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Suspect in vehicle shooting enters insanity plea

A Rapid City man accused of shooting at four people while they were in a vehicle in March pleaded not guilty Tuesday by reason of insanity.

Dwight Quigley, age 28, was brought from jail for his arraignment at the Pennington County Courthouse.

Quigley is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, four alternative counts of aggravated assault, and four counts of commission of a felony with a firearm. Each count of the most severe charge, attempted first-degree murder, is punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Quigley’s attorney, Conor Duffy, entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity on Quigley’s behalf. There was no discussion of the pleas during Tuesday's arraignment, but the case's public court file includes an April 4 letter from Quigley to a judge in which Quigley referenced a personal history of psychiatric problems.

“My visual and audio hallucinations have been very bad lately since around last summer, and I need to be put back on my psych meds or even stronger ones,” Quigley wrote.

In the letter, Quigley asked the judge to set a bail amount, but that request was denied last month.

An affidavit filed in the case by a Rapid City police detective alleges that Quigley confessed his involvement in the shooting to two relatives. The shooting happened at about 9:45 p.m. March 29 in the area of 210 Columbus St., near downtown Rapid City.

According to the affidavit, a .223-caliber rifle was used to shoot at the vehicle. At least two of the victims in the vehicle suffered gunshot wounds, and the other two victims suffered shrapnel wounds and injuries after the driver lost control and the vehicle crashed into a pole.

The victims were identified Tuesday in court as Sandor Iron Rope, Geraldine Iron Rope, Nicholas Iron Rope and Tiffany Toney.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s arraignment, Judge Heidi Linngren scheduled a status hearing in the case for next month.

Ryan Hermens, Journal staff 

Harold Brost, of Spearfish, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1981, holds his hat as the official song of the Navy is played Tuesday during an annual lunch for World War II veterans at TREA.

Honoring the greatest generation with lunch and camaraderie

More than 80 World War II veterans met for lunch and camaraderie Tuesday at TREA in Rapid City. The event, organized by Bill Casper and with the help of 35 volunteers, is in its fifth year.

“They don’t come for a hamburger,” Casper said of the veterans. “They come for the camaraderie. For a lot of them, they don’t get to see each other often.”

Gen. Marshall Michel, South Dakota Army National Guard chief of staff, spoke before a picnic-style lunch was served.

“You’re an inspiration for all of us to follow,” he said.

Marcella LeBeau, 98, of Eagle Butte, served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1942 to 1946, where she tended the wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.

Her favorite part of the luncheon was seeing others who had served in the war — those from “what they call the ‘Greatest Generation’ for their service to America,” she said.

Following the meal, the Potter Family performed a USO-style musical program.

Veterans and their families traveled from throughout the region to attend to luncheon, Casper said.

“It’s a real honor to serve (them),” he said. “A real honor.”

Ryan Hermens, Journal staff 

Bill Casper speaks Tuesday at a lunch for World War II veterans. Casper organized the event, in its fifth year.


Republican candidates vying for the state's lone U.S. House seat urged South Dakotans to trust President Donald Trump's trade policy.

Weeks ahead of the GOP primary, each said he or she would be a strong advocate for South Dakota farmers and ranchers. And two called on South Dakotans to trust the president as he aimed to strike new trade deals.

The Argus Leader sat down with the three Republican candidates to discuss their policy platforms ahead of the June 5 primary election.

The GOP primary winner will face Democrat Tim Bjorkman, Libertarian candidate George Hendrickson and independent Ron Wieczorek in the general election.

The calls to support Trump come weeks after the Republican president threatened tariff fights with China over aluminum and steel, which stoked fears that South Dakota producers would be hit hard by Chinese tariffs on corn, soybeans and pork.

State agriculture organizations expressed anxiety about the Trump administration's trade decisions and urged candidates to stand up for South Dakota farmers and ranchers.

"I feel that we’re being taken advantage of a little bit," Doug Sombke, president of the South Dakota Farmers Union said Monday. "I don’t think we’ve really gotten what we expected from this administration."

Scott VanderWal, South Dakota Farm Bureau president, pointed to Trump's success in negotiating past deals and said farmers have tried to remember those instances as trade talks continue.

"I think they’re optimistic but nervous just because the stakes are so incredibly high," VanderWal said.

While the tariffs might have an adverse impact in the short-term, the trade decisions are important in ensuring the U.S. isn't taken advantage of economically, Neal Tapio, a state senator and former state campaign director for Trump, said.

"If we don’t have a steel industry, if we don’t have a solid automobile industry, if we don’t have strong industries, it’s a national defense issue," Tapio told the Argus Leader. "I think most South Dakotans understand that."

He said that by weakening the dollar and strengthening trade negotiations, the U.S. could bolster its economy.

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs also expressed confidence in Trump's ability to broker more favorable trade deals.

“The president is a good negotiator and I know he’s going to do the right thing," Krebs said.

She went on to tout her experience working in agriculture and said she had a deeper understanding of the state's top industry than her opponents.

Dusty Johnson, a former public utilities commissioner and chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, expressed more apprehension about the president's approach. He urged a delicate manner in negotiating trade agreements.

“Government should be cautious before getting in the middle of that transaction," Johnson said. "Access to international markets for South Dakota producers is critical."

Johnson said he'd push back on those who would aim to pass trade policies that could cause problems for South Dakota producers.

He and Krebs said they’d fight to get a seat on the House Committee on Agriculture. Tapio meanwhile said he'd seriously consider it, but would also look for other committee assignments that would benefit South Dakota.


Meat inspection rule change could open new markets for small processors

At the Renner Corner Locker, on the highway in a little town north of Sioux Falls, items in the meat case are marked with a seal in the shape of South Dakota indicating that the product was inspected for safe and healthy handling.

But that same package of meat couldn’t be sold 13 miles away in Minnesota.

Selling across state lines would require a federal stamp, even though the rules for safe handling and the inspection are much the same.

South Dakota’s senators are looking to change that. They have sponsored a bill that aims to make interstate sales easier. If included in the next farm bill, they say the legislation will provide new markets for cash-strapped producers.

“It’s one more opportunity to market their product,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., during a media call after announcing the bill.

Rounds, along with fellow Republican Sen. John Thune and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on May 10 introduced the New Markets for State-inspected Meat and Poultry Act. It would allow meat with a state-approved inspection stamp to be sold in other states.

Currently, only federally inspected meat can be shipped to out-of-state markets. One exception is for states that have signed up for a sort of middle-ground inspection program that allows state inspectors with special federal training to give a federally approved stamp.

That Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program came out of a previous discussion about allowing interstate sales. It became part of the 2008 Farm Bill, but it hasn’t been popular.

Four states have signed on to the program, including North Dakota in 2013. Three shops there are participating in the program.

“I’m glad we have this service in place,” said Dr. Andrea Grondahl, director of state meat inspection for the North Dakota Department of Agriculture in Bismarck. “North Dakota has a fairly low population.”

For shops on the border, this opens a couple of extra markets, she said. That’s the case for L&M Meats in Grand Forks on the North Dakota-Minnesota border.

The company joined the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program in order to grow, said processing manager John Watts. L&M’s beef sticks are the only of its products inspected under the program. They’re sold in retail shops as far as western North Dakota and Duluth, Minn.

The company wanted to capture customers in a more populated state, and it decided to focus on its most popular product, the beef stick.

“They’re the best in the West,” Watts said.

L&M Meats is the largest North Dakota processor in the interstate shipment program, processing at least 1,000 pounds per week. The others in Langdon to the north and in west-central Beulah are smaller operations that signed up with distributors to sell across state lines, Grondahl said.

She hadn’t studied the legislation for the state inspection programs, but Grondahl said if rules change, North Dakota would likely drop the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program. The state has two inspectors trained to cover the three plants that are part of the program, and their time and travel expenses have to be tracked separately for funding purposes.

Many feel that state inspections are just as good as federal inspections, and they already follow many of the same regulations. Grondahl said the interstate sales restrictions have been unfair for a long time.

“It really is about fair marketing rather than a food safety issue,” she said.

Her counterpart in South Dakota agrees about the quality of state assessments. The meat inspection program is under the umbrella of the South Dakota Animal Industry Board, led by state veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven.

The industry has been working to recognize state inspection programs for decades. Oedekoven recalled a national meeting held in Sioux Falls in the late 1990s, which eventually led to the changes in the 2008 farm bill and the Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program.

He said it doesn’t make sense to have a program between federal and state inspections where processors that want to participate must have 25 employees or fewer, facilities have to meet federal requirements and inspectors have to undergo federal training.

“They made a program which is impractical for most states to implement,” he said.

South Dakota surveyed its processors to gauge their interest, Oedekoven said, but decided it would take time away from their few state inspectors and take money away from the small state program. It wasn’t worth it, he said, when state inspection products were “at least equal to” the federal inspection products.

“We’re getting the same outcome, which is a safe and wholesome meat product,” Oedekoven said.

All meat and poultry sold or donated for public consumption must be inspected either by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service or by a state program. Inspectors visit the site and make sure each animal is healthy before it’s slaughtered, they ensure it’s slaughtered in a humane way, and that the carcass and meat is handled in safe and sanitary ways through processing, packaging and labeling.

Large plants like Smithfield Foods, formerly John Morrell in Sioux Falls, have federal inspectors dedicated to the facility. Smaller shops schedule their slaughter and processing work when an inspector can be on site.

Inspection isn’t required when farmers have livestock butchered to stock their own freezers. Those cuts are stamped “Not for sale.” Bison, elk and deer are exempt from the interstate sales rules. Those products can be sold across the border with a state inspection stamp.

The Renner Corner Locker processes buffalo from across the border in Minnesota, but assistant manager Jon Siemonsma said they’ve had to turn away another customer from Minnesota who wanted to have other animals processed and inspected there before bringing them back to Minnesota to sell.

Renner Corner is one of 33 state-inspected operations that could sell products in other states if the newly introduced bill passes.

“It could potentially get us more business,” Siemonsma said.

Sen. Rounds said that’s the aim, and it especially makes sense when niche markets and direct sales are a way to add value to a product.

“At a time of economic downturn within the ag sector, opening up new markets for South Dakota producers is critically important,” Rounds said in a news release.

Kenny Graner, president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, added his support: “This opens access to new markets that were previously unavailable due to outdated federal regulations. The idea that beef from approved South American countries may be sold across state lines in the United States, while state inspected products can’t go from South Dakota to North Dakota illustrates the inequities of our current law.”