Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

On March 21, 1998, a landslide impacting the Homestake Gold Mine’s open cut area temporarily halted operations. By April, underground mining was once again safe. However, the workforce at the mind was reduced from 850 to just 380 employees and gold production was reduced from 400,000 ounces to approximately 180,000 ounces per year.

Just three years thereafter, officials announced that the Homestake Mine would permanently close. Larry Mann, the mine’s spokesman, stated that despite management’s best efforts, coupled with significant downsizing in 1998, the mine’s corporate officials believed there was no scenario in which the mine could be as productive as it had once been. Coupled with the falling price of gold, stockholders could not expect adequate returns on their investments in the mine.

When shutdown was complete, the remaining buildings of the Homestake Mine stood vacant. Some time later, talks of transforming the former mine into an underground research laboratory arose. The National Science Foundation became interested in the mine because the deep tunnels are an ideal location to study elusive particles called neutrinos and dark matter. After a large donation of $70 million by T. Denny Sanford in 2006, the site was selected to become a  Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).

After years of delicate construction, Homestake is now known as the Sanford Underground Research Facility and continues to study dark matter and neutrinos 4,850-feet underground. The lab now attracts scientists and science enthusiasts from around the world to learn the past, present, and future of the former mining goliath.

To learn more about the Homestake Gold Mine, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s digital history archive. Learn more about the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the former Homestake Gold Mine at the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub page.

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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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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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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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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 Lead City Commission recently approved a $4.2 million budget for 2018, down slightly from the previously approved $4.4 million budget passed in 2017. Of the 2018 budget, $2.2 million will go to the general fund and $1.8 million will be directed toward items including public works and the library, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.

The commission also approved a slight reduction in the mill levy from 8.79 in 2017 to 8.56 in 2018. The mill levy was reduced due to an increase in sales tax revenue in the city. In July 2017, the city generated over $100,000 in sales tax—a record high since 2007.

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

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Friday, 15 September 2017 14:20

Lead Residents Approve Chicken Ordinance

Voters in Lead recently approved a referred chicken ownership measure, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Although the Lead City Commission had approved the ordinance in June, a chicken opposition group gained sufficient petition signatures to refer the measure for a public vote. However, residents of Lead approved the ordinance by a vote of 174-114.

The ordinance allows city residents to keep up to six hens in chicken coops at least 50 feet away from the nearest occupied residence. The ordinance also requires chicken owners to obtain a city license and pay a fee.

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

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 15:28

City of Lead Replaces Outdated Water Meters

City officials in Lead have placed old water meters on display to help explain to city residents exactly why the meters were in need of replacing, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The outdated meters have calcified which has resulted in significant interference in conducting accurate water readings.

The old meters are currently in the process of being replaced. The replacement project, which will install approximately 1,500 new meters across the city, is expected to be completed sometime in 2018.

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

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On September 11, 2000, it was announced that the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead would be permanently closed after 124 years of operation. Larry Mann, the spokesman for the mine, shared that the falling price of gold and rising production costs were to blame for the closing. The Homestake Mine was once the oldest and largest producing gold mine in America, with a surface operation nearly a mile wide and underground tunnels descending more than 8,000 feet below the surface. It was also the largest employer in the northern Black Hills.

Though the news was a shock, many workers and townspeople observed previous signs that this day might come. Two years prior, Homestake officials announced massive changes to the mine including a complete restructuring of its underground operations, the shutdown of its open cut surface operations, and a layoff of nearly half the workforce. These changes were imposed to combat shrinking gold prices and sustain operations if gold remained valued above $325 an ounce; however, the price continued to decline. Over the next sixteen months, Homestake workers dismantled equipment and buildings while simultaneously mining the richest reserves to help stem the cost of the shutdown.

Less than a year later, the Barrick Gold Corporation purchased the Homestake Mining Company for a cost of 2.3 billion dollars. While it continued the shutdown of the company’s flagship operation in Lead, Barrick was interested in the other mines that Homestake owned including ones in South America and Australia. With this merger, Barrick became the largest gold corporation in the world.

When shutdown was complete, the remaining buildings of the Homestake Mine stood vacant. Some time later, talks of transforming the former mine into an underground research laboratory arose. The National Science Foundation became interested in the mine because the deep tunnels are an ideal location to study elusive particles called neutrinos and dark matter. After a large donation of $70 million by T. Denny Sanford in 2006, the site was selected to become a  Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).

After years of delicate construction, Homestake is now known as the Sanford Underground Research Facility and continues to study dark matter and neutrinos 4,850-feet underground. The lab now attracts scientists and science enthusiasts from around the world to learn the past, present, and future of the former mining goliath.

To learn more about the Homestake Gold Mine, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s digital history archive. Learn more about the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the former Homestake Gold Mine at the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub page.

Published in Home
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 21:59

Vote on Lead Chicken Ordinance Scheduled

Lead city officials received a petition with 130 signatures asking the city government to overturn their June referendum allowing certain barnyard animals on residential property. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the vote will be held on September first and gives residents the option of voting for the regulations that were set in June or to overturn the new rules and revert back to the previous law. The group who turned in the petition are headed by former Lead Mayor Jerry Apa and eight other Lead residents.

In early June, Lead city commissioners approved Ordinance 1053-17 which outlines regulations regarding the housing of certain animals on residential property. Livestock, ducks, geese, domestic fowl, and rabbits would be banned but chickens would be authorized as long as there are no more than six hens and no roosters. Previously, livestock and other animals were allowed on residential property with the regulation that they must be one-hundred feet from any building including dwellings, churches, stores, schools, or public buildings.

Upon passage of the ordinance, opposition to the decision arose. Apa and others began gathering signatures for a petition to repeal the ordinance. The group in favor of the new ordinance call themselves Lead Chicken Ordinance. They have been campaigning to keep the ordinance in place, alleging that it gives residents the chance to have homegrown eggs and promote business. Apa and his supporters believe that the raising of chickens has no place within the city limits of Lead.

To read more about urban chicken issues in the Black Hills, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive. Visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile to learn more about Lead.

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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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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 north wall of the Historic Homestake Opera House is nearing completion, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Workers have finished replacing the understructure for the wall as well as installing new sheetrock and decorative plaster moldings over the original moldings. The total cost for the restoration of the wall is $35,000.

Previous restoration projects at the opera house include updates to the foyer and connecting rooms. Future projects are primarily focused around the theater area itself.

The Historic Homestake Opera House was consumed by a fire in 1984 in which the facility’s roof collapsed. Since the fire, community efforts have helped to raise more than $3 million to renovate the building, including a new roof and seating.

To read more about Lead, 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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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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The cost of breakfast and lunch at Lead-Deadwood Schools are slated to increase by 10 to 20 cents for the upcoming school year, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The cost of reduced meal prices will hold steady into the new school year.

Full-price breakfast for students will be $1.80 in the 2017-2018 school year, up 10 cents over the previous year. Adults will pay $2.50 for breakfast, marking a 15 cent increase. Full-price lunches will cost $2.60 for kindergarten through grade five and 2.85 for grades six through twelve, each up 10 cents from last year. Adult lunches will cost $3.60, reflecting a 20 cent increase.

Last year, the district served 52,403 free or reduced meals, marking a decrease from the 2015-2016 school year in which 57,765 free or reduced meals were served to students.

To read more about the Lead-Deadwood School District, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile. Learn more about Lead and Deadwood on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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The Lead-Deadwood School Board recently approved $5.3 million in renovations to its elementary and high schools, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The district has faced steady declines in enrollment, and may close the middle school if enrollment continues to decline over the next five years. Read the full enrollment projection study here.

An $11.7 million plan was approved by the Lead Deadwood School Board in April. However, after consultation with a nearby church from which the district hoped to purchase additional land, the school board decided to not go forward with the land purchase. The new plan includes two phases which will focus on renovations to the elementary and high school, with plans for closure of the middle school yet to be determined.

Learn more about Lead and Deadwood on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profiles. Read more about education in the Black Hills region on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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State and congressional leaders as well as scientists from across the globe have met to launch the Long-Based Neutrino lab at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, officially breaking ground on the biggest science experiment in world history. According to the Rapid City Journal, digging will now begin which will take up to three years due to the 875,000 tons of rock that needs to be removed before the research equipment and tanks can be installed for the experiment. Once preparations and construction are done, the Fermilab near Chicago will send a beam of neutrinos through solid rock to sophisticated detectors at Sanford.

To read up on past and current news articles related to the Sanford lab, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.

For more information on the Sanford lab, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network webpage.

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Houston and Pavilion Streets in Lead will soon be reconstructed to allow for better access to the Sanford Lab’s Ross Shaft, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. The Lead City Commission approved a resolution to move forward with the project.

Improving Pavilion and Houston Streets will help increase accessible routes to the Ross Shaft. Currently, the most used route is Mill Street, which goes through a residential neighborhood. Reconstructing Pavilion and Houston Streets will alleviate traffic on Mill Street.

The estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million, with part of the funding potentially coming from the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s Community Access Grant Program. The City of Lead applied for the grant, which could provide up to $400,000 toward the improvement project.

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

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Ten years ago on July 10, 2007, the National Science Foundation selected the Homestake Gold Mine in Deadwood to become a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). The closure of the gold mine was announced in September 2000 after 124 continuous years of operation. The mine was sealed shut in 2003.

In order to facilitate work with scientists proposing the DUSEL, the South Dakota Legislature established the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) in 2004. Just two years later, the Homestake Mine was donated the mine to the SDSTA by the Barrick Gold Corporation. The donation released the gold company from any future liabilities or environmental concerns as a result of the new laboratory.

Homestake was unanimously selected as a location for a DUSEL by a panel comprised of 22 field experts. In the first round of competition, the Homestake Mine was among the top two finalists--the other was the Henderson Mine in Colorado--out of an initial group of eight. However, the National Science Foundation reopened the competition a year later in 2006, allowing the Universities of Seattle and Minnesota to submit proposals. Another year of careful resulted in Homestake winning outright.

Learn more about the DUSEL at the former Homestake Gold Mine at the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub page.

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