Event to Impact Local Blood Supply This Winter

CommunityBloodBankDell Rapids, SD- Avera Dells Area Health Center and Community Blood Bank are joining forces to help ward off winter blood shortages by hosting a blood drive event. The blood drive will be held on Thursday, January 10 from 7:00 am to 11:00 am and 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm at Avera Dells Area Health Center in Dell Rapids, SD.  All blood donations will stay local for local use.  

Every three seconds someone needs blood, and the only way to ensure that those needs are met is to rely on volunteer donors to donate blood. The need for local blood donors is immense. The Community Blood Bank supplies over 550 units of blood each week to people in the region. Among those who benefit from donated blood are trauma and burn victims, cancer patients and persons undergoing surgery.

“The winter months can be a difficult time to maintain an adequate blood supply for the community,” states Ken Versteeg, Executive Director, Community Blood Bank. “With the cold and flu season upon us, less people are eligible to give blood. This fact coupled with an increase in travel accidents creates a high need for blood products, data shows a steady increase in usage as we go through the winter season.”

Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with a signed parent consent form), weigh 110 lbs or more and be in good general health. It is recommended that a person eat and drink plenty of fluids prior to donating blood. Please bring an ID with you at the time of donation. For more information log onto www.cbblifeblood.org, call Community Blood Bank at 1-877-877-3070 or call Avera Dells Area Health Center at 605-428-2421.

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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Low Prices at the Gas Pump During Holiday Season

GasPrice2018Residents of Dell Rapids have been treated to gas prices under $2.00 a gallon just in time for Christmas holiday travel.  The price for a gallon of unleaded with ethanol has dipped below $2.00 in the past week.  Prices haven’t been under the $2.00 since early December of 2016.

In the Sioux Falls area, gas prices were at a 3-year low of about $1.36 in early 2016.  Prices had steadily climbed since that time, and they reached a 3-year high of near $2.85, which happened in early October this year.  Prices have been dropping since that high point.  Just one month ago, the average in our area was $2.34.

According to GasBuddy.com, the Sioux Falls area is currently lower than the state and national average.  The average in the Sioux Falls market as of December 24th is $2.05.  The average price for a gallon of regular gas in South Dakota is $2.31.  The national average is also at $2.31.

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Christmas for Our Kids Thanks the Dell Rapids Community

Photo submitted by Brenda O'Hara

Photo submitted by Brenda O’Hara

Please accept our sincere “Thank You” on behalf of “OUR” kids and their families for your generous support this Christmas. Your help for families came in the form of child or family adoptions, cash donations, toys, clothing, gift cards, and homemade pillow cases – all representing your love for others in our community. We found a thankful home for each gift donated and used the financial contributions to buy toys and gift cards. You opened your hearts to spread Christmas joy to families currently experiencing difficult times. Thank you so very much!!!

Sue Horstmeyer, a long-time educator in Dell Rapids, started the project over 30 years ago by helping a single family that she saw needed some extra help. Over the years she continued to adopt more families and recruited her friends to help families as well. She named the project “Christmas for OUR Kids” because she wanted to emphasis that it is a community project helping to take care of their own. It really does take a village. In 2007, when she retired and moved to Sioux Falls, she asked our local ESA chapter to take over the project. The Dell Rapids chapter of ESA (Epsilon Sigma Alpha), an international women’s service organization, has been in Dell Rapids since 2004.

This is the 12th year the local ESA chapter has spear-headed the “Christmas for OUR Kids” project. Over the years we have had tremendous community support. Three angel trees are put up after Thanksgiving for those in the community that want to buy gifts, the public schools have a weeklong donation drive, and the local quilt shop customers donate home-made pillow cases for each child.

A special thank you to the “Dells Elves”, another local group of women who make a difference in Dell Rapids. For the last 4 years, the “Dells Elves” have been holding a fundraiser at Norby’s to benefit the “Christmas for OUR Kids” project. Thanks to the Dells Elves and all of those in the community that donate to and attend the fundraiser. The monetary donation makes a world of difference to the project and these families.

In 2007 when ESA took the project over from Sue, we helped 28 families with 75 kids. This year we helped 56 families with 136 kids. Thank you on behalf of “OUR” kids and their families for your contributions to our 2018 Christmas drive. You’ve made the “Dell Rapids” difference!

Here are a few excerpts from the many thank you notes sent by the families we helped:

  • “Thank you so much for helping us for Christmas!! Bless you.”
  • “I just want to say thank you again. This is an amazing thing you guys do and once I am on my feet I will definitely be donating and giving back.”
  • “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Photo submitted by Brenda O'Hara  The ESA Elves who spear-head the "Christmas for OUR Kids" project. Back row (l to r): Glenda Siemonsma, Sandy Grismer, Elaine Hammer, Teri Zastrow, Natalie Reed, Sheba Schlaikjer, and Maria Crisp Front row (l to r): Kim Berven, Laurie Huewe, Melissa DeNoon, Diana Jones, Brenda O'Hara Not Pictured: Lori Morris and Jericha Phelps

Photo submitted by Brenda O’Hara
The ESA Elves who spear-head the “Christmas for OUR Kids” project.
Back row (l to r): Glenda Siemonsma, Sandy Grismer, Elaine Hammer, Teri Zastrow, Natalie Reed, Sheba Schlaikjer, and Maria Crisp
Front row (l to r): Kim Berven, Laurie Huewe, Melissa DeNoon, Diana Jones, Brenda O’Hara
Not Pictured: Lori Morris and Jericha Phelps

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Workforce Education Could Be Coming to Dell Rapids

Workforce education, or apprenticeships, could be part of the education curriculum at Dell Rapids as early as next year.  Superintendent Dr. Summer Schultz gave a brief update on the goal of the school to have workforce education to the Dell Rapids School Board during their regular meeting on Monday, December 10th.

“We have got to figure out a way to get more work-based opportunities for our high school kids.  The state is telling us we have flexibility to give credit those apprenticeships, job shadowing, and things like that.  The state is saying you can give these alternate pathways to kids for credit,” said Dr. Schultz.

Dr. Schultz also mentioned that it’s hard to do that right now.  She is meeting with the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce and city administration over the winter months to discuss specifics of the plan and will have a more formal, detailed announcement out to the public at a later time.  Dr. Schultz is also currently looking for businesses around Dell Rapids that are wanting to do apprenticeships or job shadowing to try to get this goal going for next school year.

“When we figure out of every 100 kids that start college in South Dakota, 23 finish with a degree.  Clearly we are missing the boat for a lot of kids, and we’re not sending them down the right path.  I’m not saying we don’t want every kid to be college ready and college prepared, but if that isn’t their path and that’s not where they want to go, maybe we should provide some opportunities for them in other places also,” said Dr. Schultz.  She also mentioned these opportunities would also benefit students that do want to go to college in helping them figure out a course of study.

Dr. Schultz urged the members of the board if they know of any businesses in the area that are willing to provide these opportunities to please let her know.  Administration is looking to build those alliances now for the next school year.



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Dell Rapids Teams Participating in Swier Law Firm’s Sportsmanship Challenge

DellRapidsSportsmanshipChallengeSwier Law Firm is sponsoring a Sportsmanship Challenge for the 2018-2019 basketball season.  They have asked both the boys and girls teams of ten high schools across the state to participate in this challenge.  If the varsity teams successfully complete the challenge, each team will win $200 (up to $400 per school) to use for team camps, shooting shirts, or any other reason the coaching staff sees fit.

The requirements for the challenge are very simple.  The varsity basketball teams cannot receive any technical fouls during the entire 2018-2019 season, which includes the regular season and any post-season play.  The challenge is also team specific.  That means even if one of the teams at a school fails to meet the requirements, the other team is not disqualified from the challenge.  The other team can still earn $200 if they complete the challenge.

Scott Swier, founder and managing member of Swier Law Firm, came to Dell Rapids High School to explain the challenge to both the boys and girls teams and why they are doing this challenge.

“You can really transfer being a hard worker and being a classy person, win or lose, twenty years down the line when you’re doctors, and nurses, and lawyers, or whatever you guys want to be.  Sportsmanship really does transfer to real life,” Swier said.

The ten schools that are participating in this challenge are Avon, Burke, Dell Rapids, Gregory, Harrisburg, Lennox, Mount Vernon, Platte-Geddes, Wagner, and Winner.

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Mount Marty College Announces Partnership with Sacred Hoops

MtMartyYANKTON, SD — Mount Marty College (MMC) recently announced a partnership with Sacred Hoops, a South Dakota based basketball academy, that will foster opportunities for South Dakota athletes to achieve their goals both on the court and in the classroom.

As part of the agreement, Sacred Hoops athletes who go on to play any collegiate sport at MMC will be awarded an automatic $16,000 (minimum) scholarship. The scholarships, which are subject to student fulfillment of MMC’s admission requirements, are renewable for four years and have a minimum net value of $64,000.

MMC Athletic Director, Chris Kassin, says the agreement is a fantastic opportunity for the Lancers.  “We’re always looking to partner with organizations who share our mission and core values,” explains Kassin. “Our goal is to provide talented athletes from across the region with the chance to continue their co-curricular activities while they get a quality degree, so the partnership with Sacred Hoops was an obvious choice.” SacredHoops_300px

Sacred Hoops Basketball Academy provides individualized training and competitive tournament opportunities for South Dakota basketball players who want to improve their game. The program currently serves male and female athletes from across the state with headquarters in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Pierre, and Rapid City. The program has more than 32 summer basketball teams and does more than 150 high school program workouts in the off-season, along with various types of skill workouts, coaching clinics, and humanitarian events.

Sacred Hoops Director, Allan Bertram, believes the partnership is another way to help students pursue their athletic dreams. “Our organization focuses on helping athletes from all parts of our region, and it’s so important for us to do this with organizations that share our Mission and Vision,” says Bertram. “We are very proud and blessed to be able to partner with Mount Marty College to promote post-secondary education and give young people the opportunity to participate in athletics at the collegiate level.”

Mount Marty College offers a variety of in-demand majors including education, nursing, science, business, and criminal justice degrees. To learn more about academic programs and scholarship opportunities at MMC visit www.mtmc.edu. To learn more about Lancer athletics visit mmclancers.com.


Founded in 1936 by the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery, Mount Marty College is a Catholic, Benedictine school of higher education located along the bluffs of the Missouri River in Yankton, South Dakota, with additional locations in Watertown and Sioux Falls. Mount Marty offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with particular focus on student and alumni success in high-demand fields such as health sciences, education, criminal justice, business, accounting, recreation management and more. A community of learners in the Benedictine tradition, Mount Marty emphasizes academic excellence and develops well-rounded students with intellectual competence, professional and personal skills and moral, spiritual and social values. To learn more, visit www.mtmc.edu.

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Local Fifth Grader Fighting Cancer at the Mayo Clinic


Photo courtesy of Tammy Chamley

“Fight Derek Fight” is a phrase that can be seen and heard throughout our small community.  Derek Gerlach, a fifth grader at Dell Rapids Middle School, is undergoing the fight of his life.

Derek was diagnosed with a brain tumor on November 6th, 2018.  The following day Derek underwent surgery to remove a tumor from the base of his skull.  Derek has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma.

According to Wikipedia.org, Medulloblastoma is the most common type of pediatric malignant primary brain tumor (cancer), originating in the part of the brain that is towards the back and bottom, on the floor of the skull, in the cerebellum, or posterior fossa.


Photo courtesy of Tammy Chamley

On Monday, December 3rd, Derek started his six week radiation therapy at the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota.   Derek is looking at a minimum of a year of chemotherapy treatment to battle his cancer.

On Friday, November 30th, before Derek’s departure for the Mayo Clinic, his classmates had a heart-felt surprise for him.  The fifth grade class presented Derek with a homemade quilt for his journey and time away from them.  Each fifth grade student designed a square to be placed on the quilt.  Tanna Swanson, retired fifth grade math teacher (who now steps in as a substitute teacher) was able to bring the creation to life.  Thanks to many hours of sewing, Derek was able to have his quilt before he left for the treatment ahead of him.  “I am so amazed at the maturity and support that the Dell Rapids fifth graders have shown through this with Derek,” Shane Gerlach said.

Shortly after arriving at the hotel in Rochester, the Gerlach family received the call that they were accepted to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester, Minnesota.  The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost.

Due to the amount of appointments the first week in Rochester, both of Derek’s parents, Shane and Donelle will be staying with him.  After the first week, Shane and Donelle will rotate time spent with Derek in Rochester and their home in Dell Rapids.  “Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day will all be spent in Rochester,” Shane Gerlach stated.   “But we’ll be together. That is all that matters. I don’t care where we spend the holiday, we’ll at least be with each other.”

To help Derek and his family, you can donate at any Wells Fargo to the Derek Gerlach Charity Fund, the Help Derek Fight Go Fund Me website, purchase a #fightderekfight bracelet or window decal and most importantly, prayers for Derek.

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Local Students to Learn About Ethics from Top Leaders

JuniorAchievementLogoDell Rapids, SD- Misusing company time, abusive behavior, and employee theft are among the most frequently observed unethical behaviors in the U.S. workplace (according to a survey conducted by the Washington, D.C. based Ethics Resource Center, January 2015). In an effort to stop this trend, Junior Achievement is striving to educate students about the importance of ethical decisions while they are still in school. Through the JA Excelling through Ethics program, over 9,300 South Dakota middle and high school students from 32 communities will learn from executive level volunteers the importance of ethics.

Junior Achievement partners with nearly 500 local business executives across the state to share their personal experience with ethical decision-making and to provide each student an opportunity to think critically about ethical dilemmas they may face. Along with the foundation of ethics, they challenge students to consider their own integrity, reliability, values, and character.

On Wednesday, December 5, over 75 Dell Rapids students will participate in the program. The JA Ethics volunteers will conduct activities, lead discussions, and share real-life ethical decisions they have faced and how they responded. Through these discussions, students will gain a better understanding of their responsibility to society and of the role ethics and integrity play in the workplace and in life.

Kayla Eitreim, President of Junior Achievement of South Dakota, stated, “Today’s students are tomorrow’s future leaders, and Junior Achievement is proud to have the opportunity to help ensure our students are prepared for the workplace. JA volunteers help students develop their soft skills and encourage them to take time to think about the implications of tough decisions while at work and in their personal lives.

Junior Achievement of South Dakota, founded in 1968, inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy. For more information about the JA Excelling through Ethics program, please contact our state office at 800-871-7007 or visit www.jasd.org

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Sacred Hoops to Host Inaugural AAU All-Native National Basketball Championships

First-ever event will be held in Rapid City, South Dakota in June of 2019

AAUSIOUX FALLS, S.D – In a continuing effort to expand the game of basketball in South Dakota, the Sacred Hoops Basketball Organization is pleased to announce it is partnering with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to host an AAU All-Native National Championships basketball tournament for Boys and Girls in Rapid City, South Dakota in June of 2019, with Rapid City Central High School being the host facility.

This news comes after Sacred Hoops Director Allan Bertram had meetings with AAU National Basketball Board Members at the AAU National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. While exact dates of the tournament have yet to be announced, a preliminary date of June 14, the second week in June, has been set.SacredHoops_300px

“The ability to provide a national championship tournament affiliated with the top amateur basketball organization in the world to Native Americans across the country is something we are extremely proud of,” said Sacred Hoops Director Allan Bertram. “Basketball is so special for Native American athletes throughout the country and we eagerly anticipate hosting the event and crowning national championship teams.”

Since its inception in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) has set the standard for amateur sports in the United States with one goal in mind: “Sports For All, Forever.” The organization continues to expand its event programming across the country.

“Supporting this first-ever All-Native National Championship program is a no-brainer for the AAU,” said AAU President/CEO Dr. Roger J. Goudy. “This first venture into an All-Native National championship will become a standard to showcase athletes from across the country and provide an opportunity to play on the biggest of stages.”

Overall, the partnership between Sacred Hoops and the iconic AAU organization will positively impact participants lives on and off the court.

“The game of basketball is so special for the youth on our Reservations and this will bring a legitimate opportunity to play in a prestigious National Championship.” said Sacred Hoops Director Allan Bertram. “In addition, the hope is this high-level tournament will provide further opportunities for athletes who wish to continue their post-secondary education.”


The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest- non-profit volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by nearly 700,000 members and 150,000 volunteers across 41 sports programs and 55 U.S. districts. For more information, visit www.aausports.org.

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Holiday Fundraiser for Dell Rapids Museum


Photo from the Dell Rapids Museum Facebook page

The Dell Rapids Museum is hosting its annual holiday themed fundraiser on Sunday, December 2nd from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the museum in downtown Dell Rapids.  All of the funds raised during the event will go toward their new roof atop the historic building on Main Street.  For $10.00, visitors of the event will receive two drinks, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a self-guided tour of the incredible building set to live music all evening long.  The fundraiser will have viewings of old school house settings, to-scale farm scenes, and even some relics of decades past.  In addition to snacks and historic facts, the event also features a live and silent auction of donated items from local businesses.

Tickets can be purchases at the door.  More information can be found on the museum’s Facebook page at facebook.com/DellRapidsMuseum or by calling (605)-428-4821.

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