McCurdy joins city

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW FACE AT CITY HALL — Chirs McCurdy joins the Hill City officals as development services coordinator. In her role, she will deal with municipal and building codes. [PN Photo/Kacie Svoboda]­

By Kacie Svoboda

Welcoming is probably the last word that comes to mind when discussing municipal and building codes, but after speaking with Hill City’s new development services coordinator, Chris McCurdy, it might be the first.

“My philosophy is how can we do what you want to do — how can we make this work for you,” said McCurdy.

About a month ago, McCurdy was chosen for this part-time position and since then she has been working to take on everything it demands. McCurdy comes to this position after spending over 13 years as a law enforcement and zoning code enforcement officer.

Her ever-expanding list of duties ranges from conducting building inspections to archiving and digitizing records. She also will review construction plans, go before the zoning commission and resolve Hill City’s addressing issues. However, the main purpose of McCurdy’s job will be to set up a unified system for code enforcement and the permitting process so, as Hill City expands, property values and overall quality of life can be maintained.

This one-woman building department has her work cut out for her, as she endeavors to create an infrastructure that will allow her to keep up with the work on a part-time schedule.

“It’s tough to juggle all these different aspects. This initial part is going to be tough, but after that I can see it automating a little bit,” said McCurdy. “It’s a challenge. But I love challenges.”

According to city administrator, Brett McMacken, this system and McCurdy’s job are necessary due to the town’s increasing development. In fact, the position could become full-time in the future if development continues to increase.

“The job is getting big enough to warrant its own special attention,” said McMacken.

This is an attention that McCurdy seems able to provide. In addition to her background in enforcement, she has worked with zoning and has formal schooling on the construction process, as well as a strong interest in figuring out how things go together.

McCurdy invites anyone with questions to call, email or drop by her office at city hall.

“What we’re trying to do is improve the community and maintain the awesome quality of life we have as we grow,” said McCurdy. “We are trying to set forth a foundation for the future.”


Harkins chosen as contract supervisor

By Kacie Svoboda

On Oct 1, Deputy Sergeant Randy Harkins took on the position of contract supervisor for Hill City and other small towns in Pennington County.

Harkins will serve as the direct contact and liaison between the city governments of Hill City, Keystone, New Underwood and Wall and the Pennington County Sherriff’s Department. This position will help both the towns and the contract deputies, as there will be one designated person for both parties to come to with questions and concerns.

As contract supervisor, Harkin will meet with both community leaders and deputies. This position will also keep Rapid City from taking precedence over the other communities within Pennington County.
Harkins will have been with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years next month and has spent the last two years assigned to Keystone. He has also responded to calls around Hill City, so he is familiar with the area. According to Senior Deputy Doug Kimball, Harkin has lots of experience—which will be good for the communities, the town contracts and the deputies assigned to them.
“I look forward to working for him,” said Kimball.

Harkin lives near Nemo and is excited to continue working with smaller communities, which he prefers. This position has been vacant for nearly three years since Kurt Weber, the previous contract supervisor for Pennington County, retired.


City council finalizes public work plans

By Kacie Svoboda

This month’s city council meeting on Oct. 14  tackled finalizing three public works projects. With the guidance of public works director, Dennis Schrier, the council voted on which public works equipment and materials they would purchase based on various price quotes for a cold storage building, a box sweeper and a truck snowplow.

The council unanimously agreed on materials from Menard’s for a 30x45 ft. post frame cold storage building for less than $12,000. This price excludes the costs of delivery and installation —which would be handled by the city. This would be the only true cold storage building in Hill City and would be used to house the town’s lawn mowers, Christmas decorations and traffic barricades — among other equipment.

hese items are currently scattered between a few small storage areas, such as at the Visitor Information Center and in the garage behind the library — which is also used for storing excess books.
Available only in the print version of the Hill City Prevailer News. To subscribe, call 605-574-2538.


Obituaries for Oct. 22

Danny Ellis Thomas, born Feb. 11, 1952, died Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, at his home in Yuma. Funeral services will be Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at Skroch Funeral Chapel in Flandreau with visitation from 4-7 p.m. Friday at the chapel. Written condolences may be left at

Lawrence Laverne Cap, born March 26, 1920, died Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell. Interment was at Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Yankton.

To read the full obituaries, pick up the Oct. 22 issue of the Hill City Prevailer. To subscribe, call 605.574.2538.


Svoboda joins the Prevailer family

Monday, October 20, 2014

There's a new face at the Prevailer News in Hill City.

Kacie Svoboda has been named the full-time editor of the local newspaper, according to an announcement by publisher Charley Najacht.

“We are pleased to have a person with such a varied background on the staff of the Prevailer News,” said Najacht.

Svoboda most recently honed her journalism skills at Black Hills State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a journalism emphasis. While a student there, she worked as a Jacket Journal page and copy editor and helped develop as the online editor. Svoboda has directed page editors, students and other staff in page and online design. She also developed her skills in graphic design and looks forward to being able to help design ads for the Prevailer News.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to run with this job and learn all that I can from it,” Svoboda said.
Svoboda also worked as an intern for 605 Magazine, contacting sources and writing stories—including a few centered around Hill City. She earlier graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a double major in creative writing/Asian studies. Svoboda studied abroad in six countries and has picked up six languages, including Thai and Spanish.

"We look forward to working with Kacie and welcome her to the Southern Hills Publishing, Inc., team," Najacht said.

Svoboda was born in Norfolk, Neb., and has lived in 12 towns around the Midwest. She graduated from high school in Pocahontas, Iowa.

Reporters Carol Walker and Bev Pechan will continue to work for the Prevailer News part-time.


Board talks lights at football field

By Carol Walker

Watching a football game on a balmy afternoon is pretty pleasant compared to shivering through an evening game on a cold, fall night. But parents and other football fans unable to get off work early enough for a 3:30 p.m. game would like to bring back nighttime games so they can watch the home team on the gridiron under the lights.

The problem is, the lights on the Hill City field are not operational.

At the Hill City school board meeting on Monday night, Oct. 13, Jeff Anderson passed on a proposal given to him by Steve Orf of Kilowatt Electric in Rapid City, which would involve a new electric panel on the “crow’s nest” as well as new wires installed underground across the field. The price tag would be under $20,000, according to Orf.

School board member Mike Welu asked for the number of home games during a season and was told there are four.

“That’s about $5,000 per game and if we get a new field, does it all get torn down? That’s a pretty expensive Band-aid,” said Welu.

Available only in the print version of the Hill City Prevailer News. To subscribe, call 605-574-2538.


Dakota Smiles program set to stop in Hill City

By Carrie Moore

The Dakota Smiles Mobile Dental program will be in Hill City Nov. 10-14, thanks to numerous local sponsors. The program, which includes two trucks are fully-equipped with dental offices on wheels, has been in Hill City before, where it saw a large volume of children.

“Your child’s teeth are important,” organizers said. “Dental disease (cavities) can threaten a child’s health, well being and achievement. Children with oral health problems can have difficulty eating and sleeping and paying attention in school.”

By participating in the Dakota Smiles program, children can receive quality oral health services, including cleanings, preventative services, fillings and oral health education. The program is unable to do root canals, orthodontics or whitening of teeth. Parents need to bring their child’s immunization records.

The staff and volunteers of the Dakota Smiles program will treat children ages 0-21 who do not have a dental home (children who have not seen a dentist for two years or live more than 85 miles from a dentist). If families participated last year, they are still eligible this year and no child will be turned away for inability to pay.

Sponsors of the Dakota Smiles program are First Interstate Bank and First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, Tin City Masonic Lodge 112 of Hill City and the Boys & Girls Club of the Black Hills.
For more information or to pick up a registration form, contact Marian at (605) 574-2010.