Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

The Lawrence County Commission is seeking to update its comprehensive plan with the help of the Black Hills Council of Local Governments, reports the Black Hills Pioneer. Lawrence County’s last comprehensive plan was completed in 2005 based on information from 1997, according to Lawrence County Commissioner Brandon Flanagan.

Commissioners hope to place emphasis on resident engagement in this iteration of comprehensive planning. Ali DeMersseman, with the Black Hills Council of Local Governments, stated that involving residents is a key aspect of the process used by her organization. Community engagement for such a document includes surveys and stakeholder meetings.

Other areas of concern commissioners hoped to include in the upcoming document were retail trade information, the Highway 85 corridor, and taking comprehensive plans from cities within the county into consideration. The county hopes to begin the planning process in late 2019 with a completion time 12-18 months thereafter.

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

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After a strong showing in January 2018, gambling numbers in Deadwood declined in February 2018, according to the Black Hills Pioneer. South Dakota Commission on Gaming data indicates that slot machine gambling dropped by 6% while table games fell by 12%, resulting in an overall 7% decline for the month of February.

While gaming revenues in Deadwood were down, hotel occupancy was up by 1% when compared to the same time last year. According to the Deadwood City Finance Office, the city’s hotels had an occupancy rate of 38% in February 2018, or about 564 more occupied rooms than February 2017.

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

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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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In the month of February, Rapid City issued 166 building permits with a total valuation of $27,917,585, as reported by KOTA News. One of last month’s highest-valued permits included eight apartment buildings for Meadow Apartments on Moon Meadows Drive. The permit issued for the apartments was valued at approximately $22 million. Additional projects with high valuations included two homes valued over $300,000 as well as a grocery-pick-up addition at the LaCrosse Street Walmart.

For 2018 so far, Rapid City’s Building Services Division has issued 402 permits valued at a total of $125,483,613.

To learn more about Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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After a year of declining gaming revenue, the gaming handle in Deadwood was up approximately 7% in January 2018 when compared to January 2017, as reported by KOTA News. Nearly $82 million were bet on tables and slot machines last month in Deadwood, according to the South Dakota Gaming Statistics Monthly Summary.  

Hotel occupancy also increased slightly in January 2018 when compared to the same point in time last year. With the potential addition of new attractions, including new hiking trails and main street squares, Deadwood officials are hopeful for increased tourism traffic.

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

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Governor Daugaard recently signed legislation into law which will increase the number of barrels the state’s microbreweries can produce annually. As reported by KOTA News, craft brewers in South Dakota are currently allowed to produce up to 5,000 barrels. The new limitation will be increased to 30,000 barrels and will also allow craft brewers to sell directly to bars and stores.

To read more news about the 2018 legislative session, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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At the request of the Executive Director of the Deadwood Gaming Association on behalf of 13 Deadwood hotel owners, the Deadwood City Commission recently approved the creation of a new business improvement district (BID). As reported by the Black Hills Pioneer, BID 8 will consist of a hotel occupancy rate proposed at $2 per rented room, per night.

The next step in formally establishing the new district is a public hearing and resolution for the consideration and approval by the Deadwood City Commission. Copies of the resolution must be made available to the businesses within BID 8. The BID process is likely to be completed by May, but until then, no taxes will be collected.

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

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In December 2017, gaming revenue in Deadwood was up 15% when compared to December 2016. According to KOTA News, while the city closed out 2017 on a positive note, 2017 as a whole was down approximately 1% from 2016.

Gaming was down by nearly 4% through June 2017.However, increased revenues through the remainder of the year reduced the potential shortfall.

Additional details on gaming revenues in Deadwood can be found on the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s website. To read more about Deadwood, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.

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In 2017, Rapid City had the most Airbnb visitors in South Dakota, reports KOTA News. Approximately 11,500 bookings were made in Rapid City with hosts bringing in $1.2 million. Sioux Falls placed second in the state with 7,000 bookings and $445,000 in revenue for Airbnb hosts. While Lead placed fewer bookings than Sioux Falls at 4,700, its hosts out-earned Sioux Falls with $582,000 generated. Over $4 million was generated across South Dakota in 2017.

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

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The Rapid City Regional Airport served approximately 600,000 customers in 2017, reports KOTA News. This reflects a one percent increase over the previous record set in 2010.

While 2017 set an overall record in passengers served at the airport, Executive Director Patrick Dame noted that some of the increase could be attributed to competitors traveling to Rapid City for the International Collegiate Programming Contest held at the South Dakota School of Mines in May 2017.  Adding routes to Charlotte, NC and Chicago, IL may have also contributed to the increase in passengers.

To learn more about the Rapid City Regional Airport, 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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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.

Published in News
Monday, 13 November 2017 22:56

State Legislators Want Pay Increase

South Dakota legislators are asking the South Dakota Executive Board for an increase in pay, reports KOTA News. The board is considering a resolution that would tie the legislators’ pay to the state’s median household income.

State legislators make $6,000 over the course of 35 working days in even numbered years and 40 working days in odd numbered years. Their pay has not been increased in approximately 20 years.  The proposed increase in pay would set legislator pay at one-fifth of South Dakota’s median household income, which was $54,467 in 2016, the year for which the most recent data is available. If approved, the salaries of legislators would increase to $10,190.

To read more about the 2018 legislative session, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s website.

Published in News
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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Teachers in the Rapid City Area School District received a salary increase of more than nine percent last year, as reported by KOTA News. This increase is slightly over the statewide average salary increase for teachers of eight percent. Officials with the Rapid City Area School District noted that they were able to offer base salaries of $40,000.

To learn more about education and training in the Black Hills region, visit the Education and Training issue hub on the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

Published in News
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:08

Rapid City Teachers Still in Contract Negotiations

The Rapid City Education Association and Rapid City Area Schools are still in negotiations concerning this year’s contract for the district’s teachers, reports KOTA News. While the teacher’s union requested a $1,000 raise for teachers, the school district has offered $500 for teachers off schedule. Teachers have also been asked to absorb an increase in health insurance and their union has requested that they only absorb half of the increase.

A new agreement is not likely to be reached in September. The Rapid City Education Association has requested a fact-finding hearing. A court date has yet to be determined.

To read more about education and training in Rapid City, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network issue hub.

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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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With its recent opening of a retail store in the Rushmore Mall in Rapid City, T-Mobile marked its first retail location in the state of South Dakota. According to KOTA News, T-Mobile provides over 314 million people with 4GLTE coverage. The cellular provider hopes that its new location in South Dakota will provide new jobs in addition to additional choices in cellular coverage for South Dakota customers.

To read more about innovation and technology, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.

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