Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Summer break might be coming to an end, but it's still hot.

Goal check: You guys have been awesome at referring new people to this newsletter. Thank you so much for all of that love and support! I'm getting ever closer to my goal of 1,000 subscribers by the end of the month, but if you can share a story you liked on social or forward this to a friend, that would be HUGE for me. Thank you!

Self check: You good? Hang in there, the week's half over.

This week's issue focuses on quality over quantity in stories. I'm looking at some bigger issues: medical marijuana and 2020 census data. Be sure to read full stories to get all the details on these topics.

And now, news:


What to know about Sioux Falls' medical marijuana rules

Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council Tuesday night passed the first reading of several measures to regulate where, when and how medical marijuana is sold in the city. Restrictions include $100,000 licensing fees and a cap of no more than five dispensaries.

Cannabis plant
Photo by Jeff W / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Medical marijuana is legal in South Dakota as of July 1, but the state Department of Health has yet to release final rules for how those in the cannabis industry and medical marijuana users are allowed to operate.
  • Most decisions related to usage (i.e. how much a person can get at one time) are up to the state, but the city has say over what are called "time, place and manner" restrictions for cannabis businesses.
  • Most councilors said they voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana on the statewide ballot in 2020, but opinions on whether measures were appropriate or too restrictive varied.
  • Conversations got tense after hours of discussion on marijuana-related issues, and at one point, Mayor Paul TenHaken had to split up a spat between Councilor Pat Starr and Councilor Christine Erickson.

Learn more

Get the specifics on the proposed rules and hear what people are saying.


What new census data says about Sioux Falls

Simplified: The 2020 census data confirms what many folks in town already knew: Sioux Falls is growing. The four-county metro area surpassed 275,000 population.

Here's a breakdown of some of the specifics to put that growth into context.

2020 US Census
Photo by Enayet Raheem / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The census data shows not only is Sioux Falls growing, but it's also growing at a faster rate than the rest of the state and at a slightly faster rate than decades prior.
  • Of the more than 72,000 people added to South Dakota's population in the last decade, 67 percent came to the four-county metro area of Sioux Falls, including Lincoln, Minnehaha, McCook and Turner.
  • Sioux Falls' growth in numbers also coincides with a growth in diversity. People of color make up 21 percent of the population in Minnehaha County, and just over 10 percent of the population in Lincoln County.
  • City and business officials say the growth, while not a surprise, shows continued momentum in the Sioux Falls region.
"I can't see another community that has the positive momentum that Sioux Falls has in so many areas," Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jeff Griffin said.

Learn more

Dig a little deeper into demographic statistics and historical data.

Stuff to watch:

  • City spending. Councilors passed the second reading for a plan to spend more than $20 million in city funds as part of the "Sioux Falls For All" one-time funding plan. Details on the full plan here.
  • Bus driver shortages. Sioux Area Metro announced last week plans to reduce bus routes amid driver shortages. Find an updated bus schedule here.
  • Juneteenth. City Councilors approved a resolution to make Juneteenth a holiday for city workers.
  • Liquor licenses. Sioux Falls City Council set hearing dates for several liquor license transfers this week (a normal thing they do at every meeting). A couple to watch are the license held by Village River Group LLC for the since-failed downtown parking ramp project and the license owned by Dave & Buster's.


Tri-Valley voters pass bond to build new schools

Simplified: Voters in the Tri-Valley School District passed a plan to spend more than $50 million to build a new high school, new elementary school and to upgrade the current facility.

Why it matters

  • Tri-Valley has tried and failed in the past to pass bonds for smaller-scale projects, but this time, the bond passed with 60 percent of the vote (a win by just under 230 votes).
  • The current school is overcrowded, and Superintendent Mike Lodmel said teachers have been sharing classrooms while students receive tutoring services in areas that "should frankly be used as closets."
"This should be a tremendous boost to our students and staff that are currently teaching and learning in areas that we have outgrown for some time," Lodmel said in a statement following the results Tuesday night.

Learn more

What will the bond cover?


Stuff to do:

  • Riverfest: Live music, canoe rides, food trucks and activities will line the downtown river greenway during the 8th Annual Riverfest on Saturday.
  • Bark in the Park: The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society is hosting a run and walk on Sunday with check-in starting at 8 a.m. in Dunham Park. Entry fees go to help homeless and neglected pets in the area.
  • Milk Carton Press launch: A new Sioux Falls publishing company is launching with a "Beer and Poetry" event at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Full Circle Book Co-op.
  • Lawn Chair Days at WoodGrain: The downtown brewery's third "bring your own lawn chair" event takes place from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday with live music, food trucks and cold beer.
  • Zumba at Great Bear: The exercise class will be a fundraiser for NAMI Sioux Falls with a suggested $15 donation for a 45-minute class intended for all ages and abilities. Class starts at 11 a.m. at the Great Bear front deck.

*Want to see your event listed here? Email megan@sfsimplified.com.

What I'm falling for this week:

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