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.

Arctic Air Grips State

Dec 5, 2013

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 .

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.

Governor Daugaard Gives Budget Address for FY2015

Dec 3, 2013

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.

Photo by Jim Kent


Think of places where kids are hanging out on the streets, with nowhere to go and getting into trouble - and New York, Chicago or Los Angeles might come to mind. But that’s the very situation that was taking place during the late 1950s and early 1960s in Rapid City – until an answer was found. Today we visit the Club for Boys on its 50th anniversary to talk to members – old and new – about what it’s like to have somewhere to go.


Local Company Produces Flaxseed Oil Salad Dressing

Nov 26, 2013

A company in Milbank has come up with a new way for you to get your daily dose of omega threes. Stengel Oil is taking flaxseeds, known for numerous health benefits, and turning them into salad dressing.

Thunder Valley Helps Tackle Tribal Housing Shortage

Nov 20, 2013

Anyone who wants to start a new housing development has some hurdles to overcome.

On tribal lands in South Dakota those hurdles are bigger than just about anywhere else in the country.

But new housing efforts are finding unique ways to break the old molds.   As part of our continuing series on infrastructure the “State of our State”-- SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray profiles one of the new housing developments on Pine Ridge.

Here is an extended interview with Nick Tilsen of Thunder Valley.

Sisseton Hosts Quebec Folk Musicians

Nov 18, 2013

For the next two years, Sisseton is South Dakota’s Arts Midwest World Fest community. The program allows towns in nine Midwestern states to experience new cultures from across the globe. Canadian group Le Vent du Nord recently spent a week in the area, giving residents a taste of Quebec folk music.

Le Vent du Nord is kind of a big deal in the folk music world. The award winning group travels the globe, preserving a piece of Quebec’s past. But the band’s members don’t take themselves too seriously.

“We are superstars of nothing,” says Nicolas Boulerice.  

South Dakota Communities Face Housing Challenges

Nov 15, 2013

It takes work to keep a small town going and growing. Work, and a lot of decision making. When it comes to housing those decisions aren’t always easy or cut and dry.

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.

1st Female State CSM In Guard History

Nov 11, 2013
Courtesy CSM Susan Shoe




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.

Hunt For Dark Matter Not Over Yet

Oct 30, 2013

The hunt for dark matter continues.  That’s the word from researchers at the Sanford Lab.  It is home to the LUX experiment one of the on-going global efforts to directly detect dark matter.

While the initial three month run didn’t turn up any eureka moments–the knowledge gained in fine tuning and calibrating the experiment are proving valuable.   The findings help scientists hone the search.

On today’s Dakota Digest SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has the latest play by play in the global race to find dark matter.

Searching For The Sundance Kid's Spirit

Oct 30, 2013
Courtesy Crook County Museum (WY)



The Black Hills town of Deadwood has a reputation for ghostly encounters at all times of the year – not just on Halloween. So many, in fact, that it’s almost hard to keep track of whose spirit is floating around Deadwood – and where. Today we go in search of a spirit whose presence no one has reported…yet.

Mount Moriah Cemetery…round midnight. The streets below are quiet after a weekend of Halloween revelry; an annual tradition in Deadwood.

If you’re over the age of twenty-five and are thinking about starting or going back to college, you’re not alone. Education officials say more and more non-traditional students are enrolling in the state’s higher-education facilities. Here we take a look at how the infrastructure of higher education is keeping up with the growing demands of non-traditional students in South Dakota.

The phrase, “I’m forty and I have homework.” may sound a bit amusing but education officials say non-traditional students are making a comeback in South Dakota and across the nation.

Learning To Be A DJ At The Dahl

Oct 25, 2013
Photo by Jim Kent

If you’re interested in music and have aspirations to be a musician, people might suggest you study guitar, piano or maybe a brass instrument. But studying “turntable” is unlikely to enter the conversation. Today we attend a class where students learn that being a DJ – or disc jockey - involves a lot more than just playing songs.  

Disc jockeys. They’re those usually upbeat, occasionally loud guys and gals who spin records – or now actually use computers, to get the songs we like to hear on the air waves.

Seniors Share Thoughts on Healthcare and Retirement

Oct 22, 2013

This week, SDPB Radio and AARP of South Dakota are teaming up to look at issues facing elderly South Dakotans. Today, seniors in two communities share what they think about healthcare, retirement, and the future.

The lunch crowd is fairly small at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Waubay. Jenny Bisgard serves the meals here, and she says there’s a reason for the fairly low attendance these days.

“More people don’t like to eat, because it’s not a thing to go to the old people’s home, as they say,” Bisgard says.

The way a woman chooses to treat breast cancer is sometimes different based on where she lives. That’s according to a study by researchers at the Mayo clinic, who released the latest findings this summer. Women who live far away from health care facilities take more drastic measures to eliminate cancer and they're less likely to complete follow-up treatments. Health organizations recognize the rural-urban divide in treatment and prevention.

Ranchers Cope With Huge Losses

Oct 10, 2013

The freak October blizzard that dumped more than four feet of snow has killed tens of thousands of cattle west of the river. Their carcasses are now tangled in barbed wire fences and emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

But the government shutdown means part of the safety net is gone; the programs normally operated by the USDA and other federal agencies to assist ranchers are shuttered.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Charles Michael Ray caught up with a few ranchers while they were out in the field corralling the surviving animals.

Concussions In Football

Oct 8, 2013

The National Football League continues to gain criticism from fans around the country about rule changes making football less punishable. Personal Foul penalties can be called by an official if they feel a defender made head to head contact on a player. Nicknames like the No Fun League have circulated between football fans over the last few years as the penalties and fines for head to head contact continue to increase. The NFL is trying to limit concussions in the game of football as many ex players are seeing devastating consequences from hits they took years and years ago.

Black Hills Still Digging Out After Blizzard

Oct 7, 2013

Western South Dakota suffered one of the worst blizzards ever recorded in the region over the weekend.   

Three days after the start of the storm -- tens of thousands are still without power, thousands more, especially in rural areas remain snowbound. 

Officials warn the public to stay away from the downed power lines.    They add that it will be Tuesday before many roads are opened-- the restoration of power may take much longer in some cases.  

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray has the latest.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota’s economy includes some major players – think health care organizations and a solid banking industry. But the backbone of the state’s economic stability is the earth and the life that agriculture professionals develop. As South Dakota Public Broadcasting examines the State of Our State, this story delves into the area’s number one industry: agriculture.

Sculpting 101 At Main Street Square Pt. 2

Oct 1, 2013
Photo by Jim Kent

To be a sculptor you need two primary tools – a hammer and a chisel. To complete a sculpture with those tools you need talent, training, practice and most of all patience. Today we return to Rapid City’s Main Street Square for more insight on how to create art from stone in “Sculpting 101”.

Sculpting 101 At Main Street Square

Sep 30, 2013
Photo by Jim Kent

It’s been three months since work began on the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture project at Rapid City’s Main Street Square. During that period we’ve visited the location several times to speak with the artist about his work, but haven’t explored how he actually creates his art. Today we take another tour of the sculpture site for the first of a two-part series calledToday we take another tour of the sculpture site for the first of a two-part series he’s calling “Sculpting 101”.    “Sculpting 101”.  

Feeling good about the way you look can impact healing.  One woman makes it her mission to take a blank face of a cancer patient and make her beautiful.

Credit Cara HetlandLooking good helps women focus on healingEdit | Remove

Art of Healing: Art Therapy And Lifelong Healing

Sep 26, 2013

"Every picture has a story, and for a lot of children art is the medium that helps them get their story out," -- Linda Thompson with Lutheran Social Services.

The Art of Healing is the focus of a week-long series on SDPB.  We’ve heard how positive artworks in hospitals can speed recovery.  But, the act of creating art can also lead to healing and recovery.

Cara Hetland

Art is playing a larger role in healthcare.  Administrators consider everything from the design of a building to the art inside as a way to create a positive healing experience.  As the series Art of Healing continues we look at how healing is found in the act of creating art.

Art of Healing: Healing a Community

Sep 24, 2013

August 2, 2011 is a day many Rapid City Police officers will never forget.  It's the day Officers Nick Armstrong and Ryan McCandless were shot and killed during a routine traffic stop.  Throughout the Art of Healing series we're hearing how art in hospitals can speed recovery and also how artists find healing from personal tragedy.  Here we examine how art plays a role in helping an entire community heal in the wake of tragedy.