Happy Friday! Megan here.

First things first: this issue is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of South Dakota.

  • OLLI lets you keep learning your whole life. With short-term, non-credit classes, OLLI offers programs designed for people age 50 and over, but classes are open to all ages and education levels. There are no tests and no grades, just fun! We offer in-person classes in Sioux Falls, Brookings and Vermillion, and Zoom classes, too. Learn more here.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey! Your feedback is so helpful (and I'm thrilled to learn that nearly every single one of you feels smarter reading this newsletter). I'll be drawing for a tote bag/gift card winner over the weekend, and if you're the winner, I'll be emailing you.

Weather check: You know it's spring in the Midwest when the forecast has 60 degree temps AND potential for snow in the same week.

This weekend, we've got a fun April Fools Day edition of "Get Smart." Plus, catch up on some big plans happening in Lincoln County, and find the latest Super Simplified Stories. Oh, and don't miss our weekly event guide!

And now, news:


Get smart about comedy with Zach Dresch

Zach Dresch is a Sioux Falls comedian, improviser, musician and more. Since he's a local expert on making people laugh, it only seemed fitting that we sat down with him ahead of April Fools Day to get smart about the local comedy scene.

Answers are edited for length and clarity. Responses are direct quotes from Dresch.

How did you get into comedy?

I always watched stand-up comedy growing up – I watched Comedy Central all the time, Saturday Night Live. I knew I wanted to perform in some capacity, but didn't know what I wanted to do.

I did plays in high school and college, and my junior year of college I went to the American College Theater Festival in Lincoln, Neb.

  • There was an open mic night one of the nights we were there, and I decided to try it out. I think my first crowd of people doing stand-up was about 300 people.

I did that, and it went pretty well. And then I just started doing comedy in Sioux Falls – doing open mics, doing shows on weekends. It just kind of blossomed from there.

We're all about simplicity here. Can you describe what makes something funny in 10 words or less?

If you have a punchline, that’s the main goal.

What's something people most often misunderstand about comedy/comedians? (And if you could politely correct them, what would you say?)

People always say anyone can do it. And to that I say, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of developing thick skin, developing material, working on your craft.

Whenever people say anyone can do stand-up comedy, I say, yes, to an extent. But in order to sustain it you have to practice, keep going to open mics, and keep working on your material.

If Sioux Falls Simplified turned into a "The Onion"-style satire site tomorrow, what's a story you'd expect to see?

"Sioux Falls labeled 'littlest big city' or 'biggest little city' – I'm not really sure."

See the full interview here


You can help shape the future of Lincoln County

Simplified: Lincoln County is looking to update its 20-year comprehensive plan, and decision-makers say community input is a critical part of the process.

Why it matters

  • All South Dakota counties are required to have a comprehensive plan, per state law. The purpose is, in part, to "protect the tax base" and essentially make sure the county is effective in all facets of the services it provides from roads to utilities to land usage.
  • Lincoln County last amended its comprehensive plan in 2011, but the entire plan hasn't gotten an update since 2005. The new plan will guide the county for the next 20 years.
  • This plan is particularly important because Lincoln County is growing significantly faster than predicted. The 2005 plan estimated the county population would be about 44,000 by 2025. Today, Lincoln County is home to more than 70,000 people.
"Lincoln County is rapidly urbanizing, and this process is essential to identifying the vision, goals and policies that will shape the future," said Toby Brown, planning and zoning director for the county.

How can I give input?

Details here.


How new schools will give Tri-Valley room to grow

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

Simplified: As more people move to the northwest part of the metro, the Tri-Valley School District is planning to accommodate growth long into the future with two new buildings.

A layout of the new Tri-Valley high school

Why it matters

  • The Tri-Valley School District has seen a nearly 20% increase in students in the last decade, and with several new housing developments in the area, that growth is only expected to continue.
  • With 950 students, the current building is over capacity, Superintendent Mike Lodmel said. Teachers are currently sharing classrooms to make it work in the interim.
  • The new elementary school in Crooks and the new Tri-Valley High School will set the district up for success in the long-term. It'll also bring new amenities to students and the community.
"Once these buildings are completed, I don’t predict that our school district will need another new building for quite some time," Lodmel said.

Tell me more about the new buildings

And what will this mean for the community?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Meet the TEDxSioux Falls speaker lineup. TEDxSioux Falls announced their lineup of speakers for the upcoming May 4 event. You can see a full list here. And find tickets for the event here.
  • Big money for housing is back in flux. Sioux Falls developers and government officials have been closely watching what happens to a $200 million state fund intended to help bring more affordable housing to the area. The money was stuck in flux for a year, and now, after lawmakers offered clarity during the legislative session, the longtime head of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority has abruptly resigned – once again creating confusion about who will disperse this money. SDPB has the full story.


Stuff to do: March 31-April 6

A quick note: Have an event coming up that you'd like to share with the Sioux Falls Simplified audience? You can now purchase sponsored event listings online via this very simple form. We're accepting submissions through the entire summer at this point, so snag your spot before they sell out!

  • Vibe with visibility. Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday. The Arc of Dreams will be lit up in support on Friday night, and you can hang out with Hart Studio on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for crafts, board games, lunch, music, raffles and more in support of trans rights. Details here.
  • Get sustainable with Siouxland. Head to the downtown library branch on Saturday at 10 a.m. for the One Book Siouxland kickoff event. Hear from local vendors highlighting their sustainability practices or join in on story time. Details here.
  • Hunt for eggs. There's an egg hunt at Journey Elementary School for kids on Saturday at 10 a.m. with The Experience Real Estate. Rumor has it the Easter bunny will make a visit, too. Details here.
  • Go behind-the-scenes. Take a tour of the back rooms of the Irene Hall Museum Resource Center on Saturday at 10 a.m. Learn more about preservation, storage and curation. $5 admission details here.
  • Snag some flea market finds. Shop Benson's Flea Market at the W. H. Lyon Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday. Vendors from across the midwest will have collecitbles, art, antiques and more for sale. Details here.


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 and share it directly to the inboxes of more than 5,500 Sioux Fallsians. Want more info? Reach out to Sales & Socials Director Olivia Bertino at olivia@sfsimplified.com.

Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or weekend vibes 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, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.

Special thanks to OLLI!

Keep learning your whole life long. Learn more here.