As cell phone use grows, some connections harder to make


As cell phone use grows, some connections harder to make by Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Additional reporting by Bill Krikac In today’s fast-paced, digital era, people are “connected” more than ever. But tasks that used to be simple—such as finding a phone number—are becoming more difficult. “Because there is not a published directory of wireless phone numbers, people are tougher ... Read More »

Social networking bridges gaps between people, communities

Max, Gemma and GiannaMaria Stangeland of Valley City, N.D., proudly display the Catholic saint peg dolls made by their mother, Barb Stangeland, and 19 other mothers across the country. The women connected through a Facebook group for Catholic moms, and each hand-painted 20 “copies” of one saint, then sent them to a woman in Kansas, who boxed up sets and shipped them to each family, for either play or to be put on display. Stangeland, who works from home for Humana and has moved from Brookings, S.D., to Salem, S.D., to Valley City, N.D., due to her husband’s career changes in the past two years, said social networking has helped keep her connected to friends and family, as well as grow her faith, hobbies and interests, in ways that otherwise would be difficult. Photo by Jenney Grover

by Wendy Royston, with additional reporting by Doug Card The Dakotas may be geographically secluded, but technology has made rural life less isolated. “(Facebook) is a way for me to stay connected to the world, because I don’t leave the house to go to a place where there are other people,” said Barb Stangeland, who works as a care manager ... Read More »

Tending the flame: Leveraging resources to bring back South Dakotans

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” —Thomas Jefferson How does a governing body—whether it be a board of directors, a municipal, a county seat, a ... Read More »

Has your chimney been cleaned this year?


Annual maintenance is key to preventing fires, officials say By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Additional reporting by Ken Schmierer Some rural Dakotans have recently taken to burning corn, pellets and wood to avoid burning as much cash for home heating expenses, but doing so must be done responsibly, according to fire officials. “The main thing is to make sure that ... Read More »

Programs provide heating help to thousands

Programs provide heating help to thousands

By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Additional reporting by Elizabeth “Sam” Grosz Anyone who has weathered a Dakota winter knows how important a warm house can be in the dead of January. The people who are likely most acutely aware of this fact are the families struggling to pay their heating bills. “It gets cold here, and any time the program ... Read More »

Read the November/December 2014 issue online

Wessington Springs residents know how eEmergency has made a difference for their community. Pictured from left are Mayor Melissa Mebius, Fire Chief Jim Vavra, Dr. Tom Dean, Blake Willman, and nurse Christina Christiansen. Photo by Wendy Royston

The November/December 2014 issue of Dakotafire is now available to read online. The first story is available free of charge; if you’d like to read the whole issue, purchase access here. Print subscribers: You can access the digital version free of charge! Email to get your digital subscription set up. Read More »

Finding people to serve requires innovative thinking


Want to turn over your position on a board or committee to someone else? Good luck. Finding people willing to serve in leadership positions in the rural Dakotas may be more difficult than it’s ever been. We tend to blame this on a declining population, but there’s also another factor at play: At the same time populations are declining, the number of nonprofits is increasing. Read More »

Ebola fears? Just wash your hands and move on

washing hands

By Wendy Royston, Dakotafire Media Should Dakotans be worried about Ebola spreading here? Probably not. Even though the 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest ever and marks the first time the virus has been diagnosed in the United States, officials say the risk to the vast majority of Americans is tiny. Stay calm, they advise—just practice proper hygiene and use ... Read More »

National Register status can mean financial help for renovation projects

Having a building on the National Register of Historic Places can provide a point of pride for a community, as well as some financial benefits, according to state preservation officials. The register is the “official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” according to the register’s website ( To be eligible, a building has to meet at least ... Read More »

Scroll To Top