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.



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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. 

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11:03 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

State of the State's Financial Infrastructure

Infrastructure can be defined as the basic facilities needed for society to operate. And nobody operates very well without access to adequate funds. As part of our continuing examination of the State of the State’s infrastructure, we look at the infrastructure of financial services in South Dakota, as well as what’s being done to protect those services.  

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5:00 am
Tue December 17, 2013

SD Healthcare Relies On Supply Of Doctors

Dr. Charles Hart
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.

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Arts - Nagase - Man
3:34 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Masayuki Nagase - The Man Behind The Art

Yuki Nagase
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

Over the summer, residents of and visitors to Rapid City had the opportunity to meet a world class sculptor and view his work at Main Street Square. But as with any artist, there’s a real person behind the images they create – a person who’s often not visible to the public.

Today we visit with sculptor Masayuki  Nagase to learn about the man behind the art.

It’s a quiet Saturday morning in September as I sit beside Masayuki Nagase…about to share in a daily ritual for the Japanese artist.

"What are we about to have here? " I ask.

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8:25 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Bad Water In The Black Hills

Peter Rausch an engineer with RESPEC collects water samples in Spring Creek during the summer of 2013.
Credit Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

This year officials in the Black Hills issued several water quality alerts warning the public about high levels of fecal bacteria in a small section of Spring Creek.   The bacteria exceeded EPA thresholds for swimming.  

For some, the pollution found in Spring Creek is a red flag that the Black Hills needs to do better at protecting its water quality over the long term.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray continues our series “The State of Our State” with a two part story on the efforts to maintain water quality in the Black Hills.

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3:50 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Docs Encourage Moms To Delay Inductions

Doctors in Sioux Falls are working to keep babies growing as much as possible before being born. Physicians say an effort to prevent unnecessary inductions results in more healthy newborns. 

In early October of last year, Emily McNamara had no idea how many monitors and breathing machines would surround her in a matter of hours. She was on bed rest at fewer than 33 weeks pregnant when her blood pressure suddenly skyrocketed.

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2:08 am
Mon December 9, 2013

SD Hosts Pheasant Summit

Governor Dennis Daugaard is looking for ways to ensure that South Dakota’s pheasant hunting tradition continues to grow. State officials, landowners, sportsmen, members of the tourism industry and others met in Huron last week. They discussed ways to conserve the state’s pheasant population while maintaining the strength of the agriculture economy.

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5:00 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Flutist Cody Blackbird Walks In Two Worlds

Cody Blackbird
Credit 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.

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4:33 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Arctic Air Grips State

Some highways in the state are seeing blowing snow and dangerous conditions.
Credit SDPB

South Dakota is now in the middle of a bitter cold snap with the kind of frigid temperatures not seen in several years.  

In the coming days parts of the Black Hills will see high temperatures that are still below zero.

On this Dakota Digest we check in with our reporters around the state about the cold weather. 

We begin in Aberdeen with SDPB’s Jenifer Jones  who takes a look at  snow totals on the ground in the wake of the arctic air blast .

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9:19 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Budget Plans Use $136M In One-Time Funds

Governor Dennis Daugaard presents his FY2015 budget to lawmakers.
Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard has his plan for fiscal year 2015 which includes millions of what leaders call unexpected money. That starts just about seven months from now. The governor’s suggestions are a far cry from deep, overarching cuts he proposed just a few years ago, and the plan capitalizes on one-time money.

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5:30 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Governor Daugaard Gives Budget Address for FY2015

In today’s budget address, Governor Daugaard’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015 asks for increases in areas such as education, Medicaid and state employees. Daugaard says the state was expecting only minimal increases in those areas, with no other funds available for other departments. That was until the state received its unclaimed property funds.

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