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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News
3:42 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Candidates For Gov, Senate Question EB-5

Democrat Susan Wismer, Independent Mike Myers, moderator Jerry Oster, Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard / August 20, 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Political hopefuls in two major races are questioning fellow candidates about their involvement with the EB-5 program. Dakota Fest in Mitchell is host to both a gubernatorial debate and a US Senate candidate forum. The Wednesday debates took questions submitted by people in the audience. Both debates included discussions about uncertainties surrounding a foreign investment program. 

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5:34 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

US House Candidates Debate In Mitchell

Candidate Corinna Robinson, moderator Jerry Oster, and Congresswoman Kristi Noem at Dakota Fest in Mitchell / August 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

During their first debate, candidates for South Dakota’s only seat in the US House of Representatives clash over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and the Affordable Care Act. They answer audience questions for an hour Tuesday at Dakota Fest in Mitchell.

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5:11 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Dems Want Deeper EB-5 Investigation

Democrat State Sen. Jason Frerichs, State Rep. Kathy Tyler, and State Rep. Paula Hawks listen as State Rep. Bernie Hunhoff addresses the crowd / August 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Democratic lawmakers are calling to subpoena state and business leaders who were involved in the EB-5 program before and during the embezzlement of government funds. State lawmakers overwhelmingly supported a resolution to hold hearings relating to the Governor's Office of Economic Development. A legislative panel is reviewing audits and asking questions, but not all lawmakers say the committee is delving deep enough.

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4:38 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Judge: Print Hubbel's Name On Ballot

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers stands with his new running mate, Lora Hubbel.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A federal judge says November’s ballot must include the name of the new independent candidate for lieutenant governor. Independent candidate for governor Mike Myers’ first lieutenant governor withdrew from the race. He picked a second nominee, but the Secretary of State hasn’t formally filed the paperwork because state law doesn’t address the replacement.

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4:23 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Victim #1 In Sandusky Case Speaks In SD

Aaron Fischer, who was sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky, speaks to hundreds of people in Sioux Falls. / August 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The first person to reveal a famous football coach molested him says the justice system should better help victims of sex abuse. Aaron Fischer was a high school student when he told authorities Jerry Sandusky sexually abused him. Fischer is in Sioux Falls for the Violent Crime and Sex Trafficking conference to share his story with advocates and health workers, and he admits he’s not done healing from the abuse.

Dawn Hennessy says she knew something was wrong when her respectful teenager became unrecognizable.

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4:04 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Berget Death Sentence Upheld

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s Supreme Court says convicted killer Rodney Berget’s death sentence stands. Berget and Eric Robert were inmates at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in April of 2011. They tried to escape and murdered correctional officer Ron Johnson during their attempt.

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4:40 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Elizabeth Smart Speaks In Sioux Falls

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart speaks in Sioux Falls. SD US Attorney Brendan Johnson and ND US Attorney Timothy Purdon listen to her perspective. / August 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart is sharing a message of hope at A South Dakota conference. Smart is one of this week’s speakers talking about violent crime and human trafficking. Smart says everyone needs to pay attention to trafficking – not just potential victims.

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12:14 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Men Arrested For Sex Crimes In Sturgis

Five men face felony charges for trying to have sex with children following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The number is down from the nine arrested during last year’s rally in the Black Hills.

The men arrested for sex crimes at Sturgis this year are from all over: Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California. One even lives in Canada.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says officers with the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit set up fake ads online offering sex with kids in exchange for money.

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11:50 am
Wed August 13, 2014

New Protocol Could Help ID Sex Trafficking Victims

SD United States Attorney Brendan Johnson discusses a conference in Sioux Falls focused on human trafficking. / August 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Health care professionals at one of the state’s major health systems have new protocols if they suspect patients are victims of sex trafficking. Sioux Falls hosts this week’s Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Conference. Health care workers are gaining new tools to help them recognize trafficking.

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4:14 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Thune: Support Hwy Trust Fund

John Thune takes questions during a luncheon for members of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. / August 4, 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

US Senator John Thune says supporting the country’s vast transportation system is a legitimate and valid use of taxpayer dollars. The Highway Trust Fund neared fallout this summer. Congress approved a stopgap last week that provides funding for states through May of next year. Thune says Congress needs to find a reliable funding source soon. 

Congress has propped up the Highway Trust Fund for another nine months, so states can get their reimbursements for federal bridge and road projects throughout construction season.

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3:28 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Myers Sues Secy. Of State Over Ballot

Independent candidate for governor Mike Myers stands beside his newly-announced running mate Lora Hubbel. / July 8, 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The Independent candidate for governor of South Dakota is suing to get his running mate replaced on the ballot. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to certify Mike Myers’ new pick for lieutenant governor on the ballot. Myers filed the paperwork Monday.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers says not replacing his running mate on the ballot discriminates against Independents and violates his constitutional rights.

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News
9:26 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Mayor Proposes New SF Budget

Credit City of Sioux Falls

The mayor of Sioux Falls proposes a new city budget of $406 million. The budget includes utility improvements and capital program recommendations already announced.

Now Mayor Mike Huether presents the operating expenses he sees ahead for Sioux Falls. The general fund totals more than $149 million. It's the second-largest budget in the city's history.

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12:07 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

SF Growth Estimates On Track

Credit Jaden Miller / SDPB

New numbers in Sioux Falls show the city is growing on pace with recent years. Leaders estimate that more than 2,000 new people call Sioux Falls home compared to one year ago. City planners consider building permits and recent census data to assess the trend.

Sioux Falls’ average population growth over the last decade shows 2,371 people move to the city each year. The latest local number shows a slightly slower increase in population since July of 2013. The new total indicates Sioux Falls has 166,700 current residents.

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4:37 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Lawmakers Hear EB5, Theft Testimony

South Dakota lawmakers are reviewing what happened after an investigation revealed hundreds of thousands of state dollars went missing. Lawmakers spent 45 minutes with Attorney General Marty Jackley behind closed doors consulting about a possible legal situation. Otherwise Jackley and economic development leaders talked with legislators in an open meeting about the state and federal investigations.  

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3:18 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Jackley: Benda Arrest Close Before Death

South Dakota’s attorney general says his office had prepared a criminal complaint against Richard Benda just weeks before he died. The former Secretary of Tourism and Economic Development is linked to federal and state investigations into misconduct involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The legislative Government Operations and Audit committee is evaluating results after officials discovered the missing money.

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4:15 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

New Teaching Scholarships Awarded

Credit Kealey Bultena

Nineteen South Dakota college students are the recipients of a brand new scholarship program for future teachers. The Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Program covers two years of college tuition for people who commit to teaching in South Dakota in certain subjects. 

State leaders identify four main areas of critical need in South Dakota schools for the scholarship: career and technical education, math, science and special ed.

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4:19 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Gov't Loans Available After Storms

A tornado struck Wessington Springs in June 2014.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Small Business Administration professionals are in South Dakota this week and next helping connect people suffering from storm damage with government resources. The SBA has loans available to people directly harmed by June’s tornadoes and flooding, and some low-interest loans are open to organizations the storms impact indirectly.

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5:02 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Senate Candidates Address Outside Ads

A candidate for South Dakota’s open US Senate seat says he wants everyone in the race to help prevent outside money from influencing the campaign. Democratic candidate Rick Weiland says the public move would benefit voters, but not everyone in the race agrees with Weiland’s perspective.

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11:31 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Congress Considers Hwy Fund Fixes

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota lawmakers in Washington are considering different proposals to keep money flowing to states for transportation projects. Experts predict a Highway Trust Fund shortfall this summer, which could stop payments to states for roads and bridges.

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approves a bill to extend highway funding through May 2015. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem casts one of the 367 votes supporting the legislation.

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11:56 am
Fri July 11, 2014

FEMA Denies Ind. Disaster Aid

A tornado tore through Wessington Springs in June 2014.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The government says homeowners in South Dakota impacted by June’s severe weather don’t qualify for federal assistance. FEMA officials say the storms didn’t cause enough damage for individuals to receive emergency aid.

More than one dozen tornadoes spawned in Jerauld County in June; one of those hit Wessington Springs, destroying and damaging homes and businesses.
People in Lincoln and Union counties experienced flash flooding that inundated houses.

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3:12 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Ind. Candidate Hits Ballot Change Snag

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers announces Republican Lora Hubbel as his running mate. / July 8, 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s Independent candidate for governor has announced a new running mate.  Mike Myers says registered Republican Lora Hubbel is his pick for the Lieutenant Governor spot.

Hubbel ran in the Republican primary against the sitting governor, Dennis Daugaard. She replaces Caitlin Collier who bowed out of the race due to a family health problem.

Myers says Hubbel is officially part of the independent ticket, but her name might not make it on the ballot.

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3:34 am
Tue July 8, 2014

FEMA Requests Follow Tornadoes, Flooding

Wessington Springs homes were crushed when a tornado hit the town on June 18, 2014.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota leaders are beginning the long process of assessing and repairing damage from June’s severe weather. Multiple tornadoes touched down in east-central South Dakota, and the western and southeastern parts of the state experienced flooding.  Officials are requesting help from the federal government to restore mother nature’s destruction.

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1:04 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Mobile Meth Lab Explodes In SF

A mobile meth lab explosion in Sioux Falls is drawing more attention to the hazards of manufacturing drugs. Two people were burned when their one-pot meth lab burst Friday evening, starting a car on fire.

JayJay Coronado, 29, suffered chemical burns so bad he was airlifted to a burn unit in Minnesota. Kristy Wilker, 38 years old, was treated in Sioux Falls. Both face charges including possession and manufacturing of a controlled substance.

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News
3:36 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

$40K In Rural Business Grants Awarded

Four entrepreneurs in rural South Dakota each get $10,000 to develop and expand their businesses. The money comes through grants from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The money comes with other opportunities to foster their work in the community.

Leaders of the Dakota Rising program say their goal is to cultivate economic growth in rural South Dakota by supporting and encouraging local businesspeople. The organization is designating $10,000 each to four people to expand their businesses.

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1:41 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

VA Auditors: No Issues With Sioux Falls Scheduling

US Senator Tim Johnson speaks next to Sioux Falls VA Director Darwin Goodspeed. / July 1, 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The director of the VA Health Care System in Sioux Falls says South Dakota doesn’t have the wait list problems plaguing other veterans hospitals nationwide.

The Veterans Affairs inspector general believes the scandal is systemic. Federal reports show workers at some VA locations around the country lied about treatment for veterans and falsified records to reflect shorter wait times than veterans encountered.

Sioux Falls VA Health Care System Director Darwin Goodspeed says that didn’t happen – and isn’t happening – in his hospital.

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4:17 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

FEMA Tallies Wessington Springs Damage

Wessington Springs / June 2014
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota leaders are examining which dollars from where can help places like Wessington Springs recover from storm damage. Citizens in the town of 1,000  people are cleaning extensive damage from a tornado on June 18th.  

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is impressed with the progress he sees in Wessington Springs one week after a tornado destroyed more than two dozen homes. He says some state resources and block grants may help the city with major municipal projects. That way Wessington Springs leaders can use city money to restore groundwork damaged in the storm.

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3:00 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Patterson Bond Set At $1M Cash

Joseph Patterson / October 2013
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The man charged with murder in the death of a two-year-old boy faces new charges including felony kidnapping and assault. Joseph Patterson, 28, was out of jail on bond since October because his father paid $750,000 cash.

Patterson made his initial appearance in a Minehaha County courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

A judge set bond for Joseph Patterson at $1 million cash. He’s behind bars for first degree kidnapping, which is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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4:27 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Tornado Cleanup Includes Demolition

Wessington Springs / June 22, 2014
Kealey Bultena SDPB

People in Wessington Springs are making progress getting rid of debris after last week’s tornado. Right after the storm, families began picking through the debris for belongings they could salvage. As they get close to finding anything to save, residents transition to hauling out truckloads of trash.

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7:06 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Ways To Help Wessington Springs

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Officials are coordinating ways for people to help residents of Wessington Springs after last week’s devastating tornado. People who can help with general debris cleanup can register at a volunteer reception center. It’s at the Wessington Springs Elementary School. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

The American Red Cross is serving three meals each day for residents and people helping pick up after the tornado. Volunteer leader Nancy Young says the organization has served more than 4,000 meals and handed out over 11,200 bottles of water since Wednesday’s storm.

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6:28 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Wessington Springs Tornado Damage

Wessington Springs, June 2014
Kealey Bultena SDPB

More than 50 homes and businesses were damaged by a tornado that ripped through Wessington Springs Wednesday evening. Twenty-four of those homes and three businesses are destroyed.

The severe weather hit the around 7:40 p.m. on June 18, 2014. The attached photos were taken the morning of June 19, 2014. People in the town are just beginning extensive work cleaning up after the EF-2 tornado.

Listen to this report from Wessington Springs as city residents and their families assess the damage and tackle the rubble that used to be their homes and property.

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