Has your chimney been cleaned this year?


Annual maintenance is key to preventing fires, officials say By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Additional reporting by Ken Schmierer Some rural Dakotans have recently taken to burning corn, pellets and wood to avoid burning as much cash for home heating expenses, but doing so must be done responsibly, according to fire officials. “The main thing is to make sure that ... Read More »

Programs provide heating help to thousands

Programs provide heating help to thousands

By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Additional reporting by Elizabeth “Sam” Grosz Anyone who has weathered a Dakota winter knows how important a warm house can be in the dead of January. The people who are likely most acutely aware of this fact are the families struggling to pay their heating bills. “It gets cold here, and any time the program ... Read More »

Read the November/December 2014 issue online

Wessington Springs residents know how eEmergency has made a difference for their community. Pictured from left are Mayor Melissa Mebius, Fire Chief Jim Vavra, Dr. Tom Dean, Blake Willman, and nurse Christina Christiansen. Photo by Wendy Royston

The November/December 2014 issue of Dakotafire is now available to read online. The first story is available free of charge; if you’d like to read the whole issue, purchase access here. Print subscribers: You can access the digital version free of charge! Email to get your digital subscription set up. Read More »

Finding people to serve requires innovative thinking


Want to turn over your position on a board or committee to someone else? Good luck. Finding people willing to serve in leadership positions in the rural Dakotas may be more difficult than it’s ever been. We tend to blame this on a declining population, but there’s also another factor at play: At the same time populations are declining, the number of nonprofits is increasing. Read More »

Ebola fears? Just wash your hands and move on

washing hands

By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Should Dakotans be worried about Ebola spreading here? Probably not. Even though the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest ever and marks the first time the virus has been diagnosed in the United States, officials say the risk to the vast majority of Americans is tiny. Stay calm, they advise—just practice proper hygiene and use ... Read More »

National Register status can mean financial help for renovation projects

Having a building on the National Register of Historic Places can provide a point of pride for a community, as well as some financial benefits, according to state preservation officials. The register is the “official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” according to the register’s website (http://www.nps.gov/nr/). To be eligible, a building has to meet at least ... Read More »

Community conversation event on rural health care is Nov. 18


The fourth in a series of regional events intended to spark community conversations sponsored by Dakotafire Media will be from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Springs Café in Wessington Springs, S.D. It will serve as the program for the regular meeting of the Springs Area Community Club, and the public is welcome to attend. Read More »

Resources for rural communities, October 29, 2014

The following is from Christine Sorensen, rural development coordinator for the U. S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in Pierre, S.D. Read on for valuable resources for rural communities, including several grant opportunities. Read More »

Grain bins increasing across Dakota landscape

A brand-new grain bin on the Paul Fergen farm in southeastern Davison (S.D.) County has helped ease the pressure of harvest for Fergen and family members. Because the new bin contains a dryer, Fergen is able to harvest earlier in the season, while his brother's corn must dry out before it can be harvested. This year has been dubbed "the grain bin year" by some farmers and contractors in the Dakotafire region, as more and more bins are being erected, so farmers can store their grains due to a combination of low market prices and shipping issues related to the transportation of crude oil from North Dakota. Photo by Wendy Royston/Dakotafire Media

“This has been the grain bin year.” Frankie Rollins, who has built grain bins for the past six years with Hart Steel, said the company has been busier than normal in 2014, and that more and more bidding competition is emerging in southeastern South Dakota. “I hear of a lot of new crews starting up, so it sounds to me like this year has been the grain bin year,” he said. Read More »

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