Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Possibly snowy, keep an eye out

🏰 A very cool thing: You can win a three-night stay in a Black Hills castle (a more than $2,200 value) just by supporting local news.

This week, I've got a look at what Sioux Falls area lawmakers are planning to bring to the legislative session starting next week. You'll also get the details on a big giveaway to help celebrate three years of bringing you smarter, easier local news! Plus, catch some Super Simplified Stories and our weekly event guide.

And now, news:


What Sioux Falls-area lawmakers are focusing on in Pierre

Simplified: More than a dozen state lawmakers gathered Thursday morning to let local business leaders know what they're working on when the 99th South Dakota legislative session kicks off next week. Here's a look at some of the big topics of discussion you can expect to see come up.

Why it matters

  • The Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce each year hosts a legislative breakfast event to help business and community leaders get a sense of important legislation coming up in Pierre.
  • Some themes that emerged in the event this week included support for counties, funding for infrastructure, a tuition freeze for state universities and the need to discuss the ongoing childcare crisis.

Tell me more

Here's a closer look at some of the priorities of Sioux Falls-area lawmakers:


These women are here to help you heal

This is a paid piece from Selah Space.

Simplified: Selah Space, a Sioux Falls holistic wellness cooperative, opened in 2020 with the mission of bringing healing to all aspects of a woman's life – mind, body and spirit. The mission is the same, but the depth and breadth of the cooperative's offering has grown tremendously. Here's what you need to know ahead of the grand re-opening.

Why it matters

  • Founder and Owner Jada Dobesh created Selah Space for the women who are, as she puts it, "technically fine." They're busy. They're taking care of their kids, work, households, all while ignoring or putting off caring for their own needs.Three years later, Selah Space is celebrating an expansion that doubles its footprint and makes room for 10 providers.
  • Selah Space is recognizing that growth with a grand re-opening celebration and ribbon cutting with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • It's all about providing holistic care, both in big ways and in small, Dobesh said. That means caring about everything from your pelvic floor to your sore muscles to your mental health to your spiritual life. The providers work together to heal all of the areas that need support.
"This is my best version of creating that village that women need," Dobesh said. "This is the safe space filled with safe women who want you to succeed, who want you to be healthy and who are going to fight for your holistic healing."

Tell me more about the providers


Super Simplified Stories

  • City looking for affordable housing proposals. The city announced Thursday that it's requesting proposals for housing projects specifically created for folks with extremely low incomes (30 to 40% of the area median income.) The city has a nearly $6 million fund to help make these projects possible. Here's more background on the housing needs, and here's more details on the request for proposals.
  • Catch Sioux Falls Simplified in the news. Remember the holiday gift guide you guys all helped put together? It was made possible with the help of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, and the folks over there wrote up a nice little summary of how we worked together (and the lessons I'm taking into next year!) Find that article here.
  • Annual blood drive on track to break records. The annual Heroes Behind the Badges blood drive – a friendly competition between police and fire departments – could potentially break the current record of 1,272 donations, according to Keloland News.


How to contact your state lawmakers

Simplified: South Dakota's 99th annual legislative session kicks off next week, and the next three months will determine how the state spends money and regulates its residents for the next year. Here's what you need to know to get involved.

photo of black rotary phone against white background
Photo by Quino Al / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Not every bill will impact every person, but it's a safe bet to assume at least something discussed in Pierre will impact you, personally.
  • That's why it's important to, number one, pay attention to what's going on. I'll do my best to recap the stuff that impacts Sioux Falls, specifically, but there's a whole team of reporters who are in the Capitol full-time.
  • It's also important to let the lawmakers who represent you know what matters to you. It's easy to do that by calling or emailing the three state lawmakers who represent your district. It's even easier because all of the Sioux Falls area lawmakers are listed below.

How do I figure out who to call?


Stuff to do: Jan. 5-11

  • Watch the Jacks. The South Dakota State University Jackrabbits are headed to the championship football game in Frisco, Texas. The game will be available to watch online via ESPN, but you can also join a local watch party at Woodgrain, Glacial Lakes Distillery and Shenanigans.
  • Talk about downtown. Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. is hosting a forum on Tuesday morning in which city leaders will be at the Orpheum Theater to discuss how new developments will affect the future of downtown from both an economic and quality of life standpoint. Details here.
  • Go milk jug bowling. The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation department is hosting a series of milk jug bowling events including one starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at McKennan Park. Details here.
  • Take a nature hike. There are three different opportunities to take a group nature hike at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Details here.
  • Eat out to support feeding kids. The Barrel House is hosting a fundraiser to support Hungry Hearts, which puts money toward food insecurity in area schools. Details here.


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More Simplified Stories

How an app could help connect parents with childcare
A number of city councilors on Tuesday expressed interest in helping the Helpline Center create an app that would give parents an easy way to see which childcare providers in the state have openings.
How an app could help connect parents with childcare
A number of city councilors on Tuesday expressed interest in helping the Helpline Center create an app that would give parents an easy way to see which childcare providers in the state have openings.
Here’s a recap of what made headlines in 2023
Before we dive into predictions and “what to watch” stories for 2024, I wanted to look back on some of the big stories of 2023 to show a little bit more about where we’ve been before we think about what’s next.


How to support Sioux Falls Simplified

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Here are a few ways to ensure this smarter, easier local news outlet is here to stay:

  • Become a member. Consider buying into a smarter Sioux Falls by becoming a member and offering financial support to the no B.S. journalism you've been reading here.
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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 Bones 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.