The City of Whitewood is looking to create term limits for its elected officials, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Currently, the city does not have an ordinance concerning term lengths, although two years has been the standard.
The city council is considering an ordinance which would establish a four-year term for the mayor and two council members from each ward for three year terms. The longer terms were proposed in an effort to help reduce costs for the city and allow council members more time to become familiar with their duties.
Incumbent Jerry Davidson defeated challenger Dale O’Dea in the Whitewood Ward 3 City Council race, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Davidson earned 50 votes over O’Dea’s 30 in the city election. Forty-two percent of Ward 3 voters cast their ballots.
O’Dea indicated that the voters chose to keep Davidson on the council, but that he ran to provide voters a choice.
In Wards 1 and 2, Randy Weige and Monica Shear, respectively ran unopposed and were automatically reelected to the city council. Whitewood’s swearing in ceremony will be held on May 1 during the city council meeting.
To read more news from Whitewood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Residents of Whitewood will cast their votes for a Ward 3 Council representative on April 11, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Black Hills Pioneer presented the candidates, Jerry Davidson and Dale O’Dea with a civic questionnaire. Davidson and O’Dea are both vying for the only competitive seat on the Whitewood City Council. Randy Wiege, of Ward 1, and Monica Shear, of Ward 2, are running unopposed.
The questionnaire inquired about the candidate’s employment, experience for the elected position, issues of importance, and more. Jerry Davidson’s responses to the questionnaire can be viewed here. Dale O’Dea did not respond to the questionnaire.
Individuals who utilize the Whitewood Water System will see an increase in their monthly rate, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Households within city limits will pay $23.00 per month for up to 2,000 gallons, while individuals outside of city limits will pay approximately $69.00.
Residents within city limits using over 2,000 gallons per month but less than 27,000 gallons will be charged an additional $2.20 per month, per 1,000 gallons used. An additional $2.30 per gallon per month will be charged for usage over 27,000 gallons. For Whitewood water users outside of city limits, those rates will be tripled.
The new rates are slated to take effect on April 1. The City of Whitewood estimates the new rates could produce up to $18,000 in additional revenues.
After a series of standing room only hearings on a conditional use permit requested by Mountain View Ranches LLC, the county commission moved the final hearing to a private hotel meeting room with more space. On June 9, the commission voted 3-2 to grant the permit after 43 conditions and restrictions were put in place to govern things such as dust, road configuration and cultural resources surveys.
Nonetheless, opponents vowed to gather the 830 or so signatures needed to put the permit question before voters.
The quarry would be located off of historic Crook City Road in Centennial Valley.
Read more about Lawrence County on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.
The Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad extended its line north from Rapid City in 1887, making Whitewood the end of the line. The railroad bypassed well-established Crook City.
Many who bought Whitewood lots were Crook City residents ready to abandon the older town in hopes of finding business profits stemming from rail service. Whitewood remained the line's end for three years and prospered as a shipping point for locally produced livestock, wool, fruit, and milled grain.
That activity slowed after the railroad extended lines to Deadwood and Belle Fourche in 1890, according to author Rick Mills. Still, train service remained key to development into the 20th century. Later in the 20th century lumber processing and livestock feed production emerged as important industries.
According to the 2010 Census, Whitewood had 927 residents, 374 households and 232 families.
Tuesday proved to be a busy election day for Black Hills communities. Contested local government races included regional mayoral, city council, school board, and board of trustee elections. Cities that had races include Deadwood, Spearfish, Sturgis, Belle Fourche, Kadoka, Faith, Keystone, and Whitewood.
For more information regarding the results of these elections, view the complete Rapid City Journal story.
For more news regarding Black Hills Elections, visit our Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.
A bridge at Whitewood that provides the only access to some businesses will not be able to handle the many semi trucks that drive over it each day, the Black Hills Pioneer reports.
The situation has the Whitewood City Council and the Lawrence County Commission searching for a solution that would both handle the heavy vehicles and last well into the future. The two governmental bodies are in the process of evaluating several options for durability and cost, and they face a deadline of sometime this spring or early summer, when the state will post a lower weight limit on the bridge and others like it around the state.
The bridge provides the sole access to a large lumber yard and to another business that requires semi trucks to have access to it. A lumber company official said the business already has accrued increased freight costs after the weight limit on the bridge was lowered once before in recent years.
A subsidiary of MDU is expanding a pipeline in the Northern Hills region in order to build in redundancy and handle extra capacity in the future, the Black Hills Pioneer reports.
The 17-mile pipeline being built by WBI Energy will run among the communities of Belle Fourche, St. Onge, Whitewood, Lead and Deadwood.
Crews started work on the 12-inch line in mid-September and expect to be done in late November or early December.
Officials from the company said the devastation caused by Storm Atlas in the fall of 2013 accelerated the project as a way to handle any potential service disruptions caused by disaster.
Whitewood Creek, once a Superfund site due to polluted waters, is being explored for possible gold ore extraction. A Canadian-based corporation, Goldstake Explorations of Oakville, Ontario is in the early stages of planning. A state permit will allow exploration to begin in August. According to the Rapid City Journal article, not everyone is in agreement with the plan.
Follow other mining issues in the archives.
The Whitewood 8-10 Community Club raises scholarship funds through the annual Festival of Trees and donations, reports the Black Hills Pioneer.
Recipients, listed on the Pioneer site, must carry a Whitewood address, compose an essay relating achievements and future plans, and plan to attend a college or vocational school after graduation.
Learn more about the 8-10 club at the Whitewood city website.
The Whitewood City Council did not take immediate action on a resolution proposed by Northern Hills Patriots member Bill Nachatello, the Black Hills Pioneer reports.
The resolution describes Agenda 21 as “a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control” and seeks to reject community planning philosophies labeled as sustainable development, comprehensive planning, Growth, Resilient Cities and other terms.
The Whitewood City Council approved the appointment of a new police chief at its regular meeting Monday night.
Randy Millburn, 47, formerly of Hill City and currently of Burlington, Colo., is set to begin his job at the Whitewood Police Department on April 2. To read the news article, click here.
Information on population, jobs, income, poverty, race, and age about your community can be hard to find all in one place. With the help of our sister site, the South Dakota Dashboard we have compiled the following demographic highlights for your convenience. This data is sourced from various federal and state sources and is from the most recent year possible.
|Whitewood||Meade County||South Dakota|
|Total Population 2016:||931||27,693||865,454|
|Population Growth from 2015-2016:||1.1||2.4%||0.9%|
|Median Age 2015:||32.1||35.6||36.9|
|Median Household Income 2015:||$41,786||$55,515||$53,017|
|Poverty Rate 2015:||22.4%||9.9%||14.2%|
|Race (Persons of Color) 2015:||N/A*||12.2%||17.1%|
|**Housing Cost Burden 2015:||30.3%||30.3%||24.5|
*The data for race have been suppressed. This happens when there were fewer than 10 people or units in a category, the percentage estimate is less than 1%, or the error margins were greater than 70% of the estimate of a numeric value (such as median income).
**Housing cost burden is the share of households paying 30 percent or more of their income for housing.
Whitewood City Profile
Learn more about Whitewood in the infographic below and at the South Dakota Dashboard City Profile.
Source: U.S Census Bureau American Community Survey, 2011-2015.
For more data and graphs on the demographics of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our sister project, the South Dakota Dashboard, for interactive graphs and charts.
City Profiles – Find total population, racial breakdown, gender breakdown, poverty rates, disability rates, home ownership rates, housing cost burden data, median income, median age and more for other cities and towns in South Dakota on the South Dakota Dashboard.
The recently rejuvenated Whitewood Chamber of Commerce promotes the community as an attractive, centrally-located Black Hills residential option. With more than 70 members, the chamber also coordinates annual community celebrations and advances business development. Members are hopeful that commercial development will take form on lots adjacent to the Interstate.
Gross Sales Revenue
Business in Lawrence County did over 1.13 billion dollars in gross sales in 2016, as reported by the South Dakota Department of Revenue. That sum represented 1.7 percent share of the state total. Below is a chart detailing the gross sales trends by sector for the community of Whitewood covering the period from May 2012 to April 2013 according to the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
Employment & Workforce
The largest employment industries are healthcare & social assistance, manufacturing, and retail trade. Supervisor is the most common job description in Whitewood, according to the census bureau.
Whitewood has a relatively high unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, much larger than the South Dakota average of 4.7 percent, but less than the national average of 7.9 percent.
Income & Wages
The median household income of Whitewood was $41,786, below both median household incomes of Lawrence County at $51,553 and South Dakota at $55,775.
The median income of people 65+ in Lawrence County was at $32,207 but still below the state median of $37,896 and the national median of $40,971.
For more data on the economies of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our interactive graphs and charts on the South Dakota Dashboard.
Whitewood Public Health
Lawrence County, where Whitewood is located, ranks 39th out of 60 South Dakota counties in South Dakota for overall health outcomes in 2017. This data is compiled as part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income, and teen births in nearly every county in America.
Community Health Needs Assessment
Regional Health Community Health Needs Assessment: Conducted by Regional Health, these studies highlight the strength and weaknesses in regional health and access to healthcare in West River, South Dakota. Assessments are available for Spearfish Regional Hospital and Spearfish Regional Surgery Center.
Hospitals & Clinics
Whitewood is located 10 miles northwest of Sturgis, which is served by the Sturgis Regional Hospital. The hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital that also has 84 beds for senior care and a specialty clinic for visiting physicians. The hospital has 24-hour emergency care. For more information call 605-720-2400. The Sturgis Regional Hospital is part of the Regional Health System. The system's main hospital is located approximately 30 miles from Sturgis in Rapid City.
Sturgis is also home to the VA Black Hills Healthcare System at Fort Meade in Sturgis. The VA at Fort Meade provides primary and secondary medical and surgical care as well as residential rehabilitation treatment program (RRTP) services, extended nursing home care and tertiary psychiatric inpatient care services for veterans residing in South Dakota and portions of Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. To reach the facility, call 605-347-2511 or 800-743-1070.
Whitewood is also located 21 miles southeast of Spearfish, which also has a hospital and several clinics.
The Queen City Regional Medical Clinic, located at 1420 North 10th Street in Spearfish, specializes in family medicine, internal medicine, podiatry, and urgent care, but offers many other services as well.
The Spearfish Regional Medical Clinic, located 1445 North Avenue, specializes in audiology, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, and radiology, but offers many other services as well. The Spearfish Regional Surgery Center offers state of the art surgical methods, techniques, and equipment.
The Spearfish Regional Hospital, located at 1440 North Main Street, is a 40-bed hospital that offers extensive patient services centralized at one location which includes both the hospital and Spearfish Regional Medical Clinic. Patient care includes 24-hour emergency service, inpatient and outpatient care, labor and delivery, home health and hospice.
For more data on the health and wellness of the citizens of Lawrence County, please check out our interactive graphs and charts on the South Dakota Dashboard. Our county-level health indicators include:
On Thanksgiving Day in 1887, the Pioneer Townsite Company made available Whitewood’s first business and residential lots. The Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley railroad extended its line north from Rapid City that year, temporarily making Whitewood the end of the line. A post office had been established in June 1877, and the town incorporated on May 12, 1888.
The railroad bypassed well-established Crook City by a couple miles. Many of those who originally bought Whitewood lots were Crook City residents ready to abandon the older town in hopes of finding business profits stemming from rail service. Whitewood remained the line’s end for three years and prospered as a shipping point for locally produced livestock, wool, fruit, and milled grain.
According to an early history, "The town is nestled among the foothills of the great system of high altitude and is thus afforded a fine protection from the extremities of winter. There are many strong inducements to home-seekers to seek a location either in Whitewood for business or in the vicinity for the advantages in farming and grazing." Whitewood was also where people from across a wide rural region came to collect shipped parcels, greet family and friends who arrived by train, or to ride the rails themselves.
That activity slowed after the railroad extended lines to Deadwood and Belle Fourche in 1890, according to author Rick Mills. Still, train service remained a key to most of Whitewood’s development well into the 20th century. In 1904 the 29-room, sandstone Lane Hotel opened, catering primarily to railroad travelers.
In 1938, as automobile travel was starting to eclipse rail travel, the Federal Writers Project’s South Dakota Guide described Whitewood as “a picturesque village, so named because of the extensive growth of aspen and birch in the vicinity.” The Guide reported Whitewood’s population then as 421. Later in the 20th century lumber processing and livestock feed production emerged as important industries. Whitewood lost prime alfalfa acreage to Interstate 90’s construction in the early 1970s, but the highway seemed a natural fit for a town always associated with transportation.
Museums, Libraries & Archives
The Whitewood Library is located at 1201 Ash Street in Whitewood. They have a collection of 10,000 books and audio resources, and five computers with Internet access for public use. The library offers a summer reading program for children in the community. For more information call 605-269-2616.
Historical Photos and Documents Online
Whitewood: A Black Hills Knowledge Network Collection offers photographs of the town at the turn of twentieth century into its centennial celebration in 1977. The images capture the development of the area’s agriculture, farm life, commerce, and railroad. Included in this collection are the following anthologies:
The community of Whitewood is home to three churches:
Immanuel Lutheran Church. 920 Fillmore Street. (605) 269-2104
First Presbyterian Church. 901 Laurel Street. (605) 269-9232
Black Hills Baptist Church. 12205 SD-34. (605) 269-2646
Whitewood was incorporated as a city in 1888, about six months after the first homes and businesses were built – or were relocated by mule from Crook City. Today Whitewood is divided into three wards. A mayor is elected by city-wide vote every two years, and each ward elects two members for a six-member city council. City council members are elected for two-year terms, as well.
Council meetings are scheduled the first and third Mondays of each month, 7:00 pm at city hall, 1025 Meade Street. Agendas and minutes are available on the city's website, and published in the Black Hills Pioneer.
The Whitewood city hall is located at 1025 Meade Street. Housing the city departments of public works, finance office, police department, library, planning and zoning, building inspector, Hale Hall board, and the mayor & city council.
The City of Whitewood’s budget is around $1.2 million for the 2016 financial year, as stated by the city’s finance officer, Cory Heckenlaible. Which is less than 2015’s budget of $1,269,710 as reported by the Black Hills Pioneer. For more information on the budget and other city finance initiatives call the city’s Finance Office at 605-269-2247.
Lawrence County administers state and federal elections in the city of Whitewood. For the city's voting history, visit Lawrence County's Voter Information website. The site also provides information on how to register to vote and a map of voting precincts in the county.
The residents of the city of Whitewood account for some precincts within Lawrence County. If you’re interested in viewing the results or voter turnout of recent elections, follow each link respectively.
Lawrence County is the home of the Black Hills Pioneer, a daily published newspaper. Established in 1876. This paper is the oldest business in West River South Dakota and the only locally owned newspaper in the territory. The Pioneer serves Spearfish, Lead, Deadwood and Whitewood in Lawrence County as well as Meade and Butte County.
The Rapid City Journal, a daily published newspaper based out of Rapid City, also provides printed news for Whitewood. The Rapid City Journal began on January 5, 1878, as the Black Hills Journal. The Journal is the daily newspaper of Rapid City.