Empire - May 24

Page 1

SIOUX FALLS | Bridges at 57 th
Check out all of the career opportunities at Wells! MAKERS OF Spring into a New Career! WellsCareers.com Drug test, background check & E-Verify required Is an EEO/AA Employer. M/F/Vet/Disabled ©2024 Wells Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.


team of writers

Andrea Van Essen, Tanya Manus, Erica Wilcox, Stacey Kracht, Natalie Frazier, & Stephanie Weidler

Account Executives

Cory Johnsen

605-951-3567 | cory@michelscom.com

Jill Foley

712-490-8506 | jill@michelscom.com

Chris Hilson

605-661-9940 | chris@michelscom.com


Heather Jordan heather@michelscom.com


Shane Monahan Photography www.shanemonahanphotography.com

Corey Gross Photography www.coreyjgross.com

graphic designers

Makenzie Jorgenson

Ashley Carrison

chief of operations

Hanna Michels

605-760-4269 | hanna@michelscom.com

PO Box 91606, Sioux Falls, SD 57109 | 605-332-0421 We encourage local professionals and businesses to submit articles. All articles are subject to publisher’s editing and approval. Empire Magazine does not necessarily endorse or agree with content of articles or advertising presented.

Every month Empire showcases local human interest stories along with beauty, fashion, family, home, career, health and nutrition information all with beautiful photography. We also feature businesses, men and women and homes in the Sioux Falls region. Want to subscribe to Empire? One year subscription is only $40.

© Copyright 2024 Michels Communications Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the expressed written permission from the publisher. Empire does not necessarily endorse or agree with content of articles or advertising presented.

CONTENTS Table of 44 36 28 40 24 BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FIRST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Vince & April McCormick SUMMER SKIN IS IN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Best Dressed Blonde AMAZING AUTOMANIA: A TREAT FOR CAR LOVERS . . . . . 24 Community Spotlight HISTORY WITHIN THE WALLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 History CHUCK BENNIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Featured Artist ANYONE CAN GO TO A HOSPITAL; HEROES GO TO THE VA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 U.S Department of Veterans Affairs EMBRACING ADVOCACY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Empire Queen For A Day ADVICE ON MOTHERHOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Stoneybrook Suites


At a glance, Vince and April McCormick look every bit the dynamic power couple they are. Their success as a husbandand-wife team in the real estate and home building industry should be inspiring to anyone considering going into business with a family member, and their clients report a smooth, enjoyable experience time and time again.

Start talking to them, however, and you’ll soon realize that success in business is just a fraction of their story. Together, they have overcome overwhelming personal and professional challenges and emerged stronger than ever.

At the heart of their success is an unwavering commitment to relationships — prioritizing people over financial gain, developing excellent communication, and most importantly, putting their marriage above everything.

“The strongest thing we have going for us is our ability to communicate, and the way we do it is we operate our household and our businesses in two separate fashions,” explains Vince. If they have an upcoming business meeting, it goes on their shared work calendar, and they don’t discuss it over the dinner table. In Vince’s words, “When we’re done with work for the day, she’s my wife, not my business partner.”

“Our number one thing is to maintain a healthy marriage — that’s goal one — and as long as you have that in your mission statement, it creates priorities. We established a protocol that we have a personal life and a business life, and we try not to blur those lines. And when we do, because it inevitably happens, we recognize it and call it out.”

April says their marriage has been a priority from day one, and even when the other pieces of life seemed to be crumbling, they never once considered giving up on their relationship. They got married young, in their early twenties, but began building a firm foundation for their relationship right away.

“We’ve always been proactive rather than reactive, so when we’re going through things, we’re communicating with each other nonstop. Finances end a lot of marriages, but ours

has always remained strong, even when the money hasn’t been there,” April shares.

She also adds that arguing isn’t something for couples to fear.

“You’re going to fight — just make sure it’s a healthy fight. When you’re not mad at each other, have the conversation of how to argue in a healthy way. Every relationship will go through something where divorce is the easier option. It’s the people who have a plan to get through the hard times that make it.”

It’s a lesson they’ve learned from experience. The McCormicks were seriously tested in the early years of their marriage when Vince says they went from being millionaires in their twenties to homeless by age 30.

“I owned my first business at 20 years old and had up to 12 different companies at one point, from health clubs to manufacturing companies, consulting and residential building businesses. I was traveling all over, and I barely remember my twenties. The whole thing was a blur,” Vince recalls.

“We’ve always been moral, ethical people, but my goal back then was always to try to prove something to people,” Vince says.

“To whom, though? If I could go back and talk to that version of myself, who was always trying to validate himself through success, I’d tell him that I don’t measure success that way anymore.”

It was during the 2008 recession that he says everything fell apart.

“God completely stripped us down for four years. We lost everything. We owned these strip malls, and our tenants couldn’t pay their rent, but the bank still wanted the money. Pretty soon, we had to sell off our cars and give the strip malls back to the bank, and it just kept going until the sheriff finally showed up to take our house.”


- Vince & April

Because no one would rent to them, they had to put everything in storage and move in with April’s parents.

“It was one of those situations where we kept thinking, ‘This is as bad as it gets,’ and then it would get worse. We were stripped down to the point where it was literally just her and me,” Vince says, adding that in the midst of everything, their storage unit leaked, and all of their belongings were destroyed by black mold.

The McCormicks struggled for about six years, trying to regain a semblance of the life they had once known. April secured a new job to provide some stability, but Vince faced a major challenge when it came to the professional world. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he says he struggled working for a boss and feeling that “He was no longer the man he once was,” after losing everything and having to rely on his wife to pay the bills.

“No one wants to hire an entrepreneur. They just want someone to come in and do the work, so I had to go all the way back to my roots,” Vince says.

He set aside his pride and took entry-level construction jobs like shingling roofs, washing dishes at Hy-Vee, rubber membrane work and more. “I did whatever it took. There’s nothing wrong with those jobs, but I had to accept the fact that I was totally starting from scratch,” he shares.

Because of April’s consistent income, they were slowly able to save up money for a mortgage and construction loan and began building a home. With Vince’s background and skills, he was able to do the work himself to save money, and they would work on the house together at night and on the weekends.

During that time, they said that people kept stopping by the house, asking if it was for sale. Though it wasn’t initially their plan, things began to align after it was complete,

and they eventually decided to sell the house, move into a townhome and reinvest the money into a new spec house.

They were successful and kept repeating the cycle, slowly and responsibly gaining traction and equity. Eventually, this turned into their business — Smart Homes — which Vince operates as the primary builder, subcontracting out his crews.

April supports the business as well, now as a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway. She has been in real estate for three years, after working as the Assistant Director of Sales for the Holiday Inn in downtown Sioux Falls for just under a decade.

“I’m a sales person by nature, so that’s sort of my frosting on our business together. We’ve created a dynamic where we do builds together now,” April says. “He’s the builder, and I get the pleasure of working with the clients so they don’t feel lost when they’re building with us. I always say, ‘Building a new home is a blessing, so let’s make this fun, let’s make it a good time.’”

Whether they’re her real estate client or not, April says she loves working with Smart Homes clients on the design aspects of the build, from things like flooring to lighting, stone choices and interior and exterior decisions.

“We want your closest friends to be able to walk in the door and know that it’s your home,” April explains. “As the house is being built, we’re getting to know who you are, and that translates into the final product.”

As builders, the McCormicks run a tight operation with their average project taking just 120 days to complete. Compared to other home builders on the market, which averages 9 to 12 months per project, they’re strikingly efficient.

“We have processes, procedures and set schedules for everybody, and our clients never show up to closing with surprise bills. We send out expense spreadsheets regularly so they know exactly where everything was spent, down to a single bolt from Menards. When people get that, their stress levels go down,” Vince says.

Their attention to detail and commitment to a creating a positive experience translates to their relationships as well — with each other and their crew.

“They truly have a brotherhood,” April says of Vince and his crew.

“Everyone that started with him seven years ago is still with him, and they have each other’s back. They work together super well, and that’s what helps us keep our timelines with our clients. A lot of people find that astonishing,” April says.

For Vince, it’s all about making an impact in his guys’ lives.

“Every job is basic until you make it what you want it to be,” Vince says, “Your job can become a career, and that can become a lifestyle. My goal is to groom and form my men for the long run because I see the potential they have to provide value to the world and that can be my business legacy.”

Vince and April emphasize the importance of seeing the contractors they work with as people first, with families, dreams and responsibilities, rather than tools for their business’ success.

“I’m trying to teach these guys how to operate well in business, and encouraging them to focus on their family is huge for me. I’ve found that if I focus on that, the work gets done,” Vince says.

Though they are contractors and not employees with organized benefits or commitments, Vince says that he sees his crews as family. They have Christmas parties, go on trips together and Vince spends time pouring into their lives, mentoring them in their careers and helping them stay in check morally and ethically.

It’s a mindset shift that has been life-changing for the McCormicks — focusing on people and relationships over money and success. They emphasize the importance of humility, gratitude and prioritizing others, and say that personal success returns tenfold when those are the focus.

“When I ate a steak back when I was first a millionaire, I thought I deserved it or that I’d earned it because I could afford it, but it didn’t have any flavor then. Now, when I eat a nice steak, it tastes so good because there was a time when I had to sell Christmas gifts just so I could go get medications that I needed. A steak wasn’t even a possibility,” Vince explains.

Pouring into others, whether financially or as mentors, has become a hallmark of Vince and April’s lives now.

Vince adds, “We used to give to others only once we had ourselves taken care of, and now we help without worrying about ourselves. We’ve found that taking those risks on helping others comes back to you in blessings that you can’t even imagine.”

Abundance is a lifestyle for the McCormicks now — but that doesn’t translate just to cars, travel and other luxuries. They enjoy the experiences and relationships they’ve been blessed with more fully now than ever before, and that shines clearly in their marriage and their businesses. April and Vince want to say thank you to all of their friends and family who have supported them through the good times and the bad. You know who you are and we will forever be grateful for your love and support.

Photos Top to Bottom: April is pictured with Emily and Clint at NASCAR. She is always blessed to always have hot passes for the garage; Vince with his Project Manager Josh and his right hand man and Director of Operations, Micheal; April with her girlfriends (left to right) Jackie, Candy, Jessica enjoying themselves at an amazing brunch in Oceanside, California while the boys were out doing “boy” stuff


April is a huge NASCAR fan and has been for almost 30 years.

Smart Homes makes a point to add a creative element to their home designs, so that the house stands out on the street. “You should be able to tell people where your home is without using the address,” Vince says.

Their faith is deeply important to them, and they attend Embrace Church in Sioux Falls.

They adopted their dog, Harrington, last year from B-Squad Dog Rescue and said having a pet has changed their lives.

They love to travel, and make a point to go on trips together and individually with friends. “It’s so good for couples to have that time of separation to go enjoy your friends,” says April.

Photos Top to Bottom: Vince & April in front of their Bentley somewhere between California and Las Vegas on their way back from their “Cannonball Run” trip; Vince and April cruising with Harrington in the convertible; Jackie, Jessica, Candy and April enjoying an amazing winery in Temecula, CA called The Cave during their Cannonball Run trip; Vince and April pictured with their core group of friends. They hired a private chef to cook for them and it was the most amazing experience; On their themed Cannonball Run trip, Vince and April and their friend group rented four sports cars and drove from Las Vegas to CA and back. They stayed in Temecula and Oceanside and the close-knit group of eight all left with deeper friendships and love for each other after the weeklong trip (pictured – Brad, Jessica, Vince, April, Jackie, Randy, Candy and Cornelius)

Find us in the Steel District. HERE FOR YOUR MORTGAGE NEEDS. Ryan Konz Loan Officer 605.310.8882 NMLS 506705 Nichoelle Waldner Loan Officer 605.595.5179 NMLS 658123 Alyssia Sturm Loan Officer 605.521.1698 NMLS 854118 Chris Haugan Loan Officer 605.728.1537 NMLS 1854506

The start of something you!







ww w l a k e a r e a t e c h e d u
i T n w t oh Y e ea N r A C T O I L O LE N G ! E

•IS IN• Summer Skin

Believe it or not, our skin changes from season to season. In the winter months, with less moisture in the air, our skin cannot keep up with proper hydration, which can lead to dryness, redness, and cracked skin. In contrast, in the warmer months, there’s increased humidity and moisture in the air. Our skin can often become oilier in the spring and summer months, and combined with the humidity and sweat, this can clog the pores and create different skincare problems. Just like we change up our outfits with the seasons, it’s time to change up our skincare routine, too.

To combat oily skin, make sure to look for products that help clarify pores and balance the skin’s natural oils. Even products that help with detoxifying the skin will help to ensure you’re getting your pores cleared correctly. I love this charcoal facial bar for exactly these reasons! Also look for a facial oil that regulates oil production and balances the skin. The product called I am Luminous Facial Oil does all of that plus calms redness and irritation and improves skin texture.

While we love celebrating summer skin, it’s always important to remember to apply sunscreen. Stay away from spray sunscreens and check ingredients before purchasing anything that contains harmful and potentially recalled ingredients. For our faces, my entire family uses Sunlight® Facial Sunscreen. This product combats the sun’s harmful rays while nourishing the skin. It has broad spectrum SPF 30 protection, non-nano zinc technology, and is lightweight and non-greasy with a fast absorbing, invisible finish! This body sun protection factor is also SPF30, giving you the same great benefits for your body without the white cast, heavy feeling or harsh smell!


When thinking of changing up your makeup for the warmer months, consider a more natural look or a dewy glow. Less is more for summertime makeup. The more you put on, the more likely your pores are to clog and therefore create more sweat and oils on the skin’s surface. The new liquid concealers not only blur and brighten the skin, but can also be used in place of your foundation for a lightweight, dewy glow. They are the perfect consistency, not too sheer and not too thick, and liquid concealers blend effortlessly. You can find all of these products by scanning my QR code here! Scan me

Ready to upgrade your skincare this summer?

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and the free shopping app, LTK, to see more organizers and home-hacks for the new year! @bestdressedblonde

Born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD, I’ve been obsessed with fashion since I could dress myself. I was one of those kids who dressed up every day for school, no sweatpants here! My first taste of real fashion was my first retail job at 15. Working in fashion and living it through my everyday outfits, I noticed that everyone would always ask me about my outfits! I’d often get personal shopping requests or asked for fashion advice.

My passion kept growing to the point where I knew this was what I wanted to further my education in. I went on to get my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in business at South Dakota State University. After completing an internship and study trip, I knew that this was my calling, but I was not sure where to go with it.

After doing some corporate buying and retail management, I was grateful for the experiences but needed more. After years and many individuals telling me to start a blog, I finally did.

Best Dressed Blonde was born… an everyday fashion, clean beauty and lifestyle brand. Sharing through my personal website, Instagram and other fashion platforms is the perfect way to express and showcase my passions!

On Best Dressed Blonde, you’ll find me sharing daily deals and sales, makeup tutorials, try-ons and a little bit of everyday life! My passion has also grown into my clean beauty business with Crunchi where I help women detox their skincare and makeup with truly high-performing and clean products.





Fargo, ND – Thurs., May 2 from 10-6pm Laurie’s Boutique - 3265 45th St. South Ste. 100

Aberdeen, SD – Fri., May 3 from 10-5pm & Sat., May 4 from 10-3pm Lily’s Floral Design & Gifts - 423 S. Main St.

Rochester, MN – Wed., May 15 from 1-6pm Country Inn & Suites South Mayo - 77 Woodlake Dr. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - Thurs., May 16 from 10-6pm & Fri., May 17, 10-2pm GrandStay Hotel & Conference Apple Valley 7083 153rd St. W., Apple Valley

Marquette, MI – Sat., May 18 from 12-4pm & Sun., May 19 by appointment Holiday Inn Express & Suites - 2472 US-41

Mankato, MN – Mon., May 20 from 10-2pm Country Inn & Suites - 1900 Premier Dr.

18 n EMPIRE Area’s largest selection of new and vintage natural fur and leather outerwear! Need your fur items cleaned or repaired? Natural and LOCATED AT THE BRIDGES AT 57TH STREET 5005 S. WESTERN AVE. #140, SIOUX FALLS, SD 57108 (605) 335-6021 • EILERSFURS.COM be Warm, feel Fabulous, wear Fur.
2024 FURRIER TRUNK SHOW SCHEDULE: Pickup & Delivery Don't Let Natural Fur Decay; Clean, Store & Repair Your Fur Today! 431
Falls, SD • 605.336.9737 www.rehfeldsonline.com RAPTURE.
SEEN. Molly Fulton & Tom Dempster
N Phillips Ave
Showing May 3 rd – June 1 st
605.339.2000 100 W. 8TH ST., SIOUX FALLS, SD 57104 Celebrate with us and make your mother feel special! SPECIAL BRUNCH Visit us on May 12th, 2024, 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM Mother’s
20 n EMPIRE GREAT FOOD A taste for every palate! experience BANK WITH US Why not earn interest on your checking balance? We offer two great interest bearing accounts to choose from! heritagebankna.com (800) 344-7048 QR Code may result in additional carrier or phone service provider charges. Accounts are subject to terms and conditions.


MAY 6 - MAY 12

Join Tri-State Nursing, the Midwest’s leading nursing staffing agency, to honor the varying roles of nurses and their positive impact in our lives. Nurses make a difference as trusted advocates who ensure individuals, families, and communities receive quality patient care and services.

Nurses make a difference every day!

If you are interested in making a difference, become an RN, LPN, or CNA/CMA with Tri-State Nursing! We are professionals with pride!

“As a nurse myself, I know first hand the care and compassion these individuals display is incredibly profound! A career in nursing is extremely rewarding and limitless!”

MAKE A DIFFERENCE NURSES www.tristatenursing.com 800-727-1912 3410 South Western Ave. Sioux Falls, SD
4500 North Cliff Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104 Phone: 605-332-7112 DIESEL MECHANIC NOW HIRING NORTHAMERICANTRUCKTRAILER.COM APPLY ONLINE Locations in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and North Dakota 401(k) retirement plan match Health & Dental Insurance Life Insurance Disability Insurance Progressive Vacation Plan Training Incentive for Parts & Service personnel Professional work environment Sign-on bonus (varies between locations) Tool reimbursement (varies between locations) COMPETITIVE WAGE AND BENEFITS PACKAGE

Classic car lovers of all ages will be dazzled by hundreds of amazing cars, muscle cars, hot rods, imports, sports cars, trucks and motorcycles at AutoMania. Valley Springs will again host the largest free automotive event in the Midwest, which takes place from noon to 6 p.m. June 29.

Organizers estimate more than 500 vehicles — and 8,000 spectators — could be at this year’s AutoMania car show. Classic car enthusiasts come from several states to show off their prized rides, and anyone who wants to bring their car, motorcycle or pickup can sign up before AutoMania or even the day of the event.

The first 50 participants to register get a free t-shirt. To register in advance online, visit automaniaatvalley.com/ register-ride. Last-minute entries are welcome, too.

“They can register anytime. They can even drive in if they want to. There’s no registration fee,” says Bernie Tyrrell, organizer of AutoMania.

AutoMania welcomes volunteers to help put on this premier car show. To sign up, visit automaniaatvalley. com/volunteer.

AutoMania will open like NASCAR races do, with a color guard and the national anthem kicking off the event at noon. AutoMania is family-friendly and will be a full afternoon of automotive and specialty vendors, along with the hundreds of vehicles on display. For kids, there will be a play area with Bounce Around inflatables. Six golf carts will be available to transport people who have mobility issues so they can view and enjoy all the vehicles on display.

the Rocks will showcase their painting and the artwork of the maddTatter Paintings, Tattoo and Pierce will also be on display.

There will be plenty of delicious food to choose from. Vendors including Lou Ba’s Lunchwagon, BackYard BBQ Truck, Buffalo Gal Concessions and Ollies Food Truck will serve hearty fare including buffalo, Chicago dogs, hamburgers, barbecue and much more. The local Valley Springs Corner Bar Corner bar also is available to quench your thirst on Main Street with a patio to relax on. Make sure to cool off with a frozen treat — South Dakota State University’s dairy bar will serve locally made ice cream.

While browsing the vehicles and vendors, guests can enjoy live rock music all afternoon, beginning with Lexie McGee performing at noon. The musical lineup continues with Boston Steve at 1:30 p.m.,

For questions about the show, contact Bernie Tyrrell at 605-351-8585.


Chris Sandvig at 3 p.m., Andrew Woodhull at 4:30 p.m., and a street dance with music by Southern Detour at 6:30 p.m. to wrap up the night.

Now in its 20th year, organizers say AutoMania promises to be an unforgettable afternoon and evening celebrating outstanding classic cars where visitors can enjoy great food, live music, shopping and more — all while sharing stories with car enthusiasts from Siouxland and beyond.

A star attraction at this year’s AutoMania will transport visitors back to the swinging 1960s. A 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe built from a Factory Five kit has been a passion project for Dr. James McGrann of Sioux Falls and his build team of friends and fellow car enthusiasts. The coupe is a replica of the winning hot rod in the 2019 film “Ford vs. Ferrari.”

“This is the first time I’ve built a car from the ground up,” says James, a retired dermatologist. He plans to present the finished coupe to his son, Sean, who bought the disassembled kit car.

The 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe has come together with the help of Mike Skiles of Sioux Falls and Mark Rollenger of Rowena.

“It’s like a model car, only it’s full size. That’s the hot rod we’re building,” Mark says. “We received the car from Factory Five right in the height of the supply chain issues in October 2021. We received a shipment, but it was missing a bunch of parts.”

The team was finally able to start building the coupe in September 2022, and they were able to test drive it for the first time in May 2023. “The coupe was recently painted by Ron Burchatz, so it’s ready for its debut at AutoMania,” Mike shares.

James will also show his 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe at the 2024 Canton Area Car Show for Generations in Canton, SD on July 28.

VOLUME 4 ISSUE 8 n 25 Free Shipping On Any Orders $50.00+ 605-774-1945 5017 S. LOUISE AVE, SIOUX FALLS, SD BOHOBOUGIESTYLECO.COM Shop Here!
26 n EMPIRE @bestdressedblonde bestdressedblonde@gmail.com www.bestdressedblonde.com The Audience I Reach 97% female following 78% ages 25-44 40%+ local reach Social Media Marketing Contact me for opportunities that will grow your online visibility! Get your brand in front of a fresh audience with influencer marketing! • Graduation • Retirement Party/Reunion • Rehearsal Dinners/Wedding • Corporate/Private Events • Concert • Block Party 605.444.1800 BYGRILL.COM BROOKINGS/SIOUX FALLS RESERVE ONE OF OUR FOOD TRUCKS


Saturday, June 1st, 2024

Do you ever wish you could play football like the Sioux Falls Storm? Now is YOUR chance!

Camp is open to boys and girls ages 4 to 12.

Learn the fundamentals of football alongside the Sioux Falls Storm players and coaches. Each camper will receive a camp t-shirt and a ticket to that evening’s game.

» $49

» Registration at 10 AM - Camp from 10:30-noon

» Additional tickets $9.50 each

Scan the code to sign up


Saturday, June 8th, 2024

Hey Storm fans, do you ever wish you could dance and cheer with a professional cheerleader? Well, now is YOUR chance!

Camp is open to girls and boys ages 4 to 12.

The campers will learn a cheer and dance routine and will perform at halftime of that evening’s game. Each camper will receive a fun choreographed routine, camp t-shirt and a ticket to that evening’s game.

Registration at 10 AM - Camp from 10:30-noon Additional tickets $9.50 each

Scan the code to sign up


In 1881, the Territorial Legislative Assembly of the Dakota Territory passed a bill that was approved by Territorial Governor Nehemiah Ordway to find a location to build a prison. The intention was for a penitentiary to be built on at least eighty acres of land, be big enough to hold 125-150 people, and be located inside or within a one-mile radius of Sioux Falls city limits.

A board of directors was assigned the task of deciding on a location with a total budget of $50,000 for the land purchase and construction of the building. $500 was set aside for the cost of the land, but both original tracts of land that met the objectives were more than the budgeted amount. The company acquiring the land for purchase agreed to pay the difference, and a site was finally chosen. Eighty-one acres were purchased by the Dakota Territory in northern Sioux Falls. The building was constructed under the foremanship of R.H. Booth and designed by Wallace L. Dow. The architectural style of the lockup system used was a combination of Italianate and Second Empire.

Architect Wallace Dow designed many other Sioux Falls buildings including the Minnehaha County Courthouse, which is the present-day Old Courthouse Museum; All Saints School; and the Thomas B. McMartin home, which is the present-day Pettigrew Home and Museum. Dow structured his architectural style utilizing the Sioux

Quartzite stone native to the area that was used in many construction projects at the time.

Construction began in August 1881 and was completed in November 1882. The penitentiary included a central administration section flanked on each side by two cell block wings. The total expense was $59,612.90.

Around thirty prisoners were transferred from Detroit to the new penitentiary on December 13, 1882. Because he is listed first in the ledger, Charles W. Hunt, convicted of manslaughter, is known to be the first inmate.

Today, the building takes up thirty acres, with the main Level IV facility encompassing three housing units. Although much remains from the original buildings, many structural changes have taken place throughout the years. The first expansion took place shortly after the original construction project took place in 1883. The facility was expanded at a price of $30,000 to include a boiler house, laundry, hospital, accommodations for female prisoners, steam heating, and a Warden’s Residence. 33-year-old Elizabeth Dill, the first female inmate, came on May 16, 1885. Five cells on the top floor of the hospital housed the female prisoners. Women are no longer housed in the Sioux Falls facility today. The South Dakota Women’s Prison opened in 1997.

Present day South Dakota State Penitentiary

Charles M. Koehler was the first Warden. He instituted work programs for inmates including a rock quarry and prison library. A twine plant and shirt factory began operation in 1905, and the scope of work programs has expanded since. Employment for inmates is either considered institutional support or prison industries. Inmates with food service, department clerks, cell orderlies, maintenance positions are institutional support employees. Those performing jobs in upholstery, printing, sign, decal, license plates, carpentry, book bindery, machine shop, Braille unit, garments, and data entry work for Prison Industries. All tasks except for garments and data entry are completed at the penitentiary, and the majority of the work is done for government agencies.

The name changed to the South Dakota State Penitentiary in 1889 when South Dakota became a state. In 1897, a rock wall costing $12,645 was installed around the prison. In 1903, the West Hall was enlarged by eighty-eight additional cells. On August 17, 1922, Warden George T. James was taken hostage during an inmate breakout, and one prisoner was killed in the process of tracking down the escapees. In 1925, the East Hall was built. On March 6, 1936, another escape took place and three people died, including Warden Eugene Reiley. On October 11, 1954, a riot took place. In 1955, construction and remodels were completed on the recreation yard, main building’s fifth floor, warehouses, chapel, and auditorium. In February 1993, the G. Norton James Annex opened, which was named after the longest-tenured South Dakota State Penitentiary warden at twenty-five years. After a May 1993 riot, Jameson Annex became a maximum-security facility, and Unit D opened in the annex in 2006. In 1961, 500 acres near Ellis was purchased as a prison farm, called West Farm, which operated until 1997.

In 1881, Territorial Legislature appropriates money for territorial penitentiary in Sioux falls; Administration building and two cell block wings constructed In 1905, a twine plant and shirt factory was started Prison industries have included a number of different products and tasks in the years since.
30 n EMPIRE (605) 338-9713 crackdpotsf.com EVERYDAY SPECIAL 8AM-11AM Texas Sized Chicken Fried Steak Breakfast | $12.99 served with 3 eggs, hashbrowns and toast MONDAY SPECIAL 5PM-8PM served with fries, bbq sauce or ranch, texas toast, and salad bar All You Can Eat Beef Chislic | $15.99 TUESDAY SPECIAL 5PM-8PM served with choice of potato, salad bar, and a biscuit All You Can Eat Chicken | $14.99 4633 W Homefield Dr Sioux Falls, SD 57106 Phone: 605.334.1124 www.PellaGateway.com Windows & Doors of Sioux Falls Get Pella Craftsmanship With Low-Maintenance Vinyl Pella 250 Series Windows We are searching for experienced freelance writers to interview and write cover articles, public interest pieces and community interest stories in the Sioux Falls, Sioux City and/or Black Hills areas. If you have these qualities, we want to hear from you! Please send your resume and link to your portfolio to heather@michelscom.com www.michelscom.com Do you like to write stories?

Life is too short to eat boring food.

All of us at Empire know that food is the ingredient that brings us together! In the coming months, we will be featuring the best foodie spots in Sioux Falls!

Want to feature your foodie spot? We’d love to have you! Email ads@michelscom.com for more information!

Empire Foodies
34 n EMPIRE www.letitflysportsbar.com (605) 274-3313 LET IT FLY IS THE PLACE TO WATCH YOUR FAVORITE TEAMS COMPETE TO WIN IT ALL! Your Family Deserves the Best. Years of Comfort. Years of Savings. 1010 S. Commerce Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 605-332-0541 rogersplumbingandheating.com BIRTHDAY PARTY packages STARTING AT $147.00 ALL PACKAGES INCLUDE: » 10 GAME TICKETS » 5 PUNCH DAY PASS TO FRONTIER CLIMBING FOR GUEST OF HONOR » ON-FIELD PHOTO OP » 10 FREE SINGLE-DAY ADMISSIONS TO THE 2024 SIOUX EMPIRE FAIR The World’s Finest ExtraVirginOlive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars. www.olivedestination.com (605) 271-2220 5023 S. Louise Ave., Sioux Falls

Chuck Bennis


How did you get started creating art?

I have always had a fascination with drawing. That interest and hobby has often tagged me as the ‘creative person’ in my friend, work and community groups. Naturally, when someone had a creative or visual problem to solve, they would ask me to help. For a long time, no matter how challenging the artistic request, I would challenge myself to figure it out. Today, I have the luxury of focusing on my specialties in art, but I still enjoy developing current skills and exploring new ones. I owe a lot to my patrons for continuing to support this passion.

You create in several different mediums at Bennis Art Studios including digital illustration, murals, and caricatures. How do these styles differ, and what do you love most about each one?

Digital illustration was my creative savior. There was a period after college where my access to studio space was limited. Then, my home studio was converted into a nursery. With limited space and time, a computer drawing tablet allowed me to cleanly work from home or anywhere. store designs on a hard drive, send my art around the world and even work in the dark while my kids took a nap. Working digitally super charged my love for caricature and also

improved the design process for creating murals. My linear style overflows to all of my mediums.

Who was the most influential person to you (artistically speaking)?

In high school I turned in a hastily written assignment of academic history notes and got an appropriate bad grade. That teacher made an exception to the syllabus requirements and allowed me to turn in my original illustrated and thought mapped notes. His discovery of my visual learning style transformed my love for learning, history and especially art. I am forever grateful to that teacher for not giving me a D and sending me away.

South Dakota Mural - South Dakota Tourism,Valley Springs SD 16ft x 20ft Louise Mitchell - Sioux Falls Arts Council, Art Box Project (Downtown Sioux Falls, 11th St & Phillips Ave) Sioux Falls Illustration - Installed at Louise Ave. Walmart - Sioux Falls SD 7ft x 24ft
Castlewood Mural - R&L Mack Building, Downtown Castlewood SD 16ft x 80ft

What most excites you about your work and the contribution you can make to your community?

A community with public art and murals sends a message to everyone that there is something going on. Creativity sparks creativity. I am proud of where I live and I love to contribute to making it a better place through art and color.

Describe a memorable reaction to your artwork: Someone asked if I was concerned about my safety before working late at night painting a mural downtown. I generally feel safe, but it made me think twice as this was an area of town I wasn’t familiar with. That night was a constant stream of good-hearted local residents stopping by to share their appreciation for the mural. Connections were being made with me as the artist and between neighbors who had never met. When packing up to leave, I spotted a couple stopping to take a photo together. It made me think about how the power of art changed a dark, boring parking lot into something more.

What habits do you have that encourage creativity?

While traveling I am always looking for influences from nature, architecture, people and other artists. I am constantly taking photos, notes and sketching on my phone for future reference and inspiration for future work.

What would you tell your younger self?

As a young artist I thought you struggled through the process of learning to draw once then it became easier. An artist can train their entire life chasing mastery. Love who you are and the process of making art today. I tell my kids that they should create as much art as they consume.

What is your favorite piece of art that you have created and why?

The stairwell murals at the Washington Pavilion/Kirby Science Center are special to me. My father went to high school there, and I could envision him running up and down those stairs as a student. My kids enjoy going to the Kirby Science Center. When I am there, I enjoy hearing the other kids’ reaction to the murals.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

1. Write & illustrate a children’s book

2. Design a mural for the Corn Palace

3. Own a huge studio with a woodshop, printmaking studio, CNC machine and welding

How would you describe your art collection:

My growing art collection is full of artwork from my artist friends, locals I want to support and other artists that I admire. Some are of my own that I created for my family.

Where can readers view your work and learn more?

Facebook & Instagram @bennisARTstudios

Madison Ave Dance Studio - Brookings SD 10ft x 10ft Hamburger Mural, Downtown Brookings - Community interaction
Caricature Illustration - for SDSU Wrestling VOLUME 4 ISSUE 8 n 37
Floral Mural - Lash Spa, Downtown Brookings

She is



From Personalized Pieces to Birthstone Jewelry, Shop Gifts for Mom and Mother’s Day to Show Your Love and Appreciation.

Birthstones, initials, and other sentimental jewelry are all perfect gifts to celebrate Mom. Gunderson’s has all of those and more! Gorgeous stacking bracelets are available for every taste and budget, and heartfelt rings she’ll be proud to wear are easily mixed and matched. With an array of Mother’s Day

jewelry to choose from Gunderson’s makes your Mother’s Day shopping even easier.

Gunderson’s dedicated and knowledgeable staff are here to guide you in finding exactly the right piece for Mother’s Day, or to help you design your own one-of-a-kind custom jewelry.

Save on Sparkle for

This year our Customer Appreciation Event falls on May 9-18, which means you can save on sparkle for mom AND everyone on your list - don’t forget the grads and dads! You’ll find a wide selection of your favorites on sale, including timepieces, giftware, jewelry and more – select cases are 20-50% off*.

Think Our Clients ROCK and We’d Love To Mom
Let the Professionals at Gunderson’s Jewelers Help You Make That Memory, For a Moment, for a Lifetime. *Some restrictions may apply. See sales professional for details.

ANYONE CAN GO TO A HOSPITAL - Heroes go to the VA! -

As of March 5, 2024, millions of Veterans are now eligible for VA healthcare years earlier as a result of the PACT Act. Specifically, all Veterans who meet the basic service and discharge requirements and who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving our country – at home or abroad – are eligible to enroll directly in VA healthcare without first applying for VA benefits. That includes all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone after 9/11, and all Veterans who deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty here

at home – by working with chemicals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, certain paints, nuclear weapons, x-rays, and more may also be eligible.

Why the expansion?

Because VA provides the best, most affordable healthcare in America for Veterans – we want as many Veterans as possible to come to us for their care. So, to all the Veterans out there: Don’t wait, apply for the care you deserve at VA.gov/PACT. Even if you don’ t need this care today, you might need it tomorrow, or the next day, or 30 years from now. It’s quick and easy to apply. And, once you’re in, you have access for life.

Facts about VA healthcare

• Enrollment is FREE, and healthcare may be free as well.

• VA healthcare for any illness or injury determined by the Veterans Benefits Administration to be related to your military service (called “service connection”) is free. The PACT Act added more than 20 presumptive conditions, expanding benefits to Vietnam-era, Gulf War-era, and Post-9/11 Veterans.

• VA has dramatically expanded services for Women Veterans, VA’s fastest-growing cohort.

• Expanded breast cancer screenings and mammograms for Veterans with potential toxic exposures.

• Supported access to reproductive health services and maternity care coordination.


Check out the complete list of new presumptive conditions at www.va.gov/PACT

Tell your friends to apply for VA healthcare in one of four ways:

1. Online: https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/ application/introduction

2. By calling the toll-free hotline: 877-222-8387

3. By mailing VA Form 10-10EZ to: Health Eligibility Center 2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200 Atlanta, GA 30329

4. In person at their nearest VA medical center or clinic.

To speak to a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Eligibility Representative, please call 605-336-3230 Ext. 5903 or to speak to a VHA Outreach Representative, please call 605-336-3230 Ext. 6436. For questions regarding filing or the status of your claim for a service-connected disability, please call 800-827-1000, visit the Sioux Falls VA Regional Office, or visit www.va.gov.

W E R E YO U E XP O SE D TO BURN PITS, NUCLEAR WEAPONS, CHEMICALS, AGENT ORANGE, OR OTHER TOXINS WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY? Have questions? Call 1-800-MyVA411 and press 0 to speak with someone right away
42 n EMPIRE 1010 E. 8TH STREET, SUITE 102 SIOUX FALLS Bouquet of the Month Club A DRIED HAND TIED BOUQUET DELIVERED STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR EVERY MONTH. MEMBERS WHO SIGN UP WILL HAVE ACCESS TO EXCLUSIVE DESIGNS AND PERKS FROM MEMBER ONLY DISCOUNTS TO SPECIAL LITTLE TREATS PICKED OUT JUST FOR YOU TO GO ALONG WITH YOUR FLOWERS! Experienced Craftsmanship. Innovative Design. 712-568-6745 derocherbrothersconstruction.com dbc@derocherbrothersconstruction.com Let’s Build Something Together. We take pride in building customer relationships that last as long as our homes. If you have questions or are looking to build a home in the Sioux Falls, Sioux City, or surrounding areas, give us a call. NEVER PUT UP LIGHTS AGAIN! 712-422-2244 getlitus@gmail.com | getlitus.com Retail Sun-Mon: 10:00-8:00pm Tues-Sat: 10:00-10:00pm JJ’s Bar Hours Sun-Mon: 12:00-8:00pm Tues-Sat: 11:30-10:00pm JJ’s Bar Kitchen Sun-Mon: Closed Tue-Sat: 11:30-9:00pm The Boozy Bakery Mon-Tues: Closed Wed-Sat: 10:00am-9:00pm Sun: Buy One Get One Free! 605.357.9597 www.jjswine.com An Enhanced Adult Beverage Experience FULL MENU AVAILABLE TUES.-SAT. FROM 11:30-9:00PM CHECK OUT OUR NEW SPRING/ SUMMER MENU Email us at unveiled@michelscom.com myunveiledwedding.com Want to be featured in the next issue of Unveiled Bridal Magazine? Submit a small write up to the email below! Unveiled BRIDAL MAGAZINE PRESENTED GRAND FALLS CASINO SOUTH CITY MARRIOTT RIVERFRONT

Sioux Empire Spring Parade of Homes

May 11-12 & 18-19


Presented by the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire & Inspired By:

Take the HBA Events on the go! DOWNLOAD THE APP

QUEEN for a day

Sara Krekelberg

I absolutely could not think of anything more important then telling you about my very best friend, Sara Krekelberg.

I met Sara at Embrace Church here in Sioux Falls. I was so intimidated as I was new and navigating the world of church “test driving”. Sara immediately embraced (no pun intended) me, but also my 5 year old son.

Sara is the most giving person I have ever met. This is demonstrated by her career at the Compass Center where she has been for over 10 years. There, she advocates for children, teens and adultsproviding them support and encouragement as they navigate starting over after trauma. Her entire career has been modeled around helping children and families.

When she is not selflessly dedicating her time to South Dakota families, she is excelling at her momming game. Sara has three amazing children, all adopted out of the foster care system. Sara has been a foster parent for over 11 years, just another way she gives back to the community and South Dakota as a whole.

Despite being active in our church, our community, and with her family, Sara is that friend who worries about your self-care, who parents your child like their own (always having an extra snack or hug), and sends surprise Door Dash for supper when you’ve had a long day.

I truly can’t think of anyone more deserving of such an honor than Sara. Thank you for letting me share my nomination with you!

~Megan Borchert


Photography By: Corey Gross Photography

Whether she is drawing close to new members in her local church or taking the time to sit with those who have lost their voice due to trauma, being an advocate for others is something that has encompassed most of Sara Krekelberg’s life.

“I am a helper at heart, and I think I have somewhat always known I would be in the social work field,” Sara says. “That is what fuels me. Knowing that I am helping someone in our community.”

Growing up in west Sioux Falls her whole life, Sara found a way to put her love of helping others to work when she reached college. She saw a definite need in the South Dakota community and that is when everything really came together for her.

“I went to school at South Dakota State University, and I got my first “A” in a Human Development and Family Science class, so I wondered if I needed

to change my major because at that point, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Sara shares. “If I wanted to work with children, did I want to work in different areas? I did my internship at the Family Visitation Center and worked with a lot of child life case works and many CASA volunteers and really saw the need that was in the community.”

Sara graduated from SDSU in 2012 with a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and Sociology and received her Social Work License in 2018. Her journey brought her to The Compass Center in Sioux Falls, a non-profit organization that works diligently to promote safety, prevent violence, and instill hope into trauma survivors.

“That was where God was pulling me to go,” Sara shares. “I started at the Compass Center in 2014 and soon it will be ten years. I didn’t have any experience. I have grown with the organization and with the advocacy program.”

As the Director of Community Advocacy at The Compass Center in Sioux Falls, Sara helps trauma survivors understand their victim’s rights, what laws are in place, and how to figure out which direction they can go in the future. She prides herself in taking the time to meet survivors where they are at and staying in the moment. Sara adds that giving voices and control back to victims is something that is the most rewarding.

“Advocacy is very important because I am able to help somebody,” Sara states. “The best part of my job is sitting with them and having them tell me, ‘I don’t know where to go,’ and my job is to support them and help them sort through those options. Giving them that power back is huge.”

Sara has embraced her faith alongside all of the work that she does in her career. Her goal is simple in wanting to continue to reach the next person whether that’s in her faith, career or personal life. She enjoys getting to lead by example and sees the impact her church life has on her whole family. Sara spends her time working in the children’s area at her church and communicating and welcoming newcomers to the church community.

“Whether it is helping them find Jesus, or helping them feel comfortable in church even if it is for only one time is important to me,” Sara says.

On top of the work she has accomplished in her career and her church, Sara has served as a committed foster parent in Sioux Falls for 11 years. That journey of fostering has brought her to recently adopting her three children and really taking time to allow their new family to blossom.

“I am not ready to be done with foster care, but I am not sure what it will look like in the future,” Sara explains.

Sara still has an active license to foster, but she has slightly shifted her focus to establishing her new little family and growing together. She hopes to continue supporting foster parents throughout South Dakota in other ways. In fact, she has created a Facebook group to connect current foster families to find support and compassion when they need it. Through that group and her work in the foster parent community she has been able to become a mentor and aide for others beginning their journey in taking placements.

According to South Dakota Kids Belong, there are about 1,500 children who are part of the foster care system around the state. Sara wants others to know that even if you are unable to be a foster parent, there are a range of ways to help if you feel compelled to do so.

From providing respite care, dropping off coffee or a meal to a foster parent who received a late-night placement, or even sponsoring a foster child to go to a camp there are a number

Sara and her children

of ways in which the community can support those who are fostering children.

Her biggest piece of advice for those interested in filling the need for foster parents is simple: “Don’t be afraid to reach out and find answers the moment you are interested in helping,” Sara shares.

“I always tell people to ask those questions,” Sara says.

With a heart rooted in caring for others, Sara hopes that people can remember to be there for others throughout their lives. She added that acts of compassion don’t need to be grandiose. Sara believes that even a small gesture to a friend in need can make a world of difference for those who need to know that someone cares and is thinking of them.

“Small things. Sometimes it is a simple prayer. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture,” Sara explains. “It is really empowering for someone to take action because a lot of the time people don’t ask for help. I think as humans we need to be able to see that and show up to help.”

Sara and her children with Sara’s parents


Thank you to our sponsors!

Sara and her children

from StoneyBrook Suites Assisted Living

Advice on Motherhood...

My number one piece of advice is walk with Jesus. Appreciate your mother while you still have her.

- Harriett

The best part of having kids is seeing them grow up and how they mature.

- Dianne Love every day. Eat your meals together.

- Johanna

You’ll need lots of patience and a good partner.

- Joyce M.

Be very patient with them.

- Viola

It takes a lot of patience to be a parent. No matter how tired you are, you’ll always have time to hold them. There is nothing more special than giving them love and the love they give you back.

- Maxine

Make the most of each day with your children. Teach them how to be fair and kind. Let them experience things.

- Joyce K.

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”
- Tia Walker

Help your children

to always be honest.
Give your loved one the care & lifestyle they deserve. Care-free living • Engaging social and wellness activities • Personalized quality care • Peace of mind

Life is Sweet in Stoneybrook Suites

OU r M i SS i ON

We are a full-service assisted living community “To foster the well-being of each resident by nurturing the mind, body, and spirit while maintaining each resident’s enjoyment of independence and dignity in a secure and supportive environment. We invite you to come to StoneyBrook Suites, where our joy is in serving you.”

a M e N i T ie S

• Coffee Shop

• Salon

• Walk-in Whirlpool Spa

• Centrally located meals and activities

S erV i C e S

• Caring, trusted, 24-hour staff

• Personal housekeeping

• Theater

• Courtyards

• Spacious suites all on one level

• Three homestyle meals per day

• Professional medication administration and laundry

• On-site physical, restorative

• Scheduled daily social and and cognitive therapy exercise activities

• Wellness clinic

• Personal pendant system

• Assistance with activities of daily living

Schedule a tour and see the quality of life available to you or your loved one.

Brookings 605-692-1013

Dakota Dunes 605-242-0013

Huron 605-352-0014

Sioux Falls 605-373-0013

Watertown 605-882-0013

Dakota Dunes


Ratchford Luxury will guide you through our Dream Home Process™ to discover clarity about what’s important to you and set the stage for the most successful outcome. We’ll minimize the inconvenience of buying and selling to maximize your opportunities to dream and imagine the possibilities. While you do that, we’re doing the work to find your perfect match and make it happen—and, you’ll experience greater peace of mind knowing you are doing the right thing at the right time.

Ratchford Luxury is associated with Keller Williams Luxury International, which is an exclusive group of 2,000 real estate consultants with Keller Williams Realty International, a powerful network of 160,000 associates. Keller Williams Realty is currently the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count. Ratchford continues to deliver exceptional results after 45 years and 5,000 closed transactions. They acknowledge their success is from providing more value to clients than expected. TONY RATCHFORD AND HIS TEAM OF PROFESSIONALS ARE READY TO WORK FOR

Ratchford 605-336-8866
RatchfordLuxuryRealty.com | 605.359.4100


1203 Stoakes Avenue • Sioux Falls, SD 57110


Located on the eastern edge of Sioux Falls is this newly constructed walkout ranch. 1.1 acres of pristine beauty with stunning views. Convenient to every need (Dawley Shopping - Willow Run Golf). Family friendly with 6 bedrooms (2 suites), 4 full baths, and 4,908 finished square feet. Oversized tandem 5 car heated garage. Beautiful custom kitchen with walk-in hidden pantry, high-end appliances, center island, dining with glass doors to a huge covered deck. Outdoor living on east-facing front patio and back patio-deck. Potential summer retreat with room for swimming pool and sport court.

© 2023 A Division of The Tony Ratchford Group

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.