Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
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Weather check: Folks, it's all over the place.
This week, it's a newsy one! We've got updated looks at some big projects from Mayor Paul TenHaken's State of the City address. We've also got a look at some of the changes (likely) coming for community centers, a handful of Super Simplified Stories and a look back on a tragic plane crash that happened 30 years ago today.
And now, news:
What did we learn from Mayor TenHaken's State of the City address?
Simplified: Mayor Paul TenHaken is focused on collaboration. And while his first term as mayor was marked by massive investments in infrastructure, Monday's State of the City address shows he's pivoting to more fun, collaborative, quality-of-life projects in his second term. Here's what he mentioned – and what he didn't.
Why it matters
- In previous addresses during his term as mayor, TenHaken has focused largely on managing growth, infrastructure and public safety. This year, though, the emphasis was less about the work of the city itself and more about what city is doing with the help of the private sector.
- TenHaken shared updated looks at several ongoing community projects, as well as announcing new amenities like a splash pad coming to the Great Plains Zoo and a "mini-pitch" soccer field coming to Terrace Park.
- TenHaken also touted partnerships among public safety officials across the state in helping address recidivism rates and in getting a "truth-in-sentencing" bill passed in Pierre this session.
"Collaboration is what built Sioux Falls," TenHaken said. "And it continues to move Sioux Falls forward."
Tell me more: What were some of the fun projects TenHaken shared?
See some updated renderings of Jacobson Plaza, the Unity Bridge, the River Greenway and more.
What is a community learning center – and how will it change after-school options for kids?
Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District is revamping its entire after-school program and shifting to community learning centers at all 22 elementary schools. Here's what you need to know.
Let's start with a definition
A community learning center (CLC) is a way to use school buildings as a conduit for local services. It's largely focused on – but not limited to – after-school care.
That's different from a community center, of which there are five in Sioux Falls. These are centers attached to elementary school buildings that are essentially a public recreation center with a free, open gym.
Why it matters
- Thousands of Sioux Falls kids don't currently have a place to go after school, according to a 2018 Augustana Research Intitute study. Barriers to after-school care often include cost and transportation. The community learning center model attempts to address both of those concerns.
- In addition to after-school care, these community learning centers will also give local service organizations a way to help reach people where they are to offer everything from cooking classes to parenting resources to programs promoting social and emotional development, said Rebecca Wimmer, coordinator of community partnerships for the Sioux Falls School District.
- The community learning centers will be in all 22 elementary school buildings starting this fall. In buildings with community centers the CLCs will take over use of community center space for CLC programming – a move that's generated some concern from parents and the City Council, who worry about eliminating the free, open gym option for kids.
"When we look at research, and we look at what really makes an impact on a child longterm, quality after-school programs have been shown to have a significant impact on grades, test scores, graduation rates, earnings later in life," Wimmer said. "Every child should have access to that. ... This shift is one way we can ensure that happens."
Who will have access? What happens to middle-school kids who went to the community centers? And what does it mean to say the CLCs will be affordable?
Sioux Falls Development Foundation remembers those lost 30 years later
This is a paid piece from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
Simplified: On April 19, 1993, a small, state-owned airplane crashed in eastern Iowa, killing eight people returning from an economic development meeting in Ohio. Thirty years later, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation is remembering the men who lost their lives that day and reflecting on how their efforts still have ripple effects in our city's economy today.
Why it matters
- The plane crash was one of the deadliest in South Dakota history, killing everyone on board, including Gov. George Mickelson, three leaders within the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, two state employees and two pilots.
- The flight had been returning to Pierre after an important meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio with leaders from John Morrell, whose parent company was facing years of losses and starting to divest from its meat division.
- There was talk of selling or closing the meat processing plant in Sioux Falls, and Gov. Mickelson, along with representatives from the Foundation, went to see what they could do to save the plant.
- The plant was ultimately saved – and later sold to Smithfield in 1995 – but the tragedy of the plane crash is still felt 30 years later.
"We were a very small organization – we were six employees," said Karen Ruhland, director of research, membership and communications for the Foundation. " You spent more time with them than you did your own immediate family. ... It was devastating to our whole entire office. It was devastating to our community."
Tell me more about the men who died
And learn more about how their legacy will be remembered today.
Super Simplified Stories
- City closer to expanding sewer infrastructure on the west side. The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday approved issuance of wastewater system revenue bonds for up to $17.9 million. Die of boredom in that last sentence? Ok, lemme try it like this: The city has the ability now to fund the infrastructure to bring sewer to new areas on the west side, paving the way for future development.
- Check out some seeds. The Common Roots Seed Library is expanding to the Ronning Branch library this month. Take some seeds, plant them, harvest new seeds from the plant, and return them to the seed library. Pigeon605 has more details.
- City reserves hit record levels. The city has a hefty savings account of more than $82 million (or, about 38% of the city's annual operating expenses), according to a 2022 year end financial report shared Tuesday with City Council. Dakota Scout breaks it down.
- Be weather aware. There's a community tornado drill happening starting at 10 a.m. this morning. It's a good reminder to have a plan in place for severe weather.
- Avera CEO stepping down. Avera President and CEO Bob Sutton announced this week that he will be stepping down after being diagnosed with a "serious medical condition." Sutton has worked 10 years at Avera, the last five as CEO. The hospital system will be conducting a national search for its next leader.
- Tea Area Schools leader wins statewide award. Jennifer Nebelsick Lowery was named South Dakota's Superintendent of the Year.
Find your next home at the Parade of Apartments
This is a paid piece from Lloyd Companies.
Simplified: Lloyd Companies is hosting a Parade of Apartments later this month to help people seeking housing find exactly the right fit, regardless of their stage in life. Here's what you need to know.
Why it matters
- It's no secret housing can be hard to find in Sioux Falls. The Parade of Apartments shows you a wide variety of available apartments, lofts and townhomes across all parts of town – including affordable housing options.
- Both guided and self-show tours will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. Can't make it in-person? Virtual tours are also available through the event's Facebook page starting at 10 a.m.
- People can tour as many properties as they want, and anyone who applies for a home at the parade will be entered into a drawing for a $100, $250 and $500 visa gift card.
"This event is a great way to not only showcase the variety of Lloyd properties, but it's also a way to make it easy for people seeking apartments to see all of the options available to them," said Ashley Lipp, vice president of residential operations for Lloyd Companies.
THIS AND THAT
What I'm falling for this week:
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