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Thursday, May 21st, 2015

County discusses pay raises
Published: Thursday, May 21st, 2015

The Custer County Commission began the process of crafting its 2016 budget at its May 12 meeting by looking through a possible wage scale change presented by county auditor Nancy Christensen. The paperwork presented by Christensen presented a few different options of how the county could raise the pay of courthouse employees with the hope of better retaining those employees.

Christensen said since May of 2013, the county has made 44 hires. Of those who left, five eventually returned, while some employees retired. 



Thursday, May 21st, 2015

An end and a beginning
Published: Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Sixty-one seniors finished a major chapter of their lives Saturday, May 16, graduating from Custer High School in commencement exercises held at the Custer Armory.

“Congratulations on your milestone. This is one of many, many you will have in your lives,” said Mark Naugle, Custer School District superintendent. “Our goal here is to prepare you for these milestones. Some are going to be difficult and you will have to work very, very hard to achieve; most of them are going to be a lot harder than this one. Hopefully, we have given you the tools to succeed.”



Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

City of Custer Draft Sign Ordinance now available for review.
Published: Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
To access the City of Custer's proposed draft sign ordinance, paste the following link into your browser. Direct all feedback to Scott Simianer, planning administrator for the City of Custer, at 673-...


Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Freshman get ‘Caught in the Moment’
Published: Thursday, May 14th, 2015

A high school girl, now a senior, remembers well her experience in attending a Freshman Impact Day.

“She was planning to end her life, but since she had recently heard the Freshman Impact message about getting help, she messaged a friend instead,” said Stephanie Schweitzer Dixon of the Front Porch Coalition.

According to Dixon, the girl’s situation has a happy ending, as the girl got the help she needed and for the past three years she has shared her story during many of the Freshman Impact Days, including the one held at Crazy Horse, Wednesday, May 6.



Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Board recommends Harney Peak renaming
Published: Thursday, May 14th, 2015

After hundreds of comments and numerous public meetings, the renaming of Harney Peak could become a reality. 

The South Dakota Board of Geographic Names recommended by unanimous vote to change the name from Harney Peak, named after Gen. William S. Harney, to the Lakota phrase “Hinhan Kaga,” which translates to “Making of Owls.” The name — which the peak was originally referred to by Native people — was proposed in earlier public testimony. The official name would be “Hinhan Kaga (Making of Owls),” should the name be approved.



Thursday, May 14th, 2015

City scraps pre-disaster mitigation plan
Published: Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Citing never ending governmental red tape, too many unknowns and rising costs, the Custer City Council, at the recommendation of Mayor Gary Lipp, has voted to scrap the city’s pre-disaster mitigation plan for the French Creek drainage area that winds through Custer. The unanimous vote took place at the council’s May 4 meeting.

At the meeting, Lipp said he didn’t believe the project was worthwhile any longer, saying he didn’t think it would meet the expectations the city has for it, or the city’s needs.

“I don’t think we should spend any more time or money on it,” he told the council.



Thursday, May 7th, 2015

City finalizes Custer Cruisin’ parking plan
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Automobiles will not be prohibited on Mt. Rushmore Road during this summer’s Custer Cruisin’ Rally, following a unanimous vote of the Custer City Council to finalize the plan at its May 4 meeting.

When the parking plan was originally presented a few months ago, an idea to make downtown Mt. Rushmore Road motorcycle parking only for the bulk of the day was floated, due to what is expected to be a record amount of motorcycles in the Hills because of the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The motorcycle-only designation is not part of the final plan. 



Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Hermosa offered county property
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015

As part of a long-standing agreement between the two entities, the Town of Hermosa will have the first crack at purchasing the land the county shop sits on in Hermosa when the county’s new shop is complete south of Hermosa. The two entities have had an understanding for several years that Hermosa wanted to purchase the property when it became available.

The issue was discussed at the April 29 meeting of the Custer County Commission, with commissioner Travis Bies saying the original agreement stipulated the county would sell Hermosa the land for $40,000, the lowest of the three estimates the county has received from Hermosa-area realtors as to the value of the property. Bies said he believed the county should honor the $40,000 offer as a good-faith effort in cooperating with the Town of Hermosa. Bies said the Town of Hermosa allows the county to operate a library branch in its city building and has kept rent flat and also cooperates with the county on other projects.



Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Mountain out of a molehill?
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015

To quote Shakespeare: “What’s in a name?” For the supporters and opponents of the Harney Peak name-change petition, it’s everything. 

The petition to change the name of Harney Peak — named after Gen. William S. Harney in the late 1850s — was submitted by Basil Brave Heart, an Oglala Sioux Lakota who proposes changing the name to Black Elk after Nicholas Black Elk, Lakota holy man who had a vision while on the peak. The petition has over 1,000 signatures.



Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Attraction reps tell what’s new at their places in ’15
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The area’s top two attractions, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial, expect 2015 to be a better than average year, largely due to increased numbers expected for the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this summer.

“We’re looking forward to 2015. It will be a great year,” said Viga Ziolkowski, co-CEO of Crazy Horse Memorial.

“We’ll probably exceed three million visitors this year with the bike rally,” said park ranger Charley Desmond of Mount Rushmore.



Thursday, April 30th, 2015

City cleanup set
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The City of Custer’s annual community cleanup will take place this weekend, beginning Friday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again Saturday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be no charge to city residents hauling unwanted waste to the transfer station; however, they must provide a residential city utility billing statement receipt when they arrive at the transfer station. Commercial accounts will not  be allowed free access to the transfer site.



Thursday, April 30th, 2015

SNAP use declines in county, state
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Around 235 homes in Custer County received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Custer County in February of this year, with those benefits supporting 506 people within those households. Those numbers are on par with 2014, when an average of 236 households in the county received SNAP benefits to support an average of 515 people, and well down from 2013, when an average of 257 homes received benefits to support an average of 568 people.

Unlike many parts of the country, SNAP benefits don’t appear to be on the rise in Custer County, although that doesn’t prevent many both in the county and nation to declare war on those who receive SNAP, also known as food stamps, with many believing they are professional system abusers, lazy bottom feeders—and sometimes drug users—who are able-bodied enough to work, but simply don’t want to.



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.



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