Happy Friday! Megan here.

Don't forget: If you want to vote in the November election – i.e. if you want to have a say in who's making decisions that affect you – the last day to register is Monday. Here's a handy how-to.

Weather check: Warm and not-at-all wintery for the weekend

This weekend, you can get smart about local theater with Luke Tatge. I'll also tell you about the county's need for an expanded juvenile detention center. And, of course, you'll see our roundup of local events for the next week.

And now, news:


Get smart about local theater (and original musicals) with Luke Tatge

Luke Tatge is a longtime writer, executive director of nonprofit Sioux Falls Stage and Gallery, and he's the operations director for the Good Night Theatre Collective.

  • Oh, and he has a full-time job at Epicosity on top of all that, no big deal. We chatted with this busy artist about local theater and the upcoming debut of his original musical, "Salem."

Answers have been edited for length and clarity. All answers are direct quotes from Tatge.

How did you ‘get smart’ about theater – i.e. what in your background or in your own research/activities prepared you for your role today?

I'm not someone who came from theater – I come from writing, and I've been writing since I was a little kid. I sort of married into theater. My husband studied it and is very active in it.

  • I fashioned my love of movies and the narrative form into his world, and that's how I ended up a playwright.

We’re all about simplicity here. Can you describe Sioux Falls’ local theater scene in 10 words or less?

Open-minded, creative and better than outsiders might assume

What’s something people most often misunderstand about local theatre – and specifically original productions? (And, if you could politely correct them, what would you say?)

People mistakenly assume that the words "original, local theater" are scary. I think a lot of (local) groups that are dabbling a bit more in debuting works are sort of changing that narrative.

I also think there's maybe an unfair assessment that it will not be as good as something you've heard of, and more often than not – especially lately – we've gotten to a point where that's not the case.

You're likely to be surprised.

What's your favorite role that you've played in a theater production – either onstage, off-stage or a character you wrote?

I'm not a stage performer, that's for sure.

As far as stuff I've written or roles I've played behind the scenes, I would say my favorite thing I've written is probably (murder mystery) "Suspect," which is a musical I wrote this past season.

  • That's mostly because I grew up reading Agatha Christie as a kid, and it was like a culmination of my musical love.

This upcoming musical, "Salem," is decidedly different in that it's a drama. I'm almost equally excited about it and proud of it because I forced myself not to lean in to humor for once.

See the full interview

And learn more about how to catch a performance of "Salem."


Why the county is talking about a new $50 million juvenile detention center

Simplified: The Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) is running out of space, and the current layout makes it hard for staff to keep the youth-to-staff ratios needed. Here's a look at a proposed solution.

Why it matters

  • JDC is a place where kids who've committed crimes can be safely detained, but also receive education, treatment and other services they may need.
  • The current facility has a number of challenges to keeping kids appropriately separated, and with no staff break rooms or showers, it's also wearing on the people who are working at JDC because they've got nowhere to unwind from intense situations, said Tyler Klatt, assistant commission administrative officer for Minnehaha County.
  • Architects and consultants working with the county looked at two main solutions – one, add on to the current facility, or, two, build a new building. And, according to their research, building new is the best deal.
"It's pretty clear that option two is going to make more sense," said Dick Strassburg from Minnesota consultant group Tegra.

Tell me more about the proposed facility

Why now? What will it cost? What will that mean for taxes? It's all here.


How regional wastewater treatment could bring more growth to the metro

This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance

Simplified: Hartford needs a new wastewater treatment facility. As it's planning, the city wants to know if neighboring communities would be interested in creating a centralized, regional facility that'll help everyone meet the growing needs for wastewater treatment in the county.

Why it matters

  • Wastewater infrastructure is a significant need for communities in the region. Hartford has to find a solution by 2025, and its neighbors in Crooks, Colton, Humboldt and Lyons are also running out of options for expanding wastewater treatment.
  • The proposed new treatment facility in Hartford would have the capacity to process 1.56 million gallons of water per day, enough capacity to also help the entire region if nearby towns are interested.
  • The challenge to making this project happen will be funding. The estimated cost at this point is about $16.8 million, and there's an additional $10 million cost for conveyance – essentially the cost of moving wastewater from the communities to the treatment facility.
  • Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, told the County Commission this week about the importance of having the conversations now about regionalizing wastewater treatment. It's an economic development issue, he said.
"If we want to continue to grow, we need to be proactive in facing these issues and finding solutions," Fonkert said, adding that he's seen project pass by the region because of the lack of wastewater treatment capacity.

Tell me more about this proposed regional facility

And what happens next?


Stuff to do in the coming week:

  • Snag some city surplus. The City of Sioux Falls is having an online auction for extra city equipment. You can see the items in person on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the street division facility. Details and bidding info here.
  • Do the monster mash. Bring a canned good to the Halloween Party on Saturday at Our Farm near Parker and get a free gourd. There will also be costumes, music, carnival games, balloon animals and more. Details here.
  • Sit in on spooky story time. Join The Source and REACH Literacy on Saturday for a spooky story time at 10 a.m. Get a free book while you're there. Details here.
  • Shop the season. If you're in the mood for shopping, The Social is hosting a fall vendor fair on Sunday at noon. There will be food vendors, jewelry vendors and more. Details here.
  • Grow green connections. The new nonprofit Building Sustainable Connections is hosting its Green Networking Event at Augustana on Tuesday. Find local sustainable businesses and meet potential employers. Details here.
  • Blackout some books. If you've never tried blackout poetry, Tuesday's your chance. Join the Full Circle Book Co-op at 7 p.m. to help clear some space on their shelves by marking up books. Details here.


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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or big piles of crunchy leaves to megan@cmtv-news.com.

Thank you

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