Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

From its earliest days, Hot Springs was known for the warm, healing springs meandering through the town. However, Hot Springs was not always known as Hot Springs. Prior to its current name, the town was known as “Minnekahta,” which is the Lakota word for “warm water.”

On January 31, 1883, the town was officially named Hot Springs and the name Minnekahta abandoned. The late 1800s was a  time of many changes for the Southern Hills town, including a dispute concerning whether or not it would become the county seat for Fall River. Nearby Oelrichs was also determined to be in the running. However, after a vote was held and fraud charges leveled, Hot Springs ultimately won the title.

Choosing a location for the county courthouse in Hot Springs proved to be even more of a challenge. At the time of the designation as county seat, Hot Springs was just three-quarters of a mile long and divided between upper town, where many of the resort-like spas were located, and lower town, where many of the common businesses were located. Some argued that the courthouse could not be located in upper town, as it was technically located outside of city limits.

Ultimately, local entrepreneur Fred Evans donated a plot of land in upper town and won a $23,000 bid to construct the courthouse there. Although the building was completed in 1891, employees were not authorized to work in the building for nearly two years due to pending litigation concerning the building’s location.

To learn more about the history of Hot Springs, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

Published in Home

The Fall River County Commission recently approved its 2018 budget, according to the Hot Springs Star. The 2018 budget was set at $7 million. The county’s mill levy for the general fund was also reduced from 4.593 to 4.557 for the upcoming year.

To read more news from Fall River County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

Published in News

On July 23, 1894 a statue of American political leader and soldier John A. Logan was dedicated at the Hot Springs Veterans Home. Fred Evans, local entrepreneur and developer of the eponymous Evans Plunge, provided sandstone for the statue to D.H. McVay who was commissioned to create the statue for a sum of $150.

The Veterans Home in Hot Springs was built in 1889, just a few years prior to the dedication of the statue. The Dakota Territorial Legislature appropriated $45,000 to build the home, and construction began the same year. Originally used to support qualifying veterans and their families, the building is still used today as administrative and recreational purposes.

General Logan is best-known for his efforts in establishing Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) as a national holiday. In his role as  commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, Logan established the day as a time to decorate t0he graves of Union soldiers with flowers in 1868. By the beginning of the 20th century, the holiday was inclusive of all veterans whose lives were lost during military service.

Learn more about the history of Hot Springs as well as the Hot Springs VA on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

Published in Home

At a recent public meeting, supporters of the proposed in situ uranium mine near Edgemont advocated that the mine would provide an economic benefit to the region, reports the Rapid City Journal. However, opponents of the mine are still fearful about water pollution and other environmental damage that could occur.

Additional hearings have been scheduled as Powertech, the company behind the proposed mine, tries to obtain two permits through the U.S. Envrionmental Protection Agency to start the operation. One of the permits would allow the company to drill approximately 4,000 injection wells used to mine uranium. The other permit would allow the company to drill four deep injection wells for disposal of waste fluids. 

To read up on past and current news articles related to the proposed uranium mine, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.

For more information on uranium mining in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page.

Published in News

As hearing dates approach for the public to comment on the draft permits issued to Powertech to possibly allow the company to begin its in situ uranium mine, both sides are preparing for a fight. According to the Rapid City Journal, opponents of the mine are claiming that the company intends to use the mines to pump waste water from other companies' mines into the Edgemont one. Powertech officials are issuing counterclaims denying that it will be the mine's intended purpose.

To read up on past and current news articles related to the proposed uranium mine near Edgemont, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.

For more information on uranium mining in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page.

Published in News

At the April 18 meeting of the Fall River County Commission, the Oglala Sioux Tribe requested a section of land, known as Flint Hills, be placed into trust, reports the Hot Springs Star. The land is located near the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe made a request to place the Flint Hills land into trust seven years ago. Fall River County as well as Attorney General Marty Jackley denied the request. The Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as the Tribe objected to the request, but no formal appeal was made.

Fall River County Commissioners raised concerns about jurisdictional issues for law enforcement if the land were placed into federal trust status. State’s attorney Jim Sword indicated that a federal arrangement was made for law enforcement at Pe Sla in the Black Hills, which was recently placed into trust.

While the county did not issue a decision on the trust issue, the Flint Hills land was placed into agricultural status for 2017 at the subsequent equalization hearing.

To read more about Fall River County and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, visit each community’s profile on the Black Hills Knowledge Network. You can read previous news articles about the Oglala Sioux Tribe at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

A staff of four and around 15 volunteers at the Hot Springs Library are aiming to meet the needs of the community, reports the Hot Springs Star. The library offers a variety of services to its patrons, including e-books, test proctoring, children’s programs and more.

The library had over 53,000 visitors during 2016 and approximately 6,000 card holders. Library members have access to over 22,000 books, nearly 1,000 magazines, 1,400 audiobooks, and 19,000 materials for children.

Usage of e-materials increased to 5,600 circulations from 4,400 in 2015. Overall circulation totaled 56,000, which was 10,000 fewer than in 2015.

To read more about Hot Springs, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive and community profile

Published in News

Following consultation with Circuit Judge Craig Pfeifle, the Fall River County Commission voted 4-1 to overturn a previous policy that would have allowed individuals to carry firearms into the county’s courthouse, reports KOTA News. Judge Pfeifle stated that the policy may pose a danger to those in the courthouse, and suggested active shooter training for the facility.

Fall River County Commissioner Paul Nabholz, who proposed the change in policy stated that his intent was to make the courthouse a safer environment. Nabholz was the opposing vote to overturn his proposed policy.

To read more about the Fall River County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile

Published in News
Thursday, 23 February 2017 17:18

Revival Coming to Hot Springs Theater

Local investors are looking to reopen the movie theater in Hot Springs, reports KOTA News. The theater closed in 2015 when studios stopped releasing film copies of movies in favor of digital releases. At the time, the theater could not take on the expense of upgrading to digital projectors.

The investors purchased a new sound system and digital projectors and anticipate a spring opening for the theater. An art deco façade is also in the works.

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

Published in News

A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) call center recently opened in Hot Springs, reports KOTA News. Approximately 20-30 individuals are currently being trained in how to assist veterans with questions concerning benefits, enrollment and more.

The call center is part of the reorganization of the Black Hills VA Health Care System. While most of the VA medical services will be relocated from Hot Springs to Rapid City, the call center was located in Hot Springs as part of an effort to keep jobs in the city. The call center hopes to hire on 120-130 individuals by this spring.

To read more on the Black Hills VA Health Care System, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News
Thursday, 09 February 2017 01:27

Evans Plunge Adds Wheel Chair Accessible Ramp

In a flurry of facility updates, Evans Plunge has added a 120-foot-long wheel chair ramp to improve accessibility to the pool, reports KOTA News . The new ramp comes alongside numerous additional updates to the facility, including hot showers, LED lighting, and new flooring in the women’s locker room.

The City of Hot Springs purchased Evans Plunge in 2013 for $1.5 million dollars. The mineral pool is the longest continually-running attraction in the hills, at 126 years of operation.

To read more news from Hot Springs, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or the BHKN’s Hot Springs community page

Published in News
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 21:42

New Discoveries Made At Jewel Cave

Two new lakes and 9,777 feet of new passages were recently discovered by volunteers at Jewel Cave National Monument, reports KOTA News. Water comprises only one percent of the known portions of the cave.

The recent discoveries were made on an annual four-day volunteer exploration. Volunteers also explored to new depths in the cave, spelunking to the cave’s newest low spot at 814.3 feet below the highest point of the cave.

To learn more about Jewel Cave, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archives

Published in News
Monday, 16 January 2017 15:59

Hot Springs VA Relocation At A Standstill

While U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald issued a decision to relocate most of the VA services in Hot Springs to Rapid City, a legislative issue is preventing the agency from utilizing funding for the reconfiguration. As reported by KOTA News, VA officials are currently working with the South Dakota delegation to remedy the issue.

Once a solution for the funding concern has been found, it could take as many as three to five years to build a new VA system in Rapid City. However, building expansion projects may cause further delays to the move.

To read more about the Hot Springs VA, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News
Friday, 06 January 2017 21:33

VA Hospital in Hot Springs Will Close

After years of public feedback years of deliberation, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the majority of the agency’s facilities in Hot Springs will close while an in-patient residential treatment facility will open in Rapid City, reports the Rapid City Journal.

The closure of the hospital in Hot Springs may result in nearly 300 lost jobs. After considering public input, the VA decided to repurpose a portion of the Hot Springs facility into a call center for the agency which will create approximately 120 jobs. The new treatment facility in Rapid City is anticipated to bring 100 new jobs to the city.

To read more about the Hot Springs VA, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News

On November 30, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald visited the Hot Springs VA facility and hosted a town hall meeting with area residents and veterans, reports KOTA News and the Rapid City Journal. Numerous veterans from the region aired concerns about moving the VA hospital from Hot Springs to Rapid City. Secretary McDonald conveyed that the decision on moving the facility was not yet final, and that the concerns of veterans would still be taken into consideration.

The final Environmental Impact Statement regarding the reconfiguration of the veterans’ health facilities was released last month. The statement recommended the creation of a rehabilitation treatment program in Rapid City while retaining an outpatient clinic in Hot Springs. While 200-300 jobs may be lost with the closure of the hospital in Hot Springs, a Veterans Health Administration’s Member Services National Call Center has been approved to be located in two of the Battle Mountain buildings and will create over 100 jobs. The center is scheduled to open before the end of the year.

To read more about the Hot Springs VA, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News

 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald is scheduled to visit Hot Springs next week, reports the Rapid City Journal. McDonald’s visit follows a final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the agency which recommends closing many of the facilities in Hot Springs in favor of a new hospital in Rapid City.

Difficulties filling medical positions as well as inaccessibility issues were cited as reasons for the closure of most of the Hot Springs facilities. However, veterans, officials and residents of Hot Springs believe that the city best fits the needs of its patrons.

To read more about the Hot Springs VA, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive

Published in News

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this week that indicated the agency prefers a Rapid City location for a new outpatient clinic and residential rehabilitation treatment program, reports South Dakota Public Broadcasting. The EIS indicated that a smaller clinic would still be housed in an existing building on the Hot Springs campus.

VA officials noted that a move to Rapid City would facilitate filling staffing positions and providing veterans with access to transportation and housing. Before a final decision is made, VA Secretary Robert McDonald will visit Hot Springs community members.

To read more news about the Black Hills Health Care System, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s resource page. For more news related to the Hot Springs VA, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

Published in News

A recent study conducted by South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and California State University scientists confirmed elevated levels of uranium in the Angostura Reservoir, as reported by KOTA TV News and KBHB Radio. The study found that abandoned uranium mines along the Cheyenne River as contributors of the uranium.

The study estimates that 200 tons of uranium were released into the Cheyenne River. While more testing regarding the levels of uranium levels in the reservoir is necessary to determine public health concerns, cancer and kidney concerns can result from radiation poisoning.  

For more news on the environment in the Black Hills area, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online archive

Published in News

On July 21st, 1985, the Flint Hill Fire became the largest fire in fifty years in the Black Hills according to the Lead Daily Call. The Flint Hill Fire burned nearly 22,000 acres east of Edgemont.  The Seven Sisters fire, which smoldered near Angostora Reservoir, burned 9,300 acres earlier during the week but was stopped before it reached Hot Springs. The estimated cost to contain the Flint Hill Fire was $1.5 million in 1985 dollars.

The previous record was held by the McVey Fire which destroyed 21,857 acres near Hill City in 1939 and was not surpassed until the 2000 by the Jasper Fire. 

For more on historical fires, included a list of the largest and most damaging, see this 2016 report by KOTA. For further information on Wildfire Preparedness, see out Black Hills Knowledge Network Resource page. 

Published in Home

Western South Dakota and the Black Hills region is in the midst of a record-setting drought, reports the Rapid City Journal. Area ranchers are already seeing the effects of this dry spell in their hay fields, which are yielding a fraction of what they have in past years. Many ranchers are choosing not to hay at all due to the dry conditions and shortage of grass.

This spring, several Black Hills counties were listed as “abnormally dry” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including Custer, Fall River, Lawrence, Meade, and western Pennington counties. Now nearly all of western South Dakota is receiving little to no precipitation, and Lawrence, Meade, and Pennington counties all show signs of severe drought. The drought is expected to continue throughout the summer and into fall, according to the National Weather Service, with no large amount of rain expected.

These dry conditions have fed heavily into high fire danger in the area, and what thunderstorms do come through the region carry the risk of lightning fires. Evidence of this can be seen burning currently on Crow Peak, near Spearfish.

For more information about droughts in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network archive or visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Drought Monitor here.

Published in News
Page 1 of 3

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]