year in review

A dog named Fred, and reporter named Mike

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Here’s a look back at some of the stories printed in the Kingsbury Journal during the first half of 2021

Jan. 6: What started out as a way to raise money for a fire truck has grown to be a fun Saturday night activity for people near and far. The Lake Preston Volunteer Fire Department started Chase the Ace in June 2019. Their goal was to raise money to purchase a new fire truck for the community … Just like so many activities, the Chase the Ace fundraiser took a pause due to COVID-19 restrictions. After a 10-month break, the fun will continue this Saturday, Jan. 9.

Jan 13: “Keep wagging your tail” was the message shared with Iroquois Middle School students by author Craig Grossi. Grossi, an eight-year U.S. Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and who is a recipient of the Purple Heart, was adopted by a dog named Fred. Fred is a happy fellow who, although living under the harshest conditions in Afghanistan, went through life with his head held high and his tail wagging. He seemed to make the best of each situation.

Jan. 20: South Dakota, as well as much of the country, is in Phase I in the timeline for people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. According to a media statement released recently from Avera Health, they are presently vaccinating groups 1A, B and C, which includes healthcare workers in patient care, long-term care residents, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, public health workers, lab workers, law enforcement, correctional officers, dentists, home health staff and dentists.

Jan. 27: Young girls in Lake Preston and De Smet have been learning a lot about basketball from Lake Preston coaches Corrie Walter and Tricia McCloud and De Smet coaches Becky Albrecht and Desa Rae Cleveland. A few of the parents assist as well.

Feb. 3: At Tuesday’s meeting of the Kingsbury County Commission, Rita Anderson, director of the De Smet Development Corporation, spoke about De Smet’s Master Plan for future development. Anderson said the three major plans include improving De Smet’s main street and downtown area, adding more signage welcoming people to De Smet and - the main point of her visit - a trails and recreation project including making the De Smet Forest and Silver Lake more accessible.

Feb. 10: De Smet Bulldog star Kalen Garry broke the career high school scoring record on Monday night during their win over the Castlewood Warriors. The 29 points he tossed in Monday put his total to date at 1,389, breaking Matt Sutton’s record of 1,364. Sutton had set his record while playing for the Bulldogs from the years 1990-94.

Feb. 17: CARES Act funding and questions about marijuana dominated conversation at Saturday’s Legislative coffee in De Smet. The event at The Oxbow Restaurant gave local legislators an opportunity to answer questions from constituents about proposed or pending legislation. In attendance were District 22 Legislators Sen. David Wheeler and Representatives Roger Chase and Lynn Schneider. Moderating the session was former senator, Jim White, who was term-limited from running for another term.

Feb. 24: DeSCo Architectural, Inc. recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. DeSCo was founded in De Smet in 1970 by Duncan Flann, Gordon Holland, Thad O’Keefe, Wendell Schubloom and Robert Haberstad. The company was managed by current owner Fred Prahl for most of those fifty years. Prahl retired from work in 2020.

March 3: Bryan Haggerty has had quite the year at the local Dairy Queen and Subway in De Smet. Haggerty, the owner of Dairy Queen and Subway for a little over a year now, has had to go through some major obstacles ever since buying the property early last year. Just recently, the extremely cold temperatures caused a pipe to burst on the Dairy Queen side, requiring a major remodel before business could reopen.

March 10: The De Smet Transit has expanded its services to include all of Kingsbury County. Along with the expansion, a name change was in order. Kingsbury Transit is now emblazoned across the sides of their vans and bus.

March 17: For those of you wondering who this new guy named Mike Siefker is, writing and shooting stories for the newspaper, here is your answer. Some may remember me from my time at The De Smet News, so it might not surprise you that I’m writing for the Kingsbury Journal.

March 24: The De Smet Bulldogs boys’ basketball team was crowned 2021 State B Basketball Tournament champions in Aberdeen on Saturday night, March 20, overcoming the last obstacle in their two-year quest for the title. What a journey it was.

March 31: The South Dakota Football Coaches Association has inducted Marv McCune into their Hall of Fame. McCune’s career as a teacher spans 44 years. In 1978, he accepted a position at De Smet and since has led De Smet teams to several championships.

April 7: Are you thinking about volunteering to be a firefighter? Volunteer firefighters may have joined their local department for a variety of reasons, but they all likely agree on one thing: being a part of these critical teams is an exciting and rewarding opportunity to serve. In Kingsbury County, there are six fire departments utilizing volunteers to fill the ranks from recruit to chief.

April 14: The ninth biennial Tour of Tables was held in Lake Preston Saturday. Due to COVID, there were only 20 tables instead of the regular 25. About 100 donors gave to the event, and those donations provided 90 baskets and over 35 prizes to be won. The Progressive Community Women raised approximately $3,500 which will go to the next Kingsbury County Cancer Walk. The next Tour of Tables will be held in 2023.

April 21: Kingsbury County Commissioners met Tuesday for a regular meeting. It also happened to be Commissioner Joe Jensen’s last day on the board. He will continue to serve the county in the capacity of chairperson for the Planning and Zoning Commission. The county commissioners interviewed three potential candidates to replace outgoing commissioner Jensen. The board chose to conduct those interviews in executive sessions. Following the executive sessions, Corey Lundquist of Arlington was voted in as the new commissioner for District One.

April 28: The building permits are already approved, and construction should start shortly. SLH Holdings, LLC (SLH) and HME Management (HME) from Brookings plan to add ten townhomes to Wilder Pass on De Smet’s west side. A groundbreaking is planned for May.

May 5: The South Dakota Newspaper Association (SDNA) held their annual newspaper awards for 2020 on April 29. The Kingsbury Journal was honored with two first-place awards, three second-place awards and two third-place awards. The newspaper was started, organized and run by volunteers and is a year old.

May 12: The lockers are cleaned out; their last grades have been recorded and the final GPAs have been tabulated. Their futures look bright, and all that was left for the class of 2021 was to conduct their graduation ceremony. That is exactly what they did Saturday at 2 p.m. at De Smet High School’s armory.

May 19: Graduation was the place to be on Saturday at the Lake Preston High School gym. Eleven students graduated, and two teachers retired after more than 30 years teaching in Lake Preston.

May 26: Several local athletes are headed to Rapid City for the state track meet after qualifying from the region meet May 20 in Estelline. Stella DeKnikker and Rhett McMasters from Lake Preston and Mackenzie Zell, Kennadi Buchholz, Damon Wilkinson, Kalen Garry, Hazel Luethmers, Mirra Beck, Emma Albrecht, Julie Anderson, Megan Dylla and Alyssa Asleson from De Smet will be making the trip.

June 2: COVID may have spoiled the festivities last year, but this year, the Old Settlers’ Day celebration is back. South Dakota’s longest running celebration will take place June 12-13 with events scheduled all over town.

June 9: Record-breaking heat, decreased rainfall and high winds drying out vegetation are the reasons behind the burn ban issued by the Kingsbury County Commission at their Tuesday meeting.

June 16: Last Friday, Kingsbury County Treasurer Elaine Blachford closed the safe in her office for the last time in her capacity of County Treasurer. After 22 years of working for the county, she is ready to move on, to enjoy the outdoors and to spend time with her grandchildren.

June 23: Kingsbury County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday. Newly appointed commissioner Kyle Lee observed the commission meeting yesterday and will be sworn in on July 1. The meeting was Commissioner Delmer Wolkow’s last. Wolkow told commissioners and the public that he enjoyed his experiences as a commissioner, and he felt it was an important position to hold.

June 30: Lake Thompson has seen its share of rises and falls in water level throughout the years. Work began last year to clear out the Lake Thompson outlet. As a result, the lake waters have returned to more normal levels. Currently, water flow and levels seem to be in good order.

Next week, we will highlight stories from the second half of 2021

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