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County may refuse to pick up dogs in city

The clock is ticking on  how long the Custer County Sheriff’s Department will corral loose dogs within the limits of the City of Custer—and it started counting down last week from 60 days.

That number isn’t even a guarantee, however.

At the July 9 meeting of the Custer County Commission, the commission once again wrangled with what to do with the animal control situation, to a man saying they are tired of “kicking the can down the road” and wondering aloud if picking up dogs within the city limits of Custer is stretching an already stretched sheriff’s department too thin.

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Living in Custer, working in New York

Fiona Willis and Dan Sedlacek have a unique situation. They make their home in�Custer, but both are working in New York.

They wanted to move back to the Black Hills to be closer to Dan’s family, but wanted to keep their great jobs. And they probably wouldn’t be able to live here without those jobs.

Fiona’s parents moved away from Rochester, N.Y., where they were living, which made it a bit easier for them both. But it was still a difficult transition. They’d been visiting Dan’s family in the Black Hills every year and as their children got older they knew they had to make a decision about whether they were going to make the big move. 

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Baseball team drops first two games

The Custer baseball team traveled to Spearfish for a tournament this past weekend and played a double-header for its opening day. Their first test was against Billings, Mont., with the second game facing Sioux Falls Roosevelt. With some opening day miscues and limited experience on the field, the team lost both games, 13-1 and 12-0, respectively.

Against Billings, leading hitters included Matt Lepke, Joe Rush, Reed Ashmore and Logan Block.  Rush and Block added to their stats with stolen bases, with Block scoring the lone run in the bottom of the third on an error. Lepke tossed 63 pitches over two and half innings, with four runs against his efforts.  Lepke experienced an injury on the mound and was moved to shortstop at the top of the third.  Ashmore took over pitching and threw 31 pitches, allowing nine runs.

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4-H Horse Show held in Hermosa

Custer and Fall River County 4-H youth exhibited their horsemanship skills by participating in the County 4-H Horse Show on June 26 at the Custer County Fairgrounds Arena in Hermosa.  The judge for the day was Kara Jo Webster.

The 4-Hers practice many hours, training their horses for the different events. This year’s event was host to 25 participants.  All participants complete a Horse Safety Training Program that offers an opportunity to gain skills, knowledge and expertise regarding the importance of safety around horses and while riding horses. 

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Lack of foresight led to animal control mess

As the county and city continue to slog through what to do with the animal control situation in Custer County, one thing has been made clear—both entities were woefully unprepared for the day when former animal control officer Geney Ziolkowski retired.

Ziolkowski, like all of us, grew old and decided it’s time to retire. When she retired, she took the only place in the county that is set up to house stray animals, and also took the rug out from under both the city and the county, which since her retirement have been scrambling to decide what to do in her absence. At times it has been a mess and a circular discussion and, much to his chagrin, Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler’s certified law enforcement officers have been spending a lot of time playing dog catcher instead of working on real crime. It’s a situation that all parties need to resolve quickly. This has dragged on long enough. It was mid-November when Ziolkowski sent emails to both the city and the county, letting them know that, for health reasons, she was retiring as animal control officer as of the new year. That was eight months ago.

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