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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Picking up the pieces
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Editor’s Note: Two years ago, we interviewed Shelby (not her real name) while she was staying in the W.E.A.V.E. shelter in Custer. She had been in three abusive relationships. Her first husband hit her in the face and broke her nose when she believed she had been overcharged at a fast food restaurant and asked for a receipt. 

Her second husband, although well-off financially, was very controlling, causing her to lose all sense of who she was and her individual worth. She ended up with an old boyfriend from high school who was physically, emotionally and mentally abusive. That relationship ended with him beating her for two hours.

She had 31 bruises, a concussion, a sprained ankle and a torn ligament in her knee, all from the beating. The next morning, Shelby couldn’t walk or even stand up. 




Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Riders protest trail closures
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

A�group of roughly a dozen local horsemen and women recently met with U.S. Forest Service Hell Canyon District Ranger Sherri Schwenke to discuss what they say was the ruination of a riding trail they frequently use in the Upper French Creek and Limestone area northwest of Custer, as well as the overall broader theme of closure of more and more Forest Service land to the public.

The meeting, held Monday morning, took place in Schwenke’s office at the Forest Service’s downtown facility.

Glenn Sellevold, one of the riders who organized the meeting, said the area was once one of the most beautiful areas to ride in the Southern Black Hills. The nicest part of the ride, he said, was following the trail that ran alongside French Creek, a 500-yard-long ride where ponderosa pine and spruce trees line both sides of the creek.



Farewell to Gen. Custer
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

While several local businesses and individuals were honored at Sylvan Lake Auditorium during last Thursday evening’s Custer Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Awards Banquet, the evening belonged to one man—Mitch McLain.

McLain, who has spent 30 years in the visitor service industry and 10 years as Custer’s beloved Gen. George Custer, was honored for his service by a packed room of over 200 community business leaders at the banquet, receiving the chamber’s Community Service Award and having an executive proclamation from Gov. Dennis Daugaard read proclaiming Oct. 16, 2014, Mitch McLain day in South Dakota.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Hermosa eyes annexation
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The Town of Hermosa is in the initial stages of a study that could end with three-phase annexation of land currently outside of the town’s borders.

The first area of that study is Fairgrounds Place Road east of town, which would bring 18 properties into the town limits. Eventually, annexation would also bring parts of Hwy. 40 east into town as well, along with McDermand Subdivision to the south and the proposed Hermosa Hills Subdivision and North Corral Subdivision to the north.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Thorp joins board
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014
At its Monday night meeting, the Custer School District Board of Education swore in a new board member, taking over the seat left by Paul Dinkins who resigned two months ago.  Peter Thorp, 35,...


Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Buffalo Gap resident rips county services
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

When it comes to services provided by the county in which it sits, Buffalo Gap is at the end of the priority list. That was the position taken by Buffalo Gap resident Tommie McLaughlin when talking to the Custer County Commission at the commission’s Oct. 8 meeting. 

McLaughlin, her arm in a sling from a recent car wreck she blamed on poor road maintenance at the south end of Buffalo Gap, said road maintenance, law enforcement and customer service in general from the county leave something to be desired.



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

One in four licensed to carry in Custer County
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

“Things have changed. We’re not tucked away in an isolated area. We’re not exempt,” said Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.

The sheriff was talking about the increased interest in concealed handgun carry permits for those who want to be armed for self defense purposes. (State law does not require a permit for open carry of a handgun.)

The recent highly publicized case of a 49-year-old female realtor’s murder in Arkansas has spurred increased interest in concealed permits, not only in realtors, but for those who work alone.



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Realtors on high alert
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

It’s important to trust your gut. Just ask Sheila Green and Ramona Flaig. 

“You really need to be aware of your own personal safety; you can’t get complacent. I have always trusted my gut. I have pretty good gut instincts,” said Green, owner-broker of Green Real Estate in Custer. “We are really lucky that our crime rates here are low and people are trustworthy. Real estate can be a very dangerous industry.” 

The dangers of real estate has been a prominent topic in recent weeks after the murder of Beverly Carter, who was showing a home in the Little Rock, Ark., area when she suddenly vanished. Her body was found Tuesday, Sept. 30, in a shallow grave at a concrete factory. When asked for his motive, the man charged with the murder said he did it because she worked alone, which is common with most real estate agents. 



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Water, sewer rates to rise
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Water and sewer rates are set to go up in the City of Custer, after the first reading of the proposed raises were approved by the council at its regular meeting Monday night.

Water rates will rise $1.06 per 1,000 gallons used—a 13 percent increase for residential users and a 6 percent increase for commercial users on the minimum bill. A minimum bill for 2,000 gallons used will now be $8.96, with $6.31 added to a user’s bill per thousand gallons used over 2,000 gallons. For commercial, the minimum 2,000 gallon bill will be $20.24, with $7.52 per additional 1,000 gallons.



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Case load depletes court funds
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The Custer County Commission has been forced to allocate another $75,000 to the Seventh Circuit Judicial Court for the 2014 budget year, thanks to an uptick in felony crimes and criminal trials in the county.

At its Sept. 24 meeting, the Custer County Commission heard from Seventh Circuit judge Jeff Davis and Clerk of Courts Deb Salzsieder, who presented the commission with several documents showing the court is just about out of money, although there are three months left in the year.

The court began the year with a total budget of $109,100, of which only $11,129 remains. The court-appointed attorney fee line item in the budget is already over budget by $1,687.



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Roundup weekend deemed success
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Picture perfect weather and cooperative buffalo made for another successful Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup weekend, as around 14,000 visitors watched park staff and volunteers push 1,250 head of buffalo into the park corrals, with many people staying the weekend to participate in the arts and crafts festival, Crazy Horse Autumn Volksmarch, Buffalo Wallow Chili Cookoff and Custer Stampede Art Auction.

“It was a little warm, but good for the guests who attended,” said Craig Pugsley, visitor services coordinator at Custer State Park. “The roundup was very good this year. The buffalo cooperated nicely and we were able to get the herd into the corrals on the first push.”



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

County audit reveals deficiencies
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Budgeting issues, inadequate internal auditing controls, bill paying prior to approval of the bills and purchasing items from county employees were among the issues raised by the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit during its most recent audit of the county’s financial statements for the past few years. The audit was presented to the Custer County Commission by Al Shaefer of the Department of Legislative Audit at the commission’s Sept. 24 meeting.

The audit was not complete at the time, however, as county auditor Nancy Christensen has a chance to respond in writing to the issues raised. The responses will become part of the final audit, which will be published in a future issue of the Chronicle. Some of the issues occurred before Christensen took over as auditor, while others have already been addressed and corrected.



Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Trail Trek provides great ride
Published: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The 2014 Mickelson Trail Trek  was off to a great start on Friday, Sept. 19.

According to Dana Garry-Reiprich, organizer of the event and Mickelson Trail manager, 602 participants were registered. 

They were headed to�Edgemont the morning the ride began. On Saturday, Sept. 20, riders would head to Rochford from Custer and on Sunday, Sept. 21, participants would continue on to Deadwood from�Rochford.



Rescuing animals is a labor of love
Published: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

The Custer Humane Society (CHS) is alive and well, contrary to what some may think.

Geney Ziolkowski, Custer County’s recently retired animal control officer (ACO), reports that very little, in fact, has changed with the organization since her retirement. The only difference is that she is no longer the ACO; everything else remains the same.

CHS has been around for 22 years and is a certified nonprofit. Aside from the stipends Ziolkowski was paid by the city and county to act as ACO —which she stopped receiving after her retirement and which were transferred to Battle Mountain Humane Society  (BMHS) for its animal control efforts — the organization relies solely on donations and money raised from fundraisers.



Thursday, September 25th, 2014

It’s Roundup, Arts Festival time again
Published: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

It’s that time of the year again when the roaming buffalo in Custer State Park will be rounded up, sorted and vaccinated.

For the second year in a row, the roundup will take place the morning of the last Friday in September, the 26th.

Visitors to the 49th annual roundup may arrive at the north or south viewing areas as early as 6:15 a.m. when the parking lots open, until 9 a.m. when the lots close.



Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Mother Nature is not so funny
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Even though the first day of autumn officially starts next week, that didn’t stop Mother Nature from dumping over eight inches of the heavy white stuff in Custer. 

Last week’s temperatures started out in the low 80s, but by the time Wednesday night rolled around, temperatures dropped to as low as 34 degrees, before dropping even further on Thursday with a high of 31 and low of 25. And with the unusually low temperature came snow — over eight inches of it.



Stockade algae is not abnormally high
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

When Larry Lacy took a friend of his from out of town fishing at Stockade Lake, he was appalled at what he saw. Along the banks of the lake were large blooms of algae that made him think Stockade was less of a lake and more of a sewer pond.

“Iâ��didn’t think too much of that until we went around and looked in the spillway, and it was just gross,”â��Lacy said.â��“Something is definitely going on. It’s just nasty green, and where the water runs down, there is sudsy-type green yucky stuff bubbling down there.”



Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Merchants want changes on snow ordinance
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

It’s only September and snow has fallen only once this summer, but a handful of downtown merchants were before the Custer City Council at Monday night’s council meeting — as many have been before them — questioning the way the city’s snow ordinance is written, complaining about fines and asking the council to reconsider the ordinance as it stands. 

This time, Barb Edwards of the Gold Pan Saloon, Jim Understock of Frontier Photo and Robert Paceley of Custer Industrial led the objections to the ordinance.

Edwards read a letter to the council, in which she said she felt “preyed upon like an animal by the city.”



Thursday, September 11th, 2014

New student program started
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

It was a light meeting for the Custer School District Board of Education on Monday, Sept. 8. 

Custer Jr./Sr. High School principal Derek Barrios addressed the board and audience about the new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) program active in the Custer School District. The program is for students who have missing assignments, whether it be from absences — school-sponsored or illnesses — or incomplete work. Barrios said this program helps not only students, but also teachers.



Thursday, September 11th, 2014

City budgets $5.8 million
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

The City of Custer plans to spend $5.8 million in 2015, after passing the first reading of its 2015 Appropriations Ordinance at its Sept. 2 meeting.

The total budget is set at $5,810,776, up from $5,134,194 a year ago. The city’s general government fund will raise slightly, from $613,335 to $615,545,  and the public works budget increases from $976,880 a year ago to $1,261,135 this year, mostly because of $855,000 in planned capital improvement projects. 



Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Johnson believes city is harassing him
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Robert Johnson was back in front of the Custer City Council at the council’s regular meeting Sept. 2, claiming harassment by the city as he says he continues to be stonewalled in his request to get a vacancy at his property.

Johnson had been to a council meeting in July claiming he had been trying for five years to apply for a vacancy for some of the city land adjacent to his property in town, but continued to get the runaround. Johnson said he applied in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The vacancies, he said, are “no more and no less” than similar vacancies he said were given to property owners around him. The vacancies, he said, would make his property line the same as his neighbors.



Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Cruisin’ hears from merchants
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

After another successful Custer Cruisin’ Rally, the Custer Cruisin’ committee met Friday, Aug. 29, to hear feedback from the community and downtown merchants.

First to address the committee was Laurie Arthur, treasurer of Art Expressions Gallery and Gifts. After thanking the committee for its time and work, she presented suggestions for next year’s event.

While the committee set aside five designated parking spots for Art Expressions guests in the chamber parking lot, they were all used during the Sue Hopper Art Show on Sunday, which was held in the chamber parking lot. 



Thursday, September 4th, 2014

How cool was it?
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

On July 24, the thermometer hit 95 degrees in Custer. It was significant in that it was the hottest it got all year and was only one of two 90-degree days Custer had all summer.

Custer County, much like the rest of the country, saw an unusually cool summer in 2014, one that broke records across the nation, particularly in July.

Temperature records set as far back as the 1880s were broken, as unusually cool air blanketed a large part of the country in the heart of summer, making it feel more like fall than summer many days.



No more magic
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

After three seasons full of laughs, illusions and wonder, the Grand Magic Show is leaving Custer for Branson, Mo.

Magician Duane Laflin and his wife, Mary, made the decision two weeks ago after it was made public that Flintstones, the property where Grand Magic is located, is going up for sale.

“We’ve had a marvelous relationship with them. But Joe (Speckles, owner) is 73 and wants to retire. I can’t blame him,” Laflin said. “The fact is, we’re not guaranteed a place should a new owner buy Flintstones. With marketing, rent and (other funds) put into the show, we could lose everything we invest in it and that’s just too risky.”



Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Help available for ‘back- to-school’ expenses
Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Eve and Casey Trandem, both fourth grade teachers at Custer Elementary, have the advantage of a dual perspective when it comes to understanding the costs associated with sending kids back to school: they’re parents as well as teachers. 

They have two children — a daughter, Siri, in eighth grade, and a son, Graysen, a junior. School supplies (including scientific and graphing calculators which can cost $70 or $80) and clothes are the two largest back-to-school costs for their own kids. There’s a large disparity between the costs for the two children, they say, because of their ages, personal preferences and what’s required for each grade.



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