Highmark to close Sturgis branch

According to a news release, Highmark Federal Credit Union will permanently close its Sturgis branch on March 31.

The Highmark Sturgis office at 1111 Lazelle St., inside Lynn’s Dakota Mart, was one of the locations Highmark acquired from the merger with the Simply Service Credit Union on Dec. 1, 2018.

After operating for more than a year in the Sturgis market, Highmark determined it was not viable to continue operating a branch there.

“It was a strategic decision for us that was made based on weighing the best interests of all of our members across the region. Sturgis offered a limited service experience to members, without dedicated space for consumer loans, mortgages or business services,” said John Carlson Highmark Credit Union president, in a release.

“In addition, we see continued growth in online banking, and we can serve our members from other locations in the Black Hills region, or from shared branch services in other locations,” Carlson said.

All employees will be assigned to other locations. Highmark will continue to operate its other five locations in Rapid City, Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Custer, and Gillette, Wyo.

Highmark Federal Credit Union is Rapid City’s first credit union. Originally chartered as Rapid City Teacher’s Federal Credit Union in 1940, it is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative in 11 counties in western South Dakota and eastern Wyoming.

Survey supports hemp production

South Dakota citizens support hemp being legalized to be grown in the state by a large margin, according to a survey conducted this winter by two South Dakota Future Farmers of America members, Danika and Matea Gordon of Whitewood.

The online survey received 1,693 responses from South Dakota residents with 1,628 responses, or 96%, indicating support for legalizing hemp production in South Dakota. Only 65 responses (4%) indicated they were not in favor of legalized hemp production in the state.

The survey was available online for about a month, from mid-November through mid-December 2019.

Survey respondents indicated the primary reason they support hemp as a legal crop within the state was for “economic opportunity for South Dakota farmers and the state’s economy.” “Medicinal purposes” was the second most common reason cited for supporting hemp production.

Among survey respondents, more than 95% indicated awareness that the hemp plant and the marijuana plant are not the same crop, and more than 90% of respondents indicated they recognize the THC levels are different in the two plants. About half of those responding to the survey indicated they currently use hemp or CBD products.

About one-third of those responding to the survey indicated they were not aware that the 2018 Farm Bill took industrial hemp production off the controlled substances list and that USDA passed federal regulation programs for hemp in October 2019.

Those responding to the survey represented a cross-section of ages and educational backgrounds, with a larger percentage of females responding (65%) and a larger percentage of West River residents responding (60%).

The high school FFA students plan to further analyze the data they’ve collected and will share their findings at the State FFA Agriscience Fair in Mitchell in April.

Museum seeks loans of clocks

The Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center will open a new mini-exhibit, "Clocks and Time," on Saturday, Feb. 22, with a reception throughout the day.

The exhibit will include photos, storyboards, a touchscreen quiz, a children’s book and activity workbook, as well as artifacts such as clocks and watches.

“Some of the artifacts can be drawn from our permanent collections,” Collections Archivist Jada Udager said. “But we would like to showcase others, as well. If there are members of the community who would be willing to loan us items, we’d be most appreciative.”

Clocks and watches loaned for the mini-exhibit will do double duty: The March 15 Family Fun Day is “Tick, Tock Clocks,” and will feature activities, crafts, a film and a presentation related to clocks. Staff hopes to have a variety of clocks on display that can be viewed by the families who attend.

To contact Udager about loaning clocks for the “Clocks and Time” and the Family Fun Day, call 605-723-1200.

Roundup rodeo tickets now on sale

Tickets for the 2020 Black Hills Roundup are now on sale at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center, 415, Fifth Ave., in Belle Fourche.

The museum's hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Visitor Center counter, by phone, or online at

Ticket prices are: Reserved ticket, $29; general admission adult, $24; general admission child, $15; Ranch Rodeo child, $15; Ranch Rodeo adult, $20 and premium reserved seating, $34.

Carnival ticket are not yet available but will also be sold at the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center when they become available. Carnival tickets will also be available in places such as the Pioneer Bank, First Interstate Bank, Wells Fargo, Northern Hills Federal Credit Union, the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce and the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce.

The Black Hills Roundup will take place at the Roundup grounds in Belle Fourche on June 30-July 4. For more information about Roundup tickets or to place a phone order, call 605-723-2010.

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