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Crime-and-courts
State says men killed teen during planned robbery

The two men accused of murdering 17-year-old Emmanuel Hinton in Rapid City earlier this week did so during a planned robbery, a prosecutor said Friday in court. 

Andre Martinez, a 19-year-old from Rapid City, came up with a plan to rob another teenager who was selling marijuana, said Karla MacArthur Harris, a prosecutor with the Pennington County State's Attorney Office.

Martinez then recruited Cole Waters, also 19 and from Rapid City, to help with the robbery, the prosecutor said. When four people met for the deal, Waters held a gun — owned by Martinez — to Hinton's head before shooting him. Waters reportedly admitted to investigators that he pulled the trigger 

Hinton, of Box Elder, was shot around 8 p.m. Feb. 26 in an alley on the 700 block of Blaine Avenue and died at the hospital around 10:30 p.m. He was taken to the hospital by an individual who was with him at the time of the shooting. Waters turned himself in the next morning, while Martinez was arrested at his home after a brief deployment of the Rapid City-Pennington County Special Response Team. 

Martinez and Waters, who appeared in court via a TV linked to the jail, are each charged with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, committing a felony with a gun, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, and aiding and abetting an attempted first-degree robbery. If convicted of the murder charges, they would receive a punishment of either life in prison or the death penalty. 

Both men have had past encounters with the criminal justice system, Judge Sarah Morrison said. 

MacArthur Harris requested $1 million cash-only bonds for both men. A lawyer standing next to Martinez called the request "quite exuberant" and said her client can't afford it and that he has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health problems. But Morrison agreed to the $1 million bond and ordered Martinez and Waters not to contact the other teenager they allegedly planned to rob.  

Family or friends of the defendants gasped and cried when they learned of their high bonds and that if found guilty, they could be executed. 

Waters, who cried and appeared distraught during the hearing, shouted out "I love you Mom and Dad" before being taken back to his cell. 

Hinton also had supporters at the hearing.

He was "the (most caring) guy I ever met," 18-year-old Rhianna Dodd said after the hearing. Dodd, who was there with two friends, said Hinton was nice to everyone and had a large and loving family and group of friends. She said Hinton worked various jobs to support his family and recently helped fix his mother's car. 

His death is the "worst thing that could have happened," she said.


Local
February was Rapid City's third-coldest, sixth-snowiest

The month that Rapid City just experienced was the city's third-coldest February and sixth-snowiest February on record, according to preliminary data published by the National Weather Service.

The average temperature at the service's downtown weather station last month was 10 degrees. That ranks behind only the city's 9.3-degree average temperature in February 1899 and the city's 1.4-degree average temperature in February 1936.

February 2019 will now supplant the city's previous third-coldest February, in 1891, when the average temperature was 12.4 degrees.

This year's historically cold February follows another historically cold February in 2018, when Rapid City's average temperature was 16.3 degrees. That ranked as the city's sixth-coldest February at the time, but will now rank seventh.

The snowiest February in the recorded history of downtown Rapid City was in 2001, when 22 inches of snow was measured. The 14 inches measured in February 2019 ranks No. 6, ahead of 13.6 inches in 1963 and behind 16.2 inches in 1888.

Last year, the city experienced its third-snowiest February ever, with 19.9 inches of snow.

February 2019 ended with a warm-up, as the temperature reached 23 degrees on Thursday in downtown Rapid City. March also began relatively warm, with a forecast high in the 20s on Friday, but temperatures are predicted to plummet this weekend.

The forecast includes a high around 5 today with a low of minus 12 tonight and overnight wind-chill values potentially in the minus 20s. Sunday's forecast includes a high of 2 with a low of minus 11 on Sunday night, and Monday's forecast high is 12 with with a low of 2. Finally, on Tuesday, the temperature is predicted to rise into the 20s.

Today's forecast also includes an 80 percent chance of snow, with potential accumulations of 1 to 3 inches.


Gooddeeds
OUR GOOD DEEDS
Mammoth Site gets $20K to improve accessibility

The South Dakota Community Foundation recently awarded a $20,000 South Dakota Fund grant to the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, according to a news release from the foundation.

Funds will help the site increase accessibility for visitors, according to the release. The site's former staircase to the sinkhole that visitors can tour, called the "bonebed," was demolished and a new, wider set of stairs with an elevator was installed.

Newly designed ramps throughout the bonebed are lowered, and are now completely handicapped-accessible. The change is part of a $1.6 million renovation and expansion of The Mammoth Site.

Since the site's sinkhole building was enclosed in 1984, accessibility laws have changed and the Mammoth Site's visitation has risen. Approximately 100,000 people visit the site each year, the release said. 

“The Mammoth Site would like to give a Mammoth Thank You to the South Dakota Community Foundation for the grant award of $20,000 to allow us the ability to make our wholly unique working paleontological bonebed more accessible to our 100,000 plus annual visitors," said Presston Gabel, business manager and chief operating officer of the site. "Without the help of the South Dakota Community Foundation, this project would not have been completed.”

The South Dakota Fund awards grants thought the year to support culture, economic development, education, health and human services. For more information, visit sdcommunityfoundation.org/for-nonprofits/sd-fund-grants/

First Interstate Bank's Day of Giving

First Interstate Bank recently gave $22,500 to nine South Dakota nonprofits. 

Rapid City Arts Council received $4,000; YoungLife of Rapid City, $2,000; Feeding South Dakota, $1,500; Salvation Army, $1,000; Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, $1,000; TREA, $1,000; SDGives, $1,000; American Legion Post 22, $1,000; and Abbott House, $10,000. 

The awards were presented during the bank's Day of Giving social on Dec. 11, according to a news release. 

Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity

SpartanNash, which owns Family Fare Supermarkets, raised $179,500 with a nationwide scan campaign from Feb. 6-17.

According to a news release from SpartanNash, stores across the Midwest gave customers the option to donate $1, $5 or $10.

All of the money raised in the campaign will go to Habitat for Humanity partners in across the country, including Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity. It received $4,100, and is the only South Dakota chapter to benefit from the campaign.

Youth & Family Services

American Family Insurance's Dreams Foundation recently donated $1,000 to Youth & Family Services. 

The foundation asked customers to nominate nonprofits for the grant. Barbara Chapman nominated YFS "because the work they do is vital to our community," according to a news release from American Family Insurance Group.

Volunteer nominations open

The Helpline Center's annual Spirit of Volunteerism Awards are now open for nominations. 

Each year, the center takes nominations and awards volunteers in the Black Hills area in four categories: youth, group, adult (two divisions), and corporate humanitarian.

All of the nominees will be included in the Spirit of Volunteerism Awards Luncheon on May 21, where the winners will be announced. Tickets are $30 apiece, or $300 for a table of 10 and available on eventbrite.com

To nominate a volunteer, visit helplinecenter.org


Local
Commission approves deer licensing changes

Changes to South Dakota's deer-hunting licensing program could come as soon as the 2019 hunting season after a state commission's unanimous approval Friday.

After months of back-and-forth between commissioners and hunters, the Game, Fish and Parks commission unanimously voted to approve a new lottery system for South Dakota deer hunters. If the proposal is backed by the Legislature's Interim Rules Review Committee at their next meeting, GFP Special Projects Coordinator Kevin Robling said the new system could be in place in time for June's draw for the 2019 season.

Robling said the aim of the new system is to allow the greatest number of hunters to draw their first-choice season picks and to increase participation.

The approved proposal would allow a hunter to apply for two of the state's seasons — East River, West River, Black Hills, Muzzleloader and Custer State Park — in the first draw. On the second draw, hunters with one license for these seasons could submit another application for a season they do not already have.

Critics of the commission's previous proposals were concerned they wouldn't be able to hunt both East and West River in the same year. By allowing hunters to apply for two seasons on the first draw, the latest proposal addresses that concern.

In the third drawing, resident hunters could apply for each season for which they don't already have licenses. And on the fourth draw, resident hunters could submit up to another five applications.

On the fifth draw, the remaining licenses would be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Commissioner Russell Olson of Madison said after 18 months of negotiations, the final proposal "shows the commission is willing to listen to sportsmen and -women and enthusiasts."