Happy Friday! Megan here.

First things first: This issue is brought to you by the Prism Community Center and the Transformation Project.

  • The Prism Community Center and Transformation Project are hosting a 5K Rainbow Run on Saturday, June 1 to kick off Pride Month. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Prism Center's work in supporting and creating space for the Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ community. Learn more and register to run here. (Plus, scroll to the bottom for a special promo code).

Weather check: Rain – and maybe storms – this weekend

This weekend, you'll find a guide to Tuesday's primary election. I'll admit– I wasn't going to do much reporting on this because I like to focus on Sioux Falls and not statewide politics, BUT it did feel important to share details about the folks who want to represent Sioux Falls in the state legislature and county governments. You'll also meet a former teacher who's bringing a book club to his fellow Good Samaritan residents. Plus, catch some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:


Your guide to the primary elections

Simplified: Candidates statewide are vying to represent South Dakotans in the state legislature, and closer to home there are several folks looking to serve on the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Commissions. Sioux Falls Simplified reached out to all of the Sioux Falls-area candidates to help you get to know them a little better ahead of the June 4 primary election.

white and black rolled sticker on white surface
Photo by Element5 Digital / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • While the primary election is essentially a precursor to the November ballot – given the makeup of South Dakota politics, this election is really where most decisions get made about who will represent the state's residents in the legislature.
  • Because the state skews conservative, the Republican primary is where the majority of voters will narrow down the candidates they most want to see represent their neighborhoods. And – in many cases – those races will be uncontested on the November ballot because there aren't democratic candidates running.
  • That said, for voters who are not registered members of the Republican Party, the primary election will be a bit of a snooze fest. Republicans hold what's called a "closed" primary, meaning only registered members can vote. That means there aren't many choices for democratic, independent or non-affiliated voters to make.
    • For the most part, the only question will be to decide which democratic candidate you want to nominate for president.

How to use this guide (and find the whole big ol' thing here)


This former teacher's book club emphasizes learning at any age

Simplified: Steve Hamersma may have retired from teaching, but he's still finding ways to flex his muscles as an educator by leading a book club at Good Samaritan Society - Prairie Creek.

Why it matters

  • Hamersma spent decades teaching English and French, as well as coaching oral interpretation and debate.
  • Now, he's running a book club for a dozen fellow residents at a Sioux Falls Good Samaritan facility with the help of Siouxland Libraries' "Book Club To-Go" bags.
  • Not only has the book pushed him to read more, Hamersma said, but it's also been a way to build community with the other independent living residents. Plus, it's a way to stay sharp.
"If people can keep reading, it helps them keep their minds going," he said.

Tell me more


More homes, businesses coming to Brandon

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

Simplified: New developments in Brandon will bring lots of housing units, space for new business and new park features. Meanwhile, the city is also prioritizing maintaining its existing neighborhoods.

aerial photography houses
Photo by Blake Wheeler / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • Brandon saw a decline in building permits in 2023 after high numbers the years prior – a trajectory very similar to what happened in Sioux Falls post-pandemic.
  • Even in the first quarter, Brandon is already well on track to beat last year's numbers. The city saw 13 building permits for homes through March of this year, and in all of 2023 the total was 20.
  • Additionally, Brandon is seeing new businesses coming to town, park improvements and is increasing focus on making sure core neighborhoods don't get forgotten along the way.
"With growth you have to also add the infrastructure ... we like to focus on what we already have and work to rehabilitate the core of our city as well," Andrews said.

Tell me more about what's going on in Brandon


Super Simplified Stories

  • A park, but not like a park park. A swath of green space in central Sioux Falls is getting some upgrades thanks to a partnership between the Sioux Falls School District and neighbors in the area of 9th Street and Grange Avenue – the former site of Lincoln Elementary.
    • Last summer, those neighbors kicked off an effort to turn the site into a city park. That's not happening, but the school district – which owns the land – is going to still be a place where neighbors can garden and touch grass. Students, the district, neighbors and the city are going to work together to figure out what kinds of upgrades they can add to what'll be called "Lincoln Commons."
  • Southeast Tech has a new president. Southeast Technical College announced a new leader this week: Cory Clasemann, who most recently worked as the vice president for student success at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, Ind. He'll take over for Bob Griggs, who announced earlier this year he'd be stepping down after eight years as president.
  • Lions arrive at the zoo. You can't go see them just yet, but there are officially two African lions on the Great Plains Zoo campus. Their names are Simba and Amahle, and they'll take the next month to get acclimated to their new home. The new lion exhibit will officially open June 28. In the meantime, here's a picture of the pride of Sioux Falls:


Splash pads, butterflies and teddy bear clinics: How to find fun at the zoo in June

This is a paid piece from the Great Plains Zoo.

Simplified: Summer is in full swing at the Great Plains Zoo. The new splash pad is now open, the lion exhibit is almost ready to open, and there's a range of events throughout the month of June sure to entertain all ages. Here's a look at what's happening.

Why it matters

  • There's a lot to celebrate at the zoo this summer, as it adds new amenities, welcomes new animals and looks to the future with its recently-released master plan.
  • Between the zoo and its partners at the Butterfly House and Aquarium, there are events throughout the entire month of June that celebrate everything from pollinators to oceans. There's even an adults-only zoo experience at Zoofari.
  • You can also enjoy more opportunities to see the animals during summer hours with a regular schedule of zookeeper chats and weekly "Wild Wednesdays" where the zoo stays open until 7 p.m. with special themed events.
"We really want people to experience the zoo in new ways this summer," said Denise DePaolo, director of PR and engagement. "You can splash at the splash pad, see the animals in the evening, enjoy a Zoo Brew on tap, and, soon, meet our new lions."

Tell me more about events coming up in June


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: May 29-June 4
It’s a full weekend of fun in Sioux Falls -- here’s a roundup of what’s happening.
This soon-to-be Eagle Scout is sharing a new view of the city
One of the highest points in Sioux Falls just got a new vantage point thanks to the work of a local teen pursuing his Eagle Scout.
This summer camp gives kids hands-on STEM experience
A one-day camp from the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Forward Sioux Falls will help middle schoolers see all of the ways what they’re learning in school could translate to a future career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


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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 maybe another three-day weekend 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, 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.

Special thanks to the Prism Center and the Transformation Project!

Learn more here about the work they're doing to support and empower transgender people, and don't forget to register here for the 5K Rainbow Run tomorrow. Use promo code "RAINBOW50" for 50% off your registration.