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May 27, 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)

**AIR QUALITY INDEX:

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

Click to see the current Air Quality Index

**MUSICAL PERFORMANCES ANNOUNCED FOR 50TH FLOOD OBSERVANCE EVENTS: The 50th Flood and Greenway Commemoration Committee announces several musical performances will help headline this year’s milestone observance of the 1972 Black Hills Flood. 

            Performances will include the “Remembrance and Renewal” performance Sunday, June 5 at the Journey Museum and Learning Center, featuring The New Music Ensemble.  Local singer Andrew Beaird will perform his original song “Higher Ground”, a tribute to the victims and survivors of the 1972 flood at the Flood Memorial Walk on Wednesday, June 8.  The Rapid City Municipal Band will open its summer season with a performance Wednesday evening, June 8 from the Memorial Park Band Shell and Dakota Choral Union will provide a performance Thursday, June 9 ahead of the keynote presentation ‘An Interview with Mayor Don Barnett: Recollections of the 1972 Flood”.

All events are free and open to the public.  For more information about the 50th Flood and Greenway Commemoration, visit www.rapidcityflood.com .

Additional details to each performance and performer/group follow:

“REMEMBRANCE AND RENEWAL”

SUNDAY, JUNE 5

            A special performance entitled ‘Remembrance and Renewal’ featuring The New Music Ensemble of the Black Hills will kick off the observance Sunday, June 5 at 3 p.m. at the Journey Museum and Learning Center.

            “This new work is composed for 16 players, highlights the destruction and lives lost in the Black Hills Flood of 1972, lifting into the creation of the green space and public parks that we all enjoy,” said event organizer Alex Massa.  The project is supported by the Journey Museum.

            Massa says the live performance will be recorded by Jaycen Tichi for physical and digital copies that will also be part of the Journey Museum’s permanent archives.  In addition, Destyn Humann will be producing a video complete with archival footage and photos of the 1972 flood and juxtaposed with current aerial shots of the City’s parks system.

            The event is free to the public but space is limited.  Call the Journey Museum at 605-394-6923 for information and reservations.

ANDREW BEAIRD TO PERFORM

‘HIGHER GROUND’ TRIBUTE SONG

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8

Andrew Baird will perform his original song “Higher Ground”, a tribute to the victims and survivors of the 1972 Black Hills flood at the Flood Memorial Walk Wednesday, June 8.  The Memorial Walk begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 8 from the Memorial Park Band Shell.

AJ has been writing and performing for the better part of 20 years. Growing up in a musical family gave him many opportunities to grow as a musician and a writer. After graduating high school in Northwest Arkansas, he moved to Oregon, writing and playing in coffee shops, bars, and churches under the name Blind Bard. "Higher Ground" was written on a rainy Oregon day in 2017, inspired by the stories of the 1972 Rapid City flood shared by AJ's father, Jon.  Jon and his friend Wade had just graduated from Rapid City Stevens High School and found themselves in a position to help many people displaced and trapped that night of June 9, 1972. AJ says one story in particular directly inspired the “Higher Ground” song.  Jon and Wade rescued a couple of elderly ladies who were standing in their front yard in waist deep water clutching each other for dear life. They got them in their car and somehow made it to higher ground. 

RAPID CITY MUNICIPAL BAND

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8

            The Rapid City Municipal Band will open its 2022 summer season on Wednesday, June 8, performing from the Memorial Park Band Shell.  The Band, under the direction of Mark Bray, Don Downs and Bill Evans, is set to perform a program of songs as a tribute to the flood victims and survivors.  Performance time is 8 p.m.

            The Memorial Park greenway area where the Municipal Band performs its concerts was an area filled with residences, streets and businesses and was devastated by the June 9-10, 1972 floodwaters.  For many years, prior to the flood, the Band performed at Canyon Lake Park, which was also extensively damaged by the flood.  In 1994, the Band had its first performance in the newly-completed Bandshell in Memorial Park.

The Rapid City Municipal Band is composed of approximately 65 men and women - students and adults, professional musicians and talented amateurs from all walks of life. The group performs weekly free concerts at 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings during June and July at the Memorial Park Bandshell. The Band will also have a special joint performance with musicians from the Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha on Monday, July 4 before the City fireworks display.

            The Municipal Band celebrated its 100th birthday on July 4, 2018.  The band of 1918 was known as the Rapid City Military Band. The music directors program concerts today much like the directors of the past: classic band literature, popular music of the day, all usually bookended with a march and the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.  Since 1935, city officials recognized the need for a musical group that represented the community.  For decades, the city has continued its support of the Band, acknowledging the cultural importance of a community band. 

DAKOTA CHORAL UNION

THURSDAY, JUNE 9

            Dakota Choral Union will present a half-hour performance at 6 p.m. in The Monument’s LaCroix Hall.  The performance will be held in conjunction with the observance week’s featured event, ‘An Interview with Mayor Don Barnett” Recollections of the 1972 Flood” conducted by local journalist Jack Caudill. 

The evening’s events will begin with a 5 p.m. reception followed by the Dakota Choral Union performance at 6 p.m. and Mayor Barnett’s interview presentation at 6:30 p.m.

            Partially supported by the Rapid City Arts Council in partnership with the City of Rapid City, Dakota Choral Union generally performs three major concerts annually with a variety of music from folk to classical, and sings at other public meetings and arts events by invitation.  The chorus, formed in the fall of 1991, consists of 50 to 100 non-auditioned singers. 

**RAPID CITY SUSTAINABILITY COMMITTEE ENCOURAGES PUBLIC TO TAKE EARTH DAY TRAIL CHALLENGE: For a second consecutive year, the Rapid City Sustainability Committee is hosting the Earth Day Trail Challenge.

            The Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge is a five-week event, tasking the public to hike each of three local trails: the Skyline Forest Hills Loop Trail, the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park’s Blizzard Trail and the State Game, Fish & Parks Nature Trail at Outdoor Campus West.  Along each trail, hikers will find a Rapid City Earth Day Trail Challenge sign and they are asked to take a selfie with the sign in the photo.  Hikers have until May 31 to complete the three-hike challenge. They can show the selfies and pick up a Rapid City Earth Day pin at the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks’ Outdoor Campus West, 4130 Adventure Trail, during normal business hours through May 31.

            As part of the challenge, hikers are also encouraged to pick up any litter or garbage encountered on the trails.

            “The trail challenge is similar to the ones Custer State Park has been doing the past few years,” said Lysann Zeller of the Sustainability Committee.  “The trail challenge encourages people to get out and enjoy our beautiful community this spring and also to help keep these areas clean and beautiful by picking up trash as they hike.”

            For more information and links to the trail maps, visit: https://www.rapidcitysustainability.com/trailchallenge .

**FLOOD SURVIVORS AND VOLUNTEERS INVITED TO SHARE AND RECORD EXPERIENCES: Survivors of the 1972 Black Hills flood and volunteers who assisted in the area’s recovery are invited to share their experiences during events set aside during the upcoming 50th flood commemoration events June 5-10.

            The Rapid City Public Library is setting aside several hours June 8-9 to collect oral histories from flood survivors and volunteers.  Staff will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at the Rapid City Public Library to assist and coordinate the recordings.

            “For years, the library has provided the opportunity for flood survivors and volunteers who helped in the tragedy’s aftermath and recovery, to set up a time to come in and share their experiences,” said Sam Slocum, digital and special collections librarian at the Rapid City Public Library.  “With many flood survivors coming into town for the 50th, we wanted to set aside time and have staff available to assist in collecting these important oral histories.”

            The Journey Museum and Learning Center will host ‘Community Storytelling and Sharing’ from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 at the Journey’s theater.  Flood survivors and volunteers are invited to share their flood experiences.

            “The storytelling session is important not only for the survivors and volunteers to share their experiences from that tragic period in our community’s history, but it’s also an important opportunity for most of the city’s and area’s residents, most of whom were not alive when the flood happened or who did not live here, to understand what happened, the impacts on our community as well as how our community responded and recovered,” said Troy Kilpatrick Journey Museum and Learning Center’s executive director.

            Slocum says flood survivors and volunteers who are unable to share their stories during the June 8-9 events, can call and set up an appointment at the library to record their experiences.  Call 605-394-6139 to set up an appointment.

            For more information about the Journey’s Storytelling and Sharing presentation, call the Journey Museum and Learning Center at 605-394-6923.

            The 50th flood observance is hosted by the Rapid City Flood and Greenway Commemoration Committee.  For a full schedule of events, a history of the 1972 flood and the city’s recovery efforts, visit www.rapidcityflood.com.

**CITY POOLS OPENING JUNE 1: As the school bells ring for the final time this year, the doors to the City’s outdoor pools are set to open.

            The Parkview, Horace Mann and Jimmy Hilton pools are scheduled to open for the summer season on Wednesday, June 1.  The pools will be open Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.

            The 50-meter outdoor pool at the Roosevelt Swim Center will open Memorial Day, Monday, May 30 and will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5:45 p.m.

            “It’s been a long winter and we’re looking forward to offering a fun and exciting summer at our pools,” said Teaghan Berkey, City Recreation Division specialist.

            Special features this summer at the three city pools include a Splash & Dash special Mondays through Saturdays with half price entrance from 5 to 6 p.m.  Also new this summer at all pool facilities: Sundays will include ‘Funday 4 Sunday’ with a group of four admitted for $11.  Each additional person in the group is regular admission cost.

            Many aquatic facilities in the area are struggling with numbers of lifeguards.  Rapid City’s Recreation Division is continuing to promote lifeguard certification.

            “We are still seeing aquatic facilities in our geographic area struggle,” said Barb Iwan, City Recreation Division aquatic specialist.  “There is a continuing need for lifeguards.  We are continuing to promote and push for more lifeguards. We also need instructors for swim lessons. Swim lessons are so important and we need instructors, not just for the summer but for the entire year.”

Iwan said a Red Cross water safety instructor training course is being added to the City’s recreation program offerings this summer.

            Anyone with questions or wishing more information about the City’s outdoor pools or the Swim Center, call the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department at 394-4175 or the Rapid City Swim Center at 394-5223. For more information about the lifeguard course, contact the Swim Center or Barb Iwan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

**REGISTRATION CONTINUES FOR CITY SUMMER VOLLEYBALL LEAGUES: It’s time to serve up some aces, get your attack line in order and make sure your setters and spikers are primed for action. It’s time to play volleyball.

Registration is underway for Summer Sand Volleyball and Summer Women's Indoor Volleyball Leagues through the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department. Deadline to sign up for both leagues is June 8.  Both are six-week leagues followed by a tournament. 

The Summer Sand Volleyball League matches will be held at the Founders Park Sand Volleyball Courts.  The Women's Indoor Volleyball League matches will be held at South Community Gym. 

            "Our summer volleyball leagues are very popular.  If you like beach and indoor volleyball, and you're looking for great competitive opportunities or just to have fun, the summer leagues have a lot to offer," said Matt Brandhagen of the City Parks and Recreation Department.

            The Summer Sand Volleyball Leagues include coed and women's leagues and are separated into various divisions.  Team registration fee is $100 for all leagues except 2v2 doubles division, which is $50. Matches begin the week of June 13.

            The Women's Indoor Volleyball Leagues include divisions based on levels of experience.  Team registration fee is $140. Matches are played on Wednesdays and action begins June 14.

            Teams can register online at http://www.activityreg.com/selectactivity.wcs or visit the Swim Center at 125 Waterloo Street or the Parks and Rec Office at 515 West Boulevard.  For more information, contact Matt Brandhagen at 415-0226 or 394-5223 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

**CITY UTILITY CUSTOMERS RECEIVING SCAM CALLS SEEKING PAYMENT, PERSONAL INFORMATION: Officials are advising utility customers to not provide personal information to callers seeking payment on city utility accounts.

                The City’s Utility Billing and Water Service Department received two calls Thursday afternoon from customers indicating they’d received calls from an individual demanding payment on outstanding bills with the city.  In each instance, the caller claimed to represent the City of Rapid City.  The customers were asked for personal information such as social security numbers and bank routing information.  Water Superintendent Jeff Crockett indicates one individual complied with the request from the caller.  The other individual did not provide personal information, disputed the amount cited by the caller and the caller terminated the conversation.

                “We do not call customers seeking payment on accounts,” said Crockett.  “Customers are advised of past due and delinquent accounts through written correspondence and payments can be made online, in person or with our overnight payment depository at City Hall.  Customers are always encouraged to call us if they have questions but we will not initiate calls seeking payments and would not be asking for personal information.”

Crockett said when accounts are overdue by more than 44 days, customers receive a delinquency notice in the mail 10 days prior to shutoff.  If payment is not received, services can be terminated.

“Even with cases involving possible disruption of service, our staff would not call customers demanding payment or asking for account or personal information,” Crockett said.

Crockett along with officials with the Rapid City Police Department advise customers to hang up when receiving any calls seeking personal information.  The Rapid City Police Department refers callers who may have been scammed to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection.

“The best advice is to just hang up,” said Crockett.

Customers with billing or account questions can call 605-394-4125 (option #1).

**CITY SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR COMMUNITY INVESTMENT COMMITTEE: The City is seeking applicants to fill one (1) vacancy on the Community Investment Committee.

Applicants must be residents of Rapid City or of the City’s extraterritorial platting jurisdiction. Interested citizens are encouraged to apply by submitting a Citizen Interest Application online. Application deadline is June 17th, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  

The Community Investment Committee makes recommendations to the Rapid City Common Council on the annual Community Development Block Grant subgrantee selections, and the annual selection of non-profit grantee recipients of the General Fund allocation made for that purpose. Members shall not hold any elective office in city government or be an employee of the City.

More information can be found on the Community Investment Committee page on the City website at www.rcgov.org. Community leaders from non-profit agencies, education, and the business sector and women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Appointments are recommended by the Mayor and confirmed by the Rapid City Common Council.

Please contact the Mayor’s Office at 605-394-4110 with questions.

**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.

**CITY SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR PLANNING COMMISSION: The City is seeking applicants to fill one (1) vacancy on the Planning Commission.

Applicants must be residents of Rapid City. Interested citizens are encouraged to apply by submitting a Citizen Interest Application online. Application deadline is May 31st, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  

The Commission makes recommendations to the City Council on land use policies including matters of platting and zoning. Members of the Planning Commission shall be qualified by knowledge or experience to act in matters pertaining to the development and administration of a comprehensive plan of development for the City and shall not hold any elective office in the municipal government.

The Planning Commission meets twice a month, eleven (11) days prior to City Council meetings, at 7:00 a.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall located at 300 Sixth Street.

Appointments are recommended by the Mayor and confirmed by the Rapid City Council. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Please contact the Mayor’s Office at 394-4110 with questions.

**2022 TRANSIT DEVELOPMENT REPORT OFFERS GUIDANCE TO MEET NEEDS, DEMANDS:  Officials with Rapid Transit System and the Rapid City Area Metropolitan Planning Organization have released the 2022 Transit Development Plan (TDP).

            The plan was developed after several months of review and included seeking guidance and feedback from the public.  The TDP provides strategic guidance to local and area government entities, including the City of Rapid City and Pennington County, on development of a sustainable transit system to serve the community and serves as the basis for the transit element of the regional transportation plan.

            The Rapid City Area Metropolitan Planning Organization approved the transit development plan’s final report on April 14.  The report can be found at https://www.rapidcityareampo.org/application/files/5916/4934/7792/22TP002-_2022_Rapid_City_Transit_Development_Plan_Final_Report.pdf .

            “The overall desired outcome of the transit development plan is to provide a public transit system that offers travel options to residents, employees and visitors who cannot or choose not to drive,” said Rapid City Long-Range Planner Kelly Brennan.

            The final report’s service recommendations include development of revenue-neutral changes and improvements to the Rapid Transit System routes including the addition of a new service area, improving the efficiency of the loop system and promoting reliability by making the operating schedule more consistent.  The report also recommends possible new routes for consideration and development of a microtransit or flex zone service with the use of smaller vehicles to circulate through a defined zone, offering pickups and drop-offs at more locations than a fixed-route service can serve.

            Brennan says other outcomes for the transit plan are to:

  • Improve the efficiency of the existing service
  • Assess opportunities to serve areas where requests for service have been received through other public involvement programs
  • Meet the needs expected from future regional growth
  • Develop operating and capital cost estimates to serve future growth areas

The project scope of the TDP includes the following:

  • Identification of issues
  • Service evaluation, including performance indicator evaluation and comparison with peer agencies
  • Development of recommended fixed-route service plans
  • Exploration of additional service concepts as warranted
  • Development of a capital asset plan

            “The final report serves as an important tool for guiding local and area officials as they explore options in addressing transit challenges and the demands of a growing community,” said Brennan.

            For more information about the transit development plan’s final report, visit the site or call 605-394-4120.

**CITY SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR AIRPORT BOARD: The City is seeking applicants residing outside of city limits to fill one (1) open position on the Rapid City Regional Airport Board of Directors. Applicants should reside outside of Rapid City’s platting jurisdiction, but within Pennington, Custer, Lawrence, or Meade Counties.

Interested citizens are encouraged to apply by submitting a Citizen Interest Application online. Application deadline is May 31st, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  

The Airport Board is a semi-autonomous board, which operates the Airport on Behalf of the City of Rapid City. They are responsible for the general oversight of the Airport. They have the ability to sign contracts on behalf of the City and authorize expenditure of funds needed to operate the Airport. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 9 AM MT.

Members of the board are appointed for a term of five (5) years. The City would like to encourage those with five or more years’ experience in any of the following professions to apply: aviation, law, banking, finance, investments, tourism, industry, commerce, engineering, accounting, planning, labor or regulation.

More information can be found on the Rapid City Regional Airport official website.

Appointments are recommended by the Mayor and confirmed by the Rapid City Council. Please contact the Mayor’s Office at 394-4110 with questions.

**ROBYN VANDERSYS AUTHOR TALK:  On Friday, May 6 from 5 – 6 p.m. local author Robyn VanDerSys joins us to talk about her post-apocalyptic stories that take place in the Black Hills! Author of two novels, her stories take readers through the excitement and unknown of new adventures, hiding from enemies and finding safety while relying on survival skills. Robyn will read from her books and discuss her writing process as well as her inspiration behind her works. 

For more information about upcoming library events visit: https://rapidcitylibrary.org/events

**CITY GOLF COURSES OPEN FOR SEASON: As the calendar reached the first official day of spring and temperatures approached 70 degrees, some familiar signs of the season became evident: increased activity on the bike path, lunches in the park, birds chirping in the trees and the sights and sounds of clubs hitting golf balls on the fairway.

Activity is expected to be brisk on local links as the city’s two golf courses, Executive Golf Course and Meadowbrook Golf Course, officially opened for the season recently.

            “We are fully operational at Executive Golf Course and Meadowbrook will be fully operational with carts beginning Saturday,” said Meadowbrook Golf Operations Manager Kristy Lintz.  “We know many people have been looking forward to the courses opening up and we expect great numbers as the weather continues to warm up.

            “As was reflected nationwide, we experienced great numbers last year at both Meadowbrook and Executive and we are looking forward to another great year.”

            To schedule a tee time, Lintz invites the public to call the Meadowbrook Golf Course at 605-394-4191 or book online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Executive Golf Course at 605-394-4124.

**AIRPORT SEES PASSENGER INCREASE IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2022: Rapid City Regional Airport made significant progress in the first quarter of 2022 to continue its recovery from the on-going impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2021, a 26% increase was reported with 102,593 total passengers.

“It’s encouraging to see the airport’s passenger traffic continue to rebound toward pre-pandemic levels.” stated Airport Executive Director Patrick Dame. “We appreciate all of our customers who are flying again”.

**50th FLOOD AND GREENWAY STORYBOARD DISPLAY WILL SHARE DETAILS, TIME LINE OF 1972 FLOOD TO PUBLIC:  This June will mark the 50th year since the tragic flood of 1972 that killed 238 people, injured thousands and produced hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.  Two days, June 8-9, have been set aside for formal events for recognition, honor and remembrance of the event.

            A major event of the community observance will be the formal dedication, unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony June 9 at The Monument of a permanent storyboard wall display documenting the 1972 Rapid City flood and greenway development.  The storyboard wall will be a focal point of attention for Monument visitors as they travel from the Barnett Field House to the Summit Arena.

“The storyboard will serve as a fitting story piece to the 1972 flood and what came out of the tragedy for the future of Rapid City,” said Greta Chapman, a member of the City’s 50th Flood and Greenway Commemoration Event Committee. “The storyboard will document details and time lines of the 1972 flood and will provide the viewer with an important understanding and overview of the most important event in the City’s history and how the City built one of the most beautiful greenways out of the tragedy.”

Craig Baltzer, executive director of The Monument, said the facility is the perfect location for the storyboard wall.

“When the Monument facility opened as the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in 1977, it was symbolic of the collective spirit – a tribute to the dedication and commitment -- of the community to recover and to rise from the tragedy of the flood,” said Baltzer. “The storyboard wall will reflect the tragedy and the triumph of the community.”

The storyboard wall dedication is part of two days of events planned to remember, honor and commemorate the 1972 event.  The storyboard dedication will kickoff an evening of activities at The Monument, including an open house and reception featuring static displays of the flood and a presentation by Don Barnett, who served as mayor during and immediately after the 1972 flood event.

Chapman is currently raising funds to support the storyboard wall effort.  For more information, contact Chapman at 605-430-0792, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 3426 West South Street, Rapid City, SD 57702.

**SUSTAINABILITY AWARD TO BE PRESENTED TO HOME GROWN GOODS COMPANY: Home Grown Goods Company and owner Stef Lee will receive a 2022 Sustainability Award at Monday’s (April 18) Rapid City Common Council meeting from the City’s Standing Committee on Sustainability. The award is presented several times a year by the Sustainability Committee to different businesses, organizations, or individuals that contribute to the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the community.  Monday’s Council meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall.

**COALITION HOSTING PRESENTATIONS TO INTRODUCE BUSINESS TOOLKIT TO HOMELESSNESS ISSUE: The Black Hills Regional Homeless Coalition is launching a series of ‘We Connect Community’ presentations this month and in May.

            The presentations, scheduled for April 20 to May 24 at various locations in Rapid City, are designed for businesses and the general public to learn more about community resources available to assist those in crisis and to support staff and business operations impacted by homelessness in the Rapid City community.

             According to the annual Point-in-Time Count, South Dakota is experiencing a 30 percent increase in homelessness.  This number only consists of those deemed literally homeless, defined as living on the streets, in camps or in their cars and does not take into account those who are doubled-up or rotating across households as a short-term solution.  This number results from rising expenses, limited housing inventory and an increase in barriers related to mental health.  Beyond the individual, homelessness has also impacted area businesses as they attempt to respond to the growing number of people in need of support.

            The presentations will introduce the City’s Co-response efforts on homelessness, Journey On as an immediate response option, and the Coalition’s Business Toolkit as a reference guide for homeless response.

             “The business toolkit approach is a first-of-its kind approach in the country and we want to share the work that’s being done with our business community and the general public,” said Tara Wilcox of Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies.

             “The concept of ‘We Connect Community’ is defined as a community that shares an appreciation for both our differences and our universal humanity. In doing so, we strive to be well-connected as independent sectors to share in the responsibility of enhancing our well-being.”

            The Business Toolkit will be distributed to participants at the presentation, offering practical guidance and tools for understanding and interacting with those experiencing homelessness or struggling with related barriers to stability.

            “The toolkit provides the community – our businesses and citizens – with practical guidance on how to respond in these challenging situations,” said Wilcox.  “The co-response project as a whole is connecting emergency response with support services on a daily basis in a way that long-term outcomes are more feasible for the individual and for the community.”

            The project is a collaborative effort between several organizations working on the homelessness issue in the community, including the City of Rapid City, Visit Rapid City, Rapid City Police Department, Journey On!, Rapid City Fire Department, 211 Helpline Center, Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board, Downtown Rapid City, Black Hills Area Community Foundation and Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.

            Below is a schedule of the toolkit presentations:

DATE             TIME                         LOCATION

April 20           1-2:30 p.m.                  Best Western Ramkota Hotel (Bear Butte Room)

April 26           5:30-7 p.m.                  Hotel Alex Johnson

April 29           9:30-11 a.m.                Rushmore Mall Sub-Station (next to old Herbergers)

May 11            9-10:30 a.m.                Qdoba in Baken Park

May 18            9-10:30 a.m.                Qdoba in Rushmore Crossing

May 24            3-4:30 p.m.                  The Foundry Church

            For more information on the ‘We Connect Community’ toolkit presentations, contact Tara Wilcox at 605-484-4741 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

**HIGH GAS PRICES: RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM PROVIDES OPTIONS TO LESSEN IMPACTS OF HIGH GAS PRICES:  With local gas prices climbing 70 cents a gallon in the past week and national prices averaging a record $4.17 a gallon, the public is searching for transportation options.

            In Rapid City, a convenient option to save on fuel costs is the City’s public transportation system, operated by Rapid Transit System (RTS).  In 2021, ridership exceeded 203,000 riders.

            “As gas prices continue to increase with no end in sight, people are or will be searching for options and one great alternative is our public transportation system,” said RTS Manager Megan Gould. “We offer a reliable, safe and convenient option that can save on fuel costs.

            “Whether you need to get to work, school or just headed downtown or around town for a day of shopping, we can get you to your destination in a safe, efficient manner.”

            Rapid Transit System has been providing local residents and visitors with a safe and reliable public transportation service in Rapid City for more than 30 years.  Annually, Rapid Transit System travels more than one-half million miles and provides more than 400,000 passenger trips throughout Rapid City on its RapidRide, Dial-A-Ride and City View Trolley services.

            RapidRide provides public transportation services on six fixed routes.  All RapidRide routes run on 35-minute frequencies.

            “So depending on your route, we can get you to your work, to school or to your shopping or event destination quickly and safely,” said Gould.  “It’s a great option during the bitterly cold and stormy winter weather, but also a great alternative when the family car isn’t working or to save on fuel costs and utilize the savings for other essentials.”

            Dial-A-Ride is a curb-to-curb to door transportation service, operating within the city limits of Rapid City. The service is available to local residents who qualify for service under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a great option for getting to doctor’s appointments, picking up prescriptions, shopping and visits in the community.

            RTS also oversees the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program, which provides youth with free rides on the fixed route system, with stops to schools, library, events, downtown and other venues.

            For more information about Rapid Transit System services, contact 605-394-6631.

**CITY RENEWS CALL FOR PUBLIC'S ASSISTANCE WITH NON-WORKING STREET LIGHTS:  With the public’s help last year, City traffic crews were able to shed a little more light in neighborhoods and along streets and intersections.

After the City put out a request last May for the public’s help in reporting lighting issues, nearly 300 of the ‘issues’ were addressed by crews with the City’s Traffic Operations Division. Most of the citizen calls involved street light outages or malfunctions.

“We really appreciated the public’s response and communication with the City last year on issues they saw with street lights,” said Mark Preble, electrician with the City’s Traffic Operations Division.  “We encourage people to call as soon as they notice an issue, such as a light being dim or suddenly going off, or nearly off, and then returning to full output or staying on until well past sunrise.”

Preble says the City is renewing its call for the public’s assistance in reporting any street light issues they may witness.  Preble says some of the reports last year indicated the issues with various lights had been ongoing for days or weeks.  “As soon as they see an issue, call the City and we can get it taken care of quickly,” said Preble.

The public is advised to call the Traffic Operations Division at 605-394-4118, text 605-390-3756 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Whether the street light is located in the city’s downtown or other well-trafficked area, or in a residential area, Preble says it’s important to get the problem corrected as soon as possible.  “A malfunctioning or inoperative street light can have a safety impact in a neighborhood or along a street.  We catch a lot of the issues but we can’t be everywhere at all times so if a resident sees an issue with a street light, give us a call.”

Preble says the light poles display a four or five-digit number a few feet off the ground.  The pole number or the block of the street with the malfunctioning light will allow for a more immediate response from crews. Once a call is received from the public, a crew member is sent to the area before dawn the following day to locate the pole and begin the process of replacement or repair.

**RAPID CITY AQUATICS HOSTING LIFEGUARD CERTIFICATION COURSES: Rapid City Aquatics is offering Blended Learning Lifeguard courses.

            Certification is required to be a lifeguard at the City’s outdoor pools and Swim Center.  The Aquatics-hosted courses provide Red Cross lifeguard, water park, CPR, AED and first aid training.

The course includes a pre-course swim requirement and in-person class sessions.  The first course was scheduled March 3-5. Additional lifeguard courses will be offered April 7-10 with a registration deadline of April 2, and May 12-15 with registration deadline of May 6.  Students must attend all dates of the course in which registered, complete online coursework before attending classroom learning, Cost for a course is $185.

            “Becoming a lifeguard can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience,” said City Recreation Specialist Suzanne Reeve.  “It can be a great summer job or supplement other work.  Taking this course and becoming certified can be a direct line to working as a City lifeguard and becoming trained in life-saving skills can be of great service to the community.”

Lifeguard candidates must be 15 years old by the last day of the class.  Registered candidates will have access to practice swimming at the Swim Center prior to start of the course.  The pre-course swim requirements include proficiency in several swimming skills.

Interested persons must contact Suzanne Reeve at the Swim Center via e-mail by March 1 for the first offering to ensure enough time for online course completion.  Contact Reeve at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Call the Swim Center at 605-394-5223 with questions.

**CITY EMPLOYEES PREDICT WORLD SERIES WINNER: As the major league baseball season gets into the full swing of action, City employees have weighed in with their prediction for which team will win this year’s World Series.  In many instances, the choice reflects their personal team favorite.

            One-third (33.3 percent) of the respondents believe the Los Angeles Dodgers will win this year’s title.  The Dodgers last appeared in the Series in 2020 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays. Another 16.6 percent tab the New York Yankees to win it all this season.  The Yankees last appeared in the World Series in 2009 when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies.  The only other teams to receive respectable consideration from survey respondents were the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, coming in with 10 percent each of the tabulations.

            When asked which team is their favorite, a total of 16.6 percent of respondents consider the Minnesota Twins as their favorite team with the Yankees the favorite of 10 percent.  The Dodgers, Rays, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers also were tabbed as favorites by a number of respondents.  Half of the major league’s 30 teams were listed as favorites by respondents with 13 teams receiving at least one vote to win the World Series.  A third of the respondents selected their favorite team to win the World Series title.

            Only one respondent felt the Atlanta Braves would repeat as World Series champions. No respondents tagged the Houston Astros, last season’s runner-up, either as a favorite team or a team to win this year’s Series title.

**LIGHTS OUT...WHO YOU GONNA CALL? The City's Traffic Operations Division is reminding the public if they see a street light out or not working properly, contact them at 394-4118. Provide a good location so crews can be dispatched to change out the light or make any needed repairs.  Callers are advised to leave a message in the evenings or weekends for attention the next business day.

**CITY REMINDS HOMEOWNERS & LANDSCAPERS TO NOT PILE MATERIALS ON PUBLIC ROADS AND SIDEWALKS: City officials are reminding homeowners not to place landscaping materials in the public right of way, which includes roads and sidewalks. 

Material piles can block views of oncoming vehicles and impede traffic.  Dirt and rock can also create blockages in storm sewers.  City officials recommend materials should be placed in a homeowner’s yard or in the driveway.  Any rock or dirt that gets on neighboring properties or in the public right-of-way should be cleaned up immediately.

            Officials also advise in certain circumstances, permits may be obtained to place materials in the right-of-way.  For more information, contact the City’s Public Works Engineering Division at 394-4154.

**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 rapidmap.org 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 https://www.rcgov.org/departments/public-works/water-division/urr-587.html 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 www.rapidcityrecycles.org 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 rapidmap.org and clicking on the orange construction barrel. It is also available by clicking on 'Road Construction Updates' on the City's home page at rcgov.org .  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.