2022 News review – Oct., Nov., Dec.

Top stories – October 2022

Chris Hoss with the Pipestone Fire Department high fives elementary students at Pipestone Area Schools Monday, Oct. 10 during a visit in recognition of National Fire Prevention Week, which was Sunday, Oct. 9 through Saturday, Oct. 15. The firefighters met with elementary classes over two days, talking to students about fire safety and prevention.

Library prepares to relocate
Preparations had begun to move Meinders Community Library to a temporary location at the former Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses property at 220 Third Ave. SE in Pipestone. The last full day the library would be open during regular hours at its Pipestone Area Schools location would be Oct. 31.
Beginning Nov. 1, Library Director Jody Wacker said, there would likely be at least one or two days a week when the library would be open in a limited capacity in that location so people could come in to pick up books, browse materials that had not yet been packed and use the computers. She was thinking much of the moving would be done during the first half of November. Library staff could then spend the second half of the month moving whatever remained and putting things away at the new location. Wacker’s hope was that the temporary location would be able to open in at least a limited capacity sometime in December.

Monument proposes pedestrian access trail into park
Pipestone National Monument held a public meeting Wednesday, Oct. 19 to present information about and take input on a proposed pedestrian trail that would run from North Hiawatha Avenue to the quarry trail at the Monument. Pipestone National Monument Superintendent Lauren Blacik said the Monument has been interested in such a trail for a long time. She said the idea took on more urgency recently with the development of other trails in the area.

Commissioners approve 8.42 percent preliminary levy increase
Pipestone County Commissioners during their Sept. 27 meeting approved a preliminary 2023 property tax levy of $8,622,410, which was an increase of $669,754, or 8.42 percent. The preliminary levy would pay for about 41.69 percent of the preliminary 2023 budget of $20,681,562, which was a decrease of $729,054, or about 3.41 percent from 2022.

School board approves 1.5 percent preliminary levy increase
Pipestone Area Schools (PAS) Board members during their Sept. 26 meeting approved a preliminary 2023 property tax levy of $3,561,305.66, which was an increase of $53,409.74, or about 1.5 percent. It was the maximum amount the school district could levy based on state funding formulas that allow school districts to levy for a variety of specific purposes based on several factors. PAS has historically adopted the maximum levy amount allowed based on the formulas.

County looks into fiber optic internet network
Pipestone County Commissioners during their Oct. 11 meeting approved paying Hometown Fiber up to $99,900 to see what it would take to build a fiber optic internet network that would provide access to quality internet throughout the county.

Top stories – November 2022

People filled Pipestone’s Main Street during the Pipestone Area Chamber’s Trunk or Treat and Downtown Candy Walk on Halloween. It was a beautiful evening for the annual event.

2022 harvest wraps up
The 2022 harvest has proceeded without setbacks or interruptions and was on track to wrap up earlier than usual. Yields varied widely, depending on location, topography and soil types, with corn ranging from less than 100 to 220 bushels per acre and soybeans ranging from 20 to 70 bushels per acre, according to local sources.

Local business hit by suspected multi-state meat thieves
Two semi trucks owned by Pipestone Veterinary Services (PVS) that were reportedly stolen the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16 were thought to have been taken by Florida residents suspected of being part of a multi-state, multi-million dollar meat theft operation. According to an incident report from the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office, the semis were stolen from a PVS overstock warehouse on Sioux Drive in Pipestone. They were located by the Worthington Police Department and returned to the owner undamaged.

2022 election brings several new faces to local offices
Local election results showed there would be several new officials taking office in January. They included Dan Delaney, who was elected mayor of Pipestone, and Scott Swanson, who was elected to the Pipestone City Council; Daphne Likness and Mark Hiniker, who were elected to the Pipestone Area Schools Board; and Doug Nagel, who was elected District 2 Pipestone County Commissioner.

Many local offices to be filled by write-in or unopposed candidates
Several cities in Pipestone County had seats that were up for election on Nov. 8 for which no one filed and even more had seats for which candidates ran unopposed. When no one files, the person with the most write-in votes wins. If that individual accepted the position, they will be sworn into office in January like any other candidate. If they declined the position, a vacancy exists and a city council can appoint someone to fill the position until it can be filled by election.

First female deputy joins sheriff’s office
When Kaylee Bents became a deputy with the Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office in September, the 21-year-old Worthington native became the first woman to serve in that capacity in the long history of the sheriff’s office. Many women have worked for the sheriff’s office in other capacities over the years, but none as a deputy.

PAS alumni march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Four Pipestone Area Schools (PAS) graduates would perform with the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 24. They included Matthew Dulas, a drum major; Rose Baerenwald, who plays clarinet; Bradley Willey, who plays trombone; and Owen Minet, who plays bass drum.

Jones resigns as city administrator
Pipestone City Administrator Jeff Jones submitted and the city council approved his letter of resignation, effective Dec. 20, during the council’s Nov. 7 meeting. Jones said he had recently completed his 20th year as city administrator and thought that was a good time to retire. He described his time as city administrator as interesting, exciting and challenging.

Calumet Inn owners sue city
Tammy Grubbs, Vanda Smrkovski, Heliocentrix LLC and reVamped LLC filed a law suit against the city of Pipestone and Building and Zoning Official Doug Fortune for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by condemning the Calumet Inn in 2020.

According to a complaint filed Nov. 10 in U.S. District Court, Grubbs and Smrkovski allege that the city and Fortune violated their due process rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and violated 5th Amendment rights by preventing them from using or occupying the Calumet Inn. Grubbs and Smrkovski are seeking monetary damages in excess of $75,000, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses and other relief and costs deemed appropriate by the court.

Top stories – December 2022

Blizzard conditions on Dec. 22-24 gave cause for MNDot to close all state highways across SW Minnesota. The weather event wreaked havoc with transportation, business closures, and holiday travel plans.

2022 end with a blizzard
2022 ended with a few inches of snow, brutal cold and high winds.  On Friday morning, Dec. 23 the temperature was about -15 degrees and the wind chill value were around -43. Temperatures were dangerously cold most of the week, dipping below 0 degrees Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 20 and not reaching positive digits again until Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. High winds during much of that time led to wind chills values in the -30s and -40s. A few inches of light powdery snow on Wednesday, Dec. 21, added to the wind, led to blizzard conditions and that, coupled with the extremely low wind chills, caused the Minnesota Department of Transportation to recommend no travel in the area Thursday and close all highways in Pipestone County and the surrounding area on Friday. State highways were not reopened until midday Saturday.

Write-in candidates agree to fill seats
Write-in candidates agreed to fill mayor or city council seats in the cities of Hatfield, Holland, Ihlen and Trosky after no one filed for the seats in the general election on Nov. 8.

Local Kiwanis club celebrates 100 years
In 1915, Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit. About seven years later, the Pipestone Kiwanis were organized in 1922. Officers were elected and the charter night was held on Dec. 6, 1922, with 207 people in attendance, including 81 charter members, according to the club’s history. The Pipestone Kiwanis would celebrate their 100th anniversary on Dec. 6, 2022 with a banquet at the Pipestone Country Club.

Library opens in new location
Meinders Community Library reopened Monday, Dec. 5 in its new temporary location at 220 Third Ave. SE in Pipestone. The process to move from the library’s former location at Pipestone Area Schools began in October when library staff started packing boxes. The actual move was done in phases beginning with office and other miscellaneous equipment; then tables, chairs, shelving and spinner racks; then books and furniture; then all remaining items.

The last ride of the Dakota 38+2
When the Dakota 38+2 riders came through Pipestone on Sunday, Dec. 18, it was likely for the last time. The decision to end the ride after this year came after long periods of prayer and with the understanding that the sacrifice of the riders and the horses had been accepted, according to members of the group.
Lakota Spiritual Leader Jim Miller founded the ride in 2005 after he dreamed of journeying back to the site of the hangings on Dec. 26, 1862 of 38 Dakota in Mankato following the end of the U.S.-Dakota War and the hanging three years later, on Nov. 11, 1865, of two Dakota chiefs at Fort Snelling. The ride has begun each year in Lower Brule, S.D., this year on Saturday, Dec. 10, and concludes where the hangings took place in Mankato on Dec. 26.

The final act for the former Quarry Twin Theater
An excavator dug into what remained of the former Quarry Twin Theater building on Pipestone’s Main Street Wednesday morning, Dec. 7 and by the end of the week the structure was gone. The Pipestone City Council accepted a quote of $49,100 from Double “D” Gravel to demolish the building in May. The city of Pipestone does not own the property, but obtained a court order allowing it to demolish the condemned structure.

Pipeline under Monument shut down
Workers were digging north of Pipestone the week of Dec. 13 as part of the process to finalize the decommissioning of a half-mile section of pipeline under Pipestone National Monument and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land to the north of the Monument.
Garrison Haning, director of government and media affairs with Magellan Midstream Partners, which owns the pipeline, said the workers were isolating the segment of pipeline under the federal property so it would no longer be connected to the rest of the pipeline that runs from Sioux Falls to Marshall. The isolated segment will remain under the federal land.