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

National Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota

Vermillion’s National Music Museum is home to the world’s earliest known cello. But this summer the the 16th century Amati 'King' cello is on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Given its rarity and value, the stringed instrument rarely leaves South Dakota.

100 8th through 12th grade girls are in Madison this week for a summer camp devoted to cyber security. This is the second year for the GenCyber camps sponsored by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. The agencies are interested in filling a need for cyber security experts, both in government and private industry.

Since July 1, Lee Ann Roripaugh has been South Dakota's new poet laureate. She was appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard and succeeds David Allan Evans who served the state for more than a dozen years.

Brian Masek

Brian Masek is back at Sioux Falls JazzFest this year. His band, Brian Masek and Friends, performs Friday evening on the main stage.

The group plays an energetic and often danceable style of jazz that also combines elements of rock, blues and funk. Masek played in rock bands like Ivory, Closet Monster, Leghorn and the Toby Kane Band before becoming intrigued with the improvisational aspects of jazz. 

Archeology Laboratory, Augustana College

Researchers and students from Augustana College and the University of Exeter in England are finishing up their work at the Thomsen Center Archeodome at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village. This summer the team made some interesting finds. Last month they uncovered 1,000 year old charred kernels of corn and sunflower seeds. This past weekend they found an intact ceramic pot. It’s small, but it’s the first time archeologists have found an intact piece of pottery since regular research started at the site in 1928.

Wikimedia photo by Randy Stern

With little more than half the 2015 major league baseball season done, the Minnesota Twins have reached the All-Star break with the second best record in the American league. It’s one of the biggest surprises of the season. The New York Times rank the Twins as the most overachieving team in baseball.

Frontline

Last August ISIS moved into the Yazidi homeland in northern Iraq, killed hundreds of Yazidi men and abducted hundreds of the minority sect’s women and children. The women who have managed to escape tell horrific accounts of brutal sexual enslavement and the rape of Yazidi girls as young as nine.

A group of Yazidi women demands international help to rescue their relatives abducted by ISIS at a protest in a camp for displaced people in Dohuk, northern Iraq.

When writer Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes scattered, his father replied that it made no difference to him at all. In his new memoir, Not From Here, Johnson shares his personal journey from Connecticut to South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa to find the place where his father’s ashes belong – and to also find his own personal identity and history. But that personal history includes the displacement of the Native American people who had lived on the land settled by his Norwegian immigrant ancestors.

SDSU Extension

Late last week, South Dakota recorded its warmest temperatures of the season. The high heat and humidity pushed the heat index values to near 100 degrees in some parts of the state. The high temps have persisted and although today is expected to be a few degrees cooler than yesterday, highs across the state will still range from the upper 80s to low 90s. South Dakota state climatologist Dennis Todey joined Dakota Midday and discussed the hot weather and its impact and what we can expect in the weeks ahead.

Last August ISIS moved into the Yazidi homeland in northern Iraq, killed hundreds of Yazidi men and abducted hundreds of the minority sect’s women and children. The women who have managed to escape tell horrific accounts of brutal sexual enslavement and the rape of Yazidi girls as young as nine.

Karl Gehrke SDPB

Julie Hoffman of East River Nursery in Huron joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about hot weather and tomatoes, planting ornamental grasses, problems with dianthus, and stressed bur oak trees.

SDSU

Satellites can take digital images of Earth, but if they’re not calibrated, those images are only pretty pictures. That’s according to Dennis Helder, head of the image processing lab at South Dakota State University.

South Dakota Legislative Research Council

Since first being elected in 2010, Republican State Representative Steve Hickey has been an outspoken champion of social conservative causes. He's opposed abortion and same-sex marriage. But he’s also worked with Democrats on abolishing the death penalty and establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to address problems between Native Americans and whites. He’s also been working with openly gay Democratic strategist and Sioux Falls businessman Steve Hildebrand to collect signatures for a 2016 ballot measure capping payday lending  interest rates at 36 percent.

The landscape of South Dakota is often stark with a beauty that’s subtle and sometimes unapproachable. In the new book, Visibility: Ten Miles, poet Sharon Chmielarz and photographer Ken Smith capture the spirit of life on the prairie through images and verse.

Nate Wek SDPB

Two laws passed by the legislature this year won’t go into effect today, but instead will go before voters next year. Senate Bill 177 established a youth minimum wage at $7.50, a dollar less than that set by voters in 2014. Senate Bill 69 is an election reform package that includes a provision preventing members of registered parties from signing petitions of independent candidate.

Kealey Bultena SDPB

Jonathan Ellis, reporter and 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 U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage; the youth minimum wage and election reform measures being referred to voters in 2016; renaming Harney Peak; the controversy over the Rainbow Family gathering in the Black Hills; and Senator John Thune's regulatory rail bill.

Thomas Pitz

All across the nation on Saturday, people will celebrate Independence Day with parades, band concerts and fireworks. It was on July 4, 1776 that the 13 American colonies declared that they were no longer a part of the British Empire, but instead a new country.

The principal author of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson, who also served as the nation’s third president from 1801 and 1809. One of his major accomplishments in office was the Louisiana Purchase, a huge swath of territory including the future South Dakota.

Advance Health has announced it's locating a new office and customer service center in an unused building at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Company officials say the new site is its third location and they expect to fill more than 200 jobs during the next three-to-five years.

Courtesy of Frontline

The story of Caitlyn Jenner has brought a flood of attention to transgender issues over the past few weeks, but tonight’s FRONTLINE documentary goes beyond the celebrity tabloids and takes a thought-provoking, intimate and complicated look at children who are transgender.

South Dakota State University

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 clematis, blue spruce trees, planting onions, corn suckers and fall planting.

Chynna Lockett SDPB

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

In 2006, voters in South Dakota approved an amendment making same-sex marriage illegal in the state. But following the high court’s ruling, state attorney general Marty Jackley said that same-sex marriage is now the law in state. Many couples were issued marriage licenses hours after the ruling and got married over the weekend.

CDC/Jim Gathany

The state health department is reporting the first West Nile virus detection case of the season. It was detected in a mosquito pool in Meade County last week.

Since its first human West Nile virus case in 2002, South Dakota has reported 2,168 human cases and nearly 700 hospitalizations with 32 deaths. In 2013 there were 149 human cases of West Nile with three deaths. Last year 57 cases were reported.

South Dakota Dashboard

South Dakota had begun to narrow the education spending gap with neighboring states at the start of this decade, but state budget cuts in 2011 widened the difference and the gap has continued to grow in recent years. That’s according to an analysis of data by South Dakota Dashboard.

Sioux Falls School District

Tuesday is the last day on the job for Sioux Falls superintendent Pam Homan. She’s retiring after 11 years leading the district. Kearney, Nebraska public schools superintendent Brian Maher replaces her in July.

Chynna Lockett SDPB

Two weeks ago, about 45 Rapid City-area community leaders spent five days traveling by bus to culturally-significant sites within the boundaries of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. The “Lakota Lands and Identities” bus trips were part of the Oceti Sakowin cultural ambassador program and led by Craig Howe, director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies near Martin.

Hope River Entertainment

After playing in other bands and their own impressive solo careers, Dave Adkins and Edgar Loudermilk  formed a new group together two years ago. It wasn’t anything they planned, though. They just started writing together and enjoyed the chemistry that resulted. Their debut album, Adkins and Loudermilk, was released in March.

Karl Gehrke SDPB

Now that we’re well into the summer, people are spending more time out on the state’s lakes and rivers. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is encouraging boaters to be safe on the water and wear life jackets. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 84 percent of people who drowned in boating fatalities were not wearing life jackets.

This Friday through Sunday is also Operation Dry Water’s national heightened awareness and enforcement weekend for boating under the influence.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, and Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed Governor Daugaard's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students; marijuana legalization in South Dakota; and the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

@andreazbreslin (Instagram)

The northern lights were visible in South Dakota Monday night. The aurora borealis put on a stunning show for those who stayed up through the wee small hours. A severe geomagnetic storm created a colorful display that could be seen as far south as Texas. It was the strongest northern lights display in more than a decade. Mike Fuhs meterologist with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls joined Dakota Midday said that those who missed the spectacle should have another chance Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Amy Benson US Geological Survey

South Dakota was one of the last states east of the Rocky Mountains to be free of invasive zebra and quagga mussels. But that changed last fall. A single adult zebra mussel was detected at the Midway Boat Ramp on the Missouri River's Lewis and Clark Lake near Yankton. Larval quagga mussels were discovered in water samples collected in the Cheyenne River's Angostura Reservoir.

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