Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Oh cool, ok, so we're still doing blizzards. (But seriously, though, be safe out there. And follow the National Weather Service for up-to-the-minute updates.)

Status check: Have room in your life for a four-legged friend? The Sioux Falls Humane Society is at capacity for dogs. I can't adopt any right now, and it breaks my heart to see how many of them have been there for months waiting for a home. (So go adopt them all up, and then send me pics, plz.)  

This week, I'll simplify the city's plan for the future of public transit. You'll also learn why solving the childcare crisis might not be as simple as employers pitching in, catch up on tons of city news, and find upcoming events – though, let's be real, we're not going outside.

And now, news:


Even if businesses start paying part of childcare costs, it won't be enough

Simplified: Even if Sioux Falls businesses start helping cover the costs of childcare for employees, it likely won't be enough to bridge the gap between what parents can afford and what it takes to pay childcare providers a competitive wage, according to analysis from the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative.

Why it matters

  • The childcare industry faces two significant gaps in South Dakota. First, there's the gap between what parents can afford to pay – defined by the federal government as no more than 7 percent of the median income, or about $4,200 per kid per year in South Dakota.
  • Then, there's the gap between what parents are paying now – about $10,000 per kid per year, and what it would take to pay childcare providers a competitive wage, i.e. an increase from an average of $10.39/hour to $18/hour.
  • The Childcare Collaborative's analysis comes as part of a six-month dedicated effort to find solutions to the childcare crisis facing parents. Rana DeBoer and Nicole Fluth were hired in early October with a goal of working full-time on this issue.
  • By November, DeBoer and Fluth realized that businesses would need to be part of the equation. That's still true, but they told Sioux Falls Simplified that in every other successful example of childcare solutions in other states and cities, there's also a level of broader community or local government support.
"Businesses can step in and help, but to cover both of those gaps it kind of has to come from multiple angles," Fluth said.

Ok, so what can be done?

Here's a look at what other cities and states are doing that could potentially be replicated in Sioux Falls.


What's in Sioux Falls' plan for the future of public transit?

Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday approved the latest Transit Development Plan, which outlines goals for the future of city busing – including a desire to see more people riding. Here's a look at the big takeaways.

Why it matters

  • The city has been studying public transit for the last year, looking at ways to both make busing more efficient and ensure the transit fund can stay in the black.
  • The new transit development plan recommends decreasing the number of fixed routes while also implementing a new "on-demand" system that'll be able to service more areas around town.
  • The plan also looks to eventually change the types of vehicles in the city's bus fleet. It mentions a goal to phasing in smaller vehicles for on-demand services, for example, as well as taking a proactive approach to adding zero-emissions vehicles.
"We will be testing, looking at the best available information and working with people to start that transition (to zero-emissions vehicles)," Transportation Planner Sam Trebilcock said.

What are the big ways busing will change?

And what happens next? Also, hear from city councilors here.


A day in the life of a car wash attendant

This is a paid piece from Silverstar Car Wash.

Simplified: Many people at Silverstar Car Wash started their career as a wash bay attendant. Here's a look at what a day in the life of that job looks like.

Walk me through it

A typical day starts at 7:30 a.m. to prepare the site for opening.

  • This involves checks throughout the mechanical room, wash bay and property, as well as running a test car through the wash.

By 8 a.m. when the wash opens, attendants are ready to start spraying down vehicles before they enter the wash.

Throughout the day, wash bay attendants have various tasks including keeping the lot clean and even preventative maintenance or small repairs to the wash. They're also checking vacuums, emptying trashes and inspecting the wash tunnel on a regular basis.

Shift changes at 2 p.m., and before the afternoon crew comes in, attendants make sure to do one final lot check.

The wash closes at 7 p.m., and the closing process involves a thorough cleaning the wash, including the pit where all of the dirt and grime that washes off cars collects.

  • Attendants also perform another check of the property to make sure it's ready for the next day.

What other opportunities are there?

And how can I apply?


Super Simplified Stories

  • No more parking ramp mural. After a couple years of hemming and hawing about making the unfinished downtown parking ramp prettier with a mural, the city's decided to just leave it be. Sioux Falls Live has the story.
  • More money for potholes. The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday voted to approve an extra $500,000 to fill potholes around the city. Councilor Pat Starr called it a "feel-good" ordinance, and Councilor Greg Neitzert also expressed skepticism that the money needs to be moved right now and that the money won't fill potholes any faster.
  • More money for city employees. Councilors also on Tuesday approved an additional $3.3 million to raise pay for city employees both due to inflation and due to findings from a recent market competitiveness study.
  • More money to support unhoused people. Councilors approved the first ordinance resulting from the homeless task force on Tuesday. The ordinance adds a $125,000 supplement to the Health budget to incentivize organizations to use the Helpline Center's network of care.
  • More resources around suicide loss. The Helpline Center last week launched a new website to serve as a resource for people who have been affected by suicide loss. Find grief resources and more information here.
  • More wastewater progress. One wastewater pump station received a little TLC, including new paint and pumps, while another had a pump replaced. The reclamation plant expansion is still on track to be finished in 2025 with a budget of $215,000. Next up, the city is planning a rehabilitation project for a water basin on the west side of town and a project on the east side to improve pressurized pipes that help move water.


Stuff to do: Feb. 22-28

  • It's 5 o'clock somewhere. There's a day for everything, and that includes margaritas. Celebrate "National Margarita Day" on Wednesday and dream of a warm and sunny place. And while you're at it, get a head start on National Banana Bread Day, which is Thursday.
  • Support social services. Attend a domestic violence awareness forum at Augustana on Thursday at 5 p.m. Learn from some local service providers and hear from a bestselling author. Details here.
  • Find some freebies. This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dawley Farm Village, you can snag a bag of freebies and coupons to shop the area. A list of participating businesses and more details are here.
  • Put your puzzle skills to the test. Gather a group of friends and be the first to complete a puzzle at Buffalo Ridge Brewing Project to win a gift card and swag. Details here.
  • Train a brewery buddy. Severance Brewing and Tenacious Dog Training are hosting a three week dog training course starting on Sunday to help your pup be the most well-behaved friend in the brewery. Details and registration here.


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 a snowblower to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.