Victoria Wicks

SDPB Freelance Reporter/Producer

Rapid City freelancer Victoria L. Wicks has been producing news for SDPB since August 2007. She has in the past been a newspaper reporter, and she spent about 14 years advocating for crime victims in Rapid City and Aberdeen. Vicky is also a creative writer; several of her short stories have been published, one of them in an anthology titled Fishing for Chickens: Short Stories about Rural Youth. In addition, Vicky is a visual artist, creating pottery, watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, and photographs. She holds a Master of Arts degree in English from the University of South Dakota.

Victoria Wicks

Rapid City filmmakers are creating a documentary about Lakota Star Knowledge for the Journey Museum. The names children learn for constellations are from Greek or Roman tradition. But other cultures, the Lakota among them, have defined what they can see of the universe in their own terms. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reports on the documentary, the last project of a NASA grant to the museum.
 

Victoria Wicks

The Rapid City Hens is a group determined to realize the dream of allowing chickens in back yards within city limits. It’s trendy in other cities, including Seattle and Minneapolis. Sioux Falls allows it. Pierre is considering it. But the Rapid City Council has said that city ordinance won’t change unless the Hens first convince other urban residents that it is okay to live next door to a chicken coop.

Black Hills author Kent Meyers recently spoke to a gathering of writers and readers at the Journey Museum in Rapid City. The museum is featuring an exhibit of Western literature through the end of March. Kent Meyers tells SDBP’s Victoria Wicks that the fiction of the West often glorifies a brutal reality.

Victoria Wicks

Federal Judge Jeffrey Viken ruled on Wednesday, Jan. 29, that a lawsuit can continue against Pennington County claiming its practices are unconstitutional and violate Indian Child Welfare Act. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks speaks with one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys to learn what happens next.

Victoria Wicks

Paul Peterson lives and works in the Black Hills, but he primarily paints abstract scenes of East River. About fifty of those paintings are now on exhibit at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. As a visual artist and a musician, Peterson tells SDPB’s Victoria Wicks that the two arts are separate functions, but they work together to reveal who he is.

For more information and galleries, go to:

http://www.saatchionline.com/PPeterson

http://www.paulpetersonart.com/

Larry Blackwood

Black and white photographs of grain elevators are currently on exhibit at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. This is one of the photographic series of Larry Blackwood.  He is a Montana artist who also creates fine art images and collages of images. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks talks with Blackwood about his artistic life and why he chose as one of his subjects these skyscrapers of the prairie.

To see more of Blackwood's work, go to http://www.larryblackwood.com/ and look at Galleries.

The South Dakota Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments challenging the state’s blood-draw protocols in DUI arrests. In April the United States Supreme Court ruled that officers have to get a search warrant before drawing blood when a traffic stop is routine. But the state says drivers consent to a warrantless search when they get a drivers license. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks talks with defense and prosecution lawyers.

Victoria Wicks

Last November, a discussion in Sioux Falls about policies over the pledge of allegiance stirred up a heated national debate. In the aftermath, a South Dakota state representative says he’s going to introduce a bill that, if passed, will require all schools to make time for the pledge, although it won’t compel students to recite it. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks researches the sometimes dark history of these 31 words.

Signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is fairly simple. The website seems to be functioning now, and if you’re computer-literate or have good help, creating an account and shopping for insurance is doable. At least, that’s the experience SDPB’s Victoria Wicks had when she went through the process. But as she learned while researching the marketplace, not all low-income applicants qualify for subsidies. There’s a gap in coverage for certain low income people in South Dakota, created where state and federal governments collide.

Courtesy photo

There are difficulties in providing healthcare to a rural state with a sparse population in a large geographic area. That describes much of South Dakota, especially west of the Missouri River. For a fuller picture, add in the challenges of an aging population and low income patients. On this segment of SDPB’s ongoing examination of the State of the State’s infrastructure, Victoria Wicks learns that the state’s most vital healthcare infrastructure isn’t so much bricks and mortar as it is flesh and blood.

Victoria Wicks

A black standard poodle named Rhett is helping children to read in Rapid City. This new program allows children to read one-on-one to the dog, which decreases their anxiety about reading out loud in the classroom. SDPB’s Victoria Wicks went to the Rapid City Public Library this weekend to meet Rhett and talk with his handler.

Victoria Wicks

Cody Blackbird is a nationally awarded Native flutist who walks in two worlds, thriving artistically while practicing a traditional way of being. He fuses indigenous beliefs with modern life in the same way as he incorporates traditional flute in contemporary music. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks sits down with Blackbird to hear his flute and his story.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Duffy

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments last week concerning prayer before city council meetings. That case involves the town of Greece, New York, where the town council conducts invocations similar to the ones in Rapid City. Victoria Wicks talked with Rapid City attorney Patrick Duffy about the legal precedents involved and possible outcomes of the case.

The Rapid City Common Council, along with the mayor and an atheist organization from Wisconsin, are awaiting the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case called Town of Greece versus Galloway. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has threatened to sue Rapid City for its practice of offering primarily Christian prayers before council meetings. But the city officials and supporters say the tradition is strong and should prevail. In the last of a five-part series, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks talks with people on both sides of this debate.

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments last week regarding prayer before public meetings. It’s a complicated topic, pitting various First Amendment rights against one another. Depending on the outcome of this case, the Rapid City Common Council could face a lawsuit for its invocation practices. For today’s Dakota Digest, the fourth in a five-part series, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks distills the Supreme Court arguments.

Image by Jim Stevens, Rapid City artist

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding prayers at public meetings. Although the controversy settles on the practices of a city council in Greece, New York, similar primarily Christian invocations are offered by the Rapid City Common Council. Depending on the outcome of the Supreme Court case, the Rapid City council could face a lawsuit.
 

Image by Jim Stevens, Rapid City artist

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against offering prayers before public meetings. Depending on the outcome, the Rapid City Common Council might face a lawsuit for its practice of starting meetings with predominantly Christian prayers.

Image by Jim Stevens, Rapid City artist

On Wednesday, November 6th, the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments involving prayers or invocations at public meetings. This year the Rapid City Common Council has been threatened with a lawsuit for hosting predominantly Christian invocations before meetings. At issue is the First Amendment establishment clause that prohibits Congress, and by legal extension, governmental bodies, from establishing or promoting a particular religion.

A long battle over a little girl has apparently ended. Baby Veronica is going back to South Carolina to live with her adoptive parents. The Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an order keeping the child in Oklahoma, one of many state rulings made after the U.S. Supreme Court said the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply. The high court ruled that Veronica’s biological father, an enrolled Cherokee, had not established a parental relationship with the girl, and so there was no family connection to preserve.

Victoria Wicks

We are a story-telling species. Whenever we get together, we start to relate to one another through stories, whether fictional or true. We tell jokes and life stories, and as we get to know and trust, we share our fears, our failures, and our sorrows. Through these stories, if we tell the right people, we pass along an oral account that might have historical relevance a few years down the road.

Victoria Wicks

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in South Dakota depends on federal money for basic services, relying on promises made through treaties with the United States government. In March of this year, mandatory spending cuts curtailed education and health care on the reservation, and if Congress won’t act to end the sequester for the coming fiscal year, another round of cuts will devastate federally funded programs. But as Crow Creek community leaders tell Victoria Wicks, the tribe is optimistically taking steps toward greater self-sufficiency.

Victoria Wicks

A family doctor from Bayside, California, is pedaling with her husband across the United States to call attention to the negative health effects of climate change. Wendy Ring stopped off in Rapid City to speak with a class to a couple of groups before continuing her journey that ends at Washington D.C. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks caught up with Ring at Oglala Lakota College’s Rapid City campus.
 
OUTTRO: A link for more information on Dr. Wendy Ring’s trip and to follow her journey

 

Victoria Wicks

A two-day conference to introduce Native students to health careers wraps up Wednesday in Rapid City. The second annual Health Careers Summit focuses on student research and connects students with faculty and health care professionals.

Victoria Wicks

Frank Waln is a Rosebud hip hop artist who is gaining national acclaim. He is the subject of a documentary screened at the most recent Voices of the Heartland presentation at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City. At the screening, Native American Music Award winning flutist Cody Blackbird played and talked with the audience. In the lobby, display boards held original art created by students from Rosebud schools. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks talks with Blackbird and film producer Randy Ericksen to find out what it is about Frank Waln that inspires a documentary.

Victoria Wicks

They’re not really saber-tooths, and they’re not really cats, but they’re related. They’re Nimravids, and researchers have discovered they fought one another viciously. These creatures now have an exhibit all to themselves at the Museum of Geology at the School of Mines and Technology. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks talks with two scientists about the mysteries exposed when fossils are uncovered.

Image courtesy of the artist

An exhibit by pastel artist Tim Peterson opened at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City this weekend. Titled “Drive By Stories,” the show features brightly colored slice-of-life scenes that Peterson says he notices when he’s going about his day.
Peterson says soft pastels, or dry pastels, are pure color held together with a bit of binder, and so they don’t fade, dry out, or crack as other painting mediums tend to do.

Victoria Wicks

There’s a lab in Rapid City where nanoparticles, the tiniest bits of matter, are used to create new materials.
Since its inception eight years ago, the Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory, or CAPE Lab, has grown a large infrastructure of machinery, equipment, and instrumentation. This allows scientists to do everything from molecular manipulation of materials to industrial manufacture of products to lab and field testing.

Victoria Wicks

Last week a graduate art student from UCLA returned to her hometown of Rapid City to work on a sculpture with area children. Bridget Beck will now ship the parts of the sculpture back to Los Angeles, where she’ll work on it with L.A. kids. And at the end of July, seven Rapid City kids will travel to L.A. to meet California kids and see the completed project. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks goes to General Beadle Elementary School in North Rapid to watch the progress and talk with some of the children.

Victoria Wicks

The United States needs a strong national energy policy but nationally, we can’t seem to agree on whether it’s hot or cold. This constant bickering and nitpicking blocks the nation from taking meaningful action. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a level higher than it has for millions of years. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks listens to the noise of the national debate and brings it home with a couple of South Dakota voices.

South Dakota Public Utilities Commission chairman Gary Hanson says the world needs to transition to renewable energy but, because the industry and economy of fossil fuels is so huge and existing technology is limited, change won't come abruptly.  He visited with SDPB news reporter Victoria Wicks.

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