Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
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This week, buckle up. It's a newsy one. I've got a rundown of election results, a closer look at the planetarium planned at the Washington Pavilion and an update from the county on how they're using a MacArthur grant to house folks who've been impacted by the justice system.
- And, we've got a handful of important Super Simplified Stories, including the final recommendations from the city's Homelessness Task Force, the latest on the sustainability plan and a move to cap video lottery machines.
And now, news:
What we know so far about election results
Simplified: South Dakotans largely know who's representing them in Congress, in Pierre and in the Governor's mansion – though some tight races are close enough that we might see a recount. As of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, nearly all of the votes in the state had been reported. Here's what we know.
Why it matters
- Even with some late nights for ballot counters, many of the major races were called early in the evening. Sen. John Thune's fourth term was confirmed very quickly after polls closed, and Rep. Dusty Johnson's third term was confirmed shortly after. Gov. Kristi Noem's second term was confirmed a couple hours later.
- Voter turnout was nearly 60% statewide – which, for perspective is much higher than the primary election, but about five percentage points lower than the 2018 Midterm Elections. Minnehaha County saw about 58% turnout, and Lincoln County saw just over 64% turnout.
- The closest local race to watch – outside of some legislative district races (look at Districts 12 & 15, for example,) – was the Sioux Falls slaughterhouse measure. That failed with 52% of the vote, meaning there will be no change to city ordinance, and new slaughterhouses will continue to be allowed within city limits.
So, who won?
Republicans, mostly. Here's a quick rundown of statewide and local results.
How a new partnership and a potential $4 million grant will address unique housing needs
Simplified: This summer, Minnehaha County was awarded a $775,000 grant to create a plan to house people who've been incarcerated. Now, the county is asking for an additional $4 million to help fund a unique partnership with the Glory House to meet these housing needs.
Why it matters
- The county was one of four areas nationwide to receive this grant from the MacArthur Foundation and the Urban Institute. After a six-month planning period, each of the four communities will submit additional funding requests – Minnehaha is asking for $4 million to support its new "Just Home" project.
- Accessible and affordable housing are very much hot topics and pressing issues in Sioux Falls right now. But many existing affordable housing programs aren't accessible to people with a felony on their record.
- If the county gets the money it's asking for, an expected $3 million will go to fund a partnership with the Glory House, in which the nonprofit will provide apartments for Just Home project participants in its in-the-works new apartment building with 51 housing units.
"We certainly want (housing units) to be safe – we want to be sure that they’re well-maintained," said Kari Benz, director of human services for the county. "Some of the feedback as we worked with people who have been (justice-)impacted that we heard pretty consistently was just, 'I don't want to live in a crap hole.'"
Tell me more about this partnership
Who will it help? And what happens next?
Why a planetarium is the next big project at the Pavilion
Simplified: Washington Pavilion museum officials have been dreaming about adding a planetarium for some time. And now, with a $2 million donation, that dream will become a reality.
Why it matters
- The $2 million donation – which broke the record set earlier this year for largest single donation from an individual – will be used to transform the existing CineDome into a state-of-the-art planetarium.
- When donors Dick and Kathy Sweetman came to the Pavilion, they asked for big ideas. And both Director of Museums Brandon Hanson and Director of Education Maddy Grogan knew the planetarium was a big idea worth pitching.
"The stars kind of aligned," Grogan said.
- The timing of the new planetarium is also helpful. The CineDome needed a more sustainable future plan as films get more and more expensive, Hanson said.
"We needed to find a solution that would withstand the test of time," he said.
What exactly is a planetarium?
Super Simplified Stories
- Homeless task force sends recommendations to Council. The task force is sending six recommended actions to the City Council, including recommendations to create street teams, a public education campaign and a joint city/county committee to focus on "housing first" strategies. Next steps? We'll see these recommendations reconfigured into potential ordinances or resolutions going before the City Council.
- Sustainability plan moving forward, still seeks public input. After the first draft was put on pause, the city's sustainability plan continued to move forward in gathering feedback. As the plan is updated, there are public meetings you can attend to share your thoughts. The goal is to have a plan finalized and approved by late 2023.
- Council votes to increase ticket fees at city-owned facilities. Councilors voted 6-1 to increase the maximum facility fee that can be added to tickets purchased for events in city-owned facilities. The previous maximum was $3, and now it's up to $5.
- Council takes first steps to limit video lottery. Councilors Greg Neitzert and Rich Merkouris noticed more video lottery machines – and larger casinos – popping up in Sioux Falls. The cap, which would limit video lottery placements to 170 in establishments with malt beer and wine licenses, is one solution they're bringing. (Places will full liquor licenses won't be part of the cap.) That measure passed first reading 7-0 Tuesday. A separate measure to adjust how many casinos can share a beer/wine cooler also passed first reading.
THIS AND THAT
What I'm falling for this week:
- Election night pizza
- Curry coffee
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