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Wyatt Anderson makes it to first base against Renner Friday at Black Hills Surgical Hospital Ballpark.


Crime-and-courts
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Convicted child rapist sentenced to consecutive life sentences
  • Updated

A convicted child rapist was sentenced Wednesday to three consecutive life sentences plus 15 years in the state penitentiary.

Teddy Guzman, 39, was found guilty in April of three counts of first-degree rape and one count of sexual contact with a minor. In addition to the prison terms, 7th Circuit Court Judge Robert Mandel ordered him to pay $12,000 in restitution to the state.

Laura Roetzel, chief deputy with the Pennington County State's Attorney's Office, said the sentence was appropriate.

"It's hard to even explain the trauma that these children have experienced, not just from their victimization but having to go through not one but two jury trials," she said after the hearing. "Judge Mandel talked a lot about the risk of him committing the offense again and that's really how the state feels, that he continues to be a danger to any child anywhere. This is the only sentence that keeps our community safe."

Guzman was found guilty of raping three girls at ages 12, 10 and five or six after a jury deliberated for about nine hours over two days. The first trial ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors said the assaults happened between January 2015 and December 2017.

Guzman also has been charged with two counts of second-degree rape with use of force, coercion or threats; two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16; sexual exploitation of a minor and habitual offender.

Roetzel said Guzman may attend future proceedings virtually from the penitentiary in Sioux Falls.


Legislature
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Lawmakers defer action on civics and history letter to higher education
  • Updated

Jean Hunhoff

The state's Joint Appropriations Committee deferred action Wednesday on a second letter of intent regarding applications for federal grants involving education in American history and civics.

The second letter focuses on federal grants for higher education and addresses Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents Brian Maher and Executive Director of the Board of Technical Education Nick Wendell. It is similar to the letter of intent addressed to State Education Secretary Tiffany Sanderson the JCA sent in May, but applies to universities, community colleges and technical colleges.

Both letters ask the respective entities to delay application of federal grants that concern education in history or civics until the Legislature has had a chance to act upon legislative initiatives concerning history and civics education during the 2022 legislative session.

The Legislature anticipates bills aimed at barring “action- or project-based civics” from South Dakota classrooms next session. The letter also expects that, even after the 2022 session, the BOR and the BTE will consult with the JCA before applying for any such grants.

JCA Chair Senator Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, said the committee would defer action until next month’s meeting because the federal Department of Education recently released new guidance on applying for American history and civics grants. Hunhoff said the committee always wanted to give the two affected institutions the opportunity to reply to the letter, dated July 21, before taking action.

Letter of Intent Regard Federal Grants in History and Civics

The letter directly references bills currently pending in Congress, the Civics Learning Act of 2021, the Civics Secures Democracy Act, the Inspire to Serve Act, or the Promoting Programming, Research, Education, and Preservation Civics and Government Act, which all offer grants to support educational programs in civics and history.

The letter of intent does not have the direct force of law, but it reminds its recipients that the Appropriations Committee could use the entities’ cooperation, or lack thereof, to determine how much funding they get in the future.

South Dakota has its own civics and history curriculum initiative, which provided $900,000 in one-time state funds to support educators and provide resources to help students “understand our country, state, and story; equip them with the knowledge and experience necessary to engage as informed citizens; and prepare them to participate in civil discourse on important issues.” The initiative involves pilot program grants, curriculum materials review and development, and professional development, and is expected to continue through Fiscal Year 2023.

The state Legislature’s proposed legislation would ban training in and promotion of what the JCA calls “critical social justice” and “cultural Marxism” and claims that the ideologies listed are radical, biased, and factually unproven.

“This ideological umbrella constitutes sub-ideologies such as Critical Race Theory, Whiteness Studies, Decolonization Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Fat Studies, Intersectionalism, and other radical ideologies rooted in the Conflict Theory perspective,” the letter reads. “These concepts are often ushered into universities using ill-defined, unproven, tendentious concepts labeled ‘implicit bias,’ ‘systemic racism’ and the like.”

Critical race theory and other social justice theoretical frameworks’ place in education have been hotly debated on the national level in recent months. CRT asserts that race is a socially constructed category and that institutions in the United States function by perpetuating racial inequity.


State-and-regional
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State reports more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and sixth death in July
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Like most other states, South Dakota is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases as vaccination rates slow down and people return to more normal activity.

The state Department of Health reports that 352,800 people have received at least one vaccine dose in the state — but only 5,005 of those have been in the month of July. In the past week, the state has recorded 200 new infections. Those new infections pushed active cases up by 82 to 290. That is the highest number of active cases since June 2. 

One COVID-19 death was reported this week to bring the total deaths in July to six and the overall pandemic death toll to 2,041. The person who died was a man in his 60s from Pennington County.

The state reported that 38 people are hospitalized in South Dakota due to COVID-19 illnesses — an increase of 18 from last week. Ten of those patients are in intensive care units and two are using ventilators. In the Black Hills region, 10 people are being treated in hospitals with three in ICU and no one using a ventilator.

Only one of the new infections this week was reported to have been a variant of the original COVID-19 virus. It was the delta variant — which spreads more easily than other versions of the virus. There have been 12 delta variant cases reported in South Dakota. The Department of Health has added guidance on its website to advise that variant testing in South Dakota is random "sentinel monitoring" instead of testing all positive specimens. 

Forty-two of the 200 new infections were in children under 19. Twenty-eight more were people in their 20s. Fifteen people over 70 tested positive this week.

Minnehaha County led the state with 46 new infections and Pennington County had 38. There are 65 active cases in Pennington County — an increase of five from last week. Meade and Lawrence counties each reported nine new cases and there were five in Oglala-Lakota County. Fall River County reported three new cases. There were two positive tests in Butte County and one in Custer County.

Dewey County reported 12 new cases and Lincoln County had 11. Brookings and Union counties each had seven new infections and there were six in Deuel County. Davison County recorded five positive tests and there were four in Clay County. Brown and Hughes counties each reported three new infections and there were two each in Charles Mix, Clark, Day, Mellette, Moody, Roberts and Yankton counties. One new case each was reported in Beadle, Codington, Douglas, Harding, Lyman, McPherson and Todd counties.


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