Three Young Dell Rapids Students Selected for Elementary Honor Choir

music-2618342_1280Three young students from Dell Rapids were selected to participate in the 2018 Elementary Festival Honor Choir. Fourth grade students Madyn Lacey and Finn Murphy, along with sixth grade student Olivia Gill were selected to participate in the event.

The choir consists of about 180 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from around the state who are selected by recorded audition.  Over 800 auditions are received for the event.  The choir performs each year during the annual SDSU Choral Day event.  The Elementary Festival Honor Choir will perform on Thursday, February 8th, 2018 in Brookings.

“They get to travel with me to Brookings and perform in front of a variety of college professions, high school teachers, and elementary teachers in February,” said Dell Rapids Elementary music teacher Kim Gaul during the afternoon performance of the Christmas concert on Thursday, December 14th.  Gaul recognized Lacey and Murphy at the end of the performance.  Lacey, Murphy, and Gill were also recognized for their accomplishment during the Dell Rapids School Board meeting on Monday, December 11th.

Dr. Sean Burton will be the conductor for the Elementary Festival Honor Choir.  Dr. Burton currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and is the Chairperson of the Department of Music at Briar Cliff University.

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“Christmas For Our Kids” Project Receives Record Donation

The “Christmas For Our Kids” program led by the local chapter of ESA received a record donation this year.  The Christmas for Kids committee from Norby’s that puts together a fundraiser donated $21,573.35 to the “Christmas For Our Kids” program for this year’s families.  The year’s number doubles last year’s fundraiser.  Committee member Serena Campbell said that there wasn’t an empty seat at Norby’s during the event on Friday, December 8th.

ChristmasForOurKidsDonation“As the head of the committee, we cannot thank the community enough. The fundraiser would not be such a success if it wasn’t for the local businesses and individuals who donated, the individuals that were there the night of the auction bidding on all the wonderful donations, Bob Julson for doing and amazing job as the auctioneer, Landmark Realty for donating your time and your employees time, Norbys Bar and Grill for letting us take over your place to have the fundraiser, and to all the ladies on the committee that took time away from your families to help put smiles on children’s faces. There is not enough I can say about the amazing community that we love in. As a community we all came together to put a smile on a lot of children’s faces,” said Campbell.

The record donation will help the ESA group with helping the families.  Brenda O’Hara said that in 2007, there were 28 families that the project helped.  The number has grown over the years, and this year there are 55 families and 138 children on the list.  That’s 11 more families and 31 more children than last year’s numbers.”We are so thankful for the monetary donations as we can take care of the additional gifts for the kids and also provide local gift cards to each family,” said O’Hara.

The ESA groups also sponsors three angel trees in Dell Rapids and also has an “Adopt-A-Family” program.  The group is currently collecting all of those gifts as well as doing additional shopping for the families.  The “Christmas For Our Kids” program has also given each family a gift card to County Fair.

“With the larger donations last year and again this year, we are able to increase the amount of the grocery card and also provide each family with a local gas card and a local restaurant gift card,” O’Hara also said.

The families that benefit from this program are able to pick up the gifts and also pick out a few stocking-stuffers at a central location.  They also get to pick out a special pillow case for each child that is sewn by the patrons of the local quilt shop, Always Your Design.  Also, for the second year, Smithfield Foods is donating a ham to each family.  In addition to the pillow cases and hams, the public school always has a fun week-long donation drive collecting wrapping paper, stocking-stuffer items, batteries, and monetary donations.

“These families are all so grateful to the community for the continued support and caring that is shown every year through the ‘Christmas for Our Kids’ project, whether it is through the referrals made on their behalf, the shoppers that spend time picking the gifts, the monetary donations made, or the hard work of the Pink Ladies gathering donated items and putting on the wonderful fundraiser,” O’Hara said.

Some of the notes from those families that are being helped this year include:

  • “Thank you ALL for helping me!!  My kids will love anything they get.  Thank you tons!!”
  • “Thank you.  This is such a wonderful thing you guys are doing for us.  I am very grateful.”
  • “Thank you again and god bless you all.”
  • “Thank you guys so much!  We appreciate it immensely!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Not only the did the committee donate a record amount to the ESA “Christmas For Our Kids” program, they also donated $5,000 to two other groups.  The Daily Bread Food Pantry and The Community Store each received a donation of $2,500.



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Kuper Complete Accounting Has Ribbon Cutting

KuperCompleteAccountingRibbonDowntown Dell Rapids welcomed a new business with a ribbon cutting on Friday, December 8th.  Kuper Complete Accounting is the latest business to open for business in downtown Dell Rapids.  The business is owned by Donna Kuper.  Kuper held a ribbon cutting and open house event starting at 10:00 a.m. on Friday.

Kuper Complete Accounting is located at 414 E 4th St.  This is the same location has JR’s Alterations & Crafts, which is own by Kuper’s mother Janet DeGraw.  JR’s Alterations & Crafts is in the front of the building with Kuper Complete Accounting operating out of an office in the back of the space.

Kuper studied accounting at National American University in Sioux Falls and holds a master’s degree.  She also taught at the college for six years and held the position of assistant dean and accounting curriculum developer and chair for all of the National American campuses before opening up Kuper Complete Accounting in Dell Rapids.

Kuper mentioned during the open house that the small-town, friendly atmosphere and growing economy drew her to Dell Rapids.

More information about Kuper Complete Accounting can be found on their Facebook page,

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Wastewater and Water Rates on the Rise Again in Dell Rapids

DellRapidsTowerStarting with water usage in February 2018, the wastewater and water rates for Dell Rapids residents will be increasing.  The first reading of ordinances 851 and 852 to raise the wastewater and water rates were approved by the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, December 4th during the regular meeting.

The proposed increase to the wastewater base rate will be $16.90, up from $16.00.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $5.06 to $5.78.

“In 2017, the city implemented an $8.60 surcharge in order to pay the loan on the new wastewater treatment facility.  And going into this, we knew that we wanted to phase in these wastewater treatment costs.  So we did not implement the operation and maintenance rates that were going to be necessary to operate the facility because we won’t have the facility operating until the spring of 2018.  So we knew this was coming.  This is a 9% increase from where the rate currently is at,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland.

The proposed increases to the wastewater rates are expected to raise about $100,000 annually according to Weiland.  He also commented to the council that the city has estimated $100,000 to be the yearly cost of operations and maintenance to the new wastewater treatment facility.

The proposed increase to the water base rate will be $12.00, up from $11.50.  The per 1,000 gallons used rate will increase from $4.52 to $4.64.

“In the budget for 2018, there is included a 3% water rate increase.  There isn’t like the sewer rate that we know we need to increase it for operation and maintenance. The 3% increase is to keep up with inflation and increased costs associated with operating the water across the board,” Weiland said.

Weiland noted that this increase in water rates is also to reflect to the Department of Environment & Natrual Resources (DENR) that the city is increasing their rates on an annual basis.  He said that DENR recommends a yearly increase to keep up with the costs and to keep rates where the DENR sees they need to be as an average across the state.  Weilend mentioned that the increased rates could also put the city in better position for grant funding for the Southeast Infrastructure project.  The city plans on applying for several million dollars in funding for that project in January.


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November 30th, 2017 Declared “LuAnn Heidebrink Day” in Dell Rapids

After 38 years in education at Dell Rapids, LuAnn Heidebrink retired on Thursday, November 30th, 2017.  Because of her dedication to Dell Rapids and education, Dell Rapids Mayor Tom Earley declared it “LuAnne Heidebrink Day” in Dell Rapids Thursday in honor of her.  The declaration came during a ceremony held in the commons area at Dell Rapids Middle School.  Heidebrink has been serving as the Dell Rapids District Office Secretary.

“LuAnn has been the rock for our district.  I truly believe her unwavering care and compassion for staff and students has shaped a culture of kindness throughout Dell Rapids. There isn’t a person who has worked or attended Dell Rapids Public Schools that hasn’t been positively impacted by something LuAnn did.  She will be missed in so many ways, although someone so special will stay in our hearts forever,” said Dell Rapids Superintendent Dr. Summer Schultz.

Heidebrink will continue to work as a substitute secretary and provide office help to the district office on a part-time basis.


Photo courtesy of Stacey Gleason




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Second Phase of Hwy 115 Project Complete – I29 Bridge Opens at Dell Rapids

DellRapidsI29BridgeThe second phase of the $18.8 million Hwy 115 project in and around Dell Rapids has completed.  On Wednesday, November 29th, the Interstate 29 interchange at Exit 98 to Dell Rapids reopened to traffic.

Coinciding with the opening of the interstate interchange, the north bridge on Hwy 115 heading south of Dell Rapids will be closed starting Monday, December 4th, resulting in a detour through Dell Rapids.  The detour will be the same detour used Hwy115DetourRoutewhen the south bridge on Hwy 115 was being replaced.  When driving north into Dell Rapids, motorists will be routed off of Hwy 115 to Centennial Dr., to Garfield Ave., and then to 4th St. back west to Hwy 115.  Trucks will be directed off of 4th St. at Orleans Ave. and will need to use 3rd St. to get back to Hwy 115.

“The DOT has reassured me that if they are shutting this bridge down, that the contractor is planning on working as expediently as they can through the winter.  They’re not going to show up, tear the bridge down, and take off site for six weeks, a month or even two weeks.  They plan on working through the winter.  They want to get as much work done when the water level is where it is now so that they can Hwy115NorthBridgebe ready to go in the spring.  It’s also their hope it pushes up their re-opening schedule on the bridge as well,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the regular meeting of the Dell Rapids City Council on Monday, November 20th.

The final phase of the project is the replacement of the north bridge on Hwy 115 and road replacement north to the four-way stop.  The highway from the four-way stop west to the new interstate interchange will also be replaced.  According to the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the overall completion date for the project is June 21, 2019.

The first phase of the project, the replacement of the south bridge on Hwy 115 and highway replacement to 248th St., began in April of 2016.  That section was completed in a little over a year with the bridge and new road opening May of this year.

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Dell Rapids School Vandalized

DellRapidsHighSchoolDuring the Dell Rapids City Council regular meeting on Monday, November 20th, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Deputy Kellen Weidner gave a report of vandalism of the Dell Rapids High School.  Officer Weidner reported the vandalism took place during the night of Sunday, November 19th. Nazi graffiti was spray-painted on the side of the building.

“We are aware of it.  It’s something that is happening throughout the county, mostly in Sioux Falls,” Weidner said.  “If there’s any businesses or anything that happen to get any of that graffiti, make sure to contact us immediately.  That way we can keep going on that case.  All of the deputies are aware of it.”

Weidner also reported that the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office deputies are doing their best to be out trying to see people who might be out after hours.

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Public Meeting Date Set for SE Project

DellRapidsTowerThe city of Dell Rapids will be having a public meeting at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Monday, December 11th for the south east infrastructure project.  The meeting will take place in the Parish Hall starting at 6:00 p.m. with a question and answer period with city administration.  The city’s slide show presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m.

A total of 145 property owners will be affected by this project.  A cover letter was sent to each property owner about the meeting to hear about the project and answer questions.  Letters for potential assessment to the property owners for the project have also been sent.

This project is to replace water and sewer lines in this section of the community, and then replace streets and add curb, gutter and sidewalks to areas that do not have it currently.  The area of the project will run south of 7th St to 3rd st and east of Garfield Ave to Beach Ave.SEProjectMap

“This is a big one.  This is an estimated $6.5 million project with about $800,000 in assessments associated with it.” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council meeting on Monday, November 20th.  The assessed values are for curb, gutter, and approaches on properties that don’t currently have them in place.

“This is an investment and an improvement to our community. Obviously they are going to have to buy in. We want this meeting to provide the people the information they need,” said Dell Rapid Mayor Tom Earley.  “This is another critical point in the development of this community, and it’s something that needs to happen.”

The tentative timeline of this project will be in 2019 and 2020.  Trent Bruce of DGR mentioned during the council meeting that some sophisticated railroad crossings and likelihood of rock blasting that will have to be addressed during the project.  He also mentioned that giving contractors more time to do a project generally results in favorable bids for the project.

“This is an introductory meeting to let them (property owners) know that this is coming down the pipe,” Weiland said.


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Pink Ladies “Christmas for Kids” Fundraiser Hoping for Another Big Year

The annual Pink Ladies “Christmas for Kids” fundraiser auction and raffle will be held on Friday, December 8th, and organizers of the fundraiser are hoping for another big year.  This year’s event will be held again at Norby’s.  The meat raffle will begin at 5:00 p.m., live auction will start at 7:00 p.m., and raffle items will be available until 9:00 p.m.

The Pink Ladies dart team that puts together this fundraiser consists of a group of about 20 ladies.  Their goal is to make this a very memorable event every year to help families of Dell Rapids by donating funds raised to the ESA “Christmas for Our Kids” project.  They also have a goal to try to raise a larger amount then the year before.

“The last four years I have been on this committee, it is such an amazing feeling to wake up the day after the benefit and know that I made a difference, and I helped make a child smile,” said committee member Serena Campbell.

Last year’s fundraiser made $13,760 that went to help families in the Dell Rapids community.  A small percentage of the money raised is also donated to two other non-profit organizations.  One of the organizations is the Dell Rapids food pantry, and the committee then decides on another group to receive donations.

The year’s event already had quite a few great items up for auction or raffle.  Some of them include two 55″ televisions, 1/2 processed hog donated by Bob’s Meat in Chester, an ATV trailer donated by DTC, a Terry Peak get-away, a week stay at a condo in Orlando, FL, Grand Falls Casino package, multiple gift card donations, and many, many more great items.

“Being a part of this committee has been such an amazing experience.  I cannot begin to give enough thanks to all the businesses and individuals who donate to this auction, whether it be an item for the auction, the raffle, or a cash donation.  It is all greatly appreciated.  We could not make this a success without Lee Burggraff and his staff donating their time the night of the event as our auctioneer,” Campbell said.

Donations for the event will be accepted up until the day of the event.

The “Christmas for Our Kids” project is lead by the local chapter of ESA (an international women’s service organization).  The ESA chapter handles all of the referrals for the “Christmas for Our Kids” as well as delivering the gifts to the families.  Contacts for the ESA “Christmas for Our Kids” project are Brenda O’Hara and Lori Morris.


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Dell Rapids Connections Sponsors Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Presentation

ConnectionsSuicidePreventionThe Dell Rapids Connections group continued work started by a Dell Rapids student early this year.  The group sponsored a mental health and suicide prevention presentation on Monday, November 20th.  The presentation included two speakers.  Angela Drake from Tea and Tod Lacey from Dell Rapids both spoke during the “Talk Saves Lives” presentation.  Both speakers are parents who have lost a child to suicide.

The presentation was held for students and parents throughout the day.  Students saw the presentation in the afternoon during their school day.  Parents were invited to a supper meal provided by the Dell Rapids Connections group and heard the presentation Monday evening at the Dell Rapids Middle School commons area.

The Dell Rapids Connections group sponsored the event in an effort to continue the work started by Sydney LaCoursiere.  LaCoursiere put together an event in October during the Dell Rapids vs Flandreau football game.  A total of 112 luminary bags were placed around the football field and fans attending the game were given a flier that talked about mental heath issues.  Her desire to get awareness out to the public is due the number of suicides the Dell Rapids community has faced over the last 10 years.

Parents can find more information and resources at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

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