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 events, decision and good/bad things happened throughout the year.

Frustrations fly in October

Three months into the 2020-21 school year and with all of the new protocols, the Dakota Valley School Board voiced their frustrations over the lack of guidance from the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH). The DOH was supposed to be handling the contact tracing in regards to the COVID-19; however, they weren’t calling parents of students that the school had deemed were close contacts and if they were calling them, the messages were conflicting. The school continued its contact tracing, reporting them to the DOH and sent parents a letter stating they could receive a call from the DOH as their child was considered a close contact.

On another note, the school attempted to keep a normal flow to the year and crowned Abby Wheatley and Paul Bruns as Queen and King of Homecoming.

With all the work the employees of the Dakota Valley School District were putting in to make sure students could continue in-school learning, the school board decided on a one-time stipend for all employees. Administrators received $1,000, teachers (certified staff) $750 and hourly (classified staff) $300.

Various fire departments struggled with dry conditions causing fires throughout the area, especially with farmers in the fields for harvest. The Jefferson Fire Department responded to a field fire a mile or two west of Wynstone caused by a combine. They had the flames and smoke doused within an hour with the help of the field’s irrigation system.

The North Sioux City Fire Department was called to the distribution building of FIMCO Industries in response to a fire alarm. When they arrived on scene, smoke was rolling out of the bay. Six to eight pallets of plastic containers were on fire or damaged by the time they got into the bay. Sergeant Bluff was called in for assistance.

North Sioux City firefighter Joe Pham recycled about 1,200 feet of fire hoses that had failed during annual testing. He used 13 hose ends, all nine feet long, and painted them into a red-lined American flag to represent firefighters, pictured on page 16. It is proudly displayed in the fire department’s bay. Pham had help from Captain Levi Saunders, Lieutenant Faustin Mahlke and firefighter Thomas Young.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.