Help Improve the Lives of Patients, Give Blood

CommunityBloodBankDell Rapids, SD- Avera Dells Area Health Center and Community Blood Bank will join forces to host a community blood drive on Thursday, April 5 from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm. All blood donations will directly benefit the local blood supply and patients in need at Avera Dells Area Health Center.

“Spring is the perfect time to provide a lifesaving gift and impact the community’s blood supply,” states Ken Versteeg, Executive Director, Community Blood Bank. “Your donation of blood with Community Blood Bank will save up to three patients, impacting a trauma, burn, surgery or cancer patient. Consider keeping your donation local and impact patients in need when we come to Avera Dells Area Health Center.”

Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with a signed parent consent form found at, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good general health the day of the donation. Please bring an ID with you. It is recommended that you eat and drink plenty of fluids before donating blood. It only takes 30 to 35 minutes to donate with Community Blood Bank.

Community Blood Bank is the sole provider of blood and blood products to 34 local area hospitals, including Madison Regional Health. For questions please contact Avera Dells Area Health Center at 605-428-2421, Community Blood Bank at 877-877-3070 or log onto our website at . Walk-ins are always welcome.

Community Blood Bank is not affiliated with other blood bank organizations and takes pride in being a self-sufficient organization, thanks to the generosity of our local blood donors.

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School Board Finalizes Calendar and Sets Election Date

NewDRLogoThe Dell Rapids School Board held their latest regular meeting on Monday, March 12th.  Among other items discussed, the board finalized the school calendar for the remainder of this year as well as set the date for the school board election.

The Dell Rapids school district has had only one full day of school missed due to the weather this year.

Superintendent Dr. Summer Schultz said, “You have two choices really…make up the day with staff and students, or make up the day with just staff.”

After discussion the board voted to leave the last day of school for students as Wednesday, May 23rd.  The missed day will be made up by the staff on Friday, May 25th as an in-service day.  This was also the recommendation from Dr. Schultz.

The school board also set the school board election for Tuesday, April 10th.  All precincts will be voting at the Dell Rapids Lutheran Church.  The public will be voting on two school board openings.  The City of Dell Rapids did not have to hold an election this year as all open city council ward spots only had one candidate petition filed per ward.

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Schumaker, Dells Grad, Only SD Student to Make List

Schumaker, from Mt Marty MBB bio

Schumaker, from Mt Marty MBB bio

Zane Schumaker, a Dell Rapids graduate and junior at Mount Marty, was one of 177 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II men’s basketball student-athletes named to the 2018 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes list for the 2017-2018 season.

Schumaker was one of two students from Mount Marty named to the list and the only student from South Dakota to make the list.

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status to qualify for this honor.

Schumaker led the Lancers in assists and steals during this past season.

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Dell Rapids Students Win Awards


NewDRLogoSeveral Dell Rapids High School students received awards or accolades during the first half of the month of March.

Amanda Tomes and Bergan Weiland both were recognized by NCWIT.  Tomes won an NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing for the North and South Dakota Region.  Weiland was an honorable mention for the same award.

Samantha Verver recently placed third in the Paul Witherington Prose Contest at South Dakota State University for her short story entry, “Phoenix & Grace”.

Evan Schmidt is a finalist in the South Dakota Student Journalist of the Year competition.  The South Dakota High School Activities Association will announce the specific awards at a convention on March 28th.

Casey Machmiller placed 1oth and Kyle Steineke placed 16th in the FFA Ag Mechanics Career Development Event recently held in Watertown.  The Ag Machanics team finished fourth with the other two members being Kenyon Shellum and Riley Anderson.


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St Mary Student Wins Essay Competition

DRSM LogoPayton Park’s winning essay aims to help a leading nonprofit fulfill its mission through sound financial management, placing him first in the state of South Dakota for high school students

Spearfish, South Dakota March 15, 2018 – Many teens enjoy raising funds for nonprofit organizations, but 16-year old Payton Park wants to manage those funds! This exceptional sophomore from St. Mary’s High School in Dell Rapids, South Dakota channeled his inner financial advisor to create an investment plan for the World Food Program and become the South Dakota first-place winner of SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) Foundation’s Fall 2017 InvestWrite® competition. Park’s remarkable essay on how to help a nonprofit organization manage its assets for maximum short- and long-term sustainability has positioned him at the top of thousands of students competing nationwide. Should he ever wish to manage his own nonprofit organization, Park has the financials figured out!

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the SIFMA Foundation’s acclaimed national financial capability programs engage 600,000 students and 15,000 educators annually with proven impacts in raising students’ math, economics and personal finance test scores and, through InvestWrite, their language arts and writing skills. The 4th-12th graders nationwide who compete each year are reinforcing what they have learned in The Stock Market Game an online simulation of the global capital markets that reinforces STEM learning, 21st Century skills, economics, investing and personal finance. Through InvestWrite, students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in The Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 17 million students since its inception in 1977.

InvestWrite enables students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits. Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations. They work in groups during The Stock Market Game program and then write their InvestWrite essays individually to reflect their critical thinking, analysis and creative talents.

“SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students for college, career and life while teaching them about the capital markets and investing,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, understand the impact of global economic activity, and become smart consumers ready for financial independence.”

Since InvestWrite was introduced in 2004, more than 215,000 students have submitted essays. Payton Park is among the 20,000 participants each year in InvestWrite, which bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning.

An independent, double-blind, nationally randomized evaluation conducted by Learning Point Associates (now AIR) found that The Stock Market Game improves students’ academic achievement and personal financial behavior. Students who participated in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught The Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are offered in South Dakota through the Center for Economic Education at Black Hills State University. “We honor and congratulate our InvestWrite winning student, Payton Park and his teacher, Amanda Geraets” said Donald Altmyer, Center Director & South Dakota Stock Market Game Coordinator. “Helping South Dakota students better understand our economy, our markets, the role of investors, and how to make good investments will pay dividends for the students, their education, and the South Dakota economy.”

The South Dakota Stock Market Game is sponsored by the Black Hills State University Center for Economic Education, the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the South Dakota Council on Economic Education. For more information on the program or the webinars, contact Professor Don Altmyer, SDSMG Coordinator at or 605-642-6266.

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Quiz Bowl and Vocal Ensembles Shine for Dell Rapids

NewDRLogoMembers of the Dell Rapids High School choir participated in a solo and ensemble contest held at Augustana University on Monday, March 12th.  Ten students made the trip to Sioux Falls, and those ten students performed in eight events.

The quartet of Kat Fletcher, Abby Stauffenecker, Jay Holm, and Mitchell Heinemann earned an excellent rating.  Alec Saxon and Heinemann earned a superior rating for their duet.  More impressive is the fact that Saxon was working on the duet with another student prior to the contest, but that student caught the flu and couldn’t perform.  Heinemann sight-sang the piece with Saxon.  Fletcher and Mercedes Lodmell earned a superior for their duet.  Chloe Fischer and Anna Symens earned an excellent rating for their duet.  Stauffenecker and Allison Hegg earned a superior in duet.  Lodmell earned a superior for her solo.  Peyton Gleason also earned a superior for his solo.  Stauffenecker earned an excellent on her solo performance.

The Dell Rapids Quiz Bowl Team One earned a second place finish at the Dak XII Conference quiz bowl meet on Monday, March 12th.  The team scored a total of 96 points in the competition.  Canton won the event with 119 points.  West Central placed third with 90 points.

Members of the quiz bowl team are Joey Abbott, Amy Meyer, Dylan Yetter, Matt Benda, Tayte Gleason, and Cooper Emery.

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 9 Update

Pischke_2017The main portion of the 2018 Legislative Session finished up on Friday, March 9th, and while it included many positives, people should be alerted to the dramatic expansion in government spending that is occurring each year and the increasing tax burden placed on the shoulders of our citizens.

South Dakotans take pride in the fact that their State Government, by comparison, is one of the more financially sound states in the nation. Our state retirement is fully funded, so we can keep our commitments to our teachers and state employees. We have a AAA bond credit rating, enabling us to construct buildings at low interest rates. Our state Constitution, approved by the voters, requires a structurally balanced budget, so we can’t spend more money than we take in.

But while we are not on the brink of insolvency like some other states, I don’t believe that’s enough to say that we are doing well at managing our responsibility to you, the citizens and taxpayers. If you’re like me, you expect that we will find ways each year to spend your dollars more effectively, and you expect our programs to help people toward personal responsibility, not create more dependency.

In 2017 the State spent $4.148 billion. In 2019, the budget is set to spend $4.688 billion. That’s an increase of $540 million or 13% in just two years. That’s $5417 for every man, woman and child and an increase of about $623 per person in 2 years.  Personally, my income hasn’t increased 13% in two years so it’s hard to justify that the government should increase it’s spending by that same mark.  We’ve also added 612 full time employees (FTE) in two years.

One substantial portion of the increased budget this year was due to the Federal Government changing the rules to comply with their responsibility to fund healthcare for our Native American population. They directed Indian Health Services to pay for 100% of the medical costs for their enrolled members who are eligible for Medicaid. This resulted in substantial savings to the state, which could have been used to reduce the tax burden on our South Dakota families, spent to ensure there are enough high quality workers caring for disabled citizens, or used to fund the education increases we passed so that you wouldn’t see your property taxes go up.

Instead, the proposal was to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, expand Medicaid services, and expand the number of people eligible to bill Medicaid for their services. Some targeted reimbursement rate increases are necessary to ensure we have the staff to help care for the truly disabled. But much of the benefit of this expansion goes to the big 3 hospital systems in our state, who put a lot of pressure on legislators to go along with the “grand bargain” and not to change it. Once these expansions are authorized, there is no discretion by the State. We simply have to pay the bills.

Some of us determined that it was not necessary or prudent to expand Medicaid services at this time, and fought to stop Medicaid expansion in the state budget. We have seen Medicaid expansion plans really sink state budgets in other states. It seemed wiser to wait until the next Governor takes office before saddling them with an expansion that could really get out of control. We got 17 legislators to oppose the budget presented, but were unsuccessful in stopping the expansion.

It will be important to watch carefully what happens with this in the session next year. Will the numbers come in as predicted, or will it be another bait and switch that promises savings, but really ends up growing government? The important thing is to remember history and stay watchful. If we do so, we can keep the government accountable to the promises made so that your taxes are being spent as wisely as possible and that your family budget is the one that grows, instead of the State’s.

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Dan Ahlers Week 9 Update

dan_ahlersGreetings from Pierre. We have completed the final week of session. I will cover the new Precision Ag Center at SDSU as well as provide a breakdown of the additions to this fiscal year and the state budget approved for 2019.

In this final week, the legislature approved a $55 million precision agriculture project at SDSU. SDSU will become the nation’s first university to offer a B.S. degree in Precision Agriculture. Precision Agriculture combines engineering, mathematics, agronomics and environmental analysis to improve traditional agriculture methods. GPS guidance systems in tractors during the 1990’s were the early stage of precision agriculture. An example of today’s precision agriculture combines GPS-based soil sampling, software and variable rate technology to maximize the distribution of fertilizer. Farmers, ranchers, foresters, etc. can use these tools to optimize yields and profits while protecting water, soil, livestock and wildlife.

Each session, we amend the current fiscal year’s budget. Sometimes we make cuts because revenues fall short of projections. Other years, we may have a surplus. During surplus years, we can choose to put the money in reserves or address other unmet state needs. In 2018, we added an additional $5.4 million in one-time money to education. An additional $2 million was approved for the Precision Ag Center at SDSU. We approved money to start the application for the State Veterans Cemetery near Sioux Falls. We also put $4.7 million toward state employee health insurance reserves. The Governor proposed an increase to a group of Medicaid providers to get within 90% of cost in 2019, so the legislature appropriated an additional three months of funding in 2018. We also included an additional $2 million in one-time money to all providers. Finally, we appropriated additional money in 2018 to increase starting wages for correctional officers and employees at the Human Services Center in Yankton. These facilities have experienced high turnover and overtime pay due to non-competitive wages.

For fiscal year 2019, we focused on three main areas: Medicaid providers, state employees and education. For providers, we approved a 1.5% overall inflationary increase. The newspapers reported a 2% increase, but that is not accurate. Our Medicaid providers are classified by a tier system. Providers like Avera and Sanford Hospital will see a .5% increase, while nursing homes will see a 2% increase to their reimbursement. State employees will receive a 1.2% salary policy increase. The legislature prioritized state employee salary policy early in this session. The departments have had a difficult time filling many positions throughout state government. This problem is due to wages not being comparable to the industry median. Finally, education will receive a 1% inflationary increase. This increase will apply to special education, education and technical schools. Newspapers reported that the legislature increased taxes again to give money to teachers. This statement was also inaccurate. The increase given to schools is not required to go to teacher salary. However, those schools that did not make their teacher salary accountability last year will need to use this money for salary in order to make accountability this year. With respect to taxes, the mil levy changes for property tax correspond with the increase in state general fund dollars. These levy adjustments happen each year with changes in state aid.

Thank you for electing me to represent you in Pierre. Your calls and emails during session were valuable in my decision-making process. Please continue to share your input on any issue or concern. Throughout the summer, I will continue to work on constituent issues. Sometimes these issues can be resolved without legislation. Otherwise, I use your input to create legislation for the next session. You may email me at

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2018 Dell Rapids Post Prom Letter

NewDRLogoThe greatest percentage of teen deaths in the state of South Dakota is due to accidents on prom and graduation nights. For this reason, the Dell Rapids High School Post Prom Committee is dedicated to creating a safe, fun, and drug- and alcohol-free event after prom.

The Dell Rapids High School Prom will be April 28, 2018. We are planning the after prom event for the early morning hours of April 29 at the school, and we would greatly appreciate any monetary contributions to sponsor this worthwhile activity.

Contributions may be sent to Tracie Price, 47181 244th Street, Dell Rapids, SD. All donations go directly to support the youth that attend the post prom event.

Registration for Post Prom will begin in March 2018. All information regarding the Post Prom schedule, as well as the registration forms, can be found on the school website after March 1.

We anticipate that this year’s post prom party will be filled with lots of food, entertainment, prizes, and fun. The committee would welcome the help of any junior and senior parents as we continue to plan the event. Please let any committee member know if you would like to join us! Thank you!

  • Nikie LaFortune & Amy Holm, Chairs
  • Tracie Price, Treasurer
  • Donna Reit, Secretary
  • The Post Prom Committee includes many other supporting Junior & Senior Parents.
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Big Sioux River Rip Rap Project Completed

The Big Sioux River rip rap project in Dell Rapids was recently completed by Dakota Clearing and Grading along with help from the city crew.  The project consisted of adding rip rap to the north and south banks of the Big Sioux River to spots both east and west of the Garfield Ave bridge.

“We got that in on probably the last window frame of time that we could have possibly got it in because as soon as they were done, the temperatures warmed up quite a bit and it would been too sloppy to be out there moving heavy equipment around.  Dakota Clearing and Grading did it in about three to three and a half days, and did a really great job,” said City Administrator Justin Weiland during the Dell Rapids City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, March 5th.

Weiland also noted that LG Everist needed to be recognized for the project as well for being the “good-neighbor company they are.”  LG Everist contributed all the material to assist the city with the project.



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