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  1. Four economists from South Dakota will discuss recent findings of a statewide poll by South Dakota News Watch in which some South Dakotans reported that do not expect life to be better for future generations. This article contains a registration link to listen in and join the discussion on Thursday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. Central.
  2. According to a new poll, a wide majority of South Dakotans support their right to make laws at the ballot box through the citizen-led ballot initiative process. The poll of 500 state residents by South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy also revealed that a majority of respondents do not want the Legislature to make the process more difficult.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic surely dampened the mood of many South Dakotans, but some economists point to long-term financial hardships and historically low wages for workers as the principal reasons that some residents expressed pessimism for the future in a recent poll conducted by South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy at the University of South Dakota.
  4. A recent statewide poll conducted by South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy at the University of South Dakota provides a glimpse into how South Dakotans feel about the economy and democratic institutions. The poll, part of the ongoing South Dakota Matters series of polls and panel discussions hosted by News Watch, shows that some South Dakotans are pessimistic about the future and that many more are not happy with how democracy is functioning in America.
  5. Some South Dakota residents are being denied the dream of homeownership due to skyrocketing housing prices driven by a rush of out-of-state buyers with more purchasing power and low inventory of affordable homes. Meanwhile, the seller's market in South Dakota is pushing rental rates higher, further straining the ability of low- and middle-income residents to improve their living conditions or obtain the long-range benefits of home ownership.
  6. News Watch won a top award and was a finalist in three other reporting categories in the annual Great Plains Journalism Awards contest in which newspapers of all sizes from eight states competed.
  7. Child advocates in South Dakota worry that child abuse cases spiked and were more severe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that a reduction in formal reports of cases may have allowed some child abuse to continue unabated.
  8. Increasing difficulty in finding new volunteers and adequate funding have put rural ambulance services in South Dakota at risk of closure, leaving rural residents in danger of enduring longer response times in emergencies or even a total loss of access to emergency transportation. When a Meade County service collapsed in 2020, it meant some people were an hour away from getting emergency help.
  9. South Dakota News Watch won three top awards from the North American Agricultural Journalism Association for work published in 2020.
  10. Event cancellations, loss of new business and unexpected costs associated with COVID-19 prevention led to financial losses at South Dakota arenas and civic centers, which had to cut employees or implement furloughs. But vaccines and a return to normal are fueling hopes for a return to profitability in 2021.
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