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Christopher Vondracek

South Dakota Correspondent

A native of Wells and Kiester, Minn., Vondracek went west for college in 2003, attending the University of South Dakota on a scholarship named for Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today. After picking up a B.A. in Journalism in Vermillion and writing for the student newspaper, The Volante, Vondracek stayed for his M.A. in English literature. He taught college English in Rochester and Winona, Minn., between 2009 and 2015, and eventually received his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Hamline University in St. Paul. Since 2017, he has covered legal affairs, education, religion, and politics with various publications from South Dakota to Washington D.C. and back. In 2020, his poetry book — Rattlesnake Summer, a collection of 66 poems for 66 South Dakota counties — was published by Ipso Gallery and Badger Clark Publishingin Sioux Falls. Vondracek moonlights on piano for his Twin Cities-based band, The Golden Bubbles, as well as a traveling radio show in South Dakota, the Rock Garden Tour. He once played The Corn Palace in Mitchell. English speaker. Email at cvondracek@forumcomm.com.

The state's biggest political leaders have touted inbound migration, so-called "blue state refugees" who flooded South Dakota. But the biggest driver of partisan races this coming summer and fall appears to be a redistricting process, log-jamming Republicans in primaries and opening up new turf for Democrats.
A cache of over 200 investigative documents — including video, photos, and transcripts — was released by the South Dakota committee that, days ago, recommended not impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for his role in a fatal crash in September 2020. The file reveals the AG's private communications with staff, his use of a cellphone and new details on pedestrian Joe Boever.
U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson speaks with Forum News Service about his bipartisan act to unfetter clogged ports that have led to supply chain dilemmas for South Dakotans, from a dairy near the Minnesota border to a children's bicycle manufacturer in Rapid City.
A House Select Committee's majority opinion -- backed by all six GOP members of the group -- pinpointed an errant bone fragment and Ravnsborg's own statements to express doubt on the South Dakota Highway Patrol's investigation that found that all four tires of the AG's car crossed a fog line before striking and killing pedestrian Joe Boever.
Breaking News
House Speaker Spencer Gosch, who chaired the GOP-dominated committee, said Jason Ravnsborg in killing a pedestrian two autumns ago did "not committee impeachable offenses." A minority report claims otherwise.
Nine lawmakers have been meeting since November to interview witnesses and officials about Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg's conduct and actions before, during and after he struck and killed a pedestrian Joe Boever on a rural South Dakota highway in 2020. An investigative report they'll deliver to the House of Representatives will be made public by Tuesday at the latest.
A pitched fight that lasted from the 2022 session's earliest days between Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, and Gov. Kristi Noem over federal COVID-19 relief funding expenditures came to an end on Veto Day, with the House unable to hit a two-thirds' majority to overturn Noem's veto of the Karr-backed plan.
On Friday, U.S. Dusty Johnson called hotel owner's comments "repugnant," while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith said the remarks were a reminder of the challenges faced by Native Americans in the state.
A new major retrospective of the artist's works has gone up in New York City. One of his most provocative pieces remains in Kansas -- due, in part, to a surprise trip to Hollywood in 1960.
A first-of-its-kind collection of paintings spanning decades of the Yanktonai Dakota artist's career is on exhibit in New York City, and will arrive in Brookings, South Dakota, in 2023. Howe, a longtime professor in Vermillion who designed murals on the Corn Palace, was a seminal Indigenous artist.