Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is sponsored by the Siouxland Renaissance Festival.

  • The 23rd Annual Siouxland Renaissance Festival will take place June 1-2 at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. Travel back in time to Tudor England under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Find a full schedule of events, and get your tickets here.

Weather check: The rain continues – and gardens rejoice

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This week, there's a heckuva lot of City Council news after a more than four and a half hour long meeting last night. Nearly all of that news is 'Super Simplified' for ya with more to come on a few items later in the week or in the coming weeks as it all rolls out. You'll also some big wins for childcare and an event guide chock full of fun.

And now, news:


The childcare crisis is far from over – but here are some recent wins

Simplified: Both the city and state are looking at ways to address the challenges facing the childcare industry and, subsequently, parents. This week brought news of grant funds, progress toward scholarships and ongoing meetings of a statewide childcare task force.

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

Why it matters

  • In a nutshell, the childcare crisis is essentially the gap between what childcare actually costs to provide and what parents can actually afford to pay. That leaves childcare workers earning some of the lowest wages in the state, according to research from the Sioux Falls Childcare Collaborative.
  • The Sioux Falls Regulatory Oversight Committee has been working since the start of the year on priorities for addressing the crisis from a city government perspective. On Tuesday, the City Council advanced the first of those proposals – a $450,000 scholarship program to help grow the childcare workforce.
  • Meanwhile, this week the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) awarded a more than $284,000 grant to a group of Sioux Falls organizations looking to help more people open in-home daycares citywide.
"We need to inspire the next generation of childcare workers by saying, 'Hey this is a career field we want you to go into and explore,'" Councilor Rich Merkouris said.

Tell me more


Super Simplified Stories

  • Bye, bye, bond-y. Ok, it's not goodbye – it's see you later – for the city's proposed $77 million aquatics bond after councilors voiced concern that the funding model would've meant charging folks more money than they felt comfortable with (e.g. $60/month for a family membership at Frank Olson). So, it's back to the city administration to modify the bond proposal and take in more feedback over the next couple of months with a final vote pushed back to September to align with the regular city budget discussions.
    • As part of those bond conversations, some councilors are also pushing for rolling in plans for a new pool on the south side of town adjacent to Harrisburg's Freshman Academy.
  • West-side wellness center still OK so far. Though the bond vote has been delayed, the City Council on Tuesday did vote to advance a proposal to spend $9 million to purchase the Sanford Wellness Center at Tea/Ellis Road. Initially, it was supposed to be part of the bond, but for now, the council voted to use general fund money with the intent to later reimburse those funds after a bond vote.
    • The councilors did have a number of questions on how the financial piece will work out, and it sounds like there'll be a lot of, as Councilor David Barranco put it, "due diligence" before the second reading.
  • Walk and read. The region's first StoryWalk is now open at Turtle Creek Park in Hartford. The StoryWalk features pages from a children’s book displayed on 20 reading stations along approximately 860 feet of the trail, and the book will change out every month. The first story on display is "Unicorn NOT Wanted" by Fred Blunt. Here's a look at the StoryWalk trail:

More Super Simplified Stories

  • The run-off run continues. Councilors Pat Starr and Greg Neitzert brought a proposal Tuesday night to bring back plurality over majority in City Council elections. That is to say, a person wouldn't need to get 50% of the vote to win – rather, they'd need 34% – which was the city ordinance in the past and was only recently changed in the last five years.
    • Councilor Alex Jensen said he'd rather see the threshold at 40% and move to defer the decision to the new councilors. Councilor Curt Soehl also said he wouldn't support moving this forward because it's "too big of a policy" to change with so little discussion. Councilor Rich Merkouris said he'd like to see this go to a committee for more discussion. Ultimately, the proposed change failed to make it to a second reading, so that's that for now.
    • All of this comes after the city ran a run-off election for the At-Large council seat that was ultimately won by Richard Thomason.
  • I want candy. Parade candy is back, babies. The Sioux Falls City Council voted 8-0 to pass the second reading of an ordinance to allow for the distribution of candy and balloons during parades within the city.
  • Pump up the sump. The rain keeps on a-comin'. The city wants to remind you to make sure your sump pumps are draining outside into your yard or into the street. Draining them into your floor drains or inside drain would put too much strain on the city's sanitary sewer system. Find more info here.


Stuff to do: May 8-14

  • Hang with rhinos. It's Rhinopalooza at the Great Plains Zoo this weekend. Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, you can learn more about rhinos, watch them eat watermelon and maybe even win a plush rhino. Learn more here.
  • Celebrate Cinco. The annual Cinco De Mayo Fiesta is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Falls Park. Celebrate Latino culture with food, dance, art, music and more, and the event is a benefit for Caminando Juntos, an outreach ministry to the newly arrived Latino immigrants in the Sioux Falls area.
  • Have a big fun time. Fresh Produce is celebrating 20 years of art and creativity with a party Friday night in its Ipso Gallery featuring works from more than two dozen artists, live music and, rumor has it, cake. It all kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday – details here.
  • Stock up on gear. It's the 7th Annual Gear and Bear event at the Great Outdoor Store this weekend. Stop by between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday for beer from Remedy Brewing Co., and get what you need ahead of camping season. More details here.
  • Buy plants. Minnehaha Master Gardeners are hosting their annual plant sale at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Admission is free, but it's worth noting you can only buy plants with cash or check. Funds raised will go toward horticulture scholarships to SDSU and Southeast Technical College. More here.
  • Celebrate mom. Last, but certainly not least, it's Mothers Day on Sunday. Don't forget to recognize the moms in your life – and send some extra love to those folks who are wishing/hoping/praying/trying to become parents or mourning the loss of a child.


What I'm falling for this week:


More Simplified Stories

What will it cost to swim in the new $77 million pools?
The parks board and the City Council this week got a closer look at the financials behind plans to build a new pool at Kuehn Park, an indoor recreation center at Frank Olson Park and to purchase the west-side Sanford Wellness Center.
How Via is looking to change-up city bus routes
The idea is to have fewer fixed routes that run more frequently supplemented by on-demand services that run citywide.
Sioux Falls women share their journeys with infertility
It’s Infertility Awareness Week, and in recognition of this common, but often undiscussed experience, Cmtv News reached out to some local women to hear their stories.


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Thank you

Thank you to Cmtv News sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Cmtv News.

Special thanks to the Siouxland Renaissance Festival!

Play in the past at the Siouxland Renaissance Festival. It's all happening June 1-2 at the fairgrounds. Details and tickets here.