Karl Gehrke

SDPB Jazz Nightly Host

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.

Ways to Connect

Beginning with her 1988 novel, Cape Ann, Faith Sullivan has told stories of the people living in the fictional small town of Harvester, Minnesota. In her newest novel, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, Sullivan tells the life story of school teacher Nell Stillman, a minor character from Cape Ann.

Ron Capps served in the Army and Army Reserve for 25 years and is also a retired Foreign Service officer for the Department of State. He served both branches in some of the world’s deadliest places: wartime Kosovo, Darfur, Chad, Afghanistan and Iraq. The horrors of what he witnessed and his inability to stop the death and bloodshed inflicted him with shakes, panic attacks and severe depression.

In 2007, Brittany Gibbons began writing about her experiences as a curvy woman in her blog, Brittany Herself. She wore a swimming suit to denounce body shaming in a TED talk a few years ago. Her mission is to destroy the myth that every plus-size woman hates her body and herself. Her book, Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love and Being Comfortable in Your Skin… Every Inch of It, is a memoir of her life from her teens in rural Ohio to the early years of her marriage and as mother of three kids.

One of the best-known early residents of Deadwood is Calamity Jane. According to the various stories about her, she was a scout for the army, a pony express rider, a sidekick of Wild Bill Hickcok, and an angel of mercy who nursed small-pox victims and aided the poor. The reality is she wasn’t a Wild West heroine, but a tragic alcoholic. However, the legend of Calamity Jane has endured from 19th century dime novels, through Hollywood films, to the recent HBO series, Deadwood.

Sissy Roberts believes she has a family curse: being a listener. Just like her mother, people tell her the bad things she doesn’t want to know, things they wouldn’t confess to a priest. Sissy is a young Lakota woman with dreams of going to college, but since she can’t figure out how to pay for it, she works as a waitress and plays guitar and sings on Saturday nights with the Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band. The group’s handle is also the name of Frances Washburn’s third novel, set in the year 1969.

Providing food, water and energy for people around the world who lack these resources is an ongoing challenge. Amid population growth, drought and increased urbanization, understanding food, energy and water availability is increasingly important.

In her song, "Everything’s Beautiful Now," Christine Albert sings  from her mother-in-law’s perspective as she's dying and making peace with her life. Since she first sang at a small gathering for a man facing death from an early death from a terminal illness, Albert has been providing music for people facing the end of their lives. In 2005, she founded Swan Songs, an Austin, Texas area non-profit that fulfills musical last wishes by organizing private concerts for individuals with a terminal illness.

Both SDSU and USD open their football seasons in Kansas on Saturday. The Jackrabbits travel to Lawrence for a late morning game against the University of Kansas Jayhawks. The Coyotes are in Manhattan for an evening game against the Kansas State Wildcats.

Matt Zimmer is the Sioux Falls Argus Leader beat writer for South Dakota State University athletics. Mick Garry covers University of South Dakota sports for the newspaper. They joined Dakota Midday for a preview of the Jackrabbits' and Coyotes' 2015 seasons.

Deadwood History, Inc.

A new, original play explores the beginnings of Deadwood’s long and intertwined relationship with economic development and historic preservation. Written by Deadwood History, Inc. exhibits director Darrel Nelson, You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet: Deadwood! is a three-act, traveling play set in the 1920s that goes from the Historic Adams House to the Days of ’76 Museum and ends at the Adams Museum.

Performances are Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6 at 11 am and 2 pm. For reservations, call 605-722-4800.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Jonathan Ellis, reporter/columnist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and Seth Tupper, enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed the acquittal of a Philip man accused of spilling beer on Native American students at a Rapid City hockey game; Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender's proposal to lengthen mayoral and city council terms; and selecting a Democrat to run against Republic U.S. Senator John Thune in 2016.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Last year marked the 125th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood. To help mark the occasion, Plankinton artist Altman Studeny of South Dakotans for the Inclusive Arts collected soil from each of the state’s 66 counties. The dirt was then mixed together and returned to the collection sites with a bur oak sapling in the "Grow 66/125" project.

Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher is coming to Sioux Falls. He’s bringing his stand-up tour to the Washington Pavilion on Sunday, September 13th. The New York native has been the host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher since 2003. Previously he hosted a similar late-night show, Politically Incorrect, for nine years.

South Dakota Hall of Fame

Next week the South Dakota Hall of Fame inducts nine new members. Since 1974, the hall has honored and recognized individuals who have shaped the fabric and culture of the state. Greta Chapman, president and CEO of the South Dakota Hall of Fame board, says the honored individuals also demonstrate a level of excellence that inspire others in the state. Members include important historical figures along with individuals from government, business, agriculture, sports, medicine, arts, entertainment and other fields.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The U.S. Geological Survey and NASA are celebrating 25 years of partnership at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center near Sioux Falls. In August 1990, the USGS and NASA jointly established the Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center at EROS to collect and disseminate critical land sensing information.

Two years ago NASA launched the Earth-observing satellite Landsat 8 which collects images archived at EROS. The images help document drought, deforestation, trends in seasonal vegetation, the impact of natural disasters and more.

South Dakota Railroad Museum

Railroads played a crucial role in the development of the state. They provided safe and reliable transportation connecting the frontier to the rest of the nation. While it’s been about a century since their peak, railroads are still vital in supporting the state’s agriculture-dominated economy.

Hugh Glass was a member of a fur trading party in the summer of 1823 when he was attacked by a grizzly bear along the shores of the Grand River, south of present day Lemmon. He was badly wounded and abandoned by two members of the expedition left to look after him. Alone with a broken leg and open wounds, Glass crawled some 200 miles to Fort Kiowa.

SDPB

Denise Ross, editor of the Black Hills Knowledge Network and South Dakota Dashboard, and Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed protests over Governor Dennis Daugaard's planned changes for Hilger's Gulch on the capitol grounds; out-of-date information on the state's official network; the state congressional delegation's travels in South Dakota during recess; and possible Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in 2016.

University of South Dakota

75 years ago this summer, the Baltic States became a part of the Soviet Union following an invasion and rigged elections. In 1990 and 91, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence and subsequently became the only ex-Soviet states to join NATO and the European Union.

U.S. Air Force

When he was around ten years old, Faith-native Scott Petz saw the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at Ellsworth Air Force Base. He remembers watching the pride, precision and professionalism of the Air Show and made it his goal to be part of the demonstration squadron. 25 years later, Major Scott Petz was back at Ellsworth earlier this month as a member of the Thunderbirds. He flies the No. 8 jet as the advance pilot/narrator for the squadron. 

SDSU Extension

Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about ridding crabgrass from lawns; transplanting peonies; plum trees; and planting new bulb gardens.

South Dakota's legendary cowboy poet Badger Clark published his first collection, Sun and Saddle Leather, 100 years ago in 1915. It includes some of his best-known poems including "Ridin'," "The Glory Trail," and "A Roundup Lullaby."

Nine years ago, Baltimore-native Matthew VanDyke bought a motorcycle and a video camera and traveled across North Africa and the Middle East. It was what he described as a “crash course in manhood.” During the trip, he struck up a friendship with a Libyan man named Nuri. When revolution broke out in his new friend’s country, VanDyke joined the rebel fighters and documented the war against Muammar Gadhafi. He had a gun in one hand and a camera in the other. He was captured by Gadhafi's forces and spent more than five months in solitary confinement.

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

A 24 pound, 8 ounce chinook salmon caught on Lake Oahe last week is a state record. It broke the previous record of 23 pounds, 14 ounces. The state Game, Fish and Parks verified the record yesterday. Gordon Sampson of Highmore caught the fish after just five minutes on the water.

The Game, Fish and Parks department has received reports of other large salmon being caught close to the state record. News of the giant fish is attracting anglers to the Pierre area for the chance to catch their own big salmon.

Sweet Wednesday

A reviewer for No Depression magazine wrote that If Natalie Merchant and Neil Young were to form a band, the result wouldn’t be distant from Sweet Wednesday’s harmonious mélange of folk, country, and roots rock.

Sioux Falls Film Festival

The state has a new film festival. Organizers have announced the first annual Sioux Empire Film Festival. The three-day event takes place in downtown Sioux Falls April 8-10, 2016 at the Orpheum Theater. The festival has already received 30 submissions from South Dakota and around the world, including France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Egypt, and Iran. Filmmaker Brent Clouser is the founder and president of the Sioux Empire Film Festival.

Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, and Kevin Woster, Rapid City bureau reporter for KELO-TV, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed Governor Dennis Daugaard's visit to Madison during Capital for a Day; the board of regents' request for a tuition freeze for in-state university students; and the search for a Democratic candidate to challenge Republican U.S. Senator John Thune in 2016.

Kenny Putnam

Kenny Putnam, Tom Schaefer and Owen DeJong are fiddling friends who have known each other for some forty years. Kenny Putnam is a member of the legendary Red Willow Band and toured the country as a member of Roy Clark’s band. Tom Schaefer is a former South Dakota State Fiddle Champion and a member of several regional bands. Owen DeJong plays around the state with the Poker Alice Band and the Public Domain Tune Band. He’s also host of SDPB’s Morning Classics.

SDSU Extension

One of the strongest El Ninos in recorded history could be on its way. That’s according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While a strong El Nino event could bring much-needed rain to California, it could also disrupt weather patterns across the globe and boost temperatures in some areas.

El Nino is a climate phenomenon that occurs every two to seven years in the tropical Pacific and sets off a chain weather patterns.

20th Century Racing

26-year old Brittney Olsen of Aberdeen was one of the thousands of bikers who gathered last week in the Black Hills during the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Obviously as a young woman, she’s not the stereotypical biker. Plus she rides what was likely the oldest bike at the rally, a 1923 Harley-Davidson J Model board track racer. 

Ask This Old House

This Old House is a popular, long-running PBS television program following remodeling projects over a number of weeks. But because the program only works on one or two houses a year, a new program, Ask This Old House, was spun off in 2002 to help solve home improvement problems faced by viewers. Host Kevin O’Connor and experts answer everyday home improvement and repair questions along with more specialized questions.

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