Happy Friday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is brought to you by the REALTOR Association of the Sioux Empire (RASE) in partnership with Sioux Falls Thrive.

  • RASE supports the affordable housing trust proposed by the Housing Action Team, a collaborative action team facilitated by Sioux Falls Thrive. Learn more about how their plan could help ensure housing for the community's most vulnerable here, and attend a free, public informational session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Belbas Theater in the Washington Pavilion.

Weather check: Warm and possibly stormy

This weekend, I've got your guide to finding the cheapest school supplies in town. I've also got a look at what happens when you get a parking ticket you feel you didn't deserve. Plus, find a roundup of upcoming events and some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


Where to find the best deals on school supplies

Simplified: It's back-to-school season! I looked for the best deals around town on school supplies – here's what I found.

Scissors, highlighters, and pencils.
Photo by Laura Rivera / Unsplash

Tell me more

Methodology time.

I based my in-person shopping search on the Discovery Elementary School third-grade supply list because, frankly, it's close to the top of the alphabet and seemed fairly average based on some quick online searching.

  • I shopped at Target, Lewis Drug and Walmart to get price comparisons.

One thing to note: Based on some online shopping of various regional elementary school supply lists, it does appear that the cost of supplies and the number of supplies required does vary some by school, and varies even more by district.

  • Harrisburg, for example, had an average cost of $106 per list, compared to about $82 in Sioux Falls.
  • Brandon Valley had the cheapest average school supply costs at about $72.

Ok, so where were the best deals?


Sioux Falls hasn't refunded a parking ticket in six years

Simplified: The City of Sioux Falls hasn't refunded a parking ticket since 2017. But, that doesn't mean every ticket written gets paid. Here's a closer look at what happens after tickets are issued and why the process is the way it is.

Why it matters

  • The city's parking team writes an average of more than 31,000 parking tickets per year, according to data obtained by Sioux Falls Simplified. Of those, very few – only 37 in the last five years – make it to the formal appeals process.
  • But that's not the full picture. Parking Manger Matt Nelson says parking tickets are dismissed on the daily. They're just not waived before ever making it to the formal review process.
  • The city's review process, which changed in 2013 after advice following an IRS audit, requires a $5 fee for people who want to contest tickets. And while that fee ensures some skin in the game, it doesn't begin to cover the costs of formal hearings for contested tickets.
"We resolve most of those issues before they go through that process," Nelson said.

Wait, why even have a formal review process?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Sioux Falls Police Department is hiring. Want to join the SFPD? The department is looking for new folks to join its November hiring class, which will likely be the first class to start at the new Public Safety Training Center. Find more info here.
  • Downtown parking changes coming. The city is getting rid of the 20-minute carryout parking spaces along Phillips Avenue, and instead switching to "express parking zones" for 15-minute parking along 10th, 11th and 12th Street.


Stuff to do: Aug. 11-17

  • Go rummaging. It's the annual McKennan Park Neighborhood rummage sales this weekend with 34 homes participating. Find a full lineup of where the sales are, opening times and what's up for grabs here.
  • Become a "doer." The Multicultural Center is hosting a community table talk event at 5 p.m. Wednesday at 515 N. Main Ave. Topics include strengthening connections in the community, mental health and building a community of "doers." Details here.
  • Enjoy Dog Days. Baltic's 2023 Dog Days event runs this weekend with a parade, car show, kickball tournament and, of course, a chance to adopt some dogs. Get the full schedule here.
  • Meet new friends. New in town? The Sioux Falls Area Newcomers Club is hosting a "Thirsty Thursday" event from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at 22Ten. Details here.
  • Support aspiring thespians. Catch Seussical Jr. on stage at the Orpheum Theater this weekend. The show is put on by The Premiere Playhouse and The Penguin Project – an effort to produce theatrical productions for kids of all abilities. Learn more and get tickets here.
  • Breathe bravely. You may remember our story about Ashley Ballou-Bonnema a couple weeks ago ... now, it's time for the annual Backyard Bash this Sunday afternoon at the Levitt. Details here.


More recent headlines

This grant will support mental health for Latino teens
A new grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation will create a support group to promote the mental health of Latino teens.
Why Sioux Falls’ street department needs more money
The Sioux Falls Highways and Streets Department is set to get up to $7 million in extra funds this year, if the City Council gives final approval to a pair of proposals advanced Tuesday.
What we learned about future park plans during budget talks
The city parks and recreation department gave a closer look at its proposed nearly $43 million budget for next year to the City Council on Tuesday – and conversations revealed some of the larger plans and wish list items beyond the next year, as well.


What I'm falling for this weekend:

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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 un-ironically switching to pumpkin spice to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development 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.

Special thanks to RASE and Sioux Falls Thrive!

Don't miss the upcoming information session about how an affordable housing trust could help those most in-need of housing. Details here.