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  1. Grocery prices, especially for meat products, have risen sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to continue to rise throughout 2021. Market forces have pushed up costs for grocers and their customers, some of whom are already experiencing financial hardships as the costs of other essentials have risen.
  2. A South Dakota News Watch investigation has raised questions about whether a taxidermy business owned by the son of a state senator is operated from Texas even though application materials submitted by the son, who received more than $1 million in coronavirus grants and loans, list an address in Union Center, S.D. Part 2 of the package, available below, is also published on this website.
  3. The state hired two independent management and auditing firms, and may pay up to $12 million, to oversee the application process and auditing of coronavirus relief grants.
  4. Average teacher salaries rose in South Dakota by 17% over the past five years, mostly driven by a hike in the state sales tax, and for a time the state rose in national rankings. But since then, the state has failed to keep pace and. now only Mississippi pays a lower average wage. Education experts say the state may need to revisit the funding formula for school districts to prevent more teachers from leaving the state for higher wages.
  5. Finding a nursing home or long-term care provider for sick or elderly South Dakotans is getting harder due to a financial crisis in the industry driven by high costs associated with COVID-19, a labor shortage fueled by low wages and the ongoing fiscal challenges at facilities trying to remain financially viable.
  6. A student government leader explains what life is like on campus, and how exciting it is to experience a more normal semester even as the pandemic continues to hover over campus life.
  7. Many aspects of living and learning on South Dakota college campuses appear more normal this fall, but as COVID-19 cases rise statewide due to the highly transmissible delta variant, aggressive efforts are still being made to keep students, faculty and staff safe and some students are feeling the strain of anxiety caused by the pandemic.
  8. The award honors a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in the greater Sioux Falls areas.
  9. A former South Dakota wildlife official took a hard line against the Nest Predator Bounty Program during an online panel discussion this week, saying the program was ramrodded into existence by Gov. Kristi Noem and is not ethical or effective. Current state wildlife leaders on the panel disagreed, and said the program is protecting pheasants and getting more children engaged in the outdoors.
  10. Recent poll results show that Republicans in South Dakota are far less likely than Democrats to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and that many GOP voters are taking cues on the pandemic from state and national political party leaders. As vaccine hesitancy remains entrenched in the state, South Dakota health and medical officials fear that "herd immunity" and a return to normal may be increasingly out of reach.
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