Dakota Digest

A new SDPB Podcast

A podcast delivering the best SDPB programming.

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

Non-Profit Provides Vet Services For Rez Dogs

May 19, 2014
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.

Managing Bison In The Badlands South Unit

May 16, 2014
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.

Evans Plunge Re-Opens Under City Ownership

May 5, 2014
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.

Mammoth Site Plans Expansion

Apr 23, 2014
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.

Grasshopper Numbers To Remain Low In 2014

Apr 21, 2014
USDA-APHIS

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.

Swinging With Doc Severinsen

Apr 18, 2014
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.

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.

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.

iHike Program Allows Virtual Badlands Treks

Mar 21, 2014
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.

Anniversary Of "Warriors' " Deaths

Mar 14, 2014
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.

Discovering The Past Through Dental Fillings

Feb 28, 2014
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”. 

New Curricula Explores Sculpture Project

Feb 13, 2014
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.

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. 

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.

Arctic Ice Loss And The Loopy Jet Stream

Jan 21, 2014

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.

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.

Sex Trafficking in South Dakota: A University Perspective

Jan 10, 2014

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.
 

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. 

Sex Trafficking At The Sturgis Rally

Jan 6, 2014

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 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.
 

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.

It's (BLEEP) Jimi Hendrix

Jan 2, 2014
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.
 

 

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. 

State of the State's Financial Infrastructure

Dec 17, 2013

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.  
 

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.

Masayuki Nagase - The Man Behind The Art

Dec 16, 2013
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.

Bad Water In The Black Hills

Dec 10, 2013
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.

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.

SD Hosts Pheasant Summit

Dec 9, 2013

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.

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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