Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is brought to you by Millennium Recycling.

  • Millennium Recycling accepts single-stream recyclables from waste haulers, residents, and commercial sources across the region. As Sioux Falls grows, they continually educate and innovate to help our community recycle more! Learn what you can (and can't) recycle on their helpful blog here.

Status check: We've added more than 600 new names to this newsletter in the last couple weeks, so to all of you reading this, welcome!! (And now go tell your friends! 😉)  

  • If you also happen to be new to town, check out the Simplified Welcome Guide to get a quick run-down of all things Sioux Falls.

Weather check: Warm and maybe rainy – stay weather-aware.

This week, we'll hear about how Sioux Falls schools are upping security and safety efforts this year. You'll also learn about how you can influence water quality in the Big Sioux, as well as an effort to bring Spanish-language radio to the area.

And now, news:


How you can help lessen pollution in the Big Sioux River

Simplified: The Big Sioux River is – and has long been – polluted. And while runoff from the agricultural industry upstream is part of that, Sioux Falls residents are also having a significant impact on water quality. Here's a look at the current levels and what the average person can do (or avoid) to help keep the water clean.

Why it matters

  • Pollutants in the Big Sioux River include E. coli and nitrates. Water testing also measure the "total suspended solids" and compares all three substances' actual levels with the levels recommended as safe.
  • Water quality and drinking water availability are linked. Looking to the future, one potential long-term goal would be to get the river to meet standards that it can be treated for drinking water, said Troy Lambert, environmental analyst with the city.
  • About 75 percent of the river is "impaired" relative to its designated use, said Travis Entenman, director of Friends of the Big Sioux River – i.e. pollution is over the safe limit. That's been about level for the last five years. It's not getting worse, but it's not getting better.
"We are willing to put an arch over the river to celebrate the beauty of the river, but we aren't willing to put that money to cleaning the river," Entenman said. "We're celebrating a turd."

Tell me more about water quality

And how can I really help? I'm just one person.


How Sioux Falls schools are increasing focus on security this year

Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District created a new position this year – a safety and security coordinator. It's a full-time role aimed at helping support existing safety measures in the growing district. Here's a look at how the new job fits into the bigger picture.

Why it matters

  • The position has been on Superintendent Jane Stavem's mind for some time, she said, but one of the things that cemented her decision to act now was the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 dead.
  • The new role comes as the district also adds some new safety measures to make sure students and teachers have what they need – including ways to feel connected and supported in the school.
  • Stavem also stressed that the new coordinator wasn't added because the district saw a gap in security. Rather, she said as the district grows, it needs more resources, and Safety and Security Coordinator Dave Osterquist will play a big role in helping walk the line between a safe school and a welcoming one.
"Schools were never designed to be prisons," Stavem said.

What security measures are already in place?

And what else is new this year?


How Midco's new Wi-Fi features will help parents

This is a paid piece from Midco.

Simplified: Midco is rolling out new controllable and customizable Wi-Fi just in time to allow parents to set screen time limits as kids head back to school. Here's what you need to know about what's new.

Why it matters

  • Historically, the extent of Wi-Fi features has been the ability to turn it on or turn it off. Now, using advances in cloud-based technology – and the latest Wi-Fi tech – Midco has launched a Wi-Fi that does more.
  • Parents will have the ability to set Wi-Fi limits on a by-device or by-user basis, meaning you can do things as specific as turning off wireless internet access to a gaming console.
  • The new Midco Wi-Fi also comes with the latest in security. That means not only are your devices more safe from malware or other unwanted intruders, but users can also have more control over the types of content their kids can access online.
"We're trying to empower customers to manage their Wi-Fi more than they ever have before," said Oliver Chacon, Midco's director of products residential.

Tell me more about the new features

From better security to more parental controls, you're going to want to check this out.


Super simplified stories

  • Sioux Falls schools update 'Return to Learn' plan. The district updated its plan initially put into place during the pandemic. Students no longer need to quarantine after exposure or social distance in classrooms, and the district will no longer send letters when a case is confirmed in a class. Board members unanimously approved the changes.
  • Sioux Falls schools tweaks bus routes amid staff shortages. The district has already adjusted start times, and during a meeting Monday, school board members learned bus stops will be adjusted to do more corner stops and less winding through neighborhoods. That means kids may have to walk a little farther (up to half a mile for middle schoolers) to get to the bus in the morning.
  • Tell the city what you want to see in aquatics facilities. The city is holding several public meetings to start creating a vision for future facilities that will replace aging pools. Meetings are  4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 at City Center; 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the Kuehn Park Community Center; and a second meeting Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Cleveland Elementary


This nonprofit wants to create a Spanish language radio station

By Olivia Bertino

Simplified: The South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce wants to start a Spanish language radio station in Sioux Falls, but CEO and President Selene Zamorano-Ocho said they still need help getting it up and running.

...I've reached my final destination, bought a radio station and she's fifty thousand watts pure and clear...
(From the song K S O S by Emmylou Harris)

 / Home radio studio of Nitty-Gritty Music Radio, you can listen at http://nittygritty.me
Photo by Fringer Cat / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • During the pandemic, Zamorano-Ocho said a lot of Spanish-speaking citizens in Sioux Falls were cut off from their communities and any form of local news.
  • Not all Latino immigrants have access to Spanish news or know where to find it, but music and listening is a big part of their culture, Zamorano-Ocho said. She said this has also created a huge responsibility for the bilingual members of the community where they feel a duty to translate important news for their friends and family, but don't always have the time or access to do so.
  • Zamorano-Ocho said all of our neighboring states have at least one Spanish language radio station, and most have more than one.
"There's a big lack of communication and then the little communication that we do have is sometimes misinformation and miscommunication," Zamorano-Ocho said. "And so having a radio station, you'll be going into all of Latino homes. You'll be able to educate them on what's going on in their state."

What happens next?

And tell me more about this one-person Chamber of Commerce.


What I'm falling for this week:

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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or first day of school pics to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Millennium Recycling, Midco, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, the Great Plains Zoo, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.

Special thanks to Millennium Recycling!

Learn more about how you can support this local recycling business by putting the right stuff in your bin.