Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

The Deadwood City Commission recently granted its approval for Mayor Turbiville to enter into a contract with a company to conduct background investigations on potential employees. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the city council approved the mayor's request to enter into a contract with the private company at its January 2 meeting.

Full-time employees will receive a more thorough background search with a total cost of $110 per search, while part-time and seasonal employees will receive a lower level background search at a cost of $44 per search. City officials are still determining the full details of each level of search, as well as the development of policies and procedures for conducting the searches.

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

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With a petition to annex 1,020 acres from Frawley Ranches approved by the City Commission, Deadwood may soon expand past the intersection of Highway 85 and Polo Loop Road to the Frawley Ranch courtyard barns. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the annexation would include 60 acres for outdoor activities, including soccer, baseball and walking paths.

The Deadwood City Commission will now need to work up an annexation and developer agreement. Lawrence County and state officials will also certify the petition to ensure that the annexation is in compliance with county and state law. If the annexation is in compliance with state law, the city commission will adopt a resolution to annex the acreage, bringing it under Deadwood’s jurisdiction.

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

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Although Deadwood’s gaming revenue has largely been down in 2017, a 0.3% increase in spending across table games and slot machines occurred in November 2017 when compared to November 2016. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, table games were up 6.4% when compared to November of last year, while slot machines were down 0.1% when compared across the same timeframe.

Hotel occupancy was also slightly higher in November 2017 than November 2016. Hotels were 30.4% occupied, a 1.4% increase over November 2016. Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association Mike Rodman indicated milder temperatures and events including a craft beer festival may have increased this year’s occupancy rates.

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

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During its December 4 city commission meeting, city commissioners approved a $3.4 million budget increase, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The additional budget funds will be directed toward tax-increment financing and expenditures as well as infrastructure.

The supplemental budget includes $189,000 for debt services to the historic preservation fund, $2.6 million toward TIF #10, or TRU Hotel construction expenses, among other expenditures.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile or online news archive.

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Deadwood gaming numbers from October 2017 were down 1% from October 2016, according to the South Dakota Commission on Gaming. As reported by the Black Hills Pioneer, patrons to Deadwood casinos played $91.5 million on both machines and tables last month.

While overall numbers were down, table games increased by 3.5 percent last month when compared to October 2016. Slot machines were down 1.3 percent when compared to the same point in time last year.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Phase one of a major facilities update for the Lead-Deadwood School District is now underway. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the first phase includes updates to the district’s elementary and high schools, including the addition of an elevator to the high school’s English wing.

An estimated five percent of the high school is in need of masonry tuck pointing, replacement of brick, and improvements to exterior insulation, windows and doorframes. The elementary school will require similar updates, including updates to the entryway sidewalk and stairway. THe updates included in phase one of the project are anticipated to be completed in September 2018.

To learn more about education and training in Lawrence County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Deadwood has been selected to participate in the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. Deadwood is one of eight communities across the nation that will receive technical assistance in combating the costs and risks associated with wildfires.

The city will work alongside land use planners, foresters, and other specialists on a consulting basis to develop a local plan to improve wildfire policies. The value of services provided to the city is estimated between $30-40,000. The program is slated to begin in January 2018.

To read more about wildfires in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Environment and Conservation issue hub page.

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Thursday, 02 November 2017 17:13

IN HISTORY: Deadwood Legalizes Gambling in 1989

On November 1, 1989, gambling was officially legalized in Deadwood, South Dakota. As the casinos reopened, gamblers placed approximately $145 million in bets during the first eight months legalized gambling. Although there was an early snowfall which made driving conditions difficult, Deadwood’s Main Street was filled with tourists looking to win big in the newly-opened saloons.

Gambling was legalized in Deadwood in an effort to diversify the town’s economy. The largest employer was the nearby Homestake Gold Mine, which provided a few hundred jobs to area residents. Tourism was Deadwood’s next largest economic contributor, which ebbed and flowed alongside the seasons.

Canvassers sought enough signatures from registered voters across the state to allow a state constitutional amendment to approve limited gambling in Deadwood on the November 1988 ballot. South Dakota voters approved the amendment by a wide margin. The state legislature drafted and passed the requisite legislation to approve gambling during the following legislative session early in 1989. Finally, the last step required Deadwood residents to approve gambling in a town election

Prior to the legalization in 1989, gambling had been banned in Deadwood since 1905. While many residents of the town were pleased with the ban, miners who lived in town lost gambling houses as places to relax and enjoy a drink after a long day in the mines.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Following stable growth over the summer months, gaming revenue in Deadwood took a fall in September. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, gaming numbers declined by nearly two percent when compared to September 2016. However, September 2017 revenue was down nearly 12 percent when compared to September 2015.

Nearly $6.2 million in revenue was reported from table games in Deadwood, representing an increase of 8.6 percent from September 2016. However, the total slot machine handle for September 2017 of $95.2 million accounted for a 2.6 percent decline from September 2016.

For more information about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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The Deadwood City Commission is looking to supplement the Historic Preservation Revolving Loan Fund, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The commission approved the first reading of a supplemental budget ordinance in the amount of $331,000. The program has received 20 applications for historic preservation grants so far this year as well as an increase in program support in recent years, sparking the need for additional funds.

To date, historic preservation programs have expended $898,000—an amount over the originally budgeted $867,000. Year-end expenditures are currently projected at approximately $1.2 million.

To read more news from Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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The Lead-Deadwood School District has seen a slight uptick in enrollment this school year, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The district has seen an increase of 32 students across the middle and high schools, while enrollment at the middle school has remained flat.

This year, enrollment at the elementary school is 337. The middle school hosts 175 students while enrollment at the high school is 216.

For more information on the Lead-Deadwood School District, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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The Deadwood City Commission approved a 2018 budget of $16.3 million, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget marks a $2.3 million decrease following the completion of a $6.8 million welcome center in 2017. While an array of non-profits did receive funding for 2018, Prairie Hills Transit and the Helpline Center were both denied budget allocations of $10,000 and $1,500, respectively.

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

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Deadwood City Commissioners are currently looking into tax incentives to spark economic development in the city, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. At a recent city commission meeting, commissioners discussed the possibility of a housing incentive plan that would implement a tax rebate for single-, two- and multi-family dwellings. The rebate would not apply to hotels or other forms of temporary or vacation lodging.

The proposed rebate would last for five years. Rebates would be calculated by dividing the valuation of the property by $1,000 and then multiplied by the Deadwood city levy.

Commissioner Gary Todd expressed concerns about the tax rebate benefitting non-residents of Deadwood. Planning and Zoning Administrator Bob Nelson responded that his staff often find potential buyers online or receive complaints from neighbors when properties are not purchased by full-time residents.

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

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Revenue and enrollment numbers have been declining for the Lead-Deadwood School District, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The decline in revenue for the locally-funded district is largely due to a decline in local property taxes.

A strategic planning meeting was held in late August to discuss long-term projections concerning the district’s budget. A change in state regulations require districts to reserve no more than 25 percent of the general fund annually. By April or May of 2018, the district may face deficit spending up to $1.9 million for Fiscal Year 2019 or cutting up to $1.5 million from the budget.

To read more about Lead and Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profiles. Learn more about education and training in the region at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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Deadwood’s casinos saw an uptick in revenue last month, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. In July 2017, just over $106 million was played on machines and tables in the city, resulting in a 0.6 percent increase over July 2016.

While gaming numbers increased slightly, stays at the city’s hotels declined by approximately 2.0 percent in July 2017. Celebrity Hotel and Casino General Manager Ken Gienger indicated rental homes marketed online may be contributed to the decline in hotel stays. Travel websites are also used to help gauge the relative cost of prices to keep hotels competitive.

To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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An opening ceremony for the completion of a hiking trail that connects Deadwood and Lead will be held on September 9, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The trail begins in the dog park in Lead to Powerhouse Park in Deadwood. The trail also overlooks the Open Cut and the old mine shaft of the former Homestake Gold Mine.

The opening ceremony will be held at 9am at the trailhead near the dog park in Lead. It is approximately a quarter mile from the dog park to the head of the trail where the opening ceremony will take place.

Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profiles on Lead and Deadwood to learn more about each city.

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The Deadwood City COmmission recently approved an increase of $600,000 in tax incremental financing to the Cadillac Jack’s expansion project, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The increase in financial support brings total TIF funds to $2.6 million and will help support additional construction costs due to changing soil conditions on the property.

Of the total $600,000 increase, $100,000 will go toward improvements on nearby Crescent Street, which was recently moved into the same TIF district as the Cadillac Jack’s expansion. The improvements will include a new sidewalk that connects to the new pedestrian bridge that will lead to the rodeo grounds across from the hotel complex.

To learn more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive or community profile.

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Several improvement projects are taking place at Lead-Deadwood schools this summer, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The total cost of the renovation projects totals approximately $213,000.

The Lead-Deadwood High School received a private donation from an alum which funded a sandstone project for $21,000. The sandstone had deteriorated over time due to contact with salt. A special coating was placed on the sandstone to help protect the surface. Cracks and tuckpointing were also sealed during the renovation.

Additional renovations for the high school include stair replacement for an estimated $67,000, fire alarm replacement for $48,000 and recarpeting the business office for $4,500.

Learn more about education in Lead and Deadwood at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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Friday, 04 August 2017 02:58

IN HISTORY: The Death of Calamity Jane

While few Americans would recognize the name Martha Cannary, the name Calamity Jane brings images of the Wild West into the minds of many. Calamity was a woman of the west with a wild imagination. As a result, the accounts she left in her autobiography have been discovered to be false—leaving many historians to determine fact from fiction in her life.

One truth remains across the numerous tales about Calamity: her perpetual desire to drink. According to Deadwood Magazine, barkeepers in Deadwood considered keeping her glass filled was  an operating cost—”Calamity was Calamity.”

While Calamity may have been infamous for her drinking, she also had a softer, kinder side. When a smallpox epidemic hit Deadwood, Calamity cared for miners who were quarantined. She also cared for children and adults afflicted with diphtheria and other diseases.

By 1903, Calamity’s Wild West lifestyle had taken its toll on her body. She had recently decided to return to the Black Hills via train, and became ill. Folks on the train helped her into a  hotel in the town of Terry (located near present day Terry Peak) and called for a doctor. On August 1, 1903, Calamity Jane died of pneumonia, before the doctor was able to visit her.

To read more about the history of Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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High school students in the Lead-Deadwood School District can now take an ACT preparation course at a reduced rate, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The reduced rate is offered by Chapter Y of the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) in Deadwood, which strives to encourage educational endeavors in the region.

The prep course will be offered for just $25—one-hundred dollars less than the normal rate for the course. The course will review ACT test sections including math and monitoring time effectively during the test. The prep test will be offered at the Smart Center in the Historic Homestake Opera House in Lead from 2-5p.m., August 14-17. Students interested in the prep course can apply at Lotus Up, Lead-Deadwood High School, and the Hearst Library in Lead.  Individuals with questions may email [email protected] or call 269-1600.

To learn more about Lead and Deadwood, visit the community profiles on the Black Hills Knowledge Network. Read news about education and training in the Black Hills region on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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