Our Community Articles
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.”
Published: Thursday, May 14th, 2015
You’ll have to forgive Hermosa Americanâï¿½ï¿½Legion Post 303 Commander Jim Preston—and his fellow Post members—if they were overly excited last week. When they stuck a shovel into the ground to begin construction on a new Post home May 5, it was a project eight years in the making.
Since 2007, Post 303 members have been applying for grants and raising funds for the new home, which Preston said he hopes is complete by fall. The building, which will be located across Hwy. 40 to the north of the old home, around a quarter mile east of Pops Grocery Store, will be 4,050 square feet, over three times the size of the current home.
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015
When Mindy Dooley found out that she was Custer Jr./Sr. High School’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year, she was surprised and even a little embarrassed to read her name on the list.
“I knew that Teacher of the Year would be chosen from the three of us, but I thought I (didn’t have a chance),” she said. “The other two teachers are more experienced teachers and I have heard such wonderful things about both of them.”
Dooley wasn’t planning to bring anyone to the awards ceremony, because she was so sure the Teacher of the Year award wasn’t going to her.
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015
LiJane Brunner remembers the eye rolls and the stares well. She was buying a cake, frozen pizzas and soda for a birthday party for one of her four children. And she was doing it with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds (formerly known as food stamps) using a Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
She could sense the people around her weren’t thrilled with the purchases she was making with “their money.”
“Everybody gets to have a birthday,” LiJane said. “Right?”
Published: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
When Semmler Construction broke ground on the new Custer County Highway Department shop in eastern Custer County earlier this month, it was a moment several years in the making. The drawn out process began long before any dirt was moved at the shop location just off Missile Road south of Hermosa and is expected to be complete Aug. 31.
Semmler won the right to construct the building for the turn-key building by being the lowest bidder when bids were opened earlier this year. Semmler is now tasked with building the 7,392-square-foot building, which will house a few pieces of the department’s construction fleet when it is complete.
Published: Thursday, April 16th, 2015
It takes a lot to support the numerous programs and activities the Custer School District offers. From sports, music, art and drama, students have a variety of educational, fun and rewarding extracurricular activities to choose from. That’s were the Custer Wildcat Booster Club comes into play.
“I don’t think people know just how many groups benefit from us or how many could if they just asked,” said Misty Fish, booster club board member. “We help with all activities: sports, band, choir, drama, Destination Imagination. It doesn’t matter what comes to us, we try to help them if we can.”
Published: Thursday, April 9th, 2015
Aâ��tour of historical sites in Custer State Park was conducted March 28, led by area resident Kenneth Hargens, who owns the historic homesite encompassing The Galena Creek School. Hargens said the log cabin below Legion Lake is evidently the first school in the Black Hills, having been constructed in 1877 to service the ranchers, miners and farmers of Galena Creek Valley.
Interested participants of the historical tour included Hargens, Delmer Brown, Kenneth Treloar, Donna Evjen, Kathy Tompson and Custer State Park naturalist Julie Brazell.
Published: Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Terri Cornelison is the newest department head for Custer County, taking over as the county’s director of equalization (DOE), having started in her new role March 2. Cornelison, 51, has replaced director Allison Jensen, who resigned to pursue another job opportunity in Rapid City.
Cornelison was previously employed with Dakota Radiology in Rapid City as a scheduler and in the medical records office, but upon learning of the opening in Custer County, decided she would try her hand at getting back into government work. She previously worked with the Stanley County DOE office as deputy director for two and a half years before serving as the director of equalization there for 11 years. She also served as the planning and zoning administrator and helped with the assignment of 911 addresses.
Published: Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Thursday, March 19, was just another day for Esther Hamann of Custer. She woke up, went through her normal morning routine and waited for her daughter to join her for lunch at Regional Senior Care.
But Thursday was different.
It was Hamann’s birthday — her 100th, to be exact.
“I haven’t really thought too much about it,” Hamann said of turning 100. “It’s just like any other day.”
Published: Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Ask Alice Wheeler how it is she was able to turn 100 years old last Saturday, and she gives a definitive answer.
“Because I was born 100 years earlier,”âï¿½ï¿½she said.
A sense of humor never ages.
Wheeler, a resident at Custer Regional Senior Care, celebrated her 100th birthday last Saturday with family, friends, refreshments and a birthday card as big as her from members of her church, Custerâï¿½ï¿½Lutheran Fellowship. Also in the mix were bouquets of flowers that now adorn her room.
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
The Black Hills has yet another claim to fame, this time with Dakotah Steakhouse.
The Rapid City-based eatery was named the best restaurant in South Dakota by Business Insider. The recognition was also re-posted on MSN.com and other publications.
“Everyone involved with Dakotah Steakhouse is extremely excited about receiving this honor and recognition,” said Phil Lampert of Custer, one of the steakhouse’s partners. “There are many, many great dining establishments in our state, so being identified as number one in South Dakota is truly quite an honor.”
Published: Thursday, February 19th, 2015
A massive fuel spill and a mysterious package were among the issues first responders had to deal with when Custer held its annual mock disaster exercise Feb. 10. The exercise occupied two parts of the county and involved a variety of organizations from Custer, Lawrence, Pennington and Fall River counties and even Wyoming.
The scenario started with a call to dispatch reporting a Dixon Bros. semi had overturned in Hell Canyon near Jewel Cave at mile marker 11 and the contents of the trailer it was hauling was now gushing out. In a parallel event going on at the same time, the person deemed to have caused the semi to run off the road was found to have died from a self-inflicted injury at Wind Cave National Park and a package in his vehicle was emitting a suspicious toxic cloud.
Published: Thursday, February 12th, 2015
When Erin Halls was told she had cancer, her first thought was about her family — her husband, Jason, and their children — ages 12, 14 and 18 — her father, Steve, and her mother, Nancy, who passed away from cancer last year.
“I thought, ‘My God. This can’t be happening. My poor children are going to have to watch me go through this, just as I did my mother,’” she recalled. “My first thoughts were, ‘How am I going to do this? I don’t have anybody standing before me as a survivor. My mom died and so did my best friend. Everybody is gone.’ That really freaked me out.”