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November 19th Edition

Check out our eEdition for full-length stories

Natasha Zalneraitis paints Jonah Beck's face

Face painting

Natasha Zalneraitis painted a design Nov. 14 on Jonah Beck’s face during the FCCLA sponsored book fair and fall festival at Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School. (News photo by Donna Palmlund)

City approves
hospital plans

David Tritle

De Smet city council approved a new hospital renovation plan Nov. 12 that incorporated a host of infrastructure upgrades not seen in the original plans.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the project would go to bid in March 2015 and work would begin in May 2015. City attorney Todd Wilkinson said that worst-case long-term estimates would see the project completed some 18 months later, but project organizers hope it would be completed much sooner.

“They plan on staying in operation the whole time. They’ll start with the new construction, then start moving people into new spaces before remodeling the old,” said Mayor Gary Wolkow. “It’s gonna’ be a slow process.”

According to Wilkinson, who has been involved with the hospital board during the planning process, the new plan will take advantage of the greater-than-expected success of last year’s fundraising drive.

The total project cost rose from an original $2.75 million to an estimated $3.7 million once the new upgrades were added.

County approves
new NAPA store

Donna Palmlund

Kingsbury County Commissioners Tuesday, acting as the board of adjustment, recommended approval of a conditional-use permit to Kyle Waliezer of Bryant to open a NAPA auto-parts store about one mile west of De Smet on Highway 14.

“I have done research and the property is zoned commercial,” zoning officer Joe Jensen said.

Waliezer recently purchased a building from Robert Brown of De Smet and is in the process of renovating it for the business.

“We have completely gutted it out inside. We want to make it a nice thing,” Waliezer said.

There are also plans for an additional building next to the existing building.

NAPA representative Wayne Benson told commissioners that Cristy and Jeremy Woodcock, owners of the NAPA store in Lake Preston, will continue to operate their auto repair shop in Lake Preston, but have decided they no longer wanted the NAPA parts store.

Housing meeting
outlines next steps

David Tritle

About 35 intrepid De Smet area residents braved the weather Sunday to attend a community meeting sponsored by the De Smet Development Corporation.

The meeting was designed as the first step in facilitating a community-based push through a series of housing roadblocks the city has met each time it has attempted to lure new residents to De Smet.

“I don’t want to say this is a last-ditch effort,” said Mayor Gary Wolkow. “But we’ve gone through meeting after meeting and haven’t gotten anywhere.”

New jobs are being created here, but many of the people working them don’t live in De Smet. And the problem seems poised to grow worse before it gets better.

Sunday’s 3 p.m. meeting ran like a workshop, moderated by coach Joe Bartmann from the Home Address team hired to help De Smet with its housing problems. “Nothing matters more than the wisdom in this room for getting to the bottom of this for De Smet,” Bartmann said.

Participants were first asked to write their own agenda, then divided into small groups to discuss the issues they had just designated as most important.