Page 1


One Dollar

OCTOBER 5, 2012

USPS 000-360 Tea, Lincoln Co., SD

VOL. 3, NO. 40

Fire destroys family’s dream home, piece of Tea history Well before sunrise on Sunday, the Mork family lost their home and Tea lost a piece of its history. Around 5:45 a.m., smoke detectors woke Tony Mork, who was asleep on the main floor with his wife, Wendy, and their five-year-old daughter Sierra. Tony estimates it took him five minutes run upstairs, wake his 15-year-old son, Jacob, and four overnight guests and get everyone outside. “That was all the time we had,” before the entire house was enveloped in flames, he said. The fifth member of the Mork family, 11-year-old Andrew, was not at home at the time of the fire. The Morks lived “a couple miles west of Tea for about eight years,” Tony said. He and Wendy were waiting for the right time to move into town; they had seen the house at the corner of Cole and Maple and fell in love with it, but it wasn’t for sale at the time. So they waited. When the house went up for sale earlier this summer, they bought it. The family moved in on June 1. When the smoke alarms went off on Sunday morning, Tony looked outside and saw that the back wall of the garage was on fire. After evacuating everyone, he called 911 and moved his car from the garage to the street. Then the fire crews began to show up. Firefighters from Tea, Harrisburg and Sioux Falls responded. Tea police, the Red Cross, Lincoln County Emergency Management and Lennox Ambulance also had representatives at the scene. Tea Fire Chief Grant Van Riesen was among the first to arrive. He estimates it took about 10 minutes to “get water on the fire.” No firefighters entered the structure, which

included a 2,700 square foot home and a detached four-stall garage, due to extreme danger. “It was too dangerous and too late. That was one of the fastest-moving fires I’ve ever seen. A fire that large usually doubles in size every five minutes,” Van Riesen said. Another reason the firefighters stayed outside was due to the home’s construction. The structure was built using a balloon frame technique, common in homes built before the mid-1950s. A major problem of that frame style is that it makes it easy for fire to travel from floor to floor, while newer homes have built-in firestops at each level. Fires in homes with balloon frames are known “firefighter killers” Van Riesen said. Chief Van Riesen was impressed with the level of community support that was evident even before the fire was out. “The fire was still burning and we had people walking up and asking police officers for pens so they could write out checks to give to the family,” he said. One neighbor reportedly wrote a check for $250 on the spot. Pizza Ranch and Casey’s provided food for the firefighters at the scene. “This is why we live in a small town,” Van Riesen said. “The whole community has come together to support this family in their time of need. This family lost everything.” The blaze was visible from several blocks away. One Tea resident saw smoke and flames from Deerview Avenue while another witnessed embers falling in her yard on Kevin Drive. “Any little breeze is going to carry those embers,” Van Riesen said. Some of the embers were “half dollar size

Fire destroyed the Mork family home in Tea on Sunday morning. Firemen’s efforts kept the fire from spreading to neighboring properties. Firemen photo by Wendee Mulroy/House photo Erica Gaspar

or bigger,” he recalled. The fire was out by 6:30 a.m., but some firefighters remained at the scene until late that afternoon to monitor the area for hidden hotspots that could reignite a fire that appears to be put out. The fire marshal was unable to determine the cause of the fire, but said the fire started in an L-shaped corner at the back of the house, between the house and the garage. While the family is relieved that everyone made it out safely, they are mourning the loss of a pet hamster and turtle. The Morks also had two dogs; one white Morkie, Harley, and one Golden Retriever, Shadow. Harley is the only pet known

to have made it out of the house, but the family is holding out hope that Shadow escaped and is hiding somewhere. “He was old and timid,” Tony said. Jacob Mork plans to put up flyers soon. Tony said the dog was recently shaved and may look more like a yellow Lab than a Golden Retriever right now. Shadow was last seen wearing a Western or Native American style collar. Van Riesen said it is possible that the dog made it out in time, but it’s difficult to tell because the entire second story of the house had collapsed onto the main floor. “We’re still keeping our eyes open, you never know,” Tony said. The Morks aren’t the only

ones mourning the loss of the house. Tea resident Cal Schriever, 88, grew up in the house. The town and the house have changed considerably in the 100+ years since the home

was built. Schriever’s parents, Dick and Idena, married in April 1922 and moved in after returning from their honeymoon. ■ HOUSE FIRE, page 2

Dick and Idena Schriever’s residence in 1922.


Shaull, Hill reign over Homecoming festivities Homecoming 2012 kicked off October 1 with the coronation ceremony. Lauren Hill and Connor Shaull were crowned queen and king. The girls’ choir sang “Hallelujah” from Shrek and the cheerleaders performed routines for the crowd. Conrad and Vicki Pick were selected as this year’s parade marshals. The coronation ceremony concluded with the burning of the T. The homecoming parade will take place Friday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. with the Homecoming game against Tri-Valley to kick-off at 7 p.m. Friday.

Drought affects early harvest yields BY WENDY SWEETER R E P O RT E R


Pictured at right: Homecoming 2012 King and Queen, Connor Shaull and Lauren Hill. Pictured at left, moving clockwise: The homecoming queen candidates included (left to right): Megan Ortmeier, Lexy Kacmarynski, Abby Munkvold, Natalie LeVan, and Lauren Hill. King candidates included (left to right): Connor Shaull, Riley Knutson, Shawn Broderick, Seth Broghammer, and Mitchell Nissen. Ava Tietjen, Claire Hank, Jackson Treloar, Nathan Nyborg assisted with the crowning ceremony.

ccording to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Lincoln and Turner counties in southeast South Dakota continue to see exceptional drought conditions. With the continued absence of significant rainfall in the area, producers started harvest nearly a month in advance of a normal year. And some, like Phil Smit, who farms east of Davis, have finished corn and soybean harvest for 2012. For the first time, Smit, like many others in South Dakota, combined corn before beans. “I don’t think I’ve ever done corn first,” he said. Fellow farmer Steve Sinning of Lennox, said he has started and finished harvesting his corn and thinks he will finish on soybeans by the end of the week. “We are easily, easily about a month early,” Sinning said. Both Smit and Sinning said that yields are significantly less than an average year.

Sinning said the average yield he sees on corn is 130-150 bushels per acre. This year most of his fields were about 60-70 bushels. The corn has been coming out dry too at 12 percent to 14 percent moisture. Smit reported an average of 40-50 bushels per acre on corn. However, he did say that fields that saw an extra half-inch to an inch of rain this summer came out a little better at about 85 bushels. The surprising thing for Smit was that the test weight on his corn was still 60 pounds. Soybeans are coming out very dry with 7 percent to 9 percent moisture. Yields are also low for soybeans at 10-20 bushels per acre. Aside from his crops, Smit said his cattle are feeling the effects of the drought. “Our cattle are not satisfied with the silage, basically because there’s no corn in it,” he said. SDSU Extension climate field specialist Laura Edwards said the lack of rain during the summer has done its damage to crops. ■ HARVEST, page 9



Fire destroys family’s dream home, piece of Tea history ■ HOUSE FIRE, from page 1

Have two ways out and practice fire prevention year round GRANT VAN RIESEN C H I E F, T E A F I R E R E S C U E

As the leaves begin to fall and the kids go back to school, fire departments across the nation are preparing for Fire Prevention Week. Although this is recognized one week in October, it is vital that families practice fire prevention year round. This year’s theme is “Have Two Ways Out.” Having two ways out could save your life. Have an escape plan. It is important for families to create a plan and practice it! Discuss alternate routes as a back up plan in case the planned route is blocked. Fire is unpredictable. When fires start, there is no way to predict where they will spread, or how they will act. Fires can double in size every five minutes. Knowing what actions to take in the event of a fire will save your life. Take a look around your home. Can you find two ways of escape from each room in your house? Doors are a common escape plan, however if that door is blocked by smoke and or fire, what will be your next choice? If you have younger children, create a game with this. Have your children find how many “ways out” there are in your home. Sit down as a family at the table with some pencils and crayons. Draw a map of your home and show the “ways out.” Once you have your plan, practice it! Practice makes perfect. Many families have escape plans, but many of these are never practiced. Children tend to follow in the parent’s footsteps. Stressing the importance of fire prevention and planning how your family will respond

will lead your children to do the same with your grandchildren and great grandchildren. During this week of fire prevention, follow these tips to make your home “fire safe.” Fires will continue to happen, however, knowing what to do, and knowing how to prevent fires is the best plan you can have for your family. FIRE SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR HOME: • Change all batteries in your smoke detectors and test them. • Have a smoke detector in each bedroom. • Make sure all candles are in safe containers and extinguish them when done. Never leave them unattended. • Ensure that all grills and cooking appliances are turned off after each use. Never leave cooking unattended. • Discard all smoking materials properly. Many fires are started each year due to cigarettes being discarded into potted plants or unapproved containers. Potting soil is dry, dead material, and has a long burn time. • Use the appropriate watt bulb in light fixtures. • Keep lighters and matches away from children. • Ensure all fire pits are fifteen feet away from any structure and have a water source available. Do not leave the fire pit unattended and extinguish it when finished. I hope this fall season finds you “fire safe” and promoting fire safety year round! For more information regarding fire prevention, visit and for tools and games for kids.

Operation EDITH: Fire department encourages fire drills practice The Tea Fire Department invites all Tea residents to take part in home fire drills as part of Operation EDITH (Exit Drill in the Home). Next Tuesday, October 9, the fire department will activate the city’s fire siren at 7:30 p.m. This weekend, take a few minutes to discuss fire safety

with your family and decide on a safe place to meet in your front yard. When the siren goes off on Tuesday night, practice your exit drill with your family and meet in your designated safe area. Wave to the firemen as they drive through town with their lights and sirens on!

Tea Area School Board to meet The Tea Area School Board will meet Monday, October 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the District Education Center at 131 N. Poplar Ave. The agenda is as follows: 1. Call to Order; 2. Pledge of Allegiance; 3. Approval of Agenda; 4. Consent Agenda: a. Approval of Minutes, b. Acknowledge Receipt of Financials, c. Approval of Bills; 5. Interested Parties; 6. Old Business: a. Long Range Planning, b. Superintendent Search Timeline, c. Approval of Bids for Surplus Vehicles, d. ADM Update, e. Birth-5 Screening Numbers, f. Building Capacity Study; 7. New Business: a.

Approval of Open Enrollments, b. Approval of Resignations, c. Approval of New Hires, d. Approval of Bid; 8. Administration Report: a. Public School Exemptions, b. Superintendent Goals, c. Report Card/Assessment Update, d. Microphone Update; 9. Board Committee Reports; 10. Executive Session; 11. Adjourn. This agenda is subject to change.

Cal was born there in October 1924. His brother, Delmer, was born there in May 1926. Dick passed away in 1970 and Idena continued to live in the house until age 90. She spent the last five years of her life living at the Good Samaritan Center in Lennox and died in 1988 at age 95. William Heeren, Cal Schriever’s great grandfather’s cousin, built the house in 1908 or 1909. The materials for the house were purchased from the Sears and Roebuck catalog and delivered to Sioux Falls. Horses hauled the pieces to Tea, where William assembled the house. William and wife Adelaide moved to the Tea area in 1882. They farmed until 1896, when William opened Tea’s first lumberyard. He platted the first part of the town and donated land for Tea’s first school. When the Schriever family lived in the home, it was a farm. The house and several other buildings sat on 10 acres of land. A barn stood north of the house. The Schrievers raised chickens, dairy cows and pigs. At the time, the house was one of the few in Tea. Until the

Council discusses TEMPO’s proposed usage of lagoon area land The City Council held the first of two regular monthly meetings on October 1 at 7 p.m. After approving the agenda and warrants as well as the Sept. 17 minutes, the council discussed TEMPO’s request to lease land east of the lagoons. TEMPO would like to use the location for soccer fields. The city engineering department advised that a grading plan needs to be in place and that an access driveway should be designed so that people can safely enter and exit from 272nd Street. Mayor Lawler is in favor of TEMPO’s proposed usage of the area. The council will continue to discuss the matter at future meetings. The city is seeking a bid for a commercial mower. The council gave Utilities Superintendent Thad Konrad and Finance Officer Dawn Murphy the authority to advertise for bidders. Under committee reports, Tea Economic Development Director Jenni White announced that Neighborhood Dental will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony in the coming weeks. Mayor Lawler advised the council that he was contacted by a representative of Modern Woodmen regarding the house fire on Cole Avenue last weekend. The group has $2,500 available for matching funds and the Mayor will continue to be in touch with them. The next city council meeting will take place Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.

fire, the house at Cole and Maple was one of the few remaining structures in Tea that had surpassed the age of 100. Tony and Wendy are forever grateful to community members that have made donations to help the family get by for now. “I can’t believe how nice the people in Tea are. I can’t put into words how thankful we are,” Tony said. Reliabank is accepting monetary donations for the Above: The historical home in 1959. Morks and Trinity Lutheran Church is temporary apartment. Donors accepting gift cards, clothing, can make arrangements with school supplies and household Trinity Lutheran Church by goods for the family. For now, the Morks are staying at a hotel calling 498-2343. Tony and Wendy are already in Sioux Falls, furnished by the thinking of ways to repay the Red Cross. They plan to move community’s kindness. Once to an apartment in Tea tempothey have rebuilt their home, rarily while they rebuild their any donated items that are no house. longer needed will be sold and The Mork’s children, the money will be donated to sophomore Jacob, sixth grader the church. Unsold items will Andrew and kindergartner be donated to area charities. Sienna, still need replacement “The giving in Tea is unimagischool supplies. Once the nable. It almost makes me cry family returns to Tea, they will every time I think about it,” also need furniture for their Tony said.

Although the home is currently a charred pile of wood, the Mork family is staying positive and looking to the future. The family had homeowner’s insurance and hopes the money will be enough to rebuild a similar home at the same location. The Morks are asking anyone with pictures of the house to contact Trinity Lutheran Church. He hopes the pictures will help contractors reconstruct the house. “This was my wife’s dream house,” Tony said. “My goal is to rebuild it for her.”

Great Plains Zoo seeks name for baby giraffe The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is asking for the public’s help to name the Reticulated Giraffe calf born last month. On Sunday, Sept. 2, the zoo’s 13-year-old Reticulated Giraffe, Libby, gave birth to her fourth calf, a male weighing 147 pounds and standing about six feet tall. The calf and his mother can be seen daily at the zoo’s giraffe building or at the African Savannah exhibit. From Wednesday, Oct. 3 through Sunday, Oct. 14, people will be able to suggest a name for the calf for a $10 OFFICE:

donation. After that point, until Sunday, Oct. 28, the public will be able to vote for their favorite name for a $1 donation. Name submission opportunities are available at the zoo or online at Entries and donations can also be mailed to the Great Plains Zoo, 805 S. Kiwanis Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104. All proceeds will benefit the animals at the Great Plains Zoo, a non-profit organization. The person who submits the winning name will have an opportunity to meet a giraffe up close, and the zookeepers who care for the zoo’s giraffe herd.

“Naming a Reticulated Giraffe is a unique opportunity, so this is special for everyone involved,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo. “We hope that as people think about a name for the calf, they are inspired to learn more about these amazing animals.” The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last admission at 4 p.m. Visit the zoo’s website at or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the zoo and museum.

605-498-3200 405 E. Brian, Tea

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