Our Community Articles
Published: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
It was in October of 2011 that 25-year-old Lynette Warner found herself held captive in a locked room of a trailer in Colorado City, Ariz., with the doorknob removed and two screws drilled into the lone window.
Lynette, one of the estimated 79 wives of Warren Jeffs — self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) who was at that time held captive himself in a Texas prison for life plus 20 years after being convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault in the case of two of his underage “spiritual wives” — was being held in the trailer prior to her “blood atonement,” or ritual murder.
Published: Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Chris Wilson hated math in high school. That’s ironic, because his job as a production rigger these days encompasses algebra, load distribution and a lot more.
Chris has traveled the world with the likes of Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne and Linkin Park. He loves his job, needless to say, even though it offers him very, very little downtime.
“It’s constant,” he said. “If I’m not on tour with someone, I’m in my office drafting. I do paperwork, order all the gears, plan truck space. If I’m slow or running behind, everything else gets behind.”
Published: Thursday, November 12th, 2015
Shifting from a small town to Army life was a big change for farm kid Ed Sedlezky, who grew up on his family’s farm in Freeman. Nonetheless, Sedlezky made the switch just fine, making some memories along the way.
Sedlezky, now of Custer, graduated from high school in 1957 and worked on the family farm. Soon after that, their crops were hailed out, forcing Sedlezky to leave home and follow the combines to North Dakota for harvest season.
Published: Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Donna Talley, executive director of Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE) has got a lot on her mind — and on her plate. The shelter has been busy, the NFL is upsetting her, WEAVE is in desperate need of volunteers and more women are being arrested now than ever before.
The last she attributes to the mandatory arrest law that has been in place for about 25 years. Every time a domestic violence call is made to the police and they have to visit the home where the call was made, a mandatory arrest is made and someone goes to jail if there’s evidence of domestic violence.
Published: Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
It was shortly before Easter of his year when June Johnston first thought something not quite right might be going on.
The Custer woman was informed by her mother, who lives in Whitney, Neb., that she had given June’s sister, Dianne, $5,000 to put a walk-in shower in her trailer.
“I said, ‘That’s ridiculous! The whole thing isn’t worth that much money.’ I didn’t believe it; the trailer was at least 30 years old. Why would anyone want to put a walk-in shower in something that old?”
June suspicions had actually been heightened earlier when she and Dianne met for one of their routine bi-weekly shopping trips in Rapid City.
Published: Thursday, October 15th, 2015
Those who remember Joey Ford from his days as a Custer High School student will probably find it little surprise that he is performing for a living. After all, Ford, who was homecoming king his senior year and a member of a bevy of activities as a student (including band, choir, student council, golf, track, soccer, drama and volunteer fire department cadet) was a known thespian in high school, something he continued later in life at the Black Hills Playhouse, where he eventually met his wife, Jenna.
What may come as more of a surprise, however, is that Ford’s performances these days are as a member of his band, “Tree Party,”âï¿½ï¿½and not as an actor.
Published: Thursday, October 8th, 2015
While 11.9 million television viewers took in the 2015 Emmy Awards, over 7,000 people were in attendance of the show held at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. Among the crowd was Custer resident Jackie Twiss, who was supporting her daughter, Jill, in a very memorable moment.
“It was just so fun, exciting and sparkly!” Twiss said. “I just really wish more people could go, because it was so fun.”
Published: Thursday, October 1st, 2015
The city of Custer will be honored as the Community of the Year on Oct. 6 at the Governor’s Philanthropy Luncheon at the Rushmore Holiday Inn in Rapid City.
It was nominated based on its support of Operation Black Hills Cabin (OBHC) in Custer. Founded in 2011 by Jeff and Pat Baird of Custer, Operation Black Hills Cabin’s purpose is to offer a week-long respite to qualifying wounded veterans from the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns and their families, at little or no expense to them, except for transportation.
Published: Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Although Fairburn is a fair mix of long-established residents with roots that date back generations and new residents looking for a quiet place to live, there are instances that are certain to bring most every resident of the town together. Those instances are almost always when the town residents see a fellow resident in need.
“When something happens, we band together,”â��said Sally Nordstrom, who was born and raised three miles outside of town and has spent 35 years in and around Fairburn.
Nordstrom points to a recent death in town where, before she even talked to one of the deceased’s family members, she was making a list of food to prepare for a get-together for his friends and family.
Published: Thursday, September 17th, 2015
The community of Custer has known for some time that it is blessed with great medical staff. But now, the college of medicine at the University of South Dakota (USD) is not only recognizing it, but honoring it as well.
Dr. Joy Falkenburg received the Edward J. Batt Memorial Award on Wednesday, Sept. 9, which is given each year to an outstanding faculty member from USD’s family medicine department. Only a handful of West River medical professionals have received the award.
Published: Thursday, September 10th, 2015
It’s going to be a week of celebration in Hermosa and Custer County, as residents, staff and patrons of the Hermosa Library mark 10 years of service.
“It’s just fantastic,” said Roberta Upton, assistant library director, who has been a part of the Hermosa branch for eight years. “It’s wonderful to be available to the community.”
While it’s easy to see how much of a role the library serves in Hermosa, it was a battle to get to where they are today.
Published: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
In her over 31 years of experience of working with the U.S. Forest Service, Tracy Anderson has worked in every one of the service’s regions except one. Until now, that is.
Anderson, 57, began her new post as district ranger of the Hell Canyon Ranger District Aug. 9, coming to the district from the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, where she spent the last two years as the vegetation management officer, putting her in charge of the timber program. The Bitterroot National Forest is located in western Montana, with the supervisor’s office located in Hamilton, one hour south of Missoula.
Published: Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Ask any student in the Custer School District (CHS) about their school and they’re more than likely to tell you it’s good. Ask an alumnus and they may tell you all the fun they had. But to the alumni who come back to teach in the school, they’ll all tell you the same: “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat,” which translates to “my school is pretty awesome.”
Eleven graduates of CHS make up part of the teaching staff in the Custer School District (CSD). In addition to teachers, the district is made up of alumni in other roles, such as paraprofessionals, custodial staff, secretaries, coaches, school board members and even an administrator.
Published: Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Steven Kreeger may have moved away from Custer since he graduated as part of the Custer High School class of 2000, but for him, Custer is always home.
Kreeger, 33, now lives in West Point, N.Y., where he is a major in the U.S. Army and an instructor at the United States Military Academy. Since leaving Custer, Kreeger has been an undergrad at West Point, attended graduate school at Cambridge University in England and served a tour of duty in Iraq. It’s fitting he is now involved in shaping young minds, as he says the greatest thing he took away from Custer was his education.
Published: Thursday, August 13th, 2015
While the 75th Rally seems to have everyone on the go, it all seemed to come to a halt Thursday afternoon for Custer VFW Post 3442’s annual veterans honoring ceremony.
The ceremony, held after the Veterans Appreciation Ride on Thursday, Aug. 6., honored two VFW life-members and Custer residents. Members and supporters of the VFW performed a 21-gun salute, the National Anthem and Taps before the honoring ceremony was held.
Published: Thursday, August 6th, 2015
When John Cooke Jr., drives by Heritage Village—or what remains of it—he can’t help but get a little misty eyed. As he sees the landmark Custer building slowly being bulldozed, he can’t help but feel a little sad, as he sees the fruits of many years of his family’s labor being torn down board by board.
He also can’t help but take a trip down memory lane, as he recalls the adventures he and his family had after moving to Custer from Sioux Falls and beginning work on his father’s vision—a vision that over the years contained great food, family entertainment and even a few wild animals.
Published: Thursday, July 30th, 2015
The beloved fairytales many of us know and love will come to life nearly every night through the Black Hills Playhouse’s production of “Shrek the Musical.”
The production kicked off Friday, July 24, and will run through Aug. 9 and features a variety of storybook heroes, villains and misfits, all looking for their happy ending.
“Shrek the Musical” is based on the 2001 DreamWorks film Shrek and William Steig’s 1990 book “Shrek!” and began its run on Broadway in 2008. Just as the movie and book, the play follows ogre Shrek (Kevin Shaffer), who plans to re-gain control of his swamp after other fairytale characters — who camp on his property — are evicted from Duloc by Lord Farquaad (Jacob J. Roman). During his mission, Shrek manages to make new friends, overcome obstacles and even rescue a princess.
Published: Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
For the better part of five years, Kat Anderson tried to lose weight. Like many people who try to lose weight, Anderson tried multiple fad diets and sporadic dieting and exercising, but for the most part, none of her efforts stuck and few pounds were lost.
Then she entered the Custer County Chronicle’s “Biggest Loser” contest. She had heard of the contest and considered joining it a year ago, but ultimately decided not to, intimidated by the public nature of the contest.
Published: Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Raean Hawthorne and her daughter, Sandy, 12, will no longer be renters this Independence Day. After months of hard work and determination, Hawthorne will purchase her new home and be a new homeowner.
Hawthorne joined the Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Program last winter and completed all the program requirements, including 250 hours of volunteer service. The dedication ceremony of this Habitat for Humanity home was held June 29 at the home located at 1051 Homestead Dr. in Custer.
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
It was a rainy morning Thursday, June 4, but if you asked the 183 people receiving U.S. citizenship at Mount Rushmore, they probably wouldn’t have even noticed.
Of the 183 people receiving citizenship — coming from 49 homelands as far away Belarus, Bhutan, Burma, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kenya, Liberia, Panama, Philippines, South Korea, Ukraine and Zaire and even as close as Canada and Mexico — was Maria Lyndoe of Custer.
“I didn’t know what to expect of the ceremony. I thought I was going to have to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance; I was nervous,” she said. “I’m really so excited to finally be a citizen. It’s been such a long process.”
Published: Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Look!âï¿½ï¿½Up in the sky!âï¿½ï¿½It’s a bird!âï¿½ï¿½It’s a plane!âï¿½ï¿½It’s....a bright yellow motorcycle-looking contraption flown by an Irish man who is either really brave, or really crazy!
Truth be told, Norman Surplus isn’t crazy. Rather, he is an aviation enthusiast flying a unique aircraft around the world on a quest to raise awareness about bowel cancer. Having already stared death in the face in his long struggle against the disease, the prospect of flying a wobbly plane in the face of the elements really isn’t much of a challenge at all.
Custer was one of the stops on Surplus’ travels that will see him attempt to set a world record and fly his German gyrocopter registered G-YROX on a 7,500-mile flight across the North America and the Atlantic.
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Priscilla and Dan Engen love to read. With the advent of the Kindle, however, they started reading e-books and soon found themselves with stacks of old books they no longer wanted to hold onto. They held a garage sale, but the books didn’t sell and they were loath to simply throw them away. In comes the Little Free Library.
While visiting their daughter who attends college in Portland, Ore., Priscilla saw one and thought, “Oh, that would be perfect for us!”
Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015
Less than a year after closing some horse crossings on a trail in the Upper French Creek and Limestone area northwest of Custer, Forest Service officials have done an about-face. After touring the area with riders who first raised concerns about the closures last October, Forest Service officials have now pledged to resurvey the area and accommodate riders’ request to reopen the 11 crossings on the stream.
The issue began last year, when riders expressed outrage that the area was “virtually destroyed” by the Forest Service last summer, with the riding path covered with numerous trees that had been cut or bulldozed and the trail crossings the riders used blocked by large rocks, trees or fences.
Published: Thursday, May 28th, 2015
According to Fred Baumann, Maria Von Trapp was nothing like her on-screen portrayal in “The Sound of Music,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. And he should know — he spent a summer working for her.
Fred, information associate for the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce, was a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., when the Baroness visited to receive an honorary degree. It was finals week and the St. Olaf choir performed for her. There was one young woman who caught her eye, thinking of a possible potential wife for her youngest son, so she invited the entire group — and the St. Olaf band and orchestra, of which Fred was a member — to work at the lodge in Stowe, Vt., for the summer of 1968.
Published: Thursday, May 21st, 2015
Scott LoBaido is on a mission.
That mission brought him to the VFW Post 3442 in Custer, where a large-scale mural of the Stars and Stripes was painted on the front of the building. The painting is part of LoBaido’s “Painting Flags Across America” tour, which will see him painting a mural of the flag on an American Legion or VFW post in all 50 states.
“The flag is the greatest piece of artwork ever created. And it’s the most recognizable across the world,” said LoBaido, who is referred to as “America’s Artist.”