Seth Tupper

Courtesy of South Dakota Wildland Fire Division.

A wildfire near Rapid City burned several structures Monday afternoon and forced an estimated 500 people to evacuate, but officials anticipate they averted a larger disaster. 

The Schroeder Fire began Monday morning on private property about 4 miles west of Rapid City, near Schroeder Road. Authorities say there was no lightning in the area, which suggests the fire may be human-caused. Strong winds pushed the fire across an estimated 800 acres of private, state and federal land by Monday afternoon. 

Click here to watch the full story on YouTube.

South Dakota lawmakers introduce hundreds of bills during their annual legislative session in Pierre, and every bill is entitled to a public hearing. 

It’s a predictable and transparent system that South Dakotans have come to take for granted. 

But it wasn’t always that way. Five decades ago, the Capitol was a more closed-off place, until it was opened up by rule changes in the 1970s. 

Secret hearings and pocket vetoes


New research is out on how much logging to allow in the Black Hills National Forest, and the findings are already caught up in a debate over the future of the region’s timber industry.  

In the Moment: March 23, 2021 Show 1014.

Courtesy Photo

A bill that affects transgender athletes could cost South Dakota millions of dollars in economic activity if it’s signed into law, according to an official who recruits major sporting events to the state.

Thomas Lee is the executive director of the Sioux Falls Sports Authority. He previously worked in North Carolina, where lawmakers passed a bill in 2016 dictating which bathrooms transgender people could use


federal government proposal to change the definition of a metropolitan area could affect cities nationwide, including one in South Dakota. 

The definition of a metropolitan area hasn’t changed for 71 years. It’s an urban area with at least 50,000 residents in the core city. 

Now the federal government wants to bump the threshold to 100,000 residents. 

SDPB / Joshua Haiar

March 17, 2021 Show 1010.


All three members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation voted against the latest COVID relief bill. 

They say the $1.9 trillion legislation is too broad and expensive. 

Democrats passed the bill with no Republican support. The bill includes direct payments to many Americans, extended unemployment benefits, money for vaccine distribution and school re-openings, and other pandemic-related items. South Dakota state and local governments will get $1 billion. 


Ballot questions in South Dakota need a simple majority to pass, but many legislators want a change: They’re asking voters to set a 60 percent threshold for some measures. 

The target is anything on a ballot that imposes or increases taxes. The measure would also apply any time the state is spending more than $10 million. 

Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, of Watertown, said it’s a defense against outside influence on ballot issues. 

Mineral Mountain Resources


A state board has awarded a water permit to a company looking for gold in the Black Hills.  

Mineral Mountain Resources has already drilled 49 holes for core samples. Many of those were near Keystone. The company has since moved its search north to the Rochford area.  

The drills need water for lubrication. The company has bought water from the city of Lead, and trucked it in 3,000-gallon tanks.  

Now the company plans to draw as much as 10 gallons per minute from a well near the drill sites.   

Seth Tupper/SDPB


A southern Black Hills compound inhabited by members of a polygamous religious sect was sold Thursday. 

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office conducted the sale at the county courthouse in Custer with about 40 people in attendance. 

The bidding started at $500,000 and ended at $750,000. Three former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were the winning bidders. 

Patrick Pipkin, of Utah, spoke for the group. 


Just when it looked like 40 orphaned natural-gas wells in northwestern South Dakota would finally be plugged, the story took a turn into the realm of cryptocurrency. 

A Texas company, Spyglass Cedar Creek, drilled the wells 15 years ago on the vast grasslands in the vicinity of Buffalo.  

SDPB / Joshua Haiar

A watchdog group says legislation presented by Gov. Kristi Noem as a nonprofit protection effort could hide political contributions. 

Noem sent her lawyer, Mark Miller, to testify on the bill during legislative committee hearings. 


SDPB Reporters Talk This Week In Pierre

Feb 8, 2021

February 8, 2021 Show 987 Hour 1.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting brings you gavel-to-gavel coverage of the state legislative session, now underway. You can find coverage on our website at or SD.Net. You can also download the Statehouse podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.  


In The Moment … February 1st, 2021 Show 982 Hour 1

The South Dakota state legislative session moves into February, and SDPB brings you gavel-to-gavel coverage, daily reporting, a daily Statehouse podcast, and in-depth analysis of the debates and the decisions. 

  • Guests:
  • Seth Tupper, SDPB's business and economic development reporter.
  • Lee Strubinger, SDPB's politics and public policy reporter.
  • Jackie Hendry, host of South Dakota Focus.



In The Moment … January 21st, 2021 Show 975 Hour 2

SD Tourism

Gov. Kristi Noem hopes the new president supports fireworks at Mount Rushmore as much as the last one.

“Yes, absolutely, I’d love to have President Biden at Mount Rushmore on July third with the fireworks as well,” she said Thursday in response to a reporter’s question during a press conference.


The governor brought fireworks back to Mount Rushmore last summer with then-President Donald Trump’s help. It was the first such show at the mountain carving in 11 years. Trump attended along with several thousand people.

Noem said the fireworks were a success.



People in South Dakota could soon have control of a space object, apparently for the first time in the state’s history.

The new capability is coming to the federal government’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, known by the acronym EROS, near Sioux Falls.

The staff at EROS has been processing satellite imagery since 1972, but the facility has never been able to control a satellite’s movements – until now.

SDPB Forecasts Statehouse 2021

Jan 12, 2021

In The Moment January 12th, 2021 Show 971 Hour 1

Lawmakers gather in Pierre today for the official beginning of the state legislative session. Governor Kristi Noem gives her State of the State speech at 1 p.m. CDT / 12 p.m. MDT. 

Guests: Lee Strubinger, Politics and Public Policy reporter, Seth Tupper , Business and Economic Development reporterm and Jackie Hendry, host of South Dakota Focus on SDPB-TV.

Rapid City is paying almost $300,000 to the owner of an adult-themed store to settle a dispute that began four years ago.


The City Council denied a conditional-use permit for Dick & Jane’s Super Spot in 2017. The owner, David Eliason, filed a lawsuit.


Governor Kristi Noem has criticized the accuracy of statistical modeling used to make predictions about the pandemic, but one of her own projections from nine months ago has proven sadly accurate.

That projection is the death toll. In April, Noem released numbers indicating the state would eventually suffer a minimum of 1,325 deaths. The state recently surpassed that total and has now suffered 1,519 deaths among people infected with COVID-19.


A new company is bidding for some of the mineral rights associated with 40 orphaned natural-gas wells in northwest South Dakota, raising the prospect that some of the wells could eventually go back into production. 



Gambling revenue from Deadwood casinos is almost even with last year. That’s despite a one-month shutdown in the spring because of the pandemic.

Global Forest Watch

It seems like a simple idea: Plant a trillion trees around the world.  


It would help with the fight against climate change, because trees pull carbon dioxide – a heat-trapping greenhouse gas – out of the air.  

Carla Knecht felt it just before midnight.

“My husband said my name a couple times and then he said, ‘Are you OK?’ And I said, ‘yeah,’ and we both said, ‘What was that?’”

What they felt was a vibrating jolt. It lasted about 5 seconds. They felt their bed and the house shake. They heard a low rumble.

“I’ve never felt that before, thank God,” Knecht said, “and I hope I never do again.”

But they’re OK, and so is their house. It’s about 7 miles west of the small town of Bowdle in north-central South Dakota.


Gov. Kristi Noem has an ambitious goal to expand high-speed internet, known as broadband, to “every remaining unserved or under-served South Dakotan.”

She announced the plan Tuesday during her annual budget address.

She said it will cost $200 million. She wants the Legislature to budget $100 million for it, and she said the rest will come from the federal government and internet providers.

South Dakota Economy With Seth Tupper

Sep 15, 2020

In The Moment … September 15, 2020 Show 902 Hour 1

The South Dakota economy has been reeling from the impact of a global pandemic in ways were are only beginning to understand. SDPB's Seth Tupper has been following the money all year and he joins us with an economic update. 

Sturgis Recap

Aug 17, 2020

In The Moment … August 17, 2020 Show 882 Hour 1

The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in the books. Seth Tupper joins In the Moment from the Black Hills Surgical Hospital studio inside SDPB's Black Hills Studio with a recap.

Sturgis Update

Aug 14, 2020

In The Moment … August 14, 2020 Show 881 Hour 1

Sunday wraps up the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Seth Tupper joins us today from Black Hill Surgical Hospital studio in SDPB's Black Hills Studio with the latest.

Independence Day Celebration Recap

Jul 6, 2020

In The Moment … July 6, 2020 Show 852 Hour 2

This weekend, fireworks returned to Mount Rushmore for an Independence Day celebration featuring President Donald Trump. The Pennington County Republican Party planned events in Rapid City. Protesters took to the street to speak out against the president and against treaty violations.  South Dakota Public Broadcasting had reporters across the state working to bring you coverage of the event. SDPB's Lee Strubinger was at Mount Rushmore. SDPB's Seth Tupper was in Rapid City.