Were You Ready for South Dakota’s Winter!

101201-f-5924c-076It looks like Mother Nature finally decided to bring us some Winter conditions. Hopefully you had already prepared yourself, your home, and car for this; after all it is December! If you hadn’t, today’s weather is a great reminder for you to get things done before there are multiple days like this.

PREPARE YOURSELF & HOME

Listen to the weather forecasts as they can provide you with good notice of an approaching storm. Ensure you have easy access to your snow clearing equipment, (shovels and/or snow blower). Ensure that your heat sources at home are working and you have fuel (pellets or wood) on hand, if needed.

Have a plan in place on how you would handle a power outage. Depending on your home, this may affect food preparation and storage, heating sources, and information resources.

PREPARE YOUR CAR

If you haven’t done so already, get your car winterized and have a winter storm kit in it. According to the Pennington County Emergency Management Office the kit should contain:

“sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans. Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it’s too late.”

KNOW THE ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU GO

First and foremost, if you don’t have to go, DON’T! Driving any direction out of the Rapid City area can be dangerous once you are on the plains or in the Black Hills.

If you do have to be driving, be able to see and be seen. Clean snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. You can be ticketed if your view is obstructed by snow. know the road conditions.

Check the road conditions before you go. For South Dakota roads, you can visit http://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/ to view road conditions around the state.

For Ellsworth AFB travel, accurate and timely information about road and reporting conditions can be viewed via the official Ellsworth Facebook page or by calling (605) 385-ROAD.

Below is a breakdown of the color coded road conditions for the base from the Ellsworth AFB official web site:

greenroadsGREEN:

Normal installation speed limits and traffic rules are in effect.

yellowroadsYELLOW:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The speed limit for parking areas is 5 mph. The vehicle will be operated in such a manner that ensures complete control of the vehicle at all times. Vehicle operators are cautioned to remain a safe distance away from snow removal equipment, with the understanding that the snow removal equipment operator may be operating at an increased rate of speed and with visibility limitations.

redroadsRED:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph on general roadways, and 5 mph in military family housing areas and parking areas. Travel is restricted to essential travel only (i.e. military personnel who have not been instructed to remain away from duty, family members traveling to and from their place of employment, etc.). Persons found to be in violation of this traffic instruction (i.e. recreational driving, non-emergency visitation, etc.) are subject to being cited in accordance with this traffic code, and to points being assessed on their driving record accordingly. Travel during Road Condition Red is at the vehicle operator’s own risk. During Road Condition Red, the vehicle operator assumes all liability for vehicle damage should the vehicle become immovable due to weather or road conditions, such as damage from passing snow removal equipment, damage from exposure to severe weather, or any other damage which may occur.

Bottom line: Being stuck or stranded in a South Dakota winter storm can become a question of survival. It’s serious business and you and your vehicle must be prepared.

The 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is Here!

The 77th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially starts today, Friday, August 4th, and runs through Sunday, August 13th. If you haven’t already noticed increased traffic on I-90 yet, you will as Rally goers begin pouring into the Black Hills region.

Last year the rally had an estimated attendance of 463,412. Even if you aren’t going up to Sturgis you will be affected by the Rally. Tourist sites from the Badlands to Devil’s Tower and throughout the Black Hills, as well as restaurants, bars, or anything you think of as entertainment will be packed. HAVE PATIENCE!

The Rally is the experience of a lifetime. Visiting exhibitors can show you anything and everything you’d want or need to dress you up or dress up your bike. Or demo virtually every kind of bike on the market – custom, V-Twin or metric. In addition to the bikes there are concerts, races and bike shows, five blocks of Sturgis’s Main Street (bikes-only), organized rides, and custom legends.

If you are new to the area or have never gone to the Rally, check it out, but be prepared for traffic and a lot of people.

Here are a few tips to survive the Rally:

  • If you are going, have a plan. (Have a designated driver!)
  • There are no open containers allowed in Sturgis
  • Pay attention to the signs that say NO PARKING and the curbs that are painted yellow. If you park by these you will be towed and walking to the impound yard to pay to get your ride back.
  • Look out for motorcycles, not all of them are looking out for you
  • Pay attention to speed limits and additional stop signs in all areas
  • Again, HAVE PATIENCE!

South Dakota Motorcycle Driving Laws (Source: South Dakota Rides)

  • No person may operate a motorcycle more than two abreast in a single lane. The operator of a motorcycle may not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
  • Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one but no more than two headlamps..
  • All persons under the age of 18 must wear motorcycle safety helmets that are approved by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
  • A person riding in an enclosed cab attached to a motorcycle does not have to wear a safety helmet.
  • A motorcycle operator must wear an eye protective device unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen of sufficient height and design that protects the motorcycle operator. When headlights are required to be on, a motorcycle operator cannot wear protective eye devices that are tinted or shaded to reduce the light transmission of the device below 35 percent.
  • Motorcycles must have at least one tail lamp, which when lighted emits a red light visible for a distance of 500 feet.
  • Noise Limits: Every motorcycle must at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

What will bad behavior cost you? (also factor in costs to your career)

Common City Violations

  • Careless Driving – $110
  • City Parking Violations – $10
  • City Trespassing/Camping in the Street – $130
  • Deposit of Filth in Public Place – $105
  • Disorderly Conduct – $130
  • Dog Running at Large (1st off.) – $75
  • Driving on Bike Path/Sidewalk – $130
  • Exhibition Driving – $85
  • Indecent Exposure – $130
  • Open Container In Public -$80
  • Parking in Handicapped Zone – $100
  • Stop Light/Stop Sign Violation – $110
  • Truck Routes & Use of Streets by Trucks – $110
  • U-turn Prohibited – $85
  • Wrong Way on One Way Street -$110
  • Unlawful to Obstruct Streets/Selling on the Street – $105

Common State Motorcycle Violations

  • Cyclist Overtaking and Passing M/V in same lane – $120
  • Eye Protection Required – $ 25
  • Helmet Required under Age 18 – $120
  • Illegal Handlebar Height – $25
  • Illegal Motor Cycle Exhaust – $25
  • Operation Without Motorcycle Endorsement – $120

Common State Law Violations

  • Furnishing  Alcohol to Minor 18-21 – Court Appearance Req.
  • Open Container in Motor Vehicle – $120
  • Possess of Controlled Substance – Custody Arrest
  • Possess of Drug Paraphernalia – $270
  • Possess of Marijuana – Custody Arrest
  • Possess of Substances for High Abuse (Distribution) – Custody Arrest
  • Underage Alcohol Purchase/Possession/Consumption – Court Appearance Req.
  • Underage Purchase/Possession/Consumption of Cigarettes – $95
  • Cancelled License – $140
  • No Driver License – $120
  • Revoked License – Custody Arrest
  • Suspended License – $270
  • Violation of License Restrictions – $120

Are you Ready for a Taste of South Dakota Winter?

101201-f-5924c-076It looks like we may finally get a taste of winter later this week with the possibility of accumulating snow. This would be a good time to ensure your home, car and you are ready!

PREPARE YOURSELF & HOME

Listen to the weather forecasts as they can provide you with good notice of an approaching storm. Ensure you have easy access to your snow clearing equipment, (shovels and/or snow blower). Ensure that your heat sources at home are working and you have fuel (pellets or wood) on hand, if needed.

Have a plan in place on how you would handle a power outage. Depending on your home, this may affect food preparation and storage, heating sources, and information resources.

PREPARE YOUR CAR

If you haven’t done so already, get your car winterized and have a winter storm kit in it. According to the Pennington County Emergency Management Office the kit should contain:

“sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans. Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it’s too late.”

KNOW THE ROAD CONDITIONS BEFORE YOU GO

First and foremost, if you don’t have to go, DON’T! Driving any direction out of the Rapid City area can be dangerous once you are on the plains or in the Black Hills.

If you do have to be driving, be able to see and be seen. Clean snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. You can be ticketed if your view is obstructed by snow. know the road conditions.

Check the road conditions before you go. For South Dakota roads, you can visit http://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/ to view road conditions around the state.

For Ellsworth AFB travel, accurate and timely information about road and reporting conditions can be viewed via the official Ellsworth Facebook page or by calling (605) 385-ROAD.

Below is a breakdown of the color coded road conditions for the base from the Ellsworth AFB official web site:

greenroadsGREEN:

Normal installation speed limits and traffic rules are in effect.

yellowroadsYELLOW:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The speed limit for parking areas is 5 mph. The vehicle will be operated in such a manner that ensures complete control of the vehicle at all times. Vehicle operators are cautioned to remain a safe distance away from snow removal equipment, with the understanding that the snow removal equipment operator may be operating at an increased rate of speed and with visibility limitations.

redroadsRED:

The maximum speed limit for all motor vehicles is 10 mph on general roadways, and 5 mph in military family housing areas and parking areas. Travel is restricted to essential travel only (i.e. military personnel who have not been instructed to remain away from duty, family members traveling to and from their place of employment, etc.). Persons found to be in violation of this traffic instruction (i.e. recreational driving, non-emergency visitation, etc.) are subject to being cited in accordance with this traffic code, and to points being assessed on their driving record accordingly. Travel during Road Condition Red is at the vehicle operator’s own risk. During Road Condition Red, the vehicle operator assumes all liability for vehicle damage should the vehicle become immovable due to weather or road conditions, such as damage from passing snow removal equipment, damage from exposure to severe weather, or any other damage which may occur.

Bottom line: Being stuck or stranded in a South Dakota winter storm can become a question of survival. It’s serious business and you and your vehicle must be prepared.

Ready or Not, the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is Here!

8a1390cb-e272-445f-a6fd-23d4da58e28bThe 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is officially next week from Monday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 9th. If you haven’t already noticed increased traffic on I-90 yet, you will as Rally goers begin pouring into the Black Hills region.

Last year the rally had an estimated attendance of 390,693. Even if you aren’t going up to Sturgis you will be affected by the Rally. Tourist sites from the Badlands to Devil’s Tower and throughout the Black Hills, as well as restaurants, bars, or anything you think of as entertainment will be packed. HAVE PATIENCE!

The Rally is the experience of a lifetime. Visiting exhibitors can show you anything and everything you’d want or need to dress you up or dress up your bike. Or demo virtually every kind of bike on the market – custom, V-Twin or metric. In addition to the bikes there are concerts and races and bike shows, five blocks of Sturgis’s Main Street bikes-only street vibe, organized rides, and custom legends.

If you are new to the area or have never gone to the Rally, check it out, but be prepared for traffic and a lot of people.

Here are a few tips to survive the Rally:

  • If you are going, have a plan. (Have a designated driver!)
  • There are no open containers allowed in Sturgis
  • Pay attention to the signs that say NO PARKING and the curbs that are painted yellow. If you park by these you will be towed and walking to the impound yard to pay to get your ride back.
  • Look out for motorcycles, not all of them are looking out for you
  • Pay attention to speed limits and additional stop signs in all areas
  • Again, HAVE PATIENCE!

South Dakota Motorcycle Driving Laws

  • Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one but no more than two headlamps..
  • All persons under the age of 18 must wear motorcycle safety helmets that are approved by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
  • A person riding in an enclosed cab attached to a motorcycle does not have to wear a safety helmet.
  • A motorcycle operator must wear an eye protective device unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen of sufficient height and design that protects the motorcycle operator. When headlights are required to be on, a motorcycle operator cannot wear protective eye devices that are tinted or shaded to reduce the light transmission of the device below 35 percent.
  • Motorcycles must have at least one tail lamp, which when lighted emits a red light visible for a distance of 500 feet.
  • Noise Limits: Every motorcycle must at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

What will bad behavior cost you? (also factor in costs to your career)

City Ordinances

  • Indecent Exposure – $111
  • Open Container In Public -$61
  • Deposit of Filth – $86
  • Disorderly Conduct – $111
  • Careless Driving – $91
  • City Park Violations – $10
  • City trespassing – $111
  • Dog Running at Large – $56
  • Exhibition Driving – $66
  • Parking in Handicapped Zone – $100
  • Reckless Driving – Custody Arrest
  • Truck Routes Violations – $91
  • Use of Sound Amplification Device – Court Appearance Req.
  • Driving on bike path/sidewalk – $111

State Law

  • Cancelled License – $144
  • Violation of Restricted License – $94
  • Revoked Drivers License – Custody Arrest
  • Furnish Alcohol to Minor – Court Appearance Req.
  • Open Container in Motor Vehicle – $94
  • Possess of Controlled Substance – Custody Arrest
  • Possess of Drug Paraphernalia – $244
  • Possess of Marijuana – Custody Arrest
  • Possess of Substances for High Abuse (Distribution) – Custody Arrest

Juvenile Laws

  • Underage Alcohol Poss/Consump – Court Appearance Req.
  • (Continued) in Motor Vehicle – Court Appearance Req.
  • Underage Purchase of Cigarettes – $69
  • State Motorcycle Laws
  • Carrying Loaded or Uncased Gun – Custody Arrest
  • Cyclists Overtaking in Same Ln – $94
  • Eye Protection Required – $20
  • Helmet Required (under age 18) – $94
  • Illegal Handlebar Height – $20
  • Operation W/O Motorcycle Endorse -$94

 

South Dakota backs off speed limits for Sturgis Rally

SpeedLimit65From KOTA Territory News: Due to the expected increased traffic volumes during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the anticipated reduced operating speeds, speed limits will be reduced on the following highways effective TODAY (Friday, July 24).

Interstate 90 speed limit will be reduced from 75 mph to 65 mph from west of the Deadwood Avenue Exit 55 in Rapid City to east of the Lazelle Street Exit 30 in Sturgis.

Highways 34 and 79 also have changes that may last well in to mid-August.

Read the full story on kotatv.com: South Dakota backs off speed limits for Sturgis Rally.

How Smartphones Are Tracking Your Every Move

From NBC Nightly News (29 April 2015): Your smartphone may be keeping track of where you live, work and go for coffee every day. iPhone and Android phones keep lists of your movements and the Android is not just keeping those details on your device. Jeff Rossen from NBC News reported on this last night and provides instructions on how to turn off these features.

Recent News Events Create Opportunity to Review Your Social Media Presence

SM-Friend-or-Foe-300x300Many of you may have seen news stories this past weekend of a list containing the names, addresses, and photos of 100 current U.S. service members.

The list was compiled with the respective addresses and photos based off of information obtained through social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

In light of these events it is highly recommended you review your current online footprint, particularly in regard to social media sites. Furthermore, have a conversation with your families about Operational Security (OPSEC) and how we all need to be careful about what we post online. There are real threats out there, and it is important that we do what we can do to mitigate our exposure.

Here some easy steps you can take to help ensure your security online:

  • Understand your privacy settings. Go look at the current privacy settings you have established on the social media sites you use and remember that the safest setting for any site is “only friends”. In our resource section below are smart cards for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  • Don’t friend people you don’t know. It sounds simple but think about how many people you may be friends with online that you don’t really know. If you don’t know them, then why are you linked in with them?
  • Limit the use of applications. Applications can be a great help, but they can also be a liability. For example, a past study revealed that many of Facebook’s most popular applications were transmitting personal user information to outside servers.
  • Protect your location. It is important that you do not “check in” and let the world know where you are, particularly at home, your friends’ houses, or at work.
  • Don’t overshare. The internet doesn’t forget anything – and nothing really gets deleted – so be careful about what you share. It is much easier to just not share something than it is to get that information back once it has been broadcasted in cyberspace.

Resources:

As always, force protection is a primary concern. It is important that we all remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to base security forces, Air Force OSI, or the local police.