December 02, 2022

What's News In The City & Air Quality Index

The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. The public is urged to stay advised of changing weather conditions, to implement winter safe-driving techniques, to have a survival kit in their vehicle, to implement additional time in their commutes to account for winter road conditions. (City Photo)


Check out this link regarding the current air quality conditions in Rapid City.

Click to see the current Air Quality Index

**CITY OFFERS RECREATION ACTIVITY OPTIONS AS GIFTS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON:  Looking for a fun and unique gift for that special someone on your holiday list this season?  City Recreation officials have a few ideas.

          The special sale on 2023 Meadowbrook Golf Course season passes continues through December 17.  Next season’s passes will be available at 2022 rates.  This is a 10 percent savings.  Golf apparel is currently 20 percent off.  Meadowbrook Clubhouse hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by appointment, and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon 

         Season passes for 2023 at Executive Golf Course can be purchased this month on Thursdays and Fridays beginning December 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..

         Like to ice skate or want to improve your skills?  The City’s Recreation Department offers season passes and 10-punch admission passes to the Roosevelt Park Ice Arena.  Contact the Ice Arena at 605-394-6161 or stop by the Arena at 235 Waterloo Street to purchase the passes.

          Maybe you are tired of the ice and you’d love to get back into the warm, refreshing waters of the swimming pool, especially during the cold, bitter days of the long winter season.  The City’s Aquatics Division offers daily, 20-punch passes, quarterly and yearly passes for purchase, including passes for youth, adults, seniors and families. Contact the Aquatics staff at 605-394-5223 or visit the facility at 125 Waterloo Street.

**YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES PROJECT TO RECEIVE SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE AWARD: The City’s Sustainability Committee will present a 2022 Sustainability Award to the Youth and Family Services’ Garden Education Project.  The award will be presented to YFS officials at Monday night’s City Council meeting (December 4), which begins at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

          The project aims to provide garden education and food access to youth and families enrolled in YFS programs, recognizes the importance of food as a basic human need, how food impacts physical, mental and emotional health, and utilizes raised-bed gardens at several YFS sites to teach year-round community-based, hands-on classes to youth, from preschool through high school. 

          Attached is a release with further details from the Sustainability Committee, along with photos of the YFS Garden Education Project.

          The award is presented to businesses, organizations or individuals that contribute to the social, environmental and economic stability of the community.  For more information, contact Alan Anderson, committee chair, at 605-391-2819.

**DOWNTOWN FREE PARKING CONTINUES ON HOLIDAY SATURDAYS: Free downtown parking continues on Saturdays leading up to the Christmas holiday.

            City officials implemented free downtown parking for the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend and continuing on Saturdays between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays: December 3, 10, 17 and 24.

            "This is a great way in helping the community get into the holiday spirit,” said Community Development Director Vicki Fisher.  “There are a lot of great holiday events going on downtown and great opportunities to spend time with family and friends during the holiday season, whether it’s shopping, having lunch or coffee, or taking in a movie.”

            For more information, contact the City’s Parking Enforcement Division at 605-394-6098.


Sunday (December 4) is National Cookie Day and with 95 percent of American households consuming cookies, it’s not hard to get a quick answer from a coworker, family member or friend as to their favorite cookie to eat or to bake.

            For a third consecutive year, City Council members, department directors and City employees were surveyed as to their favorite cookies to eat and bake.  There were some predictable answers but also with some variations on traditional favorites. For a third year, chocolate chip cookies, including variations, led the way as favorite cookie to eat. However, molasses and gingerbread or ginger snaps came in second this year, unseating the runners-up from the previous two years, sugar and oatmeal raisin respectively.

            Chocolate chip cookies continues to be the favorite choice cookie for baking.  Sugar cookies resumed its second-choice ranking after taking third last year to the ‘do not bake’ choice of many respondents.  Only a handful of respondents this year indicated they do not bake cookies.

            Council member Pat ‘Chocolate Chip’ Jones made his preference obvious and Council member Greg Strommen also favors chocolate chip cookies to eat.  Council member Laura Armstrong favors her Aunt Harriet’s homemade lemon cookies.  Regional Airport Director Patrick Dame’s favorite cookie is ginger snaps while Community Development Director Vicki Fisher loves decorated sugar cookies for any occasion - Christmas, Valentines, birthdays, etc.  City Water Reclamation Superintendent Dave Van Cleave chooses Oreos over other cookies.

            Some employees provided some great sentiments with their choices.

            Assistant City Attorney Kinsley Groote favors ‘Liana’s labor-inducing chocolate chip cookies’: “Frozen half-cooked chocolate chip cookies,” says Kinsley.  “I call them Liana’s labor-inducing chocolate chip cookies because a friend ate a whole bag of them and then went into labor.”

            And the Fire Department’s Joe Reiter favors chocolate chip cookies “made by either one of my near-grown daughters, from the recipe handed down to them from their grandmother. My grandmother baked them, then my mother and aunts, and now my daughters bake them.”

Here are the results:

What is your favorite cookie to eat?

  1. Chocolate chip/white chocolate chip: 27.3%
  2. Molasses/ginger snaps/gingerbread: 14.5%
  3. Sugar (decorated): 12.7%
  4. Snickerdoodles: 10.9%
  5. Oatmeal raisin: 7.3%
  6. (Tie) Peanut butter, Monster & Peanut Butter Blossoms: 3.6% each

Other answers included M&Ms, Oreos, Lemon, Spritz, Raspberry, chocolate peanut butter no bake and rice krispie treats

What is your favorite cookie to bake?

  1. Chocolate chip/white chocolate chip: 40%
  2. Sugar (decorated): 12.7%
  3. Gingerbread: 10.9%
  4. (Tie) Peanut butter blossoms, Oatmeal raisin (variations): 7.3% each
  5. Peanut butter: 5.5%

Other answers included Glazed Lemon, Spritz, Snickerdoodle, Monster, Caramel heavenlies

**REGISTRATION UNDERWAY FOR CITY WINTER ADULT BASKETBALL LEAGUES: Maybe it’s getting through the weeks of cold and snowy conditions during the winter season. Or maybe keeping good on staying or getting healthy for the new year by becoming more physically active. Or perhaps simply a way to hang out with friends and coworkers and showing off your jump shot and hoop skills!

           Whatever the reason, the start of the City’s Winter Adult Basketball Leagues is just weeks away and signups are starting this week.

            Registration deadline for the six-week leagues is January 4, 2023. There are men's and women's divisions based on level of experience.  The season begins January 8 with games played on Sundays at South Community Gym followed by an end-of-season tournament. City Recreation officials also indicate referees are needed to officiate league contests.

           "The adult basketball leagues are fun and a great way to stay or get active during the winter months, perhaps holding true to a New Year’s Resolution to get more fit, or a way just to hang out with friends and have fun," said Matt Brandhagen of the Rapid City Recreation Department.

           Cost is $375 per team.  Applicants can sign up at and click Recreation; or at the Swim Center, 125 Waterloo Street; or the Parks and Rec Office, 515 West Boulevard.  For more information or to sign up to officiate league games, contact Matt Brandhagen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , at 415-0226 or 394-5223.

**YOUTH RIDE FREE" NUMBERS INCREASE OVER PAST OCTOBER RIDERSHIP:  More than 4,600 youth passenger trips were recorded in October as part of the City’s ‘Youth Ride Free’ program, a 10 percent increase over ridership numbers from October 2021 in figures released today by Rapid Transit System (RTS) officials.

          A total of 4,657 youth passenger trips were recorded for October, which compares to 4,177 in October 2021 and 3,635 trips in October 2020.  A total of 5,652 youth passenger trips were recorded in September.

          “Two months into the school year and the youth ridership numbers remain solid with more than 10,000 youth trips recorded,” said Megan Gould-Stabile. “October was a very warm month and it’s likely many youth were driving, walking and biking to school.”

          Gould-Stabile reminds youth and parents the ‘Youth Ride Free’ transit program is a convenient option with high fuel costs and with the winter season conditions approaching.

          “With the high fuel costs, the free ridership program can save on costs for families.”

            Registration is recommended for the free transportation program.  The ‘Youth Ride Free’ program was initiated in the summer of 2016 by Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender to provide youth with better access to schools, libraries, recreation and social events and to save money for families and foster appreciation for public transportation among the City’s youth.

            Parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service at 605-394-6631 to register or go online to and click on the ‘Youth Ride Free’ button. Information requested includes student’s name, school, parent or guardian’s name, and a phone number for emergency contact purposes.

            RapidRide will also have maps, material and regular ride schedules available as well as material published online at .


              The City’s Rapid Transit System (RTS) is again offering the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program for the 2022-23 school year.  This is the seventh consecutive year youth will be able to ride free on the RTS RapidRide bus system.

              As parents and students scamper to buy school clothes, sneakers and supplies, one of the key boxes on the school checklist that impacts many families is reliable transportation to and from school. As in previous years, RTS is offering a free ride orientation period beginning today (August 22) through August 29 for parents to become familiar with routes and schedules by boarding any of the RapidRide buses.

               Parents can ride free during this orientation period when accompanied by their school-aged child.

More than 33,000 youth riders utilized the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program during the 2021-22 school year, a 17.9 percent increase over the number of youth riders using the program during the previous school year. From September through May – the 2021-22 school calendar -- Rapid Transit System (RTS) recorded 33,101 youth passenger trips.  The number compares to 27,662 youth trips recorded during the same time period for the 2020-21 school year.

            "The ‘Youth Ride Free’ program continues to be a great success,” said Megan Gould-Stabile, RTS System manager. “The service provides parents with peace of mind knowing there is a reliable option for getting their child to school. The program is a free and convenient option for transportation to and from school for youth and anywhere along our fixed route system.

“It’s also a great option when that school car isn’t working or we have cold, inclement weather with icy roads.”

               Registration is required for the free transportation program.  Parents and guardians can contact Rapid Transit Service at 605-394-6631 to register or go online to and click on the ‘Youth Ride Free’ button. Information requested includes student’s name, school, parent or guardian’s name, and a phone number for emergency contact purposes.

Gould says the parent orientation rides are a great opportunity for parents and children to ride together to learn about transit schedules, routes and boarding locations.

            In announcing the free youth transportation program in the summer of 2016, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender indicated the free youth transit program would provide students better access to schools, libraries, recreation and social events as well as save money for families and foster appreciation for public transportation among the City's youth.

            RapidRide will also have maps, material and regular ride schedules available as well as material published online at .

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO REPORT NON-WORKING STREET LIGHTS: The City’s Traffic Operations Division is reminding the public to contact city staff if they see a non-working street light or a light not working properly, whether the light is in the city’s downtown or well-trafficked areas, or especially in residential areas.  The public is advised to call the Traffic Operations Division at 394-4118.

“We rely on the public in many instances to notify us of a non-working street light, especially in a residential area,” said Mark Preble of the City’s Traffic Operations Division.  “We want to respond as soon as possible to get the light changed out or make any repairs if necessary.”

With later sunset and earlier sunrise times, the public may be the first to observe non-working street lights and their assistance in reporting the issue to the City is appreciated, say officials.

“They may be out walking their dog later in the evening or taking a stroll around their neighborhood and see a light flickering or out of service,” said Preble. “We appreciate the call so crews can get the light checked out and changed or repaired.”

            Officials request callers to provide as much information as possible about the location of the non-working light so crews can be dispatched to fix the light or make any repairs in a timely manner.  If possible, the caller should note the light pole number that is marked on the pole. Callers are advised to leave a message in the evenings or weekends.

**PUBLIC ENCOURAGED TO CHECK OUT 'PENNINGTON OUTDOORS!':  Looking for details on recreational opportunities in Rapid City and Pennington County? Residents and visitors to the area have a quick tool to access information through an interactive map that helps users explore local recreational facilities and opportunities.

            The site, Pennington Outdoors!, was launched last year by the City’s Geographic Information (GIS) Division, can be accessed at and is one of many valuable map and informational tools available on the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan and much more.

            Pennington Outdoors! site users can zoom in, zoom out or pan across a map to view different park facilities; Rapid City, Black Hills National Forest and Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands trail systems; location of statues; the Rapid City bike path; park amenities and recreational sites in Pennington County and the communities of Rapid City, Box Elder, Ellsworth Air Force Base, Wall, Hill City, Keystone, New Underwood, Wasta and Quinn. Once a desired site is visible, users can click on it using the 'identity' tool to see details, website and a photo associated with the recreation site.

            As an example, clicking on Wilson Park will yield information indicating the Park includes a flowering garden, gazebo, ice skating area, tennis courts, playground, restrooms, basketball court and other amenities.  Users can easily identify the location of the Park. Clicking on Robbinsdale Park will yield information including locations of the BMX Track, several baseball fields, location of picnic shelters, playgrounds, restrooms and walking paths.

            Users wanting to know the location of specific downtown and area statues can access the site for the actual location

            The City's GIS Division provides mapping services, data and technical support to the public as well as staffs of City and County government. the GIS Division page which includes access to City and County voting precincts, the City's air quality zone, downtown parking map, the City's major street plan. RapidMap services offers information on land parcels, aerial photos, address points and other map information.  Survey Points provides information on area survey points.

**CITY REMINDS RESIDENTS OF UTILITY RATE RELIEF PROGRAM: Rapid City utility customers can apply for a reduction of their monthly utility charges through a decade-long program administered by the City's Public Works Department.

            The program, entitled the Utility Rate Relief Program, is designed to lower the monthly utility expense for senior citizens and people with disabilities. The program recently underwent an update, to make the qualification process more straightforward.

            Under the City's updated Utility Rate Relief Program, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility criteria: they must be 65 or older or disabled as defined by the Social Security Act; they must fall below the “very low income” limit criteria outlined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Rapid City Metro Area; the applicant must be the person who is responsible for payment of the utility bill directly to the City; the property must be the applicant’s primary residence.

If qualified, the rates charged for utility services billed to the applicant will be reduced by 25 percent for a period of two years or until the renewal date established by the Public Works Director.  New applications are accepted at any time, but renewal requests must be received by April 30, 2021 in order for current participants to remain on the program.

            For more information and an application, visit or call the City's Public Works Department at 394-4165.

**PUBLIC REMINDED TO SIGN UP FOR COLLECTION ALERTS: Officials with the City's Solid Waste Division remind residents to sign up for alerts about curbside collections and adjustments in pickups due to holidays and weather.

            "We've had great response since launching our website back in January," said Jancie Knight, Solid Waste community outreach coordinator.  "The site is an excellent way to receive alerts and reminders on trash collections and other updates."

            Knight says residents can visit to register in the 'Stay Informed' section.  Other informational items on the page include a color-coded map of the city to determine specific curbside pickup days, where to dispose of specific items, and hours and contact information.

**GOT A POTHOLE? CALL THE POTHOLE HOTLINE: The City Street Department's pothole patching crews are at it as the calendar flips toward summer.  If you see a pothole that needs to be fixed, call the Pothole Hotline at 394-4152 and provide a location and crews will be on it quickly.

**CONSTRUCTION MAP FEATURE ALLOWS DRIVERS TO STAY UPDATED ON PROJECTS: To stay updated on local construction projects, City officials remind the public they can utilize a newly-launched road construction site feature on the City's website which provides detailed site, map and project information.

            The City's Geographic Information System (GIS) Division launched the 'Rapid City Road Construction Site' link on the GIS page last month, accessed by visiting and clicking on the orange construction barrel. It is also available by clicking on 'Road Construction Updates' on the City's home page at .  Once on the site, users can click on a highlighted segment and get additional information such as the project's location, the start date and estimated end date of the project, listing of the contractor and other useful information.  Each segment on the map will also have the public service announcement attached to it and there will be a link provided for State Department of Transportation projects.

            The site will be updated as active projects begin and sites will remain on the map through the duration of the specific projects.

            With local construction season well underway, City officials are also reminding drivers to slow down and use caution when driving near and through all road construction areas, allow additional time to reach their destinations and to consider alternate routes.

**DIGITAL MEDIA POLICY: The City is advising the public of a requirement for digital media material for presentations at City Council and City Committee meetings.  Effective May 1, 2017, digital media submissions must be provided at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting where the material will be presented. In addition, no digital media containing music will be accepted.

 "This new guideline will allow for more efficient presentation of the item, ensuring there are no compatibility or virus issues with the item and the City's display system, as well as providing sufficient time for City staff to contact individuals for any changes that may be needed to the item prior to the meeting," said Darrell Shoemaker, City Communications Coordinator.  "Too often, items are brought in a few moments before the start of a meeting, even after the meeting has started, and there is not sufficient time to ensure compatibility with our system, make sure there are no viruses, problems or issues with the item and for effective presentation of the item."

Digital media items can be submitted to the appropriate department division at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.  For Monday's Council meetings, the item should be provided no later than Friday at 5 p.m.    The City reserves the right to reject any items for presentation due to digital compatibility issues or content appropriateness.

**CITY HALL KIOSK WELCOMES VISITORS:  A kiosk in the lobby of the City/School Administration Center welcomes visitors.  There are four blocks of information, including a block for daily meetings and locations; a block explaining the location of meetings rooms in the building; a 'what am I looking for' block that provides a brief explanation of specific offices and their missions; and a date/time/temperature block.



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