Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: A chillier weekend

A quick thanks: I really appreciate the feedback you shared earlier this week, and I'm so glad to hear so many of you are enjoying this newsletter AND feeling smarter about our community because of it. 😄

This weekend, I'll introduce you to the candidates for Sioux Falls City Council and school board as the first of a multi-part series leading up to the April 9 election. Plus, meet a cool local designer and learn about new affordable housing projects coming down the line.

And now, news:


Meet the people who want to represent you on the Sioux Falls City Council

Editor's note: This is the first in a multi-part series on the 2024 city and school board election. Stay tuned for more on the candidates views on various issues – oh, and make sure you're registered to vote by March 25 or, like, what is this all for?

Simplified: Four of the eight Sioux Falls City Council seats will have new faces after the April 9 election. Two of those spots are already filled by uncontested races, while six more candidates are vying for one of the remaining two. Here's what you need to know.

Why it matters

  • The Sioux Falls City Council sets policy for the entire city, as well as adopting the annual budget – which, for context, was about $800 million this year.
  • A good chunk of that money comes from taxes collected on any purchases you make or property you own. These regular elections are your way to have a say in how your money is spent.
  • City election turnout is also historically quite low – like, as low as 4% in some parts of town. The last city election had the lowest turnout since the mid-90s. That means a very small subset of the population is making decisions that affect everyone who lives in town.
What voter turnout tells us about the city election
Voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was the lowest it’s been since at least the mid ’90s. Sioux Falls Simplified took a deep dive into the data to see what we can learn and how turnout varied throughout town.

Ok, ok, so voting is important. Make it easy.

That's my whole m.o., baby.

Sioux Falls Simplified sat down with every candidate on the ballot and asked the same series of questions. You'll see more of those answers in the coming weeks, but for now ... drumroll

Meet the candidates


Meet the local designer helping businesses be more efficient and profitable

This is a paid piece from Wire Design Company.

Simplified: Kristi Wire founded Wire Design Company with a goal to use her skills as a designer to help businesses be more strategic with their branding. As she recognizes five years in business this month, Wire shared some of her big wins – and big goals to come.

Why it matters

  • Before starting Wire Design Company, Wire worked for 10 years as a senior design lead at multiple marketing agencies. She started her own company because she values serving customers directly by finding efficiencies in their business and design. Today, she's working with clients on a global scale.
  • Wire's expertise in strategic design have helped her clients both save and make money. One client saved 66% on shipping costs after Wire redesigned their packaging, and another client saw $2 million in new sales after Wire helped them design a digital catalog.
  • At its five-year benchmark, Wire Design Company is reflecting on those wins and looking ahead to even more. The business has a new website, a new email newsletter, and Wire will lead an in-person branding workshop on April 11.
"It's not an easy journey being an entrepreneur," Wire said. "I'm really grateful that we get to do what we love to do and make a difference for businesses."

Tell me more about Wire Design Company


How the city is looking to fill housing gaps

Simplified: City Council in the coming months will be asked to approve two different projects aimed at bringing more affordable housing options for those most at-risk of homelessness.

aerial photography houses
Photo by Blake Wheeler / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Research conducted last fall showed the most significant need for housing in Sioux Falls is among those who make make 30% or less the area median income (AMI) – which is $17,350 for an individual and $26,500 for a family of four.
  • To help address that need, the city committed $4 million in one-time funding to a "Housing Needs Fund" – supplemented by an additional $1.8 million in federal funds.
  • Now, the first two projects within that fund could bring as many as 156 housing units, with 37 of those priced to be affordable for those lowest-income folks. Case management services are also part of the equation to help these new tenants get into a more financially stable situation.
"This is a really exciting opportunity," Housing Development Manager Logan Penfield said. "I don't know any other way to put it. It's a really exciting opportunity for the city to be involved in this at this scale."

Tell me more about these affordable housing projects


Super Simplified Stories

  • What are the lastest crime trends? Per capita, violent crimes are down slightly from last year, and property crimes are up slightly. The main takeaways from public safety officials this week was to lock your cars – stolen vehicles remain on the rise. Another troubling trend is a rising suicide rate – I'll be doing a deeper dive on local resources and what mental health organizations are seeing next week.
  • Postal service changes? U.S. Postal Service officials this week hosted a public forum on a plan to move some postal operations from Sioux Falls to Omaha – essentially meaning even a letter sent across town would have to go through Omaha first to be processed. The Dakota Scout has the full story – including the initial public reaction. Have your own thoughts? You can submit your comments directly to USPS here.
  • Check your colon. Ok, like, have a doctor do it – not you. But March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the folks at Sanford Health want to remind you of the importance of these cancer screenings, especially as colorectal cancer is now the number one killer for men under age 50 and the number two killer for women under 50, second only to breast cancer.
  • Make $17-$19/hour this summer. The City of Sioux Falls is looking to fill 150 seasonal summer positions in the parks department. The biggest needs are for park maintenance crews and lifeguards. Apply here.


Meet the people who want to represent you on the Sioux Falls School Board

Editor's note: This is the first in a multi-part series on the 2024 city and school board election. Stay tuned for more on the candidates views on various issues – oh, and make sure you're registered to vote by March 25 or, like, what is this all for?

Simplified: Five candidates are vying for two open seats on the Sioux Falls School Board. Sioux Falls Simplified sat down with each of them to chat about a variety of topics relevant to the school district.

Why it matters

  • See above City Council story for my rant on the importance of local elections.

Meet the candidates


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: St. Patrick’s Day edition
Here’s a look at St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Sioux Falls this week.
How a highly visible brand is helping the Boys & Girls Clubs
With the help of Panther Premier Print Solutions, the Boys & Girls Club of the Sioux Empire found an easy way to get their logo and brand designs printed on anything they need.
It’s a big year for REACH Literacy. Here’s why.
REACH Literacy, a nonprofit focused on improving literacy for both adults and children, has a new leader, new classroom space, a fundraiser event this month and some big plans for 2024.


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 green beers 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.