Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: An unseasonably warm weekend

Status check: It's the last day for candidates to file for the April 9 election, so you'll soon start to meet the folks looking to represent you on the City Council and school board. What do you want to hear from them? What topics are important to you?

  • Seriously, I'm asking. As I plan election coverage, I want to be asking these aspiring politicians questions on the topics YOU care most about.

This weekend, you'll learn about a new podcast series from South Dakota Public Broadcasting, as well as a new partnership addressing a tough-to-fill gap in housing. I also stepped a little outside my reporting comfort zone to check in on some local commercial real estate professionals' predictions for 2024 in terms of retail, office space and apartments.

And now, news:


Finding housing post-incarceration is tricky. 'Just Home' is helping.

Simplified: Minnehaha County's "Just Home" program is focused on finding housing for justice-impacted people. This year, a partnership with the St. Francis House will mean even more available housing units for these hard-to-house folks.

Why it matters

  • The Just Home project initially started a few years back when the county was awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant to address the significant challenges people face in finding housing after incarceration.
  • As a result of that work, the county entered a partnership with the Glory House to create 51 new apartments that are expected to be completed in June, said Kari Benz, county director of human services. Those future tenants will also have access to case management and other supports
  • More recently, a partnership with the St. Francis House will provide 10 more apartment units, as well as even more comprehensive support with access to the nonprofit's slate of services.
"Not only is that (housing) affordable, but it's also safe," St. Francis House Director Julie Becker said. "Just because they're judicially impacted doesn't mean they don't deserve a place to live that is safe."

Tell me more about the new partnership


This new podcast follows former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's impeachment

Simplified: A new nine-part podcast series from South Dakota Public Broadcasting catalogues a fatal crash, an impeachment trial and the detailed investigation that ultimately ousted the state's top law enforcement official. Here's what you need to know about "Short Walk."

Why it matters

  • In September 2020, then-Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed 55-year-old Joe Boever while driving late at night. Boever's body wasn't discovered until the next morning – sparking lots of questions and a thorough investigation.
  • SDPB's Politics and Public Policy Reporter Lee Strubinger spent the last two years not only reporting on Ravnsborg's impeachment trial – and ongoing Supreme Court battle – but also collecting audio and conducting research for "Short Walk," his new podcast series that launched this week.
  • Strubinger said he hopes the podcast gives listeners a peek behind the curtain of how the whole incident went down, as well as a better understanding of who Joe Boever was as a person before his untimely death.
"When this was all happening, the state was going through the COVID-19 pandemic," Strubinger said. "It was just a very busy time in the news, and so I think this particular story became part of the noise of everything else that was going on at the time."

Tell me more


Super Simplified Stories

  • Big concert announcement coming Monday. The Denny Sanford Premier Center is announcing its 10th anniversary concert during an 11 a.m. Monday press conference. It's not Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift, and that's about all we know.
  • Zoo targeted by social media scam. If you see a deal on zoo tickets that seems too good to be true – it is. Scammers are placing social media ads for the Great Plains Zoo advertising four tickets for $6.95. Don't fall for it– they'll just steal your personal and financial information. If you are looking for a good deal that isn't a scam, you can get a combined ticket to both the zoo and butterfly house for $21.50. Make sure you're buying it here.
  • Call for artists. The city issued two calls for artists this past week. One is for artists who want to paint city storm drains – more details here. And the other is a call for ArtAbility, which showcases artists with disabilities – more on that here.


What commercial brokers are watching in Sioux Falls this year

Simplified: Sioux Falls is, overall, pretty resilient in the face of some national challenges in the commercial real estate world, according to local brokers at Bender Commercial who presented their 27th Annual Market Outlook on Thursday.

empty black rolling chairs at cubicles
Photo by kate.sade / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Understanding national trends can help predict and inform what'll happen in Sioux Falls when it comes to office space, retailers, industrial properties and apartment buildings.
  • Overall, the folks at Bender remain optimistic about the commercial real estate market in Sioux Falls despite concerns about inflation and high interest rates. President Reggie Kuipers noted there are a number of things that could affect the market that are well outside local control – from geopolitical challenges to the upcoming presidential election.
  • And while the investment and industrial side of things won't impact most Sioux Fallsians, one interesting trend to watch will be "shrinkflation" in retail – in which retailers are looking for smaller physical spaces to be more targeted in a world where many choose to shop online instead of in-person, said broker Rob Kurtenbach.
"I think we're going to see a lot more neighborhood retail centers," Kurtenbach said, contrasting that with the large retail center model like the mall, Dawley Farms or Lake Lorraine.

Tell me more about 2024 predictions


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: Feb. 21-27
It’s a lot of food-based activities.
How city entertainment venues are breaking records and looking ahead
Both the Washington Pavilion and the Denny Sanford Premier Center saw record years in 2023, according to updates shared with the Sioux Falls City Council this week.
City Council shares early draft of childcare priorities
Members of the Sioux Falls City Council’s regulatory oversight committee on Tuesday shared a draft list of six priorities related to how the city can help address the ongoing childcare crisis.


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