Cara Hetland

SDPB Radio Director

Cara Hetland is the Director of Radio and News and Information for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. She has nearly 30 years in public radio as a reporter, producer and manager.  Cara is also host of the Friday In the Moment program Innovation.  She loves a good story and can’t wait to tell South Dakotans about it.  Cara also teaches media courses at the University of Sioux Falls and loves working with interns to develop their own style of storytelling.   Cara lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, Daren. She spends her "free" time being mom to two adult daughters and cheering on her youngest daughter in her high school events. Cara likes to exercise, read and is always open for a ride on the tilt-a-whirl.

Ways to Connect


In honor of Neutrino Day, this week's Innovation broadcast live from a mile undergroud at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Scientists from around the country and the world gather there to investigate the mysterious building block of the universe: dark matter.  

  , and UC Berkley grad student Mia Ihm explained the LUX experiment, which uses the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world. Alan Poon and Wenqin Xu of the Majoranna Project also explained the underground construction of a new double beta decay detector.


Neutrino Day keynote speakers Joel Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams believe we are at the center of the visible universe...and so is everything else. Primack is a professor of physics and astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Abrams is a writer with a B.A. in history and the philosophy of science from the University of Chicago.


On the eve of the 7th annual Neutrino Day, Sanford Underground Research Facility lab director Mike Headley discussed the future of the lab, which includes the next generation of dark matter research. Communications director Connie Walter also shared what visitor's can expect from Neutrino Day. Among many other attractions, the free event features the Journey Museum planetarium, tours of the underground lab and a space school musical.

Cara Hetland

Emergency management officials have opened a command center for volunteers wanting to assist people suffering from floods in Lincoln and Union Counties.  Lt. Gov. Matt Michaels toured the headquarters in the Canton United Methodist Church.  He says officials are looking for victims as well as volunteers.

Sioux Falls Police Department

Nadine Richter has been located and she is unharmed. The police thank you for your service.  

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.

Sioux Falls Police Department

 Sioux Falls police are investigating a homicide that happened over the weekend.  Rescue personnel responded to a medical emergency in 709 South Garfield in central Sioux Falls Sunday evening.  Fifty-six year old Kari Ann Kirkegaard was found dead inside the home with no immediate cause of death.  An autopsy reveals the manner of death is consistent with homicide.  Detectives say the victim’s bedding was missing.  Police are asking the public near South Garfield Avenue to check their garbage containers for anything out of the ordinary.

Researchers hoped a new compound treatment is a miracle drug to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. But that's not the case for more advanced patients. So now they're looking at using the treatment on early onset of the disease. Dr. Bill Fuller with Avera Behavioral Health discussed the research study of mild Alzheimer patients.  To find out more about the study call Gail at Aver Behavioral Health at 605-322-3075.


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.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says he stands by his decision not to grow South Dakota’s Medicaid program for now. This comes one day after a poll shows a majority of South Dakotans supports expanding Medicaid. Some 20,000 adults in South Dakota make too much for current Medicaid standards but too little to purchase insurance on the new health insurance exchange. Daugaard says he doesn’t recommend expanding Medicaid this year.

Taylor Hetland

Artists have a way to shine a new light on hot button issues.  This week we’re looking at sex trafficking in South Dakota.  And one Sioux Falls artist is combining modern dance expression and cinematography to raise awareness of sex trafficking.  It's called "Freedom:  Unveiling the Cries of a Sex Slave"

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


In 2007, The StoryCorps recording booth was in South Dakota and made a stop in Eagle Butte.  Dana Dupris and Mitra Bonshahi recorded their conversation.  Dana Dupris speaks about growing up on an isolated ranch and lessons his father taught him.

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.

Cara Hetland / SDPB

Art can heal.  That might seem like an overstatement, but it's an idea backed by research that healthcare professionals are now embracing.  Hospitals are no longer square sterile boxes with small windows.  Instead they're being designed with patient input.  From the art on the walls to the music in the background experts say positive surroundings help us get better.  This is the first in a series where we explore The Art of Healing.

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 Veterans who served in conflict over the last ten years have seen a different kind of war than those who fought in World War Two and Vietnam.  And they have different wants and needs.  What began as a way for the community of Custer to say thank you to veterans has turned into saving families and relationships.  SDPB’s Cara Hetland has more on Operation Black Hills Cabin.   Pat Baird is a retired military veteran.  She and her husband both served in the Air Force and the North Dakota Air National Guard.  They know what it means to sacrifice for their country.

Diana Untermeyer, author of “Qatar: Sand, Sea and Sky.” Qatar, a country jutting off the Arabian peninsula into the Persian Gulf, stands as a stable and relatively open society in a region mired in conflict. Qatar is also a vital military and economic partner for the United States. Untermeyer lived in Qatar for three years while her husband served as the U.S. ambassador. While there, she became active in women and children’s programs along with getting involved in conservation, arts and health.

Minimum Wage Proposal

Mar 18, 2013

President Barack Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour and indexing it to the cost-of-living by 2015.  According to the White House, eighty percent of workers who would benefit from the president's proposal are 20 years of age or older.  And the wages earned by the workers who would benefit from this plan make up 46 percent of their households' income.  In this segment of Dakota Midday we’ll hear from Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris followed by David Owen, President of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.   

Tom Sorensen, Associate Dean of the USD School of Law. Beginning Monday, March 18, the South Dakota Supreme Court is in session for three days at the University of South Dakota School of Law. The justices will hear several oral arguments during the March 2013 Term of Court at the law school courtroom, including three oral arguments on Monday, March 18: State of South Dakota vs. Briley W. Piper, 9 a.m., Russell Englund and Mary Englund vs. Paul Vital, 10 a.m., and State of South Dakota vs. James Duane Riley, 11 a.m.

Kent Osborne / SDPB

A Minnesota based company is expanding in South Dakota.  Eagle Creek Software Services already has a technology center in Pierre and now it is promising 200 new jobs in Vermillion.  The company president says he hopes to add 800 more jobs within five years.  Ken Behrendt says his company will help design IT classed to be taught at the University of South Daktoa as a way to train future employees.  Behrendt says he's looking for students who are looking for a career.

Alison Terhorst

For many, a child’s first birthday is about balloons, gifts and cake.  But for one Sioux Falls couple, tragedy is forcing them to celebrate in a different way.   Quinn Noel Terhorst was born in the early morning hours on March 12, 2012.

  “I had 28 hours of labor,” says Alison Terhorst.  “She was very laid back and happy.  Our first born and the joy of our lives.”


But in July, at just barely four months old, the joy turned into sorrow.

Cara Hetland / SDPB

Several hundred people gathered in a theater near Sioux Falls to watch and cheer a rocket blasts from a California Launchpad.  The Landsat Data Continuity Mission or L-D-C-M is a joint project between NASA and EROS Data Center in South Dakota.  The satellite aboard the rocket will provide digital imaging of the earth.  

Just before noon central it was all systems go.  As the engines roar to life just 15 seconds before launch the crowd in a theater at the EROS Data Center watch a large screen showing a live shot from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


Hannah Olsen / SDPB

Twenty-two years after nine-year-old Rebecca O’Connell was found raped and murdered, the man convicted of the crime was executed.  Witnesses Tuesday night watched Donald Moeller die by lethal injection at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

Dave Kranz and I had a deal.  He would do a taped interview with me about his memories of George McGovern and I would hold the audio until after George McGovern died.  

At the beginning of the interview Dave jokes that McGovern would probably outlive us both.  

It was always fun for me to watch Dave Kranz work.  I was always in awe of him and his ability to know everyone and everything.  He could walk through a line of people and tell you story after story of everyone he recognized and how they're connected to certain politicians. 

Hannah Olsen

The execution of Eric Robert was carried out last night at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. Robert pleaded guilty to the April 2011 murder of Ronald Johnson during a failed escape attempt. Robert asked to be executed and waived his appeals. Monday's execution was orderly and precise.

Execution Tonight

Oct 15, 2012

 Tonight (October 15, 2012) at 10:00 PM Eric Robert is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the South Dakota State Penitentiary.  During the execution the media will await witness statements in the Ronald J. Johnson training center.   The place named for the victim of Robert’s Crime.    Attorney General Marty Jackley has already spoken this morning to the family of Robert “RJ” Johnson.  Johnson was murdered during a failed escape attempt last April of 2011.

By Victoria Wicks

Voters in a number of states have to produce some form of identification when they go to the polls, a requirement opposed by those who say the law disenfranchises specific groups. South Dakota requires a government-issued photo ID but allows people without the document to vote after signing an affidavit. For today’s Dakota Digest, SDPB’s Victoria Wicks explores these issues and other state laws that affect voters.

For more information on voting or registering to vote in South Dakota, click on the following sites:

Patients in Sioux Falls in need of a heart valve replacement may no longer face mandatory open heart surgery.    Sanford Health in North and South Dakota has been approved as one of a hundred other sites around the country in performing a new non-invasive heart valve replacement procedure.  On today’s Dakota Digest SDPB’s Cara Hetland has the story of how the surgery is different but necessary for the sickest of patients.

Marjorie Walberg was told in February she would need her aortic valve replaced.  For her it was bound to happen sometime.