"Surviving the '72 Flood"

Portraits and firsthand accounts from 27 survivors of the 1972 Black Hills Flood, published for the 50th commemoration.


"Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills"

The adventures, misadventures and legacy of a sitting president's three-month sojourn in the Black Hills.

"The Black Hills of South Dakota"

A guidebook packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process.




Jury awards $400,000 in Black Hills National Forest gender discrimination case

A jury awarded $400,000 in damages Saturday to a former Black Hills National Forest district ranger in her discrimination case against the federal government.

The verdict came after a week-long trial in federal court at Rapid City.

The jury found in favor of Ruth Esperance’s claim that she suffered gender discrimination. The jury also found that the Forest Service had not proven Esperance would’ve been reassigned to a different job regardless of her gender.

Esperance was the ranger of the Bla

New approach needed as Forest Service fumbles on Black Hills leadership

When I reported back in May that the Black Hills National Forest was on its eighth supervisor in seven years, I made it sound like that was a lot of turnover.

Since then, there have been two more supervisors.

That brings the tally to 10 in the past seven years, and five this year alone.

The current year’s turnover began in the spring with the departure of Jeff Tomac, who was the last person to hold the job without an “acting” tag. He’s been followed in rapid succession by Acting Supervisors B

Trump rally highlights Republican division with booing of absent Thune, Rounds, Johnson

RAPID CITY — A Friday event intended to rally the South Dakota Republican Party around Donald Trump’s visit to the state instead showcased division at the party’s highest levels.

The state’s all-Republican, three-member congressional delegation — Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds, and Rep. Dusty Johnson — did not attend the event in the ice arena at The Monument. Their absence was loudly noted several times by a crowd of about 7,000.

Gov. Kristi Noem took what some in the audience appeared to i

ACLU is 'RZNHELL' with state over specialized plate denials

It’s OK to be a “HELLCAT,” but not a “HELLBOY.” Don’t tell anybody to “HLDMYBR,” but it’s fine to go on a “BEERRUN.” And don’t say “IH8U,” but “YUH8ME” is acceptable.

Those are some of the inconsistencies in state government’s evaluation of specialized vehicle license plate requests, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota. The ACLU sent a letter to state officials Tuesday citing what the organization described as actual examples of approvals and denials.


With reorganization plans squashed for now, VA celebrates new Rapid City clinic

RAPID CITY — The long-debated, evolving plans for veterans’ health care in the Black Hills took a step forward Thursday with the grand opening of a new outpatient clinic.

The 49,000-square-foot Rapid City facility is triple the size of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ previous clinic in the city.

That’s a welcome development for Ricky L. Robertson, an Air Force veteran at Thursday’s opening ceremony who said the VA outgrew the prior site.

“That building down there, it was in terrible shape

Lithium exploration planned near Hill City

A company looking for lithium in the Black Hills is planning another drilling project, this time near the southern edge of Hill City.

The company is SDO Services, the South Dakota subsidiary of Swiss-based Midwest Lithium.

Michael Schlumpberger works in Rapid City as Midwest Lithium’s chief operating officer. The company’s previously announced drilling plan, at a location 2 miles from Mount Rushmore, drew criticism from a local environmental advocacy group.

Schlumpberger said the company will

The holy Sturgis trinity: Noem, Jesus and family

A warning to all non-South Dakotans: If you bring your family to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally expecting to meet Jesus, you’re likely to be disappointed. Maybe even offended.

That public service announcement has become necessary to correct the record after a glowing assessment of the rally’s rectitude last week from Gov. Kristi Noem.

She started her weekly newspaper-style column on Friday with this observation: “I didn’t think I’d find so much Jesus at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.” That was in

Noem, Trump and the politics of inaction

Fear and speculation were rampant as the coronavirus swept into the state. Noem issued an executive order with instructions for South Dakotans and held a press conference to discuss it.

Her choice of language was peculiar.

She told South Dakotans what they “should” do. In fact, she used the word 13 times during a press conference that was less than 12 minutes long.

The word also prefaced every instruction in her executive order. Employers “should” implement social distancing, it said. Health

Company looking for lithium in Black Hills plans to drill 2 miles from Rushmore

A company’s plan to conduct exploratory drilling for lithium in the vicinity of Mount Rushmore has sparked criticism from an environmental group.

The company is Midwest Lithium. Its South Dakota subsidiary, SDO Services, plans to drill up to 55 holes in an area that was historically mined for lithium about 2 miles northwest of Keystone and 2 miles northeast of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The former Etta mine, near the project area, was the largest source of lithium in the U.S. for decades

Cleanup of abandoned Black Hills mine on hold for potential re-mining

Aspects of a two-decade-long cleanup at an abandoned Black Hills gold mine are pausing because a company might want to re-mine it.

The Gilt Edge Mine was abandoned in 1999 when its operator, Brohm Mining, went bankrupt. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took over the site the next year.

The EPA’s Joy Jenkins, of Denver, oversees the cleanup. She did not have an updated tally Monday but said the cleanup costs totaled $120 million as of five years ago, and have recently been around $2 mil