SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As KELOLAND TV celebrates its 70th anniversary, we are looking back at coverage of some of the biggest stories of these past seven decades.
“It’s a very happy time also to announce that we are the first television station in South Dakota,” founder and president Joe L. Floyd said in 1953.
South Dakota’s own George McGovern ran for president in 1972.
“First of all, as a candidate for the presidency of the United States, I want to pledge to you, that to very best of my ability, from this day on I will speak common sense and speak the truth on the great issues before this country,” McGovern said in 1972.
McGovern only carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia as President Richard Nixon easily won reelection.
1980 brought a riot at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls. KELOLAND’s Steve Hemmingsen and Dexter Gronseth, the latter of whom is currently the newsroom’s assignment editor, went behind the wall at the penitentiary.
“The 1980 uprising began when 325 inmates took over a cell block, refusing to return to their cells,” KELOLAND’s Jay Trobec said in 1993. “What they wanted was publicity, giving KELOLAND’s Steve Hemmingsen a tour. They complained about things like peeling paint and questionable wiring. The inmates presented a list of 24 grievances.”
We were there in 1993 when inmates went through inspection.
“One after another, they went through the same routine: handing over their possessions for inspection, face-down on the floor to be frisked, then cuffed and finally escorted with a guard on both arms to lock-up,” KELOLAND’s Jessica Armstrong said in 1993.
1993 was also the year tragedy struck the South Dakota governor’s office. George Mickelson and seven others died in a plane crash near Dubuque, Iowa. South Dakotans honored Mickelson with a memorial service in Pierre.
“Ladies and gentlemen, today with our thoughts and our prayers, we are telling our governor, ‘Yes, George, you did the best job the last six years,'” Gov. Walter Dale Miller said in 1993. “No one could have done it better.”
A tornado devastated the town of Spencer in 1998 in eastern South Dakota.
“They’re only days into the clean-up,” Armstrong said in 1998. “They still have dozens of houses yet to clear away, and the pile of rubble is at least 20 feet high, how many yards long, and the pile just keeps growing.”
Extreme weather was again in focus in 2003.
“From Woonsocket to Centerville, we have a team report on the dangerous storms that have had people taking cover all night long,” KELOLAND’s Don Jorgensen said in 2003.
67 tornadoes hit the area in an event that would come to be known as “Tornado Tuesday.”
“A tornado outbreak is making for a menacing evening in KELOLAND tonight, and it’s wiped out Manchester, South Dakota,” Jorgensen said in 2003.
“Our reporters on the scene say the tiny town is flattened,” KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke said in 2003.
One of the biggest political events of the 70 years came in 2004, when John Thune beat Tom Daschle for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Daschle had served as both Senate majority and minority leader in Washington: the only South Dakotan to ever hold either office.
“Earlier today I called John Thune to congratulate him,” Daschle said in 2004. “And he not only has won a Senate seat, but he’s now been given a tremendous amount of trust and responsibility, and I wish him well.”
“I want to say thank you to Senator Daschle for his many contributions to public service and for a hard-fought campaign,” Thune said in 2004.