SIOUX FALLS — There’s plenty of water and plenty of mosquitoes, but surprisingly low evidence of the West Nile virus in South Dakota, apparently because the sometimes-deadly disease didn’t get a foothold in the bird population this summer.
Only four human West Nile infections have been reported. Trapping and testing have found no infected mosquito pools, although traps collect only a tiny percentage of the vector mosquito population available to transmit the disease among birds and from birds to humans.
The 28th annual Corn Palace Polka Festival begins today, and for Mitchell residents Jerry and Ruby Pattison, it’s a time to get together with old friends and do what they love — dance.
The Pattisons have attended every Corn Palace Polka Festival since its start in 1981. They began polka dancing in 1980, after taking dance lessons.
The number of visitors to the Corn Palace this summer was the highest in five years.
During April, May, June, July and August, 280,130 people visited the Palace, according to numbers from Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling. That’s a 13 percent increase and a numerical change of 31,270 compared to the same months of 2008, and it’s the most visitors since the 2004 total of 290,730.
The Corn Palace Festival is going back to its roots this year with an exhibition of arts, crafts, foods, photography, educational displays and agricultural produce.
Festival organizers have put out the open call for entries, which will be judged and displayed during festival week, Aug. 26-30.
SIOUX FALLS – Television personalities Terri Lawrenz and Todd Magnuson, hosts of "Nature Adventures," are bringing their live animal presentation to The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls at 2 p.m., Sat., July 18.
Millions of mosquito eggs laid across southern Texas after Hurricane Ike hit the coast last summer are waiting for the little bit of rain and hot summer days they need to hatch. That’s got the man whose job it is to fight the bugs worried — he’s already running out of money.
The reflector system that’s in place along Interstate 90 doesn’t appear to be making a great dent in the number of car-deer crashes at the site, according to the state Department of Transportation.
True, there isn’t much proof yet that the system isn’t working, either, but we aren’t optimistic.
It was a close call for Mitchell firefighters and one local business when a few hundred wood pallets caught fire just outside the building Monday afternoon.
The flames singed the siding of Mitchell Manufacturing at 3150 W. Havens and workers evacuated the building for about half an hour around 1:40 p.m., said Steve Willis, of the Mitchell Fire Department.
An experiment to reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions along Interstate 90 near Mitchell is now in its second year, but officials involved with the project say they have yet to see a major change in the number of accidents.
“It’s still kind of inconclusive yet as far as whether it’s a real benefit,” said Jeff Gustafson, the Mitchell region operations engineer for the South Dakota Department of Transportation. “Hopefully, the benefit will pay off in the long run.”
INTERIOR — There is “overwhelming support” for turning management of the South Unit of Badlands National Park over to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, according to a team charged with formulating a new general management plan.
Sunday marked the end of the Corn Palace Festival, a late-summer tradition in Mitchell that this year featured entertainers ranging from rock ’n roll icons and country legends to up-andcoming teen sensations.
As the festival drew to a close Sunday, Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said it was a success.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission is faced with a tough decision, thanks to increasing costs for upkeep of state park roads.
The panel, which has final say on all rules changes within the GF&P’s divisions, knows that financial strains are on the way, if they aren’t already here.
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