Seth Tupper

Business and Economic Development Beat

Seth Tupper has been named SDPB’s new Business and Economic Development Reporter. Tupper is based at SDPB’s Black Hills Studio in Rapid City.

Raised in Wessington Springs and Kimball, and a graduate of Kimball High School, Tupper earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University. Tupper most recently reported for the Rapid City Journal, where he spent five years covering politics, Black Hills-based natural-resource management, county government and numerous other topics. Prior to his tenure at the Journal, Tupper worked for The Daily Republic in Mitchell and The Daily Globe in Worthington, MN. Tupper wrote the 2017 book Calvin Coolidge in the Black Hills (Arcadia Publishing), about the president’s eventful three-month stay in 1927.

Deadwood Gaming Association

Deadwood casino operators hoping for emergency payroll loans from Congress have received some bad news: They’re not eligible, at least for now. 

Seth Tupper/SDPB

New Forest Service research says the Black Hills National Forest could be depleted of trees suitable for logging in the next 30 years. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

For the second week in a row, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing a record number of South Dakotans onto unemployment rolls. 

There were 6,645 claims for unemployment assistance filed last week in South Dakota. That’s the most-ever in the available data from the U.S. Department of Labor, which goes back to 1987. 

South Dakota lawmakers have added another option for small-business owners who need help getting through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Hay Camp Brewing Co.

Hope was running high for the Jaimes family five months ago when they opened their La Luna Café in Sioux Falls. 

The winter months were tough, but as the weather improved, so did business. 

Josh Haiar/SDPB

The coronavirus pandemic has driven unemployment claims to all-time highs in the state and nation.  

Last week, 1,703 people filed claims for unemployment assistance in South Dakota. That’s almost nine times more than the previous week, when there were 190 claims. 

For small businesses wondering how to get money from the $2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package, the answer is at local banks. 

The congressional deal was struck Wednesday. It includes a reported $350 billion for loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees.  

Deadwood, SD

More than a thousand people who work in Deadwood’s gaming industry could soon be out of work. 

City of Rapid City

People across the nation are debating the appropriate balance between economic and public health responses to the coronavirus pandemic, and a local version of the debate went public Sunday in Rapid City. 

Governor Kristi Noem said the state is adding more staff and phone lines to its unemployment call center because of increased claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

The South Dakota Department of Social Services wants more flexibility for medical providers responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

SD Department of Labor and Regulation

South Dakota’s Labor and Regulation Department is scrambling to handle a sudden surge in unemployment claims because of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. 

UPDATE, 3/20/20: Marnie Herrmann of First Security Bank originally told SDPB on Wednesday that none of the employees at the bank tested positive. On Friday, she clarified that she does not know if the employees who were tested have received their test results.


A person from New York who conducted training March 11 at Security First Bank in Rapid City has since tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release from the bank. 

Seth Tupper/SDPB

The big health systems on either side of South Dakota are taking opposite approaches to the public visibility of drive-through sampling for COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

In western South Dakota, Monument Health has publicly announced the location of a drive-through sampling site.  

Seth Tupper/SDPB

Boxes and bags of food were piled high Tuesday morning in the parking lot of the Open Heart United Methodist Church in Rapid City, next to South Middle School.  

The church handed out sack lunches while Feeding South Dakota gave out packages totaling 15 to 20 pounds each – including pasta, canned fruits and veggies, cereal and frozen meat. 

Nate Wek/SDPB Sports

Bill Collins said his Best Western Black Hills Lodge in Spearfish usually loses money in March and makes it back during the summer, but this March brought a chance for breaking even – until the coronavirus outbreak reached South Dakota.  

Public Utilities Commission

Some providers who received state broadband grants last year installed service where a competitor was using federal money to do the same. 

Gov. Kristi Noem created the Connect South Dakota program when she took office in 2019. Her goal is covering the approximately 12 percent of the state that lacks internet service fast enough to be described as “broadband.” 

Seth Tupper/SDPB

About 50 people showed up at a public meeting Monday on the possible return of fireworks to Mount Rushmore, and many expressed concerns. 

Legislation limiting school bond elections to June or November took an unexpected turn Thursday before it was defeated.