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Newscast 5.31.2024: Republicans continue to support Trump after conviction, Woodbury County Democrats tell him to drop out; Highway work in Black Hills slows tourists; Gas prices fall for second time in three weeks

Donald Trump is shown in a photo from his official campaign website.

People are debating the impact of a historical event, as some continue to support and others to deride former President Trump after his conviction on criminal charges.

The hierarchy of tri-state Republican elected federal and state officeholders are overwhelmingly supporting Trump, while the Woodbury County Democratic Party is saying he should drop out of the 2024 presidential race.

Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes Thursday, when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election, through hush money payments to a porn actor who testified that the two had sex.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, of Iowa, U.S. Senator John Thune, of South Dakota, and Iowa governor Kim Reynolds all gave quick, strenuous support to Trump, and criticized the prosecutions as politically motivated.

Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith, in an X/Twitter post, wrote, “Today’s verdict is based largely on discredited witnesses and prosecutorial indiscretion, and demonstrates once again that there are two systems of justice in President Biden’s America. I trust that President Trump will appeal and I support that effort.”

Trump will be sentenced on July 11, or four days before the Republican National Convention.

*Gas prices in Iowa have been rising and falling the last five weeks, and it dropped over the last week, making for three weekly reductions since late April.

In pricing data from AAA, the average price for self-serve unleaded has dropped this week by 3 cents to $3.27 per gallon.

Many Sioux City and surrounding town stations are selling unleaded this week in the range from $2.89 to $3.19.

Compared to one year ago, the current $3.27 average price is down 11 cents. The national average unleaded gas price is $3.58.

*There was congestion over the Memorial Day holiday and more travel delays are expected ahead at the July 4 holiday in the Black Hills tourist area in South Dakota.

That’s because U.S. Highway 385 through the central Black Hills is closed near Pactola Reservoir, which worries business owners and forces locals and tourists to take a 50-mile detour to travel between Deadwood and Hill City.

That closure is part of a $72 million state effort to widen and straighten a dangerous 15-mile stretch of U.S. 385 that will take three years.

Angie Weaver, the co-owner of Pactola Marina, is concerned the highway closure will prevent some customers from reaching her business, but she's hopeful the rebuilt highway will be safer and easier to navigate in the future.

A lieutenant with the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said the department is partnering with other fire and law enforcement agencies to maintain safety and reasonable response times during the highway closures.

The current U.S. 385 closure should end in mid-July, but lane closures and pilot car delays will continue through the central Black Hills for many months.

*Additionally, the Kids Ride Free program will return for an 18th year during the summer months of June, July, and August in Sioux City.

The program allows students from age 5 through 18 unlimited rides on the City Transit’s route system for free from Monday through Saturday, if the child or parent shows the driver their Kids Ride Free Pass.

People can sign up to get a free rides pass at several city locations, including at city libraries and the Seaboard Triumph Foods Expo Center.