Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

UPDATE II: Like we didn’t see this coming

UPDATE II: This gets more interesting by the minute;

In one of the provisions, Hultgren agrees to “. . . make restitution to the victims for Defendant’s conduct set forth in the Information, this Plea Agreement (click here) (including the Factual Basis Statement) (clickhere), and the presentence investigation report. . .”

How much this is is not included in the above documents. The court also sealed another document, Sealed Plea Agreement Supplement, which may or may not include such information.

UPDATE: As I expected, a deal was cut;

Hultgren Construction has reached a plea agreement with the federal government to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for its role in the December 2, 2016 Copper Lounge building collapse in Sioux Falls.

I find it interesting that individuals are NOT being charged. Makes you wonder if a deal is being cut;

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota formally charged Hultgren Construction for its role in the Dec. 2, 2016 tragedy that took the life of Ethan McMahon, an employee of the company and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had served in Afghanistan. McMahon died in the collapse, which occurred while Hultgren Construction was removing a 38-inch thick load-bearing wall. The wall separated the old Copper Lounge and the former Skelly’s Pub, two former bars that were being merged into one building.

The company faces the charge of willful violation of the Occupational, Safety and Health Act, a misdemeanor charge. The owners of the company, Aaron Hultgren, Larry Canfield, Norm Drake and Paul Cink, will face no criminal charges.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years probation and a $500,000 fine.

If found guilty though, it could lead to some pretty big civil cases.

Again, I ask, why did some city officials think it was a good idea to invest with these clowns? Baffling.

Man yells racial slurs at teens and tells them he has a firearm in the heart of downtown Sioux Falls

I will warn you, the video is NOT work safe or kid safe. I saw this earlier today and was glad to see KSFY had time in between petting pigs and eating chislic stories to do a story on this. It is a very sad day in our community when three minorities get treated this way, especially since they never even provoked the guy. What is even sadder is they haven’t even arrested the man. While the slurs are protected by the 1st Amendment, threatening people with a firearm is NOT. We have a long way to go folks, and our current situation in DC is NOT helping.

I’m sharing this because in 2019 my son and his friends are walking Downtown Sioux Falls Please share Thank you everyone who reached out to me, I have a name and a report was made, I’m leaving the video up because I believe this is something people should be aware of and that this is not how humans should act towards eachother, especially our youth

Posted by Ashley Eva Marie on Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hazard will leave a legacy of revitalizing Downtown Sioux Falls

While I have been a critic of Jeff over the years, I certainly am not going to do that today. Today I feel compelled to say something ‘nice’ about a person who I have sparred with over the years.

I will give Hazard credit for one thing unequivocally, he was the driving force into revitalizing downtown. While a lot of other people have helped along the way, mostly legislatively and with funds, Jeff had the vision to help save a lot of historic buildings downtown, and for that, it’s hard to say a bad word about him.

Jodi, as usual, does a nice story about Jeff’s friends remembering him.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to clear the air about something; Hazard was probably NOT responsible for the bad siding on the Denty.

As you can see in this early image of the design, Hazard, who helped design the Premier Center, originally designed the siding to be flat panels, which I thought would have given the appearance of a hexagonal-industrial look to the building. The panels also would have been incredibly durable and properly ‘locked’ into place to prevent gaps and leaks.

Like most design changes the design was thrown out the window due to ‘money’. This was likely not Jeff’s fault. As most people know, building anything, you can certainly take the recommendations of the engineer and architect, but quite often things ‘change’ and usually because of greed, egos or both. Ask the people who had to watch their big yellow house be torn down.

The only thing we really know about the change order is that likely Hazard or some other person on the design team, was ‘forced’ to sign off on the bad design that is rumored to save around $2 million in construction costs. I highly doubt Jeff would have proposed this change himself. As an artist myself, I will gladly accept criticism, but it doesn’t mean I will abide by the suggestions, but as a graphic designer, I follow the money and willingly ‘throw the copy out the window’.

We all have our guesses who made this incredibly BAD decision, and not only do I feel bad for Hazard but all the other contractors who had to take the fall for an out-of-control ego maniac, who to this day has never admitted wrong doing or making the incredibly idiotic decision. Go figure. It will however prevent this person from ever holding public office again, which in some respects is a fair trade for the dented up mess.

Some of this came out in the top secret million dollar settlement where once again Hazard was ‘forced’ to participate in. I doubt Jeff lost any money in the deal, but did probably lose a little of his pride. 

While I didn’t know Jeff personally, I did know one thing about him, he didn’t seem to lose much sleep over his critics, at least I saw that face of him publicly.

Architecture is extremely demanding profession, and it is difficult. I thought about becoming one, but I knew I could never pass the math classes. You are going to make mistakes now and then, and I think Jeff knew that. 

Jeff’s achievements certainly outweigh his mistakes, by a long shot. I will miss seeing him walk about downtown pondering his next project.

My condolences to his wife Sheila and his family.

Load me up

Oh the irony, shortly after I do a post about the city being corrupt, I get this picture below of the city rigging the system once again. In the dark of the night, the city changes the 2-hour parking sign to a Loading Zone sign after they are called out for painting yellow lines in legal parking zones.

The rumor going around is that after the Augie basketball court crosswalk was painted in front of the Crane building, the delivery trucks could no longer park in the street to unload (too narrow). So in an attempt to make it safer for business patrons in the area, they have eliminated several parking spots for those same patrons so a truck that shows up maybe once a day has a spot.

While I was all for the crosswalk, I was baffled by the bump-outs, they make no sense, and now have caused a parking issue.

But what is even more troubling is how the city can just change out signs on a whim without notice to property owners. Maybe I should start changing Handicap parking signs out with signs that say “Short, Fat man parking”?

Yellow lines mysteriously appear in legal parking zones

A business owner on this street (8th) complained to the city about these yellow lines being painted in legal parking zones. According to the business owner when he questioned the person painting them, they said they were NOT with the city and a private citizen. I hope to have an answer from the city as to how this happened 1) without notice to area businesses and 2) how a private citizen can paint yellow fire zone lines on taxpayer owned property.

Riverfest was a great success

So there was this Seventies-ish funk dance band that headlined. Satchel Grande from Omaha.

Maybe we have a solution for the Bunker Ramp

I always thought that studio apartments on top of the bunker ramp would have been more useful than a hotel.

Inside Broadway Autopark (Milt Mounts/Essential Images Photography)

Best Levitt picture

It was a great season, only 2 concerts got fully cancelled (?) and tonight’s concert ended after about 4 songs due to lightning and rain. One more tomorrow night to wrap it up with local rockers Kory & the Fireflies.

I took this picture last night of the accordion player from the High Kings.

And I saved all my drink tickets from the concerts. Ironically, the guy who complained about not being able to bring his own beer bought quite a few drinks.

Corruption, Incompetance and Blatant Ignorance

After hearing about the settlement yesterday in the Copper Lounge collapse, we got the verification we all knew was true, Legacy and Hultgren were attached at the hip. Duh.

So when you read the headline in this blog post, you probably think I am talking about Aaron Hultgren or Norm Drake, I am NOT. They are beyond help.

I’m talking about the city councilors/mayors who approved the Bunker Ramp deal to begin with.

It is very irritating and frustrating to listen to some of the members of the RS5 blow off the bunker ramp as just a ‘bad decision’ and that they are not perfect and sometimes make ‘mistakes’.

I would qualify NOT giving a movie theater a beer license as a ‘mistake’ or ‘bad decision’. Something that can be easily passed later, and even if it isn’t, it doesn’t harm anyone. The bunker ramp is a COLASSAL F’UP! Taxpayers are currently paying $1.5 million a year in bond payments for a parking ramp that is unoccupied and will be for a very long time. We may have to dip into the 2nd penny to help make these payments.

The evidence and writing was ON THE WALL! There was mountains of evidence that shouldn’t have passed, but out of pure arrogance a majority passed it anyway.

I am still awaiting at least an apology from those who voted for it, but I still think there needs to be greater consequences. They essentially committed FRAUD on the taxpayers by supporting a project they knew would never happen and the current and past mayor are also to blame. There is also a ton of past and present city employees who helped ramrod it through.

I would like to see a recall and termination of all involved that still work for the city. But there is something you can definitely do this Spring. You can make sure that councilors Selberg and Neitzert don’t get re-elected, and if they had any sense at all, they wouldn’t run for re-election (I do know that both of them already have STRONG challengers waiting in the wings). I would also suggest to re-elect councilors Starr and Stehly who opposed this from the beginning.

We all know that elected officials often make ‘mistakes’ and are not ‘perfect’. But when you have so much evidence showing you it would be a bad decision and you pass it anyway, you have to wonder what kind of corruption is going on behind the scenes. Maybe we get lucky and the Feds that are investigating the building collapse will investigate the city for attempting to go into business with Legacy. We can only hope!

Covering up the Bunker Ramp mistake with a mural is insulting

As a fine artist and graphic artist I have been asked to do some unusual projects. Most of the time, you are asked to sell something. I told a frequent SculptureWalk artist last year that was kind of the purpose of SW, to promote Downtown and sell more beer and pizza. He didn’t take kindly to my words. I’ve gotten to do some fun projects like creating logos and t-shirt art for Jazzfest or designing posters for ZombieWalk and the SF Roller Dollz. Most of the time, these projects are not only fun, but for the betterment of the community, then I read this;

Erica Beck, chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said the TenHaken administration is taking “more intentional focus” on culture and arts through all of downtown, including murals.

The south side of the city’s new parking ramp, which faces one of the busiest thoroughfares downtown and sits on the busiest corner in the neighborhood, is an ideal candidate for a mural, she said.

I have been very vocal for years that DTSF needs to implement a public art/mural program. I have even went so far to say that spending millions on one sculpture was shortsighted and the money could have been more wisely spent on implementing hundreds of small art projects and murals downtown. Where I draw the line is when government wants to use the talents of artists to essentially cover up a massive mistake. If we paint a mural on one the most incompetent decisions our city government has ever made, what kind of message are we sending to the public and artists? When government screws the pooch, we’ll just paint over it?

If the city chooses to spend a large chunk of money on a mural for the bunker ramp (something that could cost between $30-60K) we are sending the wrong message to taxpayers. What’s next? A mural on the Denty to cover up the bad siding?

I think we should leave the ugly Southside of the bunker ramp ‘as is’ for a constant reminder of how badly things can get when our supposed leaders are not paying attention. In fact, I think we should paint the names of the city councilors, mayors, and city employees responsible for this huge mistake.

A more appropriate solution would be a temporary large scale banner wrap, you could even make it cost neutral by selling advertising on it or to put out important public service announcements, historical images or even just artistic in nature. While they used to be quite expensive, they are very reasonable these days.