Custer County Chronicle

Home   »  Opinion

Opinion Articles


Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Fortified forests can work wonders
Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.  There was a time a few years ago when we couldn’t see the rocks for the trees or the view of the Northern Great Plains in general, but that time is passing.  Change on a landscape scale has come to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.  The thick stands of pine trees that gave the Hills their name long ago are not leaving, just changing.  Old trees are dying and new trees are taking over.  From a distance it still looks black in the bright prairie sunlight.

The Dakotas Chapter of the Society of American Foresters met in Deadwood last week for a report on the state of the bug fight and where things stand from a scientific perspective. Of course there was plenty of art involved in the various prognostications since we know less about mountain pine beetles and their impacts of forests than we would like. Still, we do know some things and the things we know are important.



Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Identity theft is on the rise
Published: Thursday, April 17th, 2014

This tax season, an unbelievable number of identity thieves have been discovered by Internal Revenue Service officials, including at least one here in Custer County. It must be frightening to submit your tax return to the IRS, only to be told that it has already been filed by someone who stole your identity and was hoping to cash in on any tax refund that was due you.

In this day and age of internet purchasing with credit cards and doing all sorts of other financial business over the internet, it should come as no surprise that it is more important than ever to safeguard your social security number and other vital personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere and use every method imaginable from sophisticated computer technology to rummaging through discarded trash to find vital pieces of personal identity they can use fraudulently.



Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Tragedy may be blessing in disguise
Published: Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Sometimes blessings come in the most surprising places.

Raised in a family with two daughters and no sons, I grew up imagining myself as the mother of daughters. I remember when, in high school, I suddenly realized that I might possibly have a son.

I ended up with three sons and no daughters. It’s been said that a mother is closer to her sons and a father is closer to his daughters. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I enjoyed raising my three sons. I wouldn’t have traded any of them for any girl in the world. 



Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Not so fast, Mr. President
Published: Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Barack Obama was taking a victory lap, in fact several, over the reported 7.1 million sign-up figure for Obamacare last week. This was the number of Americans that supposedly signed up for the highly tauted national health care plan by the March 31 deadline. If you have been following this debacle from the beginning, you know the law has had its share of speed bumps since passed by Democrats, and Democrats alone, and signed into law by the president March 23, 2010.

The original 2,000-plus page document that then House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said had to be passed “so we know what is in it” has been changed by the president and his administration more than 30 times with Congressional approval or authorization. He has exempted members of Congress and unions from having to comply with its mandates, while the rest of us have been stuck with the bill.



Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

How does a Boeing 777 disappear?
Published: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

For the better part of three weeks, the entire world has been both fascinated and dumbstruck by Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which departed Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, enroute for Beijing, China, but never arrived. Since then, countries from around the world have helped search for the ill-fated airline and many have questioned how, with today’s technology, an airplane the size of a Boeing 777 can disappear without, as of yet, a trace. As of this publication, the plane has been missing for 25 days.



Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Get ready for Progress 2014
Published: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

It doesn’t seem possible that we will soon publish the 14th annual Custer County Chronicle and Hill City Prevailer News Progress Editions. If things go according to plan, they will be hitting the newsstands Wednesday, April 23, and the post office mailboxes the following day.

We didn’t publish such a newsy edition our first year here in 2000, mainly because this year was one of getting organized and getting our feet on the ground. The communities of Custer and Hill City have seen a lot of changes over these past 14 years, along with your local newspapers.



Thursday, March 27th, 2014

We need to see more of the good
Published: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I have a confession to make. I haven’t watched a national evening news broadcast in months. Want to know why? Because I’m sick and tired of hearing all of the horrific, terrible, depressing things that are going on in the world. Even as I scan the news headlines early in the morning, I can’t help but grumble at what I see.

So in an effort to combat all the negative news items that dominate the media, I go out of my way to look up happy, heartfelt stories that restore my faith in humanity. More recently, many of the entertainment magazines and blogs I follow have been reporting happier news items. 



Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Leaders should unite against Putin
Published: Thursday, March 27th, 2014

If there were any question of the state in which this country is in politically, the actions of the last five days or so should make it clear. Even Vladimir Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine cannot unite the right and the left in our nation.

As Russian troops marched into Crimea, virtually taking soldiers on military bases in that region hostage, politicians and the talking heads that captivate the populace began divisive rhetoric about this administration and the country’s president. Instead of standing strong against the bullying tactics of Putin and his military, the camera-loving politicians jumped forward to criticize and point fingers. Even seasoned veteran Sen, John McCain stepped up to criticize President Obama’s “feckless” foreign policy and Sen. Lindsey Graham called Obama “a weak and indecisive president (who) invites aggression.”



Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Good government starts with informed citizens
Published: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

When Bob Schieffer - longtime chief Washington correspondent for CBS News - gives a shout-out to the Mitchell Daily Republic for its investigative reporting, it doesn't get much better.



Compromise lacking in Washington
Published: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Veteran newsman Bob Schieffer hit the nail on the head when he addressed members of the National Newspaper Association’s Leadership Summit last Thursday evening at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Schieffer has been a reporter for 56 years and is in his 44th year at CBS News and currently is the network’s chief Washington correspondent and moderator of “Face The Nation.” Last year he moderated his third Presidential debate, the one between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.



Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Aging rapidly, if not gracefully
Published: Thursday, March 13th, 2014

When, recently at church, the flowers on the altar were announced as being in honor of my newborn twin grandsons, one of my fellow choir members turned around, shook my hand and said, “You don't look old enough to be a grandfather!”

What I thought—but did not say aloud—at that moment was something on the order of “My dear, you have no idea!”



Thursday, March 13th, 2014

More states embracing gay marriage
Published: Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Gay marriage is now legal in 17 states in America while another 33 states, including South Dakota, have gay marriage bans. Many of these gay marriage bans are being challenged in states like Indiana. It’s just a matter of time before there are challenges in other conservative states. North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana will probably be the last states to allow same sex marriage.

The tide seems to be growing in the more populated parts of the country. A May 2013 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans now support gay marriage. We don’t believe you would find that same percentage favoring gay marriage in the four above-mentioned states.



Thursday, March 6th, 2014

An attempt to ‘monitor’ the news
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Recently, the U.S. government through its Federal Communications Commission made a blatant attempt to control what comes out of America’s newsrooms. If this latest brainstorm by the FCC had come to fruition, we would have entered an era where the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press and speech would have been a thing of the past on our nation’s airwaves.

The Democratic majority (three) of five FCC members came up with this brilliant idea which would have established grounds for government censorship of news media in this country. We recently learned about this plan only through an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal written by an angry Republican FCC member, Ajit Pai.



Thursday, March 6th, 2014

The privilege of witnessing history
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014

When I interviewed Custer High School head basketball coach Larry Luitjens the Monday after his final home game as head coach, I asked him his thoughts on knowing he would never coach another game at the Armory. I expected a gushing, emotional response, but instead I got classic Coach. He said the reception he got was nice, the presentation was nice, but that the finality of it all hadn’t really sunk in. He was more interested in talking about how the team had played.

After talking to Coach on the phone or in person every Monday for four months of the year for the past 14 years, I should have known the response he would give. Always more worried about the team than himself. Right after he announced his retirement, I did a story on how this season was to be his victory lap. When I called him, he didn’t even know how many career victories he had. I had to tell him.



Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Cell phone use on planes is a bad idea
Published: Thursday, February 27th, 2014

We can’t imagine anyone who flies being in favor of passengers being allowed to use cell phones while in the air. Yet an Associated Press poll three months ago showed 19 percent in favor, 30 percent neutral and 48 percent opposed to cell phones being used for voice calls while planes are in flight. Those surveyed who flew four or more times in the previous year were against cell phone use by a whopping 78 percent.

This really shouldn’t be an issue at all, but for the Federal Communications Commission. This government agency, for some reason, voted recently to lift the 23-year-old ban on cell phone calls while in the air. This didn’t go over very well with the traveling public. We sometimes have to ask ourselves how the FCC, or any other government agency, comes up with these bad ideas. They must be living in a bubble.



Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The fight against the beetle goes on
Published: Thursday, February 27th, 2014

It’s been a hard winter for burning slash piles and doing woods work, thinning trees in the Black Hills.  The October snow storm loaded up the slash with ice, which hampers complete burning, so many piles are left with large chunks of unburned wood. Add to that the wettest summer in a while and heavy fuel, large logs, are wet and not likely to burn as well as they did last year.

We need to be patient.  There will be time to rebuild the slash piles, fluff them up by hand or with machines, and prepare them to burn in the fall. The good news is the fires have been hot enough to kill the beetles hiding within, so the fires have done their work.  Better to burn incompletely than not at all if there is any chance live beetles occupy the piles. 



Thursday, February 20th, 2014

In hindsight, I made bad choices
Published: Thursday, February 20th, 2014

When my three sons were little, I spent an afternoon with them at a roller skating rink in Pierre while Charley attended a meeting. I took turns with each of them, holding them up while I attempted to teach them how to rollerskate as we went around and around the rink all afternoon. 

When we finally turned in our skates at the end of the day, the girl behind the counter told me she had never seen such patience.

Patience? I had thoroughly enjoyed spending that afternoon with my children and, while I’m not sure any of them caught on to the skill or thrill of skating, that wasn’t the point. 



Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Enforcement of texting is the big question
Published: Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Most people would agree that texting and driving is not a safe practice by any stretch of the imagination. It’s bad enough trying to answer, and communicate on, a hand-held cell phone in a moving vehicle. Trying to text and drive takes careless and reckless driving to a whole new level. It’s a danger to the driver and passengers and to any other vehicles that the texter my meet. 

The South Dakota Legislature currently is grappling with a law that would ban texting while driving in the state. In District 30, Rep. Mike Verchio says state laws should be consistent and not be a patchwork of municipal text ban laws that now exist. As it now stands, municipalities like Sioux Falls and six other communities already ban texting and driving.



Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Overregulation at its worst
Published: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

We love to complain here in South Dakota about how Big Government would like to regulate business to death, and usually when we say that, we mean what the feds are doing in Washington, D.C. We ought to look closer to home.

The most stunning example of government overreach and over-regulation that we have seen lately is what the South Dakota Department of Agriculture has attempted to do to dairy farmers around the state who want to sell raw milk to that small group of consumers who want to buy it.

Raw milk producers are convinced the state would like to shut down their industry, and recently, the department gave them new reason to think they might be right about that.



Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

When will this ever end???
Published: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I don’t think I’m alone in looking forward to an early spring in the Southern Black Hills. We deserve it. Our winter started last Oct. 4 with 16-18 inches of snow and has gone from bad to worse with these cold temperatures in the minus 20s. Some living west and northwest of Custer have even reported temps in the minus 30s range. When it did warm up a little bit in January, the wind came up and made it just as miserable. We can’t seem to catch a break.

I’ve visited with people who have lived her all or most of their lives and they can’t remember a winter like this with such sustained long cold spells. This is our 15th winter here and we can’t remember one like this either. In our more than 15 years living in Hot Springs it never got anywhere near as cold for as long as it has this winter.



Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Hard to predict this year’s Oscars
Published: Thursday, February 6th, 2014

I’ve pretty much talked non-stop about three things this past week: how much I hate slushy snow, the upcoming winter Olympics (I even have a countdown plastered at my desk!) and awards season. It’s no secret Oscar night is my favorite night of the year, nor the fact I like to give my opinion on the nominated movies. Without ado, I present my picks for this year’s Academy Awards.

Best Supporting Actress — Nominated this year are Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts, August: Osage County, and June Scuibb, Nebraska.



Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Small papers holding steady
Published: Thursday, February 6th, 2014

In the midst of all the negative news about falling newspaper readership in this country, it was good news for small community newspapers from a recent National Newspaper Association readership survey. Two-thirds of residents in small towns across the United States depend on their local newspaper for news and information, according to the 2013 annual NNA Community Newspaper Readership survey.

The survey was conducted by NNA in partnership with the Center for Advanced Social Research of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Surveyors reached 508 households in communities where a local newspaper of circulation of 15,000 or less served the communities. The annual survey was started in 2005 and has consistently shown the community newspaper to be the information leader in smaller communities.



Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The very last Parkie Awards...maybe
Published: Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The deep research it takes to determine the recipients of the Parkie Awards has tired me out.  That and old age. I've discovered this past month that, the older I get, the crankier I get. Every day I have less tolerance for the ignorant people with whom I disagree on everything.  

So here we go with the very last Parkie Awards.  (Unless people do such dumb things in 2014 that, a year from now, I can't resist to take them down again.)

You Broke the Jinx award: To Eric Decker and Peyton Manning's other receivers who made it to the Super Bowl despite the  jinx of appearing on the preseason Sports Illustrated cover.



Thursday, January 30th, 2014

First cold Super Bowl should also be the last
Published: Thursday, January 30th, 2014

A small army of snow shovelers and snow removal equipment operators worked to rid MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex at East Rutherford, N.J. of about a foot of snow last week. You have to wonder what the National Football League was thinking when it scheduled the Super Bowl to be played there Sunday, Feb. 2. The stadium is the home for the New York Giants and New York Jets during the regular season and is an open-air one as opposed to a domed enclosure where the Super Bowl is normally played out of the elements.



Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

State should help students, poor
Published: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

The South Dakota Legislative Session has begun and in between deciding whether or not we should have a death penalty and whether or not we should chew gum while we drive a forklift, lawmakers will craft the state’s budget for 2015, and this year will have an extra $100 million to divvy up between what will undoubtedly be countless entities with their figurative and literal hands out for a piece of the pie.

Where we would like to see this extra money spent, would be, to quote Rep. Mike Verchio, those who cannot help themselves. Rather than using the money to start a bunch more programs that will require sustained money until the end of time, we would like to see the state use the money to focus on needs, not wants, by giving more money to education as well as to Medicaid. Children, senior citizens and the poor are the most vulnerable segments of our society and deserve an extra look from lawmakers when the budget is crafted throughout the duration of the session.



Advanced Search

Keywords:


Filter Search:
Classified Ads
News Articles
Event Calendar
Archive

Date Range:
From:
To: