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  1. The shuttering of Shopko stores in Chamberlain, Custer, Dell Rapids, Redfield, Wagner and Webster spotlights the fragility of rural retail economies. The resulting job losses, decreased access to necessities and sales-tax reductions could weaken community viability.
  2. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of South Dakota's entry into legalized casino gambling. When voters approved black jack and table games in the historic city of Deadwood in 1989, the Black Hills town was on the ropes. Gaming brought an instant economic spurt and, despite a variety of challenges through the years, has helped sustain the community.
  3. A near-record number of women legislators soon will begin their terms in Pierre. The newly elected lawmakers say an increase in female representation could bring a focus on different issues and greater collaboration.
  4. The adult child payment requirement has been on the books in South Dakota since 1939 and is rarely used. But as nursing homes increasingly face financial struggles, some legal experts say elder-care providers may see it as an avenue to collect unpaid bills.
  5. Economic pressures, low reimbursement rates and staff shortages are contributing to financial stresses for skilled care facilities. Three have closed in recent years and two more are slated for shutdown in February, creating hardships for residents and workers.
  6. A constitutional amendment making sports betting legal in South Dakota will be presented to lawmakers in January. If approved by the Legislature, the amendment also would need voter approval. Betting on sports would be allowed in Deadood and at tribal casinos, but not through the state's video lottery system.
  7. Most farmers who applied for assistance received less than $20,000 in the first round of federal payments this fall. The government program is designed to mitigate agricultural producers' financial losses due to the ongoing trade war with China.
  8. Registered nurses in South Dakota earn less than their counterparts across the country. That presents an additional hurdle for health-care providers already struggling to fill open nursing positions. Hospitals, universities and governments are working together to manage the staff shortages.
  9. The Sioux Falls woman has spent roughly a decade in prison, and swears that she is done with drinking, drugs and the abandonment of her children. 'I'm just tired, tired of this life, really.'
  10. At 35, Brandi Snow-Fly has reunited with her children and is working to avoid the triggers and traps that led to her addiction. She listens to scripture, stays away from her old friends, sets healthy boundaries and routines for herself and her children, listens to advice and most of all has not given up on herself or her family.
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