This is blog for brandoninfo.com, a website dedicated to news in the Brandon community. Contributers include the staff of the Argus Leader, the Brandon Valley Challenger and the website itself.

school start date

October 3rd, 2014 by Alica

The school board is contemplating what day to start school. Do you think it should start in August, or not until after Labor Day?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? It’s nice to have kids available for their summer jobs right through the end of the tourist season, but then they have to go to school into June, missing the Memorial Day opening of a lot of attractions.

Then again, a lot of kids have summer jobs that don’t rely on the tourist season. Not East River, anyway.

What is best for Brandon Valley?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Weird Al

August 14th, 2014 by Alica

Eric Oakland, a 1996 graduate of Brandon Valley High School, owns the video scribing company that provided the graphics for Weird Al Yankovic’s “Mission Statement”, one of the songs on the artist’s latest album.

That’s a brush with fame, for sure.

I saw Weird Al’s first national television appearance, on “The Tomorrow Show” with Tom Snyder on April 21, 1981. I’ve been a fan ever since.

I went to Weird Al’s concert at the old convention center in Sioux Falls when he came here on his Stupid Tour. I got his autograph, although not in person. One of his bandmates took the album I brought to Al backstage, where he signed it, and then the bandmate brought it back out to me. I’m fairly certain it’s Al’s actual signature, because I’ve seen it elsewhere and it matches what I have. He has excellent penmanship.

I didn’t go to Weird Al’s concert when he played at the Washington Pavilion, but I’m still a fan. There are several good songs on his new album, “Mandatory Fun,” including the song “Mission Statement.” I think “Word Games” might be my favorite song on the album, though, which probably won’t surprise you.

Are you a Weird Al fan? Any favorites among his decades’ worth of work? Any favorites from his new album?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Aspen park

July 24th, 2014 by Alica

The Brandon Valley Hockey Association wants to build an indoor ice rink in Aspen Park, and they want the city and other groups to work with them so the facility also can host different kinds of sporting events as well as serve as a community center.

A lot of the plan depends on expanding Aspen Park by the city purchasing land to the south of the park’s current boundaries. Part of the plan also would be to add a second entrance into the park on the south side.

Brandon developer Gene Johnson has a parcel of land on Splitrock Boulevard that he has said in the past he purchased for the purpose of someday being a second entrance into the park.

The city has been negotiating for years for other property south of Aspen Park but have not been able to come to a price agreement with the owner of that property.

Some people, especially those involved in kids sports in Brandon, might think this park expansion and facility would be a great asset to Brandon.

On the other hand, voters in Brandon soundly rejected a bond issue last year to expand the park.

Would the hockey association and other private groups contributing make any difference with the public’s attitude toward the project?

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Meeting minutes

May 21st, 2014 by Alica

Are you satisfied with the meeting minutes the school district or the city publishes? Do you think they are not necessary, informative enough for your purposes, or would you like them to be more detailed?

Public meeting minutes are published by state law. The school district and city pay to have them printed in the newspaper. The rates are set by the state Legislature.

If the published legal notices are shorter (less detailed), they cost the city, or the school district, less, meaning they cost the taxpayers less. If the legal notices are longer (more detailed), they cost the city, or the school district, more, meaning they cost the taxpayers more.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Park branding

May 15th, 2014 by Alica

What do you think of the Brandon Parks Advisory Committee’s idea of making a logo for parks in Brandon? The idea is to put signage with a parks logo up at all city parks.

Should the city do this? What benefits, if any, do you see from doing this? What drawbacks, if any, do you see from doing this?

The May 14 issue of the Brandon Valley Challenger showed three possible logo ideas. Do you like any of them? If so, which do you like best?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Teachers salaries

May 13th, 2014 by Alica

Brandon Valley teachers will get a 5.3 percent raise this coming school year. Do you think that is too much, too little, or just right?

Even with raises across the state, South Dakota teachers are still paid less than the national average.

Do you get paid below, at or above the national average for your job?

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »


April 23rd, 2014 by Alica

How are the streets in front of your house? Now that the snow has melted and the ground is thawing, do you have potholes on your street, or on your commute? Do you have any snowplow damage to your curb, mailbox, etc., from the winter?

If there are any problem spots, where are they?

Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 11 Comments »

Sewer smell

April 9th, 2014 by Alica

Have you noticed a smell coming from your sewer lately? If so, where, exactly? In your house, or out in the neighborhood?

Posted in Uncategorized | 45 Comments »


February 25th, 2014 by Alica

Brandon Police are adding Tasers to their duty belts. (See story in the Feb. 26 Brandon Valley Challenger.) There doesn’t appear to be problems in Brandon that require Tasers, but Brandon Police Chief Dave Kull said he made the proposal as a preventive measure because Sioux Falls police officers were injured while trying to get a suspect there into custody.

Apparently, Sioux Falls police don’t use Tasers.

Kull said the Tasers probably will replace the pepper spray Brandon Police now carry.

Do you think Tasers are a good idea for Brandon Police?

Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 18 Comments »


February 25th, 2014 by Alica

Today, the South Dakota Senate will consider a bill to classify e-cigarettes in the same category as any tobacco product. Do you think the Senate should pass it?

Some people say e-cigarettes are a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, while others say the products might carry unknown health risks.

Apparently, at least some of the people who use e-cigarettes also smoke regular cigarettes.

If e-cigarettes are legal, should people be able to smoke them in restaurants and places like that, where regular tobacco is banned? I was in Subway once and someone had an e-cigarette in his mouth, and I questioned it, thinking he was violating the no smoking law. That was the first I ever heard of e-cigarettes.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Seeking sports photos

February 11th, 2014 by Alica

Did anybody get photos of last night’s boys basketball game with Yankton? I had some camera trouble and was unable to get photos.

Usually Challenger editor Jill Meier takes excellent photos of Brandon Valley sporting events, but she is on vacation this week and I am not nearly as good at sports photos as she is.

If you have sports photos from any of this week’s Brandon Valley sporting events, home or away, would you please send me a couple for possible publication in the Feb. 19 Brandon Valley Challenger?

Send them to apthiele@argusleader.com. Please say who is in the picture and what they are doing.

Many thanks, folks. Go Lynx!

Alica P. Thiele

Posted in Uncategorized, BV sports | No Comments »

Legislative coffee

January 30th, 2014 by Alica

The next Legislative Coffee, sponsored by the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Bethany Meadows community room. The event will start at 9 a.m. Legislators from both District 10 and 25 will be on hand to update the public on the 2014 Session and answer questions.

Will you attend? What issues would you like the legislators to address that day? Are you following any particular bills? Which ones?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Water well work

January 20th, 2014 by Alica

I saw this on city councilman Roger Brooks’ Facebook page.

ATTENTION ALL RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF BRANDON! Brandon will be making repairs to the well that provides the majority of water to our residents beginning on Tuesday, January 21, 2014. The repairs are expected to be completed in 2 days. During this time we ask residents to restrict their water usage as much as possible. The City will be utilizing a backup well during the repairs. This may cause some residents to experience discolored water during and after the repairs. Please contact City Hall at (606) 582-6515 if you have any questions.

Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 9 Comments »

Shared custody

January 17th, 2014 by Alica

The South Dakota Legislature is in session, and one of the issues being discussed is whether divorcing couples should automatically get shared custody of the children. Some people say that shared custody should be the default ruling, and judges can look at cases individually to see if one parent would be the better choice. Other people say that automatic shared custody might put children at risk of spending time with an unfit parent.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »


January 2nd, 2014 by Alica

What things do you hope for in Brandon this year? As always, I hope for a full-menu Greek restaurant in Brandon (or anywhere closer then Sioux City, where the closest one I know of is). I also hope for a prosperous business climate in the city, which brings in sales tax dollars, which in turn pay for many of the city’s amenities residents enjoy.

What are your hopes for Brandon, and what resolutions would you make for the city this year?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Water/sewer rates

December 5th, 2013 by Alica

Brandon’s water and sewer rates are taking a hike starting the first of the year. City leaders say the hikes are necessary to have infrastructure in place for future growth.

How do you feel? Do you think the hikes are justified, or too much at once? What will you do, if anything, to cut your water or sewer use to keep your personal costs down?

Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 46 Comments »

Golf course-for sale?

November 19th, 2013 by Alica

Brandon has received an offer from a private citizen to lease the municipal golf course with an option to buy. Here is a link to the story that ran in the Nov. 13 Brandon Valley Challenger:


What do you think of this offer? The golf course has not turned a profit in recent years and is dependent on the weather for much of its revenue. On the other hand, the city is two-thirds of the way, or better, through the loan for the clubhouse. Once that loan is paid off, that money will go toward the bottom line and the course’s financials will look a lot better.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 44 Comments »

Lynx football

November 7th, 2013 by Alica

Brandon Valley travels to Roosevelt on Friday to see which of them will play in the season championships. If Brandon Valley wins, the Lynx will take on another Sioux Falls school in the championships in the DakotaDome.

What do you think are the Lynx’ chances of taking the state football championship this year? What aspects are in their favor? What might hold them back?

Posted in Uncategorized, BV sports, School business | 12 Comments »

School bond

October 23rd, 2013 by Alica

The Brandon Valley school board has set Dec. 3 for $5.95 million school bond vote for a new school for grades five and six. The entire project is estimated at $12 million – they’ll use $6.1 million in capital outlay money.

The board wants to start construction next spring so the school can be ready for students in fall 2015. Taking fifth grade out of the elementaries and sixth grade out of the middle school will free up space in those buildings and relieve the need for a new elementary school in the near future, Brandon Valley officials say.

A study has shown that the best site for the new school would be in the area where Robert Bennis Elementary is.

How do you feel about your property taxes going up to pay for a new school? How do you feel about separating the fifth- and sixth-graders from the other grades? How do you feel about another school in the Robert Bennis area?

And how do you feel about a school bond vote coming right on the heels of Tuesday’s city bond vote for more than $14 million for Aspen Park Improvements? Would you vote for one, the other, neither or both? Why?

Posted in Uncategorized, School business | 51 Comments »

Sidewalk on Holly

October 1st, 2013 by Alica

A couple who lives in the Eagle Creek addition on the east side of Brandon have asked the city to build a sidewalk along the south side of Holly Boulevard from the Eagle Creek and Bluffs additions to South Sioux Boulevard, so people who live on the east side can get to “town.”

Do you think this is a good idea? Why or why not?

One snag to the proposal is that the land between Eagle Creek and “town” is privately owned, and the people who own it would have to agree to a sidewalk on their property, and pay for it through assessment.
I wonder. The Bluffs and Eagle Creek abut Big Sioux Recreation Area on their south side. Is there access to the park from those neighborhoods? If so, the bike path winds through Big Sioux Rec and comes out on South Sioux Boulevard, and there is access to the city’s “business district” via paths along Holly Boulevard between Sioux and Splitrock boulevards. That would be the long way around for east-side residents, though, for sure.

What are your thoughts?
While one Brandon neighborhood is battling over a proposed path, another neighborhood is asking for a sidewalk.
Seasson and Peter Vitiello, 1309 Creekside Drive, have asked City leaders to consider a sidewalk along Holly Boulevard from the Eagle Creek community located on Brandon’s west side. “The number of young families in our west-side community has significantly increased,” the Vitiellos wrote in their letter. “Adding a sidewalk along Holly Boulevard will serve to increase safety and allow for us on the west side to explore Brandon businesses and shop locally, thus increasing the connectedness of the entire community.”

The Vitiellos say they have observed people walking, running and biking along Holly Boulevard, prompting them to suggest a sidewalk or some sort of footpath.


Posted in Uncategorized, City business | 24 Comments »

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