South Dakota News Watch

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Health concerns rise as dental patients in S.D. put off care during pandemic


Many South Dakotans have put off needed dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the risk of gum disease, tooth and bone loss or other serious health issues related to poor dental care, which can include heart attacks and diabetes. Patients with acute dental problems and those who undergo routine dental care have stayed away from dental offices due to […]

Legalization of marijuana could provide economic boost for S.D. Native American tribes


Legalization of marijuana in South Dakota could provide a new, lucrative economic-development opportunity for Native American tribes and tribal members who have historically struggled to find prosperity and stability in the state economy. Voter-approved measures to legalize marijuana in South Dakota may be on hold or stalled for the time being, but planning and research into creating a regulatory framework […]

Proposed health plan for S.D. farmers would fall outside state and federal regulations


South Dakota lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow agricultural industry groups to develop their own health-benefit plans that would be outside the purview and regulation of the state Division of Insurance and which would sidestep some federal consumer protections. The measure is being pushed by the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, a powerful agricultural industry group that is […]

Preparations for legal pot pick up pace in Pierre


After a slow start in 2021, South Dakota lawmakers and state officials are taking increasingly aggressive steps toward building a framework for the growing, packaging, selling, taxation and use of legal medical and recreational marijuana in the state. A major piece of legislation was filed Feb. 3 that sets the stage for lawmakers to implement specific parameters for who can […]

COVID antibody treatments effective but underused in SD


A relatively new medical treatment that can reduce symptoms, speed recovery and even prevent death due to COVID-19 in some patients is widely available across the U.S. and South Dakota but is not being used as much as health officials and medical providers would like. Only about 30% to 40% of the nation’s available supply of therapeutic treatments known as […]

Questions swirl around who qualifies next to get COVID-19 vaccine in S.D.


South Dakota health officials and medical providers have been near the top of the nation in administering COVID-19 vaccines as they become available, but a significant new challenge awaits as the state moves into a much larger, more difficult-to-define population of people who may qualify for a shot. That upcoming subset of people will include an estimated 80,000 residents with […]

Lawmakers hesitant on legal weed as industry ramps up


Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referenced state laws regarding driving under the influence of intoxicants. South Dakota Statute 32-23-1 makes it illegal for someone to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Entrepreneurs across South Dakota are already taking steps to claim a share of the state’s soon-to-be-legal marijuana market, but legislators and regulators […]

Pandemic pushes more S.D. reservation residents to seek homeownership


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more Native Americans living on reservations in South Dakota to seek homeownership, a potential step toward greater family financial security and community stability in some of the state’s most impoverished regions. But long-standing institutional, economic and geographic barriers continue to block some reservation residents from buying a home.  During the first six months of 2020, […]

Pandemic deaths place logistical and emotional burdens on S.D. funeral directors


Funeral director Mitch Steinhoff’s alarm goes off at 4 a.m. most days so he can get in a few hours of work before the phones start ringing at 8. One call can change the whole day in the funeral business, and for Steinhoff, owner of Eidsness Funeral Home in Brookings, the phone rings more often in recent months as more […]

Outdoor recreation in S.D. sees big boost during pandemic


South Dakota’s billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy boomed in 2020, providing a much-needed economic boost in several business sectors while giving hope to wildlife management agencies that they can reverse a long-term decline in the number of licensed hunters and anglers. As movie theaters closed, concerts were canceled, stores shut down and other indoor activities were curtailed by efforts to slow […]


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