Rapid City Collective Impact is currently laying the groundwork for the operations of the OneHeart Campus, reports KOTA News. Stakeholders are considering how multiple care providers can collaborate to achieve the shared goal of assisting individuals in transitioning out of poverty and homelessness to independent living.
Project Manager Charity Doyle hopes that the OneHeart Campus will be able to partner with the Pennington County Community Restoration Center, which will be housed next to OneHeart. While the OneHeart Campus may offer a community health clinic, the Pennington County Community Restoration Center will be better able to manage crises situations, offering potential for crossover between the two entities depending on client needs.
The City of Rapid City settled its years-long lawsuit with Epic Outdoor Advertising concerning digital billboards, as reported by KOTA News. The two entities were at odds after the city passed an ordinance banning full animation and motion billboards after Epic already had been utilizing the new technology.
Under the settlement agreement, the current billboard ordinance will remain, but an amendment will be included to exempt existing billboards from requiring a conditional use permit. The agreement will also allow Epic to implement larger billboards along locations near I-90, but additional full motion billboards will no longer be permitted. Council members voting in favor of the settlement did so in part to save additional tax-dollars from being spent on further litigation.
To read more about the history of billboards in Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub page.
On March 27, 2011, over 1,100 maintenance personnel launched four B-1 bombers out of Ellsworth during a blizzard to assist in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. The bombers’ launch marked the first occurrence the aircraft was ever launched from a continental U.S. location to support combat operations.
While just two B-1 bombers and their crews would continue strikes in Libya, the mission mandated extensive communication as well as assistance personnel working around the clock. Aviators in the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons had been briefed on the operation before they prepared the strike mission which would occur over 6,000 miles away from Ellsworth Air Force Base. Less than a day later, 125 munitions were built—enough to equip seven B-1s.
The B-1 Bombers arrived in Libya 12 hours following take-off. The mission that followed would be the deepest strike made during Operation Odyssey Dawn, with the aircraft occupying hostile airspace for over an hour. During the two-day strike, the bombers hit over 100 targets.
In 2017, the Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center handled 51 cases of minors using methamphetamine, reports KOTA News. The center serves Butte, Custer, Fall River, Lawrence and Harding Counties. 2017 marks a substantial increase from 34 cases handled in 2015.
Western South Dakota Juvenile Services Center partners with Regional West for short-term treatment programs. However, Butte County State’s Attorney Cassie Wendt noted a need for long-term programs in western South Dakota, as the only program currently available is in Yankton. The great distance makes it difficult to transport clients and impedes potential support from friends and family members of those seeking treatment.
For more information on children and youth, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Following the filing of a federal lawsuit which involved Pennington County’s adherence to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), there has been an increase in kinship placements of Native American Children in foster care. As reported by KOTA News, kinship placement is foster care with either relatives or other tribal members and is a key component of ICWA.
Prior to the lawsuit, only 9% of Native American children in state custody were placed in kinship care. By 2013, when the lawsuit was filed, 21% of children were placed in kinship care. The percentage of Native American children in Pennington County placed in kinship care has remained over 20% since the lawsuit’s filing, with a record 29% set in 2014.
While the lawsuit did not address kinship placement, both attorney Dana Hanna, representing the tribal parties, as well as Pennington County state’s attorney Mark Vargo agreed that the lawsuit address and improve upon the care received by Native American children in Pennington County.
To read more news from Pennington County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
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.
Rapid City recently became the first city in South Dakota to pass the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) resolution, as reported by KOTA News. Of the total 194 member states of the United Nations, 187 countries have signed the resolution. The United States is one of the seven countries that has not signed the resolution. Rapid City is one of 18 cities in the United States to pass CEDAW.
Citizen group Democracy in Action led the charge on getting the Rapid City Council’s approval of the resolution, which helps ensure the city examines proposed policy’s impact on women and children. The city council approved the resoltuion unanimously.
To read more about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
In the month of February, Rapid City issued 166 building permits with a total valuation of $27,917,585, as reported by KOTA News. One of last month’s highest-valued permits included eight apartment buildings for Meadow Apartments on Moon Meadows Drive. The permit issued for the apartments was valued at approximately $22 million. Additional projects with high valuations included two homes valued over $300,000 as well as a grocery-pick-up addition at the LaCrosse Street Walmart.
For 2018 so far, Rapid City’s Building Services Division has issued 402 permits valued at a total of $125,483,613.
To learn more about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The Journey Museum and Learning Center is hosting several presentations in March to commemorate Women’s History Month, reports KOTA News. The first presentation held was a play entitled Dakota Daughters and explored the accounts of several women’s recollection of the Wounded Knee Massacre.
Three women who played fictional characters characterized what life for women would have been like from 1865-1890 in the region. Women’s perspectives were largely unrecorded during this time period. The women starring in the play researched women’s accounts of Wounded Knee to help viewers see the event from a fresh perspective.
The Keystone Wye Bridges on Highway 16 will soon receive an inspection by Stantec and Wood Research Development, reports KOTA News. The bridges will stay open during the inspection but lanes will be adjusted during daylight hours.
WRD will look for signs of decay using stress wave timing. The South Dakota Department of Transportation aims to prolong the service life of the bridges and must have a better understanding of their current conditions in order to do so.
For more information on Keystone, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
After conducting a five-month audit of energy usage at the City/School Administration Building in Rapid City, students from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology identified $10,000 worth of potential savings annually for the city. As reported by the Rapid City Journal, some of the recommendations made by the student team include updating the current lighting system to LED technology. The initial cost of updating the lighting would be $49,000 and would be recovered in three years’ time.
Additional recommendations included an excess of office equipment and use of space heaters and fans as a result of inefficient heating and cooling systems. Students conducted the energy audit at no cost to the city.
To read more news about Rapid City, visit the BLack Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On February 20th, 1892, the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association held its first meeting in Rapid City at the Harney Hotel. Thirteen men attended the gathering, including the association’s first president and mayor of Rapid City, James M. Woods. The organization would go on to become the present-day South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association.
James M. Woods served as Rapid City’s seventh mayor and was in office from 1890-1894. Woods moved to the Rapid City area in 1883 and purchased tracts of land along Elk Creek. Shortly after moving into the region, he formed the Woods, White and Woods Cattle Company with his brother, W.S. Woods, who was the president of the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City, Missouri. The company came to be valued at one million dollars and over 20,000 head of cattle by 1885.
Woods also had a passion for horses, and was instrumental in organizing the first horse roundup in 1887 at Brennan Station. By 1891, Woods had acquired a ranch in Rapid Valley along Rapid Creek. On April 26th of that year, the Black Hills Horse Breeders Association was organized and Woods was elected as its president.
Although Woods was instrumental in the formation of the Western South Dakota Stock Growers Association, he served as its president for just 70 days—from its inaugural meeting on February 20th 1892 to April 21, 1892.
A list of past presidents for the South Dakota Stockgrower’s Association can be found on the association’s website. Learn more about James M. Woods and other past mayors of Rapid City on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s website.
Rapid City’s public transportation system had a ridership increase of 30.6 percent in January 2018 when compared to the same point in 2016. According to a city news release, over 41,000 trips were taken by passengers in January 2018 compared to 31,645 in January 2016.
Of the total 41,342 rides taken in January 2018, 13,075 were taken by student passengers. The transportation system has seen a significant increase in youth trips taken since the city made the decision to allow students to ride for free in 2016.
To read more about transportation issues in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On February 12, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender hosted the final public forum concerning the future of the Barnett Arena prior to a council meeting in which members are expected to make a decision on two options for the arena. As reported by KOTA News, the council will hold a special session on February 26th in which it is expected to decide on one of two options for the arena. One option, at an approximate cost of $25 million, would involve remodeling the arena. The second option of rebuilding the arena would cost approximately $130 million.
Councilmember Ritchie Nordstrom as well as Mayor Allender noted that while there is a perception among residents that the remodel or rebuilding of the arena will be funded through a property tax, that is not the case. Funding for a new facility would partially be derived from the Rapid City Vision Fund, as well as additional funds set aside by the city council.
To read more news about the Barnett Arena, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is in the early phases of planning an alumni center, according to KOTA News. Officials from the school indicate the building would serve as a meeting place for its alumni on campus, as well as reflect on their accomplishments and memories.
The alumni center would also house the school’s foundation center. Meeting and conference rooms, a catering kitchen and an event area would also be included in the proposed center. Charitable donations will be the primary funding mechanism for the alumni center.
To read more about the South Dakota School of Mines, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
A major renovation is planned for the Pennington County Jail, reports KOTA News. Currently, the facility operates with a laundry room with dryers which are nearly 30 years old and intended to serve an inmate population one-third of what it is today. The facility’s kitchen also struggles to produce the requisite meals for the facility.
The Pennington County Commission recently approved county staff to apply for a rezoning of blocks surrounding the jail to allow for a renovation of the kitchen and laundry facilities. The renovations will allow the facility to operate more efficiently and will result in an overall cost-savings for the county over time.
To read more about Pennington County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Absentee ballots for the changes to water rates in Rapid City became available for residents on February 5th, reports KOTA News. While the Rapid City Council had previously approved a water rate increase through resolution, political interest group Citizens for Liberty gathered sufficient signatures to place the matter to a public vote. Holding the public vote will cost the city approximately $60,000, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Although the matter is going to a public vote, the Rapid City Council may still be able to adjust the water rates. The question posed in the special election is whether or not the council can adjust water rates via resolution rather than ordinance. A “no” vote would indicate that council cannot adjust the rates via resolution, but it would still be able to amend the original ordinance to adjust the rates.
Early votes concerning the water rate can be cast at the Pennington County Auditor’s Office until the day before the election. The general election will be held on February 20th. For more information on Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Following Rapid CIty’s 2017 Progress Report, Mayor Steve Allender rejuvenated efforts to develop the city’s relationship with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. As reported by KOTA News, while many people see Rapid City as a tourist destination, the mayor hopes it will grow to become a college town.
The School of Mines hosts several events which benefit the Rapid City community, including a day of service and food drives. President Jim Rankin also hopes to spur economic development by encouraging students to develop and locate their businesses in Rapid City.
Motor vehicle thefts were a major cause for concern in Rapid City in 2017, according to the Rapid City Police Department’s recently released 2017 Crime Report. Thefts from motor vehicles increased by 33% when compared to 2016, and were directly correlated to individuals leaving their vehicles unlocked or running.
Murders, arson, and driving under the influence (DUI) arrests also increased last year when compared to 2016. In 2017, there were a total of seven murders, five more than in 2016 but less than a recent high of nine committed in 2015. There were nine cases of arson reported in 2017, the most cases seen since the eight committed in 2015. DUI arrests also increased by 16%, rising from 937 in 2016 to 1,012 in 2017.
Although increases were seen in several crimes, several crimes also declined. Robberies declined by 14% from 2016 to 2017 while theft decreased by 5%. Officers in Rapid City issued also fewer citations and warnings in 2017 than in 2016. Citations in Rapid City declined by 22.7%, from 8,306 in 2016 to 6,417 last year, while warnings declined even further, from 5,658 compared to 8,221 in 2016.
To find more news related to the Rapid City Police Department, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
For the last several years, a group of local researchers have been examining the history of the Rapid City Indian School and the surrounding property. For a full overview of their preliminary findings, including a history of the Rapid City Indian School, please see document attached below, entitled "An Inconvenient Truth: The History Behind the Sioux San Lands and West Rapid City," which ran in the Rapid City Journal in the spring of 2017. Over the next several months, the researchers will be uploading their documents to the BHKN. The first batch appears below.