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James Brinker makes first court appearance

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Mitchell man charged with killing his wife earlier this week made his first court appearance this morning. 39 year old James Brinker is charged with first-degree manslaughter, violating a protection order and simple assault domestic.

Davison County States Attorney Jim Miskimins says the court advised Brinker of his rights and set a preliminary hearing for November 2nd. Attorney Chris Nipe was appointed as Brinker’s legal counsel.

Brinker remains in the Davison County Jail with bond set at $750,000.

Police say Brinker wrapped the 36 year old Marie Brinker in a blanket, placed a sock in her mouth, tied a cloth belt across her face, placed her on a mattress and left her there for a significant amount of time. Police say that apparently led to her death.

J.P. Skelly


Mitchell man arrested for manslaughter

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On 10-17-2017 at approx.  7:00 p.m.  The Mitchell Department of Public Safety received a 911 call stating that an ambulance was needed at a residence located on the 900-block E. 3rd Avenue for a female who did not appear to be breathing.    Responding Officers found a 36-year-old female subject deceased at the residence.

As a result of this investigation, 39-year-old Mitchell resident James Edward Brinker, date of birth 09-11-1978, was arrested for the following offenses:  First Degree Manslaughter in violation of S.D.C.L. 22-16-15, Violation of a Protection Order Constituting an Assault in violation of S.D.C.L. 25-10-13 and Simple Assault Domestic in violation of S.D.C.L. 22-18-1.   

In this incident, James Brinker allegedly wrapped the female in a blanket and allegedly asphyxiated the female by placing a sock in her mouth, tying a cloth belt across her face, placing the woman on a mattress and leaving her in that state for a significant period of time, which apparently lead to her death.    James then, brought the victim’s children to the crime scene and convinced one of the children to call 911.  James left the residence and he was later located at a different residence in Mitchell.  There was a valid protection order in place that prohibited James from having contact with the victim at the time of the incident. 

First Degree Manslaughter is a Class C Felony punishable by life imprisonment in the state penitentiary and a fine of $ 50,000.  Violation of a Protection Order Constituting an Assault is a Class 6 Felony punishable by 2 years imprisonment in the state penitentiary and a fine of $ 4,000.  Simple Assault Domestic is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by 1-year imprisonment in a county jail and or a $2,000 fine.

This is an ongoing investigation.   The Mitchell Police Division is asking for any information from 10-17-2017  regarding James Brinker or other information about this incident.   




Foster Street bridge ribbon-cutting

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

State and local officials celebrated the completion of the first Bridge Improvement Grant project at a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning in Davison County. The Foster Street bridge rehabilitation project was among the first to receive a grant under the road funding bill signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard in 2015.

Former State Senator Mike Vehle led the charge to establish the BIG program under Senate Bill One. He answered the question why bridges instead of roads. “The idea was…you can have the nicest oil road coming up to the bridge or you can have just a washboard piece of junk dirt road,” said Vehle. “But if there’s no bridge, it’s all over. You’re not going anywhere.”

Vehle says if the state helped with the bridges, the counties had more flexibility in choosing which roads to repair and maintain with their remaining local funds.

The Foster Street Bridge over Firesteel Creek was built in 1952 and is 166 feet long. The rehabilitation cost is $665,000 far less than a new bridge. The restoration project took about ten weeks.

To date, 138 grants have been awarded for a total of $19 million dollars with an expected completion of all projects by the end of summer in 2020.

J.P. Skelly and SD DOT


Mitchell School Board accepts ASBSD leadership award

Friday, October 13, 2017

Recently, members of the Mitchell School Board were presented their Silver Level award for their participation in the Associated School Boards of South Dakota’s board recognition program: ALL, which stands for Act, Learn, Lead.

ASBSD Executive Director Dr. Wade Pogany presented the Mitchell School Board their award.

The group earned the award for its dedicated participation in activities, board development and training and demonstrated leadership at various areas and levels throughout the 2016-17 school year.

In the inaugural year of the program, nearly one-third of the total number of public school boards in South Dakota earned an ALL award through the variety of training, development and leadership opportunities.

“The Mitchell School Board committed their time and effort to enhancing their knowledge of board work, which will benefit their students, staff and community,” Pogany said.

“Their leadership to achieve excellence for South Dakota public education is commendable and we were very happy to be able to present them their award.”

ASBSD is a private, non-profit association representing more than 850 South Dakota school board members, the 149 school districts they govern and the students they serve.



Mitchell nurse honored

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Julie Hoffman, a registered nurse at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, recently earned the "Outstanding Leadership in Nursing" Award from the South Dakota Organization of Nurse Executives – the nurse executive trade association under the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations.

Hoffman has served as the administrator of Avera Brady Health & Rehab since 2014.

During the past two years, Hoffman has been the SDONE District IV chair. District IV encompasses a large portion of the southeast part of the state.

Under her leadership, SDONE membership, engagement and attendance of meetings within the district remained high.

Hoffmann received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from SDSU in 1988 and began her first job as an RN on the Medical Unit at St. Joseph Hospital (now Avera Queen of Peace Hospital).  Julie has made multiple contributions toward quality improvement over the years – training nursing assistants, serving as a CPR Instructor and serving as a Nursing Quality Improvement Representative.  In 2000, Julie became the Radiation Oncology RN for the new Cancer Center in Mitchell and obtained certification in Oncology Nursing.  In 2007, Julie accepted the position as Director of Nursing at Avera Brady Health & Rehab/Assisted Living.  She was awarded the Avera Nursing Service Excellence Distinguished Service Leader Award in 2009 and became the Administrator of Avera Brady Health & Rehab/Assisted Living in 2014.

Over the past two years, Julie and served as the SDONE District IV Chair. During this time, Julie has kept the district engaged with interesting quarterly meetings that are both educational and great networking opportunities.  District meetings are held at a different facility each time and local experts usually serve as presenters.  In 2017, meetings were held in Parkston, Freeman and Mitchell and speakers shared information on Coordinated Care, work with the Hutterite Colonies and Ethics in Healthcare.  Membership and attendance at meetings for District IV have remained high under Julie’s leadership.

Avera Queen of Peace Health Services



Dakota Discovery Museum announces a special exhibit

Friday, October 6, 2017

Mitchell’s Dakota Discovery Museum, Dakota Wesleyan University and the Jewish Community Relations Council for Minnesota and the Dakotas are collaborating on a project documenting South Dakota’s Jewish population throughout history.

Dakota Diaspora: Judaism in South Dakota tells the story of homesteaders, storekeepers and families of Jewish heritage in South Dakota.

Eleven of DWU Professor Joel Allen’s world religion students are working on the project. “It’s just kind of identifying different people, different families that we ought to be in touch with,” said Allen. “We started putting out feelers and one thing led to another, and here we are.”

The second part is called “Transfer of Memory”, a photo exhibit of illustrating Holocaust survivors who settled in the region.

Steve Hunegs is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He says the exhibit is hugely important. “As the survivor community passes on, this is our best way to tell the stories of the holocaust,” Hunegs said. “Not because we should learn about…the holocaust, but because we need to use it to guide us and inform us today.”  The exhibits also serve as a platform to commemorate Israel’s 70th anniversary in May of 2018. Dakota Diaspora and Transfer of Memory is scheduled to open in late spring.

J.P. Skelly


Police seeking burglary suspect

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On 10-1-17 at between the hours of 3:30 A.M. and 4:00 A.M.., an unknown male forcibly entered two business located in the 800 Block of East Spruce and the 2200 Block of South Mentzer Mitchell SD. During the burglaries, the subject stole a large amount of change. The images above are surveillance video of the subject from the businesses. The subject was wearing dark colored shirt and a dark colored sweatshirt.                                                    

If you have information in relation to this incident, or if you have information regarding suspicious activity in this area at this time, or information relating to any other crime, please call Crime Stoppers at 996-1700.   Remember that you do not have to identify yourself, and a CASH REWARD is available if it leads to the arrest of the subject or subjects involved. There are no caller ID’s attached to this phone line, so you will remain anonymous. To send a crime tip via text messagedownload the free APP. “Tipsubmit” on your smart phone and select Mitchell Area Crime Stoppers or  text MITCS plus your message” to  “274637”.  Upon receipt of a tipster’s first incoming message the system will auto-reply with a confirmation containing the tipster’s unique tip ID.  Anonymous two way communication can then occur between the tipster and Investigators.   You can also go to to submit a crime tip by e-mail.

Information received through CRIME STOPPERS remains totally anonymous. Tipsters who provide information to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest(s) will be given a CASH REWARD.

A minimum of $250  is paid for rewards on all “Crime of the Weeks” solved through Crime Stoppers.  Mitchell Area Crime Stoppers, Inc offers this reward.  Rewards will not be paid if crime tips, leading to an arrest, are not made directly to  Mitchell Area Crime Stoppers, Inc. by telephone, text message or by web tip. 

To date 348 crimes have been solved through information from Crime Stoppers.



Mitchell School Board honored by state organization

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Members of the Mitchell School Board earned statewide recognition for their dedicated participation in activities, board development and training and demonstrated leadership at various areas and levels.

The Mitchell School Board earned a Silver Level award for their participation in the Associated School Boards of South Dakota’s board recognition program: ALL, which stands for Act, Learn, Lead and honors the work of school boards striving to enhance their knowledge base of board work.

By participating in ASBSD activities, training opportunities and demonstrating leadership at the local, state and national level, school boards accumulated points throughout the 2016-17 school year to achieve an award level.

“The Mitchell School Board is committed to their students, parents, staff and community and we’re pleased to honor and recognize their hard work and dedication,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said.

On Thursday, October 12 at 6 p.m. a representative from ASBSD will honor the Mitchell School Board with the presentation of their ALL plaque and we invite you to join us in covering this as you see fit.

In the inaugural year of the program, nearly one-third of the total number of public school boards in South Dakota earned an ALL award through the variety of training, development and leadership opportunities.

“There’s a very apparent pledge by the Mitchell School Board and school boards across the state to enhance public education in South Dakota,” Pogany said.

ASBSD is a private, non-profit association representing more than 850 South Dakota school board members, the 149 school districts they govern and the students they serve. 




MC-TEA building evacuated due to possible natural gas leak

Monday, October 2, 2017

School officials evacuated the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy for a short time this afternoon because of a suspected natural gas leak.

Superintendent Joe Graves was at the building around 3:00 pm when the facility was cleared. “Shane Thill led it, and he just basically cleared all students and staff,” said Graves. “Everybody was very courteous and quick to get out of the building.”

He says the natural gas supply was shut off and Police allowed students and staff to return about ten minutes later. Graves says officials are investigating the possible leak.

No one was hurt and normal business resumed.


The Corn Palace and DWU to collaborate on mural design

Friday, September 29, 2017

The World’s Only Corn Palace is proud to announce it will collaborate with Dakota Wesleyan University and its digital media and design department to create the 2019 murals for the World’s Only Corn Palace. 

“We are excited to partner with DWU in regards to the murals, as I believe this will bring a great deal of togetherness for our community,” said Scott Schmidt, director of the World’s Only Corn Palace. “This is a great opportunity, not only for us to share in our community icon with DWU, but a wonderful opportunity for these students to build their portfolio and buy into our community.”

Dakota Wesleyan has a rather long history with the famous Corn Palace murals. Oscar Howe, who was an artist-in-residence at DWU in 1948, while also working on his college degree, designed the Corn Palace murals from 1948 to 1971. Howe, who was a Yanktonai Sioux born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, graduated from DWU in 1952 and became Artist Laureate of South Dakota. Many of his paintings hang on campus in the Dakota Discovery Museum and one of his murals still adorns the ceiling of the Carnegie Resource Center on Third Avenue while there is also an Oscar Howe Art Gallery on the second floor of the Corn Palace.  Later, Cherie Ramsdell, a local artist and former art professor at DWU, took up the mantle and has designed the murals since 2003. From South Dakota seasons to celebrating rodeo and musical performances in Mitchell, Ramsdell designed murals that echoed the community’s greatest events as well as everyday life.

This is the first year that a DWU class has been requested to take on the project but Kyle Herges, associate professor of digital media and design at DWU, saw it as an opportunity for his students to gain real-world experience for a project that is truly unique.

“Partnering with the Corn Palace is an exciting opportunity for the digital media and design program and the community, as well as the students involved,” Herges said. “We are empowering DWU students to think beyond their traditional perspective of art and design. Our students are consistently encouraged to creatively solve problems, collaborate with others, and express themselves in new ways. This project will truly be a transformative and hands-on learning experience for everyone involved. The students are excited for the opportunity to showcase their creativity locally, under the lights of the World’s Only Corn Palace.”

The Corn Palace Events and Entertainment Board will announce the 2019 Mural Theme in conjunction with an honorary special guest at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the World’s Only Corn Palace. 

Corn Palace

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