Happy Friday! Megan here.

A note of remembrance: Longtime local journalist and extremely kind human Brenda Wade Schmidt died this week. I had the pleasure of working with her at the Argus Leader when I was first starting out as a reporter, and I think I was too young at the time to truly appreciate the example she set for me as a mother, as a writer and as a person who faces adversity with strength and grace. Brenda, you will be dearly missed.

Weather check: Another hazy, smokey day. Be aware of air quality and limit outdoor activities while it's in unhealthy levels.

This weekend, I'm keeping it short and sweet because I know it's graduation weekend for lots of families (which also means the usual end-of-the-school year chaos for many of you as well!) You'll find the story behind a new downtown mural, when the city pools will open and our weekly event guide.

And now, news:


How a new downtown mural is combining art and augmented reality

Simplified: New public artwork is in the works downtown – and it's more than a mural. Here's what you need to know about artist Walter Portz' latest creation.

Why it matters

  • The mural is located on the west side of the old Sioux Steel building adjacent to the Levitt stage, which means it'll be very visible to everyone who comes downtown to enjoy one of the 50 free concerts throughout the summer.
  • Portz' work goes beyond the painting on the wall, though. He's also including a QR code in the mural that will unlock a virtual art exhibit on the Levitt lawn that can change and be updated over time.
  • It's also a full-circle moment for Portz. The longtime Sioux Falls resident was arrested on graffiti charges for painting unsolicited murals back in 1994. Since then, he said he's grown a lot as an artist (and has permission from Sioux Steel CEO Scott Rysdon). But he's seen Sioux Falls grow and evolve its acceptance of public art as well.
"I think there’s a lot of people that are compelled to create," Portz said. "And having a community that’s finally embracing that is really refreshing. It's taken a long time to get there."

Tell me more about the mural

And when will it be completed?


Super Simplified Stories

  • Apply for home repair help. The city offers a number of programs to help homeowners fund repairs, and, in some cases, even get assistance with a down payment. Learn more about the variety of programs available, who qualifies and how to apply on the city's housing website.
  • Pools set to open soon. Sioux Falls city pools officially have an opening date: June 2. With the addition of Hayward Park's new splash pad (debuting this afternoon), the city has eight different spots for outdoor aquatics. Find a full list here. Oh, and the city is still hiring for more lifeguards, if you're interested.
  • New downtown pub also opening soon. The Orion Pub will open June 1. The pub – located at 127 W. 10th St. near the Full Circle Book Co-Op – will have a casual atmosphere catered toward folks who just want a cheap beer and a place to hang out. Cool thing: Cmtv News is a founding member of the pub, too.
  • Congrats, grads. More than 1,600 Sioux Falls' public school students will walk the graduation stage on Sunday between four separate graduation ceremonies (starting at 11 a.m. with Jefferson, then Roosevelt at 1:45 p.m., then Washington at 4:30 p.m. and Lincoln High School to round it out at 7:15 p.m.)
  • Talk traffic circles. The city is hosting an open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at the City Center building. The goal is to provide information on the traffic circle pilot project on Ninth Street as part of the 15th Street Bike Boulevard Project.


Stuff to do: May 19-25

  • Fish and hike for free. It's free fishing weekend at all of the state parks in South Dakota – which means no license is required to fish (but regulations and limits still apply). There's also free admission to all state parks all weekend.
  • Cheer on runners. The annual Sioux Falls Skedaddle half marathon takes place starting 7 a.m. Sunday. The race starts at Family Park and ends in Fawick Park, and here's a map of the route so you can cheer on runners all along the way.
  • Talk mental health. The South Dakota chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Helpline Center are teaming up for a Mental Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Levitt at the Falls.
  • Catch some comedy. Monk's Ale House is hosting a comedy night starting at 7 p.m. Sunday. Details here.
  • Shop with your pups. Local boutiques are teaming up for a "pup crawl" where you can bring your dog along while shopping. Get a special shopping card initialed by all five participating businesses and you'll be entered to win prizes. Details here.


What I'm falling for this weekend:

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Thank you

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