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South Dakota News Watch

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COVID-19 OUTBREAK INFECTS STUDENTS AT NSU

Bart Pfankuch | South Dakota News Watch

Eight students of Northern State University in Aberdeen and a youth who attended a recent athletic camp on the NSU campus have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a university spokesperson.

WORRIES HOVER OVER RETURN TO SCHOOLS

With a new school year fast approaching in South Dakota, the usual feelings of excitement, anticipation and opportunity have been replaced with angst, anxiety and worry.

CHILDCARE OPTION IN S.D. FEWER DURING PANDEMIC

South Dakota parents trying to return to work after pandemic-caused layoffs, furloughs or job changes may have a hard time finding child care as state day-care providers struggle to survive amid decreased business and increased costs.

Day-care centers, preschools and state registered in-home day-care providers were struggling against high costs, slim profit margins and a shortage of workers before the COVID-19 pandemic.

How four towns are incurring change

As part of its ongoing “Small Towns, Big Challenges” series of articles, South Dakota News Watch has visited four small towns across the state that are trying to chart a new course to prosperity.

While all four towns — Edgemont, Lake Andes, Lemmon and Webster — are unique, they face many of the same challenges to obtaining growth and prosperity.

SPECIAL REPORT: SMALL S.D. TOWNS FACING BIG CHALLENGES

The COVID-19 pandemic could not have come at a worse time for many of South Dakota’s small towns.

The deadly virus has further complicated the already herculean task of keeping cherished rural communities vibrant and reversing a historic downturn in population and economic stability.

Though mostly spared from major outbreaks, small towns that once served as the backbone of rural South Dakota have been stung by the indirect economic and emotional outcomes of the pandemic.

FIRE EXPERT: MT. RUSHMORE FIREWORKS SHOW ‘ILL-ADVISED’

Abnormally dry conditions and a persistent risk of summer wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota make the fireworks display planned for July 3 at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial an unnecessary, potentially devastating and expensive event, according to one fire expert with intimate knowledge of the region.

Beyond the checkpoints: How a S.D. Native American tribe is protecting is people from COVID-19

The highway checkpoints implemented by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in north-central South Dakota have been all over the news as Governor Kristi Noem has threatened legal action unless the tribe removes them. But the roadblocks are only a small part of the efforts by the tribute to protect its people from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The stalemate between the governor and the Cheyenne River and Oglala Lakota Sioux tribes remains, with checkpoints on state and federal highways still in place and Noem seeking but not yet finding a resolution to the conflict.

S.D. COMMUNITIES RALLY TO LAUNCH WEEKLY NEWSPAPER

A group of business leaders and volunteers with almost no journalism training or experience has banded together to launch a local weekly newspaper in Kingsbury County, S.D., where two weekly papers were closed on April 1 due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.