News: Sep 28 - Oct 4

Oct 4, 2019

A GEAR Up update, a discussion about regenerative ag, and a special report on the Stanley Weber trial.

Plus, the South Dakota State Department of Education has released its annual report card. 

All this and more on this week’s news podcast.  

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The South Dakota Supreme Court ended its term with a hearing on Mid-Central Educational Cooperative’s handling of federal GEAR UP funds. The lawsuit in question followed investigations into Mid-Central business manager Scott Westerhuis, who murdered his family and set his house on fire before killing himself in 2015.

The case considers if two former GEAR UP students can be considered third-party beneficiaries of the contracts between the South Dakota Department of Education, Mid-Central Educational Cooperative, and the American Indian Institute for Innovation. 

Hubers Found Not Guilty on All Counts

Jun 29, 2018
Jackie Hendry

The jury finds a defendant connected to Mid-Central Educational Cooperative not guilty on all counts. They deliberated for more than five hours before bringing the State v. Hubers trial to a close. 

The verdict brought relieved sighs from several members of Hubers’s family who were also present for the reading—as they had been for most of the trial. The case ends on Hubers’s 46th birthday, but also hours after word that her mother in law has passed away.

In The Moment ... February 22, 2018 Show 282 Hour 1

Steve Priest founded the consulting firm of Integrity Insight International.

He joins In the Moment to discuss a few foundational principles of ethics, including the nature of conflicts of interest.

Tune in to South Dakota Focus with Stephanie Rissler for an hour-long conversation about ethics in state government on Thursday, February 22nd.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... February 6, 2018 Show 271 Hour 2

South Dakota Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton joins us from Pierre for a look at legislation he supports regarding campaign finance reform, open government, and education.


The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council submitted a resolution to state lawmakers on Thursday opposing the nomination of Don Kirkegaard to Secretary of Education. Council members are concerned about his connections to the GEAR Up Controversy.

The concerns were brought to the State-Tribal Relations Committee during its second unofficial meeting in 24 hours.


In The Moment ... August 30, 2017 Show 167 Hour 2

The Dakota Political Junkies Tackle GEAR UP, South Dakota's e-commerce law, a new mayoral candidate in Sioux Falls and Trey Gowdy's endorsement of Kristi Noem for governor.

Representatives of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute detail OLLI's 10-year anniversary.

Erik Helland of Landscape Garden Centers in Sioux Falls joins for In The Moment's bi-weekly gardening and horticulture segment.


In The Moment ... July 26, 2017 Show 142 Hour 2

Dakota Political Junkies Denise Ross and Roger Whittle join us to talk about the state’s top political headlines. Today we discuss lawmaker’s attempts to prevent future embezzlement of tax payer dollars as it relates to the continued investigation into Mid-Central Education Cooperative. We also talk about the state’s budget surplus and President Donald Trump’s popularity in the state.

In The Moment ... July 19, 2017 Show 137 Hour 1


A South Dakota lawmaker wants to make audits from organizations and businesses that receive state or federal grant money public.

That would include contractors like Mid-Central Education Cooperative, which played a role in the GEAR UP scandal in 2015.

State Senator Deb Peters says by making audits of private entities that receive public money public, the quicker something like a GEAR UP-type scandal can be caught in the future.

In The Moment ... May 23, 2017 Show 099 Hour 2

Audit of Mid Central Expected Mid-May

Apr 25, 2017
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The South Dakota Auditor General says he expects to release the final audit of the Gear Up program next month. Marty Guindon says the audit examines the financial dealings between federally-funded Gear Up and Mid-Central Education Cooperative.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people connected to the GEAR UP program and Mid-Central Education Cooperative have been arraigned on accusations of fraud and financial crimes. Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers each pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake Andes.

Marty Jackley is South Dakota’s Attorney General.

The GEAR UP program in South Dakota is now operating from Black Hills State University. The education effort aims to prepare Native American students for college. Most recently GEAR UP is tied to accusations of wrongdoing as former leaders face criminal charges. Despite the challenges, the program is under new leadership and moving forward.

Incoming high school students from schools participating in GEAR UP are eligible to apply for a three-week program promoting college readiness and culture.

Dakota Digest for April 15, 2016

Apr 15, 2016

On this week's episode of Dakota Digest, USD Women's Basketball Coach Amy Williams is the new coach at the University of Nebraska. Also, a Grand Jury has indicted three people related to GEAR UP. All of this and more on this week's Dakota Digest.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A grand jury has indicted three people for felony crimes related to a Native American education program. State leaders say people within GEAR UP and Mid-Central Education Cooperative used the programs to steal more than one million dollars. Two of them died in a murder-suicide in September. Authorities announced charges against three other leaders last month.  

Dakota Digest for March 25, 2016

Mar 25, 2016

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, more information surfaces regarding the GEAR UP program. Also, there's now a news website available in the Lakota Language, and SDPB's Victoria Wicks took a trip up Harney Peak with "indigenous people."

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The attorney for one of the people charged with felonies related to the Mid Central Education Cooperative in Platte says the state is using his client as a scapegoat. The investigation involves crimes connected to Mid Central and a program called GEAR UP.

Argus Leader watchdog and political reporter Dana Ferguson talks with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh about South Dakota's conflict of interest laws, the GEAR-UP fallout, and the winners and losers of the 2016 Legislative Session.

Roger Whittle is managing editor with the Watertown Public Opinion. Jonathan Ellis is a reporter and columnist with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. They sit down with Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to discuss updates in state politics, from the Attorney General's press conference in Platte, to why March basketball can be more exciting than

March primary season, the Junkies provide insight and perspective into issues of the day.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people involved with an education cooperative that contracted with state government face criminal charges. South Dakota’s attorney general announced charges of falsifying evidence, conspiracy, and grand theft related to Mid Central Education Cooperative.

Mid Central Education Cooperative gained statewide attention in September when one of its leaders died violently. An investigation revealed that Scott Westerhuis killed his wife and four children before lighting the family home on fire and shooting himself.

Dakota Digest for December 4, 2015

Dec 4, 2015
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, Senator John Thune wants part of the Affordable Care Act repealed, and the deadline approaches for Medicare Part D. Also, a group of volunteers in Rapid City is dressing up as animated characters to help bring happiness to kids. All of this and more on this week's Dakota Digest.

Frankenfeld: Deeper GEAR UP Audit Needed

Dec 3, 2015
Photo courtesy of Don Frankenfeld

A forensic economist says the independent audit of Mid-Central Educational Cooperative’s financial dealings with the GEAR UP program shows no major wrongdoing.

Guest host Cara Hetland welcomed the Dakota Political Junkies a day early this week.  Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter/columnist Jonathan Ellis visited about the climate conference in France and whether anything will come out of it that pertains to South Dakotans, the latest refugee news in the state, a busy week for the Secretary of State's office as they peruse signatures for ballot initiatives, news that Black Hills State University will lead GEAR UP restructuring and more.


Dana Ferguson, watchdog state government and political reporter for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, joined guest host Cara Hetland to discuss DAKOTACARE's exit from the Federal Exchange and a federal immigration agency's plan to drop South Dakota's EB-5 program among other items.

Investigators say they believe Scott  Westerhuis a Platt resident and Administrator for the Mid-Central Education Cooperative, committed suicide in mid-September after he shot and killed his family and set his home on fire.  
The incident followed the termination of a $4-million dollar state contract with the Mid-Central Education Cooperative that oversaw the GEAR UP program.    
Those who formerly worked with GEAR UP now question what will happen to the six-thousand Native American students served. 

Dakota Midday: Dakota Political Junkies

Oct 7, 2015

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem will cast a vote later this month for the next Speaker of the House.  How will she vote and could her vote alienate some Republicans as she looks ahead to possible re-election in 2016?  Dakota Political Junkies Dana Ferguson of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader and Jon Hunter of the Madison Daily Leader discussed the Speaker vote along with news out of last week's Lincoln County GOP dinner, GEAR UP, and possible scenarios for the 2018 governor's race.