Photo by Victoria Wicks

After a 25-year career, Susan Stark Christianson left a political job in Alaska state government and took off on a quest to explore the wisdom of grandmothers. Her goal was to travel from Siberia to Patagonia to find what female elders value and want to teach. From those interviews, Christianson created and published a book, and her videotaped interviews are now woven into a rough cut documentary.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Avera Health is buying insurance organization DakotaCare. Company leaders are not revealing the purchase price. Talks started two weeks ago, and representatives for both entities could reach a final deal by the end of this month. Leaders say customers and employees likely won’t notice changes in the short term.

The board chair for DAKOTACARE says health insurance reform can be good for consumers but difficult on insurance companies. Doctor Kevin Bjordahl says sometimes making insurance affordable for a patient puts a strain on insurance providers.

WiSE Center Opens On SDSMT Campus

Nov 19, 2015
Chynna Lockett

There is currently a national movement to involve more women in the science and engineering fields. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is encouraging its female students to connect with one another through the Women and Science and Engineering, or WiSE program. The school held an open house for the new WiSE Center.

The new WiSE, Women in Science and Engineering, Center is tucked into a building on the School of Mines and Technology, or SDSMT, campus. The walls are covered with images of women through history and science themed murals painted by the school’s art club.

Dakota Political Junkies Seth Tupper, Rapid City Journal enterprise reporter and Denise Ross, editor with the Black Hills Knowledge Network/South Dakota Dashboard discuss the latest in politics in South Dakota. We discuss possible Medicaid expansion, the Blue Ribbon task force report, the movement asking Secretary of Education Melody Schopp to step down and the Center for Public Integrity's recently released State Integrity Investigation, for which South Dakota received an "F" grade.

South Dakota Magazine

John Andrews, Managing Editor of South Dakota Magazine talks about the Nov/Dec issue that focuses on the 125th Anniversary of Wounded Knee.  We discuss the stories, oral histories, photographs, and art related to Wounded Knee.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is now designated ISO Class 1. The national Insurance Services Office rates fire departments across the United States. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is one of just 132 departments that meet the criteria for the Class 1 status.

Leaders remove a red cloth hiding part of a Sioux Falls Fire Rescue truck. Emblazoned on the white and red paint is shiny, reflective text: I.S.O. Class 1.

Rob Holso is the field representative with Insurance Services Office. He says the 100-point evaluation includes the fire department and community resources.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some lawmakers on South Dakota’s education task force say they hoped for a more specific funding plan. The report from the Blue Ribbon committee includes many precise recommendations. Some members say the final numbers don’t go far enough.

Dakota Midday: Leadership SD

Nov 17, 2015

Leadership South Dakota aims to build the next generation of state leaders.

The program sends participants to different locations across the state like the State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota State University in Brookings, and Oglala Lakota College in Kyle.
Students spend time getting to know the people and organizations in these communities.

The Blue Ribbon Task force has sent its report to Governor Dennis Daugaard.  In it they make several recommendations to improve education in South Dakota.  The task force calls for at least $75 million in ongoing additional revenue for education, boosting the average teacher salary and changing the funding formula to reflect a student teacher ratio.

Two members of the task force join us to talk about the report.  Democrat Billy Sutton and Republican Deb Soholt.

SDEA President Mary McCorkle is traveling the state as part of the annual American Education Week tour. Millions of educators and parents, students and community leaders are joining the NEW in raising awareness about the critical need to provide every child with a quality public education. Mary McCorkle joins us to talk about what’s happening in South Dakota and will also respond to the Blue Ribbon Task Force report.

Professor Kurt Hackemer, Chair, History, Philosophy & Native Studies at the University of South Dakota.  Professor Hackemer present this month's Humanities Research Forum, “Wartime Trauma and the Lure of the Frontier: Civil War Veterans in Dakota Territory."  Hackemer’s presentation is Tuesday, November 17 at 4:00 p.m. (refreshments at 3:30 p.m.) in the Al Neuharth Media Center Conference Room.

Lawrence Hott, director of “Rising Voices,” joins Dakota Midday to discuss the film.  SDPB-TV airs “Rising Voices” Monday, November 16 at 9:00 p.m. Central, with a repeat on Sunday, November 22 at 2:00 p.m. Central. "Rising Voices" looks at how Native Americans may be facing a permanent silence — the extinction of their languages.  But the Lakota “Sioux” of the Great Plains have chosen a different path: teach the language, bring the words forward, out of the silence of cultural assimilation.


Jarad Bernstein, Director of Public Relations and Media Management at Drake University joins Dakota Midday.  Drake was in the spotlight  this weekend with the Democratic Presidential debate on campus. We’ll discuss the opportunities for students during a presidential year.  

Photo courtesy of Susan Stark Christianson

A writer and filmmaker from Alaska is bringing her documentary, The Wisdom of the Grandmothers, to Rapid City later this week.

Susan Stark Christianson developed the film from interviews she gathered for a book, published in 2010. The documentary first aired on public television in Alaska on Mother's Day.

Now Christianson is traveling around the United States, screening the film. She says her message is that there will not be peace on Earth until the voices of grandmothers are heard.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

The documentary Rising Voices features workers and volunteers with the Lakota Language Consortium. One of them is Albino "Junior" Garcia, who lives at Rockyford, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Garcia travels to schools where Lakota is taught and lends his support and energy to the effort. On Sunday, Nov. 14, before the documentary was screened at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, SDPB's Victoria Wicks sat in on Garcia's language class, when he gave a Black Hills group a taste of his teaching skills.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Authorities are looking for a man they believe raped a 14-year-old girl in Sioux Falls. Police say the suspect is armed and dangerous, and they want anyone who sees him or the van he’s driving to call 911.

Officials are searching for 41-year-old Frederick McAbee. He’s a black Sioux Falls man who is about 5'9" tall and weighs 165 pounds. Authorities believe he is driving a gray 1999 Chevy Express. That’s a full-size cargo van. The license plate is 1BMC21.

The University of Sioux Falls Theater Department presents "I Never Saw Another Butterfly".  Director Joe Obermueller discusses the play and how he teaches its meaning to students. Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher is on campus for the opening to talk with students about her experiences in Terezin.

Oceti Sakowin Code Talkers Recognized

Nov 12, 2015
Courtesy Dawn Sherman

A statewide tour of Congressional medals awarded to Native American code talkers and their tribes ended in the Black Hills yesterday/on Veterans Day. SDPB’s Jim Kent visited with a Native American spokesperson for the South Dakota National Guard to discuss the medals and their importance to tribal people.

Patty Buechler

Mental health care providers working in schools receive recognition this week. Governor Dennis Daugaard has declared School Psychology Week in South Dakota to acknowledge their impact on learning. School psychologists focus on removing challenges so students can succeed in the classroom.

SDSU Extension Receives Grant For Food Hub

Nov 11, 2015

SDSU Extension is launching a food hub for producers and consumers in the southeastern part of the state. Its purpose is to help local farmers sell products to restaurants, schools, and institutions. Funding for food hub project comes from a $100,000 grant from the USDA.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

A researcher from USD spent 18 months studying dynamics between the Rapid City Police Department and indigenous community members. Tuesday night he presented his findings to a full auditorium of city residents. Results show that the Native population is larger than census figures would have it, and there are arrest factors that have skewed the statistics.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Cancer researchers in Sioux Falls are now part of an international group collaborating on personalized treatment. Avera Cancer Institute is one of five American institutions partnering in a consortium referred to as WIN. Doctors say the revelations can help people with cancer at all stages.

Standard cancer treatments are often based on therapies that work for most people. Doctor Brian Leyland-Jones says everyone is different – and so are their cancers. He says tumors have different genes, compositions and signaling pathways.

Interview with Chris Voelz, executive director, College Women’s Sports Awards.  Voelz delivers her Harding Lecture Series talk, “From Towels to Trophies: 43 Years of Title IX in College Athletics,” Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Rancher Builds Memorial To Nation's Veterans

Nov 10, 2015
Photo by Brenda Kleinjan, SDREA

A South Dakota rancher has created a memorial to America’s military veterans on land that’s been in his family for generations. What started as a simple dedication to his father who was a Korean War veteran…has expanded into an elaborately designed tribute to men and women of all races and backgrounds who’ve served the nation. SDPB’s Jim Kent traveled to Eden, South Dakota to view the veterans memorial and has this report.

Krystil Smit, Executive Director of the South Dakota Farm Bureau joined Dakota Midday.  Smit began her new position in October and she discussed her vision for SDFB as well as short-term and long-term projects.

John Mollison

Interview with historian/artist John Mollison.  Mollison’s new project for “Old Guys and Their Airplanes” is “There. And Back,” a 30-minute documentary featuring Vietnam War POW Capt. Charlie Plumb. 

“There. And Back.” documents the profoundly challenging experiences that Plumb experienced during and after the Vietnam War.  Mollison accompanied Plumb on a recent visit to Vietnam.  

UJS photo

South Dakota Supreme Court justices weigh in when lawyers come before them to make oral arguments. And they did so in October, when the defense made a case for calling Fall River County residents as jurors for an Oglala Lakota County lawsuit.

Justices issued an opinion in that case Thursday, Nov. 5.

The deadline for petition signatures for ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments is November 9 at 5:00 pm.  Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explains the process her office goes through to certify the large number of petitions coming in.  She also discusses her first year in office in getting the office caught up and the results of a legislative audit.

Reporter, interactive producer and filmmaker Todd Melby is the lead producer of Black Gold Boom.  It's a public media project documenting North Dakota's oil boom and bust.  His stories have aired on US public radio stations.  The documentary centers on teh debate over fracking among the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people of western North Dakota.

Former US Senator Larry Pressler discusses the award winning film "American Hustle" and how the ABSCAM scandal was portrayed in the film.  Pressler was the only one not to take a bribe in the sting operation that snared seven members of Congress and many other political figures in the late 1970's.  Pressler also discusses the accuracy of war films and what effects they have on the general perception of those wars.