"Surviving the '72 Flood"

Portraits and firsthand accounts from 27 survivors of the 1972 Black Hills Flood, published for the 50th commemoration.


"Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills"

The adventures, misadventures and legacy of a sitting president's three-month sojourn in the Black Hills.

"The Black Hills of South Dakota"

A guidebook packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process.




Phonics training is among the winners as budget panel plows through spending requests

PIERRE – The Legislature’s budget committee endorsed a bill Friday to spend $3 million on phonics-based reading instruction for elementary teachers, and the committee also dealt with a raft of other proposals ahead of a deadline to advance spending bills to the House and Senate.

Earlier in the week, state Education Secretary Joe Graves told the Joint Appropriations Committee that state universities are already training the next generation of teachers in the phonics-based approach to instruction

Q&A: The long road to 'Short Walk,' a new podcast on the Ravnsborg accident and impeachment

Jason Ravnsborg’s commitment to crisscrossing the state in his car led to his success and his downfall, according to the producer of a new podcast about the former South Dakota attorney general.

Before Ravnsborg’s involvement in a crash that killed a pedestrian, he defined himself in part by the long drives he made to political and official functions.

“One thing I’m good at is driving,” Ravnsborg said at a public meeting just months before the crash.

Details like that are woven throughout Lee

South Dakota was tardy with a gold tax. Can it afford to sleep on lithium?

When lawmakers convened in Pierre during the depths of the Great Depression in 1935, they faced a vote on “possibly the most widely advertised and discussed piece of legislation that has ever been brought before the South Dakota Legislature.”

That’s how proponents of a tax on gold mining described their bill.

Gold was famously discovered nearly six decades earlier in the Black Hills, so you might wonder why the state lacked a gold tax as late as 1935.

The answer is simple: Until that year, le

Lawmakers endorse summer children’s food program, nix expansion of reduced price school meals

A bill to include South Dakota in a summer food program for children advanced to the next step of the legislative process Wednesday in Pierre, while legislation to expand eligibility for reduced price school meals was rejected.

Lawmakers moved a bill forward that addresses the federal government’s Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children. It provides eligible low-income families with $40 per child, per month in preloaded cards to buy groceries during the summer months.

Food is c

Teacher pay mandates pass committee without promise of new funding

A bill requiring public schools to raise teacher pay with no promise of new state funding passed a legislative committee Wednesday in Pierre.

Nobody testified against the legislation, but several lobbyists representing the education community called it a work in progress.

“It is not a perfect bill, but a compromise that will hopefully help us attract new teachers and retain the current, experienced teachers, and bring quality education to the students in the state of South Dakota,” said Dianna

State Supreme Court clarifies conflicts of interest; Noem pledges to fill legislative seats

Legislators can have contracts with state government if the money comes from the annual budget bill, but not if the money comes from any other bill.

That’s the gist of a state Supreme Court opinion issued Friday. Immediately after the opinion’s release, Gov. Kristi Noem said it will free her up to make appointments for two empty seats in the Legislature, both from districts in the Rapid City area.

“My team is reviewing this decision and will be announcing legislative appointments very soon,” N

Sales tax revenue is still available as a fix for nationally bottom-dwelling teacher pay

My heart sank as Mrs. Konechne expressed her disappointment with the class.

She’d assigned us to write a humorous personal essay, and she’d given us plenty of instruction. She expected better, and she was going to get it by making us all do a rewrite.

My pulse jumped at the sight of red ink all over my paper as it landed on my desk. When Mrs. Konechne whispered her request for me to stay after class, I wanted to disappear.

Then I read the handwritten notes. They were all positive — effusive,

Scramble is on for state's remaining federal pandemic aid

South Dakota has $130 million of federal pandemic aid left and an abundance of ideas about how to spend it.

The requests from legislators are more than double the available funding.

“A lot of hands are already in that bucket, and that bucket is only so deep,” said Paul Lepisto, a lobbyist for the Izaak Walton League, which is a national conservation group.

He made the remarks to the Senate State Affairs Committee last week at the Capitol in Pierre. Lepisto testified against a bill that would

Noem confirms $1.3 million of border assistance was a gift to Texas

PIERRE — Governor Kristi Noem confirmed Thursday that when she sent South Dakota National Guard troops to help Texas secure the U.S.-Mexico border, she did so with the understanding that the costs would not be reimbursed.

“If you look at the amount of dollars that Texas has spent in protection of the southern border, which is a federal government responsibility, it’s over $4 billion,” Noem said. “And so they were very clear: ‘You can come and help us, but this will be a financial responsibility

Texas hasn't repaid South Dakota for help at the border

Texas has not repaid South Dakota for assistance at the Texas-Mexico border even though similar mutual-aid agreements between South Dakota and other states have typically involved reimbursement, according to legislators and state officials.

That revelation came Tuesday, one day before Governor Kristi Noem was scheduled to address a joint session of the Legislature about what she foreshadowed as a “potential South Dakota response” to problems at the border.

Noem approved South Dakota National G