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Michael Scott        A Scottsbluff man charged with robbing a Scottsbluff bank and with a fraud scheme involving bank ATM cards has been found competent to stand trial in Scotts Bluff County District Court in both cases. 42-year old Michael Scott remains in custody on $750,000 bail.

Since Scott’s cases are separate with two different district court judges, a unique joint competency hearing was held Monday involving both judges…Leo Dobrovolny and Randy Lippstreu. The only evidence was a psychiatric evaluation submitted by Scott’s court appointed attorney, Bernard Straetker.

Judge Dobrovolny went first, saying he had reviewed the evaluation and, citing similar case law as precedent, declared Scott competent to stand trial in the theft by deception case. Alleged losses in that case total more than $8,000.

Judge Lippstreu then issued his decision, also declaring Scott competent to stand trial in the bank robbery case…which involved a branch of the Valley Bank.

Dobrovolny set a pre-trial hearing in the ATM case for April 25th with trial during the May 6th jury term. Lippstreau set a pre-trial hearing in the robbery case for March 21st with the trial in the April 1st jury term.



Sturgis Motorcycle RallySTURGIS, S.D. (AP) — Participants at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally should find shorter lines to buy booze.

That’s because the lone liquor store is looking to add a satellite location during the popular event.

The Sturgis City Council has proposed an ordinance to allow the second location for the city-owned store, which is the only place in town that is allowed to sell packaged liquor.

Tom Ferguson, manager of Sturgis Liquor, tells the Rapid City Journal he’s seen some rally week customers come through the front door and turn around and leave when they see the crowds.

Says Ferguson, “At times during the rally, we feel like sardines in a can here.”


Courtroom GavelRAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Bond has been set at $100,000 for a Rapid City man accused of slugging another man at a casino.

The Rapid City Journal reports that 58-year-old Monty Dooner has been charged with aggravated assault stemming from a Tuesday fight at Hideaway Casino in Rapid City.

Authorities say Dooner struck a 46-year-old man during a fight at the casino on Tuesday. The 46-year-old man reportedly hit his head on an ATM machine and is in critical condition at Rapid City Regional Hospital.


Black hills gold ringLEAD, S.D. (AP) — The Black Hills still has gold in them, and a Canadian-based mining company is hoping to cash in.

Mineral Mountain Resources Limited is a mining company based in British Columbia. It recently acquired 289 mineral rights in the Rochford Mining District, about 20 miles away from the former Homestake Gold Mine in Lead (leed).

The company has also been doing exploratory drilling for gold on 5,000 acres near Keystone for the past five months.

Brad Baker, vice president of Mineral Mountain’s corporate development, tells the Black Hills Pioneer that the company has high hopes for the Rochford area. He says the goal is another “Homestake-like gold deposit.”

That mine had been one of the country’s most successful until it was shuttered and turned into an underground science lab.


Newspapers        A yearly workshop at the Crazy Horse Memorial to promote diversity and encourage Native Americans to enter the journalism field has been canceled this spring because of a lack of funding.

The South Dakota Newspaper Association puts on the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop with funding help from the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, but fundraising has become a challenge.

Diversity Institute president Jack Marsh says the budget for the workshop was expected to be about $35,000 but that they weren’t able to raise all the money necessary to cover the expenses for the students and teachers. He also says  a committee will convene in the summer to discuss the workshop’s future.



NWS logo        The National Weather Service has scheduled radar upgrades at its three Nebraska offices, including the one serving the east portion of the Panhandle.

The first installation will begin March 11 at the eastern Nebraska office in Valley. The radar upgrade for the Hastings office is scheduled to begin on March 25, and work in North Platte is expected to begin on April 8. The forecast area for the North Platte office includes Garden, Sheridan, and Deuel counties.

The upgrades are part of the weather service goal to build a “Weather-Ready Nation” and better protect people from dangerous storms. Similar upgrades were made late last year to the radar for the NWS Cheyenne office, whose coverage area includes the other 8 Panhandle counties.

NWS meteorologist Teresa Keck in North Platte says the new dual-polarization technology helps meteorologists determine precipitation types and gauge rainfall totals, and makes it easier to see tornadoes at night.



Drought Map Feb 21OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Climate experts say the drought affecting 56 percent of the country is likely to linger in Plains and Western states this spring and expand in northern California, Texas and Florida.

Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln released their latest predictions Thursday.

Currently, the section of the country affected by severe or extreme drought is slightly smaller than the 61 percent at the start of 2013.

But the February-through-May drought forecast is bad news for many farmers and ranchers who have been dealing with drought at least since last year.

NOAA climatologist Dan Collins says below-average precipitation is expected this spring in most Western states and the southeastern United States.



Police lightsRAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A fight at a Rapid City casino has left one man critically injured.

Police say the assault happened during an argument between two men Tuesday afternoon at the Hideaway Casino on North Lacrosse Street.

The victim, a 46-year-old man from Rapid City, allegedly hit his head on at ATM machine after he was punched by the other men.

Authorities say the two men appeared to know each other. The suspect fled the casino.

Police say they hope to review security footage from the casino.


Poverty map      New Census numbers show that South Dakota leads the nation in the percentage of Native Americans living below the poverty line.

Five years’ worth of data from The American Community Survey on poverty shows that more than 48% of the state’s 65,000 Native Americans live below the poverty threshold…which for this year is an annual income of $11,170 for one person.

In Rapid City, the state’s second-largest city, more than 50% of the Native American population lives below poverty.

South Dakota State demographer Mike McCurry isn’t surprised by the numbers. He says most of the state’s poverty is concentrated on its nine Indian reservations, which many Native Americans leave and head to Rapid City or Denver in hopes of finding jobs.


Snowy streetThe National Weather Service says the winter storm heading toward Nebraska looks to be staying far south than expected, keeping the worst of it to the east of the Double Q Country listening area.

A Winter Weather advisory remains in effect through 3 pm Thursday for the Panhandle south of the Pine Ridge with a Winter Storm warning until 11:00 Thursday night for Garden and Deuel counties and on east.

Predicted snow amounts are for about 2” tonight and 1” tomorrow for Chadron, Scottsbluff, and Gering, 2-3” tonight and 1” tomorrow in Alliance, 3” tonight and 1” tomorrow in Kimball, 3-4” tonight and 1” tomorrow for the Bridgeport-Bayard area, and 3-4” tonight and 2-3” tomorrow for Sidney.

Snowfall totals on to the east could be much greater. Mullen could see a foot or so by tomorrow night, while Lincoln is looking at up to 9”.

The Nebraska legislature will address the storm by holding a short day tomorrow. They’ll meet at 9 am, but adjourn at1 1:00…and they’ve canceled all committee hearings scheduled for the afternoon.

Speaker Greg Adams says lawmakers will do their best to reschedule all of the hearings. Friday is still scheduled for a full day of sessions and hearings.


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