Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

Will retiring Sioux Falls Police Chief Barthel tell us the ‘real’ story behind the Tuthill Ghost


Hey, it’s October, who doesn’t like a good ghost story?

Councilor Anderson told me on Friday about a recognition they will be having for Chief Barthel (I believe in tomorrows city council meeting). I asked Kenny if the outgoing Chief will fess up to what happened NY’s Day at Tuthill Park before departing. I think Kenny’s response was ‘probably not.’

It has been almost 10 months and we still have no clues. But of course, the public hasn’t been allowed to see evidence either and the shooting was investigated internally (because no one was injured – are we sure?)

Hopefully this incident won’t be ‘haunting’ Doug into his retirement.

UPDATE: It’s a Pool Party (just not for the poor kids)

UPDATE: Here is the proposed changes (DOC); Poolratesproposed

I would first like to thank the Sioux Falls city council for releasing their pool rate plans at least 5 days in advance of the first reading, unlike the mayor’s office that releases their plans 5 minutes before a meeting.

I’m not sure what to think of the council’s proposed changes (I will want to see a more in depth document after the agenda is released this afternoon at 4:59 PM)

Now offering an alternative, the council plans to present a proposal of its own next week that includes more modest rate hikes on season passes and establishes one-size fits all passes that can be used at any public swimming facility in Sioux Falls.

. . . the council intends to develop a seasonal pass system that would offer access to the entire public pool system – indoor and outdoor. A $250 family annual pass, for instance, would entitle a family of five to year-round pool access, and a summer-only family pass would be $80, up from the $70 pass families paid this year.

I like where this is going, and I know the council has been in discussions for months about how they would tackle the indoor/outdoor debacle. It’s the FREE passes that are hitting a major snag. I support keeping them, but I suggested to the council that people who apply for them should be asked to give a free will offering to the Parks Department of any amount if they ‘can’. Not sure if that will be in the final package (or if the genius’ over in the attorney’s office nixed it?) Either way, whether you support FREE passes or not, if the passes do get approved, it should be eligible at ALL of the pools (indoor and outdoor). The councilors differ in their opinions on that;

Continuing to provide passes at no charge is about ensuring the entire community has access to the entire pool system – indoor and outdoor, said Councilor Kenny Anderson Jr., who helped draft the pending proposal with input from his colleagues.

“This is something that will allow our youth to access all of our public pools in Sioux Falls,” he said. “As far as I was concerned, all of our public pools are public pools and people should have a selection of what pools they would like to go to.”

Exactly! (Even though Kenny and Michelle have been making a habit lately of changing their minds when it comes to the final vote after telling their colleagues in private that they support something). Hopefully Kenny holds steady on this one. The way I look at it is if we are subsidizing the outdoor pools in the exact manner as the indoor pool, what does it matter where they use their pass? Like I have said in the past, I don’t use the public pools (I can’t swim) but I have no issue with subsidizing them, even for FREE use, I use the bike trails and other parks frequently, and I feel we are all in this together. But some councilors feel that the indoor pool is too ‘special’ of a place for the poor kids to swim;

“I would prefer right out of the gate (to see) no free annual passes for the indoor pool,” Karsky said. “Once it’s free, it’s hard to go back because then you’re taking something away.”

Yeah, Dean, those free pass kids might dirty up the water too much, because as councilor hat hater Rex Rolfing said, “for some of those kids, it’s the only bath they get all week.” Maybe with their free pass we could give them a bar of soap also?

Why don’t you just admit it Dean, the indoor aquatic center isn’t being built for ‘those kids’ it’s being built for those who can afford it. Why else would we put in bleachers? So the special interest parents can come watch their kids compete. I don’t want this to be a ‘special interest’ pool, I want this to be like all the other public pools, a community pool used by all, young and old, rich and poor. If Snow Fox or any other special interest has an issue with that, they can buy the pool or build their own (BTW, still waiting to hear how much they are kicking in for a sponsorship at the place. They must have blown their wad on consultants and t-shirts before the last election).

Parks Director Don Kearney said while the graduated fee schedule that has season passes escalating through 2018 does more to account for rising operating costs than leaving rates static for long periods of time, the council’s plan won’t do much to reduce the subsidy the pool system requires.

As for cost recovery, puuuleaze! You should have thought of that before building an indoor pool that is going to cost well over a million to operate each year! A project that Sanford was willing to build, taking taxpayer’s off the hook. Don’t come crying later that we have this monster subsidy because the consultants, city attorneys and finance officers are bad at math and planning. We were telling you that before the election, just another dirty little cover up by the Parks Department and Mayor’s office.

I have a feeling that the second reading of this proposal will be a firestorm, not just from the public but from the council and administration. Brace yourself. We will all probably need a good bath after the dust clears.

Ice Storm Tree Re-plantings?

A South DaCola Foot Soldier contacted me last night asking me to try to remember if a promise was made to us about the ice storm. He wondered if the city promised to replant some trees that were taken down due to the ice storm. I couldn’t remember. I also couldn’t remember how much FEMA money we received, but after checking some news stories, it looks like $4.9 million.

A city councilor contacted the city’s forestry director, Duane Stahl, and he said besides the HelpLine and the Argus Leader teaming up to voluntarily replant trees, the city had no plan. So I guess the $4.9 million in FEMA money went to out of state contractors to cut down our trees but to not replace.

Another $500K wasted taxpayer investment for the ‘specials’ – Huether Match Pointe Indoor Tennis Center

Tennis Center summer hours

Tall weeds on north side of tennis building

Litter, weeds and quack grass

As you can see, the doors are locked unless you have an appointment. I guess they are finding out operating a facility like this isn’t very lucrative when you only have 102 members. Heck, they can’t even hire a teenager to pick up the garbage and mow the weeds at the joint. Better call code enforcement, those weeds look noxious and that garbage could be considered a ‘public nuisance’. I wonder how long before Great Life buys this place on a auction?

We bitch that the kids have no place to swim in the winter yet close the city pools the hottest week of the year

The irony and the political posturing couldn’t be more obvious;

Sioux Falls public pools will begin to close at the end of this week. Come to the news conference to learn how pool closing dates are determined, how staffing levels are affected by college start dates and fall high school activity start dates, and which pools will close first across Sioux Falls.

So now the sour grapes of the late school start date are starting to affect city politics. Wild Water West must be giddy. I can’t tell you how stupid this is. We complain that the (snowfox team) can’t swim in the winter, yet we close the city pools weeks before the first leaf falls from the trees. This obvious political ploy is disgusting.

Nothing to see in Heritage Park, move along

Seems Heritage Park still has some trouble;

Complaint calls about Heritage Park have ranged from illegal use of alcohol to fights, and even public urination. It’s a situation that has property owners in the area fed up.

We spoke with Dwaine Thill who owns two houses across the street from Heritage Park, and he says the indecent and illegal behavior at Heritage Park is only getting worse. He feels the close proximity to the Bishop Dudley House is leading to an increase of people at the park. Thill says he’s concerned not only for his property, but keeping his tenants as well.

Photos taken from a neighbor in the area show people drinking alcohol and even urinating on her property.

“It’s the scrud of the city, coming over here and they have a place to congregate, drink, shoot up, and whatever else they want to do out there,” Property Owner Dwaine Thill said.

But not according to the SFPD. Just ignore the number of calls, the neighbors, the violations and that we have a homeless shelter close by;

In June and July, police responded to 141 calls at the park.  Even though the crimes at the park are minor, Clemens says police are keeping an eye on the area to prevent any dangerous situations. While some people are calling Heritage Park the new Van Eps Park, Clemens says this isn’t the case.

I think Mr. Thill has the best suggestion to fixing the problem;

Even so, Thill wants the city to do something about it.

“If the mayor wants to have them up in his area, more power to him. I’d like to have him live beside them awhile,” Thill said.

The streets in that neighborhood are so nice, the homeless would be scared to walk on them.

The City Council will have the final say on Pool Rates

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The Sioux Falls Park Board kinda met on July 21, 2015 in a very small meeting room in the headquarters building. Not only is it hard for the public to find these meetings but apparently the board members have problems driving down to them. Five of the members called in to join them. We guess it’s alright but it would have been better is it was televised on CityLink and internet so all could really join in.

Cameraman Bruce was able to get a very clear and concise answer from the board concerning the proposed pool rate hikes. “Let’s park the decision with the City Council and get it out of here!” (FF: 7:00 )

So it’s up to the Council to make the final rate decisions. If you want to make a difference you have to show-up. If you want to be part of the solution you have to be there. If you want to change bad policy you have to use your voice and body to show your election officials you want answers.

Is mosquito spraying in Sioux Falls killing bees, beneficial bugs and driving songbirds away?

I guess I haven’t really thought about it much until the past couple of days as people have pointed out to me that they haven’t seen many honey bees or beneficial bugs. I have several wild flower pots in my backyard, and I have only noticed one bumble bee so far this summer, and no honey bees. There are products that can be used that don’t affect the honey bees and beneficial bugs, and different application practices (avoid aerial and spraying during the day) this product uses a bacteria that kills mosquitos;

“Bti”, Bacillus thuringienis ssp. israelensis, are bacteria which infect and kill mosquito larvae. These bacteria are highly selective, killing only mosquitoes and their close relatives like gnats and black flies. Formulations of Bti will only kill these types of insects and do not harm other kinds of insects, fish, birds, worms or mammals.

– Bti is harmless to other wildlife

– Easy to apply!

– Effective within 24 hours.

– May be applied pre-flood.

When Bti are eaten by the mosquito larvae, they damage the gut cells and quickly paralyze them, then kill the larvae quickly and efficiently. A moderate to heavy dose has been shown to reduce the mosquito population by one half in 15 minutes and the rest within one hour.

Using non-biological insecticides have proven to kill honey bees;

Problems may arise if these insecticides come into contact with honey bees. Honey bees are susceptible to many insecticides, and in fact pesticides are a major cause of honey bee deaths.

Public awareness of the importance of honey bees is growing. Besides providing the beeswax, honey, propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly that are the basis for countless businesses, honey bees are essential for producing a substantial portion of our agricultural crops. As pollinators, honey bees are unsurpassed in their service to farmers producing fruits and vegetables such as apples, cucumbers, squash, melons, blueberries, pears, etc. Without a large and steady supply of bee colonies, commercial growers would not be able to produce these crops, and their businesses would fail.

As for the beneficial insects, it may be affecting them also;

With the threat of new emerging infectious diseases in the United States (West Nile virus, Malaria, Dengue), the clamor for novel personal protection/vector control devices has increased significantly over recent years. The two new tactics that have been introduced for controlling disease-carrying insects in a residential setting consist of fogging the vegetation surrounding the home withlong-lasting insecticides and the installation of residential misting systems that spray the desired area with aninsecticide on a daily basis. There have been some preliminary studies conducted that show that these tactics can have some effect on the mosquito populations in the backyard setting. However, these new control tactics and devices may have an adverse effect on the beneficial insects providing natural biological control of pest species in the areas subjected to the chemical treatments.

Beneficial insects include all the organisms that occur in the environment (may be augmented by the homeowner) that help to keep pest arthropod populations low, pollinate various plant species, and prevent major damage to backyard landscaping.

Some of those beneficial bugs are Lady Bugs, Spiders, Preying Mantids, Assassin Bugs, Ambush Bugs, Thread-Legged Bugs, and Ground Beetles.

As for songbirds disappearing, I am only speculating they are not around because their favorite food is mosquitos, flies and gnats.

Not sure what kind of product the city is currently using, but there are numerous other biologically safe ways to kill the mosquitos and save the bees and beneficial bugs.

It’s A Pool Party! Sioux Falls City Council Working Session, 7/15/2015

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Are you noticing a change at Sioux Falls Carnegie Town Hall lately?   Like, how unprepared City of Sioux Falls Parks staff is to answer real questions with real answers? Our HandiCam was handy for the City Council working session on July 15, 2015 as we caught most of the pool rate increase meeting.

It was quite a meeting of council members ready to work and the city Parks and Rec staff not expecting to. The ill-prepared staff met a council wanting to be engaged. The council allowed the public to contribute information, especially when the Parks staff could not find a body orifice to pull data out of.

It made some wonder, what has happened to the old rubber stamp? The council is getting tired of be taken advantage of just like their citizens.


UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council work session today to talk about ‘Pool rates’

The meeting will be at Carnegie Hall at 4 PM Downtown. I enjoy the work sessions because it is a pretty open forum where sometimes people from the public attending can participate. They usually hold the meeting in the foyer.

UPDATE: Many things occurred at the work session (hope to have a video up soon). One thing was clear at the end of the meeting, the indoor aquatic center is NOT being built for the same users as the outdoor pools.

I was able to address the council and dispel a couple of things discussed, I told them;

1) Our pool rates CANNOT be compared to other communities in South Dakota, our sales tax base is totally different because of our retail.

2) User fees increases (which I support) should be based on inflation, not pulling numbers out of the sky like the administration and some council members did today

3) Keep the free pool passes for the poor, but ask for a free will donation when they acquire them.