Housing prices, sales, and realty inquiries are increasing by double-digit percentages in some parts of the country. Spearfish honchos say part of the housing uptick in this fair city comes from North Dakota oilpatch workers buying and renting places within what passes as reasonable driving distance—300 miles—from the big economic action. Forgive me if I and my fellow $35K-per-year workers don't look all too eagerly on $80K-per-year Bakken oil workers competing with us for rental units.

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The local rumor mill has no basis for blaming the latest headline crime on the not-so-faraway oil boom, but our Belle Fourche neighbors are freaking out over a home robbery and rape last Tuesday:

Bill Mason, owner of the Buckstop on Fifth Avenue in Belle Fourche reported handgun, pepper spray and stun gun sales have gone up significantly this week.

“We're doing lots of medium and small handgun sales — packables and concealables. Thirty-eights and 9mms are going out the door very quickly,” he said.

Buckstop received a shipment of pepper spray Thursday that sold out before it even made the shelves.

Lamphere reported concealed carry permit applications, which go through the Butte County Sheriff's Office, were 20 percent higher this week in comparison to the average week [Adam Hurlburt, "Belle on Alert," Black Hills Pioneer, 2012.04.14].

And here I thought everybody in Belle already had a gun.

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Whoever may be coming to town, Spearfish's leaders are working hard to make sure newcomers and visitors can find their way around town. The big "wayfinding" project has elicited the following sign options from design firm Merje:

Spearfish signage options, presented to city council April 10, 2012, by Merje design firm

Spearfish signage options, presented to city council April 10, 2012, by Merje design firm

Signage sample from Merje website, screen capped 2012.04.15

Signage sample from Merje website, screen capped 2012.04.15

...which designs use basic elements from signage Merje displays as part of its portfolio online, from work done for the Camden Waterfront in New Jersey.

The Spearfish City Council retained the Pennsylvania design firm back in January for $26,580. Price for building and installing the new signs remains to be determined.

Not that one should expect some extravagant design concept for clear, simple signs to tell folks where things are. But citizens may hope that $28,650 would also include sending a couple city guys with a ladder and a wrench to straighten out this sign at North and Rushmore for the Booth Hatchery:

Wrong way Booth Hatchery sign, North and Rushmore, Spearfish, South Dakota

The sign suggests west... straight across the hospital parking lot.

Wrong way Booth Hatchery sign, close-up, North and Rushmore, Spearfish, South Dakota

A big wind appears to have wrenched the sign around ninety degrees, so it faces east instead of north.

Bicycle tracks

Alas! Some poor two-wheeled fishery fan paid the price of poor signage. Save us, Merje and Spearfish City Council!