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Thursday, August 25th, 2016

New Chronicle website coming
Published: Thursday, August 25th, 2016

The Custer County Chronicle will debut a new website in the next couple of weeks, as its old website, custercountynews.com, becomes defunct, making the way for custercounty

chronicle.com. That website will be under the umbrella of myblack

hillscountry.com, which will be a cleaninghouse for all of Southern Hills Publishing publications, and will include a link to not only the Custer County Chronicle’s website, but also to the Hill City Prevailer News’ new website, Down Country Roads magazine, the Southern Hills Vacation Guide, Custer Community Directory magazine as well as special publications such as the Dakota Territory Times and Black Hills Cruisin’.



Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Custer YMCA turns 30
Published: Thursday, August 25th, 2016

The Custer YMCA was the place to be Saturday, Aug. 20, as people of all ages celebrated its 30 years in the community. 

The message of community was a touching point for many speeches honoring the YMCA and the volunteers who saw its begging though.

“Government and people living together don’t make a community. It’s the interconnection that does that,” said Custer Mayor Jared Carson. “The YMCA helps with those connections. The YMCA helps that grow.”



SHMAAF brings musical stars to Custer
Published: Thursday, August 25th, 2016

It’s not everyday you have the chance to nab “Two Tickets to Paradise.” And with the variety of musical acts and events lined up for this weekend’s Southern Hills Music and Arts Festival (SHMAAF), those two tickets will be well worth every penny.

“It’s an event,” said Kevin Teasley, co-event coordinator. “It’s designed to be a huge event.”

The event will kick off Friday, Aug. 26, with Brulé, which will perform on the main stage at 6:30 p.m. 



Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Update given on new hospital
Published: Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It’s been six months since Regional Health first announced plans for a new hospital in Custer. With a groundbreaking originally set for a spring that has already come and gone, many in the community are wondering where the project is at, and if it has stalled.

At the Aug. 15 meeting of the Custer City Council, Custer Regional Hospital president Veronica Schmidt said things have continued to happen behind the scenes since the February announcement. If everything goes well, she said, ground could be broken on the new hospital by Nov. 1.



Thursday, August 18th, 2016

County budget lowered
Published: Thursday, August 18th, 2016

After an initial projection of $8.8 million, the 2017 budget for Custer County has been trimmed, and at the Aug. 10 meeting of the Custer County Commission, auditor Nancy Christensen said the total budget now projects at $8,281,410 with expected revenue of $8,274,106. That means the county will have to make up a $7,304 shortfall if the budget and revenue remain as projected.

Christensen said the lower budget figure is a combination of a number of cuts, including a lower-than-expected increase in the cost of insurance for county employees. However, although the increase in insurance is less than anticipated, Christensen showed a chart that showed the cost of insurance for county employees has more than doubled—from $307,800 to $620,000—since 2007.



Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Harney Peak name to change
Published: Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Nearly two years after the original request was made, the decision to rename Harney Peak is now a reality. 

During its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names (BGN) made the unanimous decision to rename Harney Peak— the highest peak east of the Rockies—to Black Elk Peak. The summit has been named Harney Peak on federal maps since 1896, having been named in 1864 or 1865.

“The current name is painful and distressing to the tribal people,” said a member of the BGN during the lengthy deliberation.



Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Seth Jeffs violates probation
Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Seth Jeffs is back in custody in Utah after he and two other Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) members violated the terms of their release after originally being arrested for allegedly helping orchestrate large-scale food stamp benefits fraud. 

Jeffs, the former head of the FLDS compound located southwest of Pringle, was arrested along with John Wayman and Preston Barlow, after authorities alleged they violated their probation by meeting with each other. Officials say they found out about the forbidden meetings through GPS monitors the men were wearing.



Thursday, August 11th, 2016

July was a wet one in Custer
Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

After a mostly sun-baked and dry early summer, July brought a reprieve to Custer in the form of nearly four inches of rain, somewhat easing fire concerns and bringing relief—even if temporary—to an area starving for precipitation.

Custer received 3.83 inches of rain in July, well over the average of 2.8 inches. That puts Custer at 11.12 inches of precipitation for the first seven months of the year, which is still below the 13.2 inches the area averages over that same time frame.



Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Rally traffic appears to be down
Published: Thursday, August 11th, 2016

As expected, on the heels of last year’s 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which saw nearly 800,000 bikers pour into the Hills, this year’s Rally is off to a much slower start and is expcted to remain much smaller than a year ago.

Numbers are down in Sturgis this year and that trend appears to be the same in Custer. Both merchants and officials are saying numbers are down and the bikers who have made their way to Custer have been mostly docile.



Thursday, August 4th, 2016

City to get active shooter training
Published: Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The City of Custer will join Custer County in paying for and sending its employees through a “S.A.V.E. Yourself” active shooter training class in September.

At its Aug. 1 meeting, the council unanimously approved spending up to $1,600 on the training, which would cover roughly half the expense of the training. 

The training, which stands for Survive A Violent Encounter Yourself, is taught by Chad Sheehan, a 21-year veteran of law enforcement and current crime prevention officer for the Sioux City Police Department. His training will focus on a proactive response to violence.



Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Hearing delayed for Simianer
Published: Thursday, August 4th, 2016

A delay in receiving discovery led to a subsequent delay on a hearing regarding a defense motion to suppress statements made by former city planning director Scott Simianer as his court case enters its eighth month.

Simianer never even made it into the courtroom for the hearing, which was supposed to be last Thursday at the Custer County Courthouse. Instead, Simianer’s attorney, Randy Connelly, met with Custer County states attorney Tracey Kelley before Seventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge Craig Pfeifle in the judge’s chamber to discuss the motion, along with two other motions the defense has filed.



Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Custer Cruisin’ starts this Friday
Published: Thursday, August 4th, 2016
The ground will shake and the roar of motorcycles will return to Custer beginning this Friday, Aug. 5, when the annual Custer Cruisin’ Rally begins in conjunction with the annual Sturgis Motor...


Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Commission hears site analysis for CAFO or AID
Published: Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Rural properties with site development opportunities aren’t overly abundant in Custer County and for the most part are located in the southeast part. 

That was among the information presented to the Custer County Commission at its July 20 meeting as the results of a county rural development site analysis was presented by representatives from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the South Eastern Council of Governments.



Thursday, July 28th, 2016

CCH seeks money from city
Published: Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Custer County Housing (CCH) is slowly crawling out of the deep crater it was in several years ago, but needs a gentle nudge to get over the hump. That nudge, said Custer County Housing and Redevelopment Commission secretary/treasurer Matt Fridell, is money.

Fridell addressed the state of CCH at the July 18 meeting of the Custer City Council, while also asking the council to consider budgeting money to help CCH as the city crafts its budget for 2017.



Thursday, July 28th, 2016

County to spend $1 million more
Published: Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Fueled by the rising cost of doing business, the Custer County Commission is proposing a 2017 budget of $8.813 million, a 7.9 percent increase over last year’s budget, or around $1 million higher.

None of the county departments have requested a dramatic increase in funding, but nearly all departments will see a slight increase to cover ever-rising costs of insurance, wages and utilities. The budget was set forth at the county’s July 20 meeting.



Thursday, July 21st, 2016

School stuck with cabin
Published: Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Custer School District superintendent Mark Naugle was the bearer of bad news as he updated the school board during the Monday, July 11, Custer School District Board of Education meeting. 

Naugle informed the board that the winner of the school cabin, which was auctioned online at the end of May, is backing out of the purchase. The Colorado-based purchaser won the cabin with his $23,750 bid and planned to put it on property north of Newcastle, Wyo. 

“I talked with Tracy (Kelley, school attorney) and we have two options: go after this guy and collect the money or go to the next highest bidder,” Naugle said.



Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Heggens are parade marshals
Published: Thursday, July 21st, 2016

For the Heggen family, Gold Discovery Days is one of the most special celebrations of the year. This year will be that much more so, as Gordy and Tara Heggen serve as parade marshals. 

“Three generations of my family have been parade marshals and now we get to carry on that legacy,” Tara said. “We’re just so happy, proud and honored. This is really special for us.”

Tara’s family, the Hazeltines, has deep ties to the Custer community, having homesteaded in Custer in 1876. Tara’s parents, David and Joyce Hazeltine, lived in Custer from 1963-67 before moving to Pierre. While living in Pierre, the family always came back for Gold Discovery Days. 



Thursday, July 21st, 2016

It’s Gold Discovery Days time
Published: Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Custer’s 93rd annual celebration of Gold Discovery Days is this weekend, with three days worth of activities that start Friday morning and wrap up Sunday evening.

On Friday, July 22, the weekend begins with the opening of the arts and crafts festival at Way Park. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Custer Piecemakers Quilt Show also begins Friday at 10 a.m., running until 5 p.m., and runs the same time Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the show is $3, and it will be held at the Armory on north 5th Street.



Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Water rights approval is water under the dam
Published: Thursday, July 14th, 2016

The City of Custer got an official thumbs up from the state Water Management Board for an additional 47.5 acre-feet of water for West Dam, putting the city one step closer to restoring the dam to what it was before it started to leak.

At the water board’s July 6, meeting in Pierre, Custer Mayor Jared Carson and David LaFrance of Banner Engineering laid out the city’s case for requesting the additional water, saying it was critical to the city for tradition, recreation and fire protection.



Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Tourism numbers surge
Published: Thursday, July 14th, 2016

If one word had to be used to collectively describe the current tourism season, it would be “busy.” 

“We’ve been crazy busy,” said Steve Saint, owner of Ft. Welikit Family Campground and RV Park. “We’ve been at maximum capacity for quite a while.”

Beaver Lake Campground has been full since the first of June, making for a busier season than previous years.



Thursday, July 14th, 2016

FLDS puts up gate across Farmer Rd.
Published: Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Custer County was set to take action to tear down a locked gate constructed on Farmer Road at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compound in southwest Custer County, but no such action was needed after FLDS members apparently took the gate down voluntarily.

The Custer County Commission discussed the issue at its July 6 meeting, after Jim Farmer, who owns land in the area, including a rental property at the end of Farmer Road, notified the commission of the gate. Farmer Road runs through the middle of the FLDS land and dead ends at Farmer’s rental. Farmer Road is a dedicated public right of way, meaning it is a public road and gates are not allowed to be constructed on it.



Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Recount doesn’t change election results
Published: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

A recount requested by South Dakota District District 30 State Representative candidate Richard Mounce in the wake of the ultra-close June 7 primary election has changed only three votes and saw the two election winners remained unchanged.

Mounce finished third with 21.09 percent and 1,445 votes in the five-way race for two nominations. The winners, also from Rapid City, were Tim Goodwin at 22.01 percent and 1,508 votes, and Julie Frye-Mueller at 21.31 percent and 1,460 votes. Fifteen votes separated Frye-Mueller and Mounce.



Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Blume crowned Mrs. Black Hills
Published: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

If you ask Connor Blume about his mom’s recent crowning as Mrs. Black Hills, he would tell you all about her newfound fame. But if you ask daughter, Reghan, she would tell you it’s just another day, while wearing a crown, of course. 

Amanda Blume of Custer was crowned  Mrs. Black Hills 2016 in a ceremony held Thursday, June 23, in Custer. Blume will compete against 20 other married women in the Mrs. South Dakota pageant this December, where the winner will advance to the Mrs. America Pageant in Las Vegas. 

Blume competed in a couple of pageants when she was younger, such as the Little Miss South Dakota and Miss South Dakota Job’s Daughter pageants.



Rain totals well down from 2015
Published: Thursday, July 7th, 2016

What a difference a year makes.

This time last year, Custer could have been confused for a tropical rain forest, having received 6.5 inches of precipitation in June and 6.6 inches of precipitation in May, part of what was the wettest May in recorded history for the lower 48 states, with record-keeping dating back to 1895. All told, by June 30 of last year, Custer had received 15.81 inches of precipitation, over five inches more than the average received through the first six months of the year, which is 10.4.

Fast forward to 2016 and  despite some good rains last week, Custer had received only 7.29 inches of precipitation through June 30, a 3.11 inch deficit from the average and 8.52 inches less than it received a year ago by that time.



Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Peak name still not determined
Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

The fate of Harney Peak is still up in the air, as the debate over the potential new name is just getting started.

While the U.S. Board of Geographic Names (BGN) has not yet decided on whether the Harney Peak name — named after Gen. William Harney — will remain the same, the debate has been over the two possible names to replace it: Black Elk Peak or Thunder Peak. The Harney Peak case is still classified as “review listed,” meaning it is an ongoing discussion.



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