Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

A new book, Rattlesnake Under His Hat, tells the story of the man who founded Reptile Gardens during the Great Depression and before carving of Mount Rushmore concluded, reports KOTA-TV

The tourist attraction established by Earl Brockelsby has grown into the world's largest reptile attraction, reports KNBN-TV. The book incorporates Brockelsby's own memoir and correspondence while telling the story of the evolution of Black Hills tourism. 

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender proclaimed May 11, 2016, as Earl Brockelsby Day. The day would have been Brockelsby's 100th birthday. 

Read more about tourism on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News

The Black Hills Farmers Market will kick off its 2016 season on Saturday, May 14, at Founders Park in Rapid City, reports KOTA-TV

Venders from as far away as 200 miles come to sell vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, plants, jewelry, fine art and prepared foods. The opening day includes events, including an education tent, a wildflower giveaway and an educational exhibit about pollinators and bee hives. 

The farmers market will operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through June, then will operate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through October. 

Get more updates from Black Hills Farmers Market on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Read more about Agriculture and Resources on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News

According to the Rapid City Planning Commission, Colonial Motel may soon be turned into a convenience store and gas station, Rapid City Journal reports. Because Colonial Motel is a low income housing unit, the project has been receiving criticism as of late. The manager of the motel denies the plans, and says Colonial Motel is not closing.

If the demolition of Colonial Motel does proceed, the new store would be expected to open in 2017. 

The rezoning request is on the agenda for the May 16 Rapid City Council meeting.

For more news on housing, visit our online news archive.

Published in News

The Rapid City Journal reports that State's Attorney Mark Vargo is requesting the approval from the Pennington County Board of Commissioners to add two new jobs at the Pennington County Jail.  Vargo wants one new position to be a young-adult diversion program director and the other position would develop a risk-assessment procedure as an alternative to money bail and would also do data analysis.  The Pennington County Jail recently applied for a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and received part of the funding.  Vargo proposes using some of the $300,000 awarded to pay for the salaries and benefits of the new employees through 2017.  Having access to more data would help when applying for future grants.  

Vargo will speak to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, May 3rd at 9am at the County Administration Building.

For more information about the Pennington County Jail, visit our news archives or their website.  

Published in News

A restored historic hotel on Custer's main thoroughfare has been bought by the parent company of Custer State Park Resorts and will be rented to groups, reports the Custer County Chronicle

The Kleeman House, built in 1883, had been condemned by the early 1990s and calls were growing louder for its demolition when a local couple bought the two-story brick building in 2010 and restored it. Exterior coverings and paint were removed from the red brick, and a detailed description from the Custer newspaper at the time the hotel opened aided in returning the property to its original Victorian style. 

What had been nine second-floor bedrooms are now four suites with private bathrooms. A fifth suite that is handicapped-accessible is on the main level, along with a fireplace, parlor, complete kitchen and laundry facilities. 

Read more about historic preservation on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


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The vast majority of workers in Lead and Deadwood commute to their jobs, and community leaders are forming a strategy to add affordable rental housing to both communities, reports the Black Hills Pioneer

In Lead, 75 percent of the city's 650 workers commute to work, while in Deadwood it is more than 95 percent of the city's 2,498 workers. The findings came from a study commissioned by the Deadwood Lead Economic Development Corp. The study found that almost half of Lead's 613 rental units are more than 35 years old, with 54 percent of Deadwood's 368 rental units that old. No new rental units have been built in either community for 15 years. 

The study projects that by 2020 Lead will add 72 households, while Deadwood will add 38, precipitating the need for about 42 new rental units based on a 40 percent rate of renting vs. owning. 

Download the full study. Read more about Housing on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News
Thursday, 28 April 2016 00:00

Boom On Lead Main Street

Nine new retail businesses have opened or about to open in downtown Lead, population 3,030, reports the Black Hills Pioneer

The businesses range from some geared to outdoor activities such as fly-fishing to restaurants, a pharmacy, a large-scale hardware store and a boutique. Many of the businesses were assisted in various ways by Deadwood Lead Economic Development Corp

The retail boom comes after a major road construction project through the downtown and as Lead emerges from its identity as a company town for the Homestake gold mine, which operated there from the 1870s until the mine's closure in 2002.

Read more about Work and Economy on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News
Thursday, 28 April 2016 00:00

Salary For Firefighters To Increase in 2017

On March 27, the Legal and Finance committee unanimously approved to raise the salary of Rapid City fire fighters by 18%, Rapid City Journal reports. The change will start on January 1, 2017, and will increase the starting wage from $38,000 to $45,000.

The fire department adjusted for this increase by capping the step-raise union members receive at 25 years, rather than 36 years. This was approved as part of the new contract between the union and Rapid City, and will not be renegotiated on until December 31, 2022. The cost-of-living wage increase members receive will not be changed.

For more news on the fire department, visit our online news archives.

Published in News

The Rapid City Journal reports the Rapid City Area Schools new superintendent, Lori Simon, will make considerably more than her predecessor.

Simon's contract is for $207,000 annually, a new Jeep Cherokee valued at over $42,000, 30 days of paid time off (including 5 days of sick leave), a district paid mobile phone, as well as the district employee's health, dental, and life insurance plans.  

Some feel this is excessive considering Superintendent Mitchell's current salary, $153,000 annually.  School Board President Jim Hansen argues that the position should be adequately compensated because the superintendent is in charge of the future of the entire school district. Dave Janak, assistant superintendent and business manager, says the pay is in line with Simon's qualifications and experience.  

For more information about the Rapid City Area Schools, visit their website or our news archives.  

Published in News

A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Parks Service shows how much national parks tourism traffic benefits local communities, reports the Rapid City Journal.

In 2015, national parks in the Badlands and the Black Hills pulled in 4.2 million visitors, who spent $276.2 million in the nearby communities. The study determined that national parks tourism returns $10 for every $1 spent on the parks.

For more about tourism, please visit our news archives.

Published in News

A proposed quarry is opposed by residents of Centennial Valley near Spearfish, reports the Black Hills Pioneer

The Lawrence County Commission is considering a conditional use permit request from Mountain View Ranches, LLC, of Rapid City, for a 192-acre quarry to produce gravel. A Mountain View Ranches official had pledged to only mine 10 acres at a time and to reclaim the property each time a new 10 acres is disturbed. 

A standing-room-only crowd packed the April 19 county commission meeting to oppose the quarry, citing concerns over dust, pollution and disturbing ancient Native American artifacts. 

Commissioners scheduled an on-site visit for May 10 and plan to further discuss the matter at their June 9 meeting. 

Read more about Agriculture and Resources on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News
Thursday, 21 April 2016 00:00

Free Admission to Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is offering free admission through Sunday, April 24, as part of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, reports the Associated Press. 

The promotion is part of the Find Your Park program designed to support national parks. 

The National Park Service reports that 4.4 million people annually visit South Dakota's six national park sites.

  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Badlands National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Lewis & Clark Historic Trail
  • Missouri River National Recreational River

The NPS reports those places generate a $242 million economic benefit. 

Read more about Tourism on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News

The owner of the fire-ravaged Full Throttle Saloon northeast of Sturgis is moving to rebuild and expand his world-famous motorcycle rally venue, seeming to fulfill promises he has made on social media to stage a comeback, reports the Rapid City Journal

Michael Ballard has applied to the Meade County Commission to transfer a liquor license and a beer license from another biker bar, the Broken Spoke, and to renew his beer license. In addition, the Full Throttle is promoting concerts and lodging for the 2016 rally. 

The Full Throttle Saloon burned to the ground in September 2015, and it wasn't immediately certain whether the business would be rebuilt. Supporters of the business are being asked to pay for plaques to help pay for the rebuild.

Read more about the Sturgis motorcycle rally on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:00

South Dakota Home to Many Trusts

The Rapid City Journal reports that South Dakota has some of the most liberal trust laws in the country.  More people are beginning to house their trusts with South Dakota trust companies because there are no income or estate taxes (even after death) on trusts.  South Dakota law also includes strict privacy regulations in regards to trusts.  In 2015 the state collected $1.1 million in fees from the trust companies, but no money is taken from the trusts directly.    

For more information about the economy in South Dakota, visit our news archives or Knowledge Network resource page.  

Published in News

Trails in the Black Hills National Forest take year-round effort from staff and volunteers to maintain and keep clear of downed trees, reports KOTA-TV

Many downed trees are being cleared from the Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, where fallen trees are cut up manually with cross-cut saws. Elsewhere, crews use chain saws to remove any timber from trails. 

Other tools such as axes and shovels are used to perform various maintenance tasks. In addition, sometimes water needs to be drained away from trails as snow melts.

Read more about the Black Hills National Forest on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


Published in News

The Pennington County Commissioners blocked the construction permit Croell Redi-Mix applied for to expand the Perli Pit Quarry south of Rapid City reports the Rapid City Journal.  The decision came after several months investigating the impact mining would have on the area.  The commissioners asked many questions of the South Dakota Department of Energy and Natural Resources in regards to overseeing the regulations and the process of reclaiming land after mining was finished.  After gathering information, the commission thought the risks to the general public were too great to approve the permit.

For more information about the Pennington County Commissioners, visit their website or our news archives.  

Published in News

When Fred and Moses Manuel, Hank Harney and Alex Engh discovered a gold outcropping near Lead, they claimed their find and named it the Homestake

They had located the area from which the placer gold in Deadwood Creek had eroded. More rock mining regions opened up around Lead and Deadwood because of this discovery.

For $70,000 in 1877, a trio of mining entrepreneurs -- George Hearst, Lloyd Tevis, and James Ben Ali Haggin -- bought the Homestake from the men who discovered it. Hearst arrived at the mine in October 1877 and took active control of the property.

Hearst had to haul in all the mining equipment by wagon from the nearest railhead in Sidney, Neb. Despite the remote location, an 80-stamp mill began crushing Homestake ore in July 1878.

The partners sold shares in the Homestake Mining Co., and listed it on the New York Stock Exchange in 1879. The Homestake would become one of the longest-listed stocks in the history of the NYSE.

Homestake miners crushed rock to release the gold, concentrated the gold by gravity methods, and then exposed the concentrate to mercury that would amalgamate or mix with the gold. Miners call this kind of gold ore "free milling." Gold existed elsewhere in the Black Hills, but it was not in the free-milling state. Gold chemically bound to rock and difficult to remove is called refractory gold ore. 

For many years, the Homestake operated as the only major gold mine in the Black Hills. Mining ceased from 1943 to 1945 due to World War II, and the mine closed at the end of 2001 amid low gold prices. Through 2001, the mine reached 8,000 feet deep and produced 39.8 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver.

Soon, scientists coveted the mine's extensive underground structure for research purposes, after physicist Ray Davis had won a Nobel Prize for his neutrino experiment. (See related article.) After a complex process of securing funding, negotiating scientific turfs and some political tussles, Homestake Mine became an underground research facility, now known as Sanford Lab. It is named for philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who donated $70 million to the project. 

Published in Home

The Rapid City Council has approved a tax increment financing district (or TIF) of $5 million for the newly created Buffalo Crossing development that is taking place at the intersection of Catron Blvd and U.S. Highway 16. According to the Rapid City Journal article, Black Hills Corp. is asking the city for an additional TIF of $6 million for its new headquarters currently being built at the crossing as well. Current arguments over the application include whether or not the area Black Hills Corp. is building on was considered blight or not.

Click on this archives link for past news articles related to economic development in the Rapid City area.

For more information on the economy of Rapid City, check out this Knowledge Network resource page.

Published in News

Joop Bollen, head of SDRC, Inc. and in charge of the state's EB-5 program until 2013, has been formally accused of transferring funds from the EB-5 program for his own personal use. According to the Rapid City Journal article, upwards of $1.2 million was transferred into a company account with the state and used to for personal gain.  One item included in the purchases was an Egyptian artifact purchased from a dealer in England.

Click on this archives link for past news articles related to the EB-5 program.

For more information about the EB-5 program and the current scandal surrounding it, check out this Knowledge Network resource page.

Published in News

Ground was broken on Belle Fourche's $1.3 million industrial rail park on March 22, 2015, reports the Rapid City Journal

The park will offer 10 undeveloped parcels with access to utilities and rail. Officials said the park will benefit the entire state and serve as a regional hub for rail loading and unloading. The park is situated along both U.S. Highway 212 and U.S. Highway 85. 

The park has been turned over to the Butte County Rail Authority by the Belle Fourche City Council. The rail authority will operate and market the industrial park. 

Read more about economic development on the Black Hills Knowledge Network


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