Welcome to Black Hills State University - Top
Dianne Darling, purchasing assistant, University
Young Center serves as an evacuation site - Top
Since the first evacuation in Deadwood due to a
forest fire in the area, the Black Hills State University Donald E.
Young Sports and Fitness Center has served as an evacuation site for the
South Dakota National Guard and the Red Cross.
When the Red Cross organization contacted Teri
Royer, Young Center building director, last week to discuss the
possibility of using the university sports and fitness center as an
evacuation site, she began to make plans for that possibility. By
Saturday evening that possibility became a reality as a forest fire near
Deadwood forced the evacuation of the city and people came to the Young
Center in need of a place to stay.
Later in the week, Lead residents who were
evacuated also were directed to the Young Center. Between 100 to 180
people have used the site for lodging each night. The evacuees are also
being fed at the BHSU Pangburn Hall cafeteria. As of Thursday evening,
the Grizzly Gulch Fire consumed an estimated 10,676 acres and was 60
percent contained. Officials estimate full containment by Tuesday
evening, July 9.
As the evacuations have been lifted, most evacuees
have checked out and returned to their homes. The National Guard expects
to complete their operation by 5 p.m. Friday. The Red Cross will
continue to base their headquarters from the Young Center but are
transitioning service operations to Deadwood. The Young Center Red Cross
hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The contact phone
number is 642-6882.
“The headquarters will remain at the Young Center
at least through the weekend because this is such a great location,”
Janeen Brown, Red Cross service center manager said. “We want to have
service locations in Deadwood so those in need won’t have to drive so
As the Young Center quickly transformed from a
campus sports and fitness center to a major disaster relief center, the
entire staff stepped up to do everything they could to help.
An emergency or disaster situation likes this tends to strengthen
a community as members pull together. The recent forest fire and
evacuation served as a force to pull together the entire community
together and people have been quick to respond. Since news of the first
evacuation Saturday, the entire Black Hills State University campus has
responded to meet these needs.
Dr. Thomas Flickema, BHSU president, praised the
dedication and work of the entire BHSU community. “I am very proud of
our staff who put aside the concerns of their daily routines to respond
to Governor Janklow’s declaration of an emergency,” Flickema said.
“The campus has responded as a team to provide for those forced to
evacuate their homes.”
Royer, who was just beginning her official first
week on the job as building director, was among the first on the scene
as the Red Cross moved into the Young Center. She has since become the
“go-to” person for the building throughout the week working with the
agencies and volunteers to make this operation go smoothly.
“We just provided the facility,” Royer said.
“We’ve opened the doors and try to do what we can to help. It’s
been interesting.” Royer and other university staff members met with
the governor Saturday evening to make plans for the
evacuation. The National Guard, whose offices are actually located in
the Young Center, is overseeing the operation there.
Royer praised the work of both the National Guard
and the Red Cross. “They are very professional and know what they are
doing,” she said. “We are trying to do what we can to accommodate
Nick Krebs of the South Dakota National Guard said
the operation will continue as long as it is needed. By mid-week
(Wednesday) the 842nd unit in Spearfish had 38 active
total of 60 different people have been on orders. Krebs said the
National Guard is working with the Red Cross and the Civil Air Patrol to
accommodate the people staying at the Young Center.
“We are very thankful for the support of the
community,” Krebs said. “The community response has just been
At one point a call was put out for fans to provide
some relief from the heat. Krebs said the entire community responded
including area retail businesses and an abundance of fans were provided.
For several BHSU employees the effect of the
evacuation has been dual. Both Myron Sullivan, BHSU senior security
officer, and Mike Isaacson, director of residence life, were evacuated
from their homes in Deadwood. Despite their own evacuation, Sullivan and
Isaacson have also been very active in the effort to coordinate housing
and help evacuees who are staying on campus.
Recognizing that needs remain even after the
initial stage, the student affairs staff is already making plans to
organize itself as a clean-up crew once the worst of this over.
“We want to help people get back to normal and
there is a lot to do after the immediate crisis is over,” Dr. Judith
Haislett, vice president for student affairs said. “We really meant it
when we said we would be there for them.”
The staff members plan to work with the Civil
Defense and the Red Cross to go to Deadwood and Lead to help with yard
clean up, windows, scrubbing, and whatever else is needed.
Jennifer Butler, administrative assistant with BHSU
student affairs, worked alongside the Red Cross and National Guard to
provide residence hall rooms for the evacuees in Wenona Cook Hall and
Heidepriem Hall. She and other members of the student affairs staff
arrived Saturday evening and worked around the clock to prepare rooms
and make arrangements as people displaced from their homes came to the
Butler said the Red Cross has been appreciative of
the work and noted that this evacuation site was one of the best with
which they have worked. Butler noted that one Red Cross worker said this
was the best run of the 45 evacuation centers he has seen. The Red Cross
opened more than 340 cases in this operation.
Tim Johnston, director of food services and who is
a National Guard member himself, led the effort to provide meals for
evacuees staying on campus as well as those staying in area residences
and campgrounds. In addition, the volunteers – for the Red Cross, the
National Guard and Civil Air Patrol, and other community volunteers –
were served meals.
Over the five days, Johnston and his crew prepared
and served more than 2,500 meals. “When we found out we were going to
be food source, everyone here just worked together to
make it happen,” Johnston said. “I have a great crew and lots of
good volunteers who worked long hours to do this.”
named instructor at marksmanship camp - Top
Durben, BHSU assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded a $6,000
grant to work for a civilian marksmanship camp (CMP) this summer.
Durben will serve as head instructor and Eastern
camp director for the CMP Three Position Air Rifle Summer Camp Series.
His duties include instruction, coaching, supervision of employees and
camp participants, development of assistant coaches, registration, and
administration of the camp. Durben may also work with CMP on future
projects including revision of the camp curriculum and development of new training
Durben is a former marksman competitor who later
coached the Olympic rifle shooting team in Sydney.
He competed in the 1988 Olympics where he finished 13th.
Durben earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry
from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, 1982, and a Ph.D. in
chemistry from Arizona State University in Tempe, 1993. Durben has been
a member of the BHSU faculty since 1993.
Smith receives grant to study population of ground lizard - Top
Brian Smith, BHSU biology professor, has received a $2,500 grant from
the John Ball Zoological Society Wildlife Conservation Fund to determine
the population density of the Antiguan ground lizard.
Smith, who has extensive study of the Antigua Racer
(snake) since 1995, will use this grant money to determine the
population density of the Antiguan ground lizard on Green Island. This
information will be included in a conservation plan submitted to the
government of Antigua and Barbuda, West Indies, Lesser Antilles, as well
as to local and international conservation organizations.
The Antiguan ground lizard is a prey item of the
critically endangered snake, the Antiguan Racer, which Smith has been
instrumental in studying since 1995. “Data on two species of lizard
are critical to conservation of the snake,” said Smith, “Since they
are both prey items of the snake.”
The study, which will continue through December,
will also train local (Antiguan) students and conservation officials in
modern techniques of conservation biology. Smith has assisted in
training 8-10 students, government officials, and local volunteers,
including one West Indian graduate student, since 1999.
Smith has been working with a consortium of
scientists, environmental advocates, and government bureaucrats to
re-introduce the snake to several small islands of Antigua.
In 1999 BHSU joined the team of local, regional, and
international partners that aims to conserve the critically endangered
Antiguan Racer snake and its natural habitat. Additionally, it aims to
enhance biodiversity conservation efforts in Antigua and Barbuda, with
particular focus on the offshore islands of Antigua. More information
about this research is available at http://www.bhsu.edu/bhww/arcp/index.html
Smith has been a member of the BHSU science faculty
since 1997. He holds a Ph.D. in quantitative biology from the University
math professor presents at BHSU - Top
math whiz John H. Conway used his fascination with games and puzzles to
intrigue talented middle-school mathematic students during a special
presentation at Black Hills State University this week.
Conway, the von Neumann professor of mathematics at
Princeton University, was the recipient of the 1998 Frederic Esser
Nemmers Prize in mathematics and has been described as being in a league
with mathematician John Nash whose life was chronicled in the book and
movie “A Beautiful Mind.”
Known as one of the great creative thinkers of our
time and a master of mathematics communication with audiences of all
levels, Conway captivated the interest of 61 Math Path participants as
he gave the inaugural address. He
also presented special sessions during the first week of a four-week
Math Path program currently in residence at BHSU. Math Path is a
non-profit program run by a consortium of mathematicians and teachers.
Conway began his presentation with a strategy
discussion of “dots and boxes,” a children’s game. Logic and
numbers are often used to explain how to win a game, but Conway takes a
different approach by showing how games
can be used to describe numbers. Conway describes this particular
game (dots and boxes) as one of the most fascinating games he knows and
reminded students that the French played the game centuries ago. Kids
today continue to play the game, many without bothering to think about
strategy and logic. Conway challenged the students to think logically
and to strategically apply their mathematics knowledge as they play.
“I’m not playing the games as much as I’m
trying to teach you,” Conway said. “The intriguing thing about it is
that there is a method to my madness in this game and in mathematical
problems like this.”
He explained that symmetry is very important in
this game “and very, very useful if you know it and your opponent
doesn’t.” Following his presentation, students crowded to the front
for a chance to challenge Conway in a game of “dots and boxes.”
The young students greeted the nationally
recognized mathematician with shouts of “Conway, Conway!” As the
lecture progressed, the students were quick to respond, take notes and
discuss their ideas. At the end of the hour-long session, Conway quickly
scrawled a mathematical equation on the whiteboard; the young math
prodigies were left to check his instant calculations on their manual
calculators and asked in amazement “How did he do that?”
Conway’s work covers a wide spectrum of
mathematical disciplines including knot theory, many dimensional
geometry, transfinite numbers, surreal numbers, sporadic groups and the
“Game of Life,” a game he created that opened up the field of
mathematics called cellular automata. Conway has long been fascinated by
these types of games and he believes that developing strategies for
winning is a basis of understanding theories of numbers.
Conway’s session is part of the Math Path
residential program being held on the BHSU campus. Other special
presenters scheduled include Titu Andreescu, executive director of
American Mathematics Competition, George Hart, expert on the
construction of polyhedra and art involving them, and Len Berggren,
professor of mathematics from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver,
Canada. It was Conway who suggested the name Math Path as a fitting
title for this national program for young students as they begin their
journey on the mathematical path.
The students were eager to discuss their ideas and
the mathematical concepts. That is just what George Thomas, executive
director of Math Path, wants these students to do. “We stress the
concepts and are heavy on problem solving,” Thomas said.
Known as Dr. T to his students, Thomas has directed
some of the leading math camps for mathematically talented high school
students for nearly a decade. This is the first year of Math Path, a
program designed especially for middle-school mathematicians. Thomas
espouses the advantages of challenging these young potential
mathematicians by pointing out that most major mathematical discoveries
were made by people before they reached 40 years of age. “Thus in
mathematics, as in music, an early professional training is called
for,” Thomas said.
These students were selected from among 231
applicants. For consideration, students were required to submit a
qualifying quiz and be recommended by both a teacher and someone who
knows the student socially.
“We are looking for students who get the maximum
benefit who will hopefully grow up and help future mathematicians,”
Thomas said. The Math Path
staff members are alumni of Thomas’ math camps and serve as mentors to
the middl-school students.
“At this tender age, we want to give a positive
influence in terms of character with the staff,” Thomas said. “The staff are profoundly gifted and provide a good
influence on the younger ones.”
Thomas, who has worked with several campuses across
the country, looked at several locations before he chose BHSU as the
ideal site for his first middle-school program. He has several reasons,
including the safety and security of a small campus in a small-town
setting and the variety of nearby recreational and historical
attractions, for choosing BHSU.
Thomas believes the young students will benefit
from the proximity of nature as well as the opportunities for weekend
recreational trips. The Math Path daily schedule includes seminars in
problem solving and sessions in the history of mathematics, fundamental
concepts, and writing in mathematics. Evening and weekend activities are
planned to fit the social and athletic needs of the students. The group
plans to visit Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, Jewel Cave and other area
“We want the program to be challenging and ensure
that the academic activities are balanced by athletic, social and
cultural activities,” Thomas said. Thomas indicated that the staff at
BHSU have been very helpful.
“That’s another of the reasons we chose to come
here,” Thomas said. “The people have been so helpful and
friendly.” He said that several parents had expressed approval of the
campus selection as they brought their students to the camp even though
many traveled a great number of miles. Math Path is one of
35 conference hosted by BHSU this summer.
The journey along the Math Path has brought
numerous beautiful minds to the BHSU campus in the scenic northern
Hills. As these talented young mathematicians use game and puzzles in
their study, what they are learning has the potential to impact our
society in unforeseen ways.
“These are the brightest and the best of the
young mathematical students,” said Dr. Lyle Cook, vice president for
academic affairs at BHSU. “You are looking at the future; those who
will be running the world in 10 or 15 years.”
Bone marrow donor search conducted - Top
BHSU employees Terry Hupp, instructional
designer, and Cal Crooks, instructional media coordinator, were among
the volunteers to undergo testing in a search for a bone marrow match
for Stevi Wickenheiser. Stevi
was diagnosed with leukemia in May and can only be cured medically with
a bone marrow transplant according to her mother Tracie Wickenheiser,
who is a Whitewood police officer. After discovering that no family
members were a match, a donor search was organized including one day of
testing at the Hall of Fame room at the BHSU Young Center. There was a
steady stream of people, including many who were at the Young Center
either as an evacuee or as a volunteer, who stopped by to be tested.
Donations for Stevi are being accepted at: Friends of Stevi, PO
Box 8184, Rapid City, SD 57709.
BHSU ranks 23rd nationally for athletic success
Black Hills State University athletics placed 23rd
nationally in the Sears Directors’ Cup, a joint effort between the
National Associations of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA
Today. University athletic departments are ranked based on the
performance and final standings for the entire athletic department.
According to Bud Synhorst, athletic director at
BHSU, points are allowed for up to 12 sports per university. Since BHSU
offers only 10 sports, five for men and five for women, being ranked in
the top 25 is especially satisfying.
“As an athletic department we were very
successful,” Synhorst said. “I am very proud of our student athletes
and coaches for their hard work and dedication. Their effort really
shows by our high ranking in the final standings.”
“Our goal as a university athletic department is
to improve on that standing on a year-to-year basis,” Synhorst said.
The University of Mary, Bismarck, N.D., was the
only institution in the DAC-10 conference that ranked higher than BHSU. Mary ranked 11th overall.