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   From the desk of News Director Kevin Larsen

Category: Local News

Pierre's Mobile Crisis Response Team Awarded 10,000 Dollar Grant

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The South Dakota Community Foundation, in partnership with the Bush Foundation, has selected fifteen South Dakota nonprofits as recipients of over 130 thousand dollars in grant funding. The Community Innovation Grants provide funding aimed at uncovering breakthroughs in community needs across the state. These recipients were selected during the first of three grant rounds in 2016.

The SDCF Grant Making Committee chose to support the recently implemented Mobile Crisis Response team in Pierre. They were awarded 10,000 dollars.

The group continues to expand and will include more law enforcement representatives, mental health professionals, healthcare staff, clergy members, state agency representatives and others to keep people in mental crisis as safe as possible in the Pierre area. The Community Crisis Team will use a collaborative approach to keep persons affected in mental crisis as close to home as possible and wrap them with healing resources, treatment and caring for the whole person and family. Avera St. Mary’s Foundation’s Ellen Lee applied for the grant. 

In addition, the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte was awarded $9,825. In 2014, the Cheyenne River Youth Project introduced a graffiti education program. The program was positively received by youth and the community, and now the CRYP will create an art program that is purposeful and sustainable. The CRYP will develop a strategic plan to formalize processes, develop curriculum and create an organized program which includes the graffiti education program, other arts media and traditional native arts.

Applications continue to be accepted for the $400,000 that is available in 2016 through the Community Innovation Grant program. The second round of Community Innovation Grants will open on May 16 and close June 15. Interested organizations can visit to review the grant guidelines, deadlines and application instructions. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to Ginger Niemann by calling 800.888.1842 or by sending an email to

Since 1987, the South Dakota Community Foundation has helped people reach their philanthropic goals and strengthened communities across the state.

CategoriesLocal News

National Day Of Prayer Event Today In Pierre

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The first Thursday in May is designated as the National Day of Prayer. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

South Dakotans are being invited to gather in the Capitol Rotunda in Pierre today at noon to pray for the nation and for the state. The state coordinator of the event, Amy Wagner says several prayer leaders from across South Dakota will be attending. 

They invite all to take time to join them at the Capitol to pray at 12 noon today.

CategoriesLocal News

282 Years Of Experience Honored At Pierre Retirement Tea

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A combined 282 years of combined experience in Pierre’s Public School District was honored at the annual retirement tea in Pierre Wednesday afternoon.

Other district employees and friends gathered in the districts school board room Wednesday afternoon to honor the retiring teachers and staff members.

Those that were honored at the retirement tea included:

Deborah Hepper – Science Teacher, Georgia Morse Middle School

Years of Service to Pierre District – 31 years


Joan Crabtree – School Counselor, Buchanan Elementary

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 29 years


Jeff Dykstra – Science Teacher, Riggs High School

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 23 years


Bob Gill – Computer Teacher, Riggs High School

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 20 years


Betty Hanson – Kindergarten Teacher, Buchanan Elementary

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 25 years


Bridgette Magilke – Special Education Teacher, Jefferson Elementary

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 26 years


Denise Thompson – Family & Consumer Science Teacher, Riggs High School

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 21 years


Mary Titze – Special Education Teacher, Georgia Morse Middle School

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 18 years


Christie Zander – Early Kindergarten Teacher, Jefferson Elementary

Years of Service to Pierre School District – 37 years


Lori Venner – Special Education Tutor, Buchanan Elementary

Years of Service to Pierre District – 28 years


Mark Hiatt – Custodian III, Georgia Morse Middle School

Years of Service to Pierre District – 24 years

CategoriesLocal News

Smithsonian Program Saturday In Pierre To Focus On American Art

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society will host a program from the Smithsonian American Art Museum entitled “Nineteen American Masterworks” with Art Historian William Kloss this Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Education Room at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.  


There will be no charge to attend the program, and there is also free admission to the museum Saturday.

The program, “Nineteen American Masterworks” was originally broadcast by the Smithsonian American Art Museum on June 24, 2015. The program features masterworks produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America, which was a "coming-of-age" period in American art. Kloss explores the works from Gilded Age, impressionist, and Ashcan school painters.   

Visitors should note that the State Archives is also open from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month, making it a great day for the whole family to enjoy a variety of activities at the Cultural Heritage Center on Smithsonian Saturdays.   

The South Dakota State Historical Society became a Smithsonian Affiliate in January 2013 and is the only affiliate in South Dakota. 

CategoriesLocal News

Crow Creek Tribe Declares State Of Emergency On Suicides

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The same day newly elected Crow Creek Tribal Chairman Brandon Sazue was sworn into office; he hit the ground running, and declared a state of emergency on Suicides among the tribe.

Sazue was inaugurated Tuesday morning at the Crow Creek School in Stephan. That same day Sazue, along with the tribal council, declared a state of emergency on suicides among the Crow Creek reservation.

Sazue says the suicide epidemic is hitting the tribe hard…

(Sazue B 1)

He adds that obviously the tribe is not doing enough to combat the suicide epidemic, and more is needed.

Sazue is meeting with his council all week, and housing or lack thereof, is another issue that needs addressed…

(Sazue B 2)

Although there are a multitude of issues that Sazue would like addressed, it all comes down to money…

(Sazue B 3)

Sazue was officially sworn into office Tuesday in a ceremony that representatives from Rounds’, Thune’s, and Noem’s offices attended. 

CategoriesLocal News

May Declared Beef Month Is SD

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed a proclamation declaring May as “Beef Month” once again this year in South Dakota.

South Dakota has nearly five cattle for every one person in the state. Nationally, South Dakota ranks fifth for the size of the calf crop and number of beef cows.

Suzy Geppert of Fort Pierre, executive director of the SD Beef Industry Council, says the council is in charge of the state’s “Beef Checkoff” funds…

(Beef Month 1)

Geppert adds that lean beef is an excellent source of nutrition…

(Beef Month 2)

South Dakota also ranks seventh nationally for total herd size, at 3.95 million head, and cattle on feed with a total of 435,000 head.

CategoriesLocal News

Dairy Queen Set To Return To Pierre

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dairy Queen will be returning to Pierre, after a few years of not having one in the Capitol City.

Pierre residents Lonnie and Jackie Heier, who recently purchased the former Dairy Queen building on Sioux Avenue, are excited to announce they will be opening a new Dairy Queen Grill & Chill restaurant in the spring or summer of 2017.

According to Lonnie Heier, purchasing the building and bringing a Dairy Queen back to town was an easy decision for him…

(Lonnie DQ 1)

Heier says they will be looking to employ between 40-50 staff, both full and part-time. He adds that, the building will be completely renovated and remodeled before the grand opening….

(Lonnie DQ 2)

Heier adds that DQ is a natural fit for the area…

(Lonnie DQ 3)

The Heier’s currently own and operate DQ’s in Eagle Butte, Martin and Vermillion. They have two boys, Crew and Hayden.

Dairy Queen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and has been in business for 76 years with over 6,400 locations worldwide.

CategoriesLocal News

Pierre Awarded Drinking Water Achievement Award

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has announced that the city of Pierre public water system and the system operators have been awarded a Drinking Water Certificate of Achievement Award.

According to the award, the city of Pierre has successfully met all of the requirements of the Safe Water Drinking Act all year.

Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill says the city of Pierre has met several requirements to be recognized for the award. The award recognized the nine city of Pierre water department employees, including Department Supervisor Dane Brewer. 

CategoriesLocal News

Pierre City Commission Gives First Reading To Landscape Ordinance

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Pierre City Commission Tuesday night gave first reading to a possible landscape ordinance in the city of Pierre.

Pierre does not have a landscape ordinance, and according to Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill, some residents asked if one could be implemented as new developments come to Pierre.

Pierre City Planner Sharon Pruess presented the commission with the details of the possible ordinance, and says the overall goal of this is to enhance and protect property values. The ordinance will be aimed at improving the front of the property as well.

Pruess adds that this ordinance would only apply to any properties that are newly developing or redeveloping.

Single family homes and existing businesses would be exempt from the ordinance. Two family homes, light industrial, heavy industrial, and the industrial park would be exempt as well.

The ordinance will come back before the Pierre City Commission for a public hearing in two weeks, on May 17th at their weekly meeting. 

CategoriesLocal News

Local Educators Honored By Obama At The White House

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On National Teacher Appreciation Day Tuesday, one Pierre educator received the experience of a lifetime by traveling to Washington DC to receive a national outstanding educator award.

Oahe Child Developments educator, Jodi Berscheid of Pierre met with the president to receive the award. She was the only educator from South Dakota to be honored with the award. Berscheid received the attention of the White House, where she accepted the award for her incredible service to Pierre’s at-risk children. Berschied was one of three educators selected across the nation for the award…

(Head Start Award 1)

President Obama congratulated Berscheid, along with Stanley County Elementary Teacher Sarah Lutz, who is South Dakota’s Teacher of the Year. All 50 state teachers of the Year, and the three elite educators were honored. Berscheid was one of the three

Oahe Child Development Director Sue Glodt nominated Berscheid for the award, and she says working with the young kids does not feel like a job to her…

(Head Start Award 2)

Berscheid is in her 15th year at Oahe Child Development Center. She is the education manager. Berscheid is passionate about helping the kids, and the parents and their journeys…

(Head Start Award 3)

Glodt stated that Jodi goes above and beyond her job duties to help staff, children, and parents. Glodt adds that as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s all renew our commitment to ensuring all children have the opportunity to succeed.

CategoriesLocal News
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