On February 9th, 1992, while driving to the South Dakota Miss Basketball banquet to accept an award, SuAnne Big Crow perished in a car accident. Big Crow, who hailed from the Pine Ridge Reservation, was known as a remarkable basketball player as well as her advocacy for Lakota history and culture.
Big Crow’s advocacy and sportsmanship were not forgotten, either. Seven years following Big Crow’s untimely death, President Bill Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Reservation. Following his visit, President Clinton called both Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo to discuss the creation of a youth center in Pine Ridge.
In August 2000, the youth center became a reality with the dedication of the SuAnne Big Crow Youth Wellness and Opportunity Center, a Boys and Girls Club of America. The building aimed to meet the dreams of SuAnne Big Crow by providing area youth with a drug- and alcohol-free environment.
While the facility is no longer a member of the Boys and Girls Club, it remains committed to serving youth in Pine Ridge. In 2016, the facility offered health-related services to adults on a fee basis, including water aerobics courses.
In addition to the facility bearing her name, Big Crow was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame on March 25, 2017.
To read more about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Fifty-two years ago, Billy Mills charged across a rain-soaked track and set a new record pace for the Olympic 10,000 meter race in Tokyo, Japan. Not only did Mills set a new record, but he also became the first American to win gold for the race, and still holds the title today.
Billy Mills was born in 1936 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Orphaned at a young age, Mills frequently recalls advice given to him by his late father, who told Mills he could “rise from broken wings and one day fly like an eagle.” Mills discovered his running ability in high school and was determined that the Olympic games are where he would soar.
Some credits Mills’ win to the heavy, soddened track. The 1964 Olympics was the last before all terrain tracks were utilized. A period of heavy rain had muddied the track, disabling many runners who were accustomed to ideal running conditions. During the final stretch of his race, Mills also made the decision to run on the outermost lane, which was not as sodden as the rest of the track.
Mills ran the 10K race in 28 minutes and 24 seconds, outpacing the previous record by over seven seconds. Only four other Americans have ranked highly in the 10,000 meter race: Max Truex who placed 6th in 1960, Frank Shorter who placed 5th in 1972 and Galen Rupp who placed 2nd in 2012.
While it comes as no surprise to local residents in the state, a report issued by the Outdoor Industry Association has published a report stating just how much of an impact hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities have on the economy. According to the Rapid City Journal, the report states that outdoor activities bring in $4.7 billion each year and influence nearly 48,000 jobs directly in South Dakota. The total amount represents everything from gear and licenses to hotel rooms and restaurant visits.
To read up on past and current news articles related to the outdoors activities in the region, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.
For more information on some outdoor activities in the Black Hills, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub webpage.
With the advent of instant posting to social media sites, more of the Black Hills little known and hidden attractions are seeing large increases in foot traffic as more locals and visitors find them. According to the Rapid City Journal, this has also led to more aggravation for land owners near the sites as well as increases in delinquent activity on the trails while state officials mull over their options to protect the sites. Forest Service officials are confident, however, that the increased traffic will lead to better individual environmental activism for respecting the locations.
To read up on past and current news articles related to the environment and conservation in the Black Hills, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive link.
For more information on environmental issues, be sure to check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network Issue Hub page.
High levels of E. coli bacteria have been measured in Sylvan and Stockade lakes during recent tests. According to the Rapid City Journal, Custer State Park officials have temporarily suspended all swimming activities in both lakes until the bacteria levels return to normal. If new readings this week turn up better results, the resumption of swimming activities could return later next week.
To read up on past and current news articles related to outdoor recreation, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network online new archive link.
For more information on recreational activities in the region, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network page.
Governor Dennis Daugaard has called for a special legislative session to discuss non-meandering waters on private lands, reports KOTA News. Legislators will develop rules for individuals to utilize the bodies of water while also accommodating the rights of property owners.
A legislative committee recommended rules that would allow access to approximately 30 lakes on private property. A recent Supreme Court decision recently closed access to these lakes. The rules recommended by the committee would allow public access to the lakes unless the property owner posts signs indicating that the area is closed.
To read more about environment and conservation in the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
A new rule proposed by a state legislative panel would allow continued public use of non-meandering waters on private lands, reports KOTA News. Use of lakes on private lands has long been a controversial issue in South Dakota, and prompted a legislative study committee this summer. The committee recommended the new rule by a vote of 13-2.
While lakes on private land would be open to public use, the rule would allow property owners to install signage indicating the body of water is closed for public use. A recent ruling by the South Dakota Supreme Court stated that the state legislature must determine laws regarding non-meandering bodies of water. A special legislative session may soon be held to consider the proposed legislation.
To read more about the 2017 legislative session, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive. Learn more about the environment and conservation in the Black Hills region at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s issue hub page.
A trail that connects Lead and Deadwood may soon see significant improvements, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. The Homestake Railroad Grade Trail, an old roadbed that was used during mining days in the Northern Hills, will include interpretive sites and directional signs. The trail is currently being designed for non-motorized use.
The Northern Hills Recreation Association is the group behind the efforts to renovate the trail and hopes it will eventually become part of a larger trail system that connects to Sturgis, Whitewood and Spearfish.
To learn more about Lead and Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profiles. Read more news about sports and recreation in the Black Hills region at the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Next week the public pools in Rapid City will be open for business, reports the Rapid City Journal.
The outdoor pool at Roosevelt Swim Center opens Tuesday, May 30th; open swim will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Parkview Pool and the Jimmy Hilton Pool open on Thursday, June 1st. The Horace Mann Pool will open Friday, June 2nd.
For more information on pool hours and rates, please visit the Aquatics Division of the Rapid City Parks and Recreation site.
For more information on summer events in Rapid City, please visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
A possible special election to reverse a recent decision made by the Pennington County Commission to allow an asphalt plant to be built near a mobile home community and youth soccer complex may soon be held, reports the Rapid City Journal. Opponents of the plant are currently organizing and looking to gather the needed 3,573 signatures needed on the petition to bring the decision to a public vote. Western Construction, the company behind the asphalt plant, says that the special election is not neccessary due to current regulations on asphalt plants as well as how emissions dissipate once in the air.
To read up on past and current news articles related to the Pennington County goverenment,visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
For more information on Pennington County itself, check out the county's homepage.
A new grant-funded bicycle program aims to improve safety and accessibility for cycling commuters in Spearfish, reports KOTA TV. Bike Spearfish has been formed by a collaboration between Black Hills State University and Hills Horizon, and is funded by the Wharf Fund and the South Dakota Community Foundation.
As part of the safety promotion efforts, the Spearfish Police Department released a commuter safety guide which is available at the department. The City of Spearfish will be installing bicycle signs to designate roads which have less traffic as bicycle use areas.
The program will also help celebrate National Bike to Work Week, May 15-19. A basic traffic safety course will be held at Black Hills State University on May 20.
The Pennington County Commissioners approved a rezoning request to pave the way for a controversial asphalt plant. According to the Rapid City Journal, the plant will be built near a mobile home community and the Dakota Fields Sports Complex, despite the health concerns of residents in the area and of the complex. The concerns included noise and air pollution coming from the plant as well as increased heavy traffic on a county road not designed for it. Check out the meeting agenda here.
To read past news articles related to the Pennington County government, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
For more information on the county itself, be sure to check out the county homepage.
Despite local opposition, the Pennington County Commissioners passed a rezoning request from Western Construction Inc. to enable the company to build an asphalt plant one mile from the Dakota Fields Sports Complex. According to the Rapid City Journal, residents pointed out increased noise, the smell, and the possible air quality issues that could arise from the plant, which would also be near a mobile park in the area. Some also worried about what the plant will do to property values in the area. Some commissioners who voted for the rezoning also mentioned the condition of the roads in the area as related to the heavy machinery the plant will bring it. Click here to view the meeting agenda.
To read up on past and current news articles related to the Pennington County government, check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.
For more information on the county government itself, be sure to check out the Black Hills Knowledge Network online news archive.
A recent Pennington County Commission meeting on possible rezoning of an area a mile west of the Dakota Fields Sports Complex to allow for a proposed asphalt plant drew a large amount of concern from local soccer groups. The Rapid City Journal reports that the concerns included possible air quality issues near the complex, as well as unpleasant odors and increased truck traffic that would result if the plant is built at that location. The Commission denied the rezoning permit, but it could come up again at a later date. Check out the agenda for the meeting at this link.
To read up on past and current news articles related to sports and recreation in the area, click on this Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
For more information on sports and recreation in the Rapid City area, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network's community profile.
This February, the Deadwood Event Center will host its first Skijoring competition, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Skijoring, a Norwegian term meaning “ski driving,” involves a skier being pulled bulled by a horse or team of dogs.
The Black Hills Ski Team will host the event which will benefit its youth members. To date, 40 teams have registered for the event and 50 VIP tickets have been sold. Attendance is expected to range from 300-400. Admission to the event will be $10.
To read more news about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
As the Lakota Nation Invitational tournament has grown over the last forty years, so to has been its effect on the area's economy. From hotel reservations to retail and restaurant sales, the LNI infuses over $3.5 million annually into the local economy according to KOTA News. The event has also helped to establish strong ties within the community as the LNI has become a cultural expo for many Native Americans in surrounding states.
To read up on past news articles related to the LNI tournament, click on this archives link.
For more information on the economy of the area, be sure to check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page.
In its 40th year, the Lakota Nation Invitational has offered its first chess competition, reports KOTA News. Over 40 students from 10 area high schools participated in the tournament. Chess Event Coordinator Aries Yumul emphasized the importance of highlighting students’ critical thinking skills.
Also new to the tournament this year are a one act play and song fest competitions.
To read more about the Lakota Nation Invitational, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Forty years ago, the inaugural Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) was held at Pine Ridge High School. The basketball tournament developed out of tensions resulting from the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. Following AIM’s occupation, area schools were reluctant to play ball with students from Pine Ridge. Bryan Brewer, then Pine Ridge’s basketball coach, decided to start a tournament of his own.
Brewer contacted schools in other states to play in the tournament, as told by The New Yorker Magazine. Seven schools agreed to compete in the 1976 tournament, which packed the Pine Ridge gymnasium. Three years later, the tournament relocated to the recently constructed Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Arena in order to better accommodate large crowds of spectators.
The tournament has seen significant growth and changes since its inception. Originally a gathering just for basketball games, the tournament now boasts a variety of events including traditional Lakota hand games, knowledge and language bowls, a student art show, a business plan competition and more.
To learn more about the Lakota Nation Invitational, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
The Wall Archery Range will be a walking, 3-D archery range, located at the Wall Golf Course. WEDC held an “Archery Day” event in July in order to gauge community archery interest. Over 75 people attended the event. The great “Archery Day” attendance, coupled with positive community feedback and support, inspired WEDC to apply for funding to start Wall Archery Range.
The first grant award was a $10,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant. The First Interstate Greater Wall Fund has awarded the Wall Archery Range project a $3,000 grant and the City of Wall has offered $1,000.
To read more about the Wall Archery Range, visit the Wall news page.
After a two year delay, Canyon Lake is slated to be dredged this coming spring as reported in the Rapid City Journal. The lake is heavily silted in, which is causing shallower, warmer waters, more algae growth, and less space for the fish in the lake. Funding is now available for the project, and approval from the city council is the last step in starting the process of buying a dredge machine and starting the initial steps to clean the lake. The agenda for that meeting is posted here.
To read up on past news articles, be sure to click on this archives link.
For more information on outdoor sporting activities around Rapid City, check out this Black Hills Knowledge Network resource page.