GOOD: There is a really big show, or make that shows, coming to the area this week. The 2018 Black Hills Film Festival starts Wednesday evening with three films at the Elks Theatre in Rapid City. The night concludes with the showing of “Tater Tot & Patton,” which was written and directed by Pierre native Andrew Kightlinger and shot on the prairie landscape around Pierre and Fort Pierre. Other films will be shown at Hay Camp Brewing Co. in Rapid City, the Rapid City Public Library, the Matthews Opera House in Spearfish, the Hot Springs Theatre and various locations in Hill City, where the festival originated thanks to the inspiration and perspiration of Rick and Chris VanNess and Janna Emmel, all of Hill City. This year’s festival features several movies with South Dakota ties. Films at the five-day festival range from six to 103 minutes and for the first time will be held at venues in four communities, which makes it a regional experience. For more information, visit blackhillsfilmfestival.org.
BAD: What’s going on with former Rapid City mayors? In February, the Journal published an op-ed piece from five of them that said they opposed building a new arena at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center while supporting the remodel option that is estimated to cost $25 to $30 million. In making their case, they pointed to the need to preserve the Vision Fund for future projects. Mayor Steve Allender’s new arena plan calls for using about half of the Vision Fund — around $6 million a year — to finance a $130-million project with an additional $50 million in interest costs. Then on Thursday, four of the same former mayors called a press conference to announce a “Plan C,” which they estimate would cost $50 to $75 million to enlarge and upgrade Barnett Arena. In unveiling the plan, Jim Shaw said they did not previously tell the public “out of respect for the process and the city.” So what changed? How does announcing their plan the day before early voting starts show respect to the process or the city? It seems the true intention is to defeat the new arena plan with an 11th hour tactic.
UGLY: The announcement that Herberger’s parent company, Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., was sold last week to a liquidation company is a blow to the community. The retail store was one of the larger one’s in the Rushmore Mall and the second chain to leave it. Earlier this year, Sears closed its doors at the mall and just down the street Toys “R” Us shut down its Rapid City location. In each case, the closures had nothing to do with the stores’ performance in Rapid City. E-commerce now rules the day and while no one can be faulted for shopping online, there are real consequences when good, hardworking local residents lose their jobs to the digital revolution.