Gary Ellenbolt

SDPB Morning Edition Host

Gary Ellenbolt brings South Dakotans the news of a new day on SDPB's Morning Edition.  Imagine the guy in the local coffee shop who knows everything, can't wait to tell everyone, and throws in a clever phrase now and again, and you'll have an idea of the typical morning on South Dakota's only statewide radio network.

Gary also works as a radio news producer, covering events of the state and stories that impact listeners.  During the fall and winter, he can be seen on SDPB Television's coverage of State High School Football and Basketball Championships.

When those aren't going on, he spends time as the radio play-by-play announcer for Briar Cliff University, an NAIA school in Sioux City, Iowa.  He fills in any calendar free space as a high school wrestling official.

Gary has also done some short fiction writing, with several stories published--including "The Question I Put Before God," "Aunt Alice and the War on Poverty," and "Eight Long Hours at Armbruster Salmon."

He holds a bachelor's degree in Radio-Television Broadcasting from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and a Master's Degree in Contemporary Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota.

Gary is married to Sandy, the Director of Human Subjects Protection at USD--they have two sons, Preston, a Lance Corporal in the United States Marines, and Tyler, a sixth grader.

Ways to Connect

Obama Rejects KXL

Nov 6, 2015
Victoria Wicks SDPB

President Barack Obama has rejected a permit that would allow the Keystone Pipeline to cross the Canadian border.

Flags fly at half-staff out of respect for former South Dakota Governor Walter Dale Miller. He died Monday at the age of 89. Miller was born in October of 1925 in Meade County, South Dakota. He was a longtime school board member and state politician before becoming governor in 1993. 

Walter Dale Miller served in the state’s top office for less than one term, but those who worked with him say South Dakota still feels the impact of his decades of leadership. He was a tall man who some call a cowboy gentleman – always in boots and his hat. 

Molly Miles

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday morning that makes same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Now South Dakotans are reacting to the opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that says states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

South Dakota’s Attorney General says the same-sex marriage decision from the US Supreme Court is immediate. Marty Jackley says that means gay and lesbian couples can apply for marriage licenses in South Dakota right away.

The 20-15 South Dakota Legislative Session began with the annual State of the State Address today (Tuesday).  Governor Dennis Daugaard says his top priority is working on the state’s roads and bridges.  

After the pleasantries and welcome of new lawmakers to their first session, Governor Daugaard didn’t mince any words with his goals for the state.

Governor Dennis Daugaard’s State of the State Address focused on improving South Dakota’s transportation system.  Much of that time was spent on funding proposals to improve the state’s roads and bridges.  But Daugaard says another way to save excessive wear on highways is to utilize rail.

Lewis and Clark Water System

The budget just passed by Congress includes an additional 31 million dollars for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water Program. Bureau officials will have to decide how to divide the money among six water projects.

The Lewis and Clark Rural Water System is vying for dollars along with two projects in Montana, two in New Mexico and one in North Dakota. The Lewis and Clark pipeline serves southeastern South Dakota, northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota. It's currently 65 percent complete and delivering water to 11 of 20 members.

Cara Hetland SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard gave legislators and a state-wide audience his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016.  The governor admits it’s a cautious budget, and he says it has to be.  Daugaard says revenue amounts have not met projections this fiscal year, and his numbers for education and state workers are just above predicted inflation rates.

Gary Ellenbolt

Kids who love baseball are known to pick a favorite player and emulate his batting style. Maybe they'll hitch up their pants before they go to the plate--or hold the bat high off the shoulder with the front foot behind the back foot. In the past few years, kids have copied another part of the at-bat; the walk-up song that plays when a player comes to the plate or to the mound to enter the game.  

A Sioux Falls meteorologist says he’s not happy with The Weather Channel suggesting residents of Sioux City, Iowa evacuate the city as a tornado was approaching the community.  Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says in unpredictable weather—especially the threat of a tornado—leaving one’s home is not a good idea.

Former South Dakota US Senate candidates Annette Bosworth and Clayton Walker have arrest warrants out for their alleged conduct while gathering nomination signatures to qualify for the primary. 

Bosworth was allowed to run and finished a distant fourth in the five-candidate race, while Walker was not allowed on the ballot by Secretary of State Jason Gant. 

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says these are serious allegations.

There’s still no agreement on a federal Farm Bill.  Representative Kristi Noem says lawmakers are close to coming up with a complete package to send to President Obama.  Noem says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has not given a deadline for crafting the bill, which has not been done despite various extensions.  Eventually, the nation’s Ag policy would revert to a standard from 19-49 if the House and Senate don’t hammer out a measure.  Noem says that’s not likely.

Governor Dennis Daugaard delivered the annual State of the State Address on Tuesday (January 14, 2014) in Pierre to the opening session of the state legislature.   Daugaard began by highlighting the state’s accomplishments.  Daugaard has preached fiscal conservatism throughout his term as Governor—and he told lawmakers their work has paid off.

"Soybean Sudden Death" Disease

May 30, 2013

Farmers with flooded fields have another disease to worry about. SDSU Extension says a dozen fields in the state showed traces of "Soybean Sudden Death" disease. South Dakota State University Extension Plant Pathologist Connie Strunk tells SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt that the southeast is primed for a large outbreak of the disorder.

Ashley Hubregtse

Geese flying north, robins, baseball and sunshine are just a few signs of spring.  It’s a season of the year people really look forward to—especially if the winter has been long and cold.

There aren’t many people sad to see winter go; most of us in the Northern Hemisphere look forward to the day and time the sun crosses the equator on its journey north—that’s the Vernal Equinox, the beginning of spring.  It happened at 6:02 a.m. Central time Wednesday. It just didn’t feel like spring in these parts.

Chris Laughery

It’s pretty unusual for a University to display artifacts and papers of a student who had to talk his way into staying enrolled, once officials found out he was a high school dropout.  But, it’s not so unusual when you find out that student was Bill Janklow.  He remained at the University of South Dakota to receive undergraduate and law degrees—and spent his life as one of the most colorful figures in state history.  Now, the school that tried to expel him is displaying some of his artifacts on campus.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt tells us more on today’s Dakota Digest

Bye is a realtor in Vermillion. In the winter, he serves as head wrestling coach at Vermillion High School.  His Tanagers brought two place winners home from the Class A State Tournament last weekend.  Bye’s nephew, Brett Bye, finished third at 152 pounds—while Regan Bye, the coach’s son, won the state championship at 145 pounds.


The Highway Patrol and Union County officials are investigating three separate fatal accidents on Interstate 29 in southeast South Dakota. The crashes happened Tuesday and reportedly occurred within an hour of one another.   

South of Elk Point, 27-year-old Angela Beth Snoozy of Emery died when she lost control of her auto, crossed the median and struck a garbage truck. 

Parts of East River went through the season’s first major winter storm this weekend.  The storm snarled traffic that could move, and closed parts of Interstates 90 and 29 Sunday.  A stretch of I-29 remains closed in both directions from Sioux Falls to Watertown.  Kelly Seer with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen says a lot of elements made for a messy weekend.

South Dakota State University development officials are finishing a four-year, 220-million dollar fundraising campaign.  The “It Starts with State” campaign has led to 14 new capital projects on campus—with building renovation a key part of the effort.  Steve Erpenbach with the S-D-S-U Foundation says people in his office won’t have a lot of down-time between campaigns.

After several weeks of above normal temperatures, strong winter weather is forecast for parts of South Dakota this weekend.  Kelly Sair is with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen.

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem says she is not ready to reveal her plans for the 2014 election.  Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, who formally entered the race Thursday, says he and Noem visited Wednesday night. Rounds says Noem offered congratulations but wouldn’t tell him whether she is planning a Senate run.

Former Governor Mike Rounds ended a period of speculation Thursday. He announced he’s a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014.  Rounds has more than a decade invested in politics at the state level. 

He served two terms as Governor.  Democratic Senator Tim Johnson is the incumbent; he has had some health concerns during this senate term.  USD political science professor Mike Card says it’s difficult to say whether Johnson will seek re-election.

Former Governor Mike Rounds announced Thursday he is running for the U-S Senate.  A few months ago, Rounds developed a committee to explore a possible Senate run. USD political science professor Mike Card says the former governor has had plenty of time to map out his future since returning to his insurance and real estate business in Pierre.

The Powerball jackpot for tonight’s drawing has climbed past the half-billion dollar mark.  Whoever matches five white balls and the red Powerball drawn tonight wins or shares the prize, minus any federal taxes.  Sioux Falls financial advisor Neil Graff says that large of windfall requires a team of assistants for proper fund management.

Tonight’s Powerball drawing is worth an estimated 500 million dollars.  It’s the largest jackpot in Powerball history.  South Dakota Lottery Executive Director Norman Lingle says sales of the two-dollar tickets are brisk across the state—he predicts most sales activity in mid-afternoon.  Lingle says anyone who wins the jackpot needs to take certain steps before getting the ticket validated.

The Dust Bowl

Nov 19, 2012


More than a year’s worth of anticipation is about over for South Dakota college football fans.  Saturday marks the first football game between South Dakota State and the University of South Dakota in nine years.  The game is taking place at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings.  A Jackrabbit win puts the team in good shape for a playoff spot—if the Coyotes win, it means a two-win season.  U-S-D football coach Joe Glenn says a win in the rivalry game would take some of the sting out of a tough schedule.

College football’s regular season ends for The University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University on Saturday.  The Jackrabbits and Coyotes meet in Brookings Saturday afternoon.  S-D-S-U has won seven of its ten games this year—and could earn a playoff spot with a win over U-S-D.  But Jackrabbit Offensive Coordinator Eric Eidsness (EYEDS-ness) says his team needs to finish the job at hand.

The first time the University of South Dakota met South Dakota State in football—Benjamin Harrison was President of the United States.  With breaks for world wars and movement to other classifications, the rivalry has grown to one of the most intense in the Midwest.  Saturday, for the first time in nearly a decade, the Jackrabbits and Coyotes meet for a football game.  As South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Gary Ellenbolt reports on today’s Dakota Digest, Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings will invoke many memories.

South Dakota’s Division of Motor Vehicles is installing new self-service terminals to complete auto registration.  Officials say anyone who needs new decals for their plates can go to one of the self-serve locations any time a store location is open.  Deb Hilmer with the Division of Motor Vehicles says motorists can use any terminal in South Dakota to finish the task.

“If I happen to be in Yankton, and I’ve forgotten to renew my registration, I can actually go down to the terminal and register my vehicle—even though I’m a Hughes County resident, says Hilmer.”