Federal officials are calling the Tuesday morning blaze at Yankton’s Colonial Inn arson. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Scott Sweetow has announced a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in connection with the fire and Crime Stoppers will be offering an additional reward of up to $1,000. ATF, the Yankton Fire Department, the state Division of Criminal Investigation and the South Dakota State Fire Marshal’s Office conducted a fire scene examination and determined that the fire was deliberately set. The loss value is estimated at $500,000. The fire was reported at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Yankton Police are investigating a homicide that occured around this morning which resulted in the death of 46-year-old Todd Hudson at 1100 East 8th Street # 8. Yankton Police Chief Brian Paulson says the suspect is the victim’s nephew, 28-year-old Joshua Charles Hudson, and he was arrested north of Sioux City near Jefferson in Union County. Paulson expects to have the specific charges against Joshua Hudson listed by late this afternoon, and authorities are still determining the exact cause of death. The trailer court on 8th Street will continue to be cordoned off to the public as authorities gather forensic evidence. Paulson says Joshua Hudson had apparently moved back to Yankton three months ago from New Mexico. Chief Paulson says relatives helped with tips this morning leading to the arrest of Joshua Hudson after he had left Yankton County and traveled to the Sioux city area.
Sacred Heart is returning a fundraiser called Roses Just Because which raises money for hospice care and at the request of donors, distributes beautiful flowers to appreciative people..
Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Foundation, Frani Kieffer says about sixty-five percent of the funds raised go directly to The Sacred Heart Foundations and are used to support the hospice operating endowment.
Kieffer says roses cost twenty-five dollars a dozen, can be purchased until March 14th and will be delivered to Yankton on April 8th.
It has been arranged that donors can have flowers delivered to people currently in Yankton’s Sacred Heart hospice care.
Wire Me Awake organizers hosted their third conference with a move to Vermillion yesterday and made a number of adjustments they believe have improved the event. Co-founder Dan Spect says this year’s conference featured less speakers and more group-work allowing attendees to explore areas of interest and network with business-minded people. Spect says organizers relocated the event to the University of South Dakota campus in order to attract more students and bring the event to a new crop of people. Spect says roughly two-hundred and thirty people attended the conference with around seventy-percent of the attendees being students.
Organizers of the first annual Missouri River Expo discussed info about the May 3rd event which will take place at Riverside Park.
Park Ranger Dugan Smith says the Park Service wants to build on the Missouri River clean-up which takes place that morning and adds that the Parks have worked with the Boy Scouts to provide numerous activities throughout the day.
Smith says some of the activities include the unveiling of an upgraded mobile ranger station, hiking, archery instruction and twenty presenters of a variety of topics.
The expo is part of a weekend that includes the Missouri River Watershed Festival for area schools on Friday, May 2, followed by the Missouri River clean-up and expo on that Saturday.
The Yankton Volunteer Leaders yesterday hosted a Leadership Workshop at the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital Pavilion. Presenters at the workshop included Dr. Matt Fairholm of U-S-D and Scott Meyer from “9 Clouds” digital marketing of Sioux Falls. Fairholm spoke on becoming a leader that others want to follow and says sometimes “leadership” is confused with “management”.
Fairholm says if business leaders treated their employees like volunteers, it would be easier to develop commitment and good morale, and that leaders can be found at all levels of an organization…not just at the top. Meyer spoke on creating action and revenue with digital media and says it pays for any organization to think of their core audience as their “weirdos”.
Meyer says technology has allowed entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams locally where they have greater encouragement and support. The Volunteer Leaders also offered opportunities for networking and promotion of local non-profit services.
After more than two hours of discussion at their regularly scheduled meeting last night, the Yankton County Commission voted unanimously to rezone the property between 436th Avenue and 437th Avenue north of Highway 50 from agricultural to commercial property and approved a conditional-use permit allowing the construction of a grain storage facility on the site.
Chairman Bruce Jensen says despite some contentious dialogue between commissioners, the public, and representatives of YAPG and Dakota Plains Ag Center, he feels the meeting was positive.
Although YAPG pressed the commission to vote in support of creating a tax increment finance district commissioner John Harper says the commission felt they did not have enough details about the T.I.F. to do so and the commission agreed to hold a public meeting with Dakota Plains and YAPG next week to specify details
The public meeting to discuss tax increment financing to fund the construction of a grain facility will be held at the Yankton County Government Center on March 11 at 3 P.M.
Yankton Country Register of Deed Brian Hunhoff has filed petitions to run for his third term of office. Hunhoff says his major accomplishments over the past few years have included scanning all documents into a digital library and implementing an automatic indexing system. Hunhoff says future plans include adding more public viewing stations in the records vault. Hunhoff ran unopposed in 2006 and 2010.
The 52-year-old found dead in a vehicle north of Yankton Sunday has been identified as Thomas Paul Weidermann of Yankton. Weidermann’s vehicle had rolled into a ravine on the east side of Highway 81 three miles north of Yankton. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says the accident may have occurred as early as Friday, but the vehicle was hidden by Friday and Saturday’s snowfall. Authorities say Weidermann was wearing his seatbelt.
The Yankton Volunteer Fire Department battled a house fire Monday in sub-zero temperatures. Yankton Deputy Fire Chief Larry Nickles says fire crews were called to the scene nine miles west of Yankton at 9:30 am Monday. Nickels says firefighters from Lesterville and Tabor assisted at the scene. The house was allowed to burn down for safety reasons. Believed cause of the blaze is a kerosene heater. Five residents were displaced by the fire.
Yankton firefighters responded to a blaze at the Colonial Inn at 1509 Broadway at 1AM this morning. Most of the building has been destroyed and what remains suffered smoke damage. Fire crews expect to remain on the scene most of the day. Traffic on Broadway was partially blocked overnight as crews from Yankton, Lesterville, and Gayville fought the fire. The cause is under investigation.
Authorities report a body was found in a vehicle north of Yankton Sunday afternoon. The South Dakota Highway Patrol reports the body of a 52 year old male was found inside a vehicle in a ravine on the east side of Highway 81. The Patrol says the incident may have occurred Friday or Saturday. The name of the deceased is expected to be released today. The Highway Patrol says Friday and Saturday snows covered the vehicle so that it was difficult to see in the ravine. The vehicle was spotted by a landowner.
Bills related to regulating texting while driving were discussed by District 18 Legislators at this year’s final legislative cracker barrel sponsored by the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Representative Bernie Hunhoff says he supports making texting while driving a secondary offense and also supports the idea that local communities can make their own laws regarding texting.
Senator Jean Hunhoff also supports making texting while driving a secondary offense but is unsure about whether communities should be able to make their own laws on texting.
Representative Mike Stevens says he predicts that there will be a state-wide texting ban and that there will be a cultural change in the near future where texting and driving is no longer an issue.
The South Dakota State Legislature will be in recess beginning March 17.
Members of the Yankton County Commission met Friday to discuss the goals that they had accomplished in 2013 and to set new priorities for the future.
Commissioner Allen Sinclair says one area in which much progress was made in 2013 was in the Yankton County Highway Department which has a new supervisor, has purchased new equipment and has developed a plan for road and bridge improvements throughout the county.
State mandated bridge inspections are set for this year and Commissioner Garry Moore says once the report is complete, priorities can be set for improving those structures and the roads that connect them.
Moore says there are about eighty-six bridges located in Yankton County that county government is responsible for.
Local business owner Chris Ferdig has submitted his nominating petition to be included on the April 8th Municipal election ballot.
The owner of Ferdig’s Transmissions, Ferdig says he is again seeking a seat on the commission to help represent what he describes as the common person in the Yankton community.
Ferdig says if he is elected, one of his priorities would be to improve the level of fiscal responsibility on the part of municipal government.
Along with Ferdig, incumbents Craig Sommer, Nancy Wenande and Jake Hoffner have submitted nominating petitions for the April 8th municipal election.