Our Community Articles
Published: Thursday, December 5th, 2013
The cost of hunting, camping and fishing in South Dakota will go up in 2014, after the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (GFP) Commission unanimously approved the fee increases at its most recent meeting.
The Wildlife Division of GFP does not receive any general support from the state legislature, while the Division of Parks and Recreation gets a small share. That means pay raises and health insurance increases passed by the legislature for state government generally have to come from within the GFP budget. It is estimated the license increases would generate about $2 million.
Published: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
If you’re ever searching for Bonnie Brouillard and can’t seem to track her down, try looking at Custer Regional Senior Care (CRSC). She spends a lot of time there.
Brouillard isn’t a resident at CRSC, but rather one of a handful of local citizens who volunteer at the various senior care facilities in town. Brouillard spends Mondays at CRSC playing cards with a resident at the facility, and also spends Wednesdays there calling bingo numbers.
Brouillard’s relationship with CRSCâï¿½ï¿½started several years ago, when her mother spent the final year of her life as a resident there. She said the staff was so kind to her mother, that she decided to continue to visit CRSCâï¿½ï¿½after her mother died in 2008.
Published: Thursday, November 21st, 2013
In most cases, they’ve raised their families, had a career and been involved in their churches, their communities and their schools.
In many cases, their mates are now gone, their children live elsewhere and they are not able to get around like they used to.
Not only have they seen sweeping changes in the world around them in their decades on this earth, but they have also experienced changes in their bodies that limit their interactions with that world.
When they move into a nursing home, out of sight and often overlooked and forgotten, the elderly in our society now are largely dependent on volunteers to provide the social interactions that give meaning to their lives.
Both nursing homes in Custer — Custer Regional Senior Care and Rose Haven — welcome volunteers and there are many opportunities to do so.
Although Custer Regional Senior Care has about 50 people who volunteer, probably about one third of those people volunteer only two times a year, according to Linda Holmes, activities director.
“We definitely have opportunities for people to volunteer,” Holmes said. That includes volunteering for not only organized activities, such as parties, bingo and church services, but also walk-in volunteers, she said.
The numbers of volunteers have lessened, she noted, “because they are now our clientele and the new generation is different.”
Published: Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Kat Craig, who used to help take care of the residents at Custer Regional Senior Care, remembers sitting during a church service with one of the women there, holding her hand.
“And then her family came in to join us," she said. "For them to see someone spending time with their loved one is a happy thing. They live far away or what not, but know (their loved one is taken care of). That makes them feel good.”
Sadly, some of the residents don’t get a lot of interaction.”
Published: Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Whether it’s buying a veteran a meal at a restaurant or creating a nonprofit organization that allows injured war veterans a free vacation in the Black Hills, Custer County is no stranger to paying thanks to those who served the United States. Custer County and serving veterans go hand in hand.
From the Hermosa and Custer American Legions to the Custer VFW and VFWâï¿½ï¿½Auxillary, Custer has many heroes who have served and fought for the freedoms we enjoy today. To honor those heroes, Custer County has a large number of selfless individuals, businesses and clubs that are ready to sacrifice a meal, an entrance fee or some of their time for those who have sacrificed so much more.
Published: Thursday, October 31st, 2013
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When it gives you dying trees, make a work of art.
That’s exactly what Brendan Hendrickson of Custer did.
What were once dying spruce trees on Hendrickson’s front lawn at his Custer home are now works of art, thanks to Roy Pilcher of Bears &â��Co. of Devils Tower, Wyo.
“I hated to see (the trees go),” Hendrickson said. “When we had our blizzard, I couldn’t count the claims (Hendrickson is a claims adjuster) I had with trees on houses. These (his) trees were planted too close to the house. They could have ended up in my living room. Rather than worry about that, I thought it’s a good time to take them down.”
Published: Thursday, October 24th, 2013
When Jacob West found out his friend, Steven Sires Cannon, was diagnosed with cancer, he did what any good friend would do. He decided to help in any way possible.
Cannon was diagnosed with Desmoplastic small-round-cell tumor, a childhood cancer that attacks soft tissues in boys and young adults. Cannon is being treated in Minneapolis, Minn., for at least five more months. Even though the two are a few grades apart, West and Cannon met through wrestling and quickly became friends.
“I was sad when I first heard the news,” West said. “I cried a little bit, but I wanted to help.”
Published: Thursday, October 17th, 2013
On Monday, Oct. 14, tourists took advantage of being the first to see the monument up close during the government shutdown that began Oct. 1.
Nearly two weeks after the federal government shutdown first went into effect, forcing national parks across the US to close, partners within South Dakota united to re-open the state’s top tourist attraction.
For a state that has come to depend on the tourist revenue generated by its national parks and monuments, the federal government shutdown could have a significant impact on the state’s second-largest industry.
Published: Thursday, October 10th, 2013
Although the deepest snow readings from last weekend’s blizzard were recorded in the western part of Custer County, it could very well be the eastern part of the county that suffered the most devastation.
Eastern county producers were ravaged by the storm, with hundreds—perhaps thousands—of cattle killed by the storm. As the storm broke and the sun came out Saturday and Sunday, producers began the grim task of inspecting their pastures to see how many animals they had lost.
“Everybody lost cattle,”âï¿½ï¿½said rancher and Custer County Commissioner Travis Bies. “I think this storm cost a lot of people. We just don’t have storms like this this time of year. In the spring you’re prepared for a storm like this. The first of October, you don’t have storms like this.”
Published: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
A battle raged Saturday afternoon at Custer State Park, leaving only one victorious.
After a back and forth bidding match, one winner walked away with a one-of-a-kind table top buffalo designed by Ross Lampshire. There really was no loser since a variety of artwork was available for bidding at the ninth annual Custer Stampede Buffalo Art Auction.
The 21 pieces, consisting of life-sized buffalo and free form works of art, brought in a total of $27,875. While the total was down from last year, Custer Area Chamber of Commerce office manager and events coordinator Miranda Boggs believes that may be due to a decrease in life-sized buffalo.
Published: Thursday, September 26th, 2013
When Sherri Schwenke was offered the position of Ranger for the Hell Canyon District of the Black Hills National Forest, there was no other answer but yes.
“It’s the Black Hills!” she said. “What better reason is there to be here? What’s a better place than the Black Hills?”
Schwenke began her career with the Forest Service in 1989 as a landscape architect.
Published: Thursday, September 19th, 2013
New visitor center exhibits are cause for celebration at Jewel Cave National Monument. With the successful completion of a two-year interpretive project, park staff are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. A fee free cave tour will be offered after the event.
Featured speakers include deputy regional director Patty Trap of the National Park Service midwest region, South Dakota secretary of tourism Jim Hagen and early cave explorer Jan Conn. Additional speakers include Jewel Cave superintendent Larry Johnson, executive director Steve Baldwin of the Black Hills Parks and Forests Assoc., and executive director Dave Ressler of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce.
Published: Thursday, September 12th, 2013
When Bob Schilling enlisted in the Air Force over 60 years ago, he never imagined he would be given a special honor for his contribution to aviation.
Schilling was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame on Saturday through the South Dakota Pilots Association, which promotes and honors the pioneers and contributors to South Dakota aviation.
“It blew my mind,” he said. “I knew a friend of mine suggested my name and the only thing he asked me for was proof that I was boots on in Vietnam. I forgot all about it until I got a letter in the mail congratulating me. I didn’t know what to think.”
Published: Thursday, September 5th, 2013
For the past two summers, the Black Hills National Forest has had veterans working side by side with firefighters and other Forest employees as part of the Veterans Fire Corps program.
This summer, both Mystic and Hell Canyon Ranger districts hosted these veteran teams. Each team has a project leader and five members.
This unique program, specifically for men and women who have served in the armed forces, is designed to prepare veterans for positions as wildland firefighters. The program is geared toward training veterans to protect public lands from the threat of wildfire. The program is operated as a partnership with the Student Conservation Association.
Published: Thursday, August 29th, 2013
On May 25, Custer resident Jennifer Hart embraced her sister in a bear hug for five minutes. The two laughed. The two cried.
The two were meeting for the first time.
It was on that day that the sisters, who have the same mother, began to form a relationship that was unlikely, if impossible, decades earlier. There they were, however, sharing a hug, and later lunch, stories and photo albums, looking at the sister that, for Jennifer, she had nearly given up hope finding, and for Kim, she never knew existed for most of her life.
Published: Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Fairburn United Methodist Church members broke ground on a new church building last Sunday during a special ceremony. The new church, on which construction will begin almost immediately, will replace the 87-year-old structure that has fallen into disrepair and in which worship currently takes place in.
Sunday’s ceremony included participation from the church’s congregation, which reaches up to 30, Jerry Bottinger, associate lay leader for the Dakota Conference, Justin Trent, lay minister for the church, and Ed Coates, church pastor.
Published: Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Four more of Custer’s military heroes were honored at the Custer VFW last Thursday afternoon as part of Custer’s annual Veterans Appreciation Day held in conjunction with Custer Cruisin’.
Following a Veterans Ride that traveled through the Southern Hills, the ceremony to honor the four men—Larry Zimmerman, Charley Najacht, Jeff Baird and Marty Mahrt—began at the VFW. The ceremony began with the singing of the National Anthem by Jeanine Gould, followed by a 21-gun salute by members of the VFWâï¿½ï¿½and Custer American Legion. Following that, Taps was played by Mitchell Snyder, and the crowd moved indoors to hear about the four men receiving the framed certificates.
Published: Thursday, August 8th, 2013
While Dr. Rebecca Kretschmar may be new to the Custer community, she’s finally home.
“I always knew Utah wasn’t my place to be. It just never felt like home,” she said. “I love the Black Hills. Since I’ve been here for a while, I feel like I’ve finally found my home.”
Kretschmar was born in Georgia before her family relocated to Montana, where she was raised until she was 6. She and her mother moved to Utah, where she grew up.
Published: Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Aâï¿½ï¿½couple years ago, when Michael Grace entered the Custer County Chronicle’s “Biggest Loser”âï¿½ï¿½Contest, he started out well, but was quickly sidelined by knee and back problems. He said the injuries forced him to become more sedentary and it was “all down hill from there.”
This year, Grace joined the contest again, partly to support his wife. Thirty-eight pounds and 12.9 percent less of his body weight later, he was this year’s contest winner.
“It was kind of a shock, but it feels good,”âï¿½ï¿½he said of his win. “I knew I was going to be in the top three.”
Published: Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Three Custer High School cheerleaders will be living a dream next year.
Juniors Kaytlyn Bergeron and Kendall Ashmore and senior Mercedes Elliott will represent Custer across the pond in London for the annual New Years Day parade, similar to the annual Macy’s parade in New York City. The three were chosen to participate in the festival after trying out for the team at a Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) camp, hosted in Custer. Only sophomore, junior and senior cheerleaders can make the trip.
Published: Thursday, July 18th, 2013
Thirty years of hot air balloon experience takes flight in Arley Fadness’s new book “Balloons Aloft: Flying South Dakota Skies.” Fadness, of Custer, calls the book, and ballooning in general, an advocation, one that started in 1978 when he was a young draftsman working for Boeing.
At that time, he also went to seminary and was in the parish in Harrisburg, when he read an ad Ed Yost, inventor of the modern hot air balloon, had placed looking for a draftsman. Fadness thought such a job would be exciting and answered the ad. When he arrived, a gruff Yost asked Fadness what his qualifications were. He told him he worked for Boeing.
Published: Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone: a comedy tonight!” is the promise of the Black Hills Playhouse’s third play of the season, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” By the end of the night, that promise was delivered.
In a nearly packed house — with Gov. Dennis and First Lady Linda Daugaard in attendance — the cast of 18 took the stage with a song, a dance and hilarious lines.
Published: Thursday, July 11th, 2013
It’s impossible for any words to pass through my lips to thank you enough,” said S.D. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels to family members of the N.C. Air National Guard C-130 crew who were killed or injured in a crash in the Southern Black Hills last July 1.
“I want to tell you that your family members will always be remembered. I really want you to remember this place and that we, the people of South Dakota, love you. This site was built to honor them and to comfort you,” Michels said.
Michels and other dignitaries spoke at an Interpretive Site Dedication Ceremony held a year to the date after the crash last year that killed four of the six crew members and critically injured two others.
Published: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
Their brows carry more wrinkles. Their hair is thinner and grayer.
But as Tim Sander and Delfino Rodriguez sit side by side on Sander’s couch and look through a photo album containing a variety of photos of themselves together in the early 1970s, if only for a moment, they are 22 again.
Sitting on that couch on the Sander Ranch east of Custer, the men are together for the first time in 39 years. Rodriguez was Sander’s best man at his wedding. The two served together in the U.S. Marine Corps, having both served in Vietnam. After being discharged from the Marines, the two took a 40-day road trip across the country; a last “hurrah” of sorts before they settled down.
Published: Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Word to the wise: if anyone plans to see the newest play at the Black Hills Playhouse, bring a box of tissues. Or maybe a case.
The Playhouse followed the season’s first success, “Boeing Boeing,” with another smash hit, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” based on the true-to-life book written by Mitch Albom.
The play begins in a happy setting with Morrie (Jeff Kingsbury) dancing while Mitch (Dan Workman) speaks about his teacher, mentor and “coach,” with whom he was close throughout his college career.