Seth Tupper Reports: Fireworks Funding

Jul 15, 2020

In The Moment … July 14, 2020 Show 858 Hour 1

It takes months to plan an event like the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on July 3rd. And we are still learning about the details of funding the fireworks. SDPB's Seth Tupper joins us now with a look at how this story has unfolded and what happens next.  Seth joins us from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio in SDPB's Black Hills Studio.

Travel South Dakota

The Tourism Department said Thursday that the state is enjoying a big payoff from the July 3 fireworks and presidential speech at Mount Rushmore, but the department acknowledged there was a cost to taxpayers. 

In a news release, the department estimated it will spend $1.5 million on the event by the time all of the bills are added up. That includes the fireworks display, transportation, security and other items, the department said. 

SDPB News: July 4

Jul 4, 2020

Thousands of attendees waited hours for a glimpse of President Trump and to watch the fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.  Hear what happened in this 4th of July special SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today.

On Friday, thousands of attendees waited hours for a glimpse at the sitting president of the United States and the return of fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

The event was billed as a celebration and is one of the largest gatherings of Americans since the coronavirus pandemic reached the country.

Fireworks explode over Mount Rushmore and attendees sit in awe, capturing video of the spectacle as patriotic music blares from an immaculate stage at the base of the national monument.

National Park Service

People who attend the fireworks show ­­at Mount Rushmore might notice there’s still some construction to do at the memorial, but a park official said that won’t affect the visitor experience. 

For the past year, parts of the visitor area have been blocked off. It’s part of an $8 million improvement project. 

The South Dakota Department of Health will not encourage people who attend this weekend’s fireworks show at Mt. Rushmore to get a COVID-19 test afterward. Instead, health officials say people should to take measures on their own to prevent spreading the virus. 

Around 7,500 people have tickets to Friday’s fireworks display, which President Donald Trump plans to attend. Masks are not required, and Governor Kristi Noem says they will not enforce any social distancing measures.

SDPB News: July 2

Jul 2, 2020

Where is the money coming from to fund the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore? This and more in today’s SDPB News Podcast. Find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify today. 

Environmental Risks Of Fireworks

Jun 30, 2020

In The Moment ... June 30, 2020 Show 849 Hour 2

We're just days out from the 4th of July fireworks display and President Donald Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. SDPB's Seth Tupper has been covering the environmental and wildfire risks of the fireworks.

Tupper joins In The Moment from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital Studio as we continue to learn about the size of the expanded events this week in the Black Hills.


In The Moment ... June 30, 2020 Show 849 Hour 1

U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson has introduced legislation to protect Mount Rushmore from alteration. The proposal comes just before President Donald Trump comes to the Black Hills for a large fireworks display at the monument - and while some Americans are reconsidering our country's founding and expansion.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is considered a shrine to American democracy, a top vacation destination, and, to some, a desecration of a sacred mountain.

South Dakota Fire Meteorologist's Wildfire Concerns

Jun 29, 2020

In The Moment … June 29, 2020 Show 848 Hour 1

A relatively calm 2018 and 2019 has some South Dakotans less aware of the risk of wildfires in the Black Hills and the western part of the state. As we head into a hot July, what's the wildfire outlook? Today we welcome Darren Clabo, Ph.D., to the program. Darren is a research scientist at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the state's fire meteorologist.  

Political Junkies: 4th Of July Fireworks & SF Police

Jun 24, 2020

In The Moment … June 24, 2020 Show 845 Hour 2

South Dakota Tourism

It’s been more than a decade since fireworks exploded over Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but a toxic chemical from those fireworks still pollutes the memorial’s well-water.  

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today it will not regulate that chemical, called “perchlorate,” despite previously saying it would. 

South Dakota Tourism

Seven thousand and five hundred people will get tickets to attend a Mt. Rushmore fireworks show. State officials also confirm President Donald Trump will attend the July event.

Tickets will be distributed through a lottery system over the next several days.

Governor Kristi Noem and state tourism officials say inviting 7,500 people from across the country to the fireworks show is a good way to celebrate. Especially after what they call the “rough patch” of the last several months.

Seth Tupper / SDPB

President Trump’s plan to attend a fireworks display July 3 at Mount Rushmore National Memorial has some people worried in the small tourist town at the base of the mountain. 

Lynette Gohsman is the president of the town board of Keystone, population 337. She said past fireworks shows at Mount Rushmore filled her town with visitors. This time, she worries the visitors might bring COVID-19. 

Seth Tupper/SDPB

Environmental concerns kept Fourth of July fireworks away from Mount Rushmore for the past 11 years, but now they’re coming back, because a governor talked to a president. 

President Donald Trump made that clear Jan. 15 while signing a trade deal with China. A crowd of dignitaries was on hand, and Trump took time to recognize some of them. 

Fire Departments Stress Safety Over 4th Weekend

Jun 30, 2016
Erin Mairose

Fireworks are on sale in South Dakota as the holiday weekend begins. The Sioux Falls Fire Department is using demonstrations to show what can happen when safety isn’t used with sparklers and artillery fireworks. 

A small watermelon is roughly the size of a human head.  Sioux Fire officials use this comparison when demonstrating what can happen to a person who gets too close to an over the counter artillery shell firework.  

Keep Aware Of Dry Conditions When Shooting Fireworks

Jun 27, 2016
Rapid City Police Department

Rapid City Fire Department officials say current conditions are prime for wildfire, and residents should be extra careful when discharging fireworks. State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says all South Dakotans should be cautious. He says even when vegetation is green, it can still ignite.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

During the Fourth of July weekend celebrations, Sioux Falls Police responded to nearly 270 calls about fireworks, but they issued zero tickets. Officer Sam Clemens says authorities have that discretion when it comes to citations.

Rushmore No Longer Has Fireworks

Jul 1, 2015

Mount Rushmore is celebrating Independence Day weekend just like the rest of us, with one major difference.  There isn’t a firework show.

Mount Rushmore is hosting many different programs and activities July 3rd and 4th. Everything from presidential impersonators and flutists, to world champion hoop dancers. However, the celebration has not included a fireworks display for several years. Wanda Goodman is the Department of Tourism’s Deputy Secretary and she says safety concerns were behind the decision.

A law making texting wile driving illegal in South Dakota takes effect on Tuesday. Motorists are prohibited from using a handheld device to write, send or read text messages except to contact emergency services.

Violators of the new law are subject to a $100 fine. "Texting behind the wheel is a triple whammy--it takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off of driving," says AAA South Dakota spokeswoman Marilyn Buskohl.