Arrests were up in October

By Carol Walker

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It has been a busy month when it comes to law enforcement in Hill City, according to Sgt. Randy Harkins of the Pennington County Sheriff’s office. Compared with last year, the printed report showed several areas that were down, such as traffic citations, or remained the same, such as calls for civil problems, as last year, but there was a substantial uptick in many areas compared to the numbers in 2016.

Under “Calls for Service” there were more welfare checks, suspicious activity, follow-up investigations, disturbances, burglaries, assaults and animal complaints. In addition, though the one warrant served was the same number as last year, there were 11 non-warrant arrests last month compared to zero in October 2016.

“There were four assaults, two DUIs, two fake IDs, one warrant, two mental health holds and one juvenile arrest at school for drugs,” said Harkins.

He said a person has been arrested for the vehicle break-ins, and most of the property has been recovered. He also went on to say that two businesses were broken into, but he could not divulge any more information because it is still under investigation.

There is some movement with the downtown sidewalk project, but the city is still waiting on final state approval and then for bids to be let out and approved by the state. There is a possibility work could be done in the spring, but certainly not during tourist season. If not next spring, the project would be pushed to fall of 2018.

“From start to finish, it would likely be a 90-day construction window. There would be temporary supports for the awnings and a foundation wall poured. Visually there won’t be a lot of difference,” said Brett McMacken, city administrator.

He said the cracks will be removed in the sidewalk, but the biggest change people will see is a mid-block entrance to the west side of the street and crosswalk.

Work continues on the full-service liquor license that could be offered by the city in the future. McMacken said one of the questions is what is an appropriate initial fee for the license.

“State law says the fee should be at least $1 for each person based on the population, which would be $948, but it could be more than that. The renewal fee is not to be more than $1,200. We can adopt an ordinance and have it on the books and available for business owners. It’s a big unknown. I can’t speak for every business and what their business model is,” said McMacken.

The council approved the request for a special event permit for the Old Tyme Christmas Parade on Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. The parade will be the same as in the past, beginning at the school, traveling north on Main Street, turning onto East Main St. and then south on Railroad Ave to the 1880 Train, where Santa Claus is scheduled to appear.

Janet Wetovick-Bily said things are slowing down at the Visitor Information Center, as is expected, but they have seen an increase in one area, the targeted partner leads with Yellowstone Advertising, people planning trips to and from Yellowstone.

“Normally we see a spike in January and April, but we are seeing more interest now,” said Wetovick-Bily.

She said their marketing target now is closer to home, while at the same time continuing to plan for the 2018 peak and shoulder season.

In other business, the council approved 2018 wine and liquor license renewals for several Hill City businesses. McMacken said the water line is fixed and the concrete pad at the cold storage building was successfully poured by SD Construction. The next meeting of the common council will be on Monday, Nov. 22, at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

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