Around the County

At their most recent meetings, the towns of Artesian, Letcher and Woonsocket and the Sanborn County Commissioners all approved to start using the public alert system AlertSense, which was put into place by the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office. 

AlertSense is a method used by the Sheriff’s Department to send mass notifications out quickly about any alerts for Sanborn County. They can also be for just a certain town or specific area. According to Sanborn County Emergency Management Officer Jason Coenen, this is a live system that is geo-coded to individual addresses, so he can send out an alert to just a one block radius of a town that could have a tree down in their street, or he can send out a notice to the entire county about a no travel advised announcement. 

This service is free to users. There was a $3,500 fee for the system, but the County Commissioners covered that cost with the safety of their constituents in mind. AlertSense is the best way to alert everyone about something in a short amount of time.

Coenen stated that he is also in the process of getting an Integrated Public Alert Warning System up and running. He is working on submitting the paperwork necessary to get that system working for the county, as well. That system will make it possible for severe weather watches and warnings to be sent directly to a smart phone. If someone wants the service of this system but doesn’t own a smart phone, the system will also call a non-smart cell phone or send an email. It will also call a landline. 

AlertSense is running now, and the Sheriff’s Office would like people to sign up for the service. Again, it is free to the public. Every member of the household who has a phone should sign up for the service, so everyone in the family will be notified of any emergency or alert. For assistance to get signed up or for answers to any questions, contact Jason Coenen at the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office at 605-796-4511.

On Tuesday, April 9, Sanborn County’s Commissioners signed a disaster declaration. The declaration states that Sanborn County has been declared a disaster area due to springtime flooding. The declaration has been submitted to the state, so if a presidential declaration is made that South Dakota is in a disastrous state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist those who need help paying for damage to their property, including townships to help repair road damage. 

In order to receive aid from FEMA there has to be a certain amount accumulated in damages. The damages must be in public infrastructure, such as roads, ditches, culverts and lift stations. According to Jason Coenen, Sanborn County’s Emergency Management Officer, if anyone would like to include damages to the list in the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office, they need to document the damages with photos. If they have repairs done, they need to keep receipts and costs of the repairs to be turned into FEMA. 

If anyone has any questions, they should contact Officer Coenen at the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office at 605-796-4511.

On Friday morning, the snow was piled high up and down Woonsocket’s Dumont Avenue, also known as their Main Street. The city crew had to pile it wherever they could find space, and space was getting scarce.

It started as freezing rain on Wednesday afternoon and advanced into snowfall during the night from Wednesday to Thursday. In the following 24 hours, approximately 18-20 inches of snow fell all over Sanborn County. Some places saw a little more, but on average, most of the area was covered with just under two feet of snow by Thursday night. The wind howled all day Thursday, which, with that much snow falling, created some huge drifts that caused problems for local farmers to get to their cows and the many new calves that were brought into the world during the bothersome weather. The cold temperatures, deep snow, and blustering wind gusts, made terrible conditions for farmers’ efforts in keeping their newest calves alive, but that didn’t keep them from working hard to save their livestock. Many of them had to recruit help from family, including kids who are normally in school during the day, but most families worked well together to keep the newest members of their herds alive and thriving.

…Read on and see more pictures in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!