7A CT/6A MT News

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Stephen Heidenreich

Stephen Heidenreich is a Watertown native as well as a former 1976 Olympic track and field team hopeful. During training for the event, Heidenreich was victim to a hit and run incident that left him with the mental age of a 2 year old in a 22-year-old’s body.

Now, Heidenreich travels across the country to share how his traumatic brain injury propelled him to success.

Spearfish Canyon Tours

The U.S. Forest Service opposes a plan put forth and supported by South Dakota’s congressional delegation to transfer a chunk of national forest land to the state.
US Senator John Thune’s proposal creates a 1400 acre state park in Spearfish Canyon.
Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Mark Van Every says a typical land exchange process is done administratively between two willing parties with a mutually beneficial exchange. He says he IS concerned about the precedent Senator Thune’s land swap legislation may set.

Sue Brozik / Gregory Times-Advocate

Another weekend of high school football starts today (Friday) around the state.  One of the best-looking games is taking place between two Class Nine-Double-A teams that have built strong traditions. 

National Public Lands Day Across S.D. Region

Sep 23, 2016
Courtesy National Park Service

Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day. It’s the time of year when visitors are encouraged to take part in volunteer conservation or enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on their favorite public lands.  We checked in with National Park Service locations across the region to see what each has planned for the special day.


Sep 22, 2016

Cracker is one of America's seminal alternative rock bands.  David Lowery and Johnny Hickman wasted little time in putting the band together after the breakup of Camper Van Beethoven.  In no time, Cracker was signed to Virgin Records.  Their debut release, Cracker, had "Teen Angst" and "Happy Birthday to Me" find plenty of airplay.  The follow-up release, Kerosene Hat, gave us "Low" and "Get Off This."

Early Voting Starts Friday

Sep 22, 2016
Kent Osborne / SDPB

Absentee voting opens Friday across the state. Registered voters can cast their early ballot ahead of the November 8 general election.

One Auditor in the state says absentee ballot numbers are up, given the presidential election.

Pennington County Auditor Julie Pearson says her office has received about 4,000 early voting ballot requests this year. She says absentee voting numbers are about 25 percent higher than the 2008 election, when Barack Obama was first elected.

Pearson says about a quarter of registered voters in Pennington county will vote early.

First Peoples Fund Community Spirit Awards

Sep 22, 2016
Courtesy First Peoples Fund

The First Peoples Fund is preparing to present the 2016 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards in Rapid City next month. These monetary incentives are designed to provide support and a voice to creative Indigenous artists and culture bearers nationwide.

The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards were named after the founder of First People’s Fund.

Spokesperson Lori Pourier says the awards and their recipients are at the heart of the group’s programs.

Drop In Cattle Prices Hurting South Dakota Ranchers

Sep 21, 2016

South Dakota ranchers and cattle feeders are feeling the pinch as sale prices are falling.

Some in the industry blame country of origin labeling and foreign beef imports, but others say a number of factors can contribute to a drop in prices.

Recent drops in the market mean some ranchers are losing as much as 400 dollars per-head.

Energy and spirits are low that the Mitchell Livestock Auction house.

Officials in sale barns like this say cattle prices are hitting lows not experienced since 2009. This drop comes after a spike in late 2014.

NWS Embarks On $150 Million Radar Upgrades

Sep 21, 2016
National Weather Service - Rapid City

Officials say the three National Weather Service radars located in the state are due for upgrades.
The four phase project is set to cost around $150 million  and take around five years to complete.

Courtesy National Park Service

The recent unearthing of a rare mammoth skull at the Channel Islands National Park was accomplished with the assistance of personnel from The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. We spoke with the director of the world-renowned mammoth research facility about what the find means.

An exceptionally well-preserved fossil of a complete mammoth skull has been uncovered from an eroding stream bank on Santa Rosa Island in California.

Jewel Cave Library Lectures Begin With...Bats

Sep 20, 2016
Courtesy National Park Service

Jewel Cave National Monument begins a series of after-school lectures this month at nearby libraries. The goal is to establish as many connections with children as possible in order to preserve the future of Jewel Cave and other National Park Service sites.

If you like bats…and you’re a student…then September is the time to be at the Custer County Library for the first of 10 monthly presentations by a Jewel Cave National Monument ranger.

Jewel Cave spokesperson Riley Hays explains.

Katie Adkins / The Dahl, Rapid City

Candace Forrette uses clay to re-imagine geography. The result is a series of abstract landscapes featuring stoneware, metal, and smoke. Her exhibition, titled "Meditation/Reflection," opened this weekend at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City.

Forrette now lives in Billings, but she grew up in Rapid City and was surrounded at the opening by local friends and family. SDPB's Victoria Wicks joined them to learn more about the artist's process.

Candace Forrette's work is on display at the Dahl Arts Center through Dec. 3. To see images of her work, click on the link below:


The 50 foot statue named Dignity now stands on the Missouri River bluff near Chamberlain. It depicts a young Lakota woman wrapping a star blanket around her shoulders.

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray attended the dedication. He shares some of his reflections on his own experience along with the sights and sounds of the event. 

Click play below to listen.

Dakota Midday: Mt. Rushmore Time Capsule

Sep 19, 2016

Dakota Midday welcomed Wayne Pananen for this week's Images of the Past segment. Pananen talked about Mary Ellis Borglum, the daughter Gutzon Borglum. Pananen discussed the 1998 placement of the permanent time capsule in the Hall of Records behind the monument. Gutzon didn't get to finish the original design. However, Mary Ellis worked on the Hall of Records for a long time. She was instrumental in the placement of the time capsule. Our guest, Wayne Pananen, was on Mt. Rushmore that day to film the capsule's placement.

Dakota Midday: "Kingdom Of Shadows"

Sep 19, 2016
Bernardo Ruiz

"Kingdom of Shadows" takes an unflinching look at the hard choices and destructive consequences of the U.S.-Mexico drug war. Written and directed by Bernardo Ruiz, "Kingdom of Shadows" weaves together the stories of a U.S. drug enforcement agent on the border, an activist nun in Monterrey, and a former Texas smuggler. Ruiz, the founder of Quiet Pictures, joined Dakota Midday to provide some background  on "Kingdom of Shadows," which airs Monday night at 9:00 p.m. Central on SDPB-TV. The film was described as "unforgettable" by the New York Times.

Trouble Brewing for Farm Markets

Sep 19, 2016
South Dakota Department of Agriculture

South Dakota farmers and ranchers may be heading for some challenging markets.  Prices of some crops and livestock are seeing drops in recent weeks.

However, state officials say commodity markets will recover over the long term.

The US Department of Agriculture released a report projecting record harvest numbers this fall. The study shows US farmers producing about 15 billion bushels of corn and more than 4 billion bushels of soybeans. These numbers are huge compared to previous projections. Officials are concerned this will affect the market.

Rapid City Police Department

September 18 marks the start of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.
Data from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention shows South Dakota has been largely unaffected by the opioid epidemic.

But since the start of 2016 law enforcement officials report at least ten South Dakotan deaths from opioid overdoses.

Courtesy PDR Disabled Youth Hunt

The 2016 PDR Disabled Youth Hunt took place near the town of Clark this past weekend. The annual event offers youth with disabilities the opportunity to take part in an authentic South Dakota whitetail deer hunt with all expenses paid.

The Payton Dean Rasmussen Disabled Youth Hunt is in its 9th year. It’s named after Dean Rasmussen’s grandson…who died at 17 months. The goal of the hunt is to give kids with disabilities who have an interest in hunting a chance to actually take part in the sport.

Dignity Dedicated Near Chamberlain

Sep 18, 2016
Charles Michael Ray

South Dakota has a new monumental piece of art.  A fifty foot tall stainless steel sculpture now stands on the Missouri River bluffs near Chamberlain. A dedication celebration, held this past weekend, included a long list of dignitaries.

“Dignity” as it’s called depicts a Lakota woman wrapping a star quilt around her shoulders.   Norm and Eunabel  McKie of Rapid City donated one million dollars to make the project reality.   Sculptor Dale Lamphere is among those who spoke at the dedication celebration.

Tech Radio

Sep 16, 2016

  On this Techradio - is municipal wifi a good idea? The EU seems to be taking the bull by the horns. We discuss a variety of cell phone issues, and ask if wearables are finally ready for prime time.

Hawks Outlines Her Platform At Black Hills Forum

Sep 16, 2016
Hawks for U.S. House

The Democratic candidate for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House says the state can be a global leader in renewable energy.

During the Black Hills Forum and Press Club monthly series on Friday, Paula Hawks says the state needs to create opportunities for college graduates…


State Representative Paula Hawks is running against Republican congresswoman Kristi Noem. Much of the campaign has been focused on Noem’s IHS funding record and reforms, to Noem’s decision to leave the House Ag committee for the ways and means.

Gary Ellenbolt / SDPB

A day of heavy rain caused flooding and traffic problems in southeast South Dakota Thursday.  In many cases, the rain taxed city storm sewers to their limits.

Excess rain water is flowing into this storm sewer in Centerville at a more relaxed pace than during powerful storms today.  Storms came in two waves during the day, with the first rains saturating ground that has seen plenty of moisture lately.  That left no place for the rain from the second storm to go.

Centerville Fire Chief Tim Ganschow says it will take a while for the town’s storm sewers to completely drain.


Sep 15, 2016

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has issued a Flash Flood Warning for part of southeast South Dakota until 2:30 CDT this afternoon.  Heavy rain has fallen in the region through the morning, and ditches in Yankton and other locations are flooded.

SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt visits with Mike Gillispie of the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls about the dangerous situation:

Gary Ellenbolt / South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Friday is the final Friday of Summer.  High School football in South Dakota has roughly reached the mid-season mark.  One school in Sioux Falls is off to a good start in the early season, with a new coach for the first time since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. 

School Of Mines Bids For Stadium Upgrade Funding

Sep 14, 2016
SD School of Mines & Technology

The South Dakota School of Mines is making a push for a $2.5-million stadium upgrade.   

The O’Harra Stadium hosts state track meets and regional college and high school football games.    

Heather Wilson is President of the South Dakota School of Mines.  She says the upgrades include a new digital scoreboard and billboard. The plan also includes new football turf that is safer for athletes and an upgrade to the running track.   

Wilson says the large events at the stadium have a positive economic impact on the community.

Wind Cave National Park

A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows nearly ten percent of Wind Cave National Park’s elk population suffers from Chronic Wasting Disease or CWD.

According to the report the disease causes extreme weight loss and is incurable.

FRONTLINE first examined the story of for-profit colleges in 2010, investigating allegations of fraud and predatory behavior. Now correspondent Martin Smith continues his work with by turning the lens on Corinthian Colleges and others.

Smith joins Dakota Midday to discuss "A Subprime Education."

Preserving Mount Rushmore On The End Of A Rope

Sep 14, 2016
National Park Service

This week there are climbers on Mount Rushmore.   A preservation team is updating equipment critical to maintaining the sculpture.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial Preservation Team is scaling up and down the faces through Friday. Their purpose is to install new systems that measure cracks in the granite. The data gathered from the old machines had to be downloaded physically at the top of the sculpture. The new system gathers and sends data in real time to the Park Service below.

NATIVE Act Boosts Tribal Tourism, Art

Sep 14, 2016
Chynna Lockett

This week Congress passed an act to spur tribal tourism and increase support for tribal art.    The act boosts federal funding and resources for native artists and tribal entrepreneurs.

The bill aims to increase the number of native owned art and tourism based businesses.