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Broadcaster Press 11 January 28, 2020 www.broadcasteronline.com “The participating students were placed in various locations in the community. We had four students this first year and it’s one credit for them,” she said. “The first quarter is in class and the following three quarters the students can spend time in different businesses or at the same business. This being our pilot year, we’ve been seeing what works best.” The four participating Vermillion students were all in different locations during the second quarter. “During the third quarter, I had two students who wanted to get involved in areas that nobody could commit to, so we put them in other placements during that time period and that seemed to work pretty well,” Armbrust said. “One of the placements fell through … so instead they’ve been working with the Department of Labor on another portion of this that’s called the National Career Readiness Certificate.” ACT, the non-profit organization that administers standardized tests of the same name, has developed and is encouraging the promotion of the National Career Readiness Certificate. “It’s a way for students to go through different courses. First they go through courses that help them take a test that gives an indication to employers how well they’ll work out for them,” Armbrust said. “The students also receive a certificate that they can use as part of their resume, or job application. APRIL City Code Change Allows VCDC Priority Of BBB Tax For Economic Development Alderman Howard Willson didn’t get exactly what he first requested from fellow members of the Vermillion City Council back in February. He was thankful Monday night, however, that aldermen and city staff had taken the time to review the city’s Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) tax ordinance and voted to approve at that night’s meeting a proposed ordinance that changes the language of the current BBB code. All members of the city council except for Tom Sorensen voted to approve the proposed ordinance on its first reading. Sorensen has voiced opposition to Willson’s idea since the time he introduced it during a noon meeting of the city council on Feb. 4. City Manager John Prescott noted Monday that after Willson’s idea to devote a certain percentage of the BBB tax each year to the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) was studied by both the city’s Policies and 74 YEARS IN BUSINESS 60 YEARS IN BUSINESS Procedures Committee and its Labor and Finance Committee. Both committees made some language changes to the original proposal. A section of city code that pertains to use of revenue from the BBB tax reads: “Any revenues received under this subchapter may be used only for the purpose of land acquisition, architectural fee, construction costs, payment for civic center, auditoriums or athletic facility buildings, including the maintenance, staffing, and operations of the facilities, and the promotion and advertising of the municipality, its facilities, attractions, and activities.” New language added to this section of the BBB code reads: “Priority will be given to the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company for economic development activity and promotion of the community for both short-term and long-term activities. The City Council will review the history of usage and determine the approximate anticipated revenue in the next budget year to be allocated to other permissible uses.” Future Of VAAC, Washington Street Arts Center In Question Last weekend, approximately 40 area art-lovers and concerned citizens gathered at the Washington Street Arts Center to discuss the fate of the building and the future of the Vermillion Area Arts Council. The meeting, which was called by the VAAC Board of Directors and led by Arts Management Consultant and Facilitator Janet Brown, delved into what the future might look like for the VAAC. Separating the organization from the Washington Street Arts Center (WSAC) building, renovating the WSAC, hiring a coordinator to run the VAAC, folding the organization, and/or combining with other area organizations were among the many possibilities discussed during the meeting. The Vermillion Area Arts Council was founded in the 1970s to create a stronger appreciation for the arts in Vermillion. In the 1980s, the organization purchased the former St. Agnes Church building at 202 Washington Street and named it The Washington Street Arts Center. The WSAC has been the home of the Vermillion Area Arts Council since 1990. The facility, which is on the National Register of Historic Places for its Late Gothic Revival-style architecture and stained glass windows, has been used by the VAAC to host a variety of events, camps, art shows, and other activities through the years. The building features four art YEARS IN BUSINESS 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS 44 YEARS IN BUSINESS 42 YEARS IN BUSINESS MAY Alleged Russian Agent Maria Butina Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison On Conspiracy Charge A woman who gave a lecture at the University of South Dakota in 2015 and was the girlfriend of Vermillion native Paul Erickson has been sentenced to an 18-month prison term, according to the Washington Post. The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. Helderman reported Friday morning that Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina was sentenced Friday in Washington after failing to register as a foreign agent for conspiring to infiltrate conservative U.S. political circles for the Kremlin. Butina, 30, pleaded guilty in December to conspiring with a senior Russian official to access the National Rifle Association among other groups from 2015 until she was arrested and detained in July. She will be credited for the more than nine months she already has served. She visited the USD campus on April 16, 2015 to speak to a small group of students. Her address at the university was entitled “The Right To Bear Arms In Russia … Where Neither Currently Exists.” Butina’s appearance was sponsored by the university’s W.O. Farber Center, The Criminal Justice Club and The Political Science League. According to several news reports, since at least 2013 Butina has been associated with Vermillion native Paul Erickson, 56, a 1979 graduate of Vermillion High School who holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Erickson is facing legal problems of his own. He made headlines last July when Butina was arrested. Erickson was in the news again when he was indicted in February by a federal grand jury on 11 counts of wire fraud and money laundering. Speaker Discusses Culture War According to Charlie Kirk, his home state of Illinois’ main problem can be attributed to Democratic politicians in power there. He told a banquet crowd of 200 people Thursday night, April 25, at the Southeast South Dakota Lincoln Day Dinner that the blue wave experienced in Illinois almost washed over South Dakota. “Chicago is a perfect test case because the left is relentless,” he told Republicans from Clay, Turner, Union and Yankton counties that gathered in the ballroom of the Muenster University Center on the USD campus. “You think ‘they’ll never come to South Dakota. Ha – 11,000 votes (for Democrat Billie Sutton) and you would have had a Democratic governor in this state. “The left will stop at nothing to take over things that work,” Kirk said. “Just look at our country. They took over Hollywood. They took over the media. They took over our universities – that’s where I’m spending most of my time.” Kirk is founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, an organization with a mission to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.” He followed through with that mission by speaking to USD College Republicans later Thursday night in Old Main on the USD campus. “The left – no matter where they are around the world, they are a relentless force of destruction and they’ve destroyed the great state of Illinois,” Kirk said. “They’re trying to do it to our country and in a lot of ways, South Dakota is an example of how to pushback against that.” Clay County Abstract & Title 121 West Kidder Street #104 • Vermillion, SD 57069 605-624-2068 • contact@claycountytitle.com 54 celebrating 54 classrooms and a kitchen in the basement as well as a “Great Hall” on the main floor that is used for larger programs and events. Two years ago, a new roof was installed on the building, but more updates are needed if the building is to remain functional. The burden of caring for the building, as well as diminishing membership and involvement in the Vermillion Area Arts Council in general, has placed the organization in its current predicament. “After over 35 years of opening its doors to artists and lovers of art in all its forms, the VAAC is at a crossroads,” stated the VAAC Board of Directors in a letter sent last month to area residents announcing last weekend’s important meeting. “At a minimum, the VAAC and the Washington Street Arts Center have identified the need for paid staff to manage the programs and facility. In addition, in order to keep active in the existing WSAC, a major capital campaign will be required to provide for building repair and upkeep.” A recent engineering study of the WSAC found that $65,000 in tuck-pointing work is needed on the building in the near future, along with an estimated $15,000 to equip the facility with air conditioning. Brown, facilitator for last weekend’s meeting, was pleased with the discussion that ensued among attendees. She said the VAAC is facing struggles similar to other arts organizations across the nation. “Vermillion’s issues are very similar to what many smaller communities are going through,” she said. 105 East Cherry Street Vermillion, SD 57069 605-677-5214 www.vermillionfcu.com years 101 West Cherry St • Vermillion 605.624.8624 1966 - 2019 Mart Marine 1122 West Main Street • Vermillion, SD, 57069 605-624-3814 Herren - Schempp Building Supply 1000 West Cherry Street • Vermillion, SD 605-624-2058 • www.herrenschempp.com BOB’S SINCLAIR SERVICE Self Service • Full Service • Tires • Oil Change • Repairs 200 E. Main St., Vermillion, SD 624-2731 Dr. Matthew Knutson Dr. Richard Knutson Dr. Brandon Jensen Caring, Professional Staff 605-624-6291 1714 E. Cherry St. Vermillion, SD www.knutsonfamilydentistry.com Welch Makes Capital Campaign Funding Request, Shares Data With City Council During two regular meetings of the Vermillion City Council held in the past month, aldermen have heard detailed reports on the upcoming Vermillion Now! 3 capital campaign that will be launched next week by the Vermillion Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) , and a hope that the city will once again pledge a sizeable financial and in-kind contributor. “We would like to make the request for the Vermillion Now! 3 contribution from the city. What we’d like you to consider is in the amount of $550,000 to $575,000 over the course of five years,” Nate Welch, president and CEO of the VCDC asked the city council at its noon meeting Monday. “What I’d to be able to offer today is the chance to talk over any logistics or details about the plans for the Vermillion Now! 3 campaign as well as how or what we would utilize those dollars for.” Welch’s presentation was apparently effective. Later Monday, at its regular evening meeting, the city council agreed to pledge $550,000 to the capital campaign over the next five years. “In the past in the last number of campaigns, we have been able to split that (the city’s contribution) up between some cash and some in-kind donations focused on some construction projects,” Welch said. “We think with the intent and the direction of what we want to do with Vermillion Now! 3, that type of an arrangement with this type of campaign would be extremely supportive to us in what we’re trying to do.” He told council members that the VCDC and individuals involved in the Vermillion Now! 3 plan to officially kick off the campaign on May 14. Kari Jensen Honored As District’s Teacher Of The Year Kari Jensen was honored as the 2018-19 Vermillion School District Teacher of the Year during Saturday’s commencement ceremony for the Vermillion High School Class of 2019, held in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on the University of South Dakota campus. “We very fortunate to have so many talented individuals nominated for Teacher of the Year by community members, students and staff and we thank you for your involvement in this process,” Vermillion School Board President Shannon Fairholm told the commencement audience as she prepared to announce the award’s winner. “If I could describe this individual in three words, it would be positive, volunteering and invested.” Without revealing Jensen’s name until the end of her remarks, Fairholm told the audience that “this individual has taught in the Vermillion School District for 20 years, first at Jolley (Elementary) and now at the middle school. Over the years, this person has continuously shared a positive attitude with students in the classroom and during her various responsibilities. “This individual loves to shine a spotlight on others – whether it is putting together a group video for the veterans program at the high school or spotlighting students of the month,” she said. “If there is a need, this individual will rise to the occasion and be the first to take that task on. Fairholm added that those who entered nominations for Jensen “went on to say that volunteerism runs strongly in this individual’s veins. This individual is invested in our students and has a deep passion for teaching our students, challenging their young minds … and coaching extra-curricular activities.” Fallen Hero Remembered At Memorial Day Service People who attended Monday’s Memorial Day service in Vermillion learned about the rather brief life of CPL. Lloyd M. Thompson, who grew up in Clay County and lost his life in defense of the United States during World War II. University of South Dakota student Brett Hughes, who researched Thompson’s life from the time of his birth to his life’s end on a battlefield in France, said he learned more about one man’s life while sifting through records and newspaper clippings. “This project has totally changed my perspective on the human costs of war,” Hughes, the keynote speaker at Monday’s service, held in the First Baptist Church, told a near capacity crowd. “Before this project, I viewed death tolls as just mere statistics. For example, 400,000 Americans gave their lives during World War II; 58,000 Americans died during the Vietnam War and 200 Americans died in the Gulf War, just to name a few wars. “Before this project there was no way for me to understand what that truly meant,” he said. “But after this project, I understand that death tolls are much more than statistics. Every fallen hero who had given their life gave up their hopes and dreams. Every fallen hero who died left behind a loving family and loyal friends. Every fallen hero never returned to the community that was so dear to them. Every fallen hero gave up everything and paid the ultimate price.” Hughes, a junior at USD studying history education, was tapped to give the address at Monday’s service by its organizer, VFW Post 3061 of Vermillion. For the past four years, the speaker at Vermillion’s Memorial Day service has been a USD student chosen as the winner of the “Clay County’s Fallen” research contest sponsored by the VFW in association with Dr. Jing Williams of USD’s School of Education. In the “Clay County’s Fallen” contest, education students research the lives of military service members from Clay County who were killed in action. “When Dr. Williams first introduced this project, I was overwhelmed with by the amount of research and hard work that came along with this,” Hughes said. “But I have to say, after completing this project, it’s been of the most important things I’ve done at USD and in my life.” JUNE City Moves Ahead With Downtown Project Vermillion’s downtown improvement project will receive additional city funding, but the amount depends on final bids. At Monday night’s meeting, the council approved a resolution providing more than the current $1.33 million allocated in city funds. The resolution doesn’t include a specific amount. In an interview after the meeting, City Manager John Prescott said the project may cost an estimated $2.4 million. Downtown property owners within Business Improvement District #2 (BID#2) would pay a special assessment of 20 percent, or a total of $450,000, over a 10-year period. Given those figures, the project would need an additional $620,000 in city funds. The actual amount could change depending on the final bids. “How much of that gap they are going to fill is one of the things that still needs to be defined,” Prescott said. “The council has decided it is willing to go beyond the $1.33 million toward the project cost, but not necessarily the full amount of the gap.” However, the resolution does show the council’s intent to provide more funds heading into public meetings during the next month, he said. They include a June 20 meeting at the City Council chambers starting at 7 p.m. “We’re trying to figure out how to move the discussion along,” the city manager said. “We’re having a June 20 public meeting with the property owners, where they can hear our plans and we can get their reaction.” So far, the city has committed $1 million from the second penny sales tax, $250,000 from the electric fund for street lights and $80,000 from the storm water fee fund storm water improvements. “That $1.3 million is money in the bank and is already pledged,” Prescott said. The project would meet a number of needs for downtown Vermillion, Prescott said. The improvements would address pedestrian and traffic safety, more efficient lighting and an updated downtown appearance. “The super aggressive schedule would have construction taking place in 2020. That means plans and specifications will be needed this year. Right now, we have a conceptual design,” he said.
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