Voters get their say on uranium mining in Fall River County

After years of arguing from opposite sides of a mining debate, Mark Hollenbeck and Susan Henderson are about to learn what their friends and neighbors think. Voters in Fall River County will consider a local ballot measure in the Nov. 8 general election. If approved, the measure would designate uranium mining as an unlawful nuisance in the county. It remains unclear if the vote would prevent mining, however. The vote is the latest development in a 16-year saga. It’s been that long since a corp

The key words and missing definition in the Noem airplane controversy

When authorities announced the conclusion of a recent investigation into Gov. Kristi Noem’s use of a state airplane, their news release included a potentially key phrase. The news release said, in part, “there were no facts to support a criminal prosecution under current law.” Those last three words – “under current law” – leave some room for interpretation. It’s the kind of phrasing that could be read as an invitation to change the law, so charges could be filed in the future if similar behav

The trouble with Monae Johnson and Jell-O

I was interviewing U.S. Sen. John Thune several years ago when he used a phrase I’d never heard in a political context. He said rounding up votes in the Senate was like “nailing Jell-O to a tree.” Lately, I’ve been thinking the same description applies to something else: interviewing Monae Johnson about the 2020 presidential election. Johnson is a Republican who will become South Dakota’s top elections official if she wins the Nov. 8 race for secretary of state. She has dodged questions about

Q&A: Consider primaries for attorney general nominees, Vargo says

Attorney General Mark Vargo said the state should consider a new method of choosing political nominees for the office he holds. “I will say that I do think it would be smart to consider whether or not that nomination process should be through a convention or through a primary,” Vargo said. Currently, delegates at political party conventions nominate the candidates for the state’s top law enforcement job. Meanwhile, voters in primary elections choose nominees for some other statewide offices, i

Shining a new light on South Dakota

When I was in journalism school more than 20 years ago, a professor arranged a conference call for a group of students with a national magazine editor. I asked for career advice. The editor replied, “I’ll tell you one thing: I wouldn’t get a job at a newspaper.” That was probably not the answer my professors at South Dakota State University wanted to hear. They were preparing me and dozens of other students to be the next generation of newspaper reporters, photographers and editors. But we all

Differences on health care emerge in gubernatorial debate

SIOUX FALLS — Differences in health-care policy emerged between two candidates for governor of South Dakota who participated in a televised debate Monday night on South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Democratic candidate Jamie Smith said he supports raising the reimbursement rates paid to medical providers that care for Medicaid patients. “When you lose $50 a day on every patient you’re taking care of, you can’t do that. You can’t do it very long,” Smith said. Medicaid is a federal-state health

Black Hills timber sales fall 20 percent

RAPID CITY — Timber sales in the Black Hills National Forest have declined sharply, prompting praise and condemnation. The national forest’s advisory board met recently in Rapid City, where Forest Supervisor Jeff Tomac shared figures from the 2022 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Timber sales in the forest totaled 112,874 CCF, Tomac said – down 20 percent from the prior year, and the lowest number since 2003. In the vernacular of the Forest Service, 1 “CCF” is 100 cubic feet of timber (the fir

Company plans 260 new exploratory holes in search of Black Hills gold

A company exploring for gold in the northern Black Hills has attracted millions of dollars from investors and plans to add hundreds of new test holes to its exploration program. The company is Dakota Gold, which has offices in Lead and Canada. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in April. Chief Operating Officer Jerry Aberle said the company is emulating the late George Hearst, who scooped up land and mining rights in the 1800s to create the Homestake mining empire in Lead.

Who was Joe Forman? A fresh look at one of South Dakota's most infamous prison escapes

• Subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, or Google Play. • Have an idea for the show? Email us or text - 605-956-7372. On this date in 1922, a convict named Joe Forman led an escape from the penitentiary in Sioux Falls. It became known as one of the most infamous prison escapes in state history. The fugitives got as far as Murdo until the chase ended with shots fired. Now, thanks to a recently uncovered journal, film producers take a fresh look at the case and Joe Forman. Also today, SDP

Ron Reed: an advocate for South Dakotans with special needs

• Subscribe to the podcast on Apple, Spotify, or Google Play. • Have an idea for the show? Email us or text - 605-956-7372. We continue our series of interviews with the state's new hall-of-famers. Ronald Reed is being honored for his contributions to education, including his implementation of a disability civil rights law. SDPB's Marissa Brunkhorst takes a closer look at a prosecuting attorney who captured the state's attention during the Jason Ravnsborg impeachment trial. We continue our M

Daughter motivated SD Hall of Fame inductee Ron Reed's life of service to disabled people

The interview posted above is from SDPB's daily public affairs show, In the Moment with Lori Walsh. The South Dakota Hall of Fame has enshrined more than 700 South Dakotans. Its mission is to champion a culture of excellence and to preserve the stories of South Dakotans who played a big part in that culture. Ron Reed is an advocate for South Dakotans with special needs. He joins us today from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital studio at SDPB in Rapid City.

New documentary explores history of Native American boarding school in Rapid City

Bev Warne’s mother attended a boarding school on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the early 1900s. “She said, ‘Well, it was a quiet place. Because we couldn’t speak in our language and we didn’t know English. And if we spoke our language, we were struck.’” Those experiences are receiving more attention after hundreds of unmarked graves were found last year at a former boarding school for Indigenous children in Canada. The pope visited Canada this week and apologized to Indigenous people for past

Episcopal Church commits to study of Indigenous boarding schools, including SD sites

The national Episcopal Church wants to research the history of its Native American boarding schools — including some in South Dakota. Episcopalians convened recently for their 80th General Convention, where they adopted a resolution calling for a fact-finding commission. The resolution says the commission will work toward truth-telling and reconciliation around the church's former role operating boarding schools for Native American children. The issue leapt into the headlines last year with th

Crowds rally for abortion rights in Sioux Falls and Rapid City

Rallies for abortion rights drew hundreds of people Sunday in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. There were about 200 demonstrators at each of the events. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union organized the Sioux Falls rally, and the state chapter of the National Organization for Women organized the Rapid City rally. Mia Rivera attended in Rapid City and said the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion has her worried about the coun

Drillers win draft approval to explore for gold near Pactola Reservoir in Black Hills

A draft decision from the U.S. Forest Service would allow a Minnesota company to conduct exploratory drilling for gold within a half-mile of the Pactola Reservoir in South Dakota's Black Hills. Minneapolis-based F3 Gold has been seeking approval of its drilling plan for several years. The affected land is publicly owned by the federal government in the Black Hills National Forest. The Forest Service issued a final environmental assessment and a draft decision this week that would allow the dri

Group moves to put abortion on the ballot, while Thune says battle could land in Congress | June 29

See the audio attached above to listen to the full news update/podcast. Each day, SDPB brings you statewide news coverage. We then compile those stories into a daily podcast. Some South Dakotans plan to gather petitions for a ballot question seeking to make abortion legal again in the state. U.S Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, says the abortion battle could move to Congress. The new interim attorney general fires two aides who worked for the recently ousted attorney general.

Abortion-rights protesters clash with police, and physician group protests Sanford's use of pigs | June 30

See the audio attached above to listen to the full news update/podcast. Each day, SDPB brings you statewide news coverage. We then compile those stories into a daily podcast. A physicians' group protests Sanford Health's use of pigs in training courses. South Dakota college students place third in an international competition. A group files an election-related lawsuit against Gov. Kristi Noem and other state officials.

Examining votes against a gun-safety bill, looking ahead to farm legislation, and a skateboard festival preview | July 1

See the audio attached above to listen to the full news update/podcast. Each day, SDPB brings you statewide news coverage. We then compile those stories into a daily podcast. SDPB's Lee Strubinger asks South Dakota's members of Congress why they voted against historic gun-safety legislation. Farmers and ranchers tell a pair of congressmen what they want in the next farm bill.

Political maneuver saves the VA hospital in Hot Springs, and South Dakotans protest the abortion decision | June 27

See the audio attached above to listen to the full news update/podcast. Each day, SDPB brings you statewide news coverage. We then compile those stories into a daily podcast. A political maneuver saves the Veteran Affairs hospital in Hot Springs, for now. South Dakotans take to the streets to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Minnesota's governor moves to protect out-of-staters seeking abortions in his state. Republicans in South Dakota toss out an incumbent as they pick nominees for
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