Sioux Empire Podcast

The Sioux Empire Podcast

The Sioux Empire Podcast is the “quirky but harmless” podcast that’s all about northern plains: News, Comedy, Music, and Culture.



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BlackLivesMatter: The Violence Needs to Stop

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

It was a sunny afternoon, my best friend and I were on our traditional cruising whip when I was caught off guard by the radio broadcaster’s announcement. The man gave a quick briefing that a group of protesters injured more than 20 police officers. The words coming through the radio were razor sharp with intent to raise concern. I turned the radio down to truly digest the past five days, and the horrors between citizens and the justice system. It’s an overwhelming amount of violence, outrage, fear, and confusion to take, in such a short amount of time . I had a shocking thought, that the upcoming generations will be learning about these days in school, it takes me back to when I was in first grade learning about famous black people and civil rights. I remember having a book from the school library, and the first page I opened it to be a picture of a burnt black man covered in embers and ashes. I can honestly say that was the first time I experienced instant shock. That image has been seared into my memory, I’ll never forget my young heart sinking as I looked at such horror. I get the same feeling every time I see Americans get murdered because of racial stigma. The upsurge in violence affects everyone across the nation, and has us wondering if we are ever safe and protected.

Tensions exploded July 5 th when Alton Sterling was brutally gunned down by a Baton Rouge police officer; Sterling was unarmed and pinned to the ground when officers fired the fatal shots to his chest. The video of Alton Sterling’s death flooded the internet soon after the event. The part that impacted me the most was seeing a man’s chest beat its last beats as every beat pumps blood out of his chest. Sterling’s death caused national outrage and reminds us that there is a problem, a corruption in justice, and racist police. Just as America is trying to cope with the loss of another innocent black man, breaking news released out of Minnesota on July 6 th . Yet another police shooting, killing Philando Castile, an innocent black man for no reason other than a broken tail light. A live video surfaced of Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds recording the moment after her boyfriend was shot. The police treated Reynolds unprofessionally and took her daughter; she was in distraught talking to the officers. Begging them to tell her Philando was going to be okay, sadly they did not.

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

It is tremendously disappointing that there is still inequality, and as unfortunate, as it is wrong, that there is still inequality in our nation. White supremacy and white privilege are both a reality, and we live with them in our community every day. Sioux Falls is very fortunate to have primarily good people therefore hate crime, and police brutality is not a big issue here like it is elsewhere. However just because it’s not an escalated problem doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. According to a recent census Sioux Fall’s population consists of 86.8% White, 4.4% are Latino or Hispanic, 4.2% are Black, 2.5% are Biracial, 2.7% are Native American, 1.8% are Asian, and .1% are Hawaiian Native. The gap between white people and any other race is intimidating. Sioux Falls will grow in diversity over time but as a predominately white community we should take the BlackLivesMatter movement more seriously than the AllLivesMatter movement. I feel like some attitudes from white people can be dumbfounding to the actual problems within the black community. The miscommunication might come from some white people feeling like the movement is racist when the movement is not. BlackLivesMatter is an analogy. Imagine a neighborhood full of houses but only one is on fire, there would be no need to spray every home with water but only the one that needs it the most. Black American men are being profiled, beaten, and killed over assumptions. Black American men are being trialed unfairly in our court systems, while white men like Brock Turner gets 6 months in jail for three felony counts of sexual assault. AllLivesMatter doesn’t matter when it’s a black man from being pulled over, and shot, all for reaching for his license and registration.

Some local activist came together to protest for BlackLivesMatter, AllLivesMatter, and awareness of police brutality. People of all races were there to support the protest. It is amazing to see young people gather as leaders to help a community to an equal, and fair society, engaging to bring everyone together regardless their age, or race. It wasn’t just the young and free­hearted, but people of all colors, and ages were there for the same reason.. I truly felt lifted by the energy from the people who arrived to protest. It was a non­violent, peaceful protest, just what David Blackburn had intended it to be. I had the privilege to interview David and ask him a few questions about his protest. First I asked David what the protest is exactly about? and his response was:

“I’m gathering as many people as possible to form a peaceful protest against police brutality. In less than an hour I have over 200 shares, hundreds of likes and close to 100 comments. People really care about this issue. What’s happened over the past couple days is not the sole reason why I’m doing this. It just pushed me past the breaking point. Someone has to say something”.

David and the group of protesters sure did make an impact as many drivers passed by slowing down to read posters and watch protesters. My next question for David was if he thought police brutality was a problem in Sioux Falls, and South Dakota? and his response was on point.

“Of course! It’s a problem everywhere, may not be as common but one occurrence is one too many. Don’t get me wrong, there are good cops out there. In fact I like to believe the majority of police officers hold up to their standards but it only takes that one time to make them all look bad.”

My next questions for David were questions I felt were important for the Sioux Falls white community to try to emphasize with our own local people. I got serious with David and asked him how did the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile impact his life so far and how he thought it impacts the black men in the Sioux Falls community? I hope by asking these questions to David, a black citizen to our city, that some within our white community who might not know a black person, might get an understanding of how and why police shootings are a real threat to them. David answered brilliantly by responding.

“It angers us and as a black man I can speak for the majority of us. Some don’t care at all and that’s another huge problem we face. It makes us feel unsafe because how can something as simple as a traffic stop turn into a brutal murder? If the police continue to get away with unjustified murders what’s stopping the Sioux Falls police from doing the same?”

BlackLivesMatter - Emily Alexander -

BlackLivesMatter – Emily Alexander –

I was curious on David’s personal view on BlackLivesMatter, and if the protest was strictly in relation of the movement? David said,

“No, I don’t. I support the #AllLivesMatter movement because it’s not just blacks that are brutally beaten or killed unlawfully. It’s every race not just one, I’m biracial myself so If I only supported the black lives matter movement that would be imprudent. We’re all equal and we’re all human.”

My final question for David was wondering what his goals for the protest where and if he expected anything? His passion was in his words, he said

“I want to get as much attention as possible. Not for myself but for the issue at heart. This senseless violence needs to stop. Also I want to show everyone how easy it is to form a movement. It took me an hour to reach over 300 people. Imagine what we could do with a little help from the press and peoples word of mouth?”

David was just one of many compelled to do something, though there were many people there to speak about their feelings toward the movement. Everyone did an excellent job expressing their feelings and creating awareness.

The protest stayed incredibly positive and well behaved and went better than what some of our parents expected. Every word spoken from the brave people to carry on with this movement was beautiful exacerbated with encouragement to our youth. One young lady expressed her fear that her twin brother will be pulled over and be a victim to police brutality. The most heartbreaking moment was seeing the young black boys who already had an understanding of the brutality. It’s unfortunate thinking about the conversation they must have about what to do when a white cop interacts with them; what’s more uncomfortable is imagining that one of them could be a victim to police brutality. The non­black members if the community can do more to stop the spread of racism. There is no doubt that there are racist sayings, names, references, stereotypes, and people within the city limits and state lines. We can stop saying racist things, and stop laughing, and partaking in the spread of racism. White people need to have conversations with other white people about why AllLivesMatter is a false statement until Black lives start to matter. The most important lesson however is respect and to treat people how you would want to be treated. If people started to do that just a little more, the impact on this world would be tremendous.

SEP040- Rainbow Cyber Warriors

News sucks this week, so please excuse us if we wander off on crazy tangents including Rainbow Cyber Warriors waging cyber war on ISIS.  Robert Mehling, Natasha Estes, Seth Glover, and Emily Alexander cover the tragedy in Orlando and the fallout.  On the bright side, Emily brings us a report from the Sioux Falls Pride Festival that went well.  The rainbow falls were awesome.  We talk about the largest naturalization ceremony ever held at Mt Rushmore, Pressler endorsing Hillary Clinton, and what’s up with Game of Thrones.  We hope you’re having a good summer and finding a way to keep cool.  “And as always, Kill Hitler!”  (Danger 5 on Netflix)

Reason Magazine Video

Parental Advisory

A Hot Time at the Cool Siouxland Renaissance Festival

The 15th annual – Siouxland Renaissance Festival took place this weekend, June 11th – 12th, at the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds. I have never been to a renaissance festival before and the Siouxland Renaissance Festival was pretty much what I had imagined it would be.  Turkey legs, fashion and souvenirs, 16th century reenactment entertainment, medieval booze, and boobs. It was not very busy and it was barely 3pm. I am almost certain that it was because of the heat. BOY, IT WAS HOT! I think I went in the festival Emily and came out roasted like a turkey leg. So, here’s what was going on at the 15th annual – Siouxland Renaissance Festival & Scottish Heavy Games. Huzzah!

Siouxland Renaissance Festival- - Emily Alexander

Siouxland Renaissance Festival- – Emily Alexander

The Festivities

The festival was set to have taken place in Shrewsbury, England 1575, the 17th year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The heat played a big part in why there wasn’t much going on, but what I did see was pretty cool. I met Robert and his other half, Amanda around the gate, and we started the festivities with mead tasting. The tasting options consisted of homemade meads, local wines, and a few different crafted beers. I tried three different meads, Egyptian, forest berry, and cotton, all three were very tasty. I also had a very delicious cranberry wine, it was quite lovely. After the tasting was over we traversed to the A/C and checked what was inside the expo.

There were a lot of authentic booths full of souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and even weapons. There was also a show going on and I caught it in the middle act. A man was on stilts, juggling, and trying to tell a story which was impressive… but hard to follow. Dancers, singers, musicians, and even fire breathers could be found throughout the fairground. There was even an authentic looking knight in full armor! To get an idea of majority of the festival you can go to the event page at


Vendors are a huge part of any festival and or outdoor event. I thought the vendors were pretty good at the festival, especially the hand crafted vendors. In the expo building there were some really cool vendors selling wooden crafted mugs, drinking glasses, beads, seemingly authentic medieval weapons and armor, and on top of it all clothing and accessories.

Siouxland Renaissance Festival - - Emily Alexander

Siouxland Renaissance Festival – – Emily Alexander

One vendor stood out from them all, Robe N’ Hood by Carrie Mack. I got to talking with her and she has had a rich history in sewing starting back a friend in high school. The effort and time she puts into her work is truly spectacular. Some of the clothing she makes is also reversible so it’s practically two in one! Her clothing is truly one of a kind and reasonably priced for the quality. She touched on how she thinks that it’s important to have handcrafted items at a renaissance festival, and I agree. It’s easy to buy bulk items on the internet but people like Carrie must work hard to craft each item.  

It takes time, patience, creativity, and diligence to craft such beautiful items, and Carrie is very good at it. I asked her what one of the most difficult parts about sewing for the renaissance festival was and she said “Sizing and fabric, nobody can get the same thing in a different size and there are not many duplicates in the same color or pattern.” The costumes at the festival were amazing and Carrie’s made one of my favorites. She hopes to be out there next year, and I do too!  There were food and beverage vendors, I was relieved to see they had turkey legs and more mead. The turkey leg was amazing and full of a traditional flavor. Perhaps the one thing I wish I could have seen was the Tomato Torment. Overall the festival was family orientated and well thought up.

Siouxland Renaissance Festival - - Emily Alexander

Siouxland Renaissance Festival – – Emily Alexander

Final Thoughts

Overall I thought the Siouxland Renaissance Festival was cool and something I would most certainly attend to next year. If you missed this year’s Siouxland Renaissance Festival there will be one next year on June 10th-11th. You can find out more information about the festival and upcoming events at If you went to the 15th annual – Siouxland Renaissance Festival & Scottish Heavy Games, tell us your experience in the comment section below.  

SEP039- Siouxland Renaissance Festival: A song of Fire and Turkey Leg

Somehow the Sioux Empire Podcast team has been transported to Shrewsbury, England 1575…the 17th year of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s reign.  Also apparently Elizabethan England had a heat index of 107.  Must be all the dragon fire coming from the Siouxland Renaissance Festival.  Robert Mehling and Emily Alexander share some of their experiences at the festival while Seth Glover and Natasha Estes round up all of this week’s news stories local and national like a cowboy lassoing a bike thief in a Walmart parking lot, the death of Muhammad Ali, the Stanford Rape case, the 75th anniversary of the battleship USS South Dakota, and more.  We also feature a special guest interview with local award winning author Sarah J Pepper who talks about her career in writing and her newest book Neverland Evermore out June 12th.  It was sure hot out at the Siouxland Renaissance Festival, luckily the mead helped.  Although drinking it at 2:30PM and then continuing to drink until we recored at 8:30PM was probably not the best plan we’ve ever had…


Sarah J Pepper

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Siouxland Renaissance Festival:

Fantastic Documentary about the USS South Dakota

Parental Advisory

SEP038- Peyton Manning Sportsball

Let’s talk about Sportsball!  Peyton Manning, the greatest goalie in the WNBA was in Sioux Falls to inspire young athletes at the first ever Argus Leader South Dakota High School Sports awards.  In case you haven’t guessed, sports are not our strong suit at The Sioux Empire Podcast but we’ll do our best to tell you about the high points of it.  We also might as well say that this episode was recorded live on location at Ribfest since the music was so loud you could hear in the background while we were recording in studio.  Seth Glover and Emily Alexander were on assignment on their respective homeworlds so this week’s episode is hosted by Robert Mehling, Natasha Estes, and special guest host Matthew Livingston.  This week’s episode also features music from Sioux Falls band Lemmons.  We are also very excited to report that next week we’ll be cover the Siouxland Renaissance Festival in Sioux Falls.  The Sioux Empire Podcast may not know much about Peyton Manning’s legendary baseball career but we do know we love highland games and Renaissance Festival food!


Siouxland Renaissance Festival June 11th and 12th in Sioux Falls:

Parental Advisory

Huron Pizza Hut Destroyed in Fire

Heavy smoke and fire swept through the Pizza Hut in Huron early Saturday morning. Huron Fire Chief John Coughlin says crews were called around 3:45 AM.  Heavy black smoke pushed by a stiff northwest wind pushed thick soot and smoke into nearby neighborhoods.  Coughlin says a cause can not be determined yet.  No one was injured in the blaze. Firefighters did have to contend with number of kitchen utensils as they made entry. The scene has been cordoned off by the Huron Police Department.

SEP037- Bernie Sanders and Chaos Reigns

Chaos Reigns on the Sioux Empire Podcast as Ari Show and Dominic Wieneke from the Chaos Reigns podcast join the Sioux Empire Podcast crew (Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, and Emily Alexander) for a show that will truly terrify you.  Chaos truly does reign as Trump becomes the presumptive GOP nominee, dogs lie with cats, the president of the United States has to take executive action so people can pee, Bernie Sanders turns Sioux Falls into Sioux City, Lobsters get stolen from Hy-Vee, and houses are collapsing in Vermillion because of evil slumlords.  Emily and Robert got the chance to cover Bernie Sanders’s Sioux Falls visit up close and we’ll talk all about it.  This week’s episode features music by local band No Sir, Not Me!  Remember kids, when a Secret Service agent asks you to step this way, you best step…

This week’s episode is sponsored by Code Bootcamp of South Dakota, and attorney Jack J. Nichols of Nichols & Rabuck P.C.

Chaos Reigns

No Sir, Not Me!

Parental Advisory

Artbeat: Can’t see the sailboat for the trees.

Robert Mehling and the Emily Alexander make a guest appearance on Dylan Jacobson and DJ Steckelberg’s new podcast “Artbeat”.  Artbeat is an ongoing conversation about the arts with the people who create it.

In this week’s episode, DJ and Dylan sit down with Robert Mehling and Emily Alexander from the Sioux Empire Podcast. Listen as they go off the rails and discuss literature, film, passion, and what art exactly is.

Sioux Empire Podcast Episode 036- Welcome to the Futurescape!

3D printing is an amazing technology that has the potential to change the world, bringing forth amazing advancements in manufacturing, research and development, and medical technology.  So the Sioux Empire Podcast team (Robert Mehling, Seth Glover, Natasha Estes, and Emily Alexander) ask an important question, what toys can we make with it?  Luckily Robby Hodgdon from Futurescape 3D LLC of Sioux Falls is here to help answer our questions.  Which mostly boiled down to telling us that, no, he can’t print Natasha free stuff.  We also talk about George Mason University’s unfortunate acronym problem, the worst small towns in South Dakota, the KELOLand’s hard hitting coverage of blue tarps, Sioux Falls sculpture walk, employee bonus meth, and the ridiculous circus that is national politics right now.  We also discuss the Stu Whitney of the Argus Leader’s recent interview on Su Fu Stu with the evil ‘mastermind’ behind South Dakota’s transgender bathroom bill, Fred Deutsch.  As well as talking about Mayor Mike Huether’s push to quickly pass a Sioux Falls water rate hike before the newly elected city council members (Like Theresa Stehly and Greg Neitzert) get sworn in and have a chance to stop it.  This week’s local music spotlight is Sioux Falls artist Bridget Kruse with her song Home.  Be sure to check out all of her music and social media at the link below.  Warning:  This episode contains graphic coffee spitting triggered by Fred Deutsch’s unintentional sexual innuendo.  Want to know who spit up coffee all over a 3D printed replica of the HALO Needler and Robert’s laptop?  I guess you’ll just have to listen to find out.  This week’s episode is brought to you by Code Bootcamp of South Dakota, attorney Jack J. Nichols of Nichols & Rabuck P.C.

Futurescape 3D

Music Spotlight Bridget Kruse

The full Fred Deutsch interview at the Argus Leader

Will the City Council vote to increase your water rates?

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