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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.



Thursday, June 30th, 2016

City to request water rights
Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

If West Dam is to become what the people of Custer want it to become, next Wednesday, July 6, is the most pivotal turn in the long and winding road to turn the dam from an eyesore into the sparkling gem painstakingly planned for.

It is on that day that representatives from the City of Custer — including Mayor Jared Carson, public works director Bob Morrison and David LaFrance of Banner Engineering — will go before the S.D. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources Water Management Board to request the rights to 77.5 acre-feet of water from French Creek to fill the West Dam pond and return it to what it once was.

West Dam began to leak in 2012 after its outlet structure broke. The dam eventually lost all of its water and has sat in its semi-weed-covered, semi-boggish state ever since.



Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Some think Custer going to the (prairie) dogs
Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016

On June 14, Ramona Flaig looked out the window of her home in Custer, and couldn’t believe her eyes. There, out near the road, sat a prairie dog.

Flaig took a photo of the critter and contacted the City of Custer. City staff thought Flaig was confusing a woodchuck for a prairie dog. When she contacted the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks, they thought it was the same thing. Flaig said she knows the difference between a woodchuck and a prairie dog and used photographic evidence to back it up.



Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Lodge has ribbon-cutting
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

After completely disappearing last October and being rebuilt since last November, a brand new Legion Lake Lodge had its ribbon-cutting last Friday morning in Custer State Park.

Area American Legion and VFW members raised the American flag in front of the lodge for the first time as Miss S.D. Outstanding 2016 Teen Hunter Widvey sang the National Anthem.



Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Lyle Jeffs flees custody
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs has fled from home confinement federal custody in Utah and is on the run.

This comes just two weeks after a federal judge in Salt Lake City released him from jail where he was awaiting trail on charges he helped facilitate a multimillion-dollar food stamp fraud scheme.

“There is a good possibility he will come here,” said Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.



Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Actor visits Custer
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

For many, picking up hitchhikers in this day and age is considered the easiest way to be attacked, robbed, killed or even a combination of the above. But when actor Shia LaBeouf asks his Twitter followers to take him anywhere, suddenly fans from across the country are keeping their eyes open on the side of the road. 

LaBeouf’s newest collaboration project, titled #TAKEMEANYWHERE, brought him to Custer Tuesday, June 14, for a night’s stay before departing for his next location. The project, part of an ongoing collaboration with artists Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner, took the trio across the U.S. with the help of LaBeouf’s Twitter account. 



Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Primary election ballot count questioned
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016

What is generally routine post-election business was anything but at the June 8 meeting of the Custer County Commission, as the commission did not approve the canvas of the vote of the June 7 general election.

After each election the county canvasses the vote, as it is the county auditor who is in charge of the election. To canvass a vote, the commission looks at how many ballots the county’s tabulation machine counts versus how many ballots the workers at the various precincts say have been counted to determine whether the number of ballots cast is accurate.



Simianer seeks to suppress statements
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Former Custer City planning director Scott Simianer was back in court last Thursday morning at the Custer County Courthouse, with his defense attorney, Randy Connelly, indicating he plans to file one, and possibly two more motions before the next court date. One would see Connelly asking to suppress a pair of conversations Simianer had regarding the case, with the other seeking an investigator to be hired to assist the defense in the case.

Connelly said he is still pouring over “voluminous”â��material regarding the case and is still trying to obtain records from the Black Hills Children Home, where the alleged victim is staying and has stayed in the past. Connelly said he also seeks a deposition from an employee at the home and that he and states attorney Tracy Kelley will meet with the employee rather than have a formal deposition.



Tornado hits north of Hermosa
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday morning that a tornado touched down three miles north of Hermosa as part of a series of thunderstorms that hit Custer County Monday afternoon.

Matt Bunkers, science and operations officer with the National Weather Service in Rapid City, said the tornado started to develop around 4:30 p.m. about three miles northwest of Hermosa and moved about seven miles northeast across Hwy. 79, causing damage on both sides of the highway.

“The tornado was close to the radar. We had a pretty good sampling of it after it developed,”â��Bunkers said.



Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Albertson is state Trooper of the Year
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Highway Patrol Trooper Todd Albertson, who has earned praise for his work with both colleagues and citizens, has been named as the 2016 South Dakota State Trooper of the Year.

Albertson, who is based in Custer, was recognized during an awards luncheon Tuesday in Sioux Falls.  Sponsored by AAA South Dakota, the award is presented to a trooper for continued demonstration of exceptional service to the agency, citizens and communities.



Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Public works forms union
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

A collective bargaining agreement between the City of Custer and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was officially adopted by the Custer City Council at its meeting Monday night, culminating a several-year process by the city’s public works employees to unionize.

Mayor Jared Carson said after the meeting the agreement takes place 20 days after being approved and that not all of the members of the department are in the union, which requires its members to pay dues.



Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Hartman, Sorenson win commission seats
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Mark Hartman will retain his seat and will serve another four-year term on the Custer County Commission after emerging victorious from the four-person Republican field in last night’s primary election. He will be joined on the board by newcomer Jesse Sorenson, who finished second in the county commission race.

Hartman received 725 votes, while Sorenson received 688 votes. Incumbent Oonagh Wood finished third with 656 votes, while Wally Steele was fourth at 364 votes.



Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Mammography services celebrated
Published: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

While mammography services at Custer Regional Hospital began April 6, the opening of the unit was officially celebrated Monday, May 23, with an open house. 

The Custer Area Chamber of Commerce — with gold ribbon in hand — officially opened the service with a ribbon cutting, which drew a crowd of volunteers, supporters and Regional Health employees. 

“It’s impressive what a small group of individuals who are dedicated and passionate about something  can get done,” said Veronica Schmidt, president of Custer Regional Hospital and Custer market.



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