Cara Hetland

SDPB Radio News Director

Cara Hetland is the News Director for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. She has more than 20 years in public radio as a reporter and producer.  Cara is also host of the Friday midday program Innovation.  She loves a good story and can’t wait to tell South Dakotan’s about it.  Cara also teaches media writing at the University of Sioux Falls in the spring semester and loves working with interns to develop their own style of storytelling.   Cara lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, Daren and three daughters.  She is their number one fan whether it’s marching band, athletics or academics.


4:51 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Missing Person - LOCATED

Missing Woman - Nadine Richter
Credit Sioux Falls Police Department

Nadine Richter has been located and she is unharmed. The police thank you for your service.  

12:39 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Gov. Dennis Daugaard Seeks Second Term

Lt. Gov. Matt Michaels and Gov. Dennis Daugaard kick of re-election campaign in Sioux Falls.
Credit Cara Hetland

Governor Dennis Daugaard is asking voters for another four year term in office.  He kicked off his re-election campaign in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre. Daugaard credits his conservative values for successes over the last four years in office.

Dennis Daugaard says while he has led the state through some dark days with a Missouri River Flood, and a $127 Million structural deficit. There are brighter days ahead because of making tough choices.

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4:28 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Sioux Falls Police Investigate Homicide

Sioux Falls police are investigating the homicide of Kari Kirkegaard. They are asking for the public's help.
Credit Sioux Falls Police Department

 Sioux Falls police are investigating a homicide that happened over the weekend.  Rescue personnel responded to a medical emergency in 709 South Garfield in central Sioux Falls Sunday evening.  Fifty-six year old Kari Ann Kirkegaard was found dead inside the home with no immediate cause of death.  An autopsy reveals the manner of death is consistent with homicide.  Detectives say the victim’s bedding was missing.  Police are asking the public near South Garfield Avenue to check their garbage containers for anything out of the ordinary.

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1:44 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Research Study Of Mild Alzheimer Patients

Researchers hoped a new compound treatment is a miracle drug to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. But that's not the case for more advanced patients. So now they're looking at using the treatment on early onset of the disease. Dr. Bill Fuller with Avera Behavioral Health discussed the research study of mild Alzheimer patients.  To find out more about the study call Gail at Aver Behavioral Health at 605-322-3075.

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5:50 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Keeping the Mine Clean

SDPB's Cara Hetland with Robin Varland at the 4850 foot level of the Sanford Underground Lab at Homestake
Credit SDPB

Gold mines are dusty dirty places; full of mud, seeping water and grime.  It’s a different place if that mine is turned into a world-class underground science lab. Stepping off the lift and into the Sanford Underground lab at Homestake is like stepping into a hospital operating room only cleaner.  The walls here are vacuumed regularly and even grated stairs are meticulously scrubbed with alcohol wipes by hand.  Here we’ll introduce you to the woman whose job it is to keep the lab clean and the experiments dust free.

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5:01 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Governor On Medicaid Expansion: 'Not Now'

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he stands by his decision not to grow South Dakota’s Medicaid program for now. This comes one day after a poll shows a majority of South Dakotans supports expanding Medicaid. Some 20,000 adults in South Dakota make too much for current Medicaid standards but too little to purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchange. Daugaard says he doesn’t recommend expanding Medicaid this year.

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4:40 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Artists Address Sex Trafficking in South Dakota

Taylor Hetland, 16, one of the performers
Credit Taylor Hetland

Artists have a way to shine a new light on hot button issues.  This week we’re looking at sex trafficking in South Dakota.  And one Sioux Falls artist is combining modern dance expression and cinematography to raise awareness of sex trafficking.  It's called "Freedom:  Unveiling the Cries of a Sex Slave"

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5:44 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Art of Healing: Looking Good to Feel Good

Feeling good about the way you look can impact healing.  One woman makes it her mission to take a blank face of a cancer patient and make her beautiful.

Credit Cara HetlandLooking good helps women focus on healingEdit | Remove

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11:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

StoryCorps: Dana Dupris

Dana Dupris and Mitra Bonshahi
Credit StoryCorps

In 2007, The StoryCorps recording booth was in South Dakota and made a stop in Eagle Butte.  Dana Dupris and Mitra Bonshahi recorded their conversation.  Dana Dupris speaks about growing up on an isolated ranch and lessons his father taught him.

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5:55 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Art of Healing: Quilts and Tiles

More than a thousand quilts have been made for patients.
Credit Cara Hetland

Art is playing a larger role in healthcare.  Administrators consider everything from the design of a building to the art inside as a way to create a positive healing experience.  As the series Art of Healing continues we look at how healing is found in the act of creating art.

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8:39 pm
Sun September 22, 2013

Art of Healing: Art Can Heal

Butterflies greet visitors to the Avera Behavioral Health Building in Sioux Falls. The butterflies are part of the theme throughout the building.
Credit Cara Hetland / SDPB

Art can heal.  That might seem like an overstatement, but it's an idea backed by research that healthcare professionals are now embracing.  Hospitals are no longer square sterile boxes with small windows.  Instead they're being designed with patient input.  From the art on the walls to the music in the background experts say positive surroundings help us get better.  This is the first in a series where we explore The Art of Healing.

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The Impact of War
4:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Program Hopes To Help Disabled Veterans Through Free Vacations

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 7:00 pm



There are a lot of programs aimed at helping disabled war veterans and thanking them for their service. A small community in the Black Hills of South Dakota is offering a thank you in the form of a free vacation. Cara Hetland of South Dakota Public Broadcasting tells us more.

CARA HETLAND, BYLINE: It's common for disabled war veterans to be offered a free meal or free admission to a tourist attraction on Veteran's Day, but a free weeklong vacation in the heart of the Black Hills?

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10:02 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Operation Black Hills Cabin

Operation Black Hills Cabin during 2013 dedication and Open House
Credit OBHC

 Veterans who served in conflict over the last ten years have seen a different kind of war than those who fought in World War Two and Vietnam.  And they have different wants and needs.  What began as a way for the community of Custer to say thank you to veterans has turned into saving families and relationships.  SDPB’s Cara Hetland has more on Operation Black Hills Cabin.   Pat Baird is a retired military veteran.  She and her husband both served in the Air Force and the North Dakota Air National Guard.  They know what it means to sacrifice for their country.

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3:06 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Diana Untermeyer on Dakota Midday

Diana Untermeyer, author of “Qatar: Sand, Sea and Sky.” Qatar, a country jutting off the Arabian peninsula into the Persian Gulf, stands as a stable and relatively open society in a region mired in conflict. Qatar is also a vital military and economic partner for the United States. Untermeyer lived in Qatar for three years while her husband served as the U.S. ambassador. While there, she became active in women and children’s programs along with getting involved in conservation, arts and health.

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2:44 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Minimum Wage Proposal

President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour and indexing it to the cost-of-living by 2015.  According to the White House, eighty percent of workers who would benefit from the president's proposal are 20 years of age or older.  And the wages earned by the workers who would benefit from this plan make up 46 percent of their households' income.  In this segment of Dakota Midday we’ll hear from Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris followed by David Owen, President of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.   

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2:37 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

South Dakota Supreme Court at USD

Tom Sorensen, Associate Dean of the USD School of Law. Beginning Monday, March 18, the South Dakota Supreme Court is in session for three days at the University of South Dakota School of Law. The justices will hear several oral arguments during the March 2013 Term of Court at the law school courtroom, including three oral arguments on Monday, March 18: State of South Dakota vs. Briley W. Piper, 9 a.m., Russell Englund and Mary Englund vs. Paul Vital, 10 a.m., and State of South Dakota vs. James Duane Riley, 11 a.m.

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8:27 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Technology Company Expands in South Dakota

USD President James Abbott, Eagle Creek President Ken Behrendt and Gov. Dennis Daugaard at the announcement of new IT jobs coming to Vermillion
Credit Kent Osborne / SDPB

A Minnesota based company is expanding in South Dakota.  Eagle Creek Software Services already has a technology center in Pierre and now it is promising 200 new jobs in Vermillion.  The company president says he hopes to add 800 more jobs within five years.  Ken Behrendt says his company will help design IT classed to be taught at the University of South Daktoa as a way to train future employees.  Behrendt says he's looking for students who are looking for a career.

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5:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Turning Tragedy Into Celebration

Alison with Quinn
Credit Alison Terhorst

For many, a child’s first birthday is about balloons, gifts and cake.  But for one Sioux Falls couple, tragedy is forcing them to celebrate in a different way.   Quinn Noel Terhorst was born in the early morning hours on March 12, 2012.

  “I had 28 hours of labor,” says Alison Terhorst.  “She was very laid back and happy.  Our first born and the joy of our lives.”


But in July, at just barely four months old, the joy turned into sorrow.

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12:51 am
Tue February 12, 2013

The Launch of Landsat 8

The crowd gathers at EROS Data Center to watch the launch of the LDCM Landsat 8
Credit Cara Hetland / SDPB

Several hundred people gathered in a theater near Sioux Falls to watch and cheer a rocket blasts from a California Launchpad.  The Landsat Data Continuity Mission or L-D-C-M is a joint project between NASA and EROS Data Center in South Dakota.  The satellite aboard the rocket will provide digital imaging of the earth.  

Just before noon central it was all systems go.  As the engines roar to life just 15 seconds before launch the crowd in a theater at the EROS Data Center watch a large screen showing a live shot from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


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5:15 am
Wed October 31, 2012

Donald Moeller's Execution Complete

David & Tina Curl reveal an artist's rendering of Becky O'Connell at age 32.
Credit Hannah Olsen / SDPB

Twenty-two years after nine-year-old Rebecca O’Connell was found raped and murdered, the man convicted of the crime was executed.  Witnesses Tuesday night watched Donald Moeller die by lethal injection at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

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2:12 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Dave Kranz Remembers George McGovern

Retired Argus Leader Political Columnist Dave Kranz

Dave Kranz and I had a deal.  He would do a taped interview with me about his memories of George McGovern and I would hold the audio until after George McGovern died.  

At the beginning of the interview Dave jokes that McGovern would probably outlive us both.  

It was always fun for me to watch Dave Kranz work.  I was always in awe of him and his ability to know everyone and everything.  He could walk through a line of people and tell you story after story of everyone he recognized and how they're connected to certain politicians. 

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5:27 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Killer Executed; Victim Remembered

SD State Penitentiary
Hannah Olsen

The execution of Eric Robert was carried out last night at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Robert pleaded guilty to the April 2011 murder of Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt. Robert asked to be executed and waived his appeals. Monday's execution was orderly and precise.

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11:34 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Execution Tonight

Eric Robert Scheduled to Die by Lethal Injection Oct. 15, 2012

 Tonight (October 15, 2012) at 10:00 PM Eric Robert is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.  During the execution the media will await witness statements in the Ronald J. Johnson training center.   The place named for the victim of Robert’s Crime.    Attorney General Marty Jackley has already spoken this morning to the family of Robert “RJ” Johnson.  Johnson was murdered during a failed escape attempt last April of 2011.

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voting in SD
12:13 am
Wed October 10, 2012

SD requires voter ID's but with an out

By Victoria Wicks

Voters in a number of states have to produce some form of identification when they go to the polls, a requirement opposed by those who say the law disenfranchises specific groups. South Dakota requires a government-issued photo ID but allows people without the document to vote after signing an affidavit. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks explores these issues and other state laws that affect voters.

For more information on voting or registering to vote in South Dakota, click on the following sites:

12:31 am
Mon October 1, 2012

New Non-Invasive Heart Valve Replacement Procedure in Sioux Falls

Heart valve replacement x-ray

Patients in Sioux Falls in need of a heart valve replacement may no longer face mandatory open heart surgery.    Sanford Health in North and South Dakota has been approved as one of a hundred other sites around the country in performing a new non-invasive heart valve replacement procedure.  On today’s Dakota Digest SDPB’s Cara Hetland has the story of how the surgery is different but necessary for the sickest of patients.

Marjorie Walberg was told in February she would need her aortic valve replaced.  For her it was bound to happen sometime.

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5:02 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

State Expert: No Big Oil Boom for SD

There is much less oil under the prairies of Northwestern South Dakota than areas further north.

The State Geologist says a major oil boom is unlikely in South Dakota.

Derrick Iles with the South Dakota Geological Survey says the Bakken Formation, which produces most of North Dakota's oil, doesn't extend very far into this state.  

Iles says South Dakota just doesn’t have the same amount of oil as its neighbor to the north.

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5:30 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Schools Work To Curb Dropouts

Kealey Bultena

South Dakota’s education report card shows the state’s high school completion rate dropped slightly this year, but education officials say it’s mostly flat. South Dakota didn’t see a huge increase in the dropout rate, but the state didn’t make any significant improvements in keeping more students on track. Educators around South Dakota try to curb dropout rates by encouraging students to stay in class.

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Breaking: News
12:02 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

SDSM&T President Robert Wharton Dies

SDSM&T President Robert Wharton dies

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Innovation, September 14, 2012
12:18 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Ross Chapin

Ross Chapin talks about his program  Pocket Neighborhoods.   Ross Chapin is an internationally acclaimed architect, land planner and author from Whidbey Island, north of Seattle.  He has designed dozens of neighborhood plans across the US and Canada.  He is also the author of the book Pocket Neighborhoods:  Creating Small Scale Community in a Large Scale World.