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Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

We have a prairie dog problem
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

We received an email and a copy of a letter from Custer realtor Ramona Flaig last week warning of an established prairie dog town just outside the city limits at the east edge of town. Her fear is that these critters may move into Custer itself. Fear not, it has already happened as she pointed out in a letter to the Custer County Commission,  County States Attorney, County Sheriff’s Department and her fellow realtors.

Last Thursday I believe it was, we were alerted to some excited activity in front of the building next to us to the west. Visitors were pointing and laughing at a prairie dog, of all things, sitting next to a parked car. A prairie dog in downtown Custer! How did it get here?



Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Immigration insanity has got to end now
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

We don’t go along with those who are calling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a bigot and a racist, among other things, because he wants to temporarily suspend refugees coming into this country from mostly Muslim countries. After the killing of 49 people and wounding of 53 others at an Orlando nightclub last week by an avowed follower of ISIS, it is time we get a grip on this entire refugee immigration mess.

The U.S.-born shooter in this case appeared to be self-radicalized, but also had made two recent trips to Saudi Arabia. He was not a recent refugee, but he was a Muslim, apparently following the teachings in the Koran. Most people would say he was a radical Muslim, but actually he was merely following the teachings in the Koran. He was a Muslim carrying out the dictates of Muhammad.



Thursday, June 16th, 2016

My father, my partner-in-crime
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016

While randomly searching the Internet one night, I read a quote saying something to the effect that a child’s parents are the first friends they will have in their life. While I don’t know if “friend” is the most accurate word for the first relationship bond a child will have, it got me thinking about my own parents, mainly my father. 

My father has had many roles in my 26 years of life. He’s been a teacher — showing me the ways of riding a bike, camping in the great outdoors (OK, our backyard) and how to write a good term paper. He’s been an encourager, mentor, therapist and even tutor, sitting down with me many a night at the kitchen table, going over math homework. Lots and lots of math homework. 



Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Common sense needed with bathroom issue
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016

During this past legislative session in Pierre, the Legislature passed, and Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed, a bill that would require students to use the bathroom and shower facilities of their birth gender. This seemed to be a no-brainer piece of legislation. The governor apparently caved to those in the business world who believed such a bill would give the state a bad rap for being intolerant of this small group of people.

In this relatively new (to us at least) transgender world we appear to be living in, some strange societal changes are taking place, thanks in no small part to the Obama administration. We didn’t know the transgender issue was such a big deal in our schools. 



Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Graduation memories are foggy
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Take it from one like me who sometimes can’t remember why he walked upstairs or why he went to the supermarket. Recalling details of one’s own high school graduation 60 years after the fact is a challenge.

But there are a few facts about Onida High School's commencement on that night in May 1956 of which I am certain.

1. There were no eardrum-shattering air horns piercing the dignity of the occasion. 

2.  Nobody in the crowd was “dressed” in blue jeans. In fact, most of our dads were in shirts, ties and jackets and moms were certainly in dresses.



Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Pot calling the kettle black
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016

We find it ironic when people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton criticize people for lack of this or that experience. Obama is still on the campaign trail after about seven and a half years in office. He has never stopped making partisan comments about anything, which has greatly contributed to the deep divide this country has experienced in the past nearly eight years.

Obama’s latest criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is that the candidate lacks foreign policy experience. It’s almost as if Obama is criticizing himself eight years ago when he ran for president on the Democrat ticket as a freshman senator from Illinois. Pray tell, what foreign policy experience did Obama have to qualify him for the highest office in the land?



Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Will GDD go the way of the Edsel?
Published: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Every July, thousands upon thousands of tourists, family, friends and local citizenry gather in Custer for the fun and pageantry that is Gold Discovery Days (GDD). However, if a recent trend continues, that may not be the case much longer.

The fact of the matter is, volunteers to help with GDD are dwindling. There are fewer and fewer volunteers every year, putting more and more stress on the remaining volunteers. A handful of people spend an entire year planning and then executing GDD weekend, with little to no fanfare. They do it because they love Custer, love GDD and want to see it continue and thrive. Most everyone loves GDD and participates in it in some form or fashion. But is there enough love to help keep it alive? That remains to be seen.



Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The memory shall be ours
Published: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

The birth of Memorial Day is much like the birth of America. It is a story of people from different backgrounds uniting as Americans under one flag.

Following the Civil War, Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed that “the 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” Gen. Logan asked that the people cherish the “memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe.”



Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Two fires with different outcomes
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The wildfire season has begun with a couple of relatively large fires burning in similar circumstances with completely different outcomes. The Storm Hill Fire at Hill City, burning on very steep slopes, killed lots of trees, but didn’t do much to reduce the tonnage of dead logs scattered across the ridges from the mountain pine beetle attacks. It did demonstrate that Black Hills firefighters are second to none. It was a long, tough fight for this time of year.  Had it been August the fire likely would have caused the evacuation of Hill City or worse.

The Cold Fire east of Pringle was a horse of a different color altogether. It burned under similar conditions, but did very little damage and was easily controlled by initial attack firefighters by the evening of the first day. There were a couple of days of mopping up and patrolling the line to make sure the fire was out.



Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Government oversteps its bounds again
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016

In a recent newspaper column, Sen. Mike Rounds points out that once again the Obama administration has overstepped its bounds in mandating another harmful regulation. This time Obama and his Department of Labor wants to more than double the salary requirements that qualify employees for overtime pay of time and a half.

The current guideline is that employees earning $23,660 or less automatically qualify for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week. DOL initially wanted to raise this figure to over $53,000 a year, but recently settled on $47,476 that would become effective Dec. 1 this year. Where they came up with this figure and why is anybody’s guess. Why does this administration do this and other things unilaterally without going through Congress?



Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Just who am I, really?
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Someone recently turned to me and exclaimed, “Oh, you’re Charley’s wife!”

When I told Charley about it later, I noted that I have no identity of my own. I seem to have relevance only in my relationship to another person. 

I started out in life as “Lois’ little sister,” a title that stuck with me through college.

I then progressed to “Charley’s wife.”



Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Some accidents are preventable
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016

When we heard about the tragic death of little 2-year-old Evelyn Ferraro Friday, May 6, the collective hearts of this community were broken. We couldn’t help but ask, how could this happen? How could a toddler like Evelyn wind up dying in such a horrible manner? Why did the nearby septic tank not have a secured lid on it?

Custer County planning director Rex Harris says that according to state codes, a septic tank should have a concrete lid and be covered with six to 12 inches of dirt. This one, obviously, did not meet code, but there are no county ordinances requiring approved, child-proof lids. Therefore, no charges will be filed, according to Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.



Thursday, May 12th, 2016

We get what we deserve
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Some time ago in this column I asked the question, “Where are all the good candidates?” I think members of both political parties are probably still asking themselves that question, in spite of the fact both have chosen their presidential candidates, flawed though they may be. It all comes down to, we get what we deserve.

The Democrats have trotted out the old political hack, the embodiment of a Washington political insider, Hillary Clinton, to be their standard bearer in the next presidential election. That is, if she survives the current 150-plus FBI agents looking  into her emails on a private server and some questionable foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation.



Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Awesome new visitor center in Custer Park
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

You have to see what $6 million will build in the form of the new, awesome, first class visitor center in Custer State Park. A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony was held last Friday noon with a bevy of dignitaries in attendance.

It’s not just the building and new displays that are awesome. The introductory 20-minute movie narrated by Kevin Costner will blow away visitors as they learn about all aspects of the park they will want to explore. It should entice visitors to stay longer and experience more of all the park has to offer.



Thursday, May 5th, 2016

A woman on the $20 is a long-time coming
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

If you haven’t yet heard, the face of money is going to look different in a few years, thanks to a massive grassroots effort led by women. 

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20, after Women on 20s successfully petitioned the President and the Department of the Treasury. Tubman beat out 15 other historic women, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony, in a landslide.

 For the most part, I feel like people in general are fine with the decision. Frankly, as long as the money still spends the same, a lot of people don’t even care. 



Thursday, May 5th, 2016

We’re No. 1, thanks to you
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016

In this issue you will read that this newspaper has won the Sweepstakes Award in its weekly circulation category once again in the S.D. Better Newspaper Contest for 2015. This may not mean much to some people, but it is quite a remarkable accomplishment considering the size of our staff and the many great weekly newspapers we have in South Dakota.

Points are accumulated for first, second and third places  in various categories in advertising and editorial content. To win first place means that your Custer County Chronicle tallied enough points in all categories to be awarded the coveted Sweepstakes Award in the circulation class of 1,151-2,000. 



Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Discovering stars through grandsons’ eyes
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

“You never enjoy the world aright . . . till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world.”—Thomas Traheme in “Century of Meditations”

Ten years ago this month when I was still writing columns and doing other things at the Custer County Chronicle, I wrote a column congratulating a former Pierre friend who had written that she and her husband were about to become grandparents for the first time.

“Everyone says grandchildren are such a blessing,” she had written. “We are anxious to begin that chapter in our lives.”



Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Don't thank Obama for low gas prices
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016

The price of gasoline is at a record low—and President Obama wants to take credit. At a recent speech the president told the crowd “you’re welcome” for the fact that “a lot of families are saving a lot of money at the gas pump.”

That’s a slick move. President Obama is like a mayor who ignored years of pleas to repair giant potholes and then shows up at the auto repair shop to say “you’re welcome” after you pay for the new suspension and rims because of those potholes. 



Thursday, April 21st, 2016

The Progress Edition is no small feat
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Whew.

That large exhale you heard coming from Mt. Rushmore Road was emanating from the Custer County‚ÄąChronicle building, as our staff is more than happy to see the final product of the Progress Edition in mailboxes and on newsstands as opposed to on a computer screen in front of our faces. We have been writing stories, taking pictures, selling ads, building ads, proofreading and doing layout for it for the better part of three months, so you’ll have to excuse us if we are sick of looking at it.



Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Custer County continues its annual progress
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Welcome to our 16th annual Progress Edition of the Custer County Chronicle. Just when you thought there was little or no good news to go around, along comes our annual “Good News Edition” highlighting everything that is going on in and around Custer County.

We’ve had more of our share of bad news lately, so its time for some good news. There have been a lot of positive things going on in the area and we want you to know what they are. From Custer to Custer State Park and on into Hermosa, good things are happening.



Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Burning Beetle needs your support
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The Burning Beetle this past January was a huge success. The torch light parade and minor riot went better than ever, with lots of participants and more fireworks. The variety show was a blast and Craig Bobzien and Dave Thom, as the Fabulous Blues Brothers, hit it out of the park, again, and the talent did us proud, again. The only thing missing was, well, the business community. The fact that the people with the most to gain didn’t show up was troubling. And it doesn’t make sense.

National Geographic magazine covered the beetle in the April 15 issue, not once but twice, with the lead article photo and the final photo taken by Peter Essick in full, international blazing color for all the world to see. 



Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Chicago 1968 speaks to 2016
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016

In late August 1968, two months after an assassin killed presidential candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy and shortly after Republicans nominated Richard Nixon for president, the Democrats gathered in Chicago to pick their candidate.

The Democratic Party “establishment” supported vice president Hubert Humphrey, who was opposed by antiwar contenders Sens. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. The culminating point occurred Aug. 28 when delegates debated two rival Vietnam policy planks. The Johnson administration supported the continued, if also limited, bombing of North Vietnam. The opposing “dove plank” called for suspending the bombing of North Vietnam and vigorous negotiations. A raucous three-hour debate, punctuated with shouts of “stop the war” and the New York delegation singing “We Shall Overcome,” ended when the convention voted 1,567 to 1,041 to support the Johnson administration’s plank. 



Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Tangling with the TSA, or how I saved the peanut butter
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

I knew I was in trouble when the TSA agent at the Rapid City airport threw both my bags off the rolling bag escalator as she eyed them through her x-ray machine.

What was it, I wondered? Do I look like a terrorist? Is it my bottles of essential oil? My egg salad? My homemade sauerkraut? There was nothing in my bags that I hadn’t taken on an airplane multiple times before. I’ve always been whisked through the line and been free to go on my merry way.

“Whose bags are these?” another TSA agent demanded. “Are there explosives in here,” she asked as she donned plastic gloves, grabbed what looked like a round piece of felt and swabbed the inside of my bags. 



Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Way too early for fire season
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016

This weekend saw the first major wildfire of the season start sometime late Saturday afternoon on Flynn Creek Road near the Cold Springs Schoolhouse about eight miles southeast of Custer. Thankfully, no structures have been burned, but significant damage has been done to fences on private land.

The Cold Fire is believed to have been started on Forest Service land and is still of undetermined origin. The area  burned was about 1,900 acres as of Tuesday and was about 30 percent contained. The concern is the high winds which were set to blow again Tuesday.



Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Challenges bring opportunities
Published: Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Recent news events would make you wonder if there is any good news coming out of our area lately. We already know that STAR Academy is closing next month with the loss of well over a hundred good jobs, not just the recently announced 64 job losses. Then we learn that the Burlington Northern Santa Fe will in all probability be shutting down the Edgemont office sometime in the near future and run fewer trains between Gillette, Wyo, and Alliance, Neb.

There are a lot of area residents who have relied on STAR Academy and BNSF railroad for their livlihoods, and these jobs are going away. We know the reason for STAR shutting down. The state is taking a different approach to handling juvenile offenders by offering programs in their own communities and counties instead of shipping them out here to STAR Academy. We’ll see how that works out.



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