Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

Weather check: Spring-y

Checking in: Hey, I just wanna say I'm grateful you're reading this. It means a lot, and I hope you get yourself a little treat today for being awesome and supporting local news.

This week, it's gonna be heavy on the local government news, but I promise more community-focused fun stuff is coming Friday. Plus, catch our weekly event guide and some Super Simplified Stories.

And now, news:

CITY

City Council shares early draft of childcare priorities

Simplified: Members of the Sioux Falls City Council's regulatory oversight committee on Tuesday shared a draft list of six priorities related to how the city can help address the ongoing childcare crisis.

child sitting on floor and playing with xylophone toy
Photo by Kelli McClintock / Unsplash

Why it matters

  • The regulatory oversight committee has been talking about childcare in earnest since the start of the year, hearing directly from providers about the challenges they're facing.
  • In a nutshell, the childcare crisis boils down to a gap between what parents can afford to pay and what providers must charge in order to provide adequate care.
  • Councilor Rich Merkouris during a committee meeting on Tuesday outlined a draft list of six priorities the City Council could focus on accomplishing over the next year, and fellow committee members echoed their support.
"We're not just talking about babysitting – we're talking about early childhood development," Councilor Greg Neitzert said. "I think this is a great discussion, and let's just keep moving it forward."

Tell me more about the priorities


CITY

How city-owned entertainment venues are breaking records and looking ahead

Simplified: Both the Washington Pavilion and the Denny Sanford Premier Center saw record years in 2023, according to updates shared with the Sioux Falls City Council this week. And, with their 25-year and 10-year anniversaries, respectively, coming up, both venues have some big plans.

Why it matters

  • Both venues are owned by the city but managed by private companies. ASM Global manages the Premier Center, Convention Center and Sioux Falls Arena, and Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. oversees the Pavilion as well as the Orpheum Theater.
  • For ASM Global, the Premier Center saw a record profit in 2023 at $2.78 million. The company also saw both an increase in the number of folks coming to events and an increase in the amount each person is spending at those events, according to General Manager Mike Krewson.
  • Meanwhile, as the Pavilion prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary this summer, it's recognizing a year of records in 2023, including record high museum attendance, membership sales and a new all-time best-selling Broadway show, "Aladdin," which brought in about $1 million, President and CEO Darrin Smith said.
  • Both Smith and Krewson teased big announcements to come. Smith noted plans for a $400,000 public art installation that he described as being on the scale of the Arc of Dreams, and Smith hinted at a big announcement coming Monday about a performance celebrating the Premier Center's 10th anniversary.
"This will be an event unlike almost any other ... we are going to be the smallest market that this person has played in, and it's going to be fantastic," Krewson said, noting that it's not Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift.

Tell me more


TL;DR

Super Simplified Stories

  • Last chance to run for office. Feeling a civics itch you just can't scratch? Well, if you want to run for one of the four open seats on the Sioux Falls City Council, you've got until Friday to get your signatures in in time to make it on the ballot for the April 9 election. Details here.
  • Amtrak in Sioux Falls? Ok, maybe still a ways off, but both Sioux Falls and Rapid City were on a list of potential stops on a recent Amtrak Long Distance Service Study. South Dakota Searchlight has the details here.
  • E-bikes on trails? City Council on Tuesday voted to pass the first reading of an ordinance from Councilor Greg Neitzert to allow Class 2 electric bicycles on sidewalks, parkways and the city's recreation trail. That moves now to a second reading March 5, and if passed, it'd take effect June 1.
  • More details on possible childcare app You may remember a discussion last month about an app that would help parents connect with open daycare slots. (Background on that here.) Councilors learned Tuesday the app will likely cost the Helpline Center $70,000 to set up, with an ongoing cost of $54,000 per year. There may be state grant funds to help with the setup costs, but it's not yet clear where that ongoing funding would come from.
  • Pedestrian safety ordinance advances. A proposal from Councilor Curt Soehl will see a second reading March 5. The ordinance would prohibit folks from standing, sitting or staying on a median in specific conditions – a median is less than 6 feet wide, speed limit is 30 mph or higher and there are no walkways, sidewalks and crosswalks designed for use. Here's a list of intersections where that would apply if passed:

EVENTS

Stuff to do: Feb. 21-27

  • Eat chili. The Orion Pub downtown is hosting a chili cook-off on Sunday. Bring down your best recipe – don't forget to bring your own ladle (bowls and spoons provided) – and you could win a $50 gift card and an Orion t-shirt if your chili is the fan favorite. And you don't have to cook to participate. More details here.
  • Make tamales. Salas Salsas is hosting a tamale making class starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo Ridge Brewing Project. Seats are limited, but you can snag tickets here.
  • Catch a hormonal musical. "Menopause the Musical 2: Cruising through 'The Change'" is on at the Orpheum this weekend with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's promising to be full of musical parodies and laughs – details and tickets here.
  • Play kickball. The city parks and rec department is hosting a "flurrious winter kickball tournament" starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Sherman Park. Families are encouraged to join in and compete for prizes. It's free to participate. Details here.
  • Hang out at the home show. The Sioux Empire Home Show takes place this weekend at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Check out vendors and get inspiration for your own home. Details here.
  • Paint with pizza. Ok, no, you're not using pizza as paint, but you're painting and also eating pizza. Like wine and canvas but with pizza instead of wine. It's going down at Sunny's on Monday evening. Details here.

THIS AND THAT

What I'm falling for this week:


ICYMI

More Simplified Stories

Get to know the South Dakota Black Chamber of Commerce
The South Dakota Black Chamber of Commerce (SDBCC) launched earlier this month with the goal of empowering Black business owners and being a conduit for connection to available resources and opportunities.
See the latest plans for new pools
Right now, the plan is an indoor pool/rec center at Frank Olson, outdoor pool at Kuehn.
This new apprenticeship will let you test out a healthcare career
A new pilot program at Sanford Health is giving people in Sioux Falls the opportunity to test out different jobs in healthcare throughout a first-of-its-kind four-week apprenticeship.


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