I’m a local visual artist and have worked with local musicians over the years and have argued for a long time they are extremely underpaid and I will go fisticuffs with anybody who wants to cheat local performers (it happens a lot).

That’s why I think this program series is awesome;

Officials with the Washington Pavilion have announced the lineup for a new performance series, called “Live & Local.”

The series will include monthly performances showcasing Sioux Falls area talent, such as singers, dancers, comedians, actors, musicians, artists and more.

The stickler?

Tickets for all nine dates go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. The price is $20 for a ticket plus tax. Visit WashingtonPavilion.org/LiveandLocal to view the full performance lineup and additional details, as well as to purchase tickets.

The average price of a ticket to see national acts at local music venues runs you around $10-15. So for $2 to see a show (there are nine shows) it is a pretty good deal.

I can’t remember the last time I was charged a cover to see a local act (they used be able to charge) that’s because the venue presenting them budgets for their compensation.

As a local performance series there is absolutely NO reason the Pavilion could not have found a sponsor for this so everyone could attend for FREE.

Better yet, cut the salary of the director to fund it.

They did the same thing in the Visual Arts Center charging to see regional visual artists (I’m all for charging for National or International exhibits due to the cost of insurance, etc.) going against their promise of keeping the VAC open for FREE.

I actually think it is petty to charge $2 to see a local act, you could make up that revenue in beverage sales. This has ‘experiment’ written all over it.

I am often amazed when a local arts non-profit presents amazing programming for local artists then turns around and says, BTW, it’s going to cost you. But what makes this different is that the Pavilion receives millions in subsidies from the city in building maintenance and operating expenses EACH YEAR (roof replacement, for example).

I’m sure they are looking to see what kind of interest there is and what kind of revenue could be pulled in. I have no doubt that people interested in seeing these shows will plop down the $20, but do they really have to?


UPDATE II: I was told that this is just cleanup language and been planned to change for a few months before Kingdom Boundaries even submitted a rezone. I guess we will hear a longer explanation on Thursday night at the Planning Meeting. But it is still a bad way to form policy.

Item 1D.

The timing of these changes are interesting considering the kerfuffle over the Kingdom Boundaries rezone which the council says they will likely defer on Wednesday (Item 46-meeting is a day later this week due to National Night Out). As I understand it, the council may defer the rezone so they can update these changes. What amazes me is that I have been asking for over 2 years that the rec trail ordinance changes to allow E2s and not until the SFPD does a FB post councilor Neitzert took action. It looks like the applicant saw a problem with current statute and without any public informational on the ordinance change they are moving forward, on the consent agenda. This is a very backdoor way of creating public policy. I am not sure how the administration can justify making PUBLIC POLICY changes like this while keeping the very public it affects in the dark on the process.


While this may be the big news story going around this weekend;

Although both health systems saw “significant benefits” to the merger that led them to “exhaust all potential pathways,” the merger was ultimately scrapped because of challenges that could not be overcome with “certain Minnesota stakeholders.”

It was no surprise to me. When they first announced the merger negotiations I emailed a local well known journalist and told them it will never happen (even if it was a good thing) because of the last time around. The former AG of Minnesota, Lori Swanson, made a good case the first time and I can guarantee those case files were pulled to assist in killing it this time. As I understand it Fairview may have to be bailed out from the state, but apparently they prefer that over Sanford.


This isn’t some big newsflash;

The Lincoln County Commission’s legal counsel has resigned and will continue his public service to the county’s north.

Deputy State’s Attorney Bill Golden has accepted a position with the City of Sioux Falls as an assistant city attorney. He will leave his post in Lincoln County on July 28.

Commissioner Tiffani Landeen added that Golden will be greatly missed, while Commissioner Michael Poppens joked that he hoped Golden would consider staying.

For full disclosure I worked for the Stewart family the same time Mr. Golden did. Bill is married to Kristi ‘Stewart’ Golden, Gordon Stewart’s daughter. Kristi is a former Pressler staffer and not to long ago I think I heard her on KELO AM doing the news.

I have not heard much about the legal talents of Mr. Golden over the years, including when we both worked for the family (sometimes that is good, and sometimes that is very, very, very bad).

We will see what kind of dirty work Mr. Faddle has for his new errand boy.


Executive Director Olson also reported that a new board member, Alex Jensen, was appointed on Friday and onboarding will ensue.

I find this appointment interesting considering Mr. Jensen only has a few months left in his 1st term on City Council and has not announced if he will run for re-election or run for the legislature (so he can incubate for 2 years and then run for mayor). With this appointment it seems Alex is very confused. The rumor mill says he has resisted announcing for a council re-bid because he is scared Stehly may challenge him, and he may be right.


I think the city council needs to kill this until the next mayor rolls in;

The new commission would be charged with, among other things, reviewing works of art acquired by the city and developing the criteria under which they will be placed.

The panel would also set criteria for awarding funding for public projects.

While I support certain aspects of the commission and a full-time director, I don’t trust it under this administration that has an authoritarian slant towards just about everything, including public art. I have suggested besides the commissioners be made up of a broad group of people, that instead of a full-time coordinator, you have a mid-manager from EACH city department serve on an internal arts commission that reports to the volunteer commission monthly. If we really want to promote the arts in Sioux Falls we have to have every city department involved in those actions and not some court jester from the mayor’s office who will likely quit when he is done in 2026.

The Pavilion turned down the ‘opportunity’ to manage the arts for the city, but it seems they have the budget for a NEW full-time position;

Margaret Carmody has been selected as the new Chief Strategy Officer of Washington Pavilion Management Inc.

Carmody previously served as an executive for Raven Industries, where she led organizational culture, marketing, brand, internal and external communications, community and public relations, administrative services and facilities at one time.

She will vacate her role as a member of the Board of Trustees prior to joining the organization as an employee.

The Pavilion is ran by a private management company so they can throw their money at whatever word-game position they want to create, but it reminds of when Doug Morrison ‘retired’ from his banking career while he was serving as School Board President and after leaving the board gets a job created for him by the district. He is in charge of saving the district money 🙂

I am not sure why Carmody is leaving Raven, maybe she saw a better opportunity at the Pavilion, but it seems a little odd that after serving on the board she is offered a new position with the Pavilion. I often tell young professionals in Sioux Falls who are trying to get ahead in their careers it’s ‘who you know, not what you know’ in this town. I have met 30 year olds that are brilliant in Sioux Falls but get passed up for promotions because they are not ass kissers and don’t get fit the ‘look’ and these are white males I am talking about.

Don’t even get me started how you are treated as a female or a minority.

When a friend of mine was starting her career in technical writing she moved BACK to Sioux Falls after receiving top honors and graduating from an Austin, TX university. She sent her resume everywhere and couldn’t even get a call for an interview until she started putting a photo of herself on the resume (she is white). We could never prove it, but we think she was denied interviews because of her name. If you read her first and last name on a resume you would make the stereotypical assumption she is black, as soon as her photo appeared on her resume she started getting interviews and offers.


Whenever I read an article like this, I just shake my head and wonder why people are so opposed to municipal garbage service;

About a quarter of all waste going to the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill could have been diverted or recycled, the results of a new study found, pointing to a problem that could prove costly.

I often laugh when people make comments like this;

The garbage hauling system in this city is private versus public which keeps costs down and competitive.

I had to adjust myself for a moment there while a monkey exited my butt.

I am for the free market system, which works well in many aspects of the private sector vs. the public sector, but I still don’t know how you think the private system is cheaper? They use more gas, they deteriorate more roads and they have to pay tipping fees. The math isn’t there. You could contract with 2-3 private haulers, give them each a sector of the city, eliminate tipping fees, bill people monthly in their water and sewer bill, and have the city provide the fuel for the trucks.

Heck, the little town of Canton knew this and were going to use the cost savings to build a pool, while I disagree my garbage fees should go towards a pool, it obvious that they saw a cost savings (albeit they were taking that savings away with a pool fee). While many cities have done the system wrong (like Canton was proposing), we have an opportunity to build it from scratch and can learn what NOT to do from other cities.

In The Dakota Scout’s print addition that appeared today, Paul has a column about his goals for 2023. Most of it was wordy unreadable or confusing double-talk. But I found this item curious;

Is he calling out himself?

Only truth, honesty and transparency can unify a community. Discussions don’t become inflammatory unless you are doing something, behind the scenes, that are concerning constituents. Like a $10 million cost overrun on a bridge, changing a recommended sustainability study that took volunteers over a year to compile or rejecting a mural selection with NO explanation (or even what this supposed mural looks like).

Honestly, I have no idea who likes to have an inflammatory discussion about local government policy (I kind of do) but other then this outlier, most people just want their local leaders to be competent, trustworthy and transparent and they would rather not engage city hall. The proof is in the low turnout in our city elections.

Division in city government doesn’t start with the low man or woman plowing or patrolling our streets, it begins at the top in leadership, specifically our policy body the city council that sits around and waits for crumbs from the mayor and the mayor himself.

If you want people to stop criticizing you, it begins with YOU! You would be amazed at how positively people respond when you are honest with them.

Speaking of our policy body, they have a shingig Saturday morning at Leonardo’s Cafe at the Washington Pavilion from 9-10 AM.

While I applaud this event, I also think the location and time is perfect, ON A DIFFERENT SATURDAY! There will thousands of people downtown Saturday celebrating St. Pats, not sure they are going to be driving over the top of each other to attend this event. Either move it to a different Saturday or different location.

During the regular city council meeting last night the council touched on several topics;


The director/president/CEO of the Pavilion told councilors during the contract renewal last night that they needed a $5 Million dollar ‘reserve’ in case they have some struggles. While I would agree they do need a slush fund, most of those reserves should be in an endowment fund that earns money thru it’s investment. It is insane that the city continues to dump millions each year into the Pavilion for maintenance and operating while the Pavilion stuffs private and Federal contributions into a savings account. Councilors defended the reserve. Of course they did.


I do support the increase, which is actually very minimal to even the largest property owners DTSF;

Druley did not specify what Raven’s new assessment would be, although a 377% increase over the assessment’s current cap of $1,700 would come to $8,109.

I’m glad our local paper hasn’t taken away their reporters calculators . . . yet.

I find it shocking that TWO properties (Raven and Sunshine/Norberg Paints-which are in the same building) can have this sort of deferral control over the council. This was vetted by DTSF and after it was explained to me it is easy to understand and why NO OTHER downtown property owners that have valuations over $1 million have come out opposed to this;

Batcheller has said the change would affect 88 buildings in the district and bring in another $160,000 per year, and estimated that Cherapa Place’s expansion and the Sioux Steel district could account for another $115,000.

It’s really not that much money, but that didn’t stop the threats;

And she floated the threat of the company leaving the downtown area as well.

“Raven is accountable to its shareholders and its board, and it’s harder to justify its presence in downtown Sioux Falls as expenses increase relative to the benefit they get,” Druley said.

See yah later!

What was NOT mentioned by the council or Raven’s legal counsel is that Raven is no longer a locally owned business. It is now owned by a very, very, very, wealthy Italian family. I have assumed after the purchase that the new owners will look to consolidate and possibly leave Sioux Falls anyway and there is very little the city can do to stop it. I hope that doesn’t happen, but we have NO guarantees it won’t.

Also not factored into their crocodile tears is that Raven has benefitted from the millions of dollars taxpayers have invested in the River Greenway making more of an attractive workplace downtown. The promotion of DTSF has also benefitted Sunshine Foods, the only FULL SERVICE grocery store in the center of downtown. I have been shopping there for 30 years, and I have seen how the store has improved it’s image in step with DTSF improving it’s overall image.

Funny how the council will keel over when ONE hired gun lawyer makes veiled threats but when dozens of citizens show up to the meetings to oppose rezones, bunker ramps, etc., they ignore the warnings.

The council should have just voted YES last night to the increase and thanked Raven for their concerns. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.


While I applaud the efforts, we can’t ignore the 700 pound turd floating down the river;

Entenman notes that 78 percent of the stream miles of the Big Sioux watershed – which is the size of New Jersey – are impaired, meaning the water quality doesn’t meet certain standards, either through contamination with E. coli or other issues, primarily from runoff – from agricultural practices to city streets and residential yards.

Unless you can get the property owners (mostly ag) along the Big Pioux to actively stop that runoff, you will NEVER be able to clean up that river.

“What is the point in putting multimillion-dollar buildings on the shores of the river if it’s polluted,” Entenman said.

I have asked that question for decades.


After Noem and the state legislature’s right wing radicals approved open/concealed carry laws there has been a large increase in gun violence in the state’s largest city. I don’t think that is a coincidence;

Court records indicate Billion was shot with one of four stolen guns from the McKennan Park neighborhood. They were all taken from the same truck.

And there are ZERO consequences for the incredibly irresponsible gun owner, but they do have to live with the guilt, poor fella;

It’s something people have to live with and I’d say that’s one of the unintended consequences if you happen to leave your gun in an unlocked garage, car, house whatever it may be and it ends up stolen,” Sioux Falls Police Information Officer Sam Clemens said.

While I don’t think this reckless gun owner should go to jail, I do think they should face a very heavy fine and be banned from ever owning a gun. While the city has had ordinance bans on tobacco and alcohol use in our public parks, fines for not trimming your trees or scooping your sidewalks and bans on texting and driving the state legislature and city council seem to lack the courage to punish irresponsible gun owners when their stolen property is used to murder our citizens.

I am hoping with the influence the Billion family has in our community they would pressure the legislature, the governor and the city council to implement reasonable gun control laws so there is a least some consequences for not securing a deadly weapon.

Next week the city council has decided to tackle three big topics all in one game;

• Washington Pavilion Management Agreement Renewal by Shawn Pritchett, Finance Director

(two questions councilors need to ask; 1) what is the current compensation of the CEO, Darrin Smith & 2) Why is there $5.2 million dollars in the management companies savings account? Also curious is how that savings account jumped $2.2 million in one year? I will be honest with you, I think it is wonderful the Pavilion is building such an account, but it should be an endowment. And why do we continue to subsidize them operationally? I don’t take issue with maintenance costs, because as taxpayers, we own the joint, but after over 20 years, when will it become the place for ‘EVERYBODY’?)

• Homeless Task Force Report by Council Member Rich Merkouris Here is a simple breakdown from The Dakota Scout (and me);

• $500,000 – Homeless engagement

The recommendation calls for entering into a contract with a third party on a two-year pilot project referred to as a street outreach team.

The cost estimate of $500,000 includes $300,000 in the first year and another $200,000 the second.

(This is a good step forward, BUT, the SFPD also needs to have officers on follows to learn from this. I guess it has been successful in Rapid City.)

• $125,000 – Public education

The task force wants to tap into the existing nonprofits already working in the social services arena to develop a public education campaign that teaches area residents about the challenges of homelessness, how it can be addressed and how to deal with panhandling.

(I personally think it is ludicrous to have to educate people about panhandling and homelessness, BUT, before I lived in a NW coastal city in my teens, I knew very little about these things so it is merited, BUT, the local media, print, radio and TV need to step up and just do this out of the goodness of their hearts.)

•$352,000 – Rally around Network of Care

A grant program could be created to help more nonprofits and other social service agencies become partners in the Helpline Center’s Network of Care, which was created in 2015 to give social service agencies a mechanism to connect with each other in aiding clients.

Of that $352,000, $250,000 would specifically be used to fund the grant program, while the task force is calling for an additional $102,000 directly for the Helpline Center “for HIPAA compliance,” the recommendation reads.

(This is a wonderful software(?) program, the issue I have is the cost. If every service registered with this program used it, wouldn’t that bring the cost down? A good question to ask.)

• $500,000+ – ‘Housing First wraparound services’

The City Council will be asked to create a joint committee with the Minnehaha County Commission to explore grant funding opportunities for new properties and partnerships that could lead to additional housing stability with associated programming for employment and substance abuse recovery support.

While there’s no finite estimate on what it might cost, Merkouris speculated it could be anywhere from $500,000 to as much as the Council and county might be willing dedicate to the plan.

(I have argued from the beginning that this would be costly, BUT we need a plan to look at before throwing money at it. There are zoning laws and regs we could change to force developers to provide this kind of housing which would cost taxpayers $0.)

• SiouxFalls.org Website Redesign by Allie Hartzler, Communications and Culture Officer; and Justine Murtha, Digital Communications Manager;

• siouxfalls.org was last redesigned in 2016.
• Each month, the website has more than 70,000 monthly users, with 60% of users visiting on mobile devices.
• More than 4,800 pages, 9,000 documents, and 6,000 images* exist today.
• In June 2022, the City selected Granicus as a partner for the redesign.

(This is long overdue, and I feel sorry for Allie for getting this dumped in her lap, and the newly hired(?) Digital Communications Manager. But I also argue that this isn’t rocket science. The internet has been around for 30 years, web programming is mostly on auto-pilot and we can learn from other cities, like Omaha, who has a great city website. And we certainly should NOT be hiring a company that has f’kup our website and council agendas for years. It could be done internally by a very capable IT department (would have been a great work at home Covid project) but once again we are jobbing it out.)