KELOLAND Investigates: GEAR UP Timeline

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September 17, 2015 will forever be an infamous date in South Dakota history.  That’s when Scott Westerhuis is believed to have shot and killed his entire family, set his house on fire and then turned the gun on himself in Platte. 

You’ll remember this tragic act occurred just hours after the state cancelled the GEAR UP grant contract with Mid Central.  Westerhuis was business manager of the educational co-op. 

Within five days of the murders, KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke began investigating the multi-layered story about the education grant and where millions of dollars were going, as well as Westerhuises’ own business dealings.  

CLICK HERE to access all the information in our 18 month-long investigation. 


Tuesday begins a new chapter in the GEAR UP saga.  Hearings will get underway in the trials of three people charged in the investigation, Stephanie Hubers, Stacy Phelps and Dan Guericke.  Hubers, the former assistant business manager is charged with taking stolen grant money from the Westerhuises to keep quiet about their illegal dealings.  Phelps and Guericke are charged with altering contracts so that the state couldn’t follow the grant money beyond Mid Central. 

There is a lot to this complicated story, but we’ve made it easy for you to access all aspects of it and keep up to date on the latest developments. 

All you have to do is go to our KELOLAND Investigates page under our home page.  There you’ll find a blue KELOLAND News Investigates GEAR UP banner.  Just click on that and it takes you to the timeline in the case.  Investigative Producer Michael Geheren compiled all 92 of our reports, including all of my investigative work here under the timeline.

You can scroll through each story and click on the links.  In some cases, the documents are embedded within the main page. Or you can go down to the document library and search all the various court papers and other filings we have collected.  You can also see all of the key interviews with those overseeing or involved with GEAR UP.

If you scroll toward the bottom of the page, all the stories are listed in chronological order, beginning with the most recent.  You can also use your smart device to follow our coverage on the KELOLAND News app.

Look for the timeline to be updated beginning Tuesday when the three defendants are back in court.  Hearings are scheduled in Charles Mix County for the next two days to determine which evidence can be presented at trial. Kennecke be in the courtroom so watch our KELOLAND News Twitter feed, her personal Twitter feed and KELO Angela Kennecke Facebook page for updates. 

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