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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Molly Miles

The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday morning that makes same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Now South Dakotans are reacting to the opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges that says states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

South Dakota’s Attorney General says the same-sex marriage decision from the US Supreme Court is immediate. Marty Jackley says that means gay and lesbian couples can apply for marriage licenses in South Dakota right away.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lawmakers meet in Pierre Friday to study the South Dakota High School Activities Association. The committee agenda includes a full day exploring elements of the state system and how other places handle rules for statewide athletic and arts events.

Eleven state lawmakers sit on the South Dakota High School Activities Association Interim Committee. They’re tasked with learning what the organization does and who oversees its operation and policy.

Three people who represent South Dakota in the nation’s capital are reacting to a US Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Thursday six of the nine justices agreed that people are still eligible for insurance subsidies using a federal health insurance exchange. Thirty-four states do not have state-run marketplaces.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Kids in Sioux Falls can get free passes to ride public buses until September. City leaders are launching the Dog Days of Summer pilot program that makes bus rides free for people 18 and under. The program aims to offer teenagers and some kids a safe way to navigate the city and to promote public transportation.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is shifting its focus from drought conservation to flood risk control. Officials are slowing the amount of water that flows through a Yankton dam and keeping higher levels of storage in the state to try to prevent flooding downstream.

Recent thunderstorms have brought rain to states along the Missouri River, and it’s enough runoff for the US Army Corps of Engineers to increase attention to its purpose of managing flood risk. Jody Farhat is chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.

SDPB

A weather expert says straight-lined winds of 90 to 100 miles per hour struck the southeast South Dakota town of Garretson. The water is safe, but crews are working on restoring power. Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says the damage indicates strong winds moved in one direction. He says Monday morning’s storm was not a tornado. Heitkamp says winds that high are dangerous and the damage in Garretson is proof.

Strong straight-line winds tore through Garretson early Monday morning. Fire Chief JR Hofer says about 30 people are displaced after the storm.

Pam Braa

High winds that were part of a massive system of thunderstorms that struck across South Dakota damaged trees, homes, and buildings in southeastern South Dakota. The National Weather Service is focusing on two main areas: Sheldon, Iowa and Garretson, South Dakota.

Mike Foos is a meteorologist and forecaster.

People from South Dakota are gearing up for the National Education Association’s annual meeting and assembly. This week a group of teachers, education supporters, students, and retired teachers travel to Orlando, Florida. They hope to gain insights from fellow educators from all over the country.

Leaders of the South Dakota Education Association say they fight for every single student to have the opportunity for strong, comprehensive education – both at the state level and nationally.

SD Attorney General's Office

The National Association of Attorneys General has a new president. It’s Marty Jackley. South Dakota’s AG now leads the group of people from all 50 states, Washington, DC and United States territories. Members held the election at this week’s annual conference.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says he already has the priority for his year-long leadership: policing in the 21st century.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Authorities arrested four people overnight Thursday during a sobriety checkpoint. Officers discovered three people were driving under the influence, and another person had drugs. Nearly 2000 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, and officials administered 155 breathalyzers.

Around 11:30 p.m., bright flood lights illuminate a stretch of Interstate in Sioux Falls. Hundreds of cars follow orange plastic cones and flashlights, and each car pairs with a law enforcement officer. Trooper Codie Schmeichel with the South Dakota Highway Patrol introduces himself to a driver.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The Sioux Falls Police Department is taking the initiative to meet with residents in four segments of the city. Officers want to know issues people see and ideas for how to solve the problems. The meetings are part of a long-term goal that improves communication between everyday people and authorities.

Sioux Falls police patrol the city based on quadrants. Officers and higher leadership are assigned to one section of town. Police Chief Doug Barthel says this local approach lets authorities meet citizens and build trust.

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Leaders of the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe are legalizing marijuana on the reservation. The executive board has approved the ordinance after examining how other areas handle legalized marijuana. Members are planning for an operation that grows marijuana for medicinal and recreational use.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux executive board is making marijuana a tribal business. President Tony Reider says leaders are working to create a secure environment to cultivate the crop.

ACLU leaders have filed a federal lawsuit over a new election deadline for third-party candidates. The lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says an earlier date for new parties to get on the ballot violates Constitutional rights. The case is filed Libertarian Party of South Dakota versus Krebs.

South Dakota lawmakers approved a measure that sets the date a candidate must turn in signed petitions a month earlier than it used to be. In January Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explained to lawmakers that an earlier deadline offers more time for scrutiny. 

The leaders of South Dakota’s Executive and Judicial branches say they’re teaming up for a comprehensive look at elder abuse in the state. During the regular session, state lawmakers approved an Elder Abuse Task Force. State leaders are also announcing a public conference as the panel begins work.

The World Health Organization uses June 15th to call attention to elder abuse around the globe. Greg Sattizahn with South Dakota’s Unified Judicial System says mistreatment of seniors is a quiet problem.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Farmers and ranchers in South Dakota must decide whether to save the money they make from crops and livestock or reinvest it. The growing season is well underway for South Dakota farmers, and ranchers are watching markets as they raise their animals. 

Record commodity prices for corn and soybeans are gone, and that has some farmers keeping their money in the bank instead of spending it on upgrades and new equipment. South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch says growers remain cautious.

This week members of South Dakota’s legislature are going on tours. Lawmakers are traveling to schools, businesses, and state operations to see processes firsthand. 

Lawmakers spend most of their time serving the public in the State Capitol during the winter, but this summer they have a chance to visit places across South Dakota. While in Sioux Falls, State Representative Justin Cronin and other legislators toured the state penitentiary.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers on the appropriations committee are rearranging how they want one million dollars distributed to South Dakota Tech schools. Wednesday afternoon members of the Joint Appropriations committee met in Sioux Falls. They heard from education leaders and voted to change an earlier decision.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Members of the South Dakota State Legislature’s Executive Board are putting lawmakers on interim committees for in-depth analysis of certain topics. The State Senate and House of Representatives select the panel to meet outside of the regular winter session. They met Tuesday in Sioux Falls.  

Legislators on the Executive Board gather several times a year. They set travel policies for lawmakers going to state-sponsored and national events. Members also appoint lawmakers to committees that examine issues in summer studies.

State of South Dakota

Summer is a time of furious work in South Dakota. Farming and ranching ramp up as the weather warms, and 2015 is no exception. But growing crops and raising livestock comes with risk. Kealey Bultena spoke with South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch for an update on the latest concerns of the state's farmers and ranchers. Lentsch began the conversation by discussing the latest round of heavy rains after a spring that started with fears of a season hindered by drought.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls Police officers are issuing hundreds of tickets as part of a crackdown on unsafe driving. Details from this weekend’s saturation patrol show violations ranging from speeding to drugs and alcohol. Authorities, however, say the enforcement push is about more than writing citations.

On Friday night, more than two dozen extra police officers patrolled Sioux Falls watching for drivers breaking traffic laws. Officer Sam Clemens says the result is 329 citations. 

A grant worth more than $12,000 is helping an area organization that empowers women. Dress for Success Sioux Falls is preparing to host an eight-week program that helps women who are unemployed or underemployed prepare for career opportunities.

Dress for Success is known globally for its mission to provide women who are economically disadvantaged professional attire so they are physically prepared for the job search. But Lori Strasburg says people don’t always realize the program is about more than blazers and dress pants.

People who want to volunteer to clean up after a weekend tornado in Delmont can start Friday. Officials now have a volunteer reception centers that opens at 8 o-clock in the morning near the baseball field just outside of the small southeastern South Dakota town.

Volunteers must register with a valid ID before can enter Delmont to help. Authorities say volunteers should wear clothes, boots, gloves and eye protection for working with debris from Sunday’s storm.

SD Animal Industry Board

More than one million chickens are now at-risk for avian influenza after tests prove the disease has infected an egg-laying operation. Dakota Layers in Moody County discovered the disease in one of nine barns on the farm. That more than doubles the number of birds affected in South Dakota.

The deadly H5N2 strain of bird flu has invaded operations in nine South Dakota counties. Eight turkey farms in separate counties have tested positive for the virus. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says now the infection is confirmed in chickens.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The mayor of Delmont says she doesn’t know what the future holds for the small town. A tornado ripped through the southeastern South Dakota community Sunday, and community members are just starting to tackle cleanup. Below are a series of reports from the southeast South Dakota town of about 200 residents.

Past the quiet area where law enforcement officials guard the entrance to town, Delmont is a noisy place. National Guard troops use bobcats and dump trucks to clear branches and brush off the streets.

Access to a town hit by a weekend tornado is still restricted. About 200 people live in Delmont. The community is in the southeastern part of the state. Emergency management officials continue to assess the damage from a Sunday storm that hurt nine people and damaged homes and other buildings. Meanwhile the American Red Cross is working with state and local officials to keep safety the priority.

People in the town of Delmont are now able to sift through the rubble after a tornado. The storm struck the tiny town in southeast South Dakota on Sunday morning. Crews are working to restore basic necessities and assess the damage.  

Initial assessments after Sunday’s storm show 20 buildings sustained damage after an EF-2 tornado tore through Delmont. Kristi Turman is the Division Director of Emergency Services for South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety.

President Obama Speaks In Watertown

May 8, 2015

President Barack Obama encourages South Dakotans to focus on service opportunities. Mister Obama spoke Friday at Lake Area Tech's commencement. The president highlighted personal stories of LATI workers and graduates including Staff Sergeant Joe Wiskur. The airman deploys shortly after graduation, and Mr. Obama says his education makes him a better soldier.

Sioux Falls police have arrested two teenagers in connection with a vandalism Wednesday at a Sioux Falls High School. Police say staff members recognized Addison Park, 18 and Alex Engel, 18  in surveillance video. They both face 3rd degree burglary charges, and Park faces petty theft for stealing backpacks. 

The Sioux Falls School District is working with police after people broke into Lincoln High School. Officer Sam Clemens says a custodian noticed the damage sometime after 5:00 a.m.; police think it happened between midnight and 3:00 a.m.

Commissioners in Minnehaha County say Med-Star is the new ambulance service provider for rural areas. Leaders started discussing the switch weeks ago. All five members of the panel voted Tuesday to award the county’s contract.

The medical director for Minnehaha County says both Med-Star and Paramedics Plus could handle ambulance service to areas outside of city limits. That left five commissioners to decide which service they prefer.

Officials in Minnehaha County have lifted a burn ban. Commissioners issued a burn ban a few weeks ago because dry weather contributed to small planned fires quickly spreading.

Emergency Management Director Lynn DeYoung says the conditions are different now.

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