GOOD: Rapid City soon will celebrate a new addition to Sioux Park that comes from the heart of a grieving family. In March 2015, 18-year-old Nehemiah Larimer died when the scooter he was driving was struck by a car at the busy intersection of Canyon Lake Drive and Sheridan Lake Road. The death of the senior was mourned by his classmates, faculty and staff at Rapid City Stevens High School where he was known as a student leader with a bright future. One of his passions was slacklining, or walking or balancing on a tightrope that is a few inches from the ground. On Thursday, the city's Parks and Recreation Department plans to dedicate the Nehemiah Larimer Memorial Slackline and Balance Park at Sioux Park. The event starts with a slacklining clinic at 5 p.m. followed by a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at 6 p.m. Thanks to the efforts of his parents, Kayne and Emily Larimer, and the city, the community now has an exciting new feature in the park system and a fitting memorial for someone who left us far too early. The public is invited to the event, which will be held in the southeast corner of the park.
BAD: If you aren’t in the habit of immediately checking your city utility bill when it arrives in the mail, it is time to do so unless you like to wait for potential surprises. According to a story last week in the Journal, the city has been receiving complaints from residents who have received utility bills that are whoppers, sometimes several thousand dollars over what is typically owed for a month of service. And while some Rapid City residents were overcharged, others were billed again for service in previous months. City officials claim this is the result of a new software system installed earlier this year and they are now working with software maker Tyler Technologies to fix a problem that can really add up. However, another resident told the Journal that she received a $3.2 million utility bill, which the city attributed to human error. Clearly, this all points to the need to keep a close eye on future utility bills. If you have any problems with your bill, call the city at 394-9300.
UGLY: No matter how hard it tries, South Dakota seems to have a problem reducing its prison population. According to the state’s Corrections Commission, the state averaged a daily male inmate population of more than 3,300 from January through August and more than 500 female inmates each month since April. The commission went on to say that this is first time the inmate population has consistently reached those levels. The news comes after the Legislature approved changes in 2013 to slow prison growth. While we expect law enforcement personnel and prosecutors to do all they can to get criminals off the streets and incarcerated if necessary, it does come at a high cost to taxpayers. The growth in prison population also can serve as a canary in the coal mine of sorts for a society. It is important for the state to continue its efforts to reduce the number of inmates and that’s going to require more study and hard work.