Meth lab revealed; rural Vermillion man arrested search of rural

Meth lab revealed; rural Vermillion man arrested search of rural by David Lias Local law enforcement officers discovered a meth lab during their search of a rural Vermillion residence early Tuesday.

The home's occupant, Cain Knutson, 22, was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of less than two ounces of marijuana.

He is in custody in the Clay County Jail on a $25,000 cash only bond, according to Clay County State's Attorney Tami Bern.

Clay County Sheriff Andy Howe said officers entered the residence at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Personnel from the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Vermillion Police Department, and the South Dakota Highway Patrol executed a search warrant on Knutson's house.

Due to the hazardous nature of materials found in clandestine drug labs, the DCI Clandestine Lab team responded and processed the residence in accordance with established procedures to ensure safety and proper evidence handling, Howe said.

Since drug users and dealers often operate in multiple jurisdictions, agencies in the Clay County/Vermillion area conduct drug investigations using a teamwork approach, working together in a multi-jurisdictional effort, he said.

"Such teamwork allows small agencies to field the manpower and assets of a large agency in order to effectively enforce the drug laws," Howe said.

A court hearing for Knutson has yet to be scheduled. The manufacturing and possession of controlled substances charges are Class 4 felonies, each with a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. People found guilty of manufacturing controlled substances must serve a mandatory year in the state penitentiary, Bern said, and may also face up to a $10,000 civil penalty.

Marijuana possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with up to a $1,000 fine, a year's sentence in the county jail and a $10,000 civil penalty.

This case will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Mark Collins of Sioux Falls.

HEAD:To help cope with their husbands' and dads' absence? Mothers and daughters share good times together at luncheon

by David Lias

Plain Talk Editor

The child-sized table at Jolley Elementary School was just the right size for Wednesday's luncheon.

No doubt everyone seated at it would have gladly made more room, however, for the guests whose absence was quite apparent.

Several students at Jolley invited their mothers to a special day's out at their school, where they were treated to lunch and had a chance to enjoy each other's company.

The people who dined together all had something in common.

The women are adjusting to raising their families and running their households without the help of their spouses.

Some have been on their own for just a few weeks. And some husbands haven't been home for months. The children long for a time when their fathers will once again tuck them in at night.

The men, noticeably missing from the school luncheon, have all been called up for military service during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Tayler Tigert, a fourth-grader at Jolley Elementary, sat proudly by her mother, Jamie. Tayler's father, Phil, a physician's assistant, is with National Guard's Company B, 109th Medical Battalion of Vermillion.

Phil Tigert left for Fort McCoy, WI on Feb. 27. He has been stationed in Camp New York in Kuwait for approximately three weeks.

"They are waiting for their equipment to arrive, which is taking about twice as long as it should," Mrs. Tigert said.

Her husband is living in a large tent city. At first, he had been located in the perimeter of the camp, but has since moved into the interior of the camp and resides in a large tent that houses 60 people.

"They have air conditioning now, and computer access, so now I almost hear from him daily by computer, she said.

Those amenities have made life a bit better for her husband, whose temporary home is in a part of the world where the temperature rises to 120 degrees most of the time.

Tayler, 9, is the oldest of the Tigerts' four children. The youngest is 15 months.

"If I didn't have Pat and Roger (Tigert, Phil's parents), I don't know what I'd do, and my friend down the block, Cindy Osborne, has been amazing."

Brenda Walker was the special guest of her daughter Amber, 10, a fourth-grader at Jolley Elementary. Her husband, Rich, is serving with the 351st Army Reserve unit out of Sioux Falls. He is stationed at Fort Carson, CO.

"He teaches a combat lifesaver course on a daily basis to other troops," Mrs. Walker said.

Her husband was deployed on Jan. 26. Mrs. Walker has no idea how long her husband's stint in Colorado will last. She finds comfort, though, in knowing that he will always stay at Fort Carson.

Mrs. Walker said the couple's two children are adjusting well to the changes brought about by Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"The children can talk to him on a daily basis on the telephone," she said. "It's been good. I think modern technology, with telephones and faxes and computers, has helped a lot."

Steffani Donahoe, a fifth-grader and her sister Cassie, a third-grader, hosted their mother Jeanne and their two younger brother, William, 3, and Joseph, 5 months.

Their older brother, David James, is in the sixth grade and couldn't attend the luncheon.

Mrs. Donahoe's husband, Damian, a member of the Iowa National Guard, has been stationed at Camp Doha, Qatar, at the Coalition Operation Center since early March. He serves as a ground liaison officer.

"It's a position that they created since the first Gulf War," she said. "They (the military) realized they needed help in coordinating the Army with the Air Force."

At the height of the war last month, it wasn't uncommon for Mr. Donahoe to give 15 battle update briefs to generals and other military personnel.

Observing that Mrs. Donahoe has her hands full is an understatement. She bounced her 5-month-old son on her lap, helped her 3-year-old son with his meal, and paid full attention to Cassie and Steffani.

"They're all great helpers," Mrs. Donahoe said.

She's thankful that her father-in-law grew up in the Vermillion area. Family, friends, and people from her church have helped her and the children cope with the Mr. Donahoe's absence.

Dawn Sibson's husband, Randy, is a section chief with 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery unit from Mitchell. He's been stationed in Fort Sill, OK since mid-March.

"They do the MLRS � the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems," Mrs. Sibson said. "He's in charge with one of his launchers, and he's in charge of three people."

She was a guest of her daughters Jessica, 8, and Brenna, 10, third- and fifth-graders respectively at Jolley. The family is still upbeat from a happy Easter weekend they spent visiting Mr. Sibson over the Easter weekend.

"Things are going real well. We had a good time," she said.

Mrs. Sibson said she's discovered that it's vital for her young family to stay busy while her husband is gone.

"We try not to have any quiet times � no lulls to think about what's going on � and we're picking up more activities as we go along the way," she said. "Jessica and Brenna have adjusted very, very well. I commend them for that."

Mrs. Sibson also commended the school staff for helping the students with all the details of the luncheon. The mothers were served punch before their meal, sat at a table adorned with hand-made place mats and other decorations, and were read a poem by the students as they ate.

Barb Schwartz, a counselor at Jolley Elementary, got the idea for the event after having lunch one day with several of the students whose dads are away from home serving in the military.

"They decided they wanted to have the lunch weekly, and then one of the girls wanted to invited her mom, and we got the idea of having a mother's luncheon," she said. "It's a group effort."

The planning and fellowship has proved to be as nourishing as the food served during the meal.

"We talk about their dads, and things that they worry about, and then we spent time working on our projects," Mrs. Schwartz said, as the young girls accompanied their mothers out of the classroom. "They wanted to do something special, and I think they accomplished that today."

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