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Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Ready or not, here they come
Published: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

With the 75th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — and the unprecedented crowds expected to come along with it  — city and county officials say they are ready as can be for the crush of people set to swarm the Black Hills.

From Edgemont to Newell, the Black Hills is expected to see numbers of bikers never seen before during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, with estimates of the numbers of bikers expected to descend on the Hills — many of which already are — ranging from 700,000 to over 1.5 million. The average Rally sees around 300,000 to 400,000 bikers in the Hills.



Royalty ready to serve
Published: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

You can’t celebrate Gold Discovery Days properly without a royal court.

This year, three Custer girls will serve as queen and princesses, reigning supreme over the three-day celebration.

Serving as queen this year is Billie Wicks, a life-long Custer resident. 

Wicks said, as a young girl, she remembers seeing the Gold Discovery Days royalty receiving their crowns and sashes, which she loved. 



Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Gold Discovery Days starts
Published: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

The 92nd annual Gold Discovery Days will take place this weekend, with a large lineup of events scheduled for the three day festival.

As always, festivities get underway Friday, with the arts and crafts festival at Way Park and the Custer Piecemakers Quilt Show at the Armory, both beginning at 10 a.m. The arts and crafts festival runs until 7 p.m., while the quilt show runs until 5 p.m. Admission to the quilt show is $3.



Thursday, July 16th, 2015

County battles sloppy, rutted roads
Published: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Many roads in Custer County are less than ideal for driving, having either been washed out, made too muddy or riddled with potholes, thanks to the barrage of rain Mother Nature has thrown at Custer County. At the July 8 meeting of the Custer County Commission, commissioners and county highway superintendent Gary Woodford discussed the state of the roads and how to address the problem.

“We get caught up and then we get behind again really quick,” Woodford said of working on the roads, saying more rain cancels out the progress made in repairing the roads.



Thursday, July 16th, 2015

FLDS water request decision postponed
Published: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

A hearing held in Pierre concerning a recent request for more water from members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Custer County ended without a decision.

The Water Management Board as part of the South Dakota Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) held its hearing Thursday, July 9, at 8:30 a.m. 

The board was split on the application, according to Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General.  Several  board members were  displeased with Seth Jeffs’ inability to answer the question regarding the population of the compound, she said. 



Thursday, July 16th, 2015

New school year off to a blazing start
Published: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

It was a fairly light agenda for the Custer School District Board of Education Monday, July 13.

In addition to four board members — Tom Martin, Jeff Prior, Peter Thorp and Alan Webster — taking their oath of office, a new board president and vice president were selected. Martin will serve as president of the Custer School District Board of Education while Tanya Olson will serve as vice president. Both candidates were unanimously elected to their positions.



Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Custer still soaked by rains
Published: Thursday, July 9th, 2015

If there was any doubt that this spring and early summer has been unusually wet, let this sink in:�May 2015 was the wettest May in recorded history for the lower 48 states in the U.S. with record- keeping that dates back to 1895. This is according to a recent State of the Climate report released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to weather.com, precipitation across the country overall averaged 4.36 inches in May 2015 — 1.45 inches above average. That beat both the previous May record of 4.24 inches in 1957 and the previous wettest month on record of 4.29 inches in October 2009.



Thursday, July 9th, 2015

New mayor takes over
Published: Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Jared Carson spent his first half hour on the job as the mayor of the City of Custer Monday night at the Custer City Council’s July 6 meeting. After outgoing Mayor Gary Lipp called the meeting to order and handled the early part of the meeting, he turned over his chair in the center of the council dais to Carson, who was sworn in by city finance officer Laurie Woodward. Also sworn in as a new council member was Nina Nielsen, who will be the newest Ward II alderwoman, taking over for the departed Angie Kothe.



Thursday, July 9th, 2015

All about viewpoint
Published: Thursday, July 9th, 2015

According to the U.S. Forest Service, approximately 1,700 people were part of the event at the peak of the Rainbow Gathering which ended on July 7.

“I think the gathering went well,” said Capt. Jay Evenson of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department. “It was smaller than expected, which kept issues down.”



Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Trash unsightly, expensive to clean up
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Trash dumping has been a problem in the Black Hills public lands for decades. While it may be a convenience to some — dumping trash in a remote location on Forest Service land — it is costly for everyone else. From taxpayers, Forest Service employees and the volunteers who spend hours cleaning up the mess, it costs more than just money.

“It’s really a Forest-wide problem. It’s not confined to just one area.” said Bonnie Jones, acting Forest recreation program leader for the U.S. Forest Service. Jones said two places with chronic trash problems are Spearfish and Beretta Road just outside of Rapid City. There have also been issues on Forest Service land by Custer over the years. 



Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Talking trash
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

The selection of the Black Hills as the location for the 44th annual gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light has sent local agencies into roles as information providers and mediators. Last week two meetings were held to facilitate communication as well as provide information about the group, the gathering and the impact it may have on Black Hills communities and residents. 

The first was set up by Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce at the Hill City Senior Citizens Center on Tuesday, June 23. It was open to the public with invitations provided to Rainbow members, law enforcement, Forest Service and Native American tribal members. The second meeting was organized by the Forest Service, attended by the National Incident Management Team and directed by Black Hills National Forest (BHNF) supervisor Craig Bobzien and BHNF Mystic District Ranger Ruth Esperance. It was held Friday, June 26, at the Boys and Girls Club of the Black Hills in Hill City.



Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

No change to Harney Peak name
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

After much debate and comment, the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names recommended in its Monday afternoon meeting that the Harney Peak name should remain for the popular Black Hills landmark.

This recommendation, which was made June 29 in Pierre, was revised from the board’s initial recommendation of renaming Harney Peak to “Hinhan Kaga (Making of Owls).”



Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Early tourism strong
Published: Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Insane.

That’s how Fort Welikit owner Steve Saint described his business through the first half of June. And yes, that’s a good thing.

Kelly Saint, Steve’s wife, said Fort Welikit is up 30 percent from last year. A year ago, the campground didn’t start getting busy until the end of June. This year, by mid-June, the campground was packed and other campgrounds in the area were calling to see if they had any room, as they were full as well.

“We’re probably now (as of June 18) where we were at the end of June last year,” Kelly Saint said.



Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Rainbow gathering chooses site
Published: Thursday, June 25th, 2015

A site about three air miles southwest of Deerfield Lake in southwestern Pennington County has been chosen as the location for this year’s Rainbow Family of Living Light national gathering, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release.

The site is in the Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest about 20 miles northwest of Hill City.

“Now that the site has been selected, we’re going into operational tempo,” said Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest supervisor, Custer.



Summit to tackle summit name
Published: Thursday, June 25th, 2015

In just a few days, the name of Harney Peak may change, based on the South Dakota Board of Geographic Names’ final recommendation of its name after a series of public hearings on the matter.

The recommendation, which will be made Monday, June 29, will be to either change the name of Harney Peak — named after Gen. William S. Harney — to “Hinhan Kaga,” which translates to “Making of Owls,” or to leave the name as is.



Thursday, June 18th, 2015

A sign, and things to come?
Published: Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Discussion about a business owner’s plan to replace a sign for his recently purchased business outside of Hermosa led to a larger discussion on the county’s 2008 sign ordinance at the Custer County Commission’s June 10 meeting.

Ray Devorak, new owner of BJ’s Food & Fuel (formerly Heartland Convenience) was before the commission at the meeting requesting to change the sign for his store, which is located at the intersection of Hwys. 36 and 79 in eastern Custer County. However, because of some wording in the county’s current sign ordinance, county planning director Rex Harris recommended Devorak discuss the issue with the county before any permits were issued.



Thursday, June 18th, 2015

City aids Hill City in flood cleanup
Published: Thursday, June 18th, 2015

The City of Custer is lending its neighbor to the north a helping hand as it continues to clean up from a flash flood that roared through town June 6.

It was on that day that a rainstorm poured several inches of rain on Hill City, causing a flash flood that rolled through town, strewing debris and causing damage throughout town. Prior to that, City of Custer workers had been in Hill City helping that town’s public works department clear out its storm sewers with Custer’s jetting truck. When the flood came through, it completely erased the work that had been done, as new debris infiltrated the system. Since that time, city workers have been back in Hill City, helping with the jetting — and cleanup — once more.



Rainbow gathering 2015 here
Published: Thursday, June 18th, 2015

A former 38-year U.S. Forest Service official has a history with the Rainbow Family of Living Light group expected to gather by the thousands near here for July 4.

The official, who prefers to remain anonymous (“They don’t like me”), says the group picks a different national forest to gather in every year. This year they chose the Black Hills National Forest somewhere around Deerfield Lake or China Gulch in western Pennington County.



Thursday, June 11th, 2015

School board approves budget
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

The 2015-16 budget is set, as the Custer School District Board of Education unanimously approved the $11.4 million budget Monday, June 8.

The budget is broken into five categories: general fund, $6,370,892; capital outlay, $2,676,645; special education, $1,401,612; pension fund, $219,696; and Impact Aid fund, $750,000. No changes were made to the budget from its adoption in May. 



Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Sign ordinance sparks debate
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

A public hearing regarding revisions to the City of Custer’s sign ordinance had a few local merchants questioning the ordinance—and the need for changes in it—at the June 1 meeting of the Custer City Council.

City planning administrater Scott Simianer told the audience he believed the new ordinance is more user friendly than the current ordinance, which calls for business owners to pay a fee for their signs every three years, a rule the city is not enforcing. Under the new ordinance, he said, businesses owners will pay only a one-time permit fee for permanent signs. Few existing signs will be affected, as it was tailored so as few of the current signs as possible would be in violation. Those existing non-conforming signs will have to be brought back into regulation.



Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Seizing the seas
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Defining “navigable waters” or Waters of the United States (WOTUS) might sound a bit difficult to most people, but not for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers. 

According to a recent article, they’ve defined it as “traditional navigable waters; interstate waters, including interstate wetlands; the territorial seas; impoundments of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, including interstate wetlands, the territorial seas, and tributaries, as defined, of such waters; tributaries, as defined, of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters or the territorial seas; and adjacent waters, including adjacent wetlands.”



Thursday, June 4th, 2015

It was a wet May
Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

On March 10, conditions were so dry around Custer County that grass and forest fires were breaking out at an alarming pace. Two months later, county residents may start growing gills.

Custer County—and the Black Hills in general—has experienced one of the wettest Mays in recorded history as Custer received 6.6 inches of precipitation last month, two and a half times the average the city usually receives in May, which is 2.66 inches.

In fact, last month was so wet that Custer received as much precipitation in three weeks—the first week of May was dry—as it usually does for the first five months of the year, 6.65 inches.



Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Commissioners piqued at peak name change
Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The Custer County Commission has sent a letter to the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names (SDBGN) opposing its proposed name change of Harney Peak to Hinhan Kaga, which means “Making of Owls,” the traditional Lakota name for the peak.

The recommendation came after several hearings on the issue, after Native Americans said they felt the name Harney is offensive, since the peak’s namesake, General William S. Harney, was a U.S. Army military officer who led troops against the Sioux at the Battle of Ash Hollow, one of the first battles of a 20-year war waged against the Plains Indians.



Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Harney Peak ties recalled
Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

For many residents of Custer, Custer County and the Black Hills in general, Harney Peak is more than just a geographic location. Long before it became a destination for swarms of tourists looking to hike to the highest point in the continental U.S. west of the Rocky Mountains at 7,242 feet, and even longer before it became the topic of debate over its namesake, Harney�Peak was a source of pride, family ties and adventure.

For some, Harney Peak is as much a part of their lives as their job or the place they call home. For some, Harney Peak is family.

For David Hazeltine of Custer. Harney Peak was home for the better part of his childhood.



Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Revised sign ordinance now available
Published: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015
A copy of the most recently revised proposed sign ordinance for the City of Custer is available at the following link: http://files.custercountynews.com/Revised%20Ordinance.pdf Director all comments...


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