Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

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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Both the Hill City and Hot Springs School Districts are facing cuts in staff, reports KOTA News. This month, the Hill City School Board voted to eliminate several positions while the Hot Springs School Board voted to reduce two full-time counselor positions to half-time and eliminate a Spanish language teacher.

The Hot Springs School Board is aiming to gain back $400,000 through cutting the positions, but some staff believe the cuts are hurting students. Hill City is facing similar budgetary issues as the district is hundreds of thousands of dollars in deficit. The staff cuts have not yet been finalized in Hot Springs and affected staff are able to file recall rights. Additional meetings were scheduled to discuss staffing issues in Hill City.

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

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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.

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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.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin has decided to postpone the closure of the VA clinic in Hot Springs until a full review of the nation's veteran's clinics can be fully reviewed. According to the Rapid City Journal, the decision was welcomed by South Dakota's congressional members as well as by advocacy groups in Hot Springs as a temporary victory.  The fight to keep the facility open, however, is far from over, as the groups must show and demonstrate how important the clinic is to veterans in the area and why it should remain open.

The decision does not impact the expansion of the Community-based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Rapid City or the Members Center National Call Center in Hot Springs, according to KEVN News

To read up on past and current news related to the Hot Springs VA clinic, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.

For more information on the VA clinic and attempts to keep it open, check out the group's homepage.

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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
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 20:45

Hot Springs to be Home to New VA Call Center

The Hot Springs is slated to employ 120 people for a call center reports the Rapid City Journal.  Matthew Eitutis, an executive director for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, indicated computers have been brought to the facility and 38 employees have been hired.  They are looking to have 120 positions total, those interested in applying can do so online.  Eitutis said that Building No. 3 is ready to be converted into cubicles to create a call center environment.  About half of the computers have been delivered as well.

The call center will be a hub for the VA Health Resource Center crisis line.  A whistlebower claims that in 2016 nearly 1 million calls went unanswered at the hotline.  This hotline is for veterans seeking help.  

To learn more about the Hot Springs VA, visis the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive or issue hub.  

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

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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
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

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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

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 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

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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.

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As part of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, Wind Cave National Park held a video contest for students, reports South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Two middle school students from Hot Springs tied as winners of the contest. They received video cameras, while all entrants received T-shirts. 

More events are planned by all national parks as part of the 100th anniversary celebration. 

The winning videos, seen below, also are on the Wind Cave Facebook page

By Haley Hampton: 


By Josie Lively: 



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The 2016 Black Hills Film Festival will screen 36 films, some just a few minutes long and others full feature length. Topics range from a look into various cancer therapies to several films with Native American or military themes to romance and thrillers. 

The festival will include two screenings of Prophet's Prey about the practice of underage brides in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with the film showing May 4 in Rapid City and May 5 in Hot Springs. 

Filmmakers range from professionals from other countries to students in the Rapid City YMCA's Youth Media Institute. 

Tickets are $10 for a single session, $25 for a day, $50 for the full festival or $125 for a VIP festival pass, which gains admission to the festival parties. A $25 student pass for those 18 and youger gains access to the full festival. 

Read more about Arts and Culture on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


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The Rapid City Journal reports that the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home celebrated its grand opening.  The home was named for Fitzmaurice, who served in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, 17th Cavalry, in 1971.  The South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs says the home's objective is to enhance the quality of life for its residents through activities, programs, and equipment provided to them.  

For more information about area Veterans Affairs, visit our news archives or Knowledge Network Resource Page.  

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After he tended to the mortally wounded Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, but before he became mayor of Rapid City, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy was named president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology on Dec. 23, 1893. 
The Rapid City college notes that he "resigned from the Board (of Trustees) to assume the leadership of the campus during a difficult time in the school's history," but does not offer details about what the trouble was. McGillycuddy's predecessor served for just four months.  

During his time on campus, the first football team was formed and a campus improvement project was initiated that included planting of shade trees and lawns. McGillycuddy was the first leader to officially be called "president."
McGillycuddy led SDSM&T until 1897, and by then he had been elected to a two-year term as mayor of Rapid City (1896-1898).
McGillycuddy's storied biography includes his travel to help map the Black Hills in 1875, which led him to become the first white man to climb to the top of Harney Peak. He is credited with discovering the warm mineral springs at Hot Springs. 
He served as an Indian agent on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as surgeon general for the state of South Dakota and as a scout for the governor at Wounded Knee in 1890.
He died in October 1940 at age 90 in California. A plaque marks where his ashes are buried atop Harney Peak.
Published in Home

The first pubic hearing held by the VA on the possible closure of the hospital in Hot Springs happened on Monday. According to the Rapid City Journal article, attendees voiced an overwhelming concern that the VA office was using outdated, unsubstantiated data in its Environmental Impact Statement that had chosen closing the hospital and relocating its services to Rapid City over keeping its current Hot Springs facility open.

Click on this archives link for past news articles related to the proposed closing of the VA hospital in Hot Springs.

For more information about the VA Black Hills Health Care System, check out this Knowledge Network resource page.

Published in News
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