Our Community Articles
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.”
Published: Thursday, February 5th, 2015
The Custer Cruisin’ Committee had a lot to discuss at its Friday, Jan. 30, meeting.
First on the agenda was the appointment of new member Ann Dvorak, who took the seat of the late R.E. “Rock” Roeck. Dvorak, who has lived in Custer for five years, owns and operates Shady Rest Motel on Gordon Street in Custer.
The Cruisin’ committee heard from representatives from Art Expressions Gallery, located on south 6th Street where vendor row is set up, in regards to a 10-foot opening to be left unblocked in front of the building. The opening would allow the gallery to retain access for its building and allow for more visibility.
“The tents are high above our building and with traffic diverted, people don’t know we exist,” one representative said. “We’re the only business down there dependent on sidewalk traffic.”
Published: Thursday, January 29th, 2015
The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (GFP) is asking the South Dakota State Legislature for $11.5 million in bonds to finance a program for improvements and additions to Custer State Park’s (CSP) facilities. The improvements, GF&P and CSP officials say, are needed to meet and exceed the traveling public’s expectations when visiting the park.
Published: Thursday, January 8th, 2015
Six former Custer High School standouts—as either coaches or players—will be inducted into the Custer High School Athletic Hall of Fame Thursday evening, Jan. 8, at the Armory. The ceremony will take place between the varsity girls and boys games against Hill City that evening, around 7:15 p.m.
The school’s all-time winningest cross country coach, state’s all-time winningest basketball coach and a track and field pioneer are among those set to be inducted.
The Hall of Fame is a joint idea that blossomed, thanks to members of the community, school staff and coaches and the Custer School District Board of Education.
Published: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Making resolutions for the New Year? Well, you’re not alone — 45 percent of Americans will make resolutions for 2015.
The three most popular resolutions are to lose weight or to get in better health, volunteer to help others and to stop smoking/drinking.
Other popular resolutions include going back to school, getting out of debt, taking a trip, reconnecting with family and managing stress.
No matter what your resolution is, the Chronicle has some tips for you!
Published: Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
Sometimes a fledgling business owner just needs some good advice from those who have been there and done that.
Southern Hills on the Rise, an offshoot of the Dakota Rising Program started in 2008, is just such a group helping business owners succeed.
The organization hosted a meeting last Tuesday evening at the Hitchrail Bar and Restaurant in Pringle.
Kristi Wagner, site coordinator and program developer for Dakota Rising, explained the mission of the organization.
Published: Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Carol Torgerson doesn’t remember the last thing she said to her son Jay, nor does she remember the last thing he said to her. There was no indication at that time that it would be the last conversation they would ever have.
But impressed indelibly on Carol’s memory are the events of Friday, Dec. 3, 2004. As she had lost her husband, Don, on April 22 of that year, she had gone to Arizona alone that winter.
Published: Thursday, December 11th, 2014
A Facebook page memorializing the late Fr. Peter Kovarik continues to pile up posts from heartbroken current and former parishioners whose lives he touched in his 50 years.
Comments long and short fill the page, telling how Kovarik touched their lives, whether he met them in passing or led the service at their church for years. Many of the posts are accompanied by photos of an always-smiling Kovarik, whether it’s baptizing a child, leading a service or holding his beloved dog, Bubba.
Among those who posted on the page is Kathleen Lewis, a long-time member of St. John’s the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer. Kovarik was a central figure in her and her family’s lives for years, and Lewis said Kovarik was always with the family.
Published: Thursday, December 4th, 2014
The Custer Ministerial Alliance has announced the details of the annual Custer Community Christmas Project, whose goal is to bring the community together in the spirit of giving and sharing.
Three events are included: Christmas dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at Custer Community Church; the distribution of food baskets; and Select-a-Gift, both on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Names of individuals and families in need are suggested by pastors, Social Services, the Custer Food Pantry, schools and individuals. Letters have been sent to potential participants asking if they wish to be part of the dinner, Select-a-Gift, the food basket program or all three.
Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
This Thanksgiving will be a little bit different for Custer High School senior cheerleader Kendall Ashmore. For one, she won’t be able to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. But don’t feel bad for her, because this year, she will be in it.
Ashmore, who has been involved with cheerleading for six years, will perform with 1,500 other cheerleaders and dancers in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, Nov. 27.
Published: Thursday, November 20th, 2014
After years filled with planning, brainstorming, preparing and, most importantly, fun, Cozy Dorton is stepping down from her role as affiliate director of Destination Imagination. While she may be stepping down from Destination Imagination, she still has plans for furthering the program, all while keeping its message fun and educational.
Destination Imagination (DI) is an after-school program that offers students a unique idea-development process, as well as teaches valuable skills, such as higher-level thinking, teamwork and problem solving. It is offered in 48 states and 30 countries. The program intrigued Dorton since it challenged students in more ways than just academics.
Published: Thursday, November 13th, 2014
If Hermosa School principal Jeremy Hurd looks any different and you can’t figure out why, just give him a compliment on his hair. Chances are it’s that.
On Monday, Nov. 3, Hurd went under the razor, where he received his own personalized hairstyle from seventh grader Maysyn Sorensen. The haircut was one of the rewards Hurd enticed students with in order to raise funds for the annual school Walk-a-Thon which benefits not only the school, but also the community.
Published: Thursday, November 6th, 2014
It was a somber evening in the Custer Jr./Sr. High School theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 29, as around 200 people gathered to discuss an uneasy topic: suicide.
Jim Kinyon, MS, LMFT, LPC-MH, QMHP certified trainer, director of Catholic Social Services, presented “Cherish the Gift of Life,” which gave statistics, reasons and answers about suicide.
“Unfortunately, suicide prevention is a topic I cover every year,” he said. “Not only is it an important topic, but it’s so (prevalent) in western South Dakota.”
Published: Thursday, October 30th, 2014
She may be the most feared, yet the most respected; the most hated, and yet the most loved person in the two-county area of Custer and Fall River and beyond.
Donna Talley, executive director of Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE), is aware that she is hated by many of the abusers whose girlfriends and spouses she has helped. But, to her way of thinking, that is more than offset by the knowledge that she has aided those women and children who otherwise would have remained in an abusive situation — if they survived at all.
Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Imagine grabbing a heavy, rolled up fire hose and scaling a ladder with it. Imagine getting to the top of that ladder, only to have to toss it through a small window and then somehow get yourself through that window. Imagine following that up by riding one-quarter of a mile on a stationary bike and another quarter mile on an elliptical machine. Imagine navigating your way through an 18-inch high crawl space for 20 feet. Now, imagine doing all of that with 45 pounds of bunker gear on.
Welcome to the world of self-contained breathing apparatus confidence training.
Published: Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Tying art through paintings of regional landmarks to the preservation of local history doesn’t seem like a match, but in Hill City-area artist Jon Crane’s mind, the two fit perfectly. Crane, one of the Black Hills’ most popular watercolor specialists, has built a career around painting old buildings in various states of vanishing, with one of his early subjects being the Standby Mine near Rochford. It wasn’t long after Crane completed this work that the structure succumbed to becoming rubble, but he was able to preserve its legacy through his classic work.
Published: Thursday, October 9th, 2014
A little piece of the Black Hills Playhouse is on display in eastern Michigan, thanks to the talents and vision of Amber Marisa Cook.
Cook spent the summer at Black Hills Playhouse as costume shop manager, where she was also in charge of costumes for “The Secret Garden.” Some of those costumes she made are on display in the exhibit, “From Page to Stage: Theatrical Design,” a solo costume and scenic work exhibition.
James Shurter, graphic designer and artist, as well as a former classmate from the University of Michigan at Flint, invited Cook to hold the exhibition at the Mott Community College fine arts gallery from Sept. 22 to Oct. 7.