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Rapid City nonprofit for disabled closing after 74 years

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

RAPID CITY (AP) — A nonprofit that has helped South Dakota families cope with disabilities is shutting down after nearly 74 years because of financial problems.

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South Dakota CARES decided last month to cease operations, President Vince Braun told the Rapid City Journal. The nonprofit that began in 1939 as the South Dakota Society for Crippled Children will dissolve March 31, but all programs under its umbrella will end Jan. 31.

Daisy House adult-care facilities in Rapid City and Pierre will close, and a home-care services and a medical equipment loan program will be discontinued. As many as 20 employees will be affected.

Another agency assumed operation of the Daisy House in Spearfish in September. The nonprofit is working with other agencies to transition its clients and services in Rapid City and Pierre, Braun said.

The Birth to Three Connections services provided in the northeastern part of the state for the Department of Education are not going away. Program director Mary Carter said she's working with other providers to transition services for the approximately 100 families with disabled children ages 3 and under who are served through the program.

"Our first priority is to make sure those services for those families continue," Carter said.

Braun declined to elaborate on the organization's financial woes. Federal income tax records show the nonprofit was more than $40,000 in the red at the end of its 2011 fiscal year, which ended in August 2012.

"It's definitely an unfortunate event," said Chad Miner-Ratigan, a regional director for the nonprofit. "We stuck it out for as long as we could as a nonprofit. We served a lot of great people and made a lot of amazing memories."

The organization initially was formed to help families dealing with the aftermath of the 1925 polio epidemic. It evolved into the Easter Seals of South Dakota and became South Dakota CARES in 2007.

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