Dakota Digest

7:30 AM and 5:30 PM Central

SDPB's award winning News Staff delivers an expanded Dakota Digest feature report each weekday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  It's a chance to hear more about South Dakotas news makers, issues, and events.

Click here for the archives prior to Sept. 2012. Current archives are available by scrolling down.



Arts - Square - Native
3:39 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Native Artists Gather At Main Street Square

Pura’ Fe and Jennifer Kreisberg of “Ulali” perform during “A Gathering of People, Wind and Water”.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

Rapid City’s Main Street Square celebrated the second annual “Gathering of People, Wind and Water”. The Native American art market and cultural celebration is designed to use the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture project as an inspiration for cross-cultural awareness and appreciation.

One of Masayuki Nagase’s goals in creating the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture in the heart of Rapid City is to offer an environment where people of all races and cultures can gather to share their stories.

Read more
Arts - Main St Square - Sculptor
2:31 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Sculptor Returns To Main Street Square

Masayuki Nagase has returned to Rapid City's Main Street Square to continue work on his sculpture "Passage of Wind and Water:"
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

The country’s largest privately-funded public art project - “Passage of Wind and Water” - has resumed at Rapid City’s Main Street Square. We  spent some time with the artist to discuss his plans for the second year of work on a sculpture that’s scheduled for completion in 2017.

It’s a lot cooler in Rapid City than its been and it’s a perfect day for the gathering planned to welcome back Masayuki Nagase for his second year of work on the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture project.

Read more
Culture - Spearfish - Cowboy
1:28 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Spearfish Museum Celebrates National Cowboy Day

Branding cattle on the Great Western Cattle Trail.
Credit Courtesy High Plains Western Heritage Center

As citizens across the country celebrate our nation’s independence tomorrow, the High Plains Western Heritage Center is also putting time aside to recognize the American Cowboy. We visited the Spearfish museum to learn what it was like to raise cattle for a living and to discuss efforts by a 9-state coalition to mark the historic trail that brought cattle north from Texas to South Dakota and beyond.

Read more
Arts - Sculpture - Theater
12:53 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Theater Production Celebrates Sculpture Project

Graham Thatcher, Emily Weber and Michael Lytle (l to r) reading "A Passage of Wind and Water: The Badlands" - by Christine Stewart with the Rapid City Community.
Credit Photo by Joleen Zoller

The “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture project at Rapid City’s Main Street Square is having an impact on diverse sections of the Black Hills community – from local students to area and regional artists. We visited the Rapid City Performing Arts Center recently for a cross-artistic theater presentation featuring modern dance, film, poetry, and music inspired by the largest privately-funded art project in the country.

Read more
Politics - Obama - Reservation
5:36 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Tribal Members Comment On Presidential Visit

Monument to the oral history of the Standing Rock located near the tribe's administrative offices.
Credit Courtesy Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Following up on a promise made last Fall to tribal leaders from across the country, President Barack Obama is on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota today. And though a presidential visit is a big event in any part of the country, feelings on this Native American land that stretches across 2 states is being met with mixed feelings.

Read more
Science - Guinness - Reptiles
5:17 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Reptile Gardens Makes Guiness Book

There's more to the Reptile Gardens than creepy, crawly things - such as this camera-shy but very vocal parrot in the botanic gardens
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

As South Dakota marks 125 years of statehood, SDPB is featuring stories that rediscover our identity and heritage through the people, places, and ideas that make this state unique. Although most people across the country might consider us as “Small Town, U.S.A.”, many of our “places” are world-class. Today we visit a Black Hills institution that just made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in its class.

Read more
Business - Lakota - Coffee
11:50 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Hoka Coffee Creates Rez Brew

Hoka! Coffee - on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Credit Courtesy Hoka! Coffee

The Lakota are known for their strong cultural beliefs and traditions, their respect for all creatures – especially the buffalo, their sense of humor and their love of gatherings – large and small – that revolve around food. Always present at these gatherings – regardless of the season, is coffee.

Today we visit with a young woman on the Pine Ridge Reservation who decided to honor her own love of the coffea shrub – and that of the Lakota people – by establishing her own coffee company.

Read more
Health - Reservation - Dogs
12:10 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Non-Profit Provides Vet Services For Rez Dogs

Veterinarian Erica Monaco performs neuter procedure on "Bull" during Lakota Animal Health Care Project spay & neuter clinic.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

 A non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Reservation was founded with two primary goals in mind: care for the animals on the home lands of the Oglala Lakota, especially dogs…and reduce the population of “man’s best friend” that wander through the reservation’s villages.

Today we visit with a group of women who are doing their best to achieve both those goals – one “sunka” dog at a time.

Read more
Environment - Badlands - Bison
10:31 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Managing Bison In The Badlands South Unit

The Oglala Sioux Tribe's;proposed reintroduction of bison to Badlands National Park's South Unit is causing concern among many .
Credit Courtesy Badlands National Park

Transfer of Badlands National Park’s South Unit management to the Oglala Sioux Tribe has been an ongoing process since 2006. Plans for a series of public meetings on bison management in that area, and the sudden cancelation of those meetings, has raised red flags among tribal members as well as the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. Their joint concerns center on the intentions of the National Park Service and the Oglala Sioux tribe toward landowners and those who lease land near the South Unit.

Read more
Business - Hot Springs - Plunge
1:45 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Evans Plunge Re-Opens Under City Ownership

"The Plunge" after its re-opening under ownership of the City of Hot Springs.
Credit Courtesy City of Hot Springs

The Evans Plunge has been an important part of the small southern Black Hills town of Hot Springs for more than a century. Its warm waters have helped soothe those with physical ailments as well as provide a place for recreational activities to visitors and local residents alike. 

We visited “The Plunge” after its recent Grand Re-Opening to talk to community members about their views on the popular water spot’s new owners: the city of Hot Springs.

Read more
Science - Mammoth - Expansion
1:46 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Mammoth Site Plans Expansion

More than 100,000 people visit The Mammoth Site each year.
Credit Courtesy of The Mammoth Site

The Mammoth Site is one of the premiere tourist attractions in Hot Springs, bringing in some 100,000 visitors each year. These numbers have more than outgrown the facilities available for those who flock to Southwestern South Dakota from around the world to learn about the state’s ancient history.

Plans are underway to construct a 5000-square foot facility to provide more educational space for paleontology enthusiasts and, hopefully, more tourism income to the Hot Springs community.

Read more
8:42 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Grasshopper Numbers To Remain Low In 2014

This Two Stripped Grasshopper is considered to be among the more troubling species in South Dakota. It favors to eat crops rather than grass. Officials with SDSU State Extension say the state is home to some 70 species of grasshoppers.

Following the all the fires and floods in recent years you might think a plague of locusts is next.

But farmers and gardeners can take some hope this  summer.   State experts are predicting lower numbers of grasshoppers than normal for 2014.

 Experts who track grasshopper numbers say the population has taken a rollercoaster ride in recent years.

Read more
Arts - Music - Severinsen
5:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Swinging With Doc Severinsen

Doc Severinsen performing at Rapid City's Civic Center Theater.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

For the millions of viewers who watched The Tonight Show from the 1960s into the 1990s, the name “Doc Severinsen” was synonymous with that of Johnny Carson.

We caught up with the legendary trumpeter during his recent Rapid City concert to talk about the old days and the new – and what keeps the 86-year old musician going.

Read more
News - Williams - Mines
1:22 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Jody Williams On Land Mines And The 1st Amendment

Jody Williams - 1997 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Credit Courtesy Nobel Women's Initiative

There are 6 living female recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. One of them, Jody Williams, is from the United States. 

We spent some time with Ms. Williams during her recent visit to the Pine Ridge Reservation to talk about the causes the Vermont native has spent a good portion of her life fighting for: peace, human rights and women’s rights.

Read more
12:39 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Gov. Dennis Daugaard Seeks Second Term

Lt. Gov. Matt Michaels and Gov. Dennis Daugaard kick of re-election campaign in Sioux Falls.
Credit Cara Hetland

Governor Dennis Daugaard is asking voters for another four year term in office.  He kicked off his re-election campaign in Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Pierre. Daugaard credits his conservative values for successes over the last four years in office.

Dennis Daugaard says while he has led the state through some dark days with a Missouri River Flood, and a $127 Million structural deficit. There are brighter days ahead because of making tough choices.

Read more
Health - Badlands - Virtual
1:00 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

iHike Program Allows Virtual Badlands Treks

Web Ranger iHike program showing SDPB journalist Jim Kent's progress on a virtual hike through Badlands National Park.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

Badlands National Park has announced the introduction of its virtual Web Ranger iHike. The computer program challenges people of all ages to get outdoors, get active, and get moving by matching actual distances walked or hiked with equivalent virtual distances on Badlands Park trails.

I spent some time at the Badlands learning about the program and going for a short hike with a park ranger. Then I tried it on my own in the Southern Hills – with some canine support.

Read more
Culture - Lakota - Memorial
10:51 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Anniversary Of "Warriors' " Deaths

Poster for Memorial Dinner shows Lyle Eagle Tail and Madison Wallace
Credit Courtesy Wallace family

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Madison Wallace and Lyle Eagle Tail. The Lakota man and the non-Native teen drowned in Sioux Falls as they attempted to save Madison’s younger brother from the Big Sioux River’s churning waters.

Native Americans in the community are holding a memorial dinner tonight to remember Wallace and Eagle Tail and to honor all those who helped in attempting to save and then recover them.

Read more
Science - Deadwood - Remains
2:50 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Discovering The Past Through Dental Fillings

Mandible and cranium remnants of human remains found in Deadwood having a panoramic x-ray taken.
Credit Courtesy Deadwood City Archives

As we move further into the second decade of the new millennium, advances in science, technology and medicine seem to occur almost every day. But for as much as we move forward toward the next “great new world”, shadows of our past continue to arise reminding us of our “roots”. 

Read more
Education - Sculpture - Cuccicula
1:45 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

New Curricula Explores Sculpture Project

Gabrielle Seeley (center) discussing the Passage of Wind and Water curricula at the Teachers Learning Circle
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

  An innovative curricula has been developed to bring Rapid City’s Main Street Square Sculpture project to local schools. The sculpture, called The Passage of Wind and Water, is an interpretation of the topography, wildlife and diverse cultures of the Black Hills and the Badlands.

Created by an award-winning teacher, the program is being taught to local educators through a Teachers Learning Circle over a 3-month period.

Read more
Science - Deadwood - Remains
12:16 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Investigating Deadwood's Century-Old Human Remains

Photo of Deadwood's first cemetery - where unidentified human remains have been found.
Credit Courtesy Deadwood City Archives

The town of Deadwood has developed a reputation in many areas over the years. It’s the place you go to find gambling in the Black Hills. It’s the place to go to find historical reenactments of the Old West. Many say it’s also the place to go to find the spirits of the dead. But it hasn’t been known as the place to go to find a skeleton in your backyard…until now. 

Today we visit the stomping grounds of Wild Bill Hickok and finds the remains of a former resident who – at the moment - has no name. 

Read more
5:50 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Keeping the Mine Clean

SDPB's Cara Hetland with Robin Varland at the 4850 foot level of the Sanford Underground Lab at Homestake
Credit SDPB

Gold mines are dusty dirty places; full of mud, seeping water and grime.  It’s a different place if that mine is turned into a world-class underground science lab. Stepping off the lift and into the Sanford Underground lab at Homestake is like stepping into a hospital operating room only cleaner.  The walls here are vacuumed regularly and even grated stairs are meticulously scrubbed with alcohol wipes by hand.  Here we’ll introduce you to the woman whose job it is to keep the lab clean and the experiments dust free.

Read more
12:36 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Arctic Ice Loss And The Loopy Jet Stream

Fog covered peaks in the Brooks Range of Northern Alaska. Northern latitudes are warming faster than other parts of the hemisphere.

If you think the weather has gone crazy in recent years some scientists say you can blame the melting of the polar ice cap.

New research ties together the massive summer ice loss over the North Pole with a weakening of the jet stream leading to changes in the weather in mid latitudes.

Take for example the record flooding in 2011, the drought of 2012, and again floods in some areas around the country in 2013. 

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray spoke with a lead researcher of the study and with a regional climatologist to ask if this pattern of extreme weather will continue.

Read more
12:01 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Could Change S.D. Implied Consent Protocols

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.

Read more
5:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Country Isn't Indivisible When It Comes To The Pledge Of Allegiance

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.

Read more
7:30 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Sex Trafficking in South Dakota: A University Perspective

When you think of sex trafficking, most people think of bigger cities—places that are likely to have a lot of visitors all the time, or for certain events. South Dakota usually isn’t the first state you’d think of to be a hub for human trafficking. But there are a few characteristics that make South Dakota a potential environment for trafficking.
“In this state, Native women and children are at higher risk than any other racial groups, so trafficking is actually happening on the reservations,” Suzuki says.

Read more
3:45 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Seeking Justice For Victims, Sex Traffickers

Law enforcement used to see criminal transactions out in the open, but the relatively unregulated internet affords an online realm of shadowy deals and illegal trade. SDPB continues this week’s series examining sex trafficking in South Dakota with a look at how authorities identify and prosecute sex crimes.

Sioux Falls takes pride in being the state’s biggest city, but that banner can’t extinguish the downsides of more people in a small area. Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens says investigators in the street crimes unit focus on unsavory activities. 

Read more
1:06 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Sex Trafficking At The Sturgis Rally

A bartender at the 2013 Sturgis Rally puts on a makeshift mask to shield the burning rubber and smoke coming from bikers doing "burnouts" in the bar.

We begin now a series of reports looking at sex trafficking in South Dakota.    It’s an issue you might not think occurs in a rural state like this.  But experts note that human trafficking is an issue that could be happening right under your nose.

On today’s Dakota Digest – SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray takes us to the Sturgis Rally –where a number of arrests made for sex trafficking this year.

We need to issue a warning-- the descriptions in this story are graphic.

Read more
5:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Some Low-Income South Dakotans Can't Get Affordable Care Or Medicaid

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.

Read more
1:00 am
Thu January 2, 2014

It's (BLEEP) Jimi Hendrix

Part of the Whole is an art project done by 30 different artists who didn't know the end result. Each only had a small piece of the painting.
Credit Bonny Fleming

A new piece of work in Rapid City’s Art Alley involves 30 different artists on one mural.

Each artist received part of the image and a one square foot tile.  They then reproduced that image on their own– in the end the tiles were put together like a puzzle.

The result is one picture–done by 30 different artists.  The collaboration is called “Part of the Whole."

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has today’s Dakota Digest.


Read more
Arts - Ball - Murphey
1:11 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Michael Martin Murphey & The Cowboys' Christmas Ball

Michael Martin Murphey has performed at the Cowboys' Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas for 20 years
Credit Courtesy Michael Martin Murphey

Cowboys, cattle and Christmas; the words just flow together – especially in areas with a long history of men – and women – who wear chaps, ride horses and spend a good portion of their time working on a ranch in areas collectively known as “the West”.

Today we visit with singer-songwriter Michael Martin Murphey to talk about one of the most enduring traditions of the American West: the Cowboys' Christmas Ball. 

Read more