Simplified: Before we dive into predictions and "what to watch" stories for 2024, I wanted to look back on some of the big stories of 2023 to show a little bit more about where we've been before we think about what's next.

In community news:

Even if Apple Tree stays open, the childcare crisis will remain
Even if funders are found to save the Apple Tree centers in the short-term, childcare advocates agree more long-term, systemic solutions are needed to address the ongoing crisis in Sioux Falls.
How a lost kayak found its way home
Tyler Northrup was starting to think he’d never see his kayak again. But don’t worry, his story has a happy ending.
Why people struggle to find mental health support in Sioux Falls
A lack of providers, transportation challenges and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are some of the barriers people in Sioux Falls face to finding adequate mental health care, according to a study released Tuesday by the Augustana Research Institute.

In city news:

Crime isn’t going up, but it is getting more complicated
The rate of crime is relatively flat (and in some cases, decreasing) in Sioux Falls, but Police Chief Jon Thum says that doesn’t mean cops’ jobs are getting easier.
Sioux Falls’ long-term spending plan has more than doubled in a decade
Mayor Paul TenHaken late last week released a plan to spend more than $1.1 billion on city capital improvement projects over the next five years.

In school news:

Why hundreds of kids are at risk of going hungry at school
The Sioux Falls School District will no longer be serving food to kids who have a negative balance of $75 or more on their lunch account. It’s a tough decision, officials said, but the alternative could be up to half a million dollars in debt by the end of the year.
Why enrollment is leveling off in Sioux Falls schools
Enrollment numbers in Sioux Falls show the start of an overall plateau as the districts hits its capacity.

In regional/county news:

Get a look at the new Juvenile Justice Center design
Initial designs shared this week show a more than 72,000-square-foot facility
There’s a lot of big feelings about plans to build a new prison near Harrisburg
The state announced last week that a new state penitentiary will be built south of Harrisburg. Here’s what we know (and what folks have to say about it).
How the county is trying to get full ownership of the fairgrounds
The Minnehaha County Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted to take legal action to figure out if there’s a way around the restrictions on what the county can do with the W. H. Lyon Fairgrounds