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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

New office, same role
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The newest planning director for Custer County isn’t new to planning for a government entity, isn’t new to Custer and really isn’t even new to Custer County planning.

Rex Harris began work as Custer County’s new planning director Feb. 17, less than a year after he was terminated in virtually the same role for the City of Custer. Harris, 72, said he was content in retirement, but eventually felt the pull to serve the people again, ultimately leading to his arrival in an office just a few football fields from his old office.



Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Measles outbreak assessed
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Schools in Custer County are preparing for an outbreak of measles, which hit South Dakota last month. While there has been no case or outbreak of measles in the Custer School District, the administration still wants to let patrons know how to prepare themselves, just in case. 

“To be clear, at this time, there is no measles outbreak in the Custer School District,” school superintendent Mark Naugle said in a letter. “This is only for your information.”



Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

City braces for huge influx of bikers
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Preparation for the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally—expected to be the largest such Rally in history—began across the state virtually the minute last year’s Rally came to a close. Among the entities preparing for the crush of humanity expected to flood the Hills during the Rally is the City of Custer, which addressed a pair of Rally-related topics at its Feb. 17 meeting.

City officials have been meeting with representatives from the South Dakota Department of Transportation, South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Custer County Sheriff’s Department to discuss how to deal with the swarm of bikers, which is expected to push one million Hills-wide. The typical Rally is 300,000 to 400,000.



Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Custer youth will honor elders
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

For 10 years, the Custer community has celebrated the life of many of its elders and linked generations together through the Elder’s Wisdom, Children’s Song program. The four honorees share their lives, stories and precious moments with elementary students who then write a narrative and song with assistance from a songwriter.

“This is such a great program to put on. I always look forward to seeing the community come out to see and learn about other community members,” said Hank Fridell, program coordinator. “This is one of the events that links the kids and parents in the community to our elders. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate who we are.”



Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Landowners want better access to their property
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Jim Powell says all he wants to do is drive to and from his home off Pass Creek Road without inconvenience. One of his neighbors is making it such a headache he, along with some of his other neighbors, have taken the first neighbor to court over the issue, and came before the Custer County Commission at its Feb. 11 meeting to see if there was anything it could do to help.

The crux of the issue is whether or not one of Powell’s neighbors on Hazelton Road can legally put up gates on the portion of the road in front of their property. Hazelton Road is a 33-foot private easement off Pass Creek Road. One resident of the neighborhood has put up barbed wire gates at each end of their property, meaning any time someone drives down the road they must get out, open a  gate at one end of that neighbors’ property, drive through, get out, close that gate, drive up to the other gate, get out, open it, drive through, get out, and close the second gate.



Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Fee increases are discussed
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

It may be a forgone conclusion that county taxpayers will soon be paying a few increases for certain county services. The one Custer County Commissioner against one of the fee increases, however, again let his displeasure with that possible increase be known at the Feb. 11 meeting of the commission.

Among the significant proposed fee increases are raising the cost of a grading permit from $50 to $150 for those within 10 miles of the city and $250 over 10 miles, the cost of a floodplain development permit from $50 to $100 and raising the cost of the per-square-foot portion of the building permit fee for agricultural buildings from .02 cents per square foot to .05, the same rate a residential parcel would have to pay for a non-occupied building.



Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Dam this place:�DU m...
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Coming soon to West Dam: An interpretative marsh trail?

Ducks Unlimited (DU) would sure love to see it.

Whether or not such a trail will happen remains to be seen, but representatives from the City of Custer, the Rocky Knolls Golf Course board and DU all got together at city hall Feb. 2 to discuss if DU�would be interested in helping fund a project at West Dam, and, if so, in what fashion.



The art of love
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

When Mike Pierce and Carrie Smith started painting the VFW mural in 2010, they never expected to become more than friends. Fast forward a few years, and the couple is not only creating more murals, but doing so while happily married. 

Mike Pierce moved to Custer in 2007 from La Crosse, Wis., and soon began creating murals to beautify the town. His mural at Custer County Market depicting the landscape of the Black Hills and native animals such as buffalo and elk was his 29th mural, while his mural at the Custer VFW Post 3442 was his 30th.



Thursday, February 12th, 2015

City to ban camping sewage in sewers
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Custer City Council has taken another step toward cracking down on those living long-term inside a camping trailer or motor home within the city limits. At its regular meeting Feb. 2, it passed the first reading of an amendment to its ordinance prohibiting the use of a recreational vehicle, travel trailer, motor home or converted car or bus for dwelling purposes.

The amended section of the ordinance states that in no case shall any camping trailer, tent, travel trailer or motor home hook up to private sanitary sewer. Initially, the section of the ordinance continued on to say “except for minimal short term hookups in order to flush on-site generated waste from any self-contained holding tank.” However, when alderwoman Karen Schleining made the motion to approve the reading, she asked the latter sentence to be removed, a request most on the council agreed with.



Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Don’t play ball: Hermosa fields in disrepair
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The Custer County Commission, the Custer County Fair Board, the Town of Hermosa and a group of concerned parents all agree something needs to be done with the decrepit state of the baseball fields at the Custer County Fairgrounds. How to go about repairing the fields, however, is another story.

At the Jan. 28 meeting of the Custer County Commission, parents and baseball organizers of children who use the fields on the fairgrounds in Hermosa came before the commission to highlight the litany of problems with the fields, along with a rough outline of a phased plan to repair the fields back to adequate and safe condition.



Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Land-for-tax-break swap addressed
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

An informal, failed and ultimately illegal proposal for a pair of Custer County landowners to give the county land adjacent to the Custer County Fairgrounds to use for the county’s planned east county shop in exchange for tax breaks on other property it owns within the county was discussed again at the Jan. 28 meeting of the Custer County Commission. The question has now become whether or not the landowners could “gift” the land to the county and then receive a tax write-off in exchange.

The saga began when some Hermosa area residents, as well as the Town of Hermosa board, questioned what they said was a waste of taxpayer money by the Custer County Commission over the commission’s declining of the land swap. The county, however, said the proposed deal wasn’t legal.



Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Forest Service to consolidate locations
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Besieged by a lack of space, an overabundance of less-than-ideal retrofitting, a leaky basement that was never intended to house offices and overall inefficiency, the Hell Canyon District office of the National Forest Service in downtown Custer is set to close in the near future. 

When it does, the 28 employees that call the building home will head up 5th Street to the Forest Supervisor’s Office, a move that will mean drastic change for both district and supervisor’s office employees.

At the Jan. 28 meeting to discuss the move held at the supervisor’s office, Forest Service natural resource staff officer and acting supervisor Dave Mertz said  “there are a number of plusses and some minuses to the move.”



Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Eliminating chaos is key to non-violent life
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

It was a peaceful Saturday afternoon in the Pine Room at the Custer County Annex, where nearly 25 participants gathered to discuss non-violent living at the Non-violent Conflict Resolution workshop hosted by Zonta of the Southern Black Hills. The workshop was part of Zonta International’s campaign “Non-violence from the Inside Out,” meaning individuals need to start working inwards before they can work out. 

“We live in a violent world these days,” said Peg Ryan, coordinator and speaker of the event. “We can’t change the violence in the world until we change ourselves.”

This workshop was the first step in that direction. 



Garage just outside Custer lost to fire
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Crews with the Custer Volunteer Fire Department had a busy night after responding to a garage fire Wednesday, Jan. 21.

Fire crews were paged at 4:20 p.m. by the homeowner, who called the fire department after trying to contain the blaze himself. When emergency responders arrived, the double garage was fully engulfed and at a total loss. 

In addition to the loss of the building, there was a Jeep inside the garage, which was also lost to the fire. However, the homeowner was able to move one of his cars from the garage before it was fully engulfed. The fire was located on Cross Road, just off of Sidney Park Road.



Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Simianer is new city planning administrator
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Third time’s the charm for the City of Custer as the council approved the hire of a new planning administrator during its Tuesday, Jan. 20 meeting. 

Scott Simianer was recommended by the interview committee to hire as planning administrator and will begin work with the City of Custer Monday, Feb. 2. Simianer, who lives in Custer County, currently works for the City of Hot Springs. 

“He is well versed in that position that we were looking to fulfill and he has a lot of certifications that we have been desiring,” said city alderman Corbin Herman. “I am pretty confident in this hiring.”



Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Experts talk long-term effects of uranium
Published: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The Custer County Courthouse Annex was packed Thursday night as community members listened to three specialists discuss the potential impacts of the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mining operation in Custer and Fall River counties. 

Speaking at the information night, presented by Dakota Rural Action (DRA), was Dr. Lilias Jarding, a long time researcher who has worked on uranium and natural resource issues for years, Ed Harvey, a former nuclear researcher who has spent 35 years in the nuclear industry, and Bruce Ellison, an attorney who works with Clean Water Alliance. The three talked about uranium mining in general, in-situ leaching (ISL) and impacts for the future the operation could have. 



Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

County may raise fees
Published: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

The Custer County Commission is considering changing and/or raising some of the fees the general public pays for county services, and will continue to study the county’s fee structure and make a decision at an upcoming meeting. At its Jan. 14 meeting, the commission listened to feedback from its department heads regarding where fees are at and which fees, if any, needed changed.

Most of the discussion centered around the fees the planning department charges. Interim planning director/staff engineer Elmer Claycomb presented the commission with a list of the department’s fees, but said only three areas needed to be addressed: collection of violation and reinspection fees, the flood plain development fee and the building permit fee.



Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Up in flames
Published: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

As menacing as it looked perched on Pageant Hill, it never stood a chance.

For the second consecutive year, the burning of a large, 28-foot beetle was the highlight of the Bark Beetle Blues events last Saturday afternoon in Custer.

The events started at Custer Jr./Sr. High School, where attendees were entertained by music from French Creek Folk, the dancers from Lo-Ru West, elementary school singers and the Black Hills Ukulele Orchestra. That was followed by a pair of videos and a welcome and talk by Cheryl Schreier, superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Craig Bobzien, supervisor for Black Hills National Forest, who told the crowd it was “time for the forest renewal.”



Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Pinkerton resigns from school board
Published: Thursday, January 15th, 2015

During its Monday night meeting, the Custer School District Board of Education accepted the resignation of board member Les Pinkerton, effective March 1. 

In his resignation, Pinkerton said he would be changing his state residency within the next couple of months, which would no longer allow him to participate as a Custer County school board member. 

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with the board members, the community and the students and staff within the Custer County schools,” Pinkerton said.



Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Lawmakers preview upcoming session
Published: Thursday, January 15th, 2015

The South Dakota State Legislature began its 2015 session, and District 30 lawmakers say there is no lack of topics that will be discussed, debated and voted upon before the end of the session. Juvenile justice, gambling, education funding and possible taxes for transportation are among the hottest topics lawmakers will have to deal with as they wind their way through this year’s session.

There has been whispers all year that the legislature may agree—and that includes Republicans—to raise taxes this session, specifically to raise money for infrastructure repairs throughout the state. A bill put forward would raise more than $100 million annually in new revenue through a variety of fuel tax increases, vehicle fees and other assessments.



Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Custer to set fire to beetle Saturday
Published: Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Come Saturday, Pageant Hill will be filled with flames, fireworks and fun, proving for the second time that those Mountain Pine Beetles don’t stand a chance. 

The second annual Burning of the Beetle will be held Saturday, Jan. 17, and is sponsored by the Bark Beetle Blues committee. Much like last year’s ceremony, this year’s Burning Beetle will feature a gathering at the high school, a parade and the popular bug crawl. Last year, nearly 1,000 participated in the event and organizers hope to see even more this year. 



Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The year 2014 in review
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

July

Walter Eagle Tail, 47, of Custer, died after choking while competing in the Custer Independence Day hot dog eating contest July 3. The competition was part of the annual Old Time County Fair in Custer.

Black Hills Burger & Bun Co. of Custer was named as having the best burger joint in the entire country by TripAdvisor user reviews.

Parts of the new movie “Lakota Girls” was being filmed in Custer. The movie was written by Molly Cameron, the daughter-in-law of Custer’s Ilona McDill.



Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Sheriff’s Log top twenty
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

The following is a list of the top 20 items in the Custer County  Chronicle’s Sheriff’s Log for 2014, as selected by the staff of the Chronicle. This year, the log was written by deputies Seth Thompson, Matt Haugen and Heath Lowry. This week are numbers 10 through one.

 

No. 10

“That’s why I walk to Pageant Hill.”

Friday, July 4

10:00 p.m. Custer hosted the world’s largest traffic jam after the annual fireworks display.



Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Talley is Citizen of the Year
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Depending on whom you ask, Donna Talley can be a number of things. 

To the women, children (and sometimes even men) she helps rescue from the clutches of an abuser, she is a hero, a gift and a treasure. To the abusers, whom she faces in domestic situations and in the courtroom, she’s the most hated woman in the Southern Black Hills. But to her co-workers and family, she’s dedicated, driven and compassionate. 



Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Sheriff’s Log top twenty
Published: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

The following is a list of the top 20 items in the Custer County  Chronicle’s Sheriff’s Log for 2014, as selected by the staff of the Chronicle. This year, the log was written by deputies Seth Thompson, Matt Haugen and Heath Lowry. This week, number 20 through 11 will be revealed, with the top 10 in next week.

No. 20

“It changes its own oil.”

Tuesday, April 22



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