2020 is a year that no one wants to relive. Everyone is ready to put the year behind them and focus on 2021, making it better than 2020, and, hopefully, getting back to their own sense of normalcy. However, before we try to completely forget 2020 ever existed, let’s look back on what major e…

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Winter has its moments. Here, with beautiful colors, are a cardinal and bluejay sharing a feeder.

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With the federal COVID-19 leave expiring Dec. 31, 2020, the Dakota Valley School Board discussed whether to extend the program on their own. Superintendent Dr. Jerry Rasmussen stated that when talking with other school districts, there was a mixture of what everyone was going to do. Some districts are not going to extend the program while others stated they would extend it either through the end of March or the school year.

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At its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 11, the Elk Point-Jefferson School Board heard good reports about students’ return to the classroom after the Christmas break.

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The South Dakota Department of Health has released two tools designed to better inform South Dakotans on the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration process. These tools are in addition to the already available dashboard, which is updated daily.

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released its environmental assessment for the South Sioux City to Sioux Falls A-line Replacement Project, proposed by North Natural Gas Company.

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At the request of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, representatives of the Union County 4-H Shooting Sports and one member of the fair board appeared at the meeting Tuesday, Jan. 12 to discuss situations occurring in the Main Exhibit Building at the fairgrounds outside of Alcester.

Commissioner Mike Dailey began the conversation by thanking them for coming and gave a brief background of how they had gotten to this point. He apologized for not taking a more active role, saying he didn’t understand how much room the shooting sports actually needed, especially with new COVID-19 guidelines and safety measures.

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The Elk Point City Council was scheduled to approve a pool construction contract with Christiansen Construction Co. at its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 11.

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The houses at 709 and 711 Main Street in Jefferson were also slated for demolition, but City Attorney Sabrina LaFleur-Sayler read a letter from Gloria Navrkal saying she wants to buy the properties. Police Chief Randy Crum said there is a private contract to remove the homes next week. Therefore, the council took no action on the bids on those properties.

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A decision made at the Dec. 29 Union County Board of County Commission meeting on keeping the EMT room in the Main Exhibit building changed sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Saturday morning. (See article below.)

Fair Manager Janet Lingle brought the possible demolition of the EMT room to the commissioners’ attention Dec. 29 and was told that the room would stay. On Saturday, Jan. 2, when she arrived at the fairgrounds to watch the updates of the building, she was confronted by six men saying the room was coming out and it had been okayed by the commissioners.

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Along with the snowstorm Tuesday, Dec. 29, the Union County Board of County Commissioners held its last meeting of the year. One of the main concerns was the updates to the Main Exhibit building for shooting sports; the other was increasing tax valuations for the county.

High humidity overnight produced both heavy fogs and frost this weekend. In some cases, trees appeared to hold up to an inch of frost resembling snow. Above, Mike Zediker’s pole barn blends into the snowy woods west of Elk Point.

Crews in Jefferson and Elk Point removed Main Street Christmas decorations this week, signalling the official end of the holiday season.

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At the Dec. 7 meeting, the North Sioux City City Council voted to issue bonuses to all city employees and city council members in the amount of $1,425. This motion passed 8-0. However, after the fact, North Sioux City City Administrator Eric Christensen conferred with City Attorney Darrell Jesse and learned that a bonus cannot be issued to council members through a motion. According to South Dakota Codified Law 9-14-28 Salaries and compensation of municipal officers, amounts of salaries and compensation of all municipals officers must be set through ordinance or resolution. In accordance with law, the payments were not made to city council members.

This line of trees, flocked by Jack Frost, created a nice, chilly walk Sunday morning, Jan. 3. The fog and frost stayed all weekend, creating wonderful wintery scenes throughout the area.

A pair of bald eagles enjoy the view in a Wynstone backyard.

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In accordance with the sewer rate increase being passed from Sioux City to Dakota Dunes, Dakota Dunes is raising their sewer rates as well. The Dakota Dunes Board of Supervisors discussed a 24-cent per 1,000 gallons increase at prior meetings but didn’t discuss raising the base rate. At thei…

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Jefferson Police Chief Randy Crum and officer Bill Manger got ready to deliver these gifts Christmas Eve as part of the Cops & Kids program sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). This year 35 children took part, including three families from the Elk Point-Jefferson School Dist…

A number of years ago a book heralded the wonderful sunsets of Texas. This view is looking south and is beautiful, as they frequently are in our area. So maybe someone here should do a book on our South Dakota sunsets.

Horizon Health Care’s Elk Point Community Health is currently undergoing renovations to improve patient experience and optimize space by renovating their current clinic location.

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Once the Boys Scouts of America began letting women join troops in 2019, Grace Nichols jumped on board. She grew up around scouting, as her brothers were in Scouts. In little over a year, Nichols attained all of her merit badges and completed her project to be named an Eagle Scout.

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The North Sioux City Parks and Recreation Association held a Christmas lighting contest for residents in North Sioux City. Residents were able to sign up to participate in the contest. Prizes were awarded for first, second and third place winners. Those participating were required to sign up by Dec. 14 with judging Dec. 17. The contest is something that the Parks and Recreation would like to continue every year. This year they had 11 participants.

Henry Walery can hardly believe his eyes as he visits with Santa Dec. 16 at the Jefferson Community Center. A drive-thru Santa was sponsored by St. Peter’s Childcare and Jefferson Fire and Rescue. Long lines of cars waited to see Santa, who gave out sacks of candy to all the kids.

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Youth sports and strength training program were the main topics of discussion at the Dakota Valley School Board meeting Monday night, Dec. 14. Many coaches showed their support of continuing the strength program despite CNOS enacting their 30-day cancellation of contract clause, terminating …

The drought in the upper Midwest is starting to show locally. McCook Lake is down by more than three feet and may be down by five feet by spring. The drop is most noticeable in the drop-off from docks. The Missouri River is at 2013 levels, the lowest over a 10-year period.

The Elk Point City Council story in last week’s paper had two errors regarding the street projects next year. North Douglas Street (not South Franklin) will be paved, and the block of Washington Street between Wood and Elm Streets will be reconstructed.

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Elk Point-Jefferson’s Angel Tree was helped out this year by trees at area churches – Elk Point Baptist, Elk Point United Parish, Immanuel Lutheran, St. Joseph Catholic and St. Paul Lutheran. There were tags for 30 families and 84 children, about 300 tags total. (Each child can have four tag…

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Dealing with COVID-19 and changing protocols were the primary discussion topics at the Elk Point-Jefferson School Board meeting Monday, Dec. 14.

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The Jefferson City Council met Monday, Dec. 7 and took action to clean up three properties in the city. City Inspector Gary Roan has identified the properties in various need of repairs – 219 Main Street (barbershop), owned by Harlan Osthus; 503 Main Street, Rosa Lazo; and 709/711 Main Stree…

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A trailer purchase in the claims caused some concerns amongst the Union County Board of County Commissioners Dec. 15 about departments spending money on non-budgeted items in the current budgeted year.

Five ordinances were on the agenda at Monday night’s Dec. 7 North Sioux City City Council meeting – two with a second reading and three with a first reading.

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Good deeds are wonderful to do all throughout the year, but acts of kindness are especially important during the holiday season. No one knows this better than Becky Granstrom, of Dakota Dunes, who is in her sixth year of organizing an annual holiday giving tree for the residential care facility where her mother lives.

The Elk Point City Council story in this week’s paper has two errors regarding the street projects next year. South Douglas Street (not South Franklin) and the block of Washington Street between Wood and Elm Streets will be reconstructed.

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Each year, the Union County Child Protection Team recognizes an individual or individuals who represent children in Union County. This year, Paula McMahan was awarded the honor, 2020 Child Advocate of the Year.

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The Elk Point City Council awarded the bid for the Washington and Douglas Streets project at its meeting Monday, Dec. 7.

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Life in a major metropolitan area is different from our situation in a small community. We visited with native son Tim Staum, whose law firm is in the 33-story AT&T Tower in downtown Minneapolis.

There was some disagreement among the Union County Board of County Commissioners on what had previously been set for raises during the budget discussions at their meeting Dec. 1. Previously-agreed-upon raises for elected officials were Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges and Union County Treasu…

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Santa showed up at The Pointe Golf & Event Center Sunday, Nov. 29 to help raise money for the new swimming pool. Families signed up for Christmas photos, taken by Brittany Nebelsick, far right.

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Before shutting down North Sioux City City Hall for the Thanksgiving holiday, Mayor Rodd Slater sent out a letter addressed to all residents and business owners in the city.

After trying to define “essential” courthouse employee, the Union County Board of Commissioners determined all their employees are essential at their meeting Nov. 24 (moved from Nov. 17 due to COVID). The annual longevity checks will be paid Dec. 11 to those employees who qualify. In order t…

The second snow appeared Tuesday morning, Nov. 10 after a slight rain Monday night. The rain made roads slick as temperatures dropped below freezing for the snow blanket the ground. Many people ended up in the ditch between Elk Point and North Sioux City along the interstate and a few accide…

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In the nine years since the congregation was formed, Elk Point Baptist Church has grown from the 28 people who attended their first service to crowds of nearly 100 (pre-COVID). They first met in a suite at East End Plaza that is less than half the size of just their current fellowship hall. …

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Just like the sister cities (North Sioux City and South Sioux City), Dakota Dunes residents could see rate increases on both the water and the sewer side for 2021. The Dakota Dunes Community Improvement District (CID) Board of Supervisors discussed the beginning of the water and sewer budget…