Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Thanks to a partnership among Deadwood History Inc., the city of Deadwood, and archaeologist Laura Floyd, Archaeology Camp returned to Deadwood this summer, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Almost fifty children from grades 3-7 enrolled in the camp, which excavated a piece of Gordon Park currently under construction.

Deadwood History Inc. has held camps like this in previous years, but almost had to cancel this one for lack of a dig site. As the playground at Gordon Park was already meant for renovation, city officials paused work to allow the camp to create a dig site there. So far, the campers have found an antique fork, a 1938 penny, and several different types of antique pottery.

The camp is organized into two weeklong sessions, and kids learned about mapping, orienteering, and history. They were also able to find real historic objects, which Floyd says is instrumental in keeping kids interested. The camp’s curriculum included lessons on world archaeology and visits from U.S. Forest Service professionals. The camp’s work will be thoroughly documented by Floyd for potential use by future archaeologists in the area.

For more information on Deadwood and historic preservation, check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archive.

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A new trail is available to visitors to Spearfish Canyon, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Savoy Trail, which was started in the fall of 2017 by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, is a two-mile stretch of trail between Roughlock Falls and the Savoy Ponds in Spearfish Canyon.

Together with the Spearfish Canyon Lodge and Latchstring Restaurant and the U.S. Forest Service, the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks allocated the land for the new trail, which follows Spearfish Creek and Highway 14A to the Savoy Ponds, free of charge for hikers and other recreationalists. The trail crosses both private property owned by Spearfish Canyon Lodge and U.S. Forest Service land and is marked as being of moderate difficulty.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks hopes that this trail will provide more connectivity among existing trails in Spearfish Canyon and more options for hikers visiting the area.

To read more news about Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The city of Deadwood received a transfer of $531,337.86 from the Days of ’76 Museum board last week, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The funds are holdovers from previous expenditures made between 2006 and 2012, during the construction of the museum.

The Days of ’76 Museum is a city property and City Finance Officer Mary Jo Nelson says that the funds had been kept in a separate account by the museum board to keep track of spending during construction. The transfer will effectively increase the value of the museum property by the exact amount of the transfer. Nelson said that this transfer is only a clearing up of an accounting issue that should have occurred back in 2012.

To read more news about Deadwood, check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network news archive.

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The City of Deadwood recently completed a Community Planned Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) document, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. Deadwood was selected by CPAW to receive assistance in the development of a wildfire management document for 2018. Professional land use planners, risk modelers, researchers and foresters helped to develop the document, which will assist Deadwood officials in their development of wildfire goals and policies to be included in their comprehensive plan.

Several goals were outlined for Deadwood in the CPAW document. The principal suggestion from the report included defining wildfire as a necessary and natural disturbance in Deadwood’s comprehensive plan. It was also suggested that the city develop goals and policies concerning wildfire to be included in the comprehensive plan. Additional goals included creating roles and responsibilities for local leaders, residents and businesses in the event of a future wildfire. Residents, businesses and visitors should also be made aware of ways to remain safe and secure in the event of a wildfire. Finally, the city of Deadwood should have a recovery plan in place following a wildfire event.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Spearfish City Council held off on reading an ordinance pertaining to food trucks, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The ordinance would create city code to regulate mobile food and beverage vendors. Currently, the city does not have any regulations on food trucks.

The proposed ordinance would require mobile food vendors to obtain an annual permit for $150. Rules concerning their operation and location to protect public safety, prevent traffic and parking concerns, and other health standards are included in the proposal. Mobile food vendors would be allowed to operate in commercial property if the property owner has the requisite license under unrestricted hours. Vendors would be able to operate on public streets under restricted hours, which vary based on their location.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The City of Deadwood’s operating budget increased to $16,921,526 with the approval of $569,100 in supplemental funding items, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. An additional $465,000 was allocated to the public buildings fund to assist with the demolition of the Deadwood Pavilion; $54,000 went to the streets department for knuckle truck and barrier handle; and $5,600 went to a building inspector for plan review fees.

Per recommendations from the BID 7 board, $35,000 was allocated for 2018 marketing efforts. For the bed and booze fund, $5,000 went to crowd control barriers and $10,000 assisted a partnership with Black Hills Vacations for a ticketing system and event center. All aforementioned supplemental funds were sourced from unexpended cash.

To read more news about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Lawrence County officials are looking to find ways to make their grant applications to the state’s Bridge Improvement Program more competitive, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Although there are 82 preliminary engineering grants completed across South Dakota, just 8 have been awarded replacement grants. Last year, Lawrence County was awarded a preliminary engineering grant for the Whitewood Valley Road bridge, but was not a recipient of a replacement grant this year.

So far this year, only 20 replacement grants have been awarded. The Whitewood Valley Road bridge is competing against the remaining 82 preliminary engineering grants across the state that are seeking replacement funding. To become more competitive in the grant process, county officials are considering submitting a bid ready application next year as well as 50 percent match funding from the county.

To read more news from Lawrence County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Deadwood City Commission recently awarded the Lead-Deadwood School District a $50,000 historic preservation not-for-profit grant, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. The grant will be used to update tuck pointing and masonry work in the 1924 portion of the district’s elementary school.

This is not the first time the Lead-Deadwood School District has received funds from Deadwood’s Historic Preservation Program. Previous grants have assisted in repairing and updating Ferguson Field and the high school auditorium’s seating. The elementary school is one of eight entities in Deadwood which are eligible for historic preservation projects. Each of the entities is eligible to apply for funds in amounts ranging from $10,000-$50,000.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Spearfish City Council has reduced lot setback for certain residential lots, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Residential lots abutting 100-foot public rights-of-way will be reduced from 25 to 12 feet. The ordinance will also require garage doors facing the street to be at least 20 feet from the public sidewalk. The ordinance will primarily impact residential zoning districts from Exit 12 to Jonas Street and Rushmore Street to Birch Street.

Lot setbacks were first considered in order to reduce obstacles in redevelopment. However, some area residents raised concerns about the amended ordinance, including a potential loss of character to the downtown area. Other residents expressed that changes to side or rear setbacks may be preferable to changes to front setbacks.

To read more news from Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Deadwood City Commission recently approved a request for qualifications for a main street master plan, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The deadline for submissions is May 23, 2018. City officials hope to examine aging infrastructure including street lights, public gathering spaces and make updates to bring the city into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A projected cost has not yet been determined for the desired updates to downtown Deadwood. City officials will select firms for interviews by May 31st and a final proposal and preparation agreement for the master plan will be determined by June 14. The city commission is projected to approve the contract on June 18.

For more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Officials from Lawrence County have stated that they were not informed of scoping comments concerning the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes project, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Black Hills Resilient Landscapes project will outline the United States Forest Service’s goals for the next ten years on Black Hills National Forest Land. Nearly have of Lawrence County is comprised by forest service land.

Officials from the Forest Service claim they notified the Lawrence County Commission concerning the scoping comments. As a result of not responding to the scoping comments, a determination was triggered to exclude the county from receiving future notices about the project. However, if the county is granted cooperating agency status, county officials could work alongside forest service officials to ensure the county’s concerns and recommendations are included in a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document.

To read more about the Black Hills National Forest, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Monday, 30 April 2018 16:25

Deadwood Gaming Numbers Dip 5% in March

When compared to March 2017, gaming revenue in Deadwood declined by 5% in March 2018, as reported by the Black Hills Pioneer. A total of $89.3 million was played by patrons to Deadwood’s casinos in March, generating approximately $8.3 million in taxable revenue. Of the total revenue, about $750,000 was collected as state tax.

While gaming revenue was down in March, hotel stays increased by 3% when compared to the same time last year. Occupancy rates for the city’s hotels was 41.6%, up from 38.6% in March 2017. However, Deadwood was still well below the national occupancy rate of 68.5%.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Deadwood City Commission recently approved purchasing tracking mechanisms for the city’s trolley system, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The commission hopes the new products and services will help the city provide better transportation.

The new tracking system will cost approximately $39,000 and will be implemented by mid-June. The city will purchase a GeoEvent server for $19,000 as well as engineering, development, training and technical services for $20,000. The total project allocation will be drawn from parking and transportation and historic preservation funds.

The trolley tracker’s public facing side will allow riders to track the location of trolleys via mobile and desktop devices. On the private side, city staff will be able to monitor trolley activities, including the duration of stop times.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Lawrence County Commission is seeking to update its comprehensive plan with the help of the Black Hills Council of Local Governments, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Lawrence County’s last comprehensive plan was completed in 2005 based on information from 1997, according to Lawrence County Commissioner Brandon Flanagan.

Commissioners hope to place emphasis on resident engagement in this iteration of comprehensive planning. Ali DeMersseman, with the Black Hills Council of Local Governments, stated that involving residents is a key aspect of the process used by her organization. Community engagement for such a document includes surveys and stakeholder meetings.

Other areas of concern commissioners hoped to include in the upcoming document were retail trade information, the Highway 85 corridor, and taking comprehensive plans from cities within the county into consideration. The county hopes to begin the planning process in late 2019 with a completion time 12-18 months thereafter.

To read more news from Lawrence County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Two new rule changes were approved by the South Dakota Commission, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. One rule pertains to the notification of the legal age to gamble while the other concerns policies involving individuals under the age of 21 in casinos.

Gambling establishments must now prominently display the legal age required to gamble. The signs must be permanently displayed at the front of the gaming establishment. Commissioner Tim Holland urged gaming establishments to err on the side of caution in regard to placement of additional signage.

To read more news about gambling in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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After a strong showing in January 2018, gambling numbers in Deadwood declined in February 2018, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. South Dakota Commission on Gaming data indicates that slot machine gambling dropped by 6% while table games fell by 12%, resulting in an overall 7% decline for the month of February.

While gaming revenues in Deadwood were down, hotel occupancy was up by 1% when compared to the same time last year. According to the Deadwood City Finance Office, the city’s hotels had an occupancy rate of 38% in February 2018, or about 564 more occupied rooms than February 2017.

To read more news about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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In order to receive community feedback for a comprehensive plan, Deadwood officials have scheduled community visioning sessions for March 27 and 29, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The meetings are intended to help create a collective vision and goals for the city.

Deadwood has not updated its city plan since 2001. As the State of South Dakota requires communities to update their comprehensive plans at least every ten years, the city is currently out of compliance. According to Deadwood Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Nelson, updating the comprehensive plan also helps inform future decisions for the city.  

In addition to community feedback, the comprehensive plan will include an analysis of the city’s previous, current and future conditions, a vision and goals, policies to achieve the vision and goals, and a consideration of potential development and growth for the city. The plan is slated to be complete by June 1.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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On March 21, 1998, a landslide impacting the Homestake Gold Mine’s open cut area temporarily halted operations. By April, underground mining was once again safe. However, the workforce at the mind was reduced from 850 to just 380 employees and gold production was reduced from 400,000 ounces to approximately 180,000 ounces per year.

Just three years thereafter, officials announced that the Homestake Mine would permanently close. Larry Mann, the mine’s spokesman, stated that despite management’s best efforts, coupled with significant downsizing in 1998, the mine’s corporate officials believed there was no scenario in which the mine could be as productive as it had once been. Coupled with the falling price of gold, stockholders could not expect adequate returns on their investments in the mine.

When shutdown was complete, the remaining buildings of the Homestake Mine stood vacant. Some time later, talks of transforming the former mine into an underground research laboratory arose. The National Science Foundation became interested in the mine because the deep tunnels are an ideal location to study elusive particles called neutrinos and dark matter. After a large donation of $70 million by T. Denny Sanford in 2006, the site was selected to become a  Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).

After years of delicate construction, Homestake is now known as the Sanford Underground Research Facility and continues to study dark matter and neutrinos 4,850-feet underground. The lab now attracts scientists and science enthusiasts from around the world to learn the past, present, and future of the former mining goliath.

To learn more about the Homestake Gold Mine, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s digital history archive. Learn more about the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the former Homestake Gold Mine at the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub page.

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Adult fees for bus tours of the Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood will be increasing from $1 to $2 this year, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. A fee increase was previously implemented for Mt. Moriah visitors who chose to visit the cemetery by foot in 2016. While the fee for adults is increasing by $1, children under the age of 13 can still tour Mt. Moriah for free. Although the fee increase was approved last year, it was not officially implemented until January 1, 2018.

Several tour bus companies expressed their disapproval of the fee increase. In anticipation of the fee increase, Boot Hill Tours increased their 2017 rates and received pushback from customers as a result. Alkali Ike Tours noted that their bottom line would be impacted by the rate hike, and suggested charging children under 13 $1 to take the tour in order for the city to raise more revenue. While alternative rate hikes were suggested during the city commission meeting, the original increase of $1 per adult remained, with Commissioner Gary Todd noting the additional revenue would be used to maintain the cemetery.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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PACE Strategic Development, LLC, a consultant hired to facilitate the Spearfish Community Strategic Plan, recently presented to the Spearfish City Council, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. During the presentation, members of the public, city council, city staff and others listened to and helped determine priorities for 2018-2020.

Some of the highest priorities for Spearfish include a recreational path to Exit 8 of Interstate 90, rehabilitating the McLaughlin property which was recently purchased by the city, conducting a study of the city’s utility rates, a strategic plan for the fire department, and others. Next steps for the strategic plan include the development of detailed action plans as well as developing methods to track progress and accountability.

The full report of Spearfish’s strategic goals is available on the city’s website. To learn more about Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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