2020 in the rearview

 

TOP: In addition to headlines about COVID-19, the past year’s Fall River County Herald-Star also featured a series of stories and photos about the devastating North River Street Fire which occured on the night of Monday, Feb. 17, and destroyed five businesses along with a residence. (Photo by Brett Nachtigall/FRCH-S)

BOTTOM: This past year also featured some good news for the area, including on Monday, March 2, when VA Secretary Robert Wilkie came to Hot Springs with South Dakota’s Congressional Delegation to announce the Hot Springs VA would not close. (Photo by Eric Boyd/FRCH-S)

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The pages of the Fall River County Herald-Star in 2020 were obviously dominated by stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many other stories were also on the minds of local residents over the past 52 weeks as well, including the North River Street Fire and the VA’s announcement that they were not planning to close the Hot Springs facility.

Following is a review of some of the top newspaper headlines from each month in 2020.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

JANUARY

• Hot Springs hires company for Superintendent Search Community Action, Basic Needs Boutique, Helping Hands among services available to help community members in need

• Alcohol to be banned in Brookside Park

• Edgemont recognized for bridge preservation efforts

• Hot Springs School Board planning to not renew contracts of all three of its principals: Vote however goes awry and count return to next agenda

• Hot Springs City Council considering significant changes to fireworks ordinance

• New title holders crowned at Mueller Center 

• City Council hears from residents wanting to save condemned Wesch-Oak building

FEBRUARY

• Rock Steady Boxing: New exercise program in Hot Springs is one of only five in the state to treat patients with Parkinson’s

• Hot Springs School Principals share thoughts on board’s decision to not renew their contracts

• Edgemont Senior Center jam sessions provide entertainment, gathering venue for area residents 

• Wesch-Oak building again discussed at City Council meeting

• Board accepts Weiss resignation, rescinds previous non-renewal 

• One-time burning of brush pile deemed success 

• State Veterans Home Building 2: A monument to history, with a new purpose 

• A Tragic night for Hot Springs: More than 60 firefighters battle North River Street Fire through the night

• Former Edgemont teen, Taylor Grill, suffers serious injuries in auto accident

• Powers family says loss of home in fire is part of God’s plan 

• China Buffet owners fighting more than fire 

• Fargo Mercantile building also damaged in fire 

• In the Wake of Tragedy: The Vault owner looking to rebuild 

• Dr. Wittenburg looks back on his time as local newspaper cartoonist

MARCH

• Hot Springs to consider designating Umiker Park as a dog park 

• ‘It will not close. It will not close.’ VA Secretary Wilkie makes announcement about Hot Springs VA alongside state’s full U.S. Congressional Delegation and Governor

• Save the VA responds to announced plan to ‘not close’ Hot Springs VA

• Conditions at residence pit neighbors against Edgemont Council

• COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacting lives of local residents

• Fall River County Courthouse to be closed to the public beginning March 30 

• Mammoth Site proposing a Planned Unit Development designation

• Greg Gunwall named Hot Springs Citizen of the Year

• Local girl wins National Right To Life essay contest 

• Town of Edgemont proclaims March 29 as Caroline Curl Day 

• Hot Springs School District names its new Superintendent 

• Plans for future downtown suspended sidewalk in Hot Springs unveiled

• Doomsday prepping? Vivos xPoint claims increased interest, sales due to pandemic

• North River Street fire victims considering their next steps 

APRIL

• Fall River learns of its first resident with COVID-19

• History of the Central Block, G.W. Montgomery Block buildings in downtown Hot Springs, 1903-2020 

• Hot Springs Food Pantry expands into former Hot Springs Star building 

• Edgemont Council holds outdoor meetings, pass 60-day resolution to combat COVID-19

• Edgemont Seniors frustrated by the closure of Senior Center 

• Fall River Health striving to be ahead of the curve to ‘flatten the curve’

• Nine candidates submit petitions for F.R. County Commission 

• When it comes to COVID-19, honesty is the best policy

• Edgemont residence destroyed by fire 

• Hot Springs Elementary School PTA becomes K-12 PTA

• Area grocers on the front lines and feeding the people 

• Hot Springs passes ordinance limiting business operations 

• The Mammoth Site begins 3D printing medical supplies 

• Commissioners continue court house lockdown

• Edgemont Trapshooting Club eyes future upgrades 

• Edgemont’s Martin named Region 8 Co-Coach of the Year 

• Local businesses offering ‘curbside crafts’ 

• City of Hot Springs loosens restrictions on businesses

• The Cattleman’s Cost: How ‘Big Beef’ is taking a bite out of local growers 

• Area ranchers express concerns, alter plans for branding operations 

• Turkey hunters leave COVID-19 concerns behind on Spring Hunts 

• Hot Springs City Council approves DOT draft, but with provisions 

• Amid COVID-19 concerns, voters encouraged to use absentee ballot 

• Incoming Superintendent describes some of the planned restructuring 

• Four new administrators hired by Hot Springs School District 

• Black Hills area schools host ‘Be The Light’ events

• City of Hot Springs loosens its COVID-19 business restrictions

• Commission approves Chilson Bridge bid letting by 4-1 vote

• Residents, business owners recall Edgemont Mayor Jerry Dibble’s service to his community following his sudden death

• City of Hot Springs considering developing a mobile vendor park near Evans Plunge

MAY

• Eight Republicans running for three seats on FRC Commission 

• Trying to keep their COOL: Local cattle growers confront a national issue

• Local balloonists help ‘Let it Shine’ in S.D.

• Suspended sidewalk moves forward with approval of DOT Joint Powers Agreement

• Six Republicans running for three seats in the state legislature 

• Hot Springs’ PJ Wetzel worked five months in Antarctic restaurant at science station

• DOT repairing Hwy. 18 stretch that will eventually be turned over to city 

• Fall River County Herald again earns top honors in SDNA contest 

• Edgemont track, concession stand getting closer to a finished product 

• Demolition of burned down buildings continues on North River

• Hot Springs Food Pantry receives a truckload, courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

• Governor’s Houses being moved to State Home for staff housing

• Fall River’s COVID-19 cases double from 2 to 4

• Miller family tearing down home following November fire 

• Pool opening focus of Edgemont City Council meeting

• Several summer events being affected by coronavirus concerns 

• Three Fall River track athletes to compete in college at S.D. School of Mines & Technology 

• Local members shine in statewide FFA Career Development events

• Hot Springs, Edgemont schools host modified graduation ceremonies due to COVID-19

JUNE

• COVID-19 forces cancelation of 2020 Fall River County Fair 

• Clay Schnose Memorial Rodeo held in Oelrichs

• Ordinance restrictions lifted in Hot Springs 

• Demonstration held to show support of local law enforcement 

• City officials, KHSB volunteers working to clean-up community 

• Lower portion of Cold Brook Dam now open to road traffic 

• Alternative Prom held for Hot Springs students

• Friends of WCNP rehab county road 

• Commissioners to ask for Gov. Noem’s help to hold 4-H Achievement Days 

• New state championship signs installed 

• Tree planting honors former Edgemont Mayor Jerry Dibble

• Fall River County sees a 40.81 percent voter turnout in Primary 

• Local titleholders (Miss Rodeo America & Miss South Dakota) to retain crowns for second year due to COVID -19

• Former Hot Springs men featured in new Discovery Channel docuseries ‘Dino Hunters’

• First Interstate Fall River Area Foundation awards record-high grant funds 

• Area’s tourist attractions reporting steady flow of traffic 

• Solar Power coming to State Home 

• State 4-H Director tells county ‘no’ on 2020 Achievement Days

• Despite COVID-19, sales tax revenue is up in city 

JULY

• Hot Springs’ amateur fossil finders dig in at newly opened museum

• Garden Street, Freedom Trail area taking on a new look 

• Boys & Girls Club reopens, serves up to 40 kids per day 

• Downtown Hot Springs to potentially be the site for unique art project 

• Edgemont DOT maintenance shop’s new solar wall will lower heat costs 

• Edgemont City Park receives some recent improvements courtesy of city workers

• Crews simultaneously respond to two fires, traffic fatality on July 3 

• Nelson sworn in as new Mayor of Hot Springs

• Hot Springs Police investigating vandalism at Butler Park 

• Roy’s Drive-in Theater serves as alternate site for many events 

• State Supreme Court reverses previous Circuit Court ruling in Koopman vs. City of Edgemont 

• Hot Springs Bison Athletics Hall of Fame announces its 2020 Class

• Meeting to discuss a new producer-owned beef processing facility was well-attended 

• Hot Springs School Board discusses plan to start school on Aug. 17 

• Sandstone facade of The Vault unable to be saved 

• Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary closed to tourists, but to redesign itself as a veterans-based rehabilitation center 

• Still no leads, in Englebert disappearance a year later

• NAMING WRITES: Hot Springs’ Butler Park named for Chicago-born businessman

• Area residents stricken with COVID-19 tell their stories

• Local group has plans to renovate former Igloo Bar in Edgemont 

• Island Breeze performance group honors local law enforcement 

• City of Hot Springs installs new Heat Exchange System for Mueller Center

• Hot Springs man dies in motorcycle crash near Custer

• Linking Fences mural project underway

• County Commission approves temporary fire danger resolution 

• Hot Springs, Edgemont schools announce start times for 2020 fall sports seasons

AUGUST

• City of Hot Springs to address cattails along Fall River

• Custer County surpasses Fall River in COVID-19 cases

• Dr. Gregory Kopriva recalls living in Edgemont during WWII era 

• Hot Springs’ Southern Hills Golf Course having a banner year 

• Motorhome catches fire south of Maverick Junction on Hwy. 18/385

• Commission votes to continue screenings; learns GF&P not assisting with Shep’s Canyon road costs

• Hot Springs Schools ready to reopen classrooms 

• City removing fallen rock near courthouse bridge 

• Arrest details, bat complaints top Edgemont City Council Meeting 

• City planning to demolish former Mammoth Spring Box 

• Goat program proving to be mutually beneficial 

• Battle Mountain Road to be closed through Oct. 23

• Carl Muhm achieves million-view milestone on Google page

• Edgemont High alumnus donates materials for Chemistry Classes 

• Dr. Wilson named new Chief Medical Officer at Fall River Health Services 

• Marker placed to highlight John Stevenson Robertson’s contributions to horticulture 

• Forney’s celebrates 50 years of operation in Oelrichs

SEPTEMBER

• ‘Last Call’ made for longtime resident Marv Stevens, Hot Springs’ first COVID fatality

• Hot Air Balloons fly high as part of 5th annual Festival

• Governor’s Homes, retirement duplexes addressing housing needs

• Strong winds do damage near Angostura

• NAMING WRITES: Evans Plunge named after one of town’s founding fathers 

• HSHS grad returning to join Massa Dental 

• FRHS announces COVID cases at nursing home

• Edgemont Superintendent confirms first COVID case in the School District

• National Legion Auxiliary President visits local Post 71

• 20th annual horseshoe tournament held at Angostura Recreation Area 

• VA Secretary rescinds 2017 decision to close Hot Springs facility 

• State Home activates solar panels 

• Foster retires after nearly 25 years as clerk magistrate

• SDSU’s Coach Stiegelmeier featured at Right to Life event in Hot Springs 

• More than 100 participate in 9/11 climb 

• Hot Springs School Board criticized for mask-wearing policy

• Recently released archaeology report details finds at Cascade Springs 

OCTOBER

• Hot Springs awards Phase 1 contract for River Channel Restoration project 

• Klein, aka The Can Man, was part of Hot Springs’ identity 

• Jennings Avenue Bridge project is on schedule 

• Hot Springs’ Eric Peet charged with 14 felony sex charges against minors

• Hot Springs Police vehicles being outfitted with new graphics 

• NAMING WRITES: Mueller Civic Center named for John Mueller, Sr., and his family

• State Golf Tournament fills course, community 

• Inaugural Cruiser’s Car Group Car Show benefits Toys for Kids 

• Hot Springs Schools alter learning due to COVID infections

• Minnekahta Bridge likely to also need replaced in next four years 

• Fences cut, dead cattle found shut inside an Igloo bunker 

• Some interest expressed in saving, purchasing Wesch-Oak Building 

• Packing plant plans presented to commission 

• SDLTAP to assess Shep’s Canyon Road for the county

• Bills PeeWees make first-ever appearance in BHYFL Super Bowl

NOVEMBER

• Crews battle fire at golf course 

• City approves traffic revisions regarding RV, trailer parking 

• Walk Against Violence held to recognize domestic abuse victims 

• Cheyenne Rangers 4-H Club works to improve Orchards of Hope in Edgemont

• Edgemont Gun Club members have fun at annual Pumpkin Blast on Halloween 

• A faithful union of church denominations spans a century at United Churches

• FALL RIVER FOUNDATIONS: Hat Creek: a creek, valley and town 

• Lucero murder case dismissed

• Fall River County voting results mirror those statewide

• NAMING WRITES: Leslie Jensen Scenic Drive named for former South Dakota Governor 

• Oelrichs School votes to not have winter sports 

• Hot Springs, Edgemont School Veterans Day programs altered but undeterred by Covid-19 

• Timeline of Hwy. 385 reconstruction project linked to fate of Wesch-Oak 

• Wind Cave elevators have been repaired, cave tours still unavailable

• Volunteers gather to launch new ‘Can Man Can Do’ Scholarship

• Tennis Courts to be renamed to honor Dr. Paul Wittenberg 

• Mammoth Site begins work on new outdoor educational area

• Hot Springs City Council hears two sides of marijuana issue

• Hot Springs Schools change tiers due to COVID-19

DECEMBER

• Phase 1 of River Channel Restoration and Jennings Bridge projects nearly complete 

• Hot Springs resident becoming an United States citizen 

• Local Thanksgiving feasts feed many 

• Edgemont School Superintendent expresses cautious optimism, praises local community regarding COVID-19

• Woman dies in garage explosion at Angostura Reservoir residence 

• City of Hot Springs approves resolution to demolish condemned Wesch-Oak building

• DOT informs city council of need to delay Hwy. 385 project

• EPA grants permits for Dewey-Burdock project 

• City administration excited about progress of suspended sidewalk

• Rep. Goodwin asked to get state funding for Shep’s Canyon Road

• Edgemont receives visit from First Gentleman 

• Fall River sees its first COVID-19 vaccinations

• Tierney once again in spotlight at National Finals Rodeo

• Hot Springs School District considering building new shop

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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