Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Fall perfection, babyyyy

This week, I've got some good news about animals in need of a home – so if you, like me, find yourself checking the Humane Society website weekly, you're in for a treat. You'll also get an update on how the city is looking at streets that work for all modes of transportation and a very early look at what the City Council is planning to ask state lawmakers to focus on in Pierre in 2024.

And now, news:


Why more animals are getting adopted

Simplified: The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society has seen a nearly 23% increase in animal adoptions this year over last, and as a result, the rate of euthanasia at the shelter has dropped proportionately. Here's a look at some big changes and what's contributing to more animals finding new homes.

Why it matters

  • The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society helps about 8,000 animals each year – a number that has stayed fairly consistent in recent years, according to Executive Director James Oppenheimer.
  • Oppenheimer took the helm of the organization in January, and between that big leadership change, changes to the adoption process, a faster intake process for animals and re-opening to the public after the coronavirus pandemic, more of those animals are finding homes.
  • He also credits the nonprofit's increasing community involvement with the higher adoption rate. The humane society has a number of community partnerships, including with local college sports teams, businesses and the new Cattitude Cafe downtown.
"We’ve just been out there a lot more," Oppenheimer said.

Tell me more about what's different this year

Quite a bit, from leadership to the adoption process to the humane society's ever-growing social media presence. Learn more here.


The city set out to build 'complete streets.' How's it going?

Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls in 2015 made a plan to look at planning streets with a "complete streets" design – i.e. streets that take into account all modes of transportation like cars, bikes, walking and public transit. Here's a look at how that plan has been going in practice.

bicycle lane
Photo by Andrew Gook / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The city formally reviewed its Complete Streets resolution this year for the first time since 2016, and the Active Transportation Board is expected to get a first look at that report this week.
  • The report shows that the Complete Streets checklist – part of the recommendations put forward in the original resolution – has been used by the city 90 times since 2015.
  • About one-third of the time, Complete Streets elements were added to the original design after the checklist review, but slightly more often (42 of the 90 reviews) the review led to little or no changes, according to the report, which was compiled by the city health, planning and public works departments.
"It was great to see that the city has implemented it, and that we are starting to include and document where we’re adding Complete Streets elements," Urban Planner Fletcher Lacock said. "But it also shows that we have a long way to go before we’ve created the safest streets for all users."

What exactly goes into a 'complete street'?

And what happens next? More here.


Feel stronger, move intentionally with these new fitness classes

This is a paid piece from Barre3 Sioux Falls.

Simplified: Two new class offerings at Barre3 Sioux Falls aim to help you feel stronger and more balanced with workouts focused specifically on strength and cardio. Here's what you need to know.

Why it matters

  • Barre3 has always been about strength and balance in the context of its Signature classes, and now members will have a chance to get even more intentional about moving their bodies with new Strength and Cardio classes.
  • The new class offerings intend to help Barre3 members increase cardiovascular health, as well as improving muscle and bone strength, said co-owner Amanda Roder.
  • Both the Strength and Cardio classes are formatted to include multiple rounds of the same movements. The goal with Cardio is to get your heart rate up, and the goal with Strength is to move slowly and intentionally with heavy weights.
"It's helping to increase stamina," Roder said. "Taking a cardio class or a strength class is going to help in all the other classes as well."

Tell me more about the new classes

And how can I sign up?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Hunters are coming. It's almost pheasant season in South Dakota, which means you're about to see a lot more camo and orange around the state. Saturday is opening day, and Thursday and Friday, Experience Sioux Falls will be hosting a "Hunters Welcome" event at the airport.
  • City breaks ground on Jacobson Plaza. The future downtown park, featuring a splash pad, ice ribbon and accessible playground, is officially under construction after a formal groundbreaking earlier this week. Get some background on how we got here and park features here.
  • Gymnastics program has to continue – for now. The Argus Leader reports that the Sioux Falls School District cannot eliminate its gymnastics program until the court makes a ruling on the issue. The district had cut the program from the budget. It's not yet clear what that means for this year's gymnastics season.


Councilors want to see childcare on Pierre's priority list next session

Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council had its first discussion on legislative priorities for 2024 this week, and an early topic to make the council's shortlist of what it wants lawmakers to focus on is childcare.

selective focal photo of crayons in yellow box
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The childcare crisis is real. It costs more in one year to send your kid to a childcare center in Sioux Falls than it would to send them to a South Dakota state university. And beyond that, childcare shortages are affecting the local workforce, all while providers struggle to keep up with increasing costs and tighter margins.
  • But the city hasn't yet made practical steps to help out. Councilors voted down a budget amendment to add $100,000 to help address childcare needs in the city in 2024, and Mayor Paul TenHaken's five-year capital spending plan makes no mention of childcare as a funding priority.
  • That could change, though, if the state takes the lead. Councilor Rich Merkouris said Monday that he'd like to see childcare added to a list of legislative priorities the council will share with lawmakers ahead of the 2024 session. Specifically, he'd like to see changes to the state's childcare assistance program.
"That program is a little bit archaic and has some sizable bureaucratic challenges and other challenges with it ... Some refinement on this would impact economic, business and individuals in our community," Merkouris said.

Tell me more

And what happens next?


What I'm falling for this week


More simplified headlines

Get smart about helping people with disabilities in the workplace with Vicki Stewart
Vicki Stewart is the executive director of Employment Disability Resources. She sat down with Sioux Falls Simplified to chat about National Disability Employment Awareness Month
There’s a lot of big feelings about plans to build a new prison near Harrisburg
The state announced last week that a new state penitentiary will be built south of Harrisburg. Here’s what we know (and what folks have to say about it).
Hate marketing? This event has your back.
The new I Hate Marketing Conference on Oct. 26 will give people an outlet to both express frustrations, share knowledge and build a community of people who can help.


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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 Halloween costume ideas 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.