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  1. South Dakota received nearly $14 billion in federal stimulus funds during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped the state, businesses and individuals survive and recover from the greatest health and economic disaster to hit the U.S. in nearly a century. In this exclusive report from South Dakota News Watch, find out where the money came from and where it went.
  2. The highly contagious virus known as RSV is spreading fast among children in South Dakota and across the U.S., raising concerns among medical officials that a more virulent strain of the virus is striking earlier in the year than usual and may sicken large numbers of children and eventually overwhelm pediatric intensive care units in hospitals.
  3. The latest variant of COVID-19 -- which is more able to evade immunity from prior infection or vaccination than previous variants -- is causing infection rates to rise in South Dakota and across the country even though it appears less likely to put patients in the hospital. Unless COVID-19 cases jump dramatically, officials in South Dakota government, health care and education do not appear poised to pursue any active interventions at this time.
  4. An Iraq War veteran from Webster, S.D., is suffering from tremors and anxiety after returning home from service abroad where he was exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits, but so far, he has been unable to receive disability or medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  5. As COVID-19 cases surge in South Dakota, medical experts are seeing more children hospitalized for severe symptoms and new research has led to concerns that some infected children will suffer the same "long-hauler" symptoms previously seen in adults. Increased vaccinations of children are seen as one potential solution.
  6. South Dakota and other states have returned millions of dollars of unused pandemic housing assistance funds to the federal treasury because they were not allocating them fast enough to landlords or due to lack of applications. State housing officials say they received more money than needed and overall have done well in distributing funds to enable renters to stay in housing and to help landlords remain solvent.
  7. Many South Dakota parents have been hesitant to get their children ages 5-11 vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the state is behind all other Great Plains states in terms of rate of child vaccinations. Health officials are urging parents to become educated about the importance of vaccinations that can prevent COVID-19 or reduce symptoms.
  8. Two South Dakota lawmakers are calling for further investigation into the state covid relief grants received by Chris Cammack, the son of Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack. A News Watch investigation published Oct. 11 raised questions about whether Chris Cammack's business that received the grants is located in South Dakota, as required by the state program.
  9. Community banks, often with close relationships with borrowers, played a critical oversight role in ensuring the validity of more than $800 billion in Paycheck Protection Loans issued during the covid pandemic.
  10. 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.
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