PINE BEETLE BATTLE
SD pine beetle initiative removes 441,000 trees
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - More than 441,000 trees infested with mountain pine beetles have been removed since the state of South Dakota launched its Black Hills Forest Initiative in August 2011.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard says he's pleased with the progress, but there's more work to do.
State Forester Greg Josten says there has been major progress in Custer State Park, where the number of infested trees decreased from 100,000 in 2012 to 30,000 last year. But state officials remain concerned about high tree mortality rates at Sylvan Lake, where 23,000 trees were recently infested.
On private land, more than 186,000 acres have been surveyed and about 364,000 infested trees marked.
The Legislature has allocated $4 million over the past three years to fight the beetle epidemic.
Teen killed, man injured in crash in SE Montana
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 16-year-old South Dakota boy was killed and a Washington state man was injured in a three-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 212 in southeastern Montana, near the town of Alzada.
The Montana Highway Patrol says a Chevy Cruze driven by a 31-year-old man from Tacoma, Washington, struck farm equipment being pulled by a Chevy Silverado at about noon Thursday.
The Cruze swerved into the opposite lane, hitting another pickup head-on, killing the teen, who is from Belle Fourche (bel-FOOSH'), South Dakota. His name has not been released.
The driver of the Cruze was injured and taken to a hospital in South Dakota.
The driver of the Silverado, a 43-year-old man from Belle Fourche, South Dakota, was not injured.
CREDIT CARD FRAUD
Stolen credit card scam operating in South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Sioux Falls police are searching for two women who are believed to have used stolen credit cards to buy $66,000 in gift cards from numerous businesses.
Police say the women are working with at least six men, hitting stores around the region, including in Madison and Flandreau.
Police say they have received several fraud reports from people outside of South Dakota saying their credit cards have been used in Sioux Falls.
Preps in full swing for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - Preparations are in full swing for this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota's Black Hills, and officials are already looking forward to next year's 75th Diamond Jubilee.
This year's rally gets underway Monday, and motorcycle enthusiasts are already flocking to Sturgis. The state Highway Patrol is urging bikers and motorists to "share the road." Last year six fatalities were recorded in the Rapid City district during the rally.
The Rapid City Journal reports that reservations and visitor inquiries indicate attendance this year might match last year's event, which drew more than 467,000 people.
Some officials estimate that next year's rally might draw close to a million people.
This year's rally runs through Aug. 10.
ROAD GLIDE RETURNS
Harley-Davidson resumes production of touring bike
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - Harley-Davidson plans to resume sales of its most popular model.
The company says it will start selling two Road Glide touring models on Aug. 26 when its full 2015 lineup is released.
It's previewing the Road Glide and Road Glide Special on Friday at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota and the National Bikers Roundup in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Company spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim says the Road Glide was taken out of the lineup for a year to focus on its new platform of touring cycles called Project Rushmore.
She says the focus is to improve the touring bikes so they're more comfortable for both rider and passenger.
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