Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Very not festive...can we get the snow now instead of April, please?

Content update: Sioux Falls Simplified will be taking a little break next week, so I can truly be present with my family and celebrate little Juniper's first Christmas (and Margot's fourth??? how is that possible?)

This week, I've had a lot of conversations about the childcare crisis. It's too much to fit into one issue, but what I felt was most important was sharing the response of your elected officials when asked what role they think they should play moving forward. Plus, speaking of elected official priorities, I've also got a look at what the Sioux Falls City Council wants to see lawmakers focus on in Pierre.

  • Yes, it's a very news-heavy issue for the week before the year literally ends, but I promise Friday's issue will be more fun. For now, this is important.

And now, news:


Sioux Falls has options to solve its childcare crisis. Will the city's elected leaders help?

Simplified: Sioux Falls City Councilors agree that something needs to be done to help families affected by Apple Tree's announcement that it'll close three of its four locations in the coming weeks. But when it comes to long-term, sustainable solutions to the ongoing childcare crisis in the city, elected officials are divided on how to help – and if the city even has a role to play at all.

black swing chair hanging by gray chain
Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls (and the state as a whole) has a well-documented childcare crisis in which parents cannot afford to pay the rates providers need to charge to pay their workers a sufficient wage. Additionally, providers are facing continuously rising costs and significant staffing challenges.
  • Last fall, the city was one of the partners behind funding a six-month study to research and understand exactly what the childcare crisis looks like in Sioux Falls, as well as identify potential solutions – which were ultimately released in this 97-page report.
  • When the rubber met the road come budget season, though, neither the City Council nor the mayor chose to put money behind any of the proposed solutions. Councilors briefly in September discussed – but moments later rejected – a proposal from Councilor Pat Starr to give the health department $100,000 to fund a future office for early childhood and youth development within the city.
"We missed our opportunity to solve this crisis without it being painful," Starr told Sioux Falls Simplified.

So, what do elected officials have to say about all of this?


How to give yourself the gift of balance in the new year

This is a paid piece from Barre3 Sioux Falls.

Simplified: It's easy to get caught up in the stress of the season, and it can be tough to take time and space for yourself. Barre3 Sioux Falls can help you start the year feeling strong, mindful and balanced in body and mind. All you have to do is commit to yourself.

Why it matters

  • Barre3 workout classes combine strength, cardio and mindfulness to help you feel in tune with your body and empowered to take on whatever challenges come your way.
  • This January, Barre3 is emphasizing that a commitment to yourself is a choice, and you should choose yourself. They're making it easy with 50% off the first month of membership for new clients for the entire month.
  • With Barre3, movement isn't focused on losing weight or pushing yourself to the breaking point – it's about intentional movement and strength that feels good in your body.
"You are strong, and our goal is to help you foster that strength while holding space for your physical and mental health," Co-owner Amanda Roder said.

Tell me more about Barre3


Super Simplified Stories

  • Council approves new precincts. The Sioux Falls City Council voted Tuesday to move around some of the boundaries for voting precincts within the city in an effort to reduce wait times for voters and get more folks who are voting for the same stuff in the same precinct. Find a map of the new precincts here.
  • Council votes down 'Unity Bridge' name. The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday also voted against the concept to name the Sixth Street Bridge the "Unity Bridge" due to concerns on the process to honor specific people on plaques on the bridge.
  • Hi babies! "Oliver" and "Charlotte" were the top baby names at Sanford this year, according to a release from the health system. Rounding out the top five for boys were: Henry, William (tied with Hudson), Grayson, and Theodore (tied with Liam). For girls, the rest of the top five were Evelyn, Nora, Amelia and Ava. (Editor's note: It's not on the list but I'd be remiss if I didn't say my personal top baby of 2023 was my own little Juniper.)


What City Council wants state lawmakers to focus on in 2024

Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council unanimously approved a shortlist of priorities for the upcoming legislative session in Pierre. Top of the list? The council wants lawmakers to help them keep their options open for the future of a collection of taxidermy animals from the Delbridge Museum.

Why it matters

  • Each year, the Sioux Falls City Council sends a list of priority items to lawmakers who represent the city, letting them know what the state's largest city wants to see happen in Pierre.
  • Historically, Sioux Falls has sent long lists with somewhat broad priorities, but in recent years the focus has shifted to sharing only a handful of specific, actionable items.
  • The City Council on Tuesday approved six priorities, with only one last-minute amendment to include support from the state to expand the Sioux Falls airport.
"We used to have 20-25 of these," Council Chair Marshall Selberg said. "We've done a nice job over the last year or two of sharpening this up ... these are really the things that we're focused on."

What are the council's legislative priorities?


What I'm falling for this week:


More Simplified Stories

Your Simplified Gift Guide is here
Unique local businesses are what makes Sioux Falls cool. By supporting them, we not only ensure they’re here to stay, but we also can find cool stuff we wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Meet these award-winning young real estate agents in Sioux Falls
Four Sioux Falls realtors were recognized recently with the annual RASE YPN “4 Under 40” award from the REALTOR® Association of the Sioux Empire (RASE). Meet the winners and learn what sets them apart.
The design for a new, $45M Lincoln County courthouse is taking shape
Lincoln County Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve design concepts and, more significantly for taxpayers, the maximum price tag on a new courthouse.


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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 those cookies with a Hershey Kiss in the middle to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Sioux Empire United Way, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance and Voyage Federal Credit Union. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.