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Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Dreaming the Donald Trump dream
Published: Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Based on my column headline alone, you’re probably thinking one of these thoughts: “Carrie, I couldn’t agree more with you. Go Trump!” or “Carrie, I am so disappointed in you. Get some sense into that head!” 

For those of you Pro-Trumpers, I hate to tell you this — actually, I don’t — but I will not be voting for the Don. I prefer to not get into the whys in this column, mainly since I am limited in space.



Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Cooperative hospital effort
Published: Thursday, February 11th, 2016

The announcement last week of a new hospital and clinic in Custer is the culmination of months and months of wrangling and negotiations between Regional Health, Custer City and Custer Community Health Services, Inc., the local hospital board. For years, the latter has tried to figure out how to renovate the current 1962 hospital. It soon became apparent that putting a Band-aid approach on the aging facilities and lack of space problem was not going to cut it.



Thursday, February 4th, 2016

The good, the bad, the horrifying
Published: Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Children’s books are a bit of a scam. That’s what I’ve decided now that I’m reading them on a regular basis. 

Our son is 15 months old now and craves looking at books. He will pick one out and bring it to us to read. He flips the pages by himself, which is dangerous because he doesn’t always let you finish reading. Not that what’s on the pages is worth reading. Maybe it’s just my adult sensitivies. 

His book about a baby bear is full of pictures of bears, but these bears differ ridiculously from picture to picture. Most of his books end abruptly and leave you feeling unsatisfied. 



Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Keep cities urban and country rural
Published: Thursday, February 4th, 2016

The country is a beautiful place to live and there are reasons the country is a rural, unpopulated and sometimes merciless place when it snows or rains. People new to country living fall in love with the lifestyle until a big snowstorm hits, making them homebound because they’re snowed in. 

When the realities of rural life in the winter set in and travel on country roads makes getting to the conveniences of a town or city difficult, residents new to the rural lifestyle set out to change living in the country. Once winter hits rural areas, the romanticized idea of being a country resident loses its once-appealing luster. People unaccustomed to bucolic realities want to change what makes the country, country, the first being the roads that connect the country to a town or city.



Thursday, January 28th, 2016

How to spend a Sunday without football
Published: Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Reality sets in this Sunday. It will be the first Sunday without meaningful TV football since Labor Day weekend. It’s time to get a life!

Some ideas of how to spend Sunday:

• Watch college basketball instead.

• Go to a movie.

• Start working on your family’s Valentine letter since you missed Christmas.

• Light the fire and curl up with a good book.



Thursday, January 28th, 2016

State should go with one time
Published: Thursday, January 28th, 2016

If you are like us, changing all our clocks twice a year is a hassle. It’s not all that difficult, but it seems to be an unnecessary hassle. “Springing forward” and “falling back” have become a twice a year ritual in everyone’s business and household, not to mention vehicles. Cell phones seem to adjust automatically to the time changes.

All this could change if the Legislature takes a good look at Senate Bill 60 which has been proposed by state Sen. Betty Olson, R-Prairie City. Olson says changing clocks twice a year is a real waste of time, and we agree.



Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Dreaming a Powerball dream
Published: Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Like much of the U.S., I awoke last Thursday morning and immediately checked the $7 worth of Powerball tickets I had purchased to see if I had won the largest lottery jackpot in world history. And, like much of the U.S., my dreams of becoming an instant billionaire, quitting my job and retiring to my own tropical island somewhere were dashed. I’m still at the Chronicle—at least, until I win the next billion dollar jackpot that comes along.

For a few weeks, the U.S. was caught up in Powerball mania, as people dreamed of winning more money than most of us can even comprehend, let alone spend. Around offices and homes across the country, people were discussing what they would do with the money if they were to defy the astronomical odds—about one in 292.2 million—and have the winning numbers. You have a better chance of dying from a meteor strike, getting stuck by lighting, drowning or getting struck by lightning while you are drowning than you do of winning Powerball.



Thursday, January 21st, 2016

State knows how to treat its vets
Published: Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Ever since South Dakota honored its Vietnam veterans in a two-day Welcome Home event Sept. 15-16, 2006, we have been impressed with the way the state treats its veterans from all wars. The event for Vietnam vets featured the largest parade in South Dakota history that Saturday morning in Pierre. The two-hour parade stretched for miles.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 12, hundreds of Korean veterans from around the state were honored with a ceremony that was held in Pierre and webcast simultaneously to a number of cities, including Custer.  The occasion was the presentation of Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal ceremonies that honored those Americans who served in the Korean War from 1950-53.



Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Pray for peace, prepare for war
Published: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

A woman in church today bore her testimony that there is life ever after and that we are better people through grace and good works. Her husband fought in Korea, his life saved when a 12-year-old boy stood up and took a bullet meant for him.

Haunted by the scene and suffering from PTSD, my friend’s husband convinced her to adopt a Korean orphan from that terrible war. The Koreans would not allow it from official orphanages because they were not familiar with the adoptive parents’ religion. They did, however, allow that if my friend and her husband could find an orphaned baby that was not in the system, they could adopt.



Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Gun control and a ham sandwich
Published: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

On Jan. 5, President Barack Obama unveiled his first major policy action of the new year: A batch of new victim disarmament—or, as its supporters call it, “gun control”—measures which he intends to impose by executive order.

The response from Republicans in Congress is, pardon the pun, weak tea. They merely accuse him of “executive overreach,” claiming that the powers he claims lie with Congress, not the presidency. He retorts that the orders are “well within (his) legal authority.”



Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Some things I learned in 2015
Published: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

A new year. A time to reflect where we’ve been, what we’ve done and where we are headed. It’s a time to evaluate what worked in our lives, relationships and careers and to make adjustments, change course or abandon them altogether. Along the way we learn new things that enrich or help us make sense of our lives.

Here is a partial list of what I learned in 2015.

On the national scene:



Thursday, January 7th, 2016

2016 should be interesting year
Published: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Many people we talk to today say that 2016 will be an “interesting” year, whatever that means. The remark could be directed at the national political scene. Neither major political party has thus far come up with what we could call a stellar candidate we can all get behind and support.

The “interesting” remark could also be aimed at the nation’s economy which seems to keep on chugging away in spite of a growing $19 trillion federal debt. Many believe the stock market bubble will have to burst at some time this year. In the U.S. on Monday, Jan. 4, the DOW was down 276 points, but in China, things were a lot worse.



Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Year ends with The Force awakening
Published: Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Well, the year can come to an end now. We’ve seen the new movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with our middle son and his family. I thought it was pretty entertaining with the new featured actors Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn, who added lots of interest, and some veterans from previous episodes like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill thrown in. Ford was his old brash self, Fisher was difficult to envision as a general after we knew her as Princess Leia, and Hamill had a real short part at the conclusion of the movie.

It was good to see Chewbacca back in action again, along with robot C-3PO and droid R2-D2. They and Chewy add some lighter moments to the intense shoot ‘em up action movie. The former smuggling ship Millennium Falcon flown by Hans Solo (Ford) and Chewy was resurrected from a boneyard and lived to fly another day in its attempt to help save the galaxy. I thought the ending was a little odd, but maybe it will be better understood in the next “Star Wars” movie scheduled to start shooting next month.



Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Here’s to a great new year
Published: Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Where does the time go?

It is said that time goes faster as we get older. There seems to be a lot of truth to that, as we are already getting set to turn the calendar to 2016 after what seems like a whirlwind year. It seems like it was just yesterday we were celebrating the beginning of 2015, and now in only one more day it will be in our rearview mirror. Time truly does fly.

As always, the past year has brought plenty of triumph and tragedy to Custer. We’ve had fires and a mountain naming controversy, state championships and a record tourism season. As we look back at the year that was (and you can find a recap of the first half of 2015 in this week’s issue) it’s easy to think to yourself, “Wow, all that happened this year?” Custer may be small, but there is no lack of things going on or people making news. It’s what makes the town so near and dear to our hearts.



Thursday, December 24th, 2015

The Night Before Christmas in Custer
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

‘Twas the night before Cristmas for the Chronicle staff.

The paper was not done — not even by half.

The deadlines were looming without a single care,

In hopes that the subscribers would surely be fair.

The staff was all huddled over their desks,



Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Fires heartbreaking for all involved
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015

It has been a trying couple of weeks for the Custer County business community, as two iconic businesses in the county were lost to fire: Lintz Bros. Pizza and Custer County Market. Any kind of fire, whether it’s in the forest, someone’s home or a family’s business, is heartbreaking. The most recent fires have been especially painful to watch unfold, especially when taking into account the time of year they are occurring.

Lintz Bros. Pizza was (and will remain) a true destination for people throughout the county, as people traveled from all over Custer County, and Pennington and Fall River counties, for that matter, to have a slice or seven of the restaurant’s delicious pizza. The great food combined with the friendly service provided by Brian Lintz’s staff made for a successful restaurant. It became so successful, in fact, that it was recently franchised and expanded into Rapid City.



Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Taking Christ out of Christmas?
Published: Thursday, December 17th, 2015

It was only a matter of hours after Thanksgiving when the first of many such posts came across Facebook. It happens every year.

The post will read “I will say ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays.’ Share if you agree.” Or words to that effect.

Well, fine! Go ahead and say “Merry Christmas” till your heart's content. But as a member of the Christian faith, I have never been offended when someone says “Happy holidays!”  



Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Muslims not your typical refugees
Published: Thursday, December 17th, 2015

For well over 200 years America has welcomed new citizens from all walks of life and from around the world. Many of us had relatives that came in legally through Ellis Island from the “Old World” and settled here and became citizens of the United States. Most recently we have seen the immigration system in this country become a shambles because of porous borders to our north and south, especially. 

Now we are seeing a new kind of immigrant coming here in the form of refugees from mostly Muslim countries like Syria. The trouble is that once here, they will never want to return to their own country. This wouldn't be so bad if our immigration system wasn’t so broke and overloaded.



Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Becoming numb to mass murder
Published: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Last Wednesday was just another day. I got up, did my work out, took a shower, ate breakfast and went to work. On Wednesdays, we put the paper out to the readers. It was as routine of a day as there can be. Oh, and there was another mass shooting in the U.S., this time in San Bernadino, Calif. Like I said, just another routine day.

We all know the scenario by now. Some wack job or wack jobs grab some assault rifles, put on their military-esque garb and go gun down a group of people simply because they dare be out in public. Innocent people were slaughtered—this time 14 people died—and the intermittent news updates on the situation was dispersed throughout my Facebook feed along with people posting about their child’s latest mishap, problems they had with their order at Starbucks and rants about their favorite sports teams.



Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Security lacking in our country
Published: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The nation experienced another mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., last week when an Islamic husband and wife team with terrorist connections shot up a holiday gathering the husband had just left, killing 14 people and injuring 21 others with their semi-automatic weapons. Then they hung around the area and engaged in a gun battle with law enforcement authorities that left both of them dead. This was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. What did they accomplish with all the carnage they carried out in a gun-free zone?

Naturally, there were more calls for gun control from politicians like the president and Democrat presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. It seems that every time there is a shooting in this country, the same two are leading the charge for more gun control. And every time there is a surge in gun sales across the country. It is no secret that our president is the best gun salesman this nation has ever seen, bar none.



Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Burning of the Beetle to return
Published: Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Happy anniversary. We’ve tied the textbook record for the longest mountain pine beetle attack on record, 20 years and counting. California’s Gov. Jerry Brown just declared a mountain pine beetle emergency in his state, and with good reason. During World War II California lost 20 billion board feet of pine in a single sustained attack over several years.

But, then, we’re way past emergency status in the Black Hills. The worst that could happen either has happened or will happen so we might as well call for a fiesta, a fandango, a big fiery bash with fireworks and a giant bonfire. The Burning Beetle and Bark Beetle Blues Talent Show Extravaganza is coming to Custer Jan. 16, and not a moment too soon. 



Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

‘What can we do?’ is question
Published: Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

It didn’t take long for the question “What can we do to help those people in the compound?” to come up at last Saturday’s documentary film showing of “Prophet’s Prey,” the story of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and its now jailed leader Warren Jeffs. Private investigator and author of the book by the same name as the movie, Sam Brower, said again that awareness is the key. That is to say, we should be aware of the situation at the Custer County FLDS compound and we should also make others aware of the deplorable situation there.

The big problem is that most of the people in the compound don’t think they need any help. They have been so brainwashed into thinking that their polygamous way of life is the way it is and that we are the infidels on the outside. Stories have been told about mothers wanting to leave the sect only to be faced with uncooperative and rebelious children who don’t want to leave the only life they know. 



Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Welcome to the neighborhood
Published: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Our little family recently found a home to live in near Custer. Our human neighbors are all friendly and none of them are within sight of our home. Deer come daily and feed on our grass. Turkeys are a frequent sight. Chipmunks and squirrels have made their homes on our property. We take a lot of hikes on adjacent Forest Service land and have also seen marmots, a large owl and evidence of elk. Recently, we had another visitor.

It was my turn to sleep in Isaiah’s room (my wife and I switch off so at least one of us gets good sleep). Isaiah was up around 6 a.m., and I had fed him. Kate was up around 6:30. She noticed the cats at the door watching something and took a look for herself. Sure enough, there were two deer near the house (we normally don’t see them that close) and what looked like a third deer farther away where the trail meets the backyard. In the early morning light, it appeared to be bedded down. 



Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Be sure to shop small businesses
Published: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

As the voice for our nation’s entrepreneurs, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates all small businesses on a daily basis. When our small businesses do well, our communities do too. Therefore, as part of our annual tradition, I encourage you to join millions of Americans and “shop small” on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, to complete your holiday shopping (or to start your holiday shopping, as the case may be…)

On the heels of Black Friday, shopping small is a concrete way to support small businesses—the same businesses that generate two of every three net new jobs and deliver essential goods and services to America’s communities 365 days a year. Since 2010, Small Business Saturday has been a huge economic driver throughout South Dakota. 



Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Time to count our blessings
Published: Thursday, November 19th, 2015

It’s that time of year again when we are supposed to gather together, share life’s bounty and reflect on all the blessings we have.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for those reasons, but I try to be grateful for what I have every day. Regardless of our circumstances, there is always someone worse off than we are. 

When I am tempted to complain, I think of Russ Arnold. Even though he is in a wheelchair, I don’t know anyone who is more upbeat or cheerful than he is.

Our late pastor used to tell us that if we can’t think of anything to be grateful for, we can be grateful that snow and rain don’t fall all at once, but rather fall in tiny snowflakes or raindrops.



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