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Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Lintz Bros. franchise to open
Published: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Brian Lintz is at it again. This time it’s not just him. He’s enlisted a whole team of people to open the first Lintz Bros. Pizza franchise inâ��Rapid City.

RC Pizza Co., a local group of investors led by Troy Kieffer, announced plans to open the franchise. Other investors include Nancy Trautman, Lezley Kempf, Karl Kempf and Dan Dahl.

VesTek is the holding company and TekNet, Troy’s primary business, is providing the capital.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Golf course putters along with old irrigation system
Published: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

The irrigation system at Rocky Knolls Golf course suffered through 22 breaks last year, a telltale sign that the 30-plus-year-old system is reaching the end of its lifespan.

At Monday evening’s meeting of the Custer City Council, Rocky Knolls board member Richard Adamson and course superintendent Steve Price were both on hand to give an update on the past year’s activity at the course, as well as inform the council that it’s time to start planning to replace the increasingly worn out irrigation system.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Summer 2015 looks to be big
Published: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

It’s time to start thinking about tourist season and that’s just what a number of local attractions and businesses are doing. So far, numbers look great

Dave Ressler, executive director of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce, said 2014 was one of the best years they’ve had in a long time and so far the 2015 season is on par with that.

“From what we see from our normal inquiries, it looks good. With the 75th Rally and the 50th buffalo roundup in Custer State Park, our projections are great. Travel shows have proven to be busier than ever and people say they are coming, ” he said.



Thursday, April 16th, 2015

School board looks for new Hermosa principal
Published: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

During the Monday evening, April 13, meeting of the Custer School District Board of Education, superintendent of schools Mark Naugle informed the board that he is forming a committee to look over candidates for the Hermosa School principal position, which was previously held by Jeremy Hurd. 

During executive session in the Monday, March 9, meeting, the board authorized board president Tanya Olson to sign the agreement concerning the Hermosa administrative position.



Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Towns’ wheel tax funds may deflate
Published: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

In the face of an ever-shrinking county highway department budget, the Custer County Commission is mulling keeping all of the money it raises yearly from the county wheel tax, 20 percent of which it has distributed to county municipalities for nearly 30 years.

At its April 8 meeting, the commission continued a discussion on how the legislation dealing with fuel and vehicles taxes passed at this year’s legislative session will affect the county. 



Thursday, April 9th, 2015

City OKs higher bid payments
Published: Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The City of Custer will spend a little more each time it goes out for bid on work on another part of Custer Community Center, after agreeing to make changes on its contract with the architect for the project, Gene Fennell of Fennell Design, Inc.

At its regular meeting Monday night, the council agreed to two amendments to the existing contract, the first of which will see the city pay $2,700 for each bid package Fennell puts together for projects in the building.



Lipp, Carson to vie for mayor
Published: Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The June 2 election will be a quiet one in Custer County, as voters will have only two races in which to make decisions.

The citizens of Custer will have a choice for Mayor, as incumbent Gary Lipp will seek reelection and is being challenged by local realtor Jared Carson. The two will vie for a two-year term to lead the city.

No city council seats will be contested. In Ward I, incumbent Jeannie Fischer is the only person to submit a petition for the two-year term in that ward. It is the same situation in Ward III, where longtime council alderwoman Karen Schleining has submitted a petition and will also run unopposed. In Ward II, no petitions were received, so the mayor and council will have to appoint someone to that seat. Incumbent Angie Kothe did not submit a petition to seek reelection.



Allegiant Airlines spoof takes off
Published: Thursday, April 9th, 2015

The reaction was immediate, mostly hilarious and overwhelmingly positive. 

Last week’s April Fool’s Day story, spawned from the ever-scheming mind of Chronicle general manager Jason Ferguson, seemed to strike a chord within the community, as many people went out of their way to call, stop in or email the Chronicle with a story about how the article on the “bargain” Custer-to-Rapid City (one-way, no less) flight was received.

One of the first and biggest reactions came from the Chronicle’s advertising salesperson, Elaine Studt, who came into the Chronicle office last Wednesday and said she was “going to kill” Ferguson.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Resident wants road fixed
Published: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

A Custer County resident came before the Custer County Commission at its March 25 meeting to request the commission direct the county highway department to repair Canal Road, saying it is a road he depends on to get his ag products to market. 

Travis Hartshorn, who lives in southeastern Custer County, said the road is riddled with potholes and extremely rough and wondered if it is the county’s responsibility to fix the road or, at the very least, help financially to get it repaired.

Custer County Highway Department superintendent Gary Woodford said, in his research, Canal Road — which is in the Angostura Irrigation District — has never been a county-maintained road. Rather, Woodford said a man who used to own the property after the road was built over 50 years ago used to blade the road once a year on his own. Woodford said his longest-tenured employees all agree the county has never maintained the road.



Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

No free vendor spots to be given
Published: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

It was a packed meeting for the Custer Cruisin’ Committee Friday, March 27, as vendor spots, rally bylaws and ordinances, advertising and entertainment were discussed.

City attorney Chris Beesley informed the committee that they could not give a vendor spot to a merchant, as it voted to do with Arts Expressions Gallery during last month’s meeting.

“I was not here last meeting where it was discussed with the art gallery and I apologize for any confusion,” he said. “In my opinion, if you buy the space, it’s your space and you do with it as you please. Second, you both pay. (Art Expressions) has to pay and if (The 1881 Bank Coffee House) is getting a space, it is going to have to pay. That is my interpretation.”



Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Custer-to-Rapid City flights to be offered
Published: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Allegiant Air, a U.S.-based, publicly traded (NASDAQ symbol ALGT) low-cost airline, has announced it will offer six flights a month from the Custer County Airport to Rapid City Regional Airport, beginning July 1.

“We are very pleased to start offering this flight,” said Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., CEO of Allegiant Air. “We feel Custer-to-Rapid City will soon be one of our marquee flights, right up there with flights to Las Vegas. We’re very excited to add Custer to the growing list of communities we service.”

Like most of Allegiant’s flights, the Custer to Rapid City flight will be made via a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, which will seat 123 economy-class passengers. The flight will take 16 minutes tarmac to tarmac, Gallagher said.



Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Lawmakers end session with mixed feelings
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

As the 90th South Dakota Legislative Session came to a close at the end of last week, District 30 lawmakers had mixed feelings about how the session went. The session saw a $4.3 billion budget passed that gives extra funding increases to education, state employees and health care providers, despite revenue projections being less than previously expected.

The House voted 55-9 to approve the budget put together on the final day by the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, which was followed by a 30-2 vote in favor of passage by the Senate.



Thursday, March 26th, 2015

West Dam still not settled
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

If the City of Custer wants to receive thousands more dollars in grant money for its French Creek drainage improvement project — which includes solving the long-standing issue of what to do with West Dam — it will have to pony up $23,000 to finalize the current phase of studying the project. 

The final part of that phase will also determine if the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will approve the next phase of the project. 

The catch, however, is that the $23,000, while eligible for a 75-25 grant reimbursement from the government, must be paid up front, and if FEMA nixes the project entirely, the city will not see that money back.



Thursday, March 26th, 2015

City OKs variances contrary to ordinances
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

The final plat for a subdivision of land in the Homestead area in northeast Custer received final approval at the March 16 meeting of the Custer City Council, but not before extensive discussion was held about variances being given to the subdivision’s developer, local contractor Craig Hindle.

The land to be subdivided sits just to the northeast of the corner of Summit and Ponderosa Streets and Hindle’s plan calls for the land to be divided into six lots that will be used for affordable housing. The city’s planning commission, which reviewed the plan extensively, recommended approval of the final plat with variances that technically go against city ordinance, as subdivisions are required to have a 24-foot paved road and have curb and gutter and sidewalks installed. The subdivision as approved will have none of those features.



Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Historic school vandalized
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Clean up begins at the historic Glen Erin School after the log cabin was vandalized last week. 

According to Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler, a passerby reported the one-room schoolhouse’s vandalism Wednesday, March 11. The vandals broke the school’s glass window with one of the benches, which was still in the window when a sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene to investigate. The benches in the school were also turned over and glass littered the ground outside the school.

“We are not sure when this happened,” Wheeler said.



Thursday, March 19th, 2015

School board talks budget
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

With the end of Custer School District’s fiscal year just around the corner, the debate for the 2015-16 school year has begun. Teaching positions, programs and impact aid were all heavy discussion items during the Custer School  District Board of Education’s March 9 meeting. 

The budget discussion started with Brian Lintz, former board member, who addressed the board during open forum time.



Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Fire season starts early
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

The adage “in like a lion, out like a lamb” may not apply to this March, but nowhere in the saying is anything mentioned about a fire.

The North Pole Fire was reported Tuesday, March 10, at 4 p.m., located in the area of Highway 16 and Renegade Road, west of Custer. What started as a small grass fire on private property quickly grew to 59 acres on Forest Service land, threatening structures, life and natural resources. Over 60 personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Custer Volunteer Fire Department and South Dakota Wildland Fire Division worked to contain the blaze.

“I was up on Lightning Creek Road when I saw the smoke,” said Phill Randall, Custer resident. “I first thought it was a slash pile of some kind, but with the high fire danger, I knew it wasn’t just that.”



Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Businesses scrambling for help
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The lowest fuel prices in years. The 50th anniversary of Custer State Park. The 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The summer of 2015 is shaping up to be one of, if not the, biggest summer in the history of South Dakota tourism. And with less than a month before many businesses unlock their doors, dust off their shelves and get ready for the swarm of visitors about to descend on the area, many of them are facing a nearly unthinkable, cataclysmic scenario—not having enough employees when they open those doors.



Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Dam project deliberated
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015

During its regular Monday, March 2, meeting, the Custer City Council heard an overview of the French Creek drainage project headed by FourFront Design, Inc., of Rapid City.

The council was presented with a map of the French Creek drainage area as it goes through Custer. Along the drainage area were five key culverts and areas — Cougar Road culvert (West Dam), Wazi Lane culvert, a culvert by Holiday Inn, 4th Street bridge and 11th Street bridge — that were determined as high needs areas, meaning they would make the most sense to improve. 



Thursday, March 12th, 2015

2015 could be banner tourism year
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Even though it’s only March, the tourism industry in Custer is already gearing up for a busy summer. 

Representatives from both the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District (BID) spoke to the Custer City Council at the council’s regular Monday, March 2, meeting about their plans for the summer, as well as the good things that happened last year.

“We are a well-oiled machine,” said Dave Ressler, executive director of the chamber. 



Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

BREAKING: Fire breaks out west of town
Published: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

A forest/grass fire has broken out west of Custer, just off Hwy. 16 and just east of Renegade Pass Road. Firefighters are on scene, including crews from the U.S. Forest Service and Custer Fire Department. The cause and size of the fire are unclear at this time.



Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Facing hard decisions
Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

More than a dozen people gathered at Custer Senior Center Saturday, Feb. 28, to hear what District 30 representatives had to say about the 2015 legislative session. The crackerbarrel, hosted by the Custer County Chronicle and Custer Senior Center, featured Reps. Mike Verchio of Hill City and Lance Russell of Hot Springs and Sen. Bruce Rampelberg of Rapid City.

One of the bigger issues in this year’s legislation is SB1, which is being proposed by the transportation committee. SB1 would maintain and improve public roads and bridges by raising gas taxes, license plate and registration fees and a wheel tax.



Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Future of firefighting uncertain
Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Will all of Custer County’s volunteer fire departments be forced to move to a taxing district  in a few years due to a lack of funding? Will those fire departments have enough trained personnel to respond to calls in their area? These were just a couple of the questions raised during a discussion of the future of firefighting within the county at the Feb. 26 meeting of the Custer County Commission.

Dar Coy, chairman of the county’s fire advisory board, led the discussion of where firefighting has been in the county and where it is heading, saying the fire advisory board, which he said had become “stagnant” over the past few years, has met and decided to become much more active. Among that activity will be the formation of three committees, including one for training and one for bylaws.



Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Black Hills Power to increase rates
Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

On Monday, March 2, Black Hills Power received approval from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission of a settlement agreement that allows the company to implement new electric rates for its South Dakota customers beginning April 1.

Black Hills Power will recover costs and infrastructure investments it says were made in response to escalating environmental regulations on behalf of its 65,500 electric customers in South Dakota, primarily investments for the utility’s portion of the new Cheyenne Prairie Generating Station. The facility was built for less than the budgeted amount and was placed into service on Oct. 1 as scheduled.



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.



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