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

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.

Professor Kurt Hackemer, Chair, History, Philosophy & Native Studies at the University of South Dakota.  Professor Hackemer present this month's Humanities Research Forum, “Wartime Trauma and the Lure of the Frontier: Civil War Veterans in Dakota Territory."  Hackemer’s presentation is Tuesday, November 17 at 4:00 p.m. (refreshments at 3:30 p.m.) in the Al Neuharth Media Center Conference Room.

Lawrence Hott, director of “Rising Voices,” joins Dakota Midday to discuss the film.  SDPB-TV airs “Rising Voices” Monday, November 16 at 9:00 p.m. Central, with a repeat on Sunday, November 22 at 2:00 p.m. Central. "Rising Voices" looks at how Native Americans may be facing a permanent silence — the extinction of their languages.  But the Lakota “Sioux” of the Great Plains have chosen a different path: teach the language, bring the words forward, out of the silence of cultural assimilation.


Jarad Bernstein, Director of Public Relations and Media Management at Drake University joins Dakota Midday.  Drake was in the spotlight  this weekend with the Democratic Presidential debate on campus. We’ll discuss the opportunities for students during a presidential year.  

Dr. Andrew Curtis is a former director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Center for Remote Sensing and GIS for public Health. He uses geospatial technologies and geographic information system (GIS) analysis to support neighborhood scale intervention strategies. He has developed a spatial video methodology for use in mapping any challenging environment and monitoring post-disaster recovery.

He spoke Thursday evening as part of the SDSU Speaker Series: Holtry Lecture: Mapping Challenging Environments  

Thomas Hentges (stage name: Burlap Wolf King) joins us on Dakota Midday.  Burlap Wolf King performs this Saturday night at the label launch for Different Folk Records ( along with Jack Klatt, the Union Grove Pickers, Jami Lynn and Ryan Kickland.  The launch show is at 7:30 p.m. (11/14) at Icon Lounge in Sioux Falls. Burlap Wolf King will perform a couple of songs live at the Sioux Falls studio and discuss the new record label and what it means to area recording artists. 

Nutritional recommendations that help astronauts solve health problems associated with extended stints in space can also help patients on Earth, according to nutritional biochemist Scott M. Smith of the NASA Johnson Space Center. 

Smith will discuss space flight nutrition and its implications for those on Earth and on the International Space Station, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. in the Campanile Room of the University Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.

The University of Sioux Falls Theater Department presents "I Never Saw Another Butterfly".  Director Joe Obermueller discusses the play and how he teaches its meaning to students. Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher is on campus for the opening to talk with students about her experiences in Terezin.

Steven F. Powell, MD is a medical oncologist and clinician scientist at Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, SD. Dr. Powell is also an assistant professor in Internal Medicine at the University Of South Dakota Sanford School Of Medicine. He serves as a sub-investigator for Sanford Health’s National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). In addition to this, he serves as a principal investigator for several industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated studies. Dr.

Interview with Chris Voelz, executive director, College Women’s Sports Awards.  Voelz delivers her Harding Lecture Series talk, “From Towels to Trophies: 43 Years of Title IX in College Athletics,” Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Krystil Smit, Executive Director of the South Dakota Farm Bureau joined Dakota Midday.  Smit began her new position in October and she discussed her vision for SDFB as well as short-term and long-term projects.

Sue Johannsen of the South Dakota Diabetes Coalition joins Dakota Midday.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Johannsen discusses Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes, diabetes prevention, diabetes control and recent research.

1881 Courthouse Museum

Gary Enright, director of the 1881 Courthouse Museum.  The new “Images of the Past” release is about the Flick Cabin in Custer.  It was built in 1876 and is the oldest known still-standing structure in the Black Hills.

John Mollison

Interview with historian/artist John Mollison.  Mollison’s new project for “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” is “There. And Back,” a 30-minute documentary featuring Vietnam War POW Capt. Charlie Plumb. 

“There. And Back.” documents the profoundly challenging experiences that Plumb experienced during and after the Vietnam War.  Mollison accompanied Plumb on a recent visit to Vietnam.  

The deadline for petition signatures for ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments is November 9 at 5:00 pm.  Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explains the process her office goes through to certify the large number of petitions coming in.  She also discusses her first year in office in getting the office caught up and the results of a legislative audit.

Reporter, interactive producer and filmmaker Todd Melby is the lead producer of Black Gold Boom.  It's a public media project documenting North Dakota's oil boom and bust.  His stories have aired on US public radio stations.  The documentary centers on teh debate over fracking among the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people of western North Dakota.

Former US Senator Larry Pressler discusses the award winning film "American Hustle" and how the ABSCAM scandal was portrayed in the film.  Pressler was the only one not to take a bribe in the sting operation that snared seven members of Congress and many other political figures in the late 1970's.  Pressler also discusses the accuracy of war films and what effects they have on the general perception of those wars.  

The Canadian company that seeks to build the Keystone XL pipeline asked the State Department to suspend its review of the project.  The request comes amid growing speculation that President Obama would reject the application before leaving office.  TransCanada Corporation asked for a pause in the review process while the Nebraska Public Service Commission approves the pipeline route through that state, something the company resisted in the past.

There are several sides to the issue. 

Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and football legend is speaking in Sioux Falls at the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner.  Alan Page spent 22 years on the state's high court.  Page grew up in Canton, Ohio and first gained fame as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970's. He put himself through law school while playing professional football.  Alan Page believed education is key to success. He runs the Page Educational Foundation which has awarded $12 million in grants to 6,000 students of color at Minnesota post-secondary schools in the last 26 years.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris began his career in 1995 as a patrol officer.  He worked his way through various positions and on June 23, 2014 he was sworn in as Chief of Police.  Chief Jegeris holds a bachelor's degree in law enforcement from Mankato State University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns began his career with the department in July of 1996.  He served as a Patrol Officer, Fraud Detective, Patrol Sergeant, and Assistant Chief. He took over last month as Chief of Police. 

Jill Weimer, Ph.D. recently was awarded $440,000 to support her research of a rare neurodegenerative disease called Batten Disease.  Weimer's lab is among only a few in the world studying the condition which primarily affects children that can cause seizures, blindness, motor and cognitive decline and premature death. Genetic mutations disrupt the ability of cells to dispose of waste and causes abnormal accumulation of proteins and lipids within nerve cells.  The grant funding will allow Weimer to screen several different treatment methods, which can include gene therapy or stem cells.

In our Images of the Past segment we learn about the Thoen Stone – many miners were lured to the Black Hills of Dakota Territory in search of gold.

Frank Kelly, Director of EROS.  People from 15 space agencies around the world met in South Dakota.  Members of the International Charter, Space and Major Disasters gather twice a year to share updates and monitor progress.  Frank Kelly says the Charter provides a birds-eye perspective on devastating disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.  Kelly takes over as chair of the charter for the next six months. The charter is called upon nearly once a week to respond to mapping a disaster.

Dr. Tim Schorn, Director, International Studies and Associate Professor, Department of Political Science/International Studies at the University of South Dakota.