church influence. As they work on strategies to reverse the declines, some church leaders believe they are fighting to not only save their churches but also to save the souls of South Dakotans and their state.
  6. As prices for food, gas, housing and other necessary goods and services continue to rise due to inflation, the resulting economic hardships are being disproportionately felt by people in entry-level jobs and those with fixed or low incomes. While some South Dakotans are suddenly facing difficult choices to remain safe and stable, agencies that help low-income residents are seeing fewer donations and less volunteers to help those in need.
  7. Two separate November 2022 ballot measures will ask South Dakota voters to approve expansion of the federal Medicaid health insurance plan in the state. Some advocates of expansion are concerned the two measures with generally the same intent could confuse voters and hamper the chances of expanding Medicaid, which could provide medical coverage to about 40,000 more low-income South Dakota residents.
  8. With diesel fuel as their economic lifeblood, South Dakota truckers and farmers are being hurt by unusually high per-gallon prices at the pump. Meanwhile, as many truckers and farmers take steps to reduce fuel consumption, higher transportation costs are often passed on to consumers who are already facing high inflation.
  9. A panel of education experts convened by South Dakota News Watch on June 16, 2022 said teachers in the state are doing a good job of teaching children, and do not deserve the recent criticism and political stress that are making a hard job even tougher, and which are adding to a shortage of teachers across the state.
  10. The next few weeks will help determine the fate of current and former South Dakota legal officials as the race to be the state's next attorney general takes shape. At stake are the jobs and futures of three Republicans with ties to the Attorney General's Office -- former AG Marty Jackley, suspended incumbent Jason Ravnsborg, and DCI director-turned-candidate David Natvig.
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