Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Very cold, but above-freezing temps are on the horizon

Giveaway check: There's still time to enter (and earn extra entries) the giveaway for a three-night stay in the Black Hills over Presidents Day weekend! Get the details and find out how to earn extra entries here:

Programming update: I had an overwhelmingly positive response to having the event guide on Wednesday, so I'll go ahead and keep doing that in the future! Never hesitate to let me know how I can make this newsletter better serve you. :)

This weekend, I talked to a handful of locals about their strategy for approaching the downtown burger battle. You'll also learn about a nonprofit working to make doulas more accessible, and find some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


How folks are strategizing the month-long burger battle

Simplified: It's the 11th Annual Downtown Burger Battle this month – with 37 restaurants sharing their creative burger offerings in the hopes of earning your vote. Sioux Falls Simplified chatted with several folks about how they're approaching the battle (and is anyone going to eat all 37?).

Why it matters

  • The burger battle is a way for downtown restaurants to show off their creative culinary skills, but more importantly, it's a way to draw traffic to restaurants during some of the coldest days of the year when customers can be harder to come by.
  • Last year, the burger battle had an estimated economic impact of more than $1.7 million, and over the years it's also become part of the culture of Sioux Falls.
  • As the number of entries seems to grow every year, it's getting harder to eat all of the burgers – more than one burger a day is, frankly, more than most can handle. But people have come up with a number of different strategies, from spreadsheets to team work to ranking systems.
"Whether I get through all of them or not, that's OK," burger battler Morgan Mundt said. "I just like to be able to push myself and try new foods."

Let's talk strategy


This group is working to make doulas more accessible statewide

This is a paid piece from South Dakota Doulas.

Simplified: A nonprofit is working to bring prenatal, birthing and postpartum doula services to more people statewide by advocating for legislation to ensure these services are covered by Medicaid. Meet South Dakota Doulas.

Credit: Beth Grocott Photography

Why it matters

  • South Dakota’s maternal mortality rate is nearly triple the national average – and it’s significantly worse for Native American women in the state. Research shows those outcomes – as well as the rate of other medical interventions during birth – can be improved with the help of a doula. 
  • The tough part is that hiring a doula can be cost-prohibitive for many families, which is why South Dakota Doulas is working with lawmakers to support legislation to provide medicaid coverage for doula services. That's where House Bill 1081 comes in.
  • If passed, the measure would mean families would be reimbursed for up to $1,000 in doula services, including prenatal, labor and delivery, or postpartum care.
"This is a stepping stone to having everybody be able to access doula support," said Renee Forred, owner of Transitions: Doula and Life Services. "We need to be able to extend this support to everybody – not just those who can pay privately."

Hang on, what is a doula?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Name the new elementary school. The Sioux Falls School District is seeking submissions for names for the new northwest elementary school that'll be next to George McGovern Middle School. Get your suggestions in here by Jan. 22.
  • Augie announces 2024 Boe Forum speaker. New York Times columnist, PBS NewsHour commentator and author David Brooks will be coming to the Augustana University Boe Forum for a talk entitled “America at the Crossroads: The Rule of Law and the Future of Democracy." The event will be held at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, March 19, in the Elmen Center. Tickets will be available soon. Check here for more.
  • 2024 Facade easement program accepting applications. The City of Sioux Falls is accepting applicants for its annual program to restore the facades of historic buildings in the city's core. Find more details and an application here.
  • City's updated rental rules take effect. Changes to how the city regulates both short- and long-term rentals took effect Jan. 1. All rentals must get a city permit, but if you get it before July 1, it's free. After that, it'll be $50 per address. Find more background on the changes, and then get the permit application here.
  • Chat with a councilor. The city's monthly Coffee with a Councilor event will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday at the WP Cafe in the Washington Pavilion. This month's councilor to chat with is Greg Neitzert.


More Simplified Stories

Councilors get a snapshot of the childcare crisis
The city regularity oversight committee on Tuesday heard from about a half-dozen people in the childcare industry about why their industry is struggling, as well as the resulting affect on parents.
This comedy festival hopes to end on a high note
It’s the eighth and final year of the Sno Jam Comedy Festival in Sioux Falls.
Stuff to do: Jan. 17-23
Here’s a look at what’s going on this week.


What I'm falling for this weekend:


How to support Sioux Falls Simplified

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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 an extra pair of gloves to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.