Dells Nursing and Rehab Fulfills Resident’s Bucket List


Photo taken and used with permission by Tammy Chamley, Dells City Journal

Dells Nursing and Rehab is busy crossing off things to do on their resident’s bucket lists.  “The bucket list idea actually came from our MDS Coordinator, Tracy Jensen, and Beth Koedam, Social Services,” Marissa Runge, Dell Nursing and Rehab’s Activities Director stated.  “She decided to start asking each new resident what is one item on their bucket list. Well this quickly soon grew to her asking on everyone’s quarterly assessment. Tracy is always looking for new and fun ideas to keep residents and family members involved.”

The first bucket list item completed was an emotional one.  Ruth, a resident at Dells Nursing and Rehab, wanted to visit with her brother just one more time.  Now this sounds like an easy fix, right?  Well, Ruth’s brother lives in a nursing home in Illinois.  “Ruth didn’t know the name of the nursing home, and this is when Tracy had to begin to think creatively,” Runge explained.  “After Tracy’s hard work, calling over 10 facilities trying to locate him, she got in contact with two special staff who were willing to help us reconnect them.”  A date and time was set to use a computer at the Dell Rapids facility and a cell phone at the Illinois facility to have the siblings be able to video chat over the screens.  “Now was the best part…telling Ruth Tracy’s complete plan,” Runge said.  “Moments like this are hard to describe, but they are ones you’ll never forget. Ruth was in a meeting with several managers and her daughter-in-law. Tracy broke the news to Ruth that she was going to get the opportunity to connect with her brother, as we have located him. Ruth had the whole room in tears as she was excited to visit with her brother at least one more time.”

The second bucket list item completed at Dells Nursing and Rehab was getting Violet, a resident at the facility, to Christmas Eve service to see her grandson sing and play piano.  “This one was easier to plan, but we still needed staff to step up and make this happen,” Runge said.  “Thanks to Beth Koedam, Social Services, she took time to get Violet to and from the Christmas Eve service. Violet had a great time and came back all smiles.”

The third bucket list item completed needed some extra creativity from the MDS Coordinator, Tracy.  Resident Ardis wanted to visit Hawaii!  “Little did Ardis know, we were going to bring Hawaii to her,” Runge explained.  “Tracy lined up a whole day of activities to make it feel as if Ardis was in Hawaii. Some of the activities included whale watching, Hawaiian food (bacon wrapped pineapple), Hawaiian documentary, and a photo booth.  We ended the night with a great performance from the Hip Hop Shop presenting a luau dance for us! Ardis’s family members were invited as well for this festivities.”

The latest bucket list event completed was for Mike, a retired Navy Submarines Veteran.  “One of Mike’s Navy veteran friends contacted us informing us that Dakota State University was going to broadcast the USS South Dakota Commissioning,” Runge said.  “Mike’s friend knew how much this would mean for Mike to be there with all his former submarine friends and watch this live on the big screen!” Marissa, Activity Director, was able to take him on this trip. “There were several moments during this visit I was able to witness that I will remember forever,” Runge expressed.  “One in specific was when the color guard was presenting the flag and the National Anthem began. Mike was in attention and wanted to stand. Mike’s friend and I helped Mike stand up during this time. Halfway through the National Anthem, I could feel Mike becoming weak as his legs were shaky. I whispered to Mike, ‘Mike would you like to sit down and rest?’ Without even thinking, Mike began to sing the National Anthem louder pretending not to hear me! Mike did not sit down until the Anthem was over as he knew what the National Anthem meant to him.”

Dells Nursing and Rehab has many bucket list items in the works.  “I don’t want to spill the beans though, as some residents and family members are not informed yet!” Runge said.  “Please follow our Facebook page, Dells Nursing and Rehab Center, to see what else we are going to have in store for our residents.”

“I think the biggest change I have noticed is the residents talking about who is going to be the next bucket list person, or what is the next idea going to be! The residents get so excited when they find out who’s bucket list is getting checked off!” Runge expressed. “Especially during the winter months. This has really helped change the culture and helped them break up this long winter time. Change can be hard for many people, but this change has been nothing but pure excitement for all!”

“The biggest thing is if anyone has ideas for the residents of what might be on their bucket list to let us know. Sometimes it can become hard for residents to think of something on their bucket list until someone reminds them of a situation,” Runge answered about needing help from the community.  “Of course when we are fulfilling bucket list items, we sometimes reach out for outside help such as the Hip Hop Shop performing the luau for us. Each situation is so different, so it is hard to come up with one idea, but I will be posting on Facebook of any needs we may need during this creative time!”

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Water Rates Set to Increase in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerWater bills in Dell Rapids are headed for an increase starting with the June 1st bill.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved the first reading of three new ordinances that will increase the water bills for all residents in Dell Rapids.  The increases are being put in place to pay back loans for the Southeast Infrastructure project.

The new rates and surcharges that are being implemented will go into effect for water used from April 20th to May 20th and will be first seen on the June 1st water bills.

Ordinance 860 will implement a SE Project Drinking Water Rate Surcharge per customer.  The cost of this surcharge will be $7.70.  Ordinance 861 will actually reduce some of the water bill.  The ordinance will change the base rate from $12.00 to $11.90, and the per 1,000 gallon rate will decrease from $4.64 to $3.92.  With the implementation of these two ordinances, a customer that uses 5,000 gallons of water a month will have a total water bill increase of $4.00 from $38.20 to $42.20.

Ordinance 862 is implementing a SE Project Clean Water Surcharge for $7.20 to the waste water portion of the bill.  A customer that uses 5,000 gallons will have a waste water bill increase from $54.40 to $61.60.

The ordinances will have to have a second reading approved before they will be adopted.

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DSU Hosts Watch Party for USS-South Dakota

This Feb. 2, 2019 photo provided by Dakota State University. Members of the United States Submarine Veterans Scorpion Base, including Mike Neuroth (seated), attended the USS-SD Commissioning watch party at Dakota State University on Feb. 2. Also pictured is the group’s Vice Commander Brian Schnerr (left), Kent Winter, Larry Little, Gerald Davey, and Jim Farquhar.

This Feb. 2, 2019 photo provided by Dakota State University.Members of the United States Submarine Veterans Scorpion Base, including Mike Neuroth (seated), attended the USS-SD Commissioning watch party at Dakota State University on Feb. 2. Also pictured is the group’s Vice Commander Brian Schnerr (left), Kent Winter, Larry Little, Gerald Davey, and Jim Farquhar.

MADISON, S.D., Feb. 5, 2019 – The newly-commissioned USS-South Dakota, is “not your grandfather’s submarine,” said Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal at the submarine’s commissioning ceremony on Feb. 2.

The boat is “state-of-the-art as far as technology goes,” said South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, the keynote speaker at the Groton, Conn. ceremony.

Dakota State University’s programs of study center around state-of-the-art technology, so the institution hosted a watch party for the event. About 40 people, including DSU students, faculty, staff, and members of the community gathered at the Beacom Institute of Technology on the campus to watch the 75-minute ceremony. DSU President José-Marie Griffiths attended the ceremony in person, but offered a video welcome to the guests on campus.

Several guests were Navy submarine veterans, members of the United States Submarine Veterans Scorpion Base, including Mike Neuroth, aka “Captain Neutron.” He was brought to the ceremony by a staff person from the Dell Rapids Nursing and Rehab Center, where the 75-year old veteran currently resides.

Neuroth served on two submarines while in the Navy, working in the boats’ nuclear power plants. During his seven years of service, he traveled to the North Pole, and to South America, although in a submarine he admitted “you couldn’t see much.” In civilian life, he traveled the country working at nuclear power plants. “They needed people who knew what they were doing,” he said.

Neuroth is one of seven club members who traveled to Madison for the event. “It’s the camaraderie that keeps us together,” said Brian Schnerr, vice-commander of the Scorpion Base. “It’s awesome to be able to come to DSU for this,” he said. It’s also fulfilling to see South Dakota highlighted, he told KELO-TV in an interview, because “it’s a really great state.” Schnerr is from Hills, Minn.

Rounds, a member of the Armed Services Committee, noted the submarine’s impressive features and talented 132-member crew, which will play a significant role in the nation’s national security efforts.

“We are fiercely proud of the men and women who will serve on this sub,” Rounds said, the same sentiment felt for the two previous South Dakota ships. All three will share the same mission, he stated, to win wars, maintain freedom of the seas, and prevent war.

He said to the crew members, “God go with you and help this nation achieve peace through strength.”


Dakota State University (DSU) is located in Madison, S.D. Founded in 1881, DSU offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs through its colleges of arts and sciences, business and information systems, computer and cyber sciences, and education. DSU has a special focus on the development, application, implications, and impacts of computing, information technologies and cyber security in all areas of human endeavor. DSU has received multiple Center of Excellence designations in education, research and regional resource development from the U.S. National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. DSU is home to the Madison Cyber Labs (MadLabs), a cyber R&D hub with labs and institutes that explore and advance technology application, workforce development, business expansion, economic growth, and policy improvement across multiple disciplines and fields. For more information, contact, 605-270-3816, or visit the DSU website at

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Dell Rapids 2018 Sales Tax Revenues Dip from 2017

DellRapidsTowerThe final 2018 sales tax revenue report was shared at the latest Dell Rapids City Council regular meeting held Tuesday, January 22nd.  The numbers showed a drop of 3.45% from the 2017 numbers.

The city of Dell Rapids had $1,227,419.65 of sales tax revenue in 2017.  By contrast, the city had $1,185,064.63 of sales tax revenue in 2018.  A drop of just over $42,000.

“It looks better than it did in July and August.  $42,000 less, if you look at July and August, that’s about $40,000.  That’s at the height of the construction.  That’s the way I interpret those numbers,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland.

July 2018 was an 11.68% decrease from the numbers in July 2017.  August 2018 had a bigger drop from 2017 at 23.24% decrease.  The numbers rebounded in October, November, and December with each of those three months having positive gains in 2018 over 2017 numbers.

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Student Actors Recognized for Performances

sdhsaaLogoSeven student actors received recognition for their performances at their respective Region One-Act plays recently.

Two students from Dell Rapids St Mary earned awards during the Region 1B One-Act plays held on Wednesday, January 23rd, at the Brandon Performing Arts Center.  Avery Carder won the Outstanding Female Actress, and Nick Wolles took home Best Male Actor.

Five different performers were recognized from Dell Rapids High School during the Region 3A One-Act plays held on Wednesday in Madison at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse.  Tim Jaycox, Bergen Weiland, Lathan Sundt, Peyton Gleason, and Kat Fletcher all received Outstanding Acting Awards.




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Norby’s and Fabulous Moments to Host Meat Raffle

PrintFor years, the Meat Raffle put on by Norby’s Bar and Grill has been a standout event. On Friday, January 25th at 6pm Fabulous Moments will host a meat raffle. Providing both a charitable donation towards a specified cause and also an opportunity to literally bring home the bacon, it brings about the best of two worlds.

Fabulous Moments, one of South Dakota’s newest nonprofits, will be the beneficiary of the generous donations made in the upcoming raffle. Striving to “make memories one fabulous moment at a time,” the group creates travel opportunities for those who are facing life threatening illnesses along with their families. Fabulous Moments was launched with the intention of assisting families with a wide-variety of health ailments, the organization’s impact is only as pertinent as the funds being raised by volunteers and donors alike.

Founded by Robin Wiebenga of Dell Rapids, Fabulous Moments has coordinated the trips of two separate families dealing with life-threatening illnesses since its conception in 2017. The 501(c)3 makes the aspiration of one final memory truly a reality. To make a donation, submit an application, or learn more about the mission of Fabulous Moments, please visit their website at

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Benefit Fundraiser to be Held for Derek Gerlach

PlainsPeopleLogoA benefit fundraiser for 10 year old Derek Gerlach, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, will be held Friday, January 25th, in Flandreau. The Crystal Theater will host a performance of “Plains Speaking People, Dakota Stories For the Stage”. Music from the amazing Will Prines will begin at 7pm, and the story tellers will hit the stage at 7:30pm. A free will donation of $10 per person is suggested. All money will go directly to Derek’s family.

“Plains Speaking People” features eight individuals sharing a chapter of their life. The tales can range from heartbreaking to inspirational to hilarious. Each story only takes 10 minutes. Some of the speakers you may be familiar with, and some you may not.

In addition, a raffle for a couple of homemade quilts and some other items will be held.

Derek is the son of Shane and Donelle Gerlach. They currently live in Dell Rapids. Shane is a Flandreau native.

For more information, go to There is also a Go Fund Me page to help the family if you are unable to attend.

For more info or interviews, contact Mike Henriksen at 605-595-8487

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Twelve Groups Earn Academic Achievement Awards in Dell Rapids

sdhsaaLogoEight groups from Dell Rapids St Mary and four from Dell Rapids earned Academic Achievement Team Awards from the South Dakota High School Activities Association for the 2018-2019 fall season.

The team awards are given to varsity athletic teams and fine arts groups for their academic excellence.  To receive the award, the group much have a combined grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

The Football team, All-State Chorus group, Oral Interpretation group, Boys Cross Country team, Girls Cross Country team, Football Cheerleaders, Competitive Cheer team, and the Volleyball team all earned the honor from Dell Rapids St Mary High School.

The Girls Cross Country team, Boys Golf team, Football team, and Boys Cross Country team earned the honor from Dell Rapids High School.

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Four Council Seats up for Election in 2019

DellRapidsTowerFour seats on the Dell Rapids City Council will be up for election in 2019.  There will be open seat in each of the four wards this year…the term for Gary Haak in Ward 1, the term for Mark Crisp in Ward 2, the term for Mike Geraets in Ward 3, and the term for James Borchert in Ward 4.

The term for each of those wards up for election will be three years.  Petitions for the open seats can begin circulation on January 25th.  All the petitions are due back to City Hall by February 22nd at 5:00 p.m.  The election has been set for Tuesday, April 9th if necessary.


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Is a New Four-Way Stop Needed in Dell Rapids?

CentennialGarfieldDellRapidsIs a new four-way stop needed in Dell Rapids?  That question was raised at the last regular Dell Rapids City Council meeting of 2018.  Jody Brust, owner of Jody’s Collision & Auto in Dell Rapids, raised a concern to the council about the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Centennial Place.

“I guess I just gotta concern with the truck traffic now with the truck route.  There’s many occasions where there’s some trucks really moving down the road, more than 40 mph, in some cases, both ways,” said Brust.  “I think it’s a huge safety issue for the city, myself, now that you own the roads.  That intersection is definitely a problem.”

After Brust brought his concern to the council, Dell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley and City Administrator Justin Weiland responded to his concerns.

“One thing that we could do is more prominent display of the posting of the mileage on that street.  In the past we have had conversations, particularly with the people at L.G. Everist, about informing the people that truck their commodity about traffic issues, speed limit issues, etc.  That’s something else we could do,” said Mayor Earley.

Weiland mentioned that the city worked with L.G. Everist when making the change in the truck route to get their input and get their support.  It was mentioned in those conversations that removing the stop sign at that intersection would be helpful to the truckers.  However, Weiland also mentioned that after concerns about the traffic at that intersection have been brought to the city’s attention, the quarry would support whatever the council wanted to do with the intersection.

“We’re going to enforce the speed limit.  The speed limit is 25 mph.  It’s not 45, it’s not 35, it’s 25. That’s the speed limit, and every one should be driving that route at 25 mph, or they should get a ticket,” said Councilman Mike Geraets.

The council did not take any action on the question about making the intersection a four-way stop.  Mayor Earley mentioned that the city would work to improve signage to better display the speed limit and ask the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department to monitor the area more closely.  After a couple of months of monitoring the situation, he said that the council will revisit the request and make a formal decision at that time.

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