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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Riders, Forest Service come to agreement
Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Come spring, a number of Custer horseback riders should once again be able to cross French Creek in the Upper French Creek-Limestone riding area they love.

After an hour and a half in a sometimes contentious meeting between the riders and Sherri Schwenke, Hell Canyon District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service and Les Gonyer, hydrologist for the Forest Service, the riders and Forest Service officials appear to have a handshake agreement to meet in the area in the spring to see how the trail can be made more accessible to those on horseback.



Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

County shop is back on burner
Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

The long-stalled plans for the Custer County highway shop on the eastern side of the county appear to be gaining steam, as the Custer County Commission authorized having county highway superintendent Gary Woodward put out for bids for the facility after discussing its layout at the commission’s Nov. 19 meeting.

Woodford presented a rough floor plan for the shop, which would include offices for the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation and the Custer County Sheriff’s Department. The main area of the shop would be large enough to house two motorgraders, a plow truck and at least one pickup. Woodford said the county weed and pest department would use the facility to work out of in the summer, and three employees would be at the shop periodically.



Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

$2k reward offered for burglary information
Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

A $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the latest—and probably most expensive—in a string of burglaries that have occurred in and around Custer.

The money is being offered by the victims of the most recently discovered burglary, Gary and Nancy Hirt, part-time Custer residents who had thousands of dollars in merchandise stolen out of their cabin located in the Big Rock Park area. Among the items taken from the home that are known so far are a John Deer Gator UTV, a Yamaha Grizzly 660 four-wheeler, a Winchester 1894 lever action rifle, a Ruger Mark iii­­­­ hand gun, a 1978 Kawasaki K175 motorcycle, a Henry Golden Boy lever action, ammunition, alcohol and a Samsung TV.



Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Green leaves county
Published: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

When David Green packed his belongings and moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota on Christmas Day 2006, he didn’t expect to spend nearly a decade in Custer.

However, seven years and 11 months after he was first hired by the Custer County Commission to work in the planning department under then-planning director Mike McMahon, Green has worked his last day for the department, officially ending his run with the county Nov. 14—although his last day in the office was Nov. 7. Green has moved to Minnesota to pursue another career opportunity.



Thursday, November 20th, 2014

January weather envelops region
Published: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Many Custer residents were shocked to wake up the morning of Nov. 11 and find thermostats reading subzero temperatures on their outdoor thermometers. While the weather itself may not be shocking, the fact that the January-type temperatures are coming in November had people talking.

But according to Alex Calderon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City, this type of extreme cold isn’t unusual.

“We don’t normally see cold like this until December and have it happen later during winter, but it has happened before,” he said. “When we go into winter, temperatures can drop pretty quickly in the fall. It just happens.”



Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Buffalo prices up, revenue down
Published: Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Prices were up across the board for the buffalo offered to the highest bidder at the 49th annual Custer State Park Fall Classic Buffalo Auction last Saturday, Nov. 15, although the total money the park raised was lower than a year ago.

This year’s auction brought in $380,325, down from last year’s number of $476,655. Those numbers are deceiving, however, as the park sold only 224 buffalo this year, as compared to 324 a year ago.



Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Board approves theatre seating
Published: Thursday, November 13th, 2014

When the second half of the school year kicks off in 2015, Custer Jr./Sr. High School will have a brand new theatre — well, sort of. 

On Monday night, the Custer District School Board of Education approved the theatre project, which would remove 17 seats to create an aisle down the middle of the theatre. The cost for the project would be $845.

“It’s a safety issue and people want it used that way,” said superintendent of schools Mark Naugle. “There were strong opinions to (do it this way).”



Thursday, November 13th, 2014

CSP buffalo to be auctioned
Published: Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The 50th Annual Custer State Park Fall Classic Bison Auction will take place this Saturday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m. at the Custer State Park Corrals. Registration begins at 9 .m.

Up for sale this year are six young burros, seven mature bred cows, 21 open mature cows, eight 2-year-old bred heifers, four open 2-year-old heifers, 36 yearling heifers, 50 heifer calves, 61 bull calves, 36 yearling bulls, three 2-year-old grade bulls and a 21-year-old appaloosa gelding.



Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Landowners seek access to own property
Published: Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Ongoing access issues on land adjacent to Forest Service land within Custer County prompted an appearance by Sherri Schwenke, Hell Canyon District Ranger, along with Scott Haas, recreation program manager for the Forest Service, at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Custer County Commission, to discuss those issues with the commission.

A number of county property owners having landlocked property adjacent to U.S. Forest Service land and the Forest Service refuses to give easements across its land. Instead, the Forest Service is telling the property owners to negotiate easements with their neighbors, which in some cases is much more cumbersome and expensive than going across Forest Service land would be.



Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Korean, Vietnam vet recalls service
Published: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

When Dick Dieter watches the news of the ongoing War On Terror, he sees a lot of similarities between that war and the war he helped fight for 51 months of his life—Vietnam.

“Technically, it’s the same,”â��he said.â��“We don’t belong there. We don’t have any business there. It’s the politicians. If those people want to kill one another, who are we to judge them?”

Dieter, 77, spent over four years of his life entrenched in the Vietnam War, serving in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.



Thursday, November 6th, 2014

City seeks leaks
Published: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

It was a short meeting for the Custer City Council on Monday, Nov. 3, at which council members approved requests, purchases and ordinances. 

In his department report, public works director Bob Morrison told city council members that a couple of leaks were found by South Dakota Rural Water.

“They did some leak detection with a correlator, which can hear leaks in a pipeline. It was successful and we did find some leaks,” he said.



Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Republicans sweep mid-term election
Published: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

It was a good night for the Republicans, after sweeping the election races Tuesday, Nov. 4.

In local races, Custer County voters elected incumbents Phil Lampert, Travis Bies and Jim Lintz to the county commission, each to serve a four-year term. Lampert had the highest percentage of the four with over 30 percent, while Lintz was next with 27 percent and Bies third with 22 percent. Challenger Steve Price finished with 17 percent of the vote.



Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Business potential to be studied
Published: Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Custer County is officially in line for a free service from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture that will highlight areas with the potential to become home to a business that involves the agriculture industry. This comes after the commission gave the go-ahead to county auditor Nancy Christensen to apply for the program after hearing about it from Ty Littau, agricultural development representative with the Department of Agriculture. 

Littau, who was at the commission’s Oct. 22 meeting, was hired into his position April 2 and said he has been going to each of the county commissions is his area (western third of the state) to introduce himself  and to discuss the project, which he said studies the feasibility of putting agricultural-related businesses into Custer and other counties.



Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Cruisin’ may add a beer garden
Published: Thursday, October 30th, 2014

While there weren’t enough committee members to take action at the Oct. 17 Custer Cruisin’ meeting, that didn’t stop them from discussing  future events and upgrades of the Custer Cruisin’ Rally. 

After attending a meeting for vendors, Don Herren, committee chair, reported back with their comments and suggestions for the next event. Suggestions included live music, a “food court,” or an area with a group of picnic tables covered with a tent, as well as seating. The suggestion of a beer garden was also brought up by committee member R.E. “Rock” Roeck. 



Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Hills are alive with ghosts
Published: Thursday, October 30th, 2014

With such a deep and colorful history, it should be no surprise that the Black Hills has had its fair share of scares, mysterious sightings and odd occurrences. It should also be no surprise that each community has its own urban legends — myths, tales and legends often formed from folklore and stories that may or may not actually be true. 

In Rapid City, the stump of a large old oak tree on Skyline Drive is said to be the remains of “the hanging tree,” which according to historical records, several people were hung for crimes they committed. Given the fact that many of the hangings occurred in the late 1800s — a fairly common practice in western South Dakota — it’s not unlikely that the spirits of those killed still lurk in the area. 



Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Picking up the pieces
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Editor’s Note: Two years ago, we interviewed Shelby (not her real name) while she was staying in the W.E.A.V.E. shelter in Custer. She had been in three abusive relationships. Her first husband hit her in the face and broke her nose when she believed she had been overcharged at a fast food restaurant and asked for a receipt. 

Her second husband, although well-off financially, was very controlling, causing her to lose all sense of who she was and her individual worth. She ended up with an old boyfriend from high school who was physically, emotionally and mentally abusive. That relationship ended with him beating her for two hours.

She had 31 bruises, a concussion, a sprained ankle and a torn ligament in her knee, all from the beating. The next morning, Shelby couldn’t walk or even stand up. 




Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Riders protest trail closures
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

A�group of roughly a dozen local horsemen and women recently met with U.S. Forest Service Hell Canyon District Ranger Sherri Schwenke to discuss what they say was the ruination of a riding trail they frequently use in the Upper French Creek and Limestone area northwest of Custer, as well as the overall broader theme of closure of more and more Forest Service land to the public.

The meeting, held Monday morning, took place in Schwenke’s office at the Forest Service’s downtown facility.

Glenn Sellevold, one of the riders who organized the meeting, said the area was once one of the most beautiful areas to ride in the Southern Black Hills. The nicest part of the ride, he said, was following the trail that ran alongside French Creek, a 500-yard-long ride where ponderosa pine and spruce trees line both sides of the creek.



Farewell to Gen. Custer
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

While several local businesses and individuals were honored at Sylvan Lake Auditorium during last Thursday evening’s Custer Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Awards Banquet, the evening belonged to one man—Mitch McLain.

McLain, who has spent 30 years in the visitor service industry and 10 years as Custer’s beloved Gen. George Custer, was honored for his service by a packed room of over 200 community business leaders at the banquet, receiving the chamber’s Community Service Award and having an executive proclamation from Gov. Dennis Daugaard read proclaiming Oct. 16, 2014, Mitch McLain day in South Dakota.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Hermosa eyes annexation
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Town of Hermosa is in the initial stages of a study that could end with three-phase annexation of land currently outside of the town’s borders.

The first area of that study is Fairgrounds Place Road east of town, which would bring 18 properties into the town limits. Eventually, annexation would also bring parts of Hwy. 40 east into town as well, along with McDermand Subdivision to the south and the proposed Hermosa Hills Subdivision and North Corral Subdivision to the north.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Thorp joins board
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014
At its Monday night meeting, the Custer School District Board of Education swore in a new board member, taking over the seat left by Paul Dinkins who resigned two months ago.  Peter Thorp, 35,...


Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Buffalo Gap resident rips county services
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

When it comes to services provided by the county in which it sits, Buffalo Gap is at the end of the priority list. That was the position taken by Buffalo Gap resident Tommie McLaughlin when talking to the Custer County Commission at the commission’s Oct. 8 meeting. 

McLaughlin, her arm in a sling from a recent car wreck she blamed on poor road maintenance at the south end of Buffalo Gap, said road maintenance, law enforcement and customer service in general from the county leave something to be desired.



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

One in four licensed to carry in Custer County
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

“Things have changed. We’re not tucked away in an isolated area. We’re not exempt,” said Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.

The sheriff was talking about the increased interest in concealed handgun carry permits for those who want to be armed for self defense purposes. (State law does not require a permit for open carry of a handgun.)

The recent highly publicized case of a 49-year-old female realtor’s murder in Arkansas has spurred increased interest in concealed permits, not only in realtors, but for those who work alone.



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Realtors on high alert
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

It’s important to trust your gut. Just ask Sheila Green and Ramona Flaig. 

“You really need to be aware of your own personal safety; you can’t get complacent. I have always trusted my gut. I have pretty good gut instincts,” said Green, owner-broker of Green Real Estate in Custer. “We are really lucky that our crime rates here are low and people are trustworthy. Real estate can be a very dangerous industry.” 

The dangers of real estate has been a prominent topic in recent weeks after the murder of Beverly Carter, who was showing a home in the Little Rock, Ark., area when she suddenly vanished. Her body was found Tuesday, Sept. 30, in a shallow grave at a concrete factory. When asked for his motive, the man charged with the murder said he did it because she worked alone, which is common with most real estate agents. 



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Water, sewer rates to rise
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Water and sewer rates are set to go up in the City of Custer, after the first reading of the proposed raises were approved by the council at its regular meeting Monday night.

Water rates will rise $1.06 per 1,000 gallons used—a 13 percent increase for residential users and a 6 percent increase for commercial users on the minimum bill. A minimum bill for 2,000 gallons used will now be $8.96, with $6.31 added to a user’s bill per thousand gallons used over 2,000 gallons. For commercial, the minimum 2,000 gallon bill will be $20.24, with $7.52 per additional 1,000 gallons.



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Case load depletes court funds
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Custer County Commission has been forced to allocate another $75,000 to the Seventh Circuit Judicial Court for the 2014 budget year, thanks to an uptick in felony crimes and criminal trials in the county.

At its Sept. 24 meeting, the Custer County Commission heard from Seventh Circuit judge Jeff Davis and Clerk of Courts Deb Salzsieder, who presented the commission with several documents showing the court is just about out of money, although there are three months left in the year.

The court began the year with a total budget of $109,100, of which only $11,129 remains. The court-appointed attorney fee line item in the budget is already over budget by $1,687.



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