This was a year of technological innovation for KELOLAND TV. On October 19, 2011, KELOLAND News at Five began a new era of full high definition local broadcasts with a new set, new cameras and control room. Our newscasts were the first in South Dakota to use HD cameras both in the field and in the studio.
We also launched the first KELOLAND News App in 2011.
The story of the year, however, was Missouri River floods for the record books.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the flooding was triggered by record snowfall in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming along with near-record spring rainfall. Then Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-SD) declared a state of emergency to respond to the rising waters.
Many, who saw their homes swallowed up by water, blamed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for mismanaging the river.
The Corps released record amounts of water at all six major dams along the Missouri River to prevent overflow.
For the first-time ever cameras were allowed in South Dakota courtrooms in 2011. KELOLAND TV viewers got to see one of the biggest stories of 2011 unfold as two inmates confessed to killing correctional officer Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt.
“On the 12th of April, 2011, I would have killed anyone that would have stood in my way between me and freedom. Brad Zell if you stood between me and the door to freedom I would kill you. If I sat in your chair I would execute me. Do the right thing,” Eric Robert said.
Robert was sentenced to death in October. Rodney Berget was sentenced to death the next year. He wouldn’t be executed in 2018.
Sioux Falls voters finally passed a new multi-million dollar events center. The 12,000 seat Denny Sanford PREMIER Center eventually opened on Sept. 19, 2014. The project cost $117 million.
Another story that shocked KELOLAND was when former Governor and Congressman Bill Janklow announced he has terminal brain cancer.
“The situation I’m in is not good. There’s nobody that indicates I have any chance of surviving,” Janklow said in November of 2011.