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Lead has been named the third safest city in South Dakota according to a new report conducted by Safe Home Security. As reported by KOTA News, Lead had a safety score of 95 out of 100. Safe Home Security bases its score on the total number and type of crimes committed in the area as well as total population and the number of law enforcement officials.

Sisseton was named the safest city in South Dakota with a safety score of 98.7, while Rapid City placed last with a score of 66.8. Sioux Falls also earned a low safety rating of 71.1. See how all 25 South Dakota cities included in the study were ranked here.

Data from the study was compiled from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and included South Dakota cities with a population of at least 2,000. You can read about the study’s full methodology here.  

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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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In 2017, Lawrence County held a record number of inmates in its jail, according to KOTA News. The Lawrence County Jail can hold a maximum of 51 inmates. An average of 42 inmates were incarcerated in the jail throughout 2017, and a total of 48 were held during the month of December.

While the facility was near capacity in December 2017, the county did not need to use overflow facilities. Lawrence County Sheriff Brian Dean indicated that his office is examining whether or not 2017 was an outlier or a sign of increasing incarceration rates. Dean also indicated that he may consider seeking assistance from an outside specialist after seeking feedback from the Lawrence County Commission.

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

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Spearfish set a new record for building valuations in 2017 at $52 million, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The previous record was set in 2014 at $49 million.

Commercial as well as residential building projects contributed to last year’s valuation. For residential permits, 79 new buildings as well as 21 manufactured homes were valued at $24,348,948. Several new commercial properties, including one currently under construction on Main Street and Jackson Boulevard, were valued at $14,952,317.  Over 60 commercial alterations and additions were valued at $8,312,103.

To read more news from Spearfish, 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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The Grace Balloch Memorial Library in Spearfish is now offering a free delivery service to library patrons who are unable to visit the library, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Library will work with individuals to determine how often and which materials should be delivered.

The library is partnering with Circle K, a student volunteer organization at Black Hills State University, in order to provide the delivery services. The student volunteers will deliver and pick up materials from library patrons in Spearfish.

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

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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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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.

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

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Physicians working in emergency rooms throughout the Black Hills have noted an increase in emergency visits as a result of illicit and illegal drug use, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Methamphetamine, heroin and synthetic marijuana are among the most common drug overdoses seen in emergency rooms in the region. Some physicians have also seen heroin laced fentanyl, a powerful drug commonly used to abate pain following surgery.

Although methamphetamine still comprises a large number of drug-related hospital visits, area physicians indicated that more individuals are using heroin due to its affordability. The number of teenage patients admitted for drug overdoses has also risen in recent years.

To read more news about health and wellness in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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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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On October 26, 1918, a man was arrested and brought to trial for spitting in public in Rapid City. According to the Rapid City Daily Journal, the anti-spitting ordinance was established in order to prevent further spread of the disease “through the filthy and careless habits of some thoughtless people who persist in expectorating on the floors in public places and on the sidewalks.” The typical fine for the offense was $6, or $92 in 2017 inflation adjusted dollars.

Rapid City Mayor William E. Robinson instructed law enforcement officials to strictly enforce the ordinance in order to prevent further spreading of the Spanish Flu. A physician himself, Robinson attended to numerous patients at all hours during the flu pandemic. However, the mayor’s grueling work schedule and exposure to the deadly disease threw him into a state of exhaustion. He died on December 2, 1918, while still serving as mayor.

In 1918, the number one cause of death in South Dakota was influenza. Lawrence County suffered the greatest number of casualties, with 145 flu-related deaths. Statewide, the disease claimed 1,847 lives—28 percent of the total number of deaths in the state that year. By comparison, in 1917 influenza was No. 20 for causes of death in the state, claiming just 54 lives.

You can learn more about Mayor William Robinson on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s Mayoral History Page.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 21:55

Lead Considers Centralized Mail Delivery

Due to several injuries incurred by local post carriers, Lead is considering centralizing its mail delivery. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, centralized delivery would involve carriers delivering mail to a cluster of individual mailboxes, which would also include space for large mail parcels

Mail carriers are being consulted about the most dangerous areas for mail delivery, due to snow and ice. Surveys may also be delivered to customers to solicit feedback on the possible new delivery method.

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

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Crow Peak Hall on the Black Hills State University campus has a new name. As reported by KOTA News, the hall was recently renamed Bordeaux Hall in honor of Dr. Lionel Bordeaux who is an alumnus of the university and later went on to earn his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Minnesota. Bordeaux then utilized his education and became the president of Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation.

Bordeaux has served as the president of Sinte Gleska University for over 44 years, making him one of the longest-serving university presidents in the United States. Bordeaux is also a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame and has previously served on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council.

Read more about 0education on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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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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On September 18, the Spearfish City Council approved a budget of $25.3 million for 2018, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. The 2018 budget marks a 1.8 percent decrease over the previous year’s budget. However, the 2018 budget calls for a 0.031 increase to the mill levy to cover expenditures.

The city also approved a $1 increase on the sewer base rate, a 50 cent increase on wastewater base rates, and a 50 cent increase on solid waste/garbage. There will not be an increase on water base rates.

For more information on Spearfish, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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