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Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Oh the things to have seen at 100!
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015
 year old.  That sounds like a lot, but it’s really not. It’s just a cooler way of saying I’m 25. In my 25 years of life, I have seen some pretty amazing stuff &mdash...


Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Help support our losers
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015

For the better part of a decade now, the Custer County Chronicle has held an annual “Biggest Loser” contest, in which brave area residents participate in a six-month-long contest to lose weight. The contestants must come in once a month to weigh in and see how much weight they lost, or in some cases, didn’t lose. The people who enter this contest deserve the community’s support. Those who enter the contest are brave for a number of reasons, not the least of which is they have their picture and monthly progress put in the paper for the world to see each and every month. If they have a bad month, everyone is going to know about it. Even admitting you need to lose weight in a public forum takes guts. Dedicating six months to that very goal isn’t easy, either.



Thursday, March 19th, 2015

How did we get here?
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

On one Sunday morning some time during the six years I lived in Vermillion, Pastor Steve Miller asked in his sermon, “How did you get here to this particular place at this particular moment?”

He wondered aloud what all had to have happened when and where it did in each of our lives for us to be sitting in the pews of his church on that specific Sunday in Vermillion.

No matter where you are as you read this column, think for a minute all of the thousands of little things that had to happen in your lifetime for you to be in the specific place where you are at this moment, doing what you’re doing in the situation in which you find yourself.



Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Fire season begins way too early
Published: Thursday, March 19th, 2015

The lack of snow, and precipitation in general, the area has received was painfully evident last week when several fires (the North Pole fire being the largest) broke out around Custer County. In addition to the North Pole Fire, which broke out several miles west of Custer, just east of Hell Canyon, a few other small fires started and consumed a few acres, including one by Hermosa. After an extremely wet and snowy past couple of winters and springs, this winter has seen very little in the way of snow or precipitation. The result is increasingly rising fire danger.



Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Will the BHC ever have parity?
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015

As I watched the St. Thomas More High School boys and girls basketball teams punch their respective tickets to their Class A tournaments (barring a huge upset last night), I couldn’t help but wonder—will Custer ever send another basketball team to the state tournament? That led to the broader question: Will any Class A team ever go to state again out of the Black Hills Conference that doesn’t have Cavaliers across its chest? Will this cycle of dominance ever end? History tells us nothing lasts forever, but it’s sure starting to feel like it.

The More girls, while not as dominant for as long as their male counterparts, are looking for their third state championship in the last four years. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion they will get it, since seemingly the only team that can beat the Cavaliers resides in Crofton, Neb., which More obviously won’t have to play in the South Dakota state tournament. Class A South Dakota teams can’t stay within 40 points of More, much less beat them.



Thursday, March 12th, 2015

We’ve had enough of Bushes, Clintons for long, long time
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015

John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, former two-term Republican governor of Florida, son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and brother of George W. Bush, apparently has changed his mind and is now a candidate for president in 2016. Initially, he said he did not intend to run for the office and his mother, Barbara, did not exactly encourage him to do so, either. Later, she became one of his strongest supporters.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, wife of former Arkansas governor and president Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator from New York and former U.S. Secretary of State, has always wanted to be president. Until just recently, she seemed like a shoo-in, lone, unchallenged candidate on the Democratic ticket in 2016. However, Mrs. Clinton seems to have picked up her share of baggage along her political career.



Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The beetles aren’t dead yet
Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

In about a month the April edition of National Geographic magazine will hit our mailboxes. Among the lead stories is an article on the impacts of pine beetles on millions of acres of forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Among the 30 or so pictures will be one by Peter Essick, the lead photographer for the story, of our very own Bark Beetle Blues event, The Burning Beetle Festival in January 2014. 

This past week the Custer Arts Council, the City of Custer and many other organizations and individuals launched the third season of the bark beetle version of championship wrestling…something for the body, mind and spirit for all of us affected by the tiny little hellions. A horde of volunteers will pile not-so-exotic, weed free logging slash on Pageant Hill, the big open park in town, spruce up the spruce trees, peddle hoodies and sell fine art, s’mores, hot dogs and every needful thing for a big mid-winter bonfire.  It’s a blast…really.



Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Unbelievable as they are, we try to keep our facts straight
Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Apparently there are some questions and disbelief about what the Obama administration aims to do with his recent executive action on granting amnesty to some four million people here illegally. It’s worse than it appears.

In our recent Feb. 18 editorial entitled “Illegals shouldn’t get tax refunds,” we took our information from a Feb. 11 article by Stephen Dinan in The Washington Times. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, a most credible source, was quoted extensively by the writer.



Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Tales from the crib
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

My mother is celebrating her 98th birthday today.

I think perhaps it is typical that when you get up there in age, you tend to look back at your childhood. I’ve been hearing lots of new stories from my mother about her youth.

She told me that when she was a little girl in Auxvasse, Mo., an artist came to town and painted on the street while people looked on. She crowded in close to watch and he turned around to look at her.

“Can you draw?” he asked her.



Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Global warming being debunked
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

If you happen to mention global warming to some 100 million Americans who have been subject to record snowfalls and freezing temperatures for the past three or four weeks, you are liable to end up with your head stuck in one of those eight-foot tall snowbanks. The state of Massachusetts and entire northeastern part of the country has been especially hard hit. We can’t imagine the hardships our fellow Americans in that part of the country are facing after being  socked in for so long.



Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Illegals shouldn't get tax refunds
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

It seems that the federal government just has so much money that it can now grant illegal immigrants tax refunds, even if they haven’t paid any taxes like the rest of us. Apparently being illegally here in America does not have the stigma it once did, thanks to President Obama granting so many of them amnesty. Once again, we have learned there are unintended (or intended) consequences of the president's executive action.

Last Wednesday, Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen told members of Congress that illegal immigrants who did not pay any taxes will be able to claim back-refunds once they are issued Social Security numbers. Members of the House oversight committee were informed by Koskinen that if illegal immigrants obtain a Social Security number and go to work, they will be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.



Thursday, February 19th, 2015

What’s wrong with some people?
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

All the talking heads on the television networks were dissecting the Brian Williams debacle last week. In case you missed it, the NBC news producer and long-time anchor was caught in a lie by some Army soldiers who questioned his narrative of an incident in Iraq in 2003. 

Since that time, Williams has been embellishing the story of one of the helicopters in the sortie he was flying with getting hit by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). As Williams has been telling it, the helicopter he and his news crew were flying in was hit by an RPG and forced to land.



Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Newspapers, then and now
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

It’s fair to say I’ve been away for a while. Things have changed in the newspaper business. 

Before moving to Custer, the last time I stepped foot in a newspaper office was 1997, and the newspaper in question was the Custer County Chief in Broken Bow, Neb. I didn’t have much to do in the actual office, but worked primarily in the printing department. 



Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Feds should keep hands off internet
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

It was just a matter of time.

President Obama never seems run out of ideas on how to expand the control of the federal government. Now he is proposing to reclassify the internet by magically turning it into a public utility. Naturally, the government would have to regulate the internet then, would it not? Of course it would. Reclassifying the internet as a utility would allow the Federal Communications Commission to enforce heavy restrictions on it as a pretense for protecting “net neutrality.”



Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Weekly trivia night livens up Custer
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

The way I see it, all of us have talents. And at some point in our lives, we are called on to use said talents. For some, it may be a musical inclination or even a talent for dance or even stand -up comedy (that one’s for you, Jason!). But for me, it’s trivia. 

I’m not talking about your typical, run-of-the-mill questions like “what is the most widely spoken language in the world” (Mandarin Chinese, if you want to know) or “what does a Chandler make?” (Candles, but I’m sure you already knew that.) I’m talking about the useless information that I will never need to know, but somehow have stored away in my mind. 



Thursday, February 5th, 2015

What now with no more football?
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015

College football finally got it right with a first-ever playoff system this year that picked a true national champion. The fourth-seeded Ohio Buckeyes rose to the occasion and went home with all the marbles in a dominant 42-20 victory over the high-flying Oregon Ducks. The Buckeyes previously routed the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0 to win the Big Ten Championship game. There was no doubt this year who the top college football team was.

Fast forward to the National Football League playoff games that saw last year’s Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, and the New England Patriots emerge as opponents in the Super Bowl played last Sunday evening. The final game of the 2014 football season was tied 14 all at halftime and it was a toss-up as to which team would prevail at the end of the game.



Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Here we go again—Super Bowl 49
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Fellow Blunt High teacher Dick Vosberg and I were somewhere west of Miller, heading home during our daily commute to summer classes at Huron College in the summer of 1966. From the radio came the news that the two pro football leagues had agreed to one NFL-AFL championship game at the end of that fall’s season.

So Green Bay of the NFL and Kansas City of the AFL played in Los Angeles.  CBS had NFL games and NBC had AFL games, so both networks carried the game. Twins’ announcer Ray Scott did the call for CBS, Curt Gowdy for NBC.  And the game was lousy.



Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Debating the merit of ‘American Sniper’
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Every few years, a movie is released that rises to a level of national discussion. Typically, the movie does so because of its message—or perceived message—and because it is political in some way. Since its release a couple of weeks ago, “American Sniper” has been that movie.

The rhetoric started when Michael Moore said he thought snipers were “cowards” who basically shot people in the back. Seth Rogen added fuel to the fire when he likened the movie to a propaganda piece the Nazis used in the movie “Inglorious Basterds.” Reaction was swift, as military members and military defenders swooped in, questioning the patriotism of Moore (which happens all the time) and Rogen (who is actually Canadian but has dual-citizenship) and decrying snipers as heroes who defend our freedom. It was also suggested Moore and Rogen pick up a weapon and serve in the military if they have all the answers. Which side is right? I guess it depends on whether you watch Fox News or MSNBC.



Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Time to find your inner loser
Published: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

If you have a few pounds you want to lose the Custer County Chronicle, along with local merchants, will again provide the incentive to do so, as the annual “Biggest Loser” contest is set to kick off this Friday with the initial weigh in. If you’ve ever considered joining the contest, or have some weight you want to lose, what better time to do it than right now?

As always, the contest will be a six-month competition. The contestant who loses the biggest percentage of body weight during the six months will be declared the winner. Each month, we will print how the contestants are faring and give the percentage of body weight they lost for the month. We never list a person’s weight or how many pounds they lost throughout the competition, although we do tell how many total pounds the winner lost at the end of the competition, with their permission.



Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

College football playoff delivered
Published: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

If you have read any of my columns over the years, you know how much I hated the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), the now-defunct system of selecting (not earning) the national champion at the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) level. I hated it from its inception, and it frequently gave us matchups I couldn’t understand and rewarded teams that didn’t deserve such a reward. I, like many others, pounded my fists on the desk demanding a playoff. 

This year, we got that playoff, and man was it fun.



Thursday, January 15th, 2015

It’s Bark Beetle Blues time
Published: Thursday, January 15th, 2015

This Saturday afternoon and evening we will have a lesson in slash burning that will be worth seeing for its own sake. Successfully burning slash piles takes more than grim resolve and accelerant. It takes a lot of thought, from the time of year—winter with two inches of snow on the ground—to how the piles are stacked and prepared, where they are placed and what the impacts will be of lighting piles on fire.

In fact it would be a great public service if the National Weather Service in Rapid City would issue a slash burning advisory on days when we have more than two inches of snow on the ground in the Black Hills, especially if inversions are expected.



Thursday, January 15th, 2015

City planning in disarray again
Published: Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Just over two months into his job as the City of Custer’s planning administrator, the city’s latest hire for the position, Erik Karlson, resigned, leaving the city without a planning administrator—again. Karlson was the second planning administrator the city has had since former planning administrator (at the time the position was called community development director) Rex Harris was fired April 17 of last year. Between Harris and Karlson former public works employee Mike Packer was hired for the position on an interim basis, but he too promptly resigned after accepting the position. The city has went months in between the three without a planning administrator while a search was done for replacements.

So, it’s fair to ask. Why the turnstile?



Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Make new goals for a new year
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

If you’re anything like me, the last couple days of the year are spent scrambling to think of something to accomplish for the next year. Call it a resolution, if you will. However this year, I’m going to call it something else: a goal.

Ever since I can remember, I have made resolutions for each New Year. 

When I was 7, I wanted to play with my Barbies every day. It would have worked, too, if that pesky school day didn’t get in my way. When I was 10, I remember telling my parents I wanted to try a new food. However, when my dad suggested liver and onions, I quickly dropped that one. 



Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Talley deserves to be top citizen
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015

When we discussed who in Custer County would be our 2015 Citizen of the Year, we didn’t have to look far. Women Escaping a Violent Environment (W.E.A.V.E.) director Donna Talley has been helping to provide a safe place for abused women (some men) and children in Custer County long before it seemed to be the right thing to do.

For 24 years as director, Donna has been looking out for the welfare of domestically abused women and children in Custer and Fall River counties. She is the driving force behind the W.E.A.V.E. shelter in Custer. Through her dogged grant-writing efforts, the organization was able to obtain a shelter in 1998 consisting of an office and five apartments.



Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

‘A Christmas Story’ becomes our own
Published: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Though we didn't watch it constantly, the television set in the living room where I spent Christmas Day was tuned to cable channel TBS where the 1980s movie, “A Christmas Story,” was running every two hours, all day long, as it has for years.

I have seen the movie many times over the years but seldom paid strict attention to it. That all changed this year because “A Christmas Story”—the stage version rather than the movie—has now become a storied part of our family history and a memory that we will share as long as any of us alive now are still around.



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