Lori Walsh

In the Moment Host

South Dakota Public Broadcasting is pleased to announce Lori Walsh is the new host for Dakota Midday, SDPB Radio’s live news and issues program which broadcasts weekdays from Noon-1pm (11am-Noon MT).

Walsh most recently worked as a freelance journalist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and as a Humanities Scholar for the South Dakota Humanities Council, leading veteran writing groups. A graduate of Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and Augustana University’s journalism program, Walsh is a writer, blogger, photographer, poet, and member of the National Book Critics Circle and Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Walsh also served in the United States Marine Corps for six years, working as a cryptologic Korean linguist.

“It’s a huge responsibility to take the helm of Dakota Midday. It’s so well-established, successful, trusted,” says Walsh. “It’s a great comfort to come into something and know I don’t have to re-invent anything. On the other hand, I can look to the future and say, ‘where is this going next?’ It’s exciting to say it can continue to get better, to grow. The conversation can continue. I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I’m a listener and now I’m a host.”

Tony Harrison is the South Dakota Fraternal Order of Police national trustee. He’s also in charge of narcotics investigations with the Pennington County Sheriff's Department. Tony Harrison  joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to talk about the FRONTLINE special “Chasing Heroin” on SDPB-TV, and whether or not heroin is a challenge for South Dakota law enforcement officers.

Andreas Widmer travels the world working with entrepreneurs, investors, and faith leaders. He talks about virtuous business practices and enterprise solutions to poverty. He’s the president of The Carpenter’s Fund, an organization that provides loans for building infrastructure in developing countries. He’s also author of the book “The Pope & The CEO: Pope John Paul the Second’s Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.”

Every Wednesday we invite some of the top political reporters in the state to discuss the nimble nuances of South Dakota politics. Today, we welcome Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, and Roger Whittle, managing editor of the Watertown Public Opinion.

Today the Political Junkies illuminate a rather dramatic week in the state capitol. From resignations to protests to a hint of success in the quest to raise teacher pay … the Dakota Political Junkies are here to help you make sense of it all.

Chad Hutchinson is the newly appointed music director of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra. He sits down with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss the vision for the orchestra's future, what musicians can learn from visual artists,  and the value of connecting young musicians with professionals.

Poet Barbara Duffey reads poems from her upcoming collection "Simple Machines" and USD's Marcella Remund discusses the Vermillion Literary Project's upcoming literary celebration.

The South Dakota Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council recently released its historic report, featuring an urgent call to close the achievement gap between Native and non-Native South Dakota students.

Mato Standing High, Indian Education Director for the state of South Dakota, joins Dakota Midday to discuss legislation that resulted from the NASAAC report, the importance of language and culture for Native students, and why all students desire to be held to high standards.

Tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. CT, SDPB-TV airs the premiere of the new FRONTLINE documentary “Chasing Heroin.” 

This intense documentary explores how America is experimenting with radical new approaches to the drug problem in the face of a heroin epidemic.  Following four addicts in Seattle, the film probes U.S. drug policy and investigates what happens when addiction is treated like a public health crisis, not a crime. 

University of South Dakota

Flint Michigan is a city of about 100,000 residents, 41 percent of whom live below the poverty line. On January 16, President Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint because of severe drinking water contamination. Because of changes in the city’s tap water supply, the people of Flint had been drinking and bathing in water highly contaminated with lead … a powerful neurotoxin that causes lifelong health consequences, many of which are severe. The problem with water in Flint has been going on for at least two years, and is still not fully resolved.

Arthur Haas was one of two ranchers who found a fossil but didn’t learn until many years later that it was a unique genus of aquatic reptile.  The Haas family had the honor of naming it.  It’s now on display now at the Adams Museum and it’s SDPB’s Images of the Past feature this week.

Darrel Nelson, Deadwood History Inc., Exhibits Director, and Bill Haas, the grandson of a man who found a plesiosaur fossil near Belle Fourche in 1934, join Dakota Midday to talk aboutt the discovery, the artifact, and the naming of Pahasapasaurus haasi.


The Dakota Discovery Museum in Mitchell has received a donation of 26 original Corn Palace mural works by Oscar Howe.  Included are four from 1955 and complete sets of 11 from 1957 and 1958.  Rod Brown of the Dakota Discovery Museum visited about the works on Dakota Midday.

More than ten years ago, Frank Warren stood on a corner in Washington DC and passed out 2000 self-addressed postcards to strangers. He asked those strangers to tell him a secret. It had to be a true secret. And it had to be something they had never confessed to anyone before.

Since that day, Frank Warren has received more than a million postcards from all over the world. Some of them are funny. Some are heartbreaking. He has turned his idea for a collaborative confessional art project into a global testament to the power of telling the truth.

Jonathan Ellis is a reporter and columnist with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Denise Ross is an editor with the Black Hills Knowledge Network and South Dakota Dashboard. Every week we invite some of the top political reporters in the state to join Midday for an informal conversation about politics. This week, Ellis and Ross discuss the progress of education funding legislation, an opponent for John Thune, and whether or not a sales tax increase to pay teachers could end up as a ballot measure.

The Case School of Music is offering its first Day of Percussion in Sioux Falls, Saturday, February 20. Instructors Daniel Heier and Tyson Conn discuss the art of percussion, from double bass drumming to jazz improvisation.

Lucas Lentsch is Secretary of Agriculture for South Dakota. He joins Dakota Midday to discuss issues farmers and producers are watching during the 2016 legislative session.

We all have stories to tell about the greatest blizzard on record … at least in the record of our own imaginations. For this week's Images of the Past, Bill Hoskins, director of the Siouxland Heritage Museumes, shares the story of the Blizzard of 1909 - forecasted via telegraph, traveled with the help of skis and bobsleds, and cleared with an early version of the snowblower.

A son of Chinese immigrants (his parents came to the U.S. via Cambodia during the war in Vietnam) Lim Bun grew up celebrating Chinese New Year.

Lim Bun sits down with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to talk about lucky money, the largest human migration on the planet, and how to maximize the volatility of the upcoming Year of the Fire Monkey.

Justice Antonin Scalia served three decades on the United States Supreme Court. He died this weekend at the age of 79. Called a “leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance" by the New York Times Scalia was known for his intellect and his wit as much as for his legal legacy.

USD law professor Jonathan Van patten discusses the impact of Justice Scalia ... why he was admired, why he was criticized, and why he was such good friends with intellectual opponent Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Mandie Weinandt is faculty advisor for the University of South Dakota’s LGBTQ student group. She joins Dakota Midday to talk about what it means to be an “ally” during conversations regarding transgender legislation.

The governor's plan to overhaul education funding continues to be key legislation during the 2016 Session. SDPB's Kealey Bultena has been following education topics closely as the process to raise teacher salaries continues to unfold and, some fear, unravel in Pierre. Bultena joins Lori Walsh to talk about the progress of HB1182 (a bill to increase the sales tax in order to sustainably fund education), rule 5-17, which was used to delay debate of the bill this week, and HB1008, a bill that seeks to redefine bathroom use for transgender students.

Ben Jones is Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of History at Dakota State University. He’s an Air Force veteran and he’s taught at the Air Force Academy. He also served as an advisor to the National Military Academy in Afghanistan. 

He joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss his new book "Eisenhower's Guerillas: The Jedburghs, The Maquis, and the Liberation of France."

For more information about the book, click below:

Jon Hunter is publisher of the Madison Daily Leader. Dana Ferguson is a political and watchdog reporter for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Today we discuss the latest on education funding, transgender legislation, and what to watch for in the week ahead regarding Medicaid expansion.

Lunafest is a national showcase of short films that highlights women filmmakers and women's issues. Peg Ryan is the chair of the Lunafest Custer committee. She joins Midday to discuss the power of a short narrative and the importance of bringingg international film to Custer.

House Bill 1008 is a bill that restricts the use of bathrooms by transgender students. It would require all students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth, regardless of their gender identity now. Supporters say it protects the privacy of all students. Opponents say it isolates and discriminates against transgender South Dakotans and takes control away from local decision-makers.

Technology changes every job, and with every change, comes challenges. Kelly Fuller is the Chief of Police in Deadwood. His department has been researching the use of body cameras for law enforcement officers. Chief Fuller discusses the technical specifics of the cameras and how law enforcement officers today strive for transparency, accountability, and officer safety.

Anita Kealey is the Creative Director of the Institute of Design and Technology of South Dakota. The Institute’s annual Form and Fashion Meets Function event is  Friday, February 19th at the Downtown Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux Falls. Tickets can be purchased by calling 605-275-9728.

Dakota Midday host sits down with Walt Bogdanich, an investigative reporter at The New York Times FRONTLINE correspondent. 

FRONTLINE premieres “The Fantasy Sports Gamble,” a collaboration with the New York Times, tonight at 9:00 p.m. Central on SDPB-TV and online at pbs.org/frontline. 

In 1871, the Grand Duke Alexis, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II, was sent by his father to help build friendship with America. Gary Enright, of the 1881 Courthouse Museum in Custer, shares the story of a young Russian nobleman taken with the charms of the American West.

Find more images and the full story on SDPB's Images of the Past page.

Oh My Cupcakes! opened in 2009 as South Dakota’s first gourmet cupcakery.  They now ship cupcakes nationwide. Melissa Johnson joins Dakota Midday to talk about Oh My Word!  It’s a luxury stationary store that offers a full schedule of workshops and, not surprisingly, cupcakes. Johnson discusses the power of the written word to encourage and inspire and how the stories of Oh My Word! customers are already becoming part of the store's business model.

The 50th Super Bowl featured more than 60 commercials that showcased celebrities, fast cars, and, of course, beer. Brandon Nutting is an assistant professor in the department of media and journalism at the University of South Dakota. He joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss the best (and worst) ads of the day and what they say about business, society, and a new generation of consumers.

The realities of international travel mean a mosquito-borne illness can reach the Midwest during blizzard season.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are at least 35 travel-associated Zika virus disease cases in the United States right now.  That includes a case in the state of Minnesota.  When Zika virus does cause illness, the CDC says symptoms are generally mild, but recent evidence suggests a possible association between maternal Zika virus infection and adverse fetal outcomes.