Schools Make Plans for Make-up Days

SchoolMakeUpDaysWith the harshness of winter and school related closings hopefully behind us, both Dell Rapids and Dell Rapids St Mary schools have made changes to the 2018-2019 school calendar to make up for the snow days this year.

Dell Rapids St Mary has made the following updates to their calendar after discussions with staff and EAC.  The end of the 3rd quarter will now end on March 26th.  March 27th will now be a full day of school instead of an early dismissal.  April 18th will be an In-Session day.  May 21st and 22nd will be full days of school.  May 23rd will be the final day of school with an 11:30 a.m. dismissal, and May 24th will be a teacher work day.

The Dell Rapids School Board approved the following changes during their regular meeting to the Dell Rapids school calendar.  March 27th will be a regular full day of school instead of an early dismissal.  May 22nd, 23rd and 24th will be added to the end of the school year with Friday, May 24th currently planned as the final day of school.

Both schools have said that these plans could change if more days of snow days are added before the end of the year.

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City Council Election Canceled, School Board Election to be Held

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council will not need an election on Tuesday, April 9th.  This announcement came during the council’s regular meeting held on Monday, March 4th.

All four of the open seats will be filled by the incumbent council members.  Each of the four wards had an open seat up for election, but the only petitions submitted to fill those seats were filed by the incumbent council members.  Gary Haak in Ward 1, Mark Crisp in Ward 2, Mike Geraets in Ward 3, and James Borchert in Ward 4 will all serve another three-year term on the Dell Rapids City Council.

The Dell Rapids School Board will still continue to have their election on April 9th as three petitions have been filed for two open spots.  Matthew Weiland, Denise Cavigielli, and Lee Bollock will be up for election.

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, 2019.  All precincts will vote at the Lutheran Church located at 701 North Orleans Avenue in Dell Rapids.  

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Eastern Chapter of SD Engineering Society Announces Award Winners

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The Eastern Chapter of the South Dakota Engineering Society presents awards annually to acknowledge the accomplishments of the engineering profession and recognize engineering achievements that capture the innovative and dynamic spirit of a profession dedicated to public service. The following awards were presented at the Annual Awards Banquet on February 23, 2019:

Microsoft Word - News Release - Award Winners_ldw comments

Photo submitted in press release

Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award

DGR Engineering – Dell Rapids Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements Project

The City of Dell Rapids existing wastewater treatment facility lacked the capability to provide adequate treatment of the City’s wastewater. The City of Dell Rapids is a growing community that wanted to position themselves to welcome newcomers and not be constrained by a treatment system with limited treatment capacity.

The City understood that discharge limits are only going to become more stringent in the future, and they needed a treatment system that was easily expandable and adaptable to meet these future limits. The City selected a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) because it met these requirements and set Dell Rapids up for future growth and success.  The overall project construction cost was nearly $5.8 million.


Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award

RESPEC – Big Sioux River Flood Information System Project

The Big Sioux River Basin in eastern South Dakota has experienced repeated flooding in recent years. In 2014, a major flood in the lower basin revealed shortcomings in understanding and predicting flood-event behavior. In 2016, the State of South Dakota commissioned the development of the Big Sioux River Flood Information System.

The Flood Information System is a two-part web platform including access for the public and flood-response teams. The first part is a public site with access to stream conditions at over 50 locations throughout the Big Sioux River Basin and a library of over 8,000 inundation maps, representing flood scenarios for five different communities. The second part is a site reserved for state and community officials and includes access to real-time flood inundation forecasts. When flood events are predicted, the hydro-logic output is run through models and predicted inundation maps are loaded to the web platform.

The Flood Information System provides the public with an understanding of potential flood risks and gives flood-response teams accurate information for decision making during flood events.

Already in 2018, the system has proven its value during two separate events near North Sioux City. As significant amounts of rain fell over parts of the basin upstream, there was a lot of uncertainty in the severity of flooding that may occur. The Flood Information System predicted less-severe impacts than previous forecasting methods. Flood response managers had the confidence to hold off any drastic measures well in advance. The Flood Information System predictions held true, accurate to within 0.1 feet of observed flood stage.

The total project cost was $1.3 million.


Young Engineer of the Year Award – Krista May, PE

Krista May is a Project Engineer at Infrastructure Design Group, Inc. of Sioux Falls. Krista has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University. Krista has played the lead engineering role for multiple large-scale complex projects in her 8 year career. Her lead role includes roadway design, traffic control, lighting and signals, traffic impact studies, drainage, erosion control, water main, pavement marking, signage, and sanitary sewer. Krista has been involved in nearly $130 million worth of civil engineering projects. Krista is involved in numerous professional and community organizations including: Alpha Omega Epsilon (AΩE) (President), MATHCOUNTS Competition (SE South Dakota Chairperson), SD Engineering Society (Eastern Branch President-Elect), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Young Professionals Network (YPN), and Sioux Empire United Way (Emerging Leaders Advisory Committee). Krista likes to read, attend theater productions, and attend her cousins’ sporting events.


Engineer of the Year Award – Lance Weatherly, PE, MBA

Lance Weatherly is a Principal Engineer for the City of Sioux Falls providing engineering support for the Public Works Stormwater division.  Lance is responsible for the planning and execution of the $44 million Stormwater Capital Improvements Program to improve neighborhoods and promote comprehensive growth.  Lance’s professional career has spanned 15 years in the private and public sectors in Eastern South Dakota.  Lance has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Dakota.  Lance obtained his professional engineer licensure in 2008 and is licensed in South Dakota.    Lance is active in the South Dakota Engineering Society, having served in different leadership roles and is the current president of the Eastern Chapter. Lance enjoys giving back to personally and professionally to the Sioux Falls community and mentoring the upcoming generation of professional engineers.  Lance enjoys spending time with his family and traveling to explore new cultures.

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Free Rubble Site Days Announced for Spring

DellRapidsTowerThe Dell Rapids City Council decided on the free rubble site days for the spring season during their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 19th.

City Administrator Justin Weiland said, “I thought it was time we should maybe start thinking spring here a little bit.  Let’s get this established for the spring.  It’s a few months away, and we get some advertising for it.  We’ve been doing Saturday, Thursday, Saturday.  First part of May has been the tradition.”

Weiland proposed to the council that the free rubble site days be May 4th, 9th, and 11th.  The motion passed unanimously.

The free rubble site days will be held on May 4th, 9th and 11th.  The council did not make any plans for electronic recycling during any of those days.  The electronic recycling is only done once a year in the fall.

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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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