Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Tuesday, 12 June 2018 18:53

Voters Encounter Issues At Primary Polls

South Dakota’s Primary Election was held last Tuesday, and with it came a myriad of problems for polling places and South Dakota voters. According to the KOTA Territory News, some voters were unable to vote for their preferred candidate due to registration errors and an electronic voter identification problem delayed some polling locations.

Meade County Auditor Lisa Schieffer says that these problems stem from South Dakota’s primary system, which is a closed primary system. This means that voters must be registered with their chosen political party in order to vote in a primary election. Registration mistakes can occur when residents move and fail to reregister.

Voters must register with their political party at least fifteen days prior to a primary election. You can find more information on voter registration on the South Dakota Secretary of State’s website.

Find more information on South Dakota and local elections at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Government and Citizenship issue hub.

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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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Monday, 11 June 2018 22:39

Johnson Wins GOP House Nomination

In last Tuesday’s primary election, Dusty Johnson defeated Shantel Krebs and Neal Tapio in the race for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnson garnered 47 percent of the vote, followed by Krebs’ 29 percent and Tapio’s 24 percent, according to the Argus Leader.

Johnson previously served as chief of staff for Governor Dennis Daugaard after a career with South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission. His campaign for the House seat was largely cordial, and Johnson plans for that to continue in the general election. Johnson has been called a team-player and believes in limited government, which he says is what the state is looking for in its members of Congress.

In the general election in November, Johnson will campaign against Democrat Tim Bjorkman, Libertarian George Hendrickson and Independent Ron Wieczorek.

For more news about elections in the Black Hills and South Dakota, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Government and Citizenship issue hub.

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Rapid City residents voted Tuesday on a $130 million proposal to replace the Barnett Arena in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, reports KSFY News. This is after citizens rejected a previous $180 million proposal three years ago.

17,034 people voted on this proposal Tuesday, with 10,968 (64 percent) voicing their support for the measure. Had this measure failed to pass the popular vote, Rapid City would have still been required to renovate the existing arena to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, at a cost to the city of $28 million.

Mayor Steve Allender has said that the city plans to begin construction on the new arena next year and hopes to see its completion within two years.

For more information about the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s news archive.

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Kristi Noem was victorious in last week’s primary election in South Dakota’s latest race for governor, according to KSFY News. Noem defeated South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley by a margin of approximately 16 points.

Noem has served as South Dakota’s Representative in the U.S. House of Representative for seven years, since her election in 2011. She hopes to use her experience in Washington D.C. to help South Dakota if elected governor. Kristi Noem would be the first female governor of South Dakota.

Noem will face Billie Sutton, the Democratic candidate in the general election. Sutton ran unopposed in the primary and has served as a state senator in South Dakota since 2010. His campaign is focused on government accountability and integrity.

The general election is scheduled to take place November 6th, 2018.

For more news about elections in the Black Hills and South Dakota, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Government and Citizenship issue hub.

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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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Gambling numbers fell 4% in April 2018 when compared to the same point last year, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. A total of $80.6 million was played across machines and tables, representing a 3.9% decrease when compared to April 2017. Slot machines produced the bulk of coin in, accounting for $75.2 million compared to just $5.3 million for table games.

Hotel occupancies also decreased last month in Deadwood. When compared to April 2017, Deadwood’s hotel occupancy rate fell by 3.4%, compared to a 0.9% increase nationally. Late spring snowstorms were cited as part of the reason for the lower than anticipated hotel occupancy rates and gaming revenues.

To read more news from Deadwood, 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 men’s dormitory at the state veterans home in Hot Springs was recently appraised at one dollar, reports KOTA News. The appraisal followed a decision by state officials which determined the building to be a surplus now that a new veterans complex was construct nearby.

An initial appraisal determined the building to be worth -$125,000 which resulted in calls for demolition. However, state school and public lands commissioner Ryan Brunner urged a repurposing of the building for use by the community of Hot Springs. According to state law, state officials must sell the building to another governing entity—in this case, the city of hot Springs.

The property transfer is expected to occur sometime this summer. Renovations, including a new HVAC system, will likely be completed by the fall.

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

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While Rapid City residents take time to consider a new arena, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender tackled a key concern of many: parking options for the new arena. According to KOTA News, current parking for the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center along with a proposed lot north of the arena will total 1,260 parking spaces. However, 300 spaces may be lost with the addition of a new arena, bringing the total down to 960.

Some residents have expressed interest in the addition of a parking ramp, but the addition would cost approximately $30 million. Alternative options to a new parking ramp include a shuttle service for patrons to the arena or simply walking several blocks from other city-owned parking lots.

To read more about the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub page.

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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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A new structure located near the Sturgis Harley-Davidson Rally Point will provide shade and additional power to the city’s library, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The idea was sparked through concerns raised by citizens requesting additional shade at the Rally Point. While canopies were originally intended to be included at the Rally Point, they were nixed due to the $250,000 cost and 10-year lifespan.

City officials ultimately looked for alternative solutions and worked alongside Black Hills Energy to find alternative options. After the idea of solar panels were suggested, the city solicited proposals for the solar canopy in the summer of 2017. Interconnections Systems, Inc., of Central City, Nebraska submitted the winning bit of $225,000. The panels are projected to save the city $6,000 annually in energy cost and should last around 20 years.

To read more news from Sturgis, 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.

Published in News
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.

Published in News
Monday, 30 April 2018 16:03

South Dakota GF&P Heads Walleye Study

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (GF&P) has begun a four year study to examine key characteristics of some of the state’s walleye population. As reported by the Black Hills Pioneer, GF&P will tag approximately 500 walleye across the Angostura, Belle Fourche, and Shadehill reservoirs. Biologists will study the population age, mortality rates, and size of the fish.

Approximately 5% of the fish tagged were marked with a reward tag, valued at $100 if an angler returns it to GF&P. Anglers can report the tags on the GF&P website or by calling 605.223.7656.

To read more news about the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, 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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