Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is brought to you by Millennium Recycling.

  • Millennium Recycling accepts single-stream recyclables from waste haulers, residents, and commercial sources across the region. As Sioux Falls grows, they continually educate and innovate to help our community recycle more! Learn what you can (and can't) recycle on their helpful blog here.

Status check: There are now more than 4,000 of you reading this newsletter, and I couldn't be more grateful to see this little-news-outlet-that-could grow!

  • You'll hearing from me more over the next couple weeks about how you can help make sure Sioux Falls Simplified is here to stay. (Spoiler: that includes kicking in some extra cash if you're able. If not, no sweat. Stick around. All are welcome.)

Weather check: Warm and windy before a rainy/stormy weekend.

This week, I've got a look at how Sioux Falls schools are growing (and what that means for future schools), and I'll explain what's potentially changing in how downtown businesses are taxed. And don't miss quick hits on the city budget and the slaughterhouse drama.

  • Oh, and I talked to someone who caught Kevin Richarson's underwear at Sunday's Backstreet Boys concert – the investigation you've all been waiting for, I know.

And now, news:


Sioux Falls is ready for a new elementary school – maybe two

Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District has been planning on building a new elementary school since voters authorized a $180 million bond back in 2018 to help fund it (among many other projects). Now, as they look to finally build it, they're also planning for another future school spot.

Why it matters

  • The district's elementary enrollment growth slowed during the pandemic, and the district opted to focus less on a new elementary school and more on the more-immediate need for the schools that are now Jefferson High and Ben Reifel Middle Schools.
  • But, numbers released in Monday's school board meeting show the elementary enrollment is climbing back up, with about 140 new K-5 students as of the first few days of the new school year.
  • As board members plan for a new elementary school in the northwest part of town, they're also looking at growth in the city and scouting a potential site for another elementary school on the far west side of town, as well.
  • The new building (the first one, at least) will also come with some redrawn boundaries, shifting around where kids in certain parts of town go to school.
"It's adjustments, probably not a whole re-boundary process," Superintendent Jane Stavem told board members last week. "It’s a very fluid picture right now because when you think about it, it's the entire city that’s growing in all directions – which makes it complicated, but exciting."

Tell me more about the new elementary school

And a potentially even newer school site on the west side? More here.


Why downtown is looking to property owners to pay more

Simplified: Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. wants to find ways to fund more staff, more marketing for local businesses and more maintenance downtown. Their proposed solution? Having property owners kick in more cash.

Why it matters

  • DTSF, Inc.'s work is supported by funding from the Main Street Business Improvement District (BID). The way the BID collects money from property owners hasn't changed since 1989.
  • A new proposal would get rid of decades-old caps on how much money can be collected from downtown property owners. DTSF, Inc. President Joe Batcheller estimates about one-third of downtown properties will be affected by the increase.
  • The goal is to use that money to address some staffing needs downtown, as well as fund additional maintenance and marketing for downtown businesses. As downtown grows, it'll also provide money for future initiatives related to the arts, events and small improvement projects.
"We want to make sure (downtown) is a good experience for everyone, and that's what the BID will provide," Batcheller said.

Explain what property owners are paying

And what's potentially changing if all this passes? More here.


How Selah Space is creating room for women to work

This is a paid piece from Selah Space.

Simplified: Selah Space is now offering a co-working space in an effort to give women a safe, comfortable space to focus and get work done.

Why it matters

  • Selah Space Owner Jada Dobesh noticed many of the women she serves are moms, business owners, working from home (or sometimes all three).
  • Dobesh saw a clear need for these women to have a space outside the home to get a change of scenery and not have attention divided by household tasks, kids, etc.
  • She created a new social-working membership to give women the option to come and go as-needed, any time of day, to get work done.
"It's really easy to tell women to take up space and then not give them any," Dobesh said. "This co-working space is an easy way for women to have space, have a community, pump, drink coffee, whatever they need."

Tell me the details

Learn more here.


Super Simplified Stories

  • City Council passes 2023 budget. Councilors voted on a total of nine amendments (not all passed, watch for a Simplified version of those specifics later this week). Ultimately, it passed 7-1, with Councilor Pat Starr as the lone "no" vote. If you want to read all the amendments proposed, click here.
  • Ballot measure group files legal complaint against Wholestone Farms. Remember the slaughterhouse drama (catch up here)? The latest news is the group opposing the planned northeast Wholestone Farms plant filed a legal complaint last week asking the city to press pause on construction of the project until voters have had a chance to weigh in in November. More to come once a hearing is scheduled, but in the meantime, you can read the complaint here.


Meet the woman who caught a Backstreet Boy's underwear

Simplified: Melissa Pelkofer drove about 15 hours total to and from Dickinson, North Dakota to see the Backstreet Boys perform in Sioux Falls. But she said it was worth it – especially because she brought home a very unique souvenir: Kevin Richardson's underwear.

Melissa Pelkofer holds underwear signed by Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson at a Sioux Falls concert on Sunday.

Why it matters

  • Ok, let's just be real on this one. It doesn't. But, there's a lot of other news in this issue, so let's just let our hair down for a second, shall we?

Back to the Backstreet Boys

Pelkofer is a huge Backstreet Boys fan. In fact, the first CD she ever owned was the Backstreet Boys' first album (self-titled, released in 1997).

So, when her boyfriend surprised her last month with tickets to the Sioux Falls show, she was excited. It was her first time seeing a concert in Sioux Falls and her second time seeing the Backstreet Boys.

  • Plus, the tickets were for the "DNA circle" a small section of the audience between the main part of the stage and a little circle walkway where the late-90s boy band danced and sang throughout the show.

The couple almost didn't go to the concert because it was a Sunday night, and both had to work Monday morning.

  • Pelkofer said they drove overnight after the show to make it happen.
"We got back at 5:30 in the morning, and I had work at 8 (a.m.)," Pelkofer said.

Where do the undies factor in?

And can we get nitty gritty for a second? Spoiler: No, they were not "damp." More 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 fall soup recipes to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Millennium Recycling, 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.

Special thanks to Millennium Recycling!

Learn more about how you can support this local recycling business by putting the right stuff in your bin.