Yankton Community Forum

The Yankton Community Forum met March 3, 2020 at the Yankton School Administration Office; we were favored to learn more about a very timely and complicated issue facing Yankton and the surrounding area in the next few decades. Cindy Filips introduced Charlie Gross, a professor at Mt. Marty College and recently retired, long time member of the City Commission, who spoke to us about the “sedimentation issue” facing Lewis and Clark Lake. He has been a member of the Missouri River Sedimentation Action Coalition (MSAC), but Mayor Nathan Johnson is the member on MSAC presently who represents the Yankton area. Since the early 1990’s Yankton has been sending a delegation to Washington D.C. to meet with the Corps of Engineers with our concerns about the silting problem on Lewis and Clark Lake and the destruction of recreation on the lake. Finally in 2017 our delegation was favorably recognized probably because of the 2016 Water Act adopted by Congress. It basically charged the Corps to come up with a plan of “sustainability”; however no guidelines were provided in the Act. They need to come up with a plan to prolong the life of Lewis and Clark Lake. A task force has been appointed and the cost of the study will probably be approximately $400,000 of which the city would pay half of that amount. For twenty years MSAC has seen no action, but now there is some action being taken. One step is the relocation and building of Hwy. 12 which will be the Corps’ expense. There are four possibilities under consideration for taking care of the silt coming from the Niobrara River; whether they are cost effective is questionable. The destruction of the Spencer Dam during last year’s flood added another concern. To solve the sedimentation issue will require a lot of communication and cooperation by several entities such as the US Corps of Engineers, the SD Game, Fish and Parks, MSAC, and the city of Yankton. Keep in mind that the Corps has been charged with that responsibility! How do you balance flood control for agriculture with recreation, and then add electrical production? There are 50 reservoirs nationwide with the same problem!

Yankton Community Forum met March 10, 2020, at the Yankton Elks Lodge. President Lorraine Slade opened the meeting with several announcements. First there would be no board of directors meeting as there was no new business. Secondly she mentioned that Mike Huether would be the speaker at the May 5 meeting. This meeting will be open to the public, so we should invite others to attend. Cindy and Jim Filips volunteered to get the rolls for April. Arlene Young was recognized for her work at The Center. She is Volunteer of the Month. Ken Prussa introduced his speaker, Todd Carr. Todd is currently the director of bands at Yankton High School and chair of the music and art department of the Yankton School District. Todd has worked in the Yankton School District since 1996 teaching concert band, private music instruction, jazz band, marching band, and other seasonal ensemble applications. Todd said that there are several bands that have evolved because of the different needs of the students. The marching competitions were discussed, reduction of staff, adjustments to marching in the heat and the value of music in people’s lives. Todd stated that the band boosters contribute a lot to the programs and the Yankton Area Arts have made a difference with their “Instrument Roundup”. Those instruments are donated to help young children enjoy learning to play an instrument. He said that a child can be encouraged to play an instrument at any age, but the school stresses 5th grade. If the child is older, there are usually too many activities that hinder the learning process. He stressed the importance of music; stating that arts define the culture. Through music activities, students also learn how to lead, be examples, be supportive and work together while enjoying music. The marching band will be making a trip to New York in May.

The March 17 Yankton Community Forum meeting was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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