South Dakota News Watch was one of more than 100 applicants for the grant from the Solutions Journalism Network that provides funding, training and support to expand coverage of a community or population facing challenges in health, education or quality of life.
A recent criminal case in Aurora County, South Dakota has raised questions about the definition of residency when it comes to in-state hunting privileges, particularly for so-called "snow birds" or part-time residents. In the 2019 case, a retired optometrist and veteran of the Iraq war who splits his time between South Dakota and Colorado was charged with illegally obtaining South Dakota resident hunting licenses. The investigation into his activities left him feeling persecuted, and left state officials disappointed they couldn't convict him of fraud.
A California energy company plans to install technology at South Dakota dairy farms that will capture methane from manure and convert it into natural gas. Three Sioux Falls-area dairy farms are signed on to the program that will create a new revenue stream for the farmers, generate a source of renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The most extensive investigation ever in Pennington County and one of the most exhaustive searches in South Dakota history have failed to discover what happened to Serenity Dennard, who was 9 when she ran away from the Black Hills Children's Home treatment facility in western South Dakota on Feb. 3, 2019. Now, almost a year later, authorities are unsure about where Serenity ended up; her family members remain tortured by the uncertainty; and the facility's leadership is still seeking to prevent a similar tragedy.
The people closest to Serenity Dennard remain in agony over her disappearance and shock that she has not been found. In exclusive, emotional interviews, South Dakota News Watch sat down with the three people who knew Serenity the best and miss her the most.
In a win for wildlife management, North American elk are migrating from the Black Hills and expanding onto the prairies much farther east. But farmers and ranchers on the open prairie are pushing for a new elk hunting season because the large herbivores consume significant quantities of livestock feed and cause damage to fences and other property.
Whether due to obesity, diabetes, smoking, a lack of access to health care or mistakes at hospitals, mothers in South Dakota and the United States have far higher rates of death and complications due to childbirth than most industrialized countries, such as Canada and the U.K. Now, a new effort is underway in South Dakota to better understand the causes and to curtail a type of death seen as mostly preventable.
Overall enrollment is down about 5% since 2010 at the six public universities in South Dakota, reducing revenues along the way. As a result, universities are changing the way they do business, but part of those changes may be a belt-tightening that could affect faculty positions and offerings to students.
Gov. Kristi Noem has proposed a series of reforms to increase and improve state oversight of privately run youth treatment homes, including hiring of more inspectors and requiring the first-ever unannounced inspections. Noem's recommendations came after a South Dakota News Watch investigation into abuse of residents and lax state oversight of the Aurora Plains Academy youth home in Plankinton, S.D.
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