Since May of 2002, Gary Ellenbolt has been bringing South Dakotans the news of a new day on SDPB's Morning Edition. Imagine the guy in the local coffee shop who knows everything, can't wait to tell everyone, and throws in a clever phrase now and again, and you'll have an idea of the typical morning on South Dakota's only statewide radio network.
Gary also works as a radio news producer, covering events of the state and stories that impact listeners. During the fall and winter, he can be seen on SDPB Television's coverage of State High School Football and Basketball Championships.
Gary has done some short fiction writing, with several stories published--including "The Question I Put Before God;" "Aunt Alice and the War on Poverty;" and "Eight Long Hours at Armbruster Salmon."
He holds a bachelor's degree in Radio-Television Broadcasting from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and a Master's Degree in Contemporary Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. While in graduate school, he completed his thesis, "Promotional and Marketing Campaigns of Local Radio Stations Competing with Broadcast Conglomerates."
Gary is married to Sandy--together, they are remodeling a century-old home in Centerville. They have two sons; Preston, a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and Tyler, a high school senior with a career goal of working with horses as a farrier. Gary and Sandy also have a daughter-in-law, Sara (LeGros) Ellenbolt, a Honolulu native who has been married to Preston since December of 2014.
Rodeo is South Dakota's state sport. In Sioux Falls, a small group is hoping polo — another sport that involves horses — can gain its own following.
Police in Sioux City, Iowa, use photo enforcement to catch traffic violations. An automatic camera takes a photo of a violator's license plate, then police find the registered owner and send out a ticket. South Dakota legislators have passed a law that will not allow their state's Department of Transportation to release vehicle information for this purpose. South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt reports that the bill was co-sponsored by a state senator who has reportedly received several of these tickets. The senator claims that with photo enforcement, there's no right for a defendant to face the accuser, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
There are few things more chilling than the sound of a nearby rattlesnake. That distinctive sound serves as a warning that trouble could be on the way. The only thing worse than hearing a rattlesnake within striking distance — is not hearing it at all. A herpetologist in South Dakota's Black Hills has discovered a growing number of Prairie Rattlesnakes with atrophied tail muscles; he believes it's a genetic issue that multiplies because those snakes that can rattle usually end up being killed. But others think the situation could be an evolutionary development to avoid detection.
The oil boom in western North Dakota has sparked a massive migration. Communities that struggled to keep people are now tripling in size as workers from all over seek their fortunes. In South Dakota, officials say there's oil in their state too. But before drillers head toward Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills, North Dakota's experience is being watched closely.