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Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Voting is a privilege and a right
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

 An informed citizenry is indispensable to a Constitutional republic like the United States of America. It is up to us, the citizens, to decide who is guiding our federal, state and local policies.

Voters are tasked with the responsibility of first finding out which candidates are running in races that could impact them. The Custer County Chronicle will print information in an upcoming issue, both in articles and in the public notices section, about the races and ballot topics to help provide voters knowledge to guide their voting decisions.



Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Thank you, Gen. Custer!
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

For the past 10 years, Mitch McLain has walked the streets of Custer in the summer months and represented the community at numerous out-of-state travel shows during the off season months, portraying Gen. George Armstrong Custer. He not only looks like the former Union Army brevet general hero and Seventh Cavalry lieutenant colonel with his long curly locks, but also dresses like him in his frontier buckskin leathers, hat and boots. Mitch McLain as Gen. Custer became the face of the Custer area.

Custer Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Dave Ressler and Mitch have been great representatives of Custer, with Ressler joining Mitch in period costume in an enlisted man’s Seventh Cavalry uniform. Unfortunately, Mitch will be leaving us now as he joins his wife in Montana. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace Gen. Custer.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

‘Big money’ in U.S. Senate race
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By the time you read this, the race in South Dakota for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Democrat Tim Johnson may well be up for grabs. Democratic operatives have been doing a good job of keeping the EB-5 reported irregularities alive in the media and doing their best to besmirch the integrity of former Gov. Mike Rounds, who seemed to be a shoo-in to win the vacated seat for the Republicans.

The entire EB-5 program is confusing to all of us who have been trying our best to follow the events which the Democrats have been attempting to link to candidate Rounds. Finding some fault with the former governor in all this mess seems to be the lone straw they are grasping at in order to win.



Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Newspapers are ‘points of pride’ in communities
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The following was written by Robert M. Williams, Jr., a weekly newspaper publisher in Georgia and president of the National Newspaper Association, which represents more than 2,400 daily and weekly newspapers across America. It was published last week during National Newspaper Week.

What do you care most about in life?

Most of us would put family at, or near, the top of such a list. Friends would be there. So would our jobs or businesses, our livelihoods. Our homes. Maybe our pets. Our hobbies and pastimes. Add in those around us: Neighbors, the community, etc.



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

My very own Cosby Show experience
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

I've heard, but I was in a big fight a couple weeks ago. No, not that kind of fight. It was me versus the five-shelf bookcase I got at Bed, Bath and Beyond for half off. Three hours, one Band-Aid (for a cat scratch) and a slightly swollen thumb later I had won, but getting there was half the battle. 

Let’s be honest here: I’m not good with building things. Doing little craft projects from Pinterest? Yes! Fastening together a dozen pieces of wood with 50-some screws and other weird looking things? Not my thing. My brain just doesn’t work that way. So that’s why I call for reinforcement: my dad.

“Hey, Poppa…” I said as I dragged the bookcase box behind me. 



Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Ebola outbreak calls for travel restrictions
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Another crisis to deal with that the president said would be unlikely to reach our shores. In a speech two weeks ago, the president sought to assure the American public that “our experts, here at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.”

He said all the necessary precautions are being taken, including working with West African countries to increase screening at airports so that someone with Ebola doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. “In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach or shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home,” Obama said.



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Let’s hope for a long fall
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

One could argue that our summer lasted all of about five days. I wore more jackets to baseball games this summer than I will wear to football games this fall!  But that’s all right because the best season of the year is the one that now is here.

A young filmmaker/actor/musician back in Pierre tries each morning on Facebook to promote discussion by stating his Question of the Day.  Recently his question was “What is your favorite thing about fall?”

In my opinion there are too many to enumerate, but brevity has never been one of my shortcomings, so let us count them.



Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Entire Southern Hills benefits from United Way
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

It’s evident that if you want to put your local donation dollars to good use, the Southern Hills Area United Way (UW) would be a great place to start, and end. The organization has a goal of raising $90,000 in the Southern Black Hills by Nov. 1 this year.

Presentations made last week by board members and campaign co-chairs in our Southern Black Hills towns illustrated how well donated dollars are put to good use. Youth activities are funded at the YMCAs in Custer and Edgemont. Boys and Girls Club activities are funded in Hot Springs and Hill City. The events funded go a long way in ensuring after-school and sport events to keep our area youth involved and safe.



Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Class reunions take us back in time
Published: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Charley and I both attended our 50th high school class reunions this summer, mine in June at Alpena and Charley’s at Rhinelander, Wis., in September. I noticed that as we got closer to Charley’s home state how easily he slipped into talking “Wisconsinese.” Words I had never heard except in Wisconsin hung in the air like the scent of grilled bratwurst simmering in beer and onions.

We took off across Wisconsin, avoiding the interstate, noting the unique character of the villages that dotted the landscape, the silos and barns that comprised most of the countryside and the little “mom and pop” stores that sold sausages and cheeses from old family recipes, many of those recipes brought over from the “old country” and continued for generations.



Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Domestic crime is not just an NFL problem
Published: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

A number of National Football League players have found themselves in the unwanted spotlight because of spouse and child abuse charges. Some of them have lost their lucrative marketing sponsorships as a result of their alleged actions and some may lose their jobs.

When the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice was seen via an elevator camera Feb. 15 this year hitting and knocking cold his then fiancee, Janay Palmer, now his wife, there was understandable outrage. Both were arrested and charged with simple assault. Apparently both were deemed at fault.



Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Having fun at golf, sans the clubs
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Come with me, if you will, back to the middle of May. I was standing just off the 14th green at Red Rock Golf Course outside of Rapid City, cursing one of my many bad shots of the day. I had just snapped my pitching wedge over my knee. My friends were avoiding eye contact with me, caught between wanting to laugh and wondering if I was going to try to kill someone.

That’s when it hit me.

“Why do I play this game?” I asked myself in a low mutter.

It was then I decided to give up golf.



Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Unusual Global Warming event last Thursday
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Well so much for so-called Global Warming, in this part of the woods anyway. Last year we had 18 inches to three feet of snow, depending where you were in the Hills, from a storm that started Oct. 4, which pretty much put a halt to all activity. Cattle wet from the initial rain perished when temperatures dropped and snow drove them into low spots where they were buried and suffocated. Everyone thought Oct. 4 was a bit early for such a winter event and many were caught off guard.



Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Take time to reflect on what matters
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

There’s nothing like a visit from dear friends to help me get back in touch with life after the struggles and blessings of daily distractions. The day to day world of wondering when the wood supply will catch up to mill capacity, or the constant nagging concern that we’re not working fast enough, long enough, across enough acres to make any difference to beetles and fire is replaced by something softer, more real, less troubling.



Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Economic development takes teamwork
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

At the most recent meeting of the Custer County Commission, the fledgling Custer Economic Development Corporation made a presentation, during which it asked the commission for $15,000 to help the corporation build a website, attend conferences and get its name out to the public. The purpose of the corporation, director Phil Abernathy said, is to not only attract new businesses to the area, but also to help the current ones.



Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Monday holidays are a bummer
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

As I sit here contemplating my turn in the barrel for a weekly column, I can’t help but note the fact that I have come to hate Monday holidays. Whoever came up with the lamebrain idea to have Monday holidays obviously was working in some capacity for the U.S. government. It seems those folks never let a good holiday go to waste. They shut things down no matter what is going on in the country.

Maybe we are just in the wrong business. When you publish a weekly newspaper, it takes so many hours to do so, holiday or no holiday. Monday is a critical day in the production cycle of our weekly news product, so we just can’t go out and enjoy the day off like most people do. If we did, the newspaper would be published on Thursday, instead of Wednesday.



Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Urgency needed to close our southern border
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

In just a few days our country will mark another anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans. We are no closer now to eliminating that threat than we were then. In fact, it seems that all the world is a mess and that new terror groups are popping up all over the world, especially in the Middle East.

Last week Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued an ominous warning about the threat posed by the Islamic state terrorist group by saying the organization is “beyond anything that we’ve seen.” He was speaking at a press conference where he addressed the beheading execution of American journalist James Foley that was posted on YouTube. The dastardly, cowardly act was supposedly carried out by the terrorist group known as ISIS, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.



Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Garage sale seemed like a good idea
Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

When I came up with the great plan to have a garage sale in August, I didn’t understand why my parents were hesitant to the idea. We get rid of some stuff and make some money — where’s the negative in that? I look back to eight weeks ago and realize how naive I really was. No wonder my poor mother didn’t have the heart to tell me the truth.

When we started putting our stuff together for the garage sale, Mom and I had a plan: go room by room and separate your things into piles, one for the garage sale, another for keeps and a third for “on the fence.” The plan went accordingly for the first few weeks, that is, until it came time to work in my closet. I’m still not sure which pile was larger, my “keeps” or “on the fence.” And let’s not even talk about the shoes.



Thursday, August 28th, 2014

What did we learn from Ferguson, Mo.?
Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

In the days and weeks following the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., we have seen an unbelievable series of events culminating in nighttime protesting and looting by members of the mostly-black community and some distant “criminal tourists” who just wanted to raise hell.

The ruckus all started because of so-called eye witness accounts that had officer Darren Wilson shooting victim Michael Brown, even though the nearly 300-pound teenager had his hands raised in the surrender mode. We found this story hard to believe from the get-go. Why would a six-year veteran of the police force risk his career and his future by shooting to death an unarmed person in broad daylight with people all around?



Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Trapped in a social media existence
Published: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Remember the golden years? Circa 1994 for example?

Our phone messages came by phone. You know, that device that hung on the wall or sat on the desk. If we were in a car going from one place to another, the next time we would take or make a phone call would be whenever we stopped and got to an actual phone.

At the newspaper office our news items came in by the phone, over the front counter or in the mail. I wonder if any paper today gets anything from anybody that way. When I tagged along on high school band trips, I wrote my column in longhand (on paper with a pen!), then found a fax machine on which to send it back to the office!



Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Military police state becoming more evident
Published: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

It is disturbing to watch scenes like those coming from Ferguson, Mo., last week where there were five nights of rioting due to unrest over a black 18-year-old being shot by a white police officer. The young man reportedly was unarmed and shot several times by the police officer.

When local police show up in black or camouflaged SWAT military garb from head to toe, backed up by surplus armored military equipment, it seems to incite an already angry crowd of demonstrators. People gathering on the street no longer feel safe in practicing their freedom to peacefully assemble, which is guaranteed in the Constitution.



Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Time to start planning now for 75th Rally
Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2015 could be an absolute horror show. All indications are pointing to a Rally the likes of which the Black Hills have never seen next year, as the Rally celebrates its 75th anniversary. Typically, the significant anniversaries of the Rally—or really any event, for that matter—brings a larger number of visitors to that event. Such will be the case next year, when those in the know are speculating that over a million bikers could invade the Black Hills.



Thursday, August 14th, 2014

I’m ready for some football
Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

I can’t tell you how giddy I was to watch the Hall of Fame Game when it was played last week in Canton, Ohio. Even though football is pretty much a year-around event anymore with the draft, combine, OTAs, etc., the first preseason game truly signals to me that football season is upon us. Six months after the Seattle Seahawks raised the Lombardi Trophy, it’s NFL time again, and Iâ��couldn’t be happier.

And it’s not just the NFLâ��that is getting things underway. All across the nation, college teams are beginning their fall camps and high school teams are beginning as well. It’s the time of year when every team is filled with hope, thinking it’s a contender for its respective championship. Yes, even my Oakland Raiders have hope in early August.



Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Journalists speak their own language
Published: Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Kate, my daughter-in-law who recently joined the Chronicle staff, mentioned that she is having to learn a whole new lingo here at the newspaper.

I remember when we lived in Hot Springs I ordered a birthday cake to observe Charley’s 40th birthday and invited some of his friends to stop by the newspaper to help him celebrate. As they started going  through the line, I realized I didn’t have a knife, so I said I would grab a pica pole to cut the cake. One of them exclaimed, “Pica pole! That sounds nasty!”

It dawned on me that not everyone knows what a pica pole is and it’s no surprise that my daughter-in-law is having to learn a whole new language. Newspapers use pica poles instead of rulers to measure picas, a precise printing measure in which there are six picas in an inch and 12 points in a pica.



Thursday, August 7th, 2014

74th rally not as soft as expected here
Published: Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In anticipation of next year’s big 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, many observers are expecting this year’s rally to be a little soft compared to what is called a normal year. This is understandable considering most rally goers will be saving up so they will be assured of attending the historic 75th celebration next year.

Judging by what we have seen in the first few days in the Hill City and Custer areas, this 74th rally is anything but soft. Motels and restaurants and main streets appear to be busy and crowded with motorcycles everywhere in the Southern Hills. Hill City has again blocked off its main street to motorcycles only and Custer has the regular center lanes of Mount Rushmore Road designated for motorcycle-only parking for three blocks.



Thursday, July 31st, 2014

A new forest rising from ashes
Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

I hesitate to take long drives through the forest this time of year. It can be relaxing and wonderful. It can also be disturbing.  Bear Mountain Lookout tower is a famous Forest Service landmark in the Southern Black Hills. From the catwalk around the outside, Steve Mauck and other dedicated lookouts can watch the forest for miles and miles, usually catching the first signs of smoke that signal initial attack forces they have a fire.



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