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Longtime president of Bison Grain convicted of kidnapping, raping wife

Richard Seidel, the owner and manager of the large Bison Grain Company, located in Bison, South Dakota, was convicted two weeks ago of beating, choking, kidnapping and raping his wife and is in jail awaiting a sentence that could mean life in prison.

Bison is 145 miles of Rapid City.

Seidel, who turned 57 in June, had been free on $1 million cash bond on the charges laid in November 2017 by Perkins County State’s Attorney Shane Penfield based on a grand jury’s indictment.

Penfield initially charged Seidel — pronounced “SY-dul” — with attempted murder, but amended the charges soon after his arrest.

In a handwritten note seeking a protection order from the court in November 2017 after his arrest, the victim said Seidel had strangled and bound her, kidnapped and raped her, threatening her with a gun.

Court officials said someone facing $1 million cash-only bond is rare, much less someone making such a bail.

In November 2017, then-Attorney General Marty Jackley announced, with Penfield, the charges against Seidel, highlighting the serious nature of the case.

Penfield this week told the Capital Journal it had been a “daunting” case. He praised the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation and the Perkins County Sheriff’s Office for their work on the case.

Seidel’s victim had been his wife for about two decades and for years was an officer in the Bison Grain company.

She had filed for divorce not long before Seidel attacked her, court officers said.

His trial opened in Bison on July 23 and went to the jury on Friday, July 26.

His victim testified against Seidel at trial; he did not testify in his own defense.

Law officers from the sheriff’s office and from the state Division of Criminal Investigation testified.

After deliberating about three hours, the jury found Seidel guilty of four counts: kidnapping in the first degree in order to inflict injury or terrorize, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison; of second degree rape using force, coercion or threats of great bodily harm, which carries a top sentence of 50 years; committing a felony while armed with a gun, with a 25-year maximum sentence; and aggravated assault/domestic violence in blocking her breathing and/or blood flow by blocking her nose and mouth and/or her throat, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Seidel is in the Meade County Jail in Sturgis until his sentencing, slated for early November.

The Perkins County Jail in Bison isn’t set up to hold people for more than 72 hours, county officials said.

Seidel retained well-known Rapid City defense attorney Timothy Rensch, who declined to comment on the verdict to the Capital Journal. In November 2017, Rensch told the Capital Journal Seidel would plead not guilty and would defend his case “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Since his release on $1 million cash bail in 2017, Seidel remained in charge of Bison Grain, working while he was awaiting trial, court officials said.

Seidel has grown children from a previous marriage.

An employee at Bison Grain on Thursday said everything was running as always and the elevator was taking in newly harvested winter wheat.

According to an official at the state’s Public Utilities Commission, Bison Grain is a properly licensed grain warehouse.

Seidel remains the registered agent for Bison Grain in filings with the state Secretary of State’s office.

Seidel’s victim moved away after the attack.

The Capital Journal is not publishing her name.

Seidel’s father was a longtime leader in ranching and farming in Perkins County and became a director of Bison Grain in the mid-1960s, according to his obituary.

  Richard Seidel has been president and owner of the grain and farm supply company for years, with his then-wife listed as vice-president and his mother as secretary of the corporation, according to filings with the secretary of state’s office.

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SD Chief Justice moves court office from Burke to Winner because of tornado emergency

Out of a whirlwind, the Lord answered Job’s plea for justice, say the scriptures. But the tornado that hit Burke, South Dakota, late Tuesday night, Aug. 6, interrupted justice by putting the Gregory County courthouse temporarily out of business, said the state's top judge.

  The old building appeared relatively unscathed compared with the the destruction seen around it.

“The storm in Burke was a horrific event, and our thoughts and prayers are with the residents as they work to rebuild their community” said South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson in a news release Thursday. “The rural nature of our state provides unique challenges to the court system, but the Unified Judicial System remains committed to serving the people of Gregory County through this challenging time.”

Two men were injured by the EF-1 tornado with 110 mph winds that hit Burke about 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6, laying waste to several buildings, including parts of the public school and downtown businesses. One man underwent surgery, but was doing well, as was the other injured man, said Gov. Kristi Noem who visited the town of about 586 people. City officials asked people to stay away on Wednesday and Thursday to allow initial recovery work to go unhindered.

Gilbertson declared “a judicial emergency” for the courthouse and announced a plan: “Judicial operations for Gregory County will resume at the Tripp County Courthouse in Winner,” Gilbertson said. “All deadlines, time schedules and filing requirements pending in Gregory County are suspended until further order by the (Supreme) Court.”

Gilbertson said he had been advised by Presiding Judge Bobbi J. Rank of the state’s Sixth Circuit — which is based in Pierre and includes 14 counties — that access to the courthouse in Burke is “currently impractical and impossible,” Gilbertson said.

Winner is 34 miles northwest of Burke.

Sandy Teigen, Gregory County clerk of court, had only to bring herself over to Winner, she told the Capital Journal from the Tripp County Courthouse clerk of court’s office on Thursday.

“I’m the only one in the office,” she said of her Gregory County workplace in Burke.

She didn’t have to lug files to Winner.

“Almost everything is online. I can access all my files here from Winner.”

Teigen lives in Gregory, nine miles northwest of Burke.

“I have not been in the (Gregory County) Courthouse (since the tornado). They won’t allow anyone into Burke,” she said.

From post-tornado photographs, the courthouse in Burke, built in 1934, looked relatively uninjured compared with several structures nearby that were wrecked.

But there was damage, Teigen said she’s learned.

“The windows on the west side were broken out,” she said. “I had some some cracks in our windows but none in my office were broken out. I’ve been assured our files are secure.”

She lives in Gregory, nine miles northwest of Burke.

There was one court hearing scheduled in Burke that had to be postponed, but otherwise no big logistical problem, she said.

She’s hoping to be back in Burke as soon as electricity is back on, maybe as soon as Friday, Teigen said.

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Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center celebrates 10-year anniversary

“It is crazy around here trying to get ready for Saturday,” exclaimed museum Director Kalyn Eulbert, who is reveling in the responsibilities of preparing the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre for its 10th anniversary.

The festivities begin Saturday, August 10 at 5 p.m. (CT) with the unveiling of a large bronze statue of four-time World Champion Bronc Rider Clint Johnson. The statue depicts Johnson on the bronc Kicking Bear and will be unveiled in rodeo center’s sculpture garden. It accompanies the current two bronze statues of six-time and five-time world champion bronc riders Casey Tibbs and Billy Etbauer.

Johnson and his family, along with sculptor, T.R. Chytka, will be in attendance.

The rodeo center includes a museum featuring not only Fort Pierre’s own Casey Tibbs, the legendary saddle bronc rider who died in 1990, but other pioneers and leaders in rodeo and ranching from the state, as well as a large convention and meeting facility. The Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center is a non-partisan, non-profit business.

The 10th anniversary celebration also includes:

A kids’ rodeo carnival, for little cowboys and cowgirls. “Grab your stick ponies and get ready to race! Kids can buy a wristband for unlimited play in our barrel race, stick pony race, steer roping, blindfold branding, and other events,” said Eulbert. “4-H ambassadors from around the state are volunteering to help run the kids’ rodeo.”

Live musical entertainment features award-winning recording artists Del Shields and Eli Barsi, known for their country western music.

A branding party. It involves burning a lasting legacy on the boards of the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center by placing your livestock brand. Contact Eulbert at (605) 494-1094 to become part of the branding party.

Willie Cowan will be giving wagon team presentation, with two of his teams, and then giving rides for free-will donations afterward.

A wine tasting event. “We will be introducing our three new South Dakota wines during our anniversary event. A free tasting will be available for those 21 years and older,” said Eulbert. Wine and beer will also be available for purchase.

And what is a true celebration without food? “The Silver Spur will be providing a pulled pork and hotdog meal. This includes a sandwich or hotdog, chips, cookie and a drink for $5,” said Eulbert.

The Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center is a historical museum dedicated to rodeo — the South Dakota state sport — its history and its stand-out individuals, like Mattie Goff Newcombe the spectacular trick horse rider of the 1920s.

At the rodeo center, visitors can:

Ride the virtual bronc and see how long eight seconds can really be

Watch famous rides

Listen to interviews of the 19 world champions from South Dakota.

Have photos taken of family and friends wearing western clothing. Displays include the Little Britches, 4-H, High School Rodeo, College and more.

The museum can also provide personal tours to smallish and largish groups. The parking lot is easily accessible by tour buses and RV’s. Package tours can include a lunch, dinner or social hour, when arranged in advance.

AARP SD donates $20K to disaster recovery

AARP South Dakota, in collaboration with the AARP Foundation, will be making a donation of $20,000 to disaster relief efforts in southeastern South Dakota.

Many South Dakota communities are still recovering from last spring’s bomb cyclone storm, which brought heavy rain and snow to much of the state and caused historic flooding.

Rural communities in particular continue to face a range of challenges as their residents, many of whom are 50-plus, work to rebuild their lives.

“Natural disasters intensify the struggles low-income older adults already experience,” said Emily Allen, AARP Foundation senior vice president. “When natural disasters strike, every dollar makes a difference. These funds will help local organizations address the immediate needs of low-income seniors and support long-term recovery efforts in the area.”

The donation has been allocated to the South Dakota Community Foundation’s Natural Disaster Relief Fund, established to support several nonprofits who are leading the recovery and rebuilding efforts in communities across South Dakota.

AARP South Dakota and the South Dakota Community Foundation are founding partners of the Livable 605 coalition that works with South Dakota communities to build partnerships, develop resources, and implement strategies to enhance livability for all ages.

In addition to the donation, the AARP South Dakota Fraud Watch Network is educating residents about disaster related scams, and sharing resources, to help all South Dakotans protect themselves from frauds, scams and identity theft. Local presentations are available by contacting sdaarp@aarp.org.

“This was a devastating storm and we want to do all that we can to help our fellow South Dakotans rebuild,” Gaikowski said. “We hope that our donation and outreach efforts will help restore and improve the livability of our local communities.”

Choral Camp concludes on a good note

The 2019 Riggs Choral Camp was held at T.R. Riggs High School theater on Monday through Wednesday, August 5-7, from 10 a.m. to noon all three days.

“At this camp we sing, socialize, and prep for the upcoming year,” said Rodd Bauck, choir director for grades seven through 12 at T.F. Riggs High School. “There are games, vocal exercises, and most importantly, food! We go over information concerning choir class, All State Choir, and Chamber Choir.”

This event is for high school students only. Any high school student is welcome to attend, even if he/she is not signed up for choir. Bauck stressed that, even if a student missed the camp, they will still have opportunities to audition for the Chamber Choir and for All State Choir if interested.

“Last year I had a total of 68 singers, which is maybe 12 or 13 percent of the student body,” said Bauck, who teaches at the high school. “This year, so far, I have 75 students signed up for choir. That could grow, and it could also diminish. I have three choirs total: Treble Choir (ninth and 10th grade girls), Concert Choir (ninth-12th grade guys and 11th-12th grade girls). Both of these ensembles meet during the school day. I also have an auditioned-for A Cappella Chamber Choir that meets outside of class. That ensemble is made up of grades nine-12 by audition, and this year It will be a total of 28 voices.”

“Choir is an elective, and it is taken for a semester credit. It is looked at as a full year class, but it can be taken as a semester only class. No one is forced or expected to do the full year, but most people do the full year. On average, 25-30 students letter per year,” said Bauck.

“All of my choirs compete in South Dakota High School Activity Association sponsored music contests. As a group, we can receive Academic Achievement Awards,” said Bauck.

The Chamber Choir will be the first to perform this school year, for Homecoming Coronation on Monday September 9. The first choir concert is the Fall Concert, October 22, at 7 p.m.

“Camp was a fun time. We spent time singing, playing games, getting to know each other, and eating food,” said Bauck. “We did many exercises that dealt with having to keep a steady beat while singing independently. We also did many exercises that incorporated some kind of movement while we sang, such as walking on the beat while singing. We sang in rounds for part independence. We also looked at some music for the upcoming school year. We all sang through an All State Choir piece to give all students a chance to see what that music is like.”

“We went over our choral handbook and other procedures and talked about the expectations in the classroom” he continued. “Some things of note: If you missed camp, you will still have opportunities to audition for the Chamber Choir, and you will have opportunities for All State Choir if interested.”

Students may audition for Chamber Choir on Monday and Tuesday August 19 and 20. Students interested in All State Choir can come to rehearsals the week of August 12-16 from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Riggs Choir room. These rehearsals are not mandatory, they are just for the students’ benefit. Actual All State rehearsals prior to auditions — which are Tuesday, September 3 — will begin on Tuesday, August 20, at 5:30 p.m.

For Freshmen choir students, and for any students who are new to choir this year or came back to choir after a year’s absence, there is a student and parent choir meeting on Tuesday, August 13, at 7 p.m. in the Riggs Choir room.