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Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The importance of thank you
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The importance of a simple thank you was hammered home at the annual customer service hospitality training May 17 at Crazy Horse Memorial.

“Customer service people must work hard to get along with people,” said professional motivational speaker V.J. Smith of Brookings. He was the featured speaker at the annual event sponsored by the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce.

After relating a number of nightmarish encounters with those in the hospitality business, Smith gave some advice to the group of about 100 people.



A beginning to an end
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Fifty-eight seniors finished a major chapter of their lives when they walked across the stage, diploma in hand. 

Custer High School’s annual commencement ceremonies were held Saturday, May 21, at the Custer Armory. 

The first to give his well wishes was Ben Marchand, fellow graduate and master of ceremonies.



Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Info sought on alleged Simianer victim
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Former City of Custer planning administrator Scott Simianer was back in Seventh Judicial Circuit  Court last Thursday morning before Circuit Court Judge Craig Pfeifle, with Simianer’s attorney, Randy Connelly, requesting information on psychological assessment done on the alleged victim in the case of a civil proceeding several years ago.

Connelly said he was still going through the “voluminous materials” regarding the civil case, and said the requested assessment may reveal information pertinent to the case.



Thursday, May 19th, 2016

West Dam plan gets approval
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The resuscitation of West Dam took another step forward at Monday evening’s meeting of the Custer City Council when the council unanimously approved the master plan for the reconstruction of the dam, lake and surrounding area.

At the meeting, David LaFrance of Banner Associates and Randy Fisher of Design Works, Inc., presented the master plan through paper copies and a computer slide show. The plan is a result of months of meetings and discussion between the city’s West Dam Task Force and the engineering firms.



Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Putting the pieces together
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The Custer School District Board of Education will spend $11.4 million for the 2016-17 school year if the budget proposed at the most recent board meeting remains unchanged before adoption.

The budget, which was laid out by school business manager Lisa Fluck during a budget hearing that preceded the board’s May 9 board meeting, is around $50,000 higher than last year’s budget, which was also in the $11.4 million range. The budget can still be changed prior to its official adoption June 13, however. The May 9 look at the budget was not a final review and no vote was taken to adopt the budget.



Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Buffalo gores park visitor
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

A Missouri woman learned firsthand the devastating consequences of ignoring posted signs warning about buffalo. 

The 50-year-old woman had to be Life Flighted to Rapid City Regional Hospital Thursday, May 12, after being gored in the stomach by a 5-year-old bull buffalo. Pictures of the woman show her out in a field on Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, hand outstretched in an attempt to touch the buffalo.

The woman, whose name has not been released, remains in the hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. She will not face any charges for her actions.



Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Visitor Center dedicated
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

It was only fitting last Friday at Custer State Park that Gov. Dennis Daugaard was at the business end of the scissors that cut the ribbon for the opening of the new Peter Norbeck Visitor Center.

In his 2013 State-of-the-State address to the Legislature, Daugaard proposed the state set aside $1.5 million toward the $6 million cost of a new visitor center in Custer State Park. Legislators agreed.



Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Child dies after fall into tank
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

The Custer community is in mourning following the death of a 2-year-old girl last Friday morning.

Evelyn Estelle Ferraro was reported missing at a trailer park three miles west of Custer at 9:06 a.m. last Friday, May 6. Members of the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, Custer County Search and Rescue Team  and Custer Ambulance were immediately dispatched to the scene.  



Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Prophet’s Prey packs ‘em in
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Two Black Hills Film Festival showings of the documentary “Prophet’s Prey” were well attended last week in Rapid City and Hot Springs.

The film, named after a book of the same name authored by private investigator Sam Brower, details the history of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The sect still practices polygamy and has a secretive, fenced compound in Custer County. Its prophet, Warren Jeffs, is currently serving a life-plus-20-year sentence for child sexual abuse convictions.



Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Chronicle is top award winner
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Staff members of the Custer County Chronicle won the top Sweepstakes Award in its circulation class at last weekend’s annual S.D. Better Newspaper Contest awards ceremonies.

The contest was part of the annual S.D. Newspaper Association’s annual convention held in Mitchell.

The Sweepstakes Awards are given to the newspaper in each circulation category that accumulates the most points based on individual and staff awards earned.



Learning the consequences
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

While the sun may not have been shining, Wednesday, April 27, was still a perfect day to learn about consequences. 

Over 250 freshman students from Hill City, Custer, Hot Springs, Edgemont, Newcastle, Wyo., and Upton, Wyo., participated in Freshman Impact: Caught in the Moment, a mock accident and workshops that teach freshman students the dangers and consequences of driving distracted or under the influence, as well as suicide, abuse and bullying.



Businesses prepare for summer visitors
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Local attraction businesses owners and employees gathered at On the Rocks Chophouse last Thursday afternoon at the annual Custer Area Chamber of Commerce attractions meeting to discuss the upcoming season and tell those in attendance about all the events and changes and their respective places of business for the upcoming summer.



Thursday, April 28th, 2016

New role for an old hand
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

If it wasn’t for Bonnie Schwartz’s mother, her career in the National Parks Service may have never happened.

“My sister was going to Yellowstone for a job. But my mom didn’t want her driving alone, so she put me in the car with her,” Schwartz said. “I was only a year older than her, so I didn’t understand how it would make a difference.”

But it did. 

As soon as the sisters arrived at Yellowstone National Park, Schwartz knew she had to have a career with the National Parks Service. 



Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Wind Cave road issue discussed again
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

A road issue that started in 2013 was before the Custer County Commission again at the commission’s April 20 meeting, when representatives from Wind Cave National Park sought to upgrade a section line near the park known as 266th Street, which leads into the park.

The road is currently two-track  for the most part, but Wind Cave previously stated it wants to improve the road to county standards to “provide efficient and safe public access to a recently acquired area of Wind Cave National Park that includes the Carl Sanson Ranch and a documented pre-historic buffalo jump site that dates back over 1,000 years ago. The road will provide the only developed access to this extremely significant resource.”



Thursday, April 28th, 2016

STAR�employees have soft landing
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Although there is never an ideal time to lose your job, what happened earlier this month is probably as close as you will ever see.

That’s because, just as the State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy was set to close, costing 64 people their jobs with the State of South Dakota, 32.5 jobs were opening 30 miles south in Hot Springs, thanks to some last-minute legislation passed during this year’s session.



Thursday, April 21st, 2016

More motions in Simianer case
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

More motions regarding the case of former City of Custer planning administrator Scott Simianer were discussed in Seventh Judicial Circuit Court last Thursday morning before Circuit Court Judge Craig Pfeifle. Simianer’s attorney, Randy Connelly, said Simianer is no longer seeking a psychosexual evaluation, while going on record against one of the motions filed by Custer County States Attorney Tracy Kelley.



Thursday, April 21st, 2016

County IDs ‘collection areas’
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The Custer County Emergency Management Department, with the help of Custer County Search and Rescue (SAR), will soon identify community collection points around the county to both secure the safety of the public and first responders and to disseminate information in the event of an emergency.

The county’s emergency management director, Mike Carter, said the project has been on his to-do list for quite some time, with the biggest concern being the safety of both the public and first responders during an emergency, particularly wildfires.



Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Kleemann gets new life
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Ten years ago, the Kleemann House — one of Custer’s most historic buildings, visited by Buffalo Bill Cody, among  others — had a demolition order on it. Now, it’s breathing new life as the newest addition to Custer State Park. 

“It’s a really cool property in an area we really love to be in: the Black Hills,” said Josh Schmaltz, Regency vice president and director of Custer State Parks Resorts. “(Purchasing the Kleemann House) just made sense. It complements what we do in the park, with Rock Crest (Lodge & Cabins). We see a lot of potential.”



Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Carroll: Consider tax breaks for trees
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The number of healthy trees in the Black Hills National Forest and subsequently the logging industry isn’t what it used to be, thanks to wildfire and the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. Because of that, says Frank Carroll, former U.S. Forest Service employee and owner of Forestry Management, LLC, the Custer County Commission should consider lowering property taxes to private landowners who maintain a healthy tree population meant for wood fiber production.

At the April 6 meeting of the commission, Carroll said he wanted to get the conversation started on the possibility of rewarding those who lay out an approved plan to grow and maintain the trees for production, saying technology has not slowed the need for paper and that such a plan could go a long way toward supplying a logging industry.



Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Teachers receive raises
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

With the 2016-17 budget hearing just a month away, the Custer School District Board of Education had a preliminary discussion on the budget Monday, April 12.

Due to the passing of Gov. Dennis Daugaard teacher’s plan, the teacher base pay increased to $32,500, up $1,000 from the 2015-16 base. 

However, superintendent of schools Mark Naugle, in meeting with the Partnership Council, said the governor’s plan is specific as to which certified staff members are to be included in the plan. The plan does not address other school employees. Raises will range from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on years of experience and educational degrees.



Sheriff Wheeler: FLDS is fracturing
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Elements of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in the twin cities of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah, collectively known as Short Creek, are fracturing, according to Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.

“They are fracturing down there and the same thing will happen here,” Wheeler told an audience of approximately 85 people at the second meeting of the newly-formed Custer County Citizen Coalition held last Thursday evening at the VFW downstairs meeting room in Custer.



Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Gun range targets safety issues
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

In the wake of a second bullet striking a home just north of his gun range, Southern Hills Tactical owner Mike Mooney has made several changes at his range, including one that is quite drastic: it is now closed to the public.

On Feb. 23, two men using the rifle range at Southern Hills Tactical shot metal slugs from a shotgun. When they shot short, they over compensated and lifted the gun too high, shooting the slug over the 30-foot berm and blowing out another bathroom window at the Lynn Drive home of Dick and Barbara Dieter, which last August had been struck with another bullet, again shattering a window.



Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Jeffs released
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Seth Jeffs, bishop of the Fundamentaist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Custer County and brother of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs — who is serving life plus 20 years for sexual crimes against children — has been released to return to South Dakota. 

Jeffs, one of 11 alleged ringleaders of a multi-million dollar food stamp fraud scheme, was arrested Feb. 23 along with the 10 other FLDS heirarchy. 

Jeffs was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on Monday for a detention hearing, but in a surprise decision last Friday, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart released Jeffs. Stewart stipulated that Jeffs wear a GPS ankle monitor, surrender his passport and remain in St. George, Utah, for at least the next 30 days, but allowed him to travel to South Dakota to conduct water testing if he notifies U.S. marshals first. 



Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Blaze kicks off fire season
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

With dry conditions, powerful winds and unseasonably warm conditions, the Cold Fire has proved that it’s nothing like its name. 

The Cold Fire was reported Saturday, April 2, at 3:48 p.m. At the time of the initial report, it was 75 acres in size and on federal land. But in the span of three hours, the fire grew to 200 acres, with air resources being ordered. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the fire was at 1,900 acres with 30 percent containment. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.



Thursday, March 31st, 2016

School board discusses possible additions
Published: Thursday, March 31st, 2016

With budgeting season just around the corner, it’s time to think about plans for the next school year. 

During its March 21 meeting, the Custer School District Board of Education discussed possible additions to the 2016-17 curriculum. The additions stem from its discussions with the Partnership Council — made up of administrators, teachers, school board members and school support staff — in February.

The requests include changing the current competitive cheerleading assistant coach to a full-time coach, adding a yearbook advisor to Hermosa School and adding a student council advisor to Custer Elementary.



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