South Dakota News Watch

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Flooding damage and repair costs could linger in SD for years


Recent extreme weather — and possibly more to come — has caused flooding that decimated eastern South Dakota farms and its rural transportation network. As a result, significant costs await townships and counties that already face fiscal challenges, possibly leaving some roads never fully repaired. The recent blizzards and rainstorms that have flooded farm fields and decimated roads across South […]

On-road ATV registrations rising fast


Here is a look at the number of all-terrain vehicles registered for on-road use in South Dakota compared to registration of all on-road vehicles. Year          ATVs registered          Total vehicles registered 2009          17,913                         1,184,344 2012          24,213                         1,248,890 2015          30,375                         1,336,814 2018          38,377                         1,387,196 Source: South Dakota Department of Revenue   The number of all-terrain vehicles registered for road use in South […]

Police agencies struggle to recruit and retain officers

Low pay, high stress, image issues are reasons for applicant declines

Law enforcement agencies across South Dakota and the nation are struggling to find enough qualified people to serve as police officers, potentially putting the safety of the public and existing on-duty officers at risk. Recruitment challenges and difficulty in retaining officers have caused some departments to endure reduced officer counts at a time when populations are increasing. That can mean […]

Farmers, ranchers face hard decisions as ag economy continues to slide


A 5-year slide in the agricultural economy in South Dakota and across the Great Plains has left many producers operating at a loss and is putting some in jeopardy of losing their farms.   A major decline in most commodity prices is the primary cause of the losses, but extended drought and recent flooding combined with a lingering trade war […]

Study: South Dakota Faces Growing Urban-Rural Digital Divide


South Dakota is threatened by a growing urban-rural digital divide, endangering residents’ quality of life and economic development efforts unless significant investments are made in advanced mobile technology, a new study suggests.   Researchers from the University of South Dakota and Virginia’s Old Dominion University interviewed and surveyed rural South Dakota residents last fall to determine their perceptions of coverage, […]

Thousands of S.D. voters don’t live where they register


Thousands of people who don’t live in South Dakota have become state residents, registered to vote and cast ballots in elections, which some lawmakers and election officials fear could unfairly alter elections.   State election officials say they are aware that people are claiming on voter registration forms to live at an address where they do not, but a lack […]

Rural health initiatives fill life-saving gaps in remote areas

FREE The Helmsley Charitable Trust has invested nearly $100 million to improve rural health care in South Dakota. The newest initiative is technology allowing heart surgeries to be done robotically for patients in isolated areas.

Obtaining quality medical care is difficult for the roughly 350 residents of Bison, S.D, and studies show that they and others living in remote rural areas of America have a higher mortality rate as a result. The northwestern South Dakota town lies about 30 miles from the North Dakota border. Horizon Health Care runs a small clinic staffed by a […]


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