Happy Friday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is sponsored by the 2nd Annual Women's Visionary Summit: Finding Your Business Balance

  • Find balance in your business and get inspired by a slate of innovative and empowering speakers at this Aug. 9 event hosted by the SD CEO East Women's Business Center. Get your tickets here!

Weather check: So, so #%$&@!* hot.

Did you know that Sioux Falls Simplified members get a special Monday issue? I share a roundup of upcoming public meetings, ways for you to participate, what I'm watching and an opportunity to reach out to me directly with any questions you may have.

  • Interested in trying it out? Join as a member today!

This weekend, you'll get smart about the need for housing in Sioux Falls. I also checked in with some local folks who are working to promote food security in town. Oh! And don't miss our weekly round-up of events.

And now, news:


Get smart about local housing needs with Rocky Welker

Rocky Welker is the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls. He chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about the need for affordable housing, the work Habitat does to help and what the broader community could do to make a difference.

Answers are edited for length and clarity.

How did you 'get smart' about housing needs? What in your background prepared you for your role today?

I received my master's degree from the University of South Dakota in public administration, and I've held leadership roles in the nonprofit sector for more than a decade – specifically with Habitat for Humanity for the last five years.

We're all about simplicity here. Can you describe the work of Habitat for Humanity in 10 words or fewer?

We provide life-changing opportunities for new or current homeowners.

Can we start with some perspective/context? How many people does Habitat for Humanity help each year, and how does that compare to the existing need in Sioux Falls?

We build homes, but we also provide affordable home repairs for low-income residents, so it's not just new construction.

  • Last year, in 2022, we served more than 100 families in the greater Sioux Falls.

(For the home ownership program) we typically see between 60 to 80 applicants each year, and we choose between seven and 10 families to partner with.

  • We will dedicate 10 homes this fiscal year, and we serve families who earn 40% to 70% of the area median income.

In terms of addressing the need for affordable housing, we're barely scratching the surface.

  • Homes on the market for less than $300,000 are almost non-existent.

See the full interview


How neighbors are teaming up to fight hunger

Simplified: A two-day forum this week brought food producers, restauranteurs and nonprofits together to find some fast, tangible solutions to food insecurity in Sioux Falls.

Photo by nrd / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The main goals of the Urban Food Forum this week were to make connections and find some tangible solutions to food insecurity that can be relatively quickly executed.
  • The forum was hosted by Jordan Deffenbaugh of the Community Revitalization Collective – a group working to bring more resources and community building to the Whittier neighborhood.
  • Deffenbaugh said the event was a success because it brought different perspectives together to share knowledge and make connections. There's already at least one action item: a meeting next month to plan ways to help get excess produce from farmer's fields to people who need food.
"We all have the same goal," said Christy Carr, chief operations officer for Feeding South Dakota, who attended both days of the forum. "I think we've come up with different ways to work together and be more consistent."

Tell me more


Super Simplified Stories

  • No more merger. Sanford Health will no longer be merging with Minnesota-based Fairview Health Services, the hospital systems announced Thursday. It's the second time in a decade the two systems have tried – and failed – to merge, according to The Dakota Scout.
  • Help keeps folks fed. Sioux Falls Thrive is now hiring for the first manager for a new mobile market that'll bring an on-the-go grocery store to food deserts around town. Details and application here.


Why this artist moved from California to Lennox

This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Simplified: Alycia Bromar is an award-winning photographer with experience in several states. Two years ago, she left her southern California home to move to Lennox, where she's found a new community and new outlets for her art.

Why it matters

  • When the pandemic hit, Bromar had to close her art gallery in California. Then wildfires hit, and in May 2021 she decided it was time for a change of scenery.
  • She put her stuff in storage, packed up her dog, Gypsy, in the car and just started driving across the country in search of a new home. A week and a half later she found herself in South Dakota.
  • Since then, she's been welcomed into the community both as a resident and as an artist. Most recently, she had a gallery show in Centerville, and her dream is to open a gallery of her own in the next year or two in Lennox – her new hometown.
"You have everything you need – your hardware store, your grocery store, your gas station β€” but driving through downtown, it was just this small-town feeling," Bromar said. "Kids are riding their bicycles, and the American flags in front of homes. It was just really nice to see."

Tell me more about the artist


Stuff to do: July 28-Aug. 3

  • Later Babes, Denham and art? Oh my! The Four Winds Music and Art Festival runs Friday through Sunday at Icon Lounge this weekend. Catch a massive lineup of musicians and 20+ artists in the 605 Art Show. Details and tickets here.
  • Experience Kunama culture. The Kunama Cultural Festival starts Aug. 2 and runs through Aug. 6. See a soccer tournament at Yankton Trails Park starting Wednesday. Catch a fashion show at the Multicultural Center on Saturday, and see live music Saturday evening at the Levitt. More info here.
  • Refresh your wardrobe. It's the summer closet sale for Dress for Success. Stop by Embe Downtown from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to shop for clothes, shoes and more, all while supporting programs that support women.
  • Conserve more water. Get all the tips for making and using your own rain barrel in this 6 p.m. event Monday evening at the Mary Jo Arboretum. More info here.
  • Let me see the sushi rollllll. Learn how to make your own sushi from the experts at Crave. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labor. Class starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Details and tickets here.
  • It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a bunch of planes! The Sioux Falls Airshow runs Saturday and Sunday out at 1201 W. Algonquin St. The event features a performance from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Schedule and details here.


More recent headlines

This Sioux Falls nonprofit is helping people breathe worldwide
Ashley Ballou-Bonnema founded nonprofit Breathe Bravely to share the healing powers of singing with cystic fibrosis patients worldwide
You might be eligible for free internet
Midco has helped more than 10,000 people get free or discounted internet service through a federal program aimed at lessening the digital divide.
Property taxes, simplified
It’s budget season for the City of Sioux Falls. Here’s a look at how your property taxes play a role in the city budget and what a potential increase might mean for you.


What I'm falling for this weekend:

  • Soccer wins
  • Havarti
  • Three new SF Simplified sticker designs from the lovely Kristi Wire (coming soon!)

Become a member

Has Sioux Falls Simplified made you feel smarter about where you live? 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.

Not ready to commit to a membership? That's OK! If you want to help in a smaller way, you can buy me a coffee. :)

Tell the "simplified" story of your business to your target audience. Want more info? Reach out to Sales & Socials Director Olivia Bertino at olivia@sfsimplified.com.

Want the process to be even simpler? You can schedule a newsletter sponsorship right here with just a few clicks and a few questions.

Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos, or just straight up ice 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 the SD CEO East Women's Business Center!

Don't miss the 2nd Annual Women's Visionary Summit: Finding Your Business Balance from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Washington Pavilion. Get your tickets here!

  • The SD CEO East Women's Business Center, is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration.