Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first, this issue is sponsored by Sioux Empire United Way.

  • Sioux Empire United Way's 2024 fundraising campaign, "Thanks to You," is happening now. The funds raised through this campaign will support dozens of nonprofits in the coming year throughout the Sioux Empire. See how you can help support your community.

Weather check: Not quite done with the hot days yet

Fall alert: What are your favorite off-the-beaten-path fall activities in the region? I'm looking to compile a "simplified" list of fun fall stuff-to-do, and I don't want to miss anything! Reply to this email with any suggestions you have.

This week, a lot is happening – I kept most of it "super simplified" for you! I've also got a little closer look at what's going on with The Link triage center, a new app to connect you with your kids' classrooms, some big groundbreakings that happened this week and how you can get some pink hair for a good cause.

And now, news:


Simplified: The Link triage center has seen a higher rate of employee turnover than any other Avera entity, according to Thomas Otten, assistant vice president for Avera Behavioral Health.

Why it matters

  • Otten shared his staffing challenges with the Sioux Falls City Council during a presentation Tuesday afternoon. He also shared an update on The Link's mission, progress and impact since opening in June 2021 as the result of a partnership between Sanford, Avera, the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.
  • In its first two years, The Link has seen more than 8,300 visits – an average of about a dozen a day – among 2,700 unique individuals. Each of those folks has found resources to help with substance use disorder, mental health support or simply a safe place to sober up.
  • But, keeping staff in place has been a "significant challenge," Otten said. The center's nurse manager – the top position at The Link – left earlier this month, and Avera is facing a tough situation with high turnover alongside increasing costs.
"The Link is probably 4% of my census and probably 40% of my stress," Otten said. "It is a very complex program to run."

Tell me more


This app can help you track your kids' schoolwork

Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District has a new way for parents and students to connect with their classrooms. Here’s what you need to know about the district’s new learning management system.

Why it matters

  • The district has long used learning management systems, but the switch this fall will bring all K-12 schools onto one consistent platform called Canvas. In the past, different grade levels and schools have had different systems.
  • Now, a parent with kids in elementary, middle and high school can track all three kids' classes using the same software rather than toggling between programs like Google Classroom and SeeSaw.
  • The district has been training teachers on the new software since the spring. District officials didn't respond to a request for the total cost for the switch, but analysis of board minutes shows more than $1.7 million in authorized spending with Instructure – Canvas' parent company – between training, setup, and subscriptions.
"I really think it's a great tool for parents and students to just keep track of their work and grades," school board member Kate Serenbetz said.

Tell me more


Super Simplified Stories

  • Meet the manager. Sioux Falls Thrive has hired a manager for its new Eat Well Sioux Falls Mobile Market. Luke Senst will lead the mobile affordable grocery store, which is expected to open this fall.
  • County approves budget. Minnehaha County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to approve a $169 million budget for 2024. This includes funding for 18 new positions as well as the funds to build a new juvenile detention center. The Dakota Scout has more.
  • Construction starts on river greenway expansion. The third phase of the Downtown River Greenway is officially underway after a groundbreaking ceremony Monday afternoon. The $11 million project will provide two acres of pedestrian access and recreation along the river. It also includes Lloyd Landing, which will feature a shelter, sculpture, artificial turf, seating and a selfie station. It's all scheduled to open in early 2025.
  • South Dakota One Stop breaks ground. A new 280,000 square foot facility will bring a dozen state agencies under one roof. The state broke ground today on the east-side South Dakota One Stop building.

More Super Simplified Stories

  • Help for the Helpline. The 437 Project – a group of people who ran across the entire state in a relay-style last week – raised more than $250,000 for the Helpline Center. It's the largest gift the Helpline Center has ever received, CEO Janet Kittams said.
  • County/city one step closer to agreeing on Airbnbs. The joint planning commission for the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County voted unanimously on a proposal to require a conditional use permit for any short-term rentals in the joint jurisdiction areas – primarily areas on the edge of town that'll likely eventually be annexed into the city. This wouldn't affect short-term rentals in city limits. Next step: the ordinance goes back to the City Council/County Commission for final approval.
  • Pink hair to show you care. Avera facilities and multiple salons will be offering pink hair extensions by appointment throughout the month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month. Extensions are being offered for a recommended donation of $10. Stylists will also be offering purple colored extensions to honor any and all cancer survivors.
  • Streets getting surveyed. For the next several weeks, the city's streets will be surveyed by a third-party vendor. It's something the city does every four years to get a sense of the overall condition of the city's roadways. So, if you see a white van with equipment driving up and down city streets, it's probably that.


What I'm falling for this week:


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The rate of crime is relatively flat (and in some cases, decreasing) in Sioux Falls, but Police Chief Jon Thum says that doesn’t mean cops’ jobs are getting easier.

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Reach out

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