Brookings City Council: Students honored for Martin Luther King Jr. posters, essays


BROOKINGS — It was a night of honor and recognition on Tuesday during the Brookings City Council meeting for area students who took part in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day poster and essay contests.

“I always enjoy Martin Luther King awards night because we have a full house most of the time and we have to look for more seats,” Mayor Oepke “Ope” Niemeyer said.

Winners of the Brookings Human Rights Commission-sponsored contests were:

  • Grade K-1 (poster): First place, first-grader Kenlee Greve at Medary Elementary School; second place, kindergartener Simon Arnold at Medary; and third place, first-grader Norah Miller at Medary.
  • Grade 2-3 (poster): First place, third-grader Don Lin at Medary; second place, third-grader Juliette Bechmann at Medary; and third place, third-grader Emily Vandersnick at Medary.
  • Grade 4-5 (poster): First place, fourth-grader Timothy Jin at Camelot Intermediate School; second place, fifth-grader Kate Gayne at Camelot; and third place, fifth-grader Maria Koromyslova at Camelot.
  • ADVANCE (poster): First place, Cole Collins; second place, Maggie Stephens; and third place, Fred Jess.
  • Essay (middle school): First place, sixth-grader Sanhita Tummala at Mickelson Middle School; second place, seventh-grader Sinan Briddick at Mickelson; and third place, eighth-grader Finn Bartlett at Mickelson.

Winners in the poster contest earned $25, $15 and $10 respectively, while essay contest winners earned $100, $75 and $50 respectively. The poster contest was open to all K-5 students and ADVANCE participants in Brookings County while the essay contest was open to all middle and high school students in the county, along with ADVANCE participants, according to a news release from the commission.

In other business at Tuesday’s City Council meeting: 

• Tabled three agenda items on a 6-0 vote revolving around a plan by Deuces Casino, 223 Sixth St., to add a fifth suite within its existing building to house an additional 10 video lottery machines for a total of 50 machines in the building. The agenda items dealt with on-off sale malt license, on-off sale wine license and 10 video lottery machines. 

“I and a few of the other council members are a little concerned about the density of machines in one particular building at a time,” Niemeyer said.

“It does seem like this is defeating the original intent of what we started out with — to have a limit,” Councilor Wayne Avery said. “Now it looks like you can keep on adding suites and it’s just unlimited. How many doors do you want to have in the same building? I think they’re discussing the same issue in Sioux Falls right now, too.”

“I’m curious to know, do we have any other establishments that have this level of density in video lottery machines under one roof?” Councilor Holly Tilton Byrne asked.

City Clerk Bonnie Foster noted that The Lanes, 722 Western Ave., has 30 video lottery machines under one roof, while Deuces is the only business in Brookings to currently have 40 machines under one roof. 

• Approved Ordinance 23-001 on a 6-0 vote. This ordinance shortens terms on the Brookings Planning Commission from five years to three years and changes its secretary to the community development director or designee.

• Gave the green light, 6-0, to Resolution 23-008. One change brought about by the ordinance includes boosting late fees for hangar lease and fuel flowage payments at Brookings Regional Airport from 3% to 10% to, per a memo, “ensure timely collection and administrative cost recovery.”

Another change adds fees to commercial building permits valued at less than $100,000. For the table with the breakdown of fees, find a PDF of the memo at

• OK’d Resolution 23-007, on a 6-0 vote, approving an agreement with the Brookings Regional Humane Society for the “care and disposition of impounded animals.”

• SDSU Student Association President Blake Pulse presented the association’s report. Topics included mental health legislation, in the form of House Bill 1079, in Pierre that would give $4 million worth of mental health grants to the state department of health, which in turn could help Board of Regents institutions in South Dakota.

Other topics included Senate Bill 63, focusing on a proposed year-round rodeo practice facility on SDSU’s campus, along with separate legislative pieces on a tuition freeze and possible salary increase for state employees. Blake also discussed e-scooters on campus and Student Association elections.

The next City Council meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Feb. 14 in the City & County Government Center, 520 Third St.

— Contact Mondell Keck at