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.

Ways to Connect

South Dakota State University

Immunologist Eduardo Huarte is working on how to use probiotics to help immunotherapies that fight cancer cells.  His work focuses on how a person's diet affects the bacteria within the digestive system, known as the gut microbiome, and in turn, how the immune system's ability to fight cancer is affected.  Huarte is an assistant research professor with South Dakota State University's Department of Food Science and Nutrition.

South Dakota State University

South Dakota State University assistant professor Natalie Thiex's lab focuses on figuring out how the vesicles and organelles within the cytoplasm of white blood cells, or macrophages, work.  These include endosomes, macropinsomes and lipid droplets.  She joined Cara Hetland on Innovation to he work which looks at how understanding basic cell function can help improve human health.

South Dakota State University

Michael Gonda, Associate Professor of Animal Science at South Dakota State University, is seeking to understand biological differences between bulls with high and low fertility.  It appears that certain molecules called "small RNAs" can be linked to differences in male fertility.  Evidence suggests that small RNAs are involved in spermatogenesis.  Gonda's lab has begun to identify small RNA molecules that are associated with male fertility.

Governor Dennis Daugaard gave his State of the State Address to lawmakers on Tuesday.   Here is a rundown of the highlights.  

You can find the entire address archived here.

Mark Luecke is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of South Dakota Innovation Partners, LLC, has previously provided executive management and business consulting to large Fortune 500 companies and small entrepreneurial businesses throughout his career. Most recently, Mark served as President and Chief Operating Officer of a venture capital firm based in Denver, Colorado, where is started and managed a diversified portfolio of businesses.

Bruce Watley, Ph.D. Candidate (A.B.D.) is an award-winning researcher in the field of innovation and problem-solving and author of the seminal work on individual innovative work behavior – An Intervention Study on the Effects of Innovation Training on Individual Innovative Work Behavior.  Watley serves as the director of the Lillibridge center for entrepreneurial leadership and innovation, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Sioux Falls, and was a previous owner of multiple successful small business in the outdoor industry.  

Mike Cartney, President Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown and Jeff Holcomb, President of Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls discuss the latest technology being used at their schools, new programs and what they see is needed this next legislative session.  

Fueled by a $172 million software donation from the Schlumberger Oil and Gas Company, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has launched an interdisciplinary energy initiative with the goal of advancing knowledge and better serving the oil and gas industry.


Chronic muscle weakness presents strength and mobility challenges for those with Multiple Sclerosis. Cara Hetland talks with Dr. Bradley Bowser, director of the biomechanics laboratory in the Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences department at SDSU. Dr. Bradley discusses his research into how exercise might combine with cognitive behavioral therapy to improve quality of life for those living with MS.


Dr. Larry Schou, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion remembers his friend "Doc".  Distinguished Professor Emeritus Wayne S. “Doc” Knutson, whose influence on theater and the arts spans from the University of South Dakota to the Black Hills, died late Monday at age 89.  Knutson, who taught and held several leadership roles at USD over 35 years, entered hospice care in early November due to heart trouble.


 Jason Dilges, Commissioner of Finance and Management for the State of South Dakota.  Appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard in November, 2010, Dilges is the State of South Dakota's Chief Financial Officer.  He is also a member of the Governor's Executive Committee where he has oversight of the Department of Revenue and Bureau of Administration.  Governor Daugaard delivered his annual budget address to the state legislature on Tuesday.  Dilges  discusses the governor’s budget and the state’s finances. 

The 2015 Holiday Jam is underway with concerts scheduled through December 20.  Hegg brothers Jon and Jeremy along with Jam members Allison Nash and Andrew Reinartz joined guest host Cara Hetland at SDPB's Sioux Falls studio Wednesday for a lively visit about this year's Holiday Jam and some live music.

Anne Holmquest's book, "Visual Talk: How to Speak Anywhere with Graphics and Rhythm," is for preachers, teachers, bankers, doctors, fundraisers, executives and administrators.  It uses ideas and examples the author has been working on in what she calls "the verbal-visual dimension."  Holmquest says, "With pictures and speech, all kinds of audiences can understand your message: young students, traditional students, international students, student-athletes and working adults."  She believes that speaking, when done well, has its own rhythm that is very different from writing.  Holmquest is an


Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a total state budget of about $4.8-billion  for fiscal year 2017.   You can listen to the entire address archived here.

Daugaard says South Dakota is in good fiscal shape overall.  He says the state has balanced its budget honestly.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley recently returned from the National Association of Attorneys General meetings.  He joined guest host Cara Hetland to discuss his legislative priorities and visit about the national attention that the state's 24/7 program is receiving.

While broadcasting live from the state capitol building in Pierre, Cara Hetland visited with Kelly Hepler, Secretary of the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department.  Hepler has been in his position since early this year after having spent most of his career in Alaska.  He discussed the pheasant habitat rehabilitation program among other issues.

South Dakota Speaker of the House Dean Wink and Democratic Senator Billie Sutton visited with guest host Cara Hetland ahead of Governor Dennis Daugaard's annual budget address to discuss legislative priorities for the 2016 session.

Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center

Potato Creek Johnny is featured in this week's Images of the Past.  Jessica Michak, Archivist with the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center shares the story behind the legend.

Certain people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange could find themselves paying significantly more money in January if they don’t change their plans soon. Insurance company DakotaCare is no longer providing plans on the marketplace, so South Dakotans enrolled will automatically switch to regular independent coverage. That means they aren’t eligible for major tax credits that are available when they buy insurance on the exchange.

Joy Smolnisky, Executive Director, South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute discusses Medicaid expansion, Indian Health Services, education funding, and state revenue projections.

Gustavus Adolphus College student Alexa Giebink has written "Phoenix: Rising from Addiction," which is set for a December release.  The book tells the story of the Giebink family dealing with Mary Ann Giebink's addiction to alcohol and drugs and her rise and fall as a successful attorney to prison.  The book was written as a healing process for Alexa who was in high school in Sioux Falls when Mary Ann was in prison.  For more information see Alexa Giebink's website at

Guest host Cara Hetland welcomed the Dakota Political Junkies a day early this week.  Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter/columnist Jonathan Ellis visited about the climate conference in France and whether anything will come out of it that pertains to South Dakotans, the latest refugee news in the state, a busy week for the Secretary of State's office as they peruse signatures for ballot initiatives, news that Black Hills State University will lead GEAR UP restructuring and more.

Orvin Olivier joined guest host Cara Hetland in this week's Images of the Past feature segment.  Olivier discussed the 1935 launch of the Explorer II from the Stratobowl.

StoryCorps is working with high school teachers across the country to ask students to interview a grandparent or elder over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  It's called the Great Thanksgiving Listen.  Kate Duff is a StoryCorps director and talks about the mobile app and how they expect thousands of recordings to be uploaded to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Historic Homestake Opera House

Historic Homestake Opera House is the focus of this week's Images of the Past segment. Sarah Carlson discusses the history of the Opera House and the restoration after the 1984 fire.

Dakota Political Junkies Seth Tupper, Rapid City Journal enterprise reporter and Denise Ross, editor with the Black Hills Knowledge Network/South Dakota Dashboard discuss the latest in politics in South Dakota. We discuss possible Medicaid expansion, the Blue Ribbon task force report, the movement asking Secretary of Education Melody Schopp to step down and the Center for Public Integrity's recently released State Integrity Investigation, for which South Dakota received an "F" grade.

South Dakota Magazine

John Andrews, Managing Editor of South Dakota Magazine talks about the Nov/Dec issue that focuses on the 125th Anniversary of Wounded Knee.  We discuss the stories, oral histories, photographs, and art related to Wounded Knee.

The Blue Ribbon Task force has sent its report to Governor Dennis Daugaard.  In it they make several recommendations to improve education in South Dakota.  The task force calls for at least $75 million in ongoing additional revenue for education, boosting the average teacher salary and changing the funding formula to reflect a student teacher ratio.

Two members of the task force join us to talk about the report.  Democrat Billy Sutton and Republican Deb Soholt.

SDEA President Mary McCorkle is traveling the state as part of the annual American Education Week tour. Millions of educators and parents, students and community leaders are joining the NEW in raising awareness about the critical need to provide every child with a quality public education. Mary McCorkle joins us to talk about what’s happening in South Dakota and will also respond to the Blue Ribbon Task Force report.

Siouxland Heritage Museums

The Rebecca Goodwin bonnet is the oldest artifact at the Siouxland heritage museums. Goodwin was the first white woman in Sioux Falls. Bill Hoskins, Director, Siouxland Heritage Museums, joins Dakota Midday to tell the story of the Goodwin bonnet.