Black Hills

ID Theft Increasing

Jan 27, 2014

Some financial counselors are seeing an increase in the number of people who are victim to credit card fraud and identity theft.

Terry Mills is with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills, it’s a non-profit organization.   Mills says it’s vital to take the proper steps to protect your identity--including maintaining cyber security and keeping private information secure.

Pine Beetles And Tourism In The Black Hills

Dec 11, 2013

For nearly two decades, the mountain pine beetle has spread across hundreds of thousands of acres of the Black Hills National Forest leaving behind millions of dead pine trees. While much has been studied on the ecological impact of the pine beetles, little has been done on the effects the infestation has had on the tourism business – one of the South Dakota’s main industries. Dr.

Bad Water In The Black Hills

Dec 10, 2013
Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

This year officials in the Black Hills issued several water quality alerts warning the public about high levels of fecal bacteria in a small section of Spring Creek.   The bacteria exceeded EPA thresholds for swimming.  

For some, the pollution found in Spring Creek is a red flag that the Black Hills needs to do better at protecting its water quality over the long term.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray continues our series “The State of Our State” with a two part story on the efforts to maintain water quality in the Black Hills.

New Holiday CD From The Hill City Slickers

Dec 5, 2013

The Hill City Slickers have released a new holiday CD, “Christmas Tracks.” The band is holding a CD release party on Friday, December 6th at Chute Roosters in Hill City from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. They’re also playing at Prairie Berry Winery on Saturday, December 21st from 12-2 pm. Joining the program from the Dahl Arts Center studio are Bruce Jordan, cello(bass), teapot and vocals; Gary Daiss, guitar, banjo, harmonica, saxophone and rain stick and vocals; and Ken Anderson guitar, mandolin and vocals.



Water Board Postpones Uranium Hearings

Nov 25, 2013

The State Water Management Board has postponed its hearings on a controversial uranium mine planned for the Southern Black Hills.

The hearings, that had been taking place in Rapid City, were examining the mines plans to use water out of two different aquifers.

A number of conservation groups opposed the mine project—in part because of the large amount of waste water generated in the mining process.  

Uranium Mining Debate

Nov 18, 2013

The State Water Management Board is considering a proposal by a uranium mining company to use water from a set of Black Hills aquifers. The state Board of Minerals and Environment has postponed its hearings on a contested uranium mine in the Southern Black Hills. Officials with the State Department of Environment and Natural Resources say the board will not rule on the application by Powertech Mining until other state and federal agencies have given approval. For Powertech to begin mining both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S.

Pine Beetle Infestation In Black Hills

Nov 14, 2013

Pine beetles, the federal budget, forest fires and climate were topics at a press conference last week at the Forest Service office in Custer.  Tom Tidwell, the Chief of the United States Forest Service, took part in a meeting during his first trip to the Black Hills.  He made the stop in South Dakota at the request of U.S.

Tidwell In Black Hills Talks Beetles And Budgets

Nov 7, 2013

The Chief of the United States Forest Service took a tour of the Black Hills this week .  Tom Tidwell who oversees the federal agency got a first-hand view of the pine beetle infestation that has left behind hundreds of thousands of dead trees. 

Tidwell and Congresswoman Kristi Noem then took part in a roundtable discussion on the problem with local industry and government groups. 

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray attended the meeting and brought back this report.

We Are South Dakota Virtual Choir

Nov 5, 2013

On Monday, the Orlando Chamber Soloists released their “We Are South Dakota Virtual Choir 2013” video.

Water Board Grapples Uranium Mine Issue

Oct 28, 2013

This week the State Water Management Board is considering a uranium mining company proposal to use water from a set of Black Hills aquifers.
Opponents warn about the threat of radioactive and heavy metal pollution.  They argue that massive quantities of local water should not be used to generate profit for a foreign mining company.   
The mining company officials dispute these claims and point to the jobs and positive benefits the industry can bring to the area’s economy.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has more.

Special Olympics Hosts New Fundraiser

Oct 24, 2013

Special Olympics of the Black Hills is hosting a new type of fundraiser in its effort to continue events for local athletes.

The organization is hosting a tailgate party on Friday night featuring the local band DD and the Pharaohs, plus a silent action, and food.

Jack Lynass is President of Special Olympics in Rapid City.  He says it’s important for charities to find new and creative ways to fundraise.   

He says the money raised in this event supports 125 high school age athletes who now take part in the program.

Ranchers Cope With Huge Losses

Oct 10, 2013

The freak October blizzard that dumped more than four feet of snow has killed tens of thousands of cattle west of the river. Their carcasses are now tangled in barbed wire fences and emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

But the government shutdown means part of the safety net is gone; the programs normally operated by the USDA and other federal agencies to assist ranchers are shuttered.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Charles Michael Ray caught up with a few ranchers while they were out in the field corralling the surviving animals.

Massive Cattle Deaths Spur Rancher Relief Fund

Oct 9, 2013

A disaster relief fund has been set up for ranchers devastated by the major blizzard that just struck the Black Hills.    

Some livestock producers in Western South Dakota lost entire herds in the freak storm. 

The carcasses of thousands of cattle are now emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

Officials say the urgency is compounded by the lack of a farm bill  and the federal government shutdown and that has pulled one safety net out from under producers.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story.

Black Hills Storm Update

Oct 7, 2013
Rapid City Journal

Charles Michael Ray rode out a severe pre-winter snowstorm in Rapid City and the Black Hills and joins Dakota Midday to give an update on the storm. Snowfall reports of over three feet have been common with this storm.

Black Hills Still Digging Out After Blizzard

Oct 7, 2013

Western South Dakota suffered one of the worst blizzards ever recorded in the region over the weekend.   

Three days after the start of the storm -- tens of thousands are still without power, thousands more, especially in rural areas remain snowbound. 

Officials warn the public to stay away from the downed power lines.    They add that it will be Tuesday before many roads are opened-- the restoration of power may take much longer in some cases.  

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray has the latest.

Blizzard Buries Black Hills

Oct 5, 2013

Black Hills Residents are dealing with one of the worst snowstorms to hit the area in several years.

An Emergency Operations Center is now open as first responders and emergency managers work to begin disaster recovery.

Law enforcement has closed all roads in Rapid City until 6am on Sunday.   County roads are also under a similar closure.    Officials ask residents to stay indoors and shelter in place.   The weather remains treacherous.

Uranium Mining In The Black Hills

Sep 30, 2013

Joe O'Sullivan and Dan Simmons-Richie of the Rapid City Journal wrote a series of reports taking an in-depth look at the issue of uranium mining in the Black Hills. What is being called one of the most important environmental decisions in decades for the Black Hills is being decided over the coming months. The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment finished up the first week of hearings on the proposed Powertech Uranium Mine planned for the Southern Black Hills. The heated issue is bringing intense debate and testimony in the court style hearings.

The 10th Anniversary Of The Reddmen

Sep 19, 2013

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the debut release of The Reddmen. The Reddmen was a Black Hills punk/rock band that gained national acclaim with music featured on TV programs like Grey's Anatomy while still sticking to their independent approach. The band formed in 1995 and played its final show in August 2011. The frontman of the Reddmen was J. Waylon Porcupine, who got his start playing in Rapid City's underground punk scene.

City Decries State Board Denial On Uranium

Sep 17, 2013

The Rapid City Mayor and City Council President say they’re baffled after a denial by the State’s Board of Minerals and Environment.  The controversy comes following a city council resolution expressing concern over plans for uranium mining in the Black Hills.    The city attempted to have the resolution entered into the public record with the Board of Minerals and Environment – but the board refused the city’s petition.

One Hail Of A Summer

Sep 12, 2013

Anyone driving around Rapid City might notice a number of extra businesses that have popped up doing hail dent repair.  Roofing company trucks are also busy darting in and out of neighborhoods.

Records show parts of the Black Hills has seen twice the number of hailstorms as normal.  Everything from pea sized up to baseball sized hail has been reported. 

Fighting Mountain Pine Beetles

Aug 26, 2013
Farm & Livestock Directory

Last week, Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that more than 240,000 acres have been surveyed for Mountain Pine Beetle infestations since the Black Hills Forest Initiative began two years ago.  As a result of the surveys, crews have "cut and chunked" or otherwise treated 335,000 trees on private and state land.  Almost 1,900 landowners have participated in the initiative's cost-share program.  The South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks have contracted with several Black Hills area conservation districts to hire an average of 50 seasonal employees to keep ahead of c

iPhone App Spurs Citizen Science And Education

Aug 22, 2013

You’ve likely heard the phrase “there’s an app for that.”

If you happen to be a botanist your favorite app may well be iNaturalist. It turns any iPhone into a tool that can contribute to scientific research and understanding about the natural flora and fauna living all around us.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story on citizen science and education now taking place in the Black Hills and Badlands with the help of the iNaturalist app.

Andrew Smith, a private forester from Deadwood, and Bruce Weissman, Integrated Program Resource Manager at Mount Rushmore Memorial, talk about the tallest known Ponderosa pine tree in the Black Hills. It's been measured at 159 feet tall and is about 235 years old. But the tree has a few green branches mixed with some dead ones, leaving Smith concerned that the tree might not be around much longer. He's pushing for more protection for big trees in the Black Hills which are surrounded by strands infested by the Mountain Pine Beetle.

Black Hills Water Contamination Highlights Concerns

Aug 9, 2013

Fecal bacteria found in a prominent Black Hills stream is raising concerns over water quality in Western South Dakota.

Levels of bacteria in Spring Creek above Sheridan Lake exceed the EPA safety threshold for swimming.   The pollution led the Pennington County Emergency Management office to issue a public warning against recreation in part of the stream.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports the public can now track pollution levels on-line.

Volunteers Sought For Long Climb And Manual Labor

Jul 31, 2013

The Forest Service is looking for volunteers who want to climb the regions tallest peak and then undertake some hard labor.

A plan is underway to do maintenance on the lookout tower at the top of Harney Peak--and the Forest Service is looking for volunteers to help with the project.

The peak is in the middle of a wilderness area, no motorized travel is allowed, so all tools and building materials must be carried in by pack mules. 

The Grizzly Fire in Black Hills

Jul 25, 2013

Approximately 35 firefighters are working toward full containment of a one and a half acre wildfire in the Black Hills.

The Grizzly fire is located in a fairly remote area- approximately one and a half miles east of Harney Peak. It was reported late Wednesday morning by a private helicopter business.

Scott Haas is the Acting District Ranger of the Hell Canyon Ranger District. He says the public is not in danger.

The Special Consensus To Perform In Sturgis

Jun 24, 2013

The Special Consensus plays June 28 & 29 at the Black Hills Bluegrass Festival at Elkview Campground in Sturgis. They'll also play June 27 at 5:30 pm at Main Street Square in Rapid City. The Special Consensus received a 2012 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for "Scratch Gravel Road." Greg Cahill plays banjo and sings baritone and tenor harmony vocals. Chicago born and bred, he has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s.

Lieutenant Colonel Les Snyder (USAF-Ret.) is talking about his bombing missions during the Korean War in a presentation to the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group in Rapid City on Saturday at 9 am at Western Dakota Technical Institute. Snyder flew the required 50 missions in about six months in a B-26 as a navigator. He retired from the USAF Reserve in 1972 and became a pilot. Snyder is Professor Emeritus at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. For more information about the presentation, go to:

The Black Hills Playhouse is a 68 year old professional summer stock theatre company located in Custer State Park at the site of an old CCC camp. It's one of the oldest continuously operating summer stock theatres in the nation. Every summer the playhouse brings artists from all over the nation to create theatre productions for residents and people visiting the Black Hills, and educational experiences for students of theatre. The Black Hills Playhouse is affiliated with the University of South Dakota. Each summer 4 to 6 plays are offered covering musicals, dramas, and comedies.

Nugget Replica To Auction September 28

May 28, 2013

A replica of the most famous Black Hills gold nugget is being auctioned off for charity in late September.

A cast of the famed Potato Creek Johnny Nugget made last year with donated gold is set to auction on September 28th in Deadwood.  

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports that organizers are hoping to stir up excitement around the auction.

Mary Kopco is the Executive Director of Deadwood History.  It's one of the organizations behind the auction. She says the effort is now underway to attract the kinds of bidders interested in the nugget replica.