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).

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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students in South Dakota say they encounter discrimination in school. Their stories are part of a document released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.

The 103-page report indicates students in South Dakota are bullied, harassed, and threatened because they’re LGBT. It includes stories that some schools and teachers treat LGBT kids – and staff – differently.  

The Statehouse Podcast for December 7th, 2016 incudes excerpts and reaction following Governor Dennis Daugaards FY18 Budget Address.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says South Dakotans should not expect millions of dollars from IHS. A deal with the Indian Health Service would have covered medical care for Native Americans who qualify for IHS and Medicaid. The governor says that can’t happen for now.

Indian Health Service leaders agreed to cover millions in medical costs that South Dakota picks up using Medicaid. Governor Dennis Daugaard says that arrangement hinged on the state’s expansion of Medicaid. Because that isn’t happening, does the deal still work?

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Republicans have a super-majority in both chambers of the South Dakota state legislature. 

State Representative Spence Hawley is a Democrat – one of 16 total in the state legislature. He says Democrats have ideas that deserve consideration.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls search and rescue crews recovered the body of a man trapped in a collapsed building. Fire Rescue chief Jim Sideras says crews found the body in a void just before 6 p.m. Friday. 

The frenzy in Downtown Sioux Falls slowed as a rescue efforts changed to recovery work. Fire fighters stood unmoving near a response vehicle. They watched silently as several of the colleagues worked calmly digging through the rubble pile and eventually removing a man's body from the wreckage. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

One woman is alive after being trapped in a collapsed building in Sioux Falls, and crews are searching for a man they believe is underneath the rubble. The building used to be home to the Copper Lounge. It was under construction and included business and living spaces.

The intersection of 10th Street and Phillips Avenue usually hums with the sound of traffic. Now it rumbles as a payloader scratches the pavement and bobcat scrapes boards and broken materials into piles. Machines tow a car from underneath bricks that tumbled down when a building collapsed.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some patients with medical needs who don’t require the rigorous attention of hospitals have another option for discharge. Avera in Sioux Falls is now operating a transitional unit to serve people who can leave the hospital but can’t go straight to a nursing home, rehab, or back home.

The State of South Dakota doesn’t allow health providers to add beds for more people in nursing homes, but leaders are making an exception for transitional care.

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Medicaid expansion would have extended health care coverage to South Dakotans who make too little money to afford health insurance but too much money to qualify for state programs. With President-elect Donald Trump and a GOP Congress promising to repeal or overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Governor Dennis Daugaard has declined to pursue Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday to discuss the issue that has become problematic for some.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says South Dakota has to revise this year’s budget. That’s because he says the state is not bringing in as much money as projected.

Daugaard says the trend since the start of the fiscal year is not good.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Hundreds of local families who stock their kitchens with help from Feeding South Dakota can now add milk to their cereal. That’s thanks to a drive that motivated individuals and businesses to donate 10,300 gallons of milk. People filling their carts during September paid extra to send milk to Feeding South Dakota. Their donations are now out for delivery.

Monday a refrigerated truck backed up to the Feeding South Dakota building. Four hundred gallons rolled out of the cooler and into the warehouse. The milk is the first installment of more than 10,000 gallons. 

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South Dakotans don't have the answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to answer many of those frequently asked questions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans don’t have answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. Local advocates say patients should not panic; instead they say people can better understand the factors at play nationally and within South Dakota – and know that people are fighting for their wellness.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Medicaid expansion in South Dakota may not happen, but many health care providers say they’re not giving up on reforms that could help the working poor. Some health leaders are looking for other ways to deliver medical care to thousands of people.

Doctor Tim Ridgway says the point of the complicated medical system is to take care of people and improve the health of all individuals in communities.

Ridgway says navigating those elements and figuring out how to pay for all of it is an intricate process.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

National health experts are looking to South Dakota strategies as they discuss rural health care. The US Department of Health and Human Services showcased Avera’s telemedicine efforts with viewers around the country. It was part of an effort about National Rural Health Day.

Avera’s eCare services use high-quality video and audio to connect Sioux Falls physicians with small town hospital staff. This allows doctors and nurses to collaborate on treating rural patients in real time.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers say improving quality of health care remains a legislative priority. This on the heels of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s announcement that he will not support Medicaid expansion in 2017. That has lawmakers examining work between the state and federal government.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota political leaders say Medicaid expansion is off the table in the 2017 legislative session.  But one lawmaker says that doesn’t solve the problem of people not being able to afford health coverage.

Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday that he will not prioritize Medicaid expansion in the next legislative session. He says he made the decision to not expand Medicaid in South Dakota after a meeting with Vice President Elect Mike Pence.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A panel of community members can soon weigh in on work happening in Rapid City Schools. People can apply to be part of a community advisory council. The group will meet once a month to discuss issues related to education in a broad context.

Rapid City Area Schools superintendent Lori Simon says she’s been talking about a community advisory board since she interviewed for the district’s top job. Simon says people who live and work in the community have ideas and perspectives to contribute.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

SDPB reporters Lee Strubinger and Kealey Bultena provide an in-depth look at payday lending issues Amendment U and Initiated Measure 21 after voters made their choice. They also discuss the rejection of Amendment V and how one lawmaker views the strategy of South Dakota voters. 

Dakota Political Junkies Denise Ross and Seth Tupper also join the program for additional discussion of ballot measures and how South Dakotans decided on them.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three in four South Dakota voters say the state should cap payday lending interest rates. Initiated Measure 21 garnered support from 270,278 people.

Steve Hildebrand owns a coffee shop in Downtown Sioux Falls. Customers who visited him Wednesday offered him congratulations with their orders.

Hildebrand has campaigned in favor of limiting the interest rate payday lenders can charge. He says a coalition of churches, groups, and concerned citizens support the move.

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SDPB's Kealey Bultena covered South Dakota Democratic Party headquarters Tuesday night. She joined Dakota Midday to share what Democratic candidates had to say after the vote was in.

You can hear Paula Hawks' speech in its entirety at this link. 
For more details from Jay Williams, click here. 

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United States Congresswoman Kristi Noem is on her way back to Washington. Voters supported her bid for re-election to the state’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Noem says the vote reveals the principles South Dakotans want in a leader. She says Republicans tend to want more limited government, and Democrats prefer government to play a bigger role.

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South Dakotans have re-elected United States Senator John Thune over Democratic challenger Jay Williams. He acknowledges that the nation is fractured. Thune says he’s making a commitment to all of his constituents.

Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

The superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools says the district needs a strong strategic plan. Lori Simon says education leaders are working to develop the plan to give direction and establish the district’s priorities.

"It gets everybody in the district working on the same page toward common goals," Simon says. "A strong strategic plan that you keep alive and working really guides decision-making as well as drives the alignment of actions and resources across the district."

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some people are ready for this election to be over. They’re tired of hearing about candidates and ballot measures. They want the political ads to cease, they want campaign signs torn down, and they want the whole thing to go away. But a few local high school students say voters shouldn’t rush the process - and they aren't even old enough to vote. 

She can count the number of days until the 2016 election on one hand, and Kaitlyn Friedrich recoils at the idea that some voters are disinterested in politics.

Minnehaha County officials are implementing a new assessment that flags defendants who present a risk to the community. The effort is designed to help judges determine whether someone accused of crime should be released before trial. The process combines multiple factors but eliminates identifiers such as race, income, education, and family status.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new form of radiation therapy allows breast cancer patients to avoid weeks of trips back-and-forth to the hospital. That means some women who live far away from treatment centers don’t have to jeopardize their health if they can’t make it to radiation. A Sioux Falls hospital is one of eight in the country using what's called IORT. 

Eighteen months ago, Lu Rice was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Madison woman knew she needed surgery and radiation. She’s seen people go through treatment for five days a week.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

October brings a sea of pink to billboards, t-shirts, stores and even the NFL. Talking about every aspect of breast cancer during a designated awareness month is impossible. Patients and health providers say each person's journey is unique. A common thread does exist among these individual stories: a tenacious fight against allowing cancer any control.

The women featured here refuse to relinquish their dignity, their decisions, and their lives to a devastating disease - and each manifests this perseverance in a different way.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new agreement preserves health insurance options for 26,000 State of South Dakota employees. State leaders and Sanford Health negotiated to cover state employees at an in-network cost. That allows some DakotaCare patients to see Sanford doctors without huge price increases.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Lakota man is celebrating three decades teaching life lessons to elementary school students through Native American dance. Dallas Chief Eagle started working as an artist-in-residence for schools in the mid-1980s. Today he’s still sharing Lakota culture with school children across the state.

In his performance, Dallas Chief Eagle rapidly moves his feet as he glides across a gym floor, picking up plastic hoops. He links them together in a long line. Chief Eagle tosses the chain into the air, and spins the hoops over the heads of screaming elementary school students.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

People who study differences across generations say they have some tips for business leaders and workers. Experts with a Minneapolis organization are in Sioux Falls. They’re discussing the social and business benefits of creating a collaborative atmosphere across ages.

Scott Zimmer is the Generation X representative for BridgeWorks. Hannah Ubl is the millennial. They both say all age groups attract stereotypes. 

"Scott’s generation was slackers, grunge, Nirvana, flannel,” Ubl says.

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