Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first: This issue is sponsored by Dakota Adventure Supply.

  • Dakota Adventure Supply creates South Dakota-made adventuring gear that's high quality enough to last a lifetime. This month, you can snag their Adventure Tote 44, Comradery in Adventure t-shirt, and new trailhead cap all for $199. Buy your bundle here – adventure awaits!

Weather check: The good news? Above zero. The maybe less good news? More snow on the way.

A programming note: I've heard from a few of you that perhaps it'd be more beneficial to have the weekly event guide in Wednesday's issue to give you more time to prep for weekend events.

  • Let's test it out! Give a thumbs up at the bottom of this email if you like this method better.

This week, I've got a look at how some folks are approaching the 37-burger Burger Battle this year. Plus, you'll see the latest from the Sioux Falls City Council's discussions on the childcare crisis, what to know about the final Sno Jam Comedy Festival happening this week, and a few Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


This comedy festival hopes to end on a high note

Simplified: It's the eighth and final year of the Sno Jam Comedy Festival in Sioux Falls. A couple of the producers – and comedians who've been with the festival from the start – chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about the event's history, what's on deck for this weekend and why it was time to say goodbye.

Photo courtesy of Sno Jam Comedy Festival.

Why it matters

  • The Sno Jam Comedy festival – true to form – started because of a joke. The founders of the festival were joking about how funny it would be to create a comedy festival during the coldest part of the year in South Dakota and invite comics from Los Angeles.
  • The first festival took place in February 2017, and each year since, the festival has brought comics from across the nation to perform in Sioux Falls and help raise money for local charities.
  • Sno Jam's final comedy festival will take place over four days this week, with "some of the heaviest hitters we've had," according to co-founder and producer Dan Bublitz, Jr. He and his other founders say they're ready to move on, and planning the multi-day comedy festival was essentially a year-round task.
"It's harder to keep it going," Bublitz said. "We’ve built such a great reputation that we just thought, sometimes it's just better to go out on a high note."

Tell me more


Councilors get a snapshot of the childcare crisis

Simplified: The city regularity oversight committee on Tuesday heard from about a half-dozen people in the childcare industry about why their industry is struggling, as well as the resulting affect on parents. It’s all in an effort to spur action from the Sioux Falls City Council.

child sitting on white chair near table
Photo by Kelli McClintock / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The average annual cost to send a child to an in-home daycare in Sioux Falls is nearly $7,800, per Kid Counts data cited Tuesday. For a center, that average goes up to about $12,000. Provider Karen Rieck compared that to the average tuition at Southeast Technical College — which is about $7,600.
  • Low-income families can find some relief through federal programs, but South Dakota is one of about a half-dozen states that doesn’t supplement childcare assistance funds at all. Additionally, some state requirements make that money unattainable even for folks who would be eligible to receive it, providers told councilors.
  • Meanwhile, childcare providers are some of the lowest paid people in the state, and low wages have meant high turnover, unfilled jobs and, as a result, potential daycare spots sitting empty because no one can staff them. 
  • On top of that, the cost of doing business for childcare providers has gone up significantly in recent years, and many have no choice but to pass that cost onto parents.
“Since March 2020, I’ve raised my tuition by 152%," said Melissa Anderson, owner of Truks-N-Trykes childcare center. "And that is just to cover the cost of utilities, the cost of food and the cost of payroll."

Tell me more – what can be done to help?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Council approves new staffer. The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a new council staff position – "Executive Support Coordinator." This person – with a starting salary of about $65,000 – will be tasked with helping the councilors keep track of correspondence from the public, monitor city boards and help councilors conduct research. Read the full job description here.
  • Good Earth Farms earns Chamber recognition. Good Earth Farms owners Jeff and Nancy Kirstein were named the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Farm Family and Agribusiness Citizen of the Year, the chamber announced this week. The farm was recognized for its use of agri-tourism by encouraging folks to come out to the farm for pizza, drinks and interaction with the animals.


Stuff to do: Jan. 17-23

  • Bingo, but with plants. Oakridge Nursery is bringing back the Bingo in the Greenhouse event starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Attendance is limited to the first 100 people, so be sure to call the store to reserve your spot. More details here.
  • Painting, but with pizza. Local artist Alex Lunstra will lead a painting class starting at 7 p.m. Monday at Sunny's Pizzeria. You can grab a pizza, a beer and paint a winter scene. Details here.
  • Shopping deals. It's crazy days at Lake Lorraine this weekend. Find deals at a number of retailers on Friday and Saturday. Details here.
  • Laugh it up. Catch local improv comedy at Icon Lounge with Improv Falls' show Friday night. Details and tickets here.
  • Get cozy. If you're up for a drive to Brookings, the South Dakota Art Museum is hosting a "Hygge Day" based on the Danish-inspired coziness concept. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and admission is free. Details here.
  • Take up space. Selah Space is celebrating its grand re-opening on Thursday night. Meet the providers who are there to help you find holistic healing. More details here.
  • Embody the rose. Sarah Joy Yoga is hosting a movement and writing workshop Saturday with a focus on embracing change and recognizing your innermost needs. Get the details here.


More Simplified Stories

What did growth in Sioux Falls look like in 2023?
The City of Sioux Falls is seeing growth normalize after a couple of years of “anomaly,” officials said Friday morning.
How a new loan program will help preserve historic homes
The city announced this week a new pilot program to offer zero-interest loans to rehabilitate homes in Sioux Falls’ historic districts.
Here’s what Mayor Paul TenHaken is watching in 2024
Mayor Paul TenHaken sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to get into the specifics of what he expects the city will be working on in 2024.


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 cafe miels to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.

Special thanks to Dakota Adventure Supply!

Make sure you're prepared for all of the adventures that come your way, and don't miss your chance to bundle and save on Dakota Adventure Supply gear. Find it all right here.