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

South Dakota’s United States Senators say their health care plan is better than the Affordable Care Act. Thursday Senate Republicans released a draft of the highly-anticipated health care overhaul bill.

US Senator Mike Rounds says the Better Care Reconciliation Act is more moderate than the US House health care overhaul bill. He says it's a draft until the congressional budget office scores the bill.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Thousands of soccer players and fans descend on Sioux Falls this weekend. The city hosts a regional youth soccer tournament. Organizers say no other sporting event in Sioux Falls has a larger economic impact. This isn’t the first time the city welcomes soccer teams from the region. Sioux Falls prepares for the 2017 US Youth Soccer Region II Midwest Championships.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Schools and producers are working to feed kids with local crops. A federal grant worth $24,158 helps educate stakeholders on the Farm to School movement. The project brings local ingredients to school food programs.

Farm to Table restaurants aim to bring local foods directly to diners. Schools have a similar program to connect students with products raised nearby.

Sandra Kangas is the South Dakota Department of Education’s director of Child and Adult Nutrition Services. She says Farm to School improves access to local foods.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The leader of the fundamentalist Mormon church who escaped authorities nearly a year ago is in jail in South Dakota. Officials in Utah say Lyle Jeffs likely faces a felony charge for escaping custody in addition to food stamp fraud charges.

South Dakota authorities discovered Lyle Jeffs Wednesday evening near Yankton. A tip the day before included a description of late model Ford F-150. FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Barnhart in Salt Lake City says that identified the FLDS leader.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota authorities have taken 500-thousand dollars’ worth of a dangerous drug off the street. Tuesday Chamberlain Police and the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant. They found 20,000 fentanyl pills.

Fentanyl has real medical uses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that doctors prescribe the synthetic opioid to ease pain after surgery or alleviate chronic pain. People addicted to drugs may use fentanyl that’s manufactured for medicine.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

One hundred seventy-nine teachers survived their first school year with extra support. That’s thanks to a new South Dakota program that connects first-time educators with veteran teachers. They pair up for two years to increase support and professional development. Meet educators who can now look back on their first year in the classroom and plan ahead for a second year of mentoring.

Kealey Bultena

A treatment developed at Sanford Research is in clinical trial to help kids with a debilitating genetic condition. The FDA fast-tracked the study in part because the condition progresses quickly and children die.

Six patients are part of the Batten Disease trial. One family from the Midwest has a child treated.

Beth and Bryan live in Minnesota. At four years old, their son Blake struggled with fine motor skills. They incorporated occupational therapy. Then Blake needed speech therapy. Then his gross motor skills deteriorated, and he needed physical therapy.

Sioux Falls researchers are employing light to open blood vessels. The US Food and Drug Administration is green-lighting a trial that could help patients who suffer from peripheral vascular disease. Doctors say more than 8 million people live with the condition.

Research leaders say the FDA okays a study that uses NVS to treat PVD. Acronyms aside, leaders have the go-ahead for a clinical trial. It may determine whether a new combination of a medical device and a drug can help people with leg problems related to their blood vessels.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The International Coding Competition in Rapid City and recent international hacking events have prompt people to consider coding. It provides the scaffold for computers and smartphones and apps. Educators must decide how kids can learn code, what they should understand, and when they should start.

Take a peek inside this coding classroom. The room is warm. It’s afternoon. The school year draws to a close, and sixth-grader Adysen Moet plays a video game.

Kealey Bultena

Division Commander Brad Goodroad is the mayor’s choice for Sioux Falls fire chief. Goodroad is a longtime member of Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. The mayor says he's confident the city council will approve.

From eight fire chief candidates within Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, Mayor Mike Huether selects Brad Goodroad. Huether says Goodroad started working in the department in 1994.

"Firefighter, fire apparatus operator, captain, battalion chief, division chief," Huether says.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans can now report tips about illegal drugs through text messages. Project Stand Up is a statewide campaign that collects anonymous tips about drug crime. Authorities say the program is part enforcement and part deterrent.

With one word and five numbers, people who suspect illegal drug activity can report it. South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says cell phone users text "drugs" to 82257.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

This week kids in Sioux Falls are planting seeds and sprouts in four raised garden beds next to a parking lot. A few days ago, we brought you a conversation from Ground Works-Midwest about teaching gardens. Volunteers have now constructed more places for food to grow.

Kealey Bultena

In The Moment ... May 15, 2017 Show 093 Hour 2

Dr. Michael Mullin is a professor of history at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, where he serves as National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Regional History. His recent article in the current issue of South Dakota history journal explores the role of Senator R.F. Pettigrew in national (and international politics) as the debate around the annexation of Hawaii unfolded.

Kealey Bultena

In The Moment ... May 15, 2017 Show 093 Hour 1

If you relaxed with a cold drink this week after a long day of work outside, you might have reached for a locally brewed craft beer. The industry is growing in South Dakota, with more consumers seeking out local offerings. For American Craft Beer Week, we're joined by some of the region's top brewers ... Ermin Husidic from Miner Brewing Company in Hill City and Ricardo Tarabelsi from Fernson Brewing Company in Sioux Falls.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Aspiring nurses are researching vulnerable populations and brainstorming strategies to improve lives. University of Sioux Falls students examine vulnerable populations. Some teams consider solutions for children who are hearing impaired. Others develop a plan to deter college students from abusing alcohol. Hear from a nursing instructor about comprehensive patient care and learn about the vision these 20-somethings have for making the world a better place.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The mayor of Sioux Falls is weighing in on the arrest of the former fire chief for possession of child pornography. Wednesday the mayor addressed questions about the situation he calls a tragedy.

Minnehaha County officials announced Monday that Jim Sideras faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Authorities executed a search warrant on the former fire chief’s home May 2, which became his last day employed with the city.

Mayor Mike Huether says authorities notified the Sioux Falls Police chief that day, and the police chief informed the mayor.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s Secretary of Tourism says you should take Friday off. It’s National Travel and Tourism week, and state officials are seizing the opportunity to lure people away from their desks and into the wild. They also celebrate South Dakotans who promote tourism in their everyday work. 

Workers at the South Dakota Department of Tourism have a long week promoting their industry. Secretary Jim Hagen says an expectation remains: employees should use their paid time off.

Kealey Bultena

Fewer South Dakota babies are dying. New numbers reveal 2016 had the lowest infant mortality rate on South Dakota record.   

South Dakota welcomed 12,270 babies last year, and 59 of them died. That means for every 1,000 live births fewer than five babies die. The rate is 4.8.

In 2015, the rate was 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Colleen Winter with the South Dakota Department of Health says people can prevent many infant deaths with a combination of healthy decisions that prioritize safety.

Andrew Bork / SDPB

First responders and medical professionals are assessing their performance during a mock helicopter crash. They held the drill Tuesday morning. Crews began by pretending they had Avera helicopter on the Sanford landing pad and people were hurt. 

Rounds for Senate

United States Senator Mike Rounds says he expects Congress will avoid a government shutdown. The current federal funding bill runs out Friday night. Rounds says lawmakers agree on a measure to extend the continuing resolution one week. He says that time allows Congress time to finalize federal government funding through September.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Law enforcement officers soften their stern authority to better serve people experiencing mental health crises. Training in Sioux Falls tests their ability by simulating real-life scenarios. Twenty-five officials learn new policing strategies in Crisis Intervention Training.

Courtesy Wikipedia

A Nebraska commission is not renewing liquor licenses for stores along the South Dakota border near Pine Ridge. The town of Whiteclay has fewer than one dozen residents. Four businesses there sell millions of cans of beer each year. The liquor licenses expire at the end of the month, but the beer stores may stay open.

Native Americans from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota drink beer in Whiteclay, Nebraska. Witnesses say people who get drunk there urinate in public, assault others, and pass out on the streets.

Kealey Bultena

Avera leaders say a new campus in Sioux Falls can better serve people with specialty health needs and promote economic growth. Wednesday Avera Health announced plans for building projects including new buildings and a surgical hospital.

Avera on Louise is the name of an additional campus planned for 82 acres at 69th Street and Louise Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Dave Kapaska is Avera McKennan Hospital’s President and CEO.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

An Eagle Butte woman is encouraging Native American leaders in 23 tribal governments. The Bush Foundation is dedicating resources to Native Nation Building. A woman from Cheyenne River is six months into the job of supporting and promoting Indian leadership.

Eileen Briggs is the Bush Foundation’s director of Native Nation Building. She says the work includes a handful of large investments to empower American Indian communities instead of prescribing solutions.

Nebraska board members are weighing whether they should renew beer store liquor licenses in Whiteclay. The tiny unincorporated town is across the state line from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. People - often Native Americans - buy millions of cans of beer there each year. Thursday the panel heard testimony.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

More state and local law enforcement authorities are talking about their feelings. It’s happening in part through a course on emotional intelligence. The State of South Dakota mandates it during training for city police, county officers, and state troopers.

Almost nothing is visible in the blackness when a trainer’s voice echoes through the dark. He instructs recruits to use a light technique of their choice. He gives the command, and recruits pull their guns and prepare to shoot.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lawmakers in Pierre changed their own rules Monday to introduce a new bill on veto day. The final day of the session is reserved for reconsidering bills the governor vetoes. Not this year.

Senate Bill 179 extends probationary time for juveniles.

Lawmakers in the South Dakota State Legislature introduced it, approved it, and delivered it to the governor all in one day.

Kealey Bultena

A group from the Sioux Falls area is back in South Dakota after distributing wheelchairs to people in need in Guatemala. The Dispatch Project team members worked at a wheelchair seating clinic. They adjusted chairs to fit the needs of children and adults with disabilities.

SDPB's Kealey Bultena participated in the trip to Central America. Listen to her description of the experience as she talks with In The Moment host Lori Walsh here, and read select stories below.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota schools are getting a minimal budget increase to cover inflation. State law requires lawmakers provide schools the money, but in tight budget years – like this one – they override that mandate. Education funding plans changed throughout the session.

One month ago, State Senators approved a bill that offers K-12 education a one percent increase. With a week left in the session, State Representatives decided they could offer no increase – not even one to cover inflation.

On the final day, Republican State Senator Deb Peters says lawmakers found a compromise.

SDPB

South Dakota lawmakers have finalized the state’s budget that starts on July 1, 2017 (Fiscal Year 18). State Senators and Representatives approve of a measure they call the general bill. It lists numbers for all revenues and all budgets in balance.

State Representative David Anderson is chair of House Appropriations.

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