Business

Courtesy Black Hills Corp.

Black Hills Corporation is setting new goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

The Sioux Falls City Council is considering a mask mandate tonight. It carries a 50-dollar fine for failing to wear a mask in public indoor spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. 

Local faith leaders and some doctors say the current policy of personal responsibility isn’t working. Others say the ordinance won’t make more people wear a mask. 

The Greater Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce encourages masks to prevent spreading COVID-19. But C-E-O Jeff Griffin says the group isn’t convinced the ordinance will improve compliance. 

Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Amazon is buying land in Sioux Falls, but the company is not saying exactly what it plans to do.

The company purchased 80 acres from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, according to Bob Mundt, the foundation's president and CEO. The land is northwest of the I-29 and I-90 junction, along Marion Road.

Neither the foundation nor Amazon disclosed the purchase price. The public record of the sale is not yet available at the county courthouse.

Mundt said, “We’re excited to make the sale, and we’re anxious to see what it is that they build there.”

covid.sd.gov

South Dakota businesses and nonprofits that have been hurt by the pandemic have a short time to apply for their share of $450 million in government grants.

Congress passed the CARES Act pandemic relief bill in March, and state government got $1.25 billion.

About half of the money went unspent through the spring and summer. Ian Fury, spokesman for Gov. Kristi Noem, said there were reasons for that.

FCC

Millions of dollars are at stake in a lawsuit pitting rival South Dakota telecommunications cooperatives against each other.

The plaintiff is Venture Communications in Highmore. The cooperative serves parts of central and eastern South Dakota.

Its territory overlaps with James Valley Telecommunications in Groton, and James Valley’s subsidiary, Northern Valley Communications.

South Dakota Mines

A larger company has acquired a South Dakota startup that began with research by two university professors.

Todd Menkhaus and Hao Fong started their research in 2006 at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City.

They study nanofibers, which Menkhaus described as "really, really small-diameter fibers."

"They’re about a thousand times smaller than a human hair," Menkhaus said. "So you can imagine how tiny these things are.”

Sioux Falls Development Foundation

The federal government is providing money to help develop a Sioux Falls industrial park that's the site of a long-rumored but unconfirmed project with Amazon.

The Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration announced a $1.9 million grant Wednesday to the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. The foundation will use the money at Foundation Park, a partially developed, 800-acre area immediately northwest of the I-29 and I-90 junction.

Josh Haiar / SDPB

Government payments to unemployed South Dakotans during the pandemic have surpassed $300 million.

That’s happened in just the past six months. South Dakota Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman said it’s a historic figure.

“To put that in perspective, that $300 million is more than we’ve paid out in the last decade in benefits," Hultman told the state's Workforce Development Council on Wednesday.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Economic conditions are improved since the worst of the pandemic’s effects, but survey results show business owners are still pessimistic about the future.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis regularly polls companies across a six-state region. That includes South Dakota.

New results show historic levels of pessimism in the professional services sector. Businesses that anticipate declining sales revenue and profits over the next year outnumber those that expect growth.

The Fed’s Joe Mahon shared the results Wednesday in a webinar.

SD SBA

South Dakota’s 2020 Small Business Person of the Year bought a meat locker in Clark in 2009 and expanded it into a meat-retailing and restaurant operation called Dakota Butcher.

The company has five locations in eastern South Dakota and employs 70 people. Owner Randy Gruenwald said he and his wife, Karen, believe in a simple philosophy.

SafeGraph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Business improved for some hotels and restaurants this summer after pandemic-related disruptions during the spring, but representatives of the hospitality industry say they’re still suffering.

Bob Fuchs owns restaurants and a winery and brewery in the Black Hills, including the Firehouse Brewing Company. He testified virtually Monday to the Legislature’s Joint Commerce and Energy Committee.

SD Public Utilities Commission

A tax on internet service ended this summer, resulting in modest savings for South Dakota consumers and big holes in government budgets.

Meanwhile, governments are spending billions to expand high-speed internet access across the country, even as politicians grow increasingly resistant to imposing any internet taxes or fees that could pay for the expansion.

Gov. Kristi Noem welcomed the tax repeal.

SD LRC

Bullfighter Gus Kronberg said he lost jobs at 16 rodeos that have been canceled during the pandemic.

That’s cost him more than $10,000. And he said people throughout the rodeo community are reeling.

“It’s hard for me to understand and wrap my mind around the kind of loss our whole industry has suffered," Kronberg said.

State of South Dakota

South Dakota businesses affected by the pandemic could soon have another opportunity to get help. 

Gov. Kristi Noem wants to use federal money for up to $400 million in business grants.

The money would come from $1.25 billion in aid that South Dakota got from the federal government at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Noem has already designated large chunks of that money for schools and local governments. Spokesman Ian Fury said the governor is now asking legislators for feedback on her business grant proposal. 

Farmers Business Network

Some farming methods are better for the environment, but they don’t always come with a big or immediate financial reward.

A quickly growing ag-technology company with an office in Sioux Falls wants to change that.

The six-year-old Farmers Business Network collects data from thousands of farms. Company executive and South Dakota native Devin Lammers said the company analyzes that data and feeds it back to farmers, who use it to improve their operations.

Courtesy photo

Case study research can tell us a lot about how to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. But without a medical or science background, understanding the research and applying it can be challenging. Some architects are trying to help.

Tom Hurlbert is a South Dakota architect. But when he’s trying to explain the benefits of socializing or doing business outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the founding partner of Co-Op Architecture puts on his dad hat.

City of Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said a viral photo perfectly illustrates a problem called digital equity.

The photo shows two young children sitting on a curb with their laptops near a Taco Bell in California. They were reportedly using the restaurant’s free wi-fi to do their homework.

“It was a stark reminder that not all kids and not all people in our community have the same access to connectivity," TenHaken said.

Seth Tupper / SDPB

Almost every state in the nation produces more solar energy than South Dakota, but that hasn’t stopped a South Dakota company from becoming one of the nation’s top solar contractors.

GenPro Energy Solutions began selling solar water pumps for livestock in 2003. Seventeen years later, people at the company’s growing Piedmont plant are doing all kinds of energy-related things.

SD Banking Commission

Governor Kristi Noem says South Dakota has recovered most of the jobs it’s lost during the pandemic, but an analyst for the FDIC has different numbers.

Two weeks ago, Noem tweeted that South Dakota has regained 80 percent of its job losses.

SD Bankers Association

The head of a South Dakota banking group says Congress should make it easier for small businesses to get pandemic loans forgiven.

Curt Everson is president of the South Dakota Bankers Association. He’s also on the state Council of Economic Advisors. The council met Tuesday by Zoom.

Sioux Falls Development Foundation

Sioux Falls is abuzz with rumors about one of the world’s biggest companies possibly coming to town, but the company itself isn't talking. 

EIPcard.com

The South Dakota bank that issued stimulus debit cards on behalf of the federal government says about one-third of the money remains unspent. 

MetaBank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, issued 3.6 million cards loaded with a total of $6.42 billion beginning in mid-May. 

Governor Kristi Noem is trying an old South Dakota tactic: inviting companies to relocate from Minnesota to South Dakota for a better business climate. 

Noem is featured in ads running through Labor Day in Minnesota. 

New data from the federal government reveal more information about the Paycheck Protection Program, including some of the loan recipients. 

And that information shows the program’s deep and wide reach in South Dakota. 

National Park Service

The Noem administration said it would raise private money for a Mount Rushmore fireworks display attended by President Trump.  

Instead, taxpayers are footing the bill. And the money’s coming from a fund for research and economic development.  

 

Mike Wagner: Reactive Impulses & Leadership Success

Jul 1, 2020
SDPB

In The Moment … July 1, 2020 Show 850 Hour 1

SDPB

In The Moment ... June 30, 2020 Show 849 Hour 2

The pandemic has caused massive upheaval in the world of business.

Sioux Falls communications company Lemonly has launched a course on Designing Company Culture. Lemonly CEO John T. Meyer joins In The Moment for a timely conversation on how leadership and company culture should stand out as vital components to professional and personal success.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

When state Sen. Jeff Partridge urged his fellow legislators to approve the creation of a small-business relief fund at the end of March, he made a prediction. 

He said the money would be needed by the kinds of businesses “that we might not even be thinking of yet.” 

Seth Tupper / SDPB

Small businesses in South Dakota may get an opportunity to apply for pandemic-relief grants. 

Gov. Kristi Noem said the money would come from the $1.25 billion in federal aid the state already received.  

Noem is busy finding ways to spend that federal money. This week, she’s on a tour of the state. The focus of her message is $200 million from that federal package that can reimburse local governments for pandemic expenses. 

SDPB

South Dakota collected more sales taxes through May of this fiscal year than it did through May of the last fiscal year, despite this year’s pandemic and recession. 

That’s not what Gov. Kristi Noem expected in mid-April. 

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