Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

I want to start by asking you a favor. Sioux Falls Simplified is new, and I need your help getting the word out so more people in the area can feel smart and informed about where they live.

If you like what you're reading, share this email with a friend, coworker or even the neighborhood kid who shoveled your sidewalk this week.

Thank you! And thank you for being one of my first readers – you'll get to feel cool about that forever now.

And now, news:


Vaccine distribution, simplified

We've talked about vaccines here before, but how do they get where they need to go? Think of this as a Schoolhouse Rock "I'm Just A Bill" version of how the vaccine goes from a vial in a FedEx box to a syringe in your arm.

Why it matters: Logistics are, obviously, an important part of the vaccination process.

  • Sioux Falls hospitals are working with state health officials (who, in turn, are working with federal health officials) to coordinate distributing thousands of vaccine doses each week.
  • Hospitals often only know exactly how many doses they're getting about a week in advance, which means all the mechanisms to store and distribute those vaccines need to be in place and working like a well-oiled machine.
  • They only set appointments for the number of doses they have coming in.
"The intricacies with this whole process is we have multiple vaccines with different storage conditions, different dosing intervals, logistically, there's a lot to figure out," said Andrea Polkinghorn, immunization strategy leader for Sanford Health.

So, what does the process look like?

The short version? Vaccines go from FedEx box to pharmacy to storage freezer to clinic fridge to syringe to arm.

Read more here on how hospitals juggle scheduling and manage to not waste a single dose.


What Brandon Valley schools will look like in 2040

Simplified: The Brandon Valley School District is planning on seeing at least another 2,500 students in the next 20 years. They're starting now in planning how to make room for that growth.

Why it matters: Rapid growth in eastern Sioux Falls means more people are moving into the Brandon Valley School District boundaries.

  • The district is already growing fast. In the last 20 years, it went from just over 2,500 students to more than 4,600.
  • Future plans involve expanding from seven school buildings to 12, including a new alternative and career-focused high school, a new middle school, intermediate school and three new elementary school buildings.
"It is a proactive approach to the management of student growth and will allow us to continue to create learning environments that result in success," Brandon Valley Superintendent Jarod Larson said.

Why plan for 2040?

Peace of mind.

As Brandon, Valley Springs and Sioux Falls continue to grow, the district wanted to plan ahead.

The long-range plan could also be sped up or slowed down as needed, Larson said. So if growth happens faster than expected, they know where new buildings can go and what will be needed.

What happens next?

The only components of the 2040 plan with a set timeline are the new Inspiration Elementary School, which opens this fall, and the addition to Brandon Valley High School which is expected to be planned, bid, constructed and ready to open by fall 2023.

See a full breakdown of the new schools planned – and where they'll go – here.


What a year of prioritizing wellness looks like

Simplified: This Sioux Falls woman started working with Selah Space Founder Jada Dobesh last February. A year later, her journey shows holistic wellness has real benefits.

Why it matters: Larrisa Corbin started her wellness journey with spiritual direction, a practice focused on helping her live in the present and create space for God to work in her life, as described by Dobesh.

  • Since then, Corbin has tried cupping, singing bowls and reiki in what's been a year of self-discovery for her.
  • Corbin says prioritizing wellness has helped her get in touch with herself and her own needs.
  • She's seen real benefits, including more honesty with herself, a place of self-discovery, more peace, fewer headaches and a space that feels like home.
"I used to think of self care as, 'Oh, I'm going to have 20 minutes of peace from my kids,' ... Self care is more like self growth. It's getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things," she said.

How do I prioritize wellness for myself?

Start with a free wellness consult at Selah Space.

What if I'm nervous?

Your feelings are valid. But if Corbin has any advice to pass along from her year of holistic wellness, it's that you have nothing to lose by trying. Learn more here.

*Simplified Presents shares paid content from Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors. This is a sponsored piece from Selah Space. To learn more about sponsorship options, email megan@sfsimplified.com.

Stuff to watch:

  • The Sioux Falls School Board election got its first candidates this week. Anthony Pizer, Paulette Ludents and Cory Begley got their names on the ballot. We'll learn more about them in the coming months. Remember, two spots are open on the five-member board.
  • West Central Superintendent Brad Berens resigned last month, effective June 30. Look for updates as the Trojans search for a new leader.
  • Tuesday, March 23 is the last day to sign up for the Sioux Falls Virtual Academy. Once you sign up, you're committing to a full year of online learning, officials say.


Parks department planning for 'back to normal' summer

Simplified: The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department is planning to be back to normal when it comes to hiring for the summer months.

Why it matters: Parks and trails in Sioux Falls saw significantly more visitors in 2020, and with some warm days in early 2021, that traffic has continued.

  • This summer, pools will reopen, along with other parks facilities that closed during the pandemic.
  • Parks Director Don Kearney predicts it'll be busy because people have missed getting out over the last year. He's already seen about 50 baseball and softball tournaments scheduled, and he's predicting "business as usual" will be the approach department-wide.
"I believe we have some pent-up demand for activity in our park system ... we're going to be back to, really, a pre-COVID situation," Kearney said.


What I'm falling for this week

  • Green beers
  • A peek inside the new Jefferson High School
  • Building one more snowman (you hear that, Mother Nature? No more, now.)

Reach out

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

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash! When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.