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MITCHELL — Chad Van Laecken swears he can hear ice talking. The ice "snaps and pops" every time Van Laecken spreads his specialized de-icing mixture — and he always stops to listen. "You just hear it talking to you. It's cracking. It's crying," Van Laecken said with a satisfied smile on his face. Van Laecken owns CE Construction, LLC in Mitchell, and after every winter storm — and sometimes beforehand, too — he spreads several tons of his de-icing mixture onto area parking lots to destroy ice left behind by the storm.
MITCHELL, S.D. — Energy efficiency is Ed Scherrer's passion. The longtime Minneapolis resident brought his insulation company, InSoFast, to Mitchell two years ago, and already has made big impacts on South Dakota. He was recently asked to be part of a project with South Dakota State University to provide the exterior insulation technology for a passive house — a structure that is highly energy-efficient and meets rigorous standards to achieve passive house certification.
MITCHELL, S.D.—This year may not be great for motorists. Several national reports anticipate the average price for gasoline will jump in 2018. According to GasBuddy, a company that connects drivers with real-time fuel prices, the yearly national average will rise 19 cents to $2.57 per gallon — the highest since 2014. But one local station owner said drivers should anticipate only a minor increase in prices, and cold temperatures are to blame.
MITCHELL, S.D.—Afraid of packing on the pounds this holiday season? One dietitian has a simple solution: moderation. Kat Anundson, a clinical dietitian with Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell, said during the holidays, people tend to take on unusual habits — such as waiting several hours before eating one large meal — that can be damaging to one's overall health.
EMERY, S.D. — By day, Jeremy Jansen is an accountant — but by night, he's decorating. As Christmas approaches, the Emery native's flare for holiday decor is beginning to show. But this year his talents for interior design was not just wowing his family and friends, but a presidential family. Jansen, 24, was one of approximately 75 volunteers nationwide to be selected as a decorator for the White House this holiday season. And after working this past week in the halls and rooms of the White House, Jansen knows it's a memory he'll always remember.
MITCHELL, S.D.—It's no secret the hunting industry helps drive South Dakota's economic engine, and Katie Knutson is working to make sure it stays that way. And with the help of a newly formed state organization, Knutson, the director of the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau, will do this not only for Mitchell but across all of South Dakota. Knutson was named co-chair for Hunting Works for South Dakota, a recently created group that plans to educate the public about the important relationship between hunting and the state's economy.
BRIDGEWATER, S.D.—Suzanne Fournier is always looking for her next adventure. The Bridgewater native considers her life colorful, as her career has taken her all over the world — and she credits her hometown for much of her success. Fournier, 72, is now retired and living in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Still full of energy, she decided to write a memoir. Her recently released book, titled "Life After Diapers," details her life before and after leaving her hometown in South Dakota.
NAPA, Calif. — For 16 hours a day, Skylar Neugebauer is working to protect northern California from further fire damage. Neugebauer, formerly of Mitchell, South Dakota, is one of 5,000 firefighters who remain on the frontlines of 10 active wildfires in northern California. The wildfires began on Oct. 8 and have been dubbed the "October Fire Siege" by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
MITCHELL, S.D. — A hobby in high school soon turned into a successful online business for Courtney Coughlin. It was in 2008 when the Mitchell native began creating custom jewelry, but the demand for her products skyrocketed faster than she could string necklaces. That's when she knew she had a knack for entrepreneurism.
MITCHELL, S.D. — Six South Dakota gubernatorial and congressional candidates found themselves on the hot seat Tuesday, Oct. 17, as they fielded questions from Dakota Wesleyan University students during the annual McGovern Civic Engagement Forum. But there was one overarching question: "What makes a nation great?"