Blue Mass to Honor First Responders to be Held at Mount Marty College

YANKTON, SD – The Office of Campus Ministry at Mount Marty College is sponsoring a Blue Mass in honor of Yankton-area first responders on January 30, 2018.

The Blue Mass is an opportunity to pray alongside, and offer a blessing over, the emergency personnel who serve the Yankton area–police officers, EMTs, firefighters, and those in similar roles. All first responders and the entire Yankton-area community are invited to attend this special service. The Mass will be held at 12 p.m. on January 30, 2018, in Bishop Marty Chapel on the campus of Mount Marty College.

For questions or further information about the Blue Mass, please contact Jordan Foos, Director of Campus Ministry, at jordan.foos@mtmc.edu.

Vermillion Regional Scripps Spelling Bee Announces Winners

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Vermillion Regional Scripps Spelling Bee has announced three winners who will go on to the state Scripps Spelling Bee at the University of South Dakota on March 17. They are Kamil Schorn, a 4th  grader at Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion; Katie Schulte, a 6th grader at Yankton Middle School, Yankton; and Mya Halverson, a 5th grader at Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion. The championship word in the 8th round was cupolas.

The three will join regional winners from four other locations to compete for a chance to represent South Dakota at the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 28-June 1. In South Dakota the Scripps competition is sponsored by USD with help from Rotary International. USD sponsors the trip to the televised national bee, which includes visits to major attractions in the nation’s capital along with educational programming for students and family members.

The judges for the event were local community members: Maxine Johnson, Vermillion Lions Club; Art Mabry, Vermillion Rotary Club; and Nate Welch, Vermillion Chamber and Development Company. The pronouncer was Julayne Throeson from Williow Lake, a retired English teacher.

The competition also included a written component. The winners who scored highest in the written spelling test and vocabulary multiple choice test were 8th grader Alexandru Georgescu of Vermillion Middle School, Vermillion; 7th grader Alexander Calhoon from Scotland Middle School; and 4th grader Kamil Schorn from Jolley Elementary School, Vermillion.

This year nearly 60 schools across South Dakota signed up with the Scripps organization at www.spellingbe.com to participate in the competition. Scripps provides instructional materials for teachers and schools to prepare for local spelling bees. Local winners move up to regional bees in one of five sites, Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Vermillion and Watertown.

The National Spelling Bee began in 1925 when nine newspapers joined together to host a bee. Now, more than 90 years later, the Scripps bee reaches 11 million students every year.

D18 Legislative Cracker Barrel Saturday

The first District 18 Cracker Barrel Legislative Coffee will be held Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Avera Professional Office Pavilion, Yankton. The event starts at 10 a.m.

This is the first of three cracker barrels, sponsored by the Yankton Chamber of Commerce, to be held this session. The others are Feb. 3 and March 3.

These events are free and open to the public.

GFWC $500 Scholarship

Information has been received from Linda K. Dodds, GFWC of SD Scholarship Chairman, that this is the designated year for the $500 GFWC Scholarship to be awarded to a female student who will be graduating in the spring of 2018.  One scholarship will be awarded state-wide.  Local GFWC President, Joan Neubauer, has provided to the YHS Counseling Department information about the scholarship, requirements which must be met and application forms, along with the address to which the completed forms must be sent by March 31, 2018.

Applicant requirements include:

  •        Must be a female resident of South Dakota
  •        Must provide proof of enrollment in an accredited South Dakota school of higher learning
  •        Must provide a personal statement describing why higher education is important to future plans and also         detailing recent and/or current volunteer community service work.
  •        Must provide one letter of personal reference from someone other than a relative
  •        Must include a recent photograph, which GFWC of SD may use for publication
Interested applicants will go to the YHS Counseling Department to acquire necessary information.  All requirements are reiterated on the Application.
We are looking forward to a winner from Yankton this year!

Yankton School District Teacher of the Year Nominations

The Yankton School District is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 YSD Teacher of the Year. The goal of the South Dakota Department of Education Teacher of the Year program is to recognize and honor the tremendous contributions of outstanding classroom teachers.

The South Dakota Department of Education defines a classroom teacher as being a person who has a class of his/her own and spends at least three or more hours per day, five days a week, for six or more calendar months during a school year in a classroom teaching students. The South Dakota Department of Education has determined school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers are NOT eligible. Any teacher that is retiring at the
end of the 2017-2018 school term is also not eligible.

A community member, student, parent, colleague, department head, or principal can make nominations. Nominators must include a short statement indicating why the nominee is an outstanding teacher of Yankton School District. Nominations can be made at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ysdtoy. The deadline for all nominations is Friday,
February 9, 2018.

Participating in the Teacher of the Year Program has a positive impact on the entire community. Recognizing outstanding teachers establishes a culture that rewards excellence in teaching and validates the work of the teacher. It gives students a sense of pride in their teachers, displays teachers as positive role models, and encourages students to think about teaching as a career. Being a part of the nomination process gives the community a sense of
pride in its teachers, and helps to get the public involved and invested in the schools. The District Teacher of the Year becomes a nominee for his or her district’s Regional Teacher of the Year Award.

For additional information or questions, please go to www.ysd.k12.sd.us/apps/pages/toy


Applications are now available for 2018 grant funds to spruce up facades in Yankton’s Meridian District.  The facade grant program seeks to provide multiple grants each year, including a 50% match of private funds, to grant funds for a total of $15,000 available in 2018.

Preference will be given to projects that involve historic restorations, but new non-historic facade improvements are eligible as well.  All projects must fall within a set of repair and enhancement guidelines and must occur on the portions of the building visible to the public.  Owners and tenants of existing commercial property (excluding single family residences) located south of 5th Street between Linn Street and Burleigh Street are eligible to apply for assistance.

Applicants are asked to complete a simple, two-page application and include a proposed budget and a basic drawing or illustration of the proposed project.  All improvements must conform to the building code and other codes, and the owner must work with the South Dakota Historic Preservation Office on projects impacting buildings in the historic district.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee representing the downtown community, business owners, historical preservation, elected officials, and city staff.  Following the committee review, applications recommended for funding will be submitted to the City Commission.

The application deadline is set as March 1st, with additional applications being accepted as long as grant funds remain available.  Copies of the application can be picked up at the Community and Economic Development Department located in City Hall at 416 Walnut Street from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or downloaded anytime online at cityofyankton.org.

2018 Legislative Session Events Scheduled for Vermillion

The Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company’s Governmental Affairs Committee released the 2018 dates for Legislative Session Events.  The first of the events will be the always popular Cracker Barrel series.  This year the Governmental Affairs Committee is partnering with the League of Women Voters, the Clay County Republicans and the Clay County Democrats to host two Legislative Cracker Barrels on Saturday January 27th and February 17th.  Both of these sessions will be from 9:00am to 11:00am and will be held at Vermillion City Hall Council Chambers, 25 Center Street.  District 17 Legislators, Senator Art Rusch, and House Representatives Nancy Rasmussen and Ray Ring will be on hand to discuss topics from the 93rd Legislative Session.

These sessions are open to the public; everyone is encouraged to join us for some great discussion and refreshments provided by partners of the Governmental Affairs Committee.

This year’s Business Day at the Legislature is scheduled for Thursday, February 22nd in Pierre.  Chamber members interested in attending this all-day event with other leaders from around the state to represent Vermillion are encouraged to reach out to the VCDC office to coordinate with VCDC staff attending.  “This annual event is a great way for Vermillion to show we have a voice and we keep an eye on the happenings in Pierre during the Legislative Session.  The work communities do together collectively for business is extremely important and having other Vermillion representatives join us makes our voices that much louder,” says VCDC Executive Director, Nate Welch.

The VCDC’s Governmental Affairs Committee also announced plans to host South Dakota Chamber President, David Owen, who will give an overview of the 93rd Legislative Session on March 15th at 11:30am in conjunction with the VCDC Business Luncheon Series.

For more information on these events, please contact Lindsey Peterson at the VCDC offices at 605-624-5571

13 Yankton Programs named to the Academic Achievement Award

13 different Yankton Academic programs have been named to the Academic Achievement Award honors for the Fall of 2017. Programs include: Football Team, Oral Interpretation, Boys Golf Team, Boys Cross Country Team, Girls Soccer Team, Volleyball Team, All-State Chorus, Girls Tennis Team, Football Cheerleaders, Competitive Cheer Team, Competitive Dance Team, Boys Soccer Team, and Girls Cross Country Team.

Initiated during the 1996-97 school year, the SDHSAA ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT TEAM AWARD program is designed to recognize varsity athletic teams and fine arts groups for their academic excellence. The South Dakota High School Activities Association believes that high school students learn in two distinct ways; inside the classroom and outside the classroom – on the stage and/or athletic field.

This academic program creates a positive environment for school teams to have its members excel in the classroom. This program is also meant to motivate students toward academic excellence and to promote academic encouragement from teammates.

All varsity athletic teams and fine arts groups that achieve a combined grade point average of 3.0 or higher are eligible to receive the SDHSAA ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT TEAM AWARD.