SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 2019 brought a new era for KELOLAND News, with a growing team and the launch of Original reports.

What is a Original?

First Website

Since Dec. 3, 1997, has been the region’s top website. With news reports, the Live Doppler HD Storm Center, our extensive Live Cam network, sports scores from across the region and live coverage of the biggest stories, has been your home.

Now, 22 years later, KELOLAND News entered a new era.

In addition to the more than 27 hours of television newscasts per week, more KELOLAND viewers are getting the news on-demand from social media and push alerts with the KELOLAND News App.

Every day, a team of web producers works to get breaking news stories, compelling video and light-hearted moments that make you smile on around the clock.

Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer joined the digital team in 2018, bringing a daily presence in Pierre to keep you informed about state government news.

In 2019, the team grew even more with two Reporters: Michael Geheren and Whitney Fowkes, who go in-depth on stories ranging from explaining complex political news to important details impacting your daily livesGrant Sweeter joined the team as our Live and Content Producer providing more live coverage than ever before and Rae Yost is bringing you context about the stories of the day as our Digital Data Reporter.

The nine-person digital team along with the reporters, photographers and newscast producers whose work you see on TV contribute daily to to make it your home for the news, weather and sports coverage from the region.

Now, here the top 10 Original Reports in 2019:

10) Not just another game day

Brookings painted the town as ESPN’s College GameDay was heading to the city to cover a South Dakota State University game. Whitney Fowkes looked at the stores bringing the blue.

Want to see more stories like these? Grant Sweeter joins the team bringing in-depth sports coverage and live play-by-play.

9) Top 9 most traveled bridges in poor condition in South

South Dakota has the 4th highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the country, according to a recent report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Reporter Michael Geheren looked at the most traveled structurally deficient bridges in the state.

🌉 We went in-depth further on this issue by building an interactive database of bridge inspections and the state of bridges in South Dakota.

Note: The above data and below map were current as of July 2019.

Want to see more in-depth reports like this? Follow Michael Geheren on Facebook and Twitter.

8) Fish consumption advisories issued for many South Dakota waters

Back in April, KELOLAND Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer reported that three state government agencies issued advisories suggesting people be cautious about the fish they eat from some South Dakota lakes.

Elevated levels of mercury were found in some instances.

7) UPDATE: 8 injured from second confirmed tornado Reporter Whitney Fowkes was keeping viewers updated in real-time after three EF-2 tornadoes in Sioux Falls.

She shared the story of how one patient went into cardiac arrest during the severe weather and staff saved their life despite the extreme conditions.

Whitney Fowkes works daily on in-depth digital content and videos. Click here to see her latest stories and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

6) Behind the scenes of ‘Meth. We’re on it.’ Campaign and how it got approved

After a South Dakota advertising campaign to combat meth went viral, Reporter Michael Geheren broke down how it got approved.

From the budget to states where proposals came from, this in-depth report showed the controversy of spending nearly $1.4 million on the campaign.

We even learned about changes from the original proposal. The original plan included Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) wearing a shirt that said “I’m on Meth.”

A week later, Noem granted the only local interview to Geheren. The full interview is below.

Our in-depth data reporting expanded in late 2019 with the addition of Rae Yost. She brings decades of experience reporting from newspapers in the KELOLAND area to help us dig deeper for each story. Click here for the latest stories from Yost.

5) Everything you need to know about holiday travel weather impacts

As a winter storm barreled into KELOLAND over the Thanksgiving holiday, Reporter Michael Geheren built an interactive article with the latest weather and travel information.

Weather is no doubt the number one place our viewers go when tuning to On Friday, we will highlight the top 10 stories overall on our website in 2019. All but two were weather-related.

4) South Dakota homeowners might soon face glut

People reaching retirement age will nearly double by 2030, while adults younger than 65 will grow only six to nine percent. As Capitol News Bureau Correspondent Bob Mercer reported, this is going to create a housing problem in South Dakota in the next 10 years.

Here’s why: As that is happening, young people’s pay levels during the past decade haven’t kept up with their growing college debts.

This means population changes in South Dakota during the next 10 years point toward more retirees looking to sell their homes but fewer younger people being able to buy them.

Bob Mercer brings KELOLAND viewers the stories from South Dakota Capitol everyday. He’s been one of South Dakota’s top journalists since 1984. Click here to see his latest stories from the Capitol News Bureau and follow Mercer on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s Mercer’s latest report:

3) What you need to know right now about flooding and tornado clean-up across South Dakota

From Sept. 10 to 12, South Dakota faced tornadoes and severe flooding. It was a lot to keep up with. Reporter Michael Geheren put together this report with the latest from each community KELOLAND News crews visited.

✈ went along with 120 Vietnam veterans to Washington, D.C. We have live video coverage a minute-by-minute account updating in real-time throughout the day. Here is a recap of the trip.

2) NTSB report shows events leading up to deadly South Dakota plane crash

After Thanksgiving, South Dakota saw one of its deadliest plane crashes.

The plane carrying 12 people crashed one mile from a South Dakota airport on Saturday. Less than 10 minutes after take-off, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert for the missing plane, according to a factual report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Nine people died and three were brought to a Sioux Falls hospital with serious injuries. All of the victims in the plane crash were from Idaho and returning home from a hunting trip when their small plane went down.

After the report was issued, Reporter Michael Geheren talked to a former NTSB investigator about what may have happened.

This year we also launched digital documentaries, one of our first and the most watched of the year was United 232: 30 Years Later.

1) What you need to know about the Sioux Falls tornado and 100 mph winds

The three EF-2 tornadoes that caused injuries, leveled homes and shut down a hospital for months was’s biggest story of the year. This report was a summary of everything that had happened.