Who is playing games with Van Eps Park?


Just another day at the park (the person who took this photo told me that they took this at 3 PM one day last week, and when they drove by again at 8 PM the guy in white was still passed out in the same spot.)

While the politicians from the city and county are pointing fingers and discussing what they can and cannot do at Van Eps Park (eliminating the alcohol) I believe the Mayor has the ultimate executive power to make Van Eps a dry Park, whenever he wants to;

Section 3.01  Executive power.

The executive and administrative power of the city shall be vested in a mayor.

Section 4.01  General provisions.

  1. Creation of departments. The mayor may establish city departments, offices, or agencies in addition to those created by this charter by filing an executive order which may also provide that any funds previously appropriated to perform a function which is being transferred may thereby be transferred to the new major organizational unit performing such function, with such order becoming effective after the expiration of 25 days from the date it is filed, unless action is taken to nullify the executive order by a vote of six (6) or more members of the city council. The mayor may prescribe the functions of all departments, offices, and agencies, except that no function assigned by this charter to a particular department, office, or agency may be discontinued or, unless this charter specifically so provides, assigned to any other.

As I understand it, the Mayor doesn’t need approval from the Parks Board or the City Council, he could file an order today. Now it would seem the city council could overturn his order with a 6/2 vote in next meeting, if they choose to.

Has the mayor ever used this power in the past, probably, but the one instance I can think of was when he authorized the purchase of snow gates for testing.

Let’s assume that he does have this power (if I am reading the ordinance correctly) so why hasn’t he used this authority? It seems him and Fiddle Faddle are playing games with the city charter (and state law) by throwing it back in the Park Board’s lap. Who appoints the Park Board? The Mayor.

So why has the city chosen to put temporary restrooms and more picnic tables at Van Eps? And what reason would the mayor have to drag his feet on this matter?

Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that some city councilors, county commissioners and park board members are not happy about the situation. The only thing I can think of is that they (Mayor’s office) are just biding their time with these people until the Good Shepard closes and The Bishop Dudley Shelter opens.

Funny how when it comes to entertainment facilities, nothing can be done fast enough, but drunks at a park out of site of ‘respectable’ Downtowners, our hands are tied. Yeah right.


What’s wrong with this picture?


Follow me to the Pentagon, who doesn’t like to watch a good ol’ cock fight?

Of course when Kelby and Sanford are involved, nothing should surprise us;

One of the most popular, and most controversial of extreme sports, could been finding a home in Sioux Falls. Next week, members of the South Dakota Athletic Commission will decide whether to allow ultimate fighters to enter the ring at the Sanford Pentagon.

The Resurrection Fighting Alliance wants to hold bouts at the Sanford Pentagon on August 22. Supporters see ultimate fighting as a financial boon to Sioux Falls, drawing big crowds of fans. But critics think ultimate fighting is too violent of a sport and shouldn’t be embraced here.

I won’t get into my feelings on people calling something a ‘sport’ while they are beating the shit out of each other, but am I the only one that thinks this probably won’t be helping Sanford’s image? You are a healthcare institute. I don’t have an issue with promoting Sports Medicine, basketball can be a grueling sport on an athlete’s body. But is ultimate fighting really a sport that Sanford wants to promote their Sports Medicine division? Apparently so.

Who makes these bonehead decisions anyway?


Is Bicycle Safety the issue or is it Vehicle Safety?

Before we go into a long diatribe about what ‘bicyclists’ should be doing to ride safely, I want to remind everyone who either drives a car or a bicycle or both, cars weigh a lot more then bicycles, like about 100x more. As a driver you must always be looking around you and aware of your surroundings, that is Driver’s ED 101, and it just doesn’t have to do with bicyclists, it has to do with pedestrians, wild animals and other vehicles.

In the latest incident where a teenage biker was drug 15 feet, there were probably many factors involved, but what concerned me the most about the accident is the age of the driver. First off, I don’t have a problem with elderly drivers, just BAD elderly drivers. I am also NOT saying they are driving badly on purpose, some of them lack the eyesight and hearing to drive safely. I suggested years ago that after an established age, that elderly drivers need to go in yearly to the DMV for AT least an eye and hearing exam, if not a full driving test. And in fairness, I would suggest that the testing be FREE to them for a five year period.

That being said, YES, bicyclists need to ride carefully. Trust me, most of the bicycle accidents I have been in the over 20 years I have rode in this town, have been self-inflicted because I WASN’T driving carefully, or riding on the sidewalk (which is extremely dangerous). Have I been hit by vehicles, yes a couple of times, but due to my very large mouth I was able to alert the driver before the incidents have escalated. I often tell fellow riders you must ride defensively a 100% of the time and should not be afraid to shout to alert drivers.

My advice for riding in Sioux Falls;

-Try to use the bike trail as much as possible for long commutes

-Try not to ride on the sidewalk unless you absolutely have to

-DO NOT ride on the sidewalk Downtown on Phillips Avenue, not only is it against city ordinance, it is extremely dangerous. I have almost been taken out a couple of times by cyclists while waiting on patio tables. The bump outs DT were created for pedestrian traffic, not bikes, skateboards and rollerblades. If you have to use the sidewalk with your bicycle DT, walk it.

-Lastly, try to ride in the road lane as much as possible


I have been producing some new cool stuff, and it is time to clean the walls of some of my older pieces. No reasonable offer will be refused.

Contact me at: fb.art@sio.midco.net

Paintings below:

1) Drug Policy (Acrylic on Canvas wrap)

2) Walking Past the Graveyard (Tom Waits series – Paper and mixed media on masonite)

3) Jelly Roll Morton, The father of Jazz (mixed media on canvas board)


Stehly to be guest on VPU on KSOO today @ 5

Theresa will be talking about her possible petition drive to stop the city from dictating how much landscaping can be in your boulevard. Tree trimming may also be attached to the petition (The city will work in partnership with citizens to trim the boulevard trees, instead of doing it and charging/fining citizens).

A response to ‘Seating Cluster’

From Detroit’s E-Box;

I was at the second night of pick your seat night, we are priority 283 I think.  We got a lot better seats that I thought we might get.  Here are my thoughts on all of it:
I can’t comment on this person’s experience, however, I’ll throw in my experience and thoughts.  I’ve been a Stampede season ticket holder since 2005 (with the exception of a few years off when our daughter was born in 2008).
For the last several years we had ‘Club’ seats at the arena.  We were directly behind the players bench, in the ‘club’ section, with in seat wait service, reserved parking (our own lot but not a reserved space), and other perks.  Very nice.  Cost was $23 dollars a game last season (for season ticket holders) ($26 was the walk up price).  The equivalent seat in terms of perks would have been the true club seats at the Event Center.  Since these are a ‘real’ club seat (they are just a PSL actually), you were obligated to pay the yearly fee ($600-$750) for the PSL.  That’s all you get with the yearly fee – right of first refusal to all events.  Once you own that PSL, you have first crack at the seat for Stampede season tickets.  We declined to buy the club seat PSL to keep the same type of perks we have now, because that would have doubled our current pricing ($600+ season ticket + $600+ PSL/Club seat license).  The new event enter is going to be nice, but we’re not paying double.  You also don’t get reserved parking with the clubs in the E.C. for Stampede.  Only the front row seats (black level) at $40 a game get that.  So we passed on the clubs.  You could still purchase a club seat season ticket at the pick your seat nights this week.  However, most people, us included, declined because each year you run the risk of the PSL holder exercising their right to buy the season tickets and you’d get booted out of your seats.  And they are more expensive for really no discernable extra benefit except for the in seat wait service I believe and a nice location (center ice on one side).
In the last several months I had several discussions with the Stampede, SMG, and the city (community development).  I did get different answers for various questions.  It was pretty confusing and I don’t think the communication was ideal.  I don’t know who was to blame because one side did blame the other in more than one case.
The pick your seat night went reasonably well, although it took longer than what it was supposed to, but I’m not surprised really.  I think they largely did their best.  I think in some fairness to the Stampede, they were as in the dark, I think, as we were up until almost the last minute here, and I’m not really sure who to blame on that one.  I think the process they went through at least in my experience was reasonably orderly.  They brought us in smaller groups in order of priority number, we wrote the seats we wanted, and then went back and selected. It was pretty reasonable.
I think maybe the biggest uncovered story in my view would be the pricing.  I believe I read somewhere the Stampede were paying $3,000 a game at the Arena.  They are paying I believe $3,750 at the event center, I believe.
I was kind of surprised by the ticket prices for the new event center.  I presumed some increase, but I was a little surprised by how much they increased from two perspectives.
The first was compared to the old Arena.  Of course this is a vastly better facility.  The experience will be better for sure, that’s obvious.  However, that only goes so far and while I love Stampede hockey, we’re still talking about young players, albeit elite players, between high school and college age playing.  This isn’t the pros.
If you look at the old vs new pricing, trying to make it apples to apples, which isn’t totally straightforward, you’ll see what I’d say pretty appreciable to steep increases, in my view.  The prices I have on my ticket chart reflect our $4 a seat discount for being season ticket holders, so the prices we paid are significantly less than the walk up price.
The other perspective I thought about was compared to other USHL venues.  I looked at almost all of the other USHL venues and their pricing.  The Stampede from what I can tell are significantly higher than all I found and by wide margins in many cases.  True, we’ve probably bar none have the best venue in the USHL now, but a few venues have been replaced in the last few years so not everyone has an old barn.  And even if we have the best venue, that again only goes so far.  As an example, at the Tyson Event Center which I’ve been to several times, I can buy and have bought tickets in the first row on the glass for $15 per ticket.  In addition, its half price for kids.  So for my wife and myself it was $30 + $7.50 for my daugther, so $37.50 for all three of us to sit on the glass.  Stampede walk up price for the event center for first row on the glass is $44.  Even at the old arena the very limited ‘on the glass’ ‘executive’ seats they had were $27, and those were better than a typical on the glass because you were elevated in a high chair and there was a major supply/demand issue, there were VERY FEW Of these because that building was not made for hockey.
The club seats are $30 walk up price apparently, which is all of sections 103-104 (blue line to blue line) across from the player benches.
The rest of the seats around the bowl in the next 6 rows or so are $26 dollars walk up price.  The closest comparison would be the first 8 rows in the arena (granted that started in the balcony since the arena was not a hockey venue) that were $17 per walk up price.  In the event center the next tier is the blue zones which is rows 7 or 8 up to the back of the lower deck which are priced at $20 walk up price.  Compare that to the current rows 9-18 for $15 in the arena.  The cheapest seats on far ends or corners are $18 and $12 respectively walk up price.
What I noticed at the season ticket pick your seat night (I was at the second night) was very few selected in the black ($40 front row) and not much picked in the gold.  The blue and red were filling pretty substantially.  This isn’t too surprising given the pricing.  We are able to afford it, so we did pick seats in the gold section, which is comparable to what we are paying now at least price wise.  I wouldn’t buy the black $40 seats on principle, way too expensive I thought.
We, and many others I talked to, that had ‘club’ seats at the arena were actually kind of conflicted.  We were in the catbird seat to some extent.  We had major leg room, no one in front or behind us (we were on a long elevated platform that was behind the player bench and elevated so we could see), we had reserved parking, in seat wait service, and not much competition in the bathrooms because we were among a small number who were in the lower level.  In the new event center, we don’t have the in seat wait service, no reserved parking, etc.  Very few (or none!) people will feel sorry for us on losing that, but we were used to it for the price we were paying.
I am thinking they might be being a little aggressive with the price increases, but only time will tell.  It will be interesting to see what if any effect it has on walk up purchases.  It may be harder to tell in the first year or two just because of the novelty.  I do think about a family of four looking to go to a game, it could get pretty spendy compared to before.  Of course it will be a better venue, I get that.  But that only goes so far.  Time will tell.  I’m in a position where I can absorb the cost, but not everyone is.
I have said from the beginning, this will be a playground for those who can afford it. Think Pavilion, on a larger scale.


The City’s Lack of Transparency on the EC Siding is NOT an isolated incident

Since Huether has been mayor, there have been many instances of the city not being transparent with the public and the council and I see this lack of transparency getting worse.

Here are just a few ‘examples’ of the city’s (mostly the mayor’s office and council leadership) very non transparent moments;

- Holding a press conference to announce the building of two new Walmarts without Planning or Council approval.

- The mayor’s wife and him investing in TIF’s and other developments that are recommended by the Planning Department, a department he manages.

- Allowing Community Development to give an affordable housing grant to a developer who was chair of the Planning Commission, a clear conflict of interest

- Allowing Council Chair Erpenbach to CENSOR snowgate election testimony, which put off snowgate implementation for a full year.

- Mayor Huether was not required to list all of his investments on his campaign finance report, but other NON-incumbent candidates were asked to do so

- Two hearings on municipal election ballot language because petitioners were NOT allowed to proof the language before ballots were printed

- Asked the city to provide $500K towards a new indoor tennis facility without mentioning eventually his name would be on the side of the building.

- Sanford bought events center domain name before they were announced the title sponsor

- Spellerberg Park picked as location of new indoor pool before a supposed resolution on the quit claim deed

The EC siding secrecy is just another notch in the bed post for a mayor and administration that sleeps with a lot of secrets. And just think, these are the ones we KNOW about . . .

Season Ticket Cluster

From a South Dacola foot soldier;
My relatives are not happy with the EC and the hockey team. They don’t know which to be mad at, though, because the Stampede blamed the city, and vice versa.
So they’ve had prime season tickets from the very first season. With the new building, though, they weren’t guaranteed the equivalent seats because of the “club” that pays $500 for first crack at all tickets.
Yesterday was the day for season ticket holders to pick their seats. They had a reservation system that placed the previous season ticket holders in an order based on priority. My relatives had an early evening time set, and made arrangements for their seats.
Friends of my relatives had a later time, and when they showed up my relative’s seats were still unmarked and still for sale. They purchased two of my relative’s seats, thinking they had decided not to renew. Thankfully, they called my relatives afterwards and asked them. My relatives angrily immediately called the Stampede, who attempted to put them off until the next day (today). They also claimed this whole situation was the “city’s fault”. She wouldn’t take that as a workable solution, but she finally got it sorted out.
It was apparently a mess out there, though. Those people that had early evening times were lucky to get in by 9:30. Generally, what would happen is that when people found out their seats were taken they would wander around until they selected something else. Some of these folks took forever, instead of the fifteen minutes they were told that they’d have to do this.
My relatives made the best comment. They’re also Minnesota Vikings season ticket holders, and they already have their new seats in a building that won’t open for another two years. Why didn’t the EC and Stampede do the same thing?

Noise pollution?


He just couldn’t stop with the tennis courts


I guess I would have hired a more professional sign maker.