Kealey Bultena

SDPB News Reporter

Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).

Ways to Connect

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Pierre man is alive because first responders used a medication to reverse the effects of a drug overdose. Officials credit the drug Narcan for saving the man’s life.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says emergency crews responded to a call in Pierre Monday night for a man who needed medical attention.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A United States Senator and a state lawmaker agree that the federal government is failing to provide adequate health care to Native Americans. United States Senator John Thune and South Dakota State Senator Troy Heinert see different solutions to ongoing problems with the Indian Health Service.

U-S  Senator Thune has legislation in Congress aimed at comprehensive reform for federal health services for Native Americans. He says the bill makes it easier to fire ineffective IHS leaders, examines whistle-blower protections, and requires fiscal accountability so patient care funds actually make it to patients.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The 42nd president was back on the campaign trail in South Dakota Friday – this time not for his own political race but for his wife. Former US President Bill Clinton spent time in Sioux Falls stumping for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Pop music pumped through the speakers in Sioux Falls as people who waited in line excitedly filed into a space draped with stars and stripes, including massive flags. More than an hour and a half later, former president Bill Clinton took the stage.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Avera is launching the first South Dakota-based study to track twins. The health organization’s Institute for Human Genetics has partnered with the world’s leading twin registry out of the Netherlands for seven years. Now the Avera Twin Register will collect and analyze DNA from twins.

Doctor Dave Kapaska is the regional president and CEO of Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls. He highlights how people are fascinated by multiples as he introduces two Avera physicians who are twins and mixes them up in the process.

Crazy Horse School is receiving a federal grant worth $107,631 to help students cope with suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is the third grant from the US Department of Education to Pine Ridge schools after tribal leaders declared a state of emergency following a string of suicides.

Project SERV grants target schools where kids experience significant violent or traumatic events. The latest funding adds two counselors at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee to help restore the learning environment.

Secretary John King leads the US Department of Education.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

People in Delmont are marking the anniversary of a tornado that tore through the tiny town. The storm struck mid-morning on May 10, 2015. No one died, but several people were hurt, and the storm brought widespread damage to the southeast South Dakota community. Some residents are still rebuilding while others have left for good. 

One year ago, crews used machines to shove massive piles of broken boards, downed trees, and debris off the streets of Delmont. A tornado toppled cars, shattered windows, and decimated city landmarks.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new study shows judicial reforms saved South Dakota $34 million in the first two years. Sweeping changes in mid-2013 included presumptive probation. That means judges sentencing people for low-level felonies keep offenders in communities instead of sending them to prison. Researchers from the Justice Policy Center say initial results are promising, but the work isn’t finished.

A new report indicates changes that keep more offenders out of prison are helping state coffers without risking public safety.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans list agriculture as the number one driver of economic development. That’s according to a recent survey that polled people nationally and gathered data in three separate states. Some people’s perceptions of the economy don’t jibe directly with information from businesses. 

A Wells Fargo and USA Today survey polled South Dakotans to find out which sectors they think contribute to a healthy economy. The top responses in order were agriculture, health care, education, construction, and retail.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new study shows many children in South Dakota are vulnerable when it comes to poverty and hunger. The latest information from Feeding America shows some areas have up to four out of 10 kids who don’t know where they’ll get their next meal. The annual report is a detailed look at food insecurity in the state.

The latest data on hunger issues in South Dakota shows 12.4 percent of people in the state are food insecure. That number is unchanged from last year, but Kerri DeGraff with Feeding South Dakota says more South Dakotans are hungry.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Survey crews are training for a time when the emerald ash borer finds its way to South Dakota trees. The exotic insect feeds on black, green or white ash. The trees have no defense against the beetle. State, local, and federal agencies are collaborating on a practice exercise in Sioux Falls.

State forester Gregory Josten says to claim South Dakota has escaped the emerald ash borer so far isn’t necessarily true.

"We don’t know for sure that it’s not here, but we have not found it here yet," Josten says.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people connected to the GEAR UP program and Mid-Central Education Cooperative have been arraigned on accusations of fraud and financial crimes. Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers each pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake Andes.

Marty Jackley is South Dakota’s Attorney General.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

People who don’t pay attention while driving in Sioux Falls are now more likely to be pulled over. City officials are teaming up with the police department on a campaign to curb distracted driving. State law bans texting while behind the wheel across South Dakota. Now Sioux Falls leaders are looking beyond cell phones.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota School Districts are deciding how to dole out more money for teacher pay. State lawmakers passed a tax increase to raise educator salaries. Now school leaders must choose how to distribute the money in their districts. In Sioux Falls, the board has unanimously approved a 6.8 percent increase for teachers.

The GEAR UP program in South Dakota is now operating from Black Hills State University. The education effort aims to prepare Native American students for college. Most recently GEAR UP is tied to accusations of wrongdoing as former leaders face criminal charges. Despite the challenges, the program is under new leadership and moving forward.

Incoming high school students from schools participating in GEAR UP are eligible to apply for a three-week program promoting college readiness and culture.

Bishop Dudley Hospitality House

A Sioux Falls emergency shelter is implementing a pay-for-stay program for some guests. The Bishop Dudley Hospitality House offers lodging for the homeless and vulnerable. The new system is part of a focus on supporting people who need temporary assistance.

Starting May 2nd, people who work but don’t have homes receive 30 days lodging at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House for free. After that, executive director Chad Campbell says they’ll have to pay.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Spring weather is here. For many South Dakotans that means getting outdoors and barbecuing or even standing around a campfire. While people take advantage of the warmer weather, first responders urge them to enjoy fire with caution. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue crews are using controlled demonstrations to prove how dangerous unattended grills and fire pits can be.

Sioux Falls fire inspector Tyler Tjeerdsma tosses hamburgers onto a grill that stands right next to a wall. He closes the lid, and within minutes the beige vinyl siding blackens and peels apart like taffy.

Advocates in Sioux Falls this week aim to empower people with disabilities and encourage others to embrace the talents they offer. Service providers, educators, employers and people with disabilities are collaborating to promote inclusion.

South Dakota advocates are celebrating the fact that the state has the highest rate of employment for people with disabilities in the nation. Wendy Parent-Johnson is executive director for the Center for Disabilities.

Teachers from around South Dakota are collaborating to find new ways to engage students in problem solving. A conference on Technology and Innovation in Education wrapped up this week. One of the dozens of sessions focused on helping students break into a box by thinking outside of it.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A grand jury has indicted three people for felony crimes related to a Native American education program. State leaders say people within GEAR UP and Mid-Central Education Cooperative used the programs to steal more than one million dollars. Two of them died in a murder-suicide in September. Authorities announced charges against three other leaders last month.  

South Dakota’s largest cities are embarking on wastewater projects to account for reliability, growth, and regulations. The City of Sioux Falls is putting $35 million into two major sanitary sewer projects officials say should last nearly a century. Rapid City leaders say their community needs $62 million for system upgrades.

Pumps churn at a construction site in northeastern Sioux Falls. Crews are working to lower the water table so they can bury large pipe for more than two miles. The diameter of the new pressure pipe is three-and-a-half feet.

TransCanada

Now that crews have repaired a leak on the Keystone pipeline, they’re working to clean up the ground contaminated by crude oil. TransCanada shut down the pipeline last week when a local landowner discovered a leak. The company is now pumping oil through the line at reduced pressure.

TransCanada officials are investigating what caused 16,800 gallons of oil to escape the Keystone pipeline and saturate the ground near Freeman. A federal regulator oversees that analysis.

TransCanada

Officials with TransCanada say they’re working on an in-depth investigation into a leak that put 400 barrels of crude oil into the ground near Freeman, South Dakota. TransCanada shut down the Keystone oil pipeline for one week to find the problem and fix it.

TransCanada crews found the source of an oil leak Friday, worked to repair it over the weekend, and had crude oil flowing through the Keystone pipeline by Sunday.

Mark Cooper with TransCanada says the company is analyzing the root cause of the oil leak and he can’t offer details until the investigation is complete.

TransCanada

TransCanada authorities say crude oil could move through the Keystone pipeline again by the end of the day Saturday. Crews discovered a leak that released nearly 17,000 gallons of oil. The pipeline is shut down, but TransCanada says it should be fixed by Satruday, so oil can flow at reduced pressure.

TransCanada officials say engineers and pipeline integrity specialists are working on the leak site. They say they have conditional approval from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to restart the line after repairs are done.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new rule from the U-S Department of Labor changes the responsibilities of certain financial advisors. Some people including US Senator Mike Rounds say the law puts a greater burden on Americans and limits available advice. Others say everyday investors likely won’t see much of a difference.

Fiduciaries are people charged with putting someone else’s interests ahead of their own. That means financial fiduciaries must recommend money moves in clients’ best interests.

TransCanada

Landowners and regulators are watching as crews search for the source of an oil sheen in southeastern South Dakota. The Keystone Pipeline is shut down as TransCanada teams drill for soil samples and excavate to figure out how oil got into the land. Officials with TransCanada say the oil covers about 300 square feet of land near Freeman.

TransCanada

TransCanada crews are investigating what they call "a small potential leak along the Keystone pipeline right-of-way" near Freeman. Representatives from TransCanada say they’re testing oil discovered a field to learn whether it’s the same kind the Keystone Pipeline carries. An official says about 100 contractors from Canada and the United States have contained the oil and are working near Freeman, South Dakota.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

First-year medical students are tapping into new technologies that support health providers in rural areas. Avera’s eCare facility provides live video access to specialists and emergency physicians to support providers in different circumstances. Some students say it makes them more confident in pursuing work in rural medicine. 

Medical students in short white coats surround a mannequin. Three volunteers in blue paper gowns take direction from a physician on a TV screen who walks them through life-saving techniques.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s senior US Senator says he supports the Republican nominee for president – regardless of which man wins the race. Senator John Thune notes the election process is far from over. He explained his position on the 2016 election to a group of teenagers.

At New Technology high school in Sioux Falls, government students pepper Thune with questions about foreign policy, terrorism, regulation, and politics. That includes this one about the campaign for president of the United States: is there any candidate that you necessarily support or endorse in this current election?

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The attorney for one of the people charged with felonies related to the Mid Central Education Cooperative in Platte says the state is using his client as a scapegoat. The investigation involves crimes connected to Mid Central and a program called GEAR UP.

People in Sioux Falls are preparing to host a round of NCAA basketball. Friday and Sunday Division I Women’s Basketball attracts players and fans from the University of South Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and the University of Tennessee.

Mayor Mike Huether says the combination of visitors and ESPN’s coverage of the regional tournament offer an economic development advantage for Sioux Falls.

Pages