Morning Meeting: Levels Monitored Inch By Inch

Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 10:29 am
By: Karen Sherman

Lake Kampeska’s on the rise and I think the numbers are interesting.

  • Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. the lake was 18.9 inches over full.
  • At 10:00 a.m. this morning, it was 20.1 inches over full.
  • And Watertown officials are expecting it to reach at least 42 inches over full.
  • But depending on the temperatures and any rain, they could push 60 inches.

Shawn Neisteadt is headed north today to show you how the homeowners are bracing for the expected water. (You can also monitor the lake level via Twitter.)

College students at South Dakota schools will find out later today how much more they’ll pay for their education. The Board of Regents is meeting today to decide on tuition and fee increases next year. Hailey Higgins will have reaction from students.

We’re less than two months from the expected opening of the Grand Falls Casino. The facility has been holding training classes, hiring managers and is now preparing for job fairs. Peggy Moyer is headed to Larchwood today to show you who they still need to hire.

Governor Dennis Daugaard is opening up the state’s vacation home to the public. Valhalla has been the site of controversy in the past as some have questioned who was and wasn’t allowed to use the facility that was bought with taxpayer money. Austin Hoffman will explain how you will now be able to spend the night at the property.

Morning Meeting: School Districts Make Cuts, Closures

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9:50 am
By: Karen Sherman

I feel like we have two major stories battling it out in KELOLAND: flooding and how schools are dealing with education funding cuts.

Districts are cutting positions, programs, even shutting down schools to shrink their budgets next year. The Pierre School District just voted to cut 20 positions. Many other districts have posted their plans online. Today Katie Janssen is headed to Lennox where the school district decided to close the grade school in Chancellor.

If you’ve heard about changes at your district, let us know in the comment section below.

The City of Watertown is holding meetings the next two nights to help people there prepare for flooding. Erich Schaffhauser will have more on what they’re telling people later tonight.

Plus, we have a crew today in the Lake Poinsett area. The water is starting to go over Highway 81 in that area and cabin owners are preparing for the worst. We talked with one who built up his home more than 10 years ago, which kept him from having water problems last year. But he’s not optimistic about this time around.

As a warm up comes later this week, Meteorologist Brian Karstens says we could start seeing changes in flood conditions.  As that happens, you can continue to help us share the information. And there are several ways to do that:

Morning Meeting: Schools Get Creative With Cuts

Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 9:44 am
By: Karen Sherman

Schools are getting creative to cut costs because of reduced funding from the state.

In Harrisburg, the school district is making some changes. As Ben Dunsmoor told you last night it’s opening its next elementary school next fall but will have to do that without a full-time principal, nurse and librarian. And it won’t be able to hire more teaching specialists to keep up with the growth. Today, Peggy Moyer is going to get reaction from parents.

In Parker, the school district is considering switching to a four-day week schedule. Katie Janssen will have more on how that could save money and benefit students.

People in Waubay are preparing for the snow and ice melt to cause flooding. The lake was full last fall so they’re anticipating it to be worse this time around. Erich Schaffhauser is talking with people in town today.

And how much are you getting for a tax refund this year? If you are getting a return, what do you plan to do with it? The average taxpayer will receive $3,000. Angela Kennecke find out whether people plan to save it or go shopping on Your Money Matters, at Ten.

Morning Meeting: Report: SD 5th For Bad Bridges

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011 at 9:21 am
By: Karen Sherman

Our cool temperatures have slowed flooding in KELOLAND and even allowed some river levels to drop. In Watertown, they’re sandbagging some City property today, which is forcing the closure of some lanes on Highway 212. Erich Schaffhauser is headed to Codington County today to bring you the latest on preparations.

A new report out today says South Dakota is fifth worst in the country for bridge quality.  Transportation for America found that Lincoln County has nearly 60 bridges considered structurally deficient under federal standards. Shawn Neisteadt is looking into the financial challenges behind getting the county’s infrastructure fixed.

With gas prices settled in well above three dollars per gallon, do you think you’ve found a way to save gas and money? If you think trading in your gas guzzler for something more fuel-efficient is the trick, would you believe that may not be the case? Jon Wilson is talking with AAA today about the myths and what you can believe. Share your thoughts on our KELOLAND Facebook page.

And later tonight, the Harrisburg School Board is holding a work session to talk about the decrease in state funding and what now needs to be cut from the district. Ben Dunsmoor is going to tonight’s meeting and will have the discussion on the Nightbeat.

Morning Meeting: Flooding Detours

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 at 9:25 am
By: Karen Sherman

The burst of March snow this morning made it a difficult commute for some, or at least a slow one.  How was your drive? 

School bus drivers in the Baltic area have had to change their routes because of the flooding.  Our Hailey Higgins went for a ride-along, which is now longer for students because of the detours. 

 The James River is up in Mitchell and flooding roads. You can see the latest ones closed on our Flooding In KELOLAND map.  David Brown is headed there today to find out what homeowners can expect next.

As for what we could see over the weekend, Jon Wilson is talking with emergency managers in Minnehaha County today to find out what we could expect with the weather and river levels.

And Sioux Falls School District employees are expected to find out by the end of the day how much their pay will be cut because of cuts in state funding for education.  Katie Janssen will have those details.

Morning Meeting: Renner Anticipates Flooding

Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 9:06 am
By: Karen Sherman

I can’t imagine what the people in towns such as Renner are feeling today. They know the water is coming but they don’t know how fast that will happen or exactly when it will flood their streets and homes. But it is coming.

KELOLAND News will be in Renner all day where the Big Sioux River levels are expected to crest at 15.3 feet today. Reporter Kelly Bartnick was in town for live reports this morning and now Peggy Moyer is taking over the coverage. She’ll have the latest on the changes as they happen.

Erich Schaffhauser is in Watertown where city officials are concerned about high water threatening the sanitary sewer system. They’re reminding people to send sump pumps water into the street, not floor drains.  I’m also interested to see just how much snow is still on the ground there.

Perry Groten is headed to Lake Norden and Lake Poinsett area. A good stretch of Highway 28 is closed because of flooding and a pipe that washed out. You can find more of the closures on the map we’ve created in the Flooding In KELOLAND section on our website. 

The pictures are really starting to come in to our uShare Photo Gallery. Check them out and submit your own.

Morning Meeting: Snowfall & Spring Flooding

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 9:54 am
By: Karen Sherman

I don’t think I’ve heard from a single person today that they’re happy to see the snow.  But the good news is that it could slow flooding, at least for a little while.

Meteorologist Brian Karstens says Sioux Falls will see just a bit and there’s about one to three more inches expected north of Sioux Falls.

It’s really piling up in northeastern KELOLAND. We got a call earlier today about how the snow is covering road damage and that drivers can’t tell where roads are broken up or washed out by flooding.  Erich Schaffhauser is taking a closer look at what the snow is doing to flood conditions. 

The rain also increased river gauges overnight:

- The Big Sioux River at Dell Rapids is just over 15 feet; flood stage is 12 feet.

- At Brookings, it’s just over 13 feet and holding steady; flood stage is nine feet.  But some rural homes are getting surrounded by water. We’ll show you how one homeowner is dealing with the flooding as she looks for a boat.

- The James River at Huron is at 19.2 feet; flood stage is 11 feet.  That’s just a couple feet away from the record set in April 1997 at 21 feet.

- The Big Sioux River is expected to crest in Renner tomorrow afternoon. Hailey Higgins is in the community today to talk with homeowners who are watching the water rise.

And we’re hearing that the roads around Akron, IA are covered in water and homes are sitting on islands. We have a crew in town today to show you what they’re dealing with farther to the south.

We’re also constantly updating the map with alerts on our Flooding In KELOLAND section of the website. So if you have questions about a closed road, check that out. The “i” logos will link you to the county’s website where they’re keeping a running list of the latest closures.

Morning Meeting: Monitoring The Rain & Flooding

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 9:25 am
By: Karen Sherman

The rain falling throughout the day is expected to have the largest impact in the north. Later today, meteorologist Scot Mundt will go over just how much has fallen in the areas that don’t need it.

Our Erich Schaffhauser is on his way to Spink County where Redfield Lake is on the rise. People there are rushing to sandbag as homes begin to flood from our recent rain.

And, the water is up again in Trent. We’re monitoring the situation there as the town deals with a rollercoaster of concerns. Peggy Moyer will have the latest.

And Nicole Winters is at this morning’s Minnehaha County Commission meeting where the sheriff and emergency management are briefing the commissioners on the flooding situation here. I’m hearing they’ll likely begin closing more roads today. You’ll be able to see those on our map on the Flooding In KELOLAND section of our website.

Morning Meeting: Rain To Complicate Flood Fight

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011 at 9:14 am
By: Karen Sherman

Spring is here and thunderstorms won’t be far behind. Some have already heard them, but Meteorologist Brian Karstens says we could get more beginning after 10 p.m. Monday.

In our morning meeting today, he said any rain we do get could really throw flooding predictions out of whack. So local officials and our meteorologists will be monitoring that closely.

As we’ve been reporting, several counties have already declared no travel advisories. Erich Schaffhauser is in Beadle County today to show you the road conditions.

Brian Karstens also said this morning that we could begin to see moderate to major flooding north to Brookings. That’s where Nicole Winters is today to show you how they’re preparing up there.

Senator Tim Johnson is also meeting with the National Weather Service, Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA today to go over possible preparations for flooding. Our Jon Wilson will also be at the meeting to bring you the discussion.

You can find the latest on information, including useful flooding resources, in our special Flooding Section of KELOLAND.com.

There are also several ways you can submit flooding reports:

Morning Meeting: Flood Coverage From The Air And On The Ground

Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:36 am
By: Karen Sherman

We’re taking the daily blog on the road today.  I’m on my way to Brookings with KELOLAND Reporter Hailey Higgins to bring you Governor Dennis Daugaard’s flood meeting live over KELOLAND.com and later today on KELOLAND News.  The governor also held a meeting earlier this morning in Sioux Falls.  Nicole Winters will have more on the local flood concerns and those preparations.

We have crews both in the air and on the ground today.  Peggy Moyer and Photojournalist Kevin Kjergaard are in a plane with Governor Dennis Daugaard as he takes a tour of the snow pack and flooding potential over Eastern South Dakota.

Some communities are starting to sandbag today.  Shawn Neisteadt is in Dell Rapids to bring you their efforts.  Then this afternoon, Ben Dunsmoor is headed to Renner where they’ll also begin filling more than 5,000 sand bags.  The town is also holding a town hall meeting tonight so Ben will have live reports from there on KELOLAND News at 5 & 6.

And West River is not to be forgotten.  Already, flooding has closed part of Highway 83 near White River.  The melting has started there and Austin Hoffman is looking into the problems that are developing.

Don’t forget to check out our special Flooding In KELOLAND section of KELOLAND.com for all your flooding resources and the latest updates.  You can also see more of our web coverage on our KELOLAND Facebook page and by following our many Twitter accounts.