South Dakota News Watch

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Effort begins to reduce risk of death of S.D. mothers during childbirth


New or expectant mothers in South Dakota — and across the United States — are dying during or after childbirth at higher rates than in nearly every other industrialized nation, and evidence suggests as many as 60% of maternal deaths are preventable. Nine mothers in South Dakota died in 2018 within a year of giving birth, and 10 South Dakota […]

As university enrollment falls, worries rise over possible cuts


Total enrollment is on a steady decline in the public university system in South Dakota, forcing higher education officials to seek new sources of revenue, realign infrastructure and potentially cut programs or faculty positions. At South Dakota State University in Brookings — the state school with the highest enrollment — an unexpected 4% decline in enrollment in the fall of […]

Wide-ranging reforms proposed to make S.D. youth treatment homes safer for residents

Governor’s recommendations follow News Watch investigation into abuses at youth home in Plankinton

  Gov. Kristi Noem has proposed a major overhaul to how South Dakota oversees, inspects and updates the public about conditions in privately run youth homes across the state. Youth treatment facilities in South Dakota would be subjected to far greater state scrutiny and oversight, and public access to inspection and complaint information would be heightened under a series of […]

S.D. retailers face uphill battle for survival amid frequent market changes


Overall retail sales have climbed steadily in South Dakota in recent years, but who is getting the money and how they are getting it are changing. Maintaining a successful brick-and-mortar retail business continues to be a challenge in South Dakota as online retail continues to surge, chain stores grow rapidly and low-price dollar stores pop up regularly in small towns. […]

A LOOK INSIDE A CAFO: S.D. farmers share stories of a life in livestock


The expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in South Dakota is without a doubt one of the most controversial topics in agriculture. CAFOs are large livestock farms that generally house 1,000 or more animals in a confined, indoor space at any one time. Supporters say the CAFOs are mainly well-run, efficient operations typically owned by families that raise […]

Expansion of large ‘CAFO’ livestock farms causing division and concern across South Dakota


The livestock industry in South Dakota — among the state’s largest economic engines — is undergoing a fundamental transformation that may alter farms, farmers and rural communities for generations to come. Despite a rising wave of grassroots opposition, South Dakota is seeing a steady increase in the development of livestock operations known as CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations, in which […]

Rural doctor shortage in S.D. worsened by lack of physician training opportunities


As medical schools across the United States have expanded to meet the needs of an aging population, the number of post-graduate training positions — commonly known as residency programs — has not kept pace with the increasing number of medical school graduates. The lack of residency opportunities has slowed the pace at which new doctors are ready to practice and […]

New midwife certification in S.D. allows more home births with less education and clinical training


Legislation passed in 2017 in South Dakota opened the door to licensing of a new classification of “professional midwives,” who can become certified to perform home births with far less training and education than “nurse midwives” who have been regulated in South Dakota for 40 years. While midwives with the new professional certification have successfully delivered 10 babies since then […]

Reforms and new programs give hope for improvement in Native education in South Dakota


Editor’s note: This story is one in a series of articles by South Dakota News Watch on Native American education in the state. The full series is at sdnewswatch.org. New efforts to better align school curricula and classroom teaching with the unique needs of Native American students are among the reasons for new hope that South Dakota may be turning […]

Native Americans left behind in S.D. education system

Ineffective school system and societal challenges seen as causes that South Dakota Native students lag well behind white peers

Editor’s note: This story is one in a series of articles by South Dakota News Watch on Native American education in the state. The full series is at sdnewswatch.org. The South Dakota constitution demands that state government provide equal opportunity to education for all of its citizens, yet for decades Native Americans – who make up 9% of the population […]


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