On May 16, 2018, a member of the KELOLAND family died. Emily Anne Groth, the daughter of Angela Kennecke, died of fentanyl poisoning at the age of 21.

After several months off the air, Kennecke came back and addressed her daughter’s death in front of thousands on KELOLAND News.

Later that week, Kennecke traveled to New York City to appear on CBS This Morning.

This loss would push Kennecke and KELOLAND Media Group in a new direction. We worked to cover the opioid crisis in new ways, including a one-hour special report. Kennecke launched a charity called Emily’s Hope.

In October 2019, Kennecke and Emily’s Hope presented the new Avera Addiction Care Center with a gift of $250,000 to cover the cost of patients’ treatment. Her mission continues into the new decade.

The weather was, as it usually is, a big story in KELOLAND in 2018. An April blizzard set records in South Dakota, with 13.7 inches recorded in Sioux Falls. That heavy snowfall with winds recorded over 65 MPH, created treacherous conditions in the state.

The heaviest snowfall fell from south-central South Dakota to western Minnesota.  The amounts ranged from 10 to 20 inches.  This was a record-setting snowstorm for several areas. But it wasn’t just the snow.  The wind was also extremely strong with many areas getting 50 to 60 miles per hour wind gusts but the strongest winds were over 65 mph.

South Dakota saw it’s 26th presidential visit in September. Just a few weeks before the state’s gubernatorial election, Trump flew to Sioux Falls to campaign for then Congresswoman Kristi Noem.

President Donald Trump speaks during a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kristi Noem, left, in Sioux Falls, S.D., Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

KELOLAND News also had a rare opportunity to interview the 45th President of the United States of America. Brady Mallory talked to him at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

Trump’s visit worked when Kristi Noem was elected the 33rd Governor of South Dakota. It was a surprisingly close election for the heavy Republican state when Democrat Billie Sutton won nearly 48% of the vote.

Christmas Day 2018 turned tragic when a plane crashed in a Sioux Falls neighborhood. The two onboard died, but no one on the ground was injured. The National Transporation Safety Board is still working to determine the cause of the crash.