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Apr 30

2019 ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference

Tuesday, April 30 - Wednesday, May 1

SDSU Extension will host a conference about rural communities held in a rural community starting on April 30 at 12:00 PM MDT in the Lemmon community.

Online Registration

Register online using the form below by Thursday, April 18. Contact Kenneth Sherin, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Director for more information.

  • Early Registration for $75 ends Monday, April 1. Regular registration is $90 from April 2 - 18. Registration closes April 18 or when conference is full. No refunds for already processed registrations will be given after April 18.
  • Are you under age 21? Register for a special rate of $40 by entering the promo code YOUTH for access to the youth ticket and enter your birthdate in the questions area.

Conference Details

The conference begins with a light lunch and registration (noon – 1pm) on Tuesday, April 30, and concludes early Wednesday afternoon with lunch in Lemmon before you head home energized to lead your community to success!

Tentative Schedule:

Tuesday, April 30

Noon - Registration and Lunch, Visit with Resource Providers / Exhibitors
1:00 PM - Welcome - Neal Pinnow, Mayor, City of Lemmon; Civic Engagement Opportunity Partner - Kate Kelley, Northern Hills Area Court - Appointed Special Advocate
1:30 PM - Keynote: "Connecting the Disconnected" by Brent Comstock, Founder and CEO of BCom Solutions. Brent will share a message of tactical inspiration focused on building sustainable models of growth for rural America. Brent is a 23 year old Nebraska native, an entrepreneur, speaker, and venture capitalist.  
2:30 PM - Break
3:00 PM - Breakout Sessions: Money, People, Business, Young Adults
4:00 PM - Snack Break
4:30 PM - Breakout Sessions: Money, People, Business, Young Adults
5:30 PM - Break
6:00 PM - Social, Evening Meal, and Entertainment

Wednesday, May 1

Breakfast on your own
8:30 AM - Breakout Sessions: Money, People, Business, Young Adults
9:30 AM - Snack Break
10:00 AM - Breakout Sessions: Money, People, Business, Young Adults
11:00 AM - Break
11:15 AM - KEYNOTE: Young Entrepreneurs Panel “Choosing to Live Rural”; Wrap up

Breakout Sessions

Money: Funding for Community Projects

  • Evolution of the Herreid Community FoundationKevin Wientjes, Bruce Brandner, Herreid Community Foundation, Herreid
  • New Health Care Options for a Rural AreaTed Uecker, Matthew Shahan, Joan Pelkofer & Dr. Josh Ranum, West River Health Services, Hettinger, ND
  • Grant Funding for a Community Project - Dick Werner, Herreid; Ginger Niemann, Pierre
  • Spread the Tunes, Inc - Ben Schnaible, Spearfish
  • Grant Funding for Municipal Park Facilites - Dick Werner, Chair of Karl Deibert City Park Improvement Committee

People: Attracting and Retaining Residents

  • Tips on TIF’s - Jamison Berreth, Volga City Administrator, Volga
  • Giving Community Members a Voice - Beith Simonson, Hydeout Bed & Breakfast, Highmore
  • Housing is Hard, but it CAN be Done - Cathy Evans, Lemmon Housing Authority
  • Chislic Festival - Josh Hofer, Freeman

Business: Supporting Community Businesses

  • Aunt Mimi’s Farmhouse Kitchen - Marie Kimlicka, Tulare
  • Start Where You Are - Kate Westphal, Romancin' the Range, Lemmon
  • Circle View Guest Ranch - Amy & Phil Cruse, Interior

Young Adults: Engaging the Next Generation

  • Engaging Youth Reps on Local Boards - Marty Huether, Mercede Hess, Andrew Law, Wall Economic Development Board, Wall
  • Cheyenne River Youth Entrepreneur - Meghan Tompkins, Eagle Butte
  • Involving Youth - Brent Comstock, Kaylie Hogan-Schnittker, Nebraska
  • Young City Politicians - Jessica Lipke, Mayor, Leola

AND MORE! Many sessions to choose from, an evening of entertainment, lots of great food, information from resource providers and plenty of time for networking and exploring Lemmon.


While you are attending “Energize!” you will have the opportunity to visit with a wide variety of resource providers. These organizations provide information and assistance in our South Dakota communities. Resource tables will be set up during the conference and the participants will be attending sessions with you so be sure to connect with them. 

  • 4-H
  • Bush Foundation
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates – CASA of the Northern Hills
  • Dakota Resources
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Leadership South Dakota
  • Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc. (REED Fund)
  • SDSU Extension Community Vitality
  • South Dakota Agricultural & Rural Leadership Program
  • South Dakota Community Foundation
  • South Dakota Dashboard
  • South Dakota Department of Tourism – Agritourism
  • South Dakota Magazine
  • South Dakota Specialty Producers
  • West River Business Service Center


If you are looking for a place to stay while you are attending the conference, here are some lodging options.

  • Dakota Lodge/Prairie Motel, 5 10th St E, Lemmon, SD 605.374.7815
    *Conference room block available the dates of April 29, 30 and May 1 while vacancies last. (Tell them you are attending the Energize! conference when you make your reservation for the conference rate.)

  • Lemmon Country Inn, 19405 US Hwy 12, Lemmon, SD 605.374.3711
    *Conference room block available while vacancies last. (Tell them you are attending the Energize! conference when you make your reservation for the conference rate.)

  • Hodgson Hunter House, 907 1st Ave W, Lemmon, SD 605.431.4854
    Facebook @ hodgsonhouse (3-bedroom house, 1.5 bath, 1 queen bed, 4 full beds, 1 twin bed)

  • Jane Peterson, Lemmon, SD 605.430.7512 (5 beds & 1 bathroom)

  • Cindy Dix, 709 2nd Ave E, Lemmon, SD 605.524.3292 (Sleeps 10 individuals: 4-bedroom (2 queen, 2 double, 2 twin), 2-bathroom)

  • Pat Dalzell, 500 6th Ave W, Lemmon, SD 605.490.9132 (3-bedroom, 1-bathroom house (1 queen, 2 single, 3 single bunk beds)

  • Tip Top Motel, 508 3rd Ave S, Hettinger, ND 701.567.2437. Approximately 25 miles from Lemmon


Thank you to our sponsors who support innovative rural communities and help make this conference possible.

Platinum Sponsors

an image of the platinum level sponsors

Platinum Sponsors: The Bush Foundation, and the City of Lemmon