Coming to South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Coming to South Dakota

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It covers 77,000 square miles, making it the sixteenth largest state in the country. Yet many people couldn't find the great state of South Dakota on a map.

"What do you think about interviewing in Sioux Falls?" Katherine Wang, a neonatalogist at Avera said. "Well, can you pull out a map and show me where we're going because I actually didn't know where it was."

With a population of a little more than 800,000, there's this notion that little exists in So Dak and what does isn't worth seeing.

"Preconceived notions that it's flat, dusty, windy, there's nobody here," said Bruce Yakley, Trail Kings's President/CEO.

So, imagine having no ties to South Dakota and deciding to take a job here. That's exactly what the four people we spoke with did.

A native of Idaho, Josh Lovell moved his young family, including his eight-and-a-half-month pregnant wife to South Dakota in July - the hottest month on record.

"My wife was not excited, even though she knew it was what we were supposed to do," said Lovell.

If they could deal with the weather, the Lovell's quickly realized Josh's job at Raven Industries would help their growing family.

"It just fit on so many different levels. For me and my professional development, for me and my interests, and for me and my family. Raven has very good benefits that will help us out a lot," he said.

David Starks and Katherine Wang will also be raising a young family in Sioux Falls. A Los Angeles native, Katherine never would have dreamt of living in South Dakota.

"I knew it was below North Dakota. I knew it was west of the Mississippi, but that's about the extent of what I knew," Wang said.

Doctors at Avera since August, Katherine and David have seen much of the country. Cleveland was their last residence, a city with a three-point-seven percent higher unemployment rate.

"Things are moving on the up and up and it's exciting to go to a place like that. Cleveland was a nice town, we liked it a lot. But, the news stories were always about how the population was shrinking, how the crime is going up, houses are being foreclosed on, is the city going to stay afloat? You just don't hear that or see that here," said David, a Gynecologic Oncologist at Avera.

Bruce Yakley was semi-retired when Trail King in Mitchell came calling. He took the President/CCO job sight unseen. In eighteen months, he's become a walking billboard for South Dakota, singing the state's praises.

"The people here are so friendly. I think there's a discernable difference. You can walk down the street and people will talk to you," said Yakley.

Katherine and David also think the state's intangibles are its greatest assets.

"It sounds so hokey, but people are so nice here. I still am having trouble getting used to people I don't know waving at me," said Katherine. "I think being from LA and someone waves at you, you avert your eyes. Don't look and maybe they'll go away. I'm realizing people are actually trying to say hi, how are you!"

That's not to say Katherine's new home has the upper hand on all things LA.

"Chinese food! (We need) good Chinese food!"

Katherine and David aren't sure how long they'll stay in South Dakota. Josh isn't either. But, Bruce says South Dakota has captured his heart.

"We're driving a stake in the ground. We actually plan to retire here," he said.

Often seen as just a dot on the map, South Dakota is leaving lasting impressions, a place worth seeing and living in.


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