Our Community Articles
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.
Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
If there was any doubt about the positive impact United Way (UW) has on Southern Hills communities, one only had to hear from town leaders last Tuesday at Crazy Horse Memorial.
The United Way 2014 fundraiser kickoff featured community campaign chairs telling of the value the organization adds to their towns every day.
An amount of $90,000 by Nov. 1 is the goal of the Southern Hills United Way campaign this year, slightly up from last year.
Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
After the selling of her property, Marie “Grammie” Kimmey wanted to take a big jump into her next adventure — literally.
The 91-year-old former resident of Buffalo Gap took to the skies Saturday, Aug. 30, in Ogden, Utah, where she and her family went skydiving, an idea that came about after watching former president George H.W. Bush skydive in honor of his birthday.
“I told my grandson, Tyler, that I could do that,” Kimmey said. “We talked about it and decided that if my rental property in Buffalo Gap sold, I would take everyone skydiving.”
Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014
The 140th anniversary of the Custer Expedition was held at a variety of locations on Saturday, Sept. 6. The commemoration began at Custer High School with presentations by three authors and photographers.
Gary Enright, director of the 1881 Courthouse Museum, began the afternoon’s presentations with a brief welcome on behalf of the Custer County Historical Society. The historical society, host for the day’s anniversary activities, was formed in 1961, incorporated in 1969, and in 1974, it saved the courthouse, which is now a historical landmark and registered on the Department of the Interior’s list of historical places.
Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014
There is so much going on in Keystone this weekend it will be hard to choose where to start and what to see first. The annual Holy Terror Days parade is always a highlight and full of hijinks and is a good place to start. Visiting stars from the “Little House on the Prairie” cast will ride along the parade route, along with descendants of David Swanzey, the husband of Carrie Ingalls. Noted author and Ingalls biographer William Anderson will be on board also.
Besides the clowns, floats, kids and horses, there will be the Ugly Truck contest. Entries may still be made for the parade by calling 666-4827 to sign up for trophies and prizes. Parade entrants are to begin grouping at the Keystone Mall at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6. The parade kicks off and heads through downtown Keystone to Highway 40 and winds up at the Keystone Community Center. Judges will select winners from their posts along the parade route.
Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014
The upstairs courtroom in the 1881 Courthouse Museum was packed with family members and friends as Matthew Brown was sworn in as Magistrate Judge last Friday, Aug. 22.
The ceremony started with Gary Enright, director of the 1881 Courthouse Museum, giving a short history of the museum and Judge Jeff Davis, who gave a short history of the three hangings in Custer County, only one of which was legal, he said.
Before Brown was sworn in, he addressed the crowd, saying that brevity is not my strong suit.
Published: Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Want to know how to live to 100? According to Elsie Calabrese, a local resident who will turn 100 on Thursday, Aug. 21, the key is hard work and good food— in that order.
Elsie has worked ever since she was a little girl, she said. She started working for her parents at a very early age and didn’t stop until she had to. She was born in Lesterville, a small town not far from Yankton. She was born by the railroad station where her father was employed.âï¿½ï¿½When she was 12, she moved to Tripp and eventually on to Yankton where she began her first of many housekeeping jobs.
Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014
YMCA staff has been busy the past few months making renovations and updates to the child development center. To celebrate its completion, the YMCA Child Development Center will host an open house on Saturday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
New carpet and trim have been installed, walls have been painted and new toys have been added, as well as new shelves and furniture.
“As a non-profit organization, all our profit is put right back into the center,” said Nicole Weiss, child development director.
Published: Thursday, August 7th, 2014
In its last play of the season, the Black Hills Playhouse takes us deep into the messy and deceitful world of politics with “The Best Man.”
Set during the presidential primaries in the summer of 1960 in Philadelphia, Pa., “The Best Man” pits an ethical man (Dan Workman) against a, well, not-so-ethical man (Jason Reuter), both seeking the presidential nomination in the same party, as well as the endorsement of outgoing president Arthur Hockstader (Jeff Kingsbury).
“The Best Man,” written by Gore Vidal, was widely recognized as a deliberate parallel of the upcoming 1960 Democratic Convention. The play was an attack on the Kennedys, whom Vidal disliked, and a tribute to Adlai Stevenson, whom Vidal supported. The characters in the play represent Vidal’s view of the main players in the Democratic Party, just with different names.
Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Time flies when you’re having fun, but retirement after 32 years hasn’t slowed Blair Waite down. He is just going in another direction and incorporating some of the special interests he has had over the years into new projects.
For example, Waite and his wife, Donna, have a mutual interest in longhorn cattle and while he says having several head on their Custer property is mainly her hobby, he is also involved. As game warden, Waite said he was always conscious of ranchers’ concerns when it came to predators and tried to keep a balance of that nature. Many ranchers still come to him for advice, he says.
Published: Thursday, July 24th, 2014
“Eat to live, don’t live to eat,” said Bryan Woodhall, the 2014 winner of the Chronicle’s seventh annual Biggest Loser contest. The sentiment behind those words is what enabled Bryan to not only make it to the finish line in this year’s contest, but come out on top.
Bryan has dieted in the past, he said, but those were always fad diets.
“You try something out, it doesn’t work, you try something else,” he said. But this time around it was different for him. He said he had to “do a life change and stop eating things that were bad for (him).” He stopped eating anything that had partially hydrogenated oils in it, first and foremost. Things like his coffee creamer and peanut butter were among the first things to go.
Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Fiona Willis and Dan Sedlacek have a unique situation. They make their home inâï¿½ï¿½Custer, but both are working in New York.
They wanted to move back to the Black Hills to be closer to Dan’s family, but wanted to keep their great jobs. And they probably wouldn’t be able to live here without those jobs.
Fiona’s parents moved away from Rochester, N.Y., where they were living, which made it a bit easier for them both. But it was still a difficult transition. They’d been visiting Dan’s family in the Black Hills every year and as their children got older they knew they had to make a decision about whether they were going to make the big move.
Published: Thursday, July 10th, 2014
The sound of chain saws rumbled from Pageant Hill last Wednesday and Thursday, as 10 members of a fire crew from the Box Elder Job Corps near Nemo cut down thousands of jack pines on the Custer Disc Golf Course. The project provided training for the young Type II fire crew, while providing more open area for disc golfers on the course and a more firewise Pageant Hill for the city—all at no charge.
In short, it was a win-win-win situation.
Published: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
Come Jan. 1 there will be a new man leading Custer County Search and Rescue (SAR) and it’s all due to the talents and dedication of SAR members.
Rick March, SAR member,âï¿½ï¿½will take over the reins of the organization from Steve Baldwin on that day, after March was unanimously elected to the post by SARâï¿½ï¿½members at the group’s May meeting. When March takes over, he will be only the third director in the organization’s history. Paul Muehl led the organization at its outset and led SARâï¿½ï¿½for around 20 years before Baldwin took over in 1996.
Baldwin was instrumental in bringing about the organization’s new structure, which will see a director, deputy director and secretary/treasurer elected on an annual basis. He pitched the idea of the group electing its leadership annually to the county commission, which oversees SAR, which the commission approved.
Published: Thursday, June 26th, 2014
It was magical. It was mesmerizing. It was mystical.
And that was just the first act.
The Black Hills Playhouse went for a repeat in success this season, bringing the classic children’s story “The Secret Garden” to life. And boy, did they deliver.
The Secret Garden opens with Mary Lennox (Tori Glazier), a 10-year-old English girl living in India, dreaming nursery rhymes and Hindi chants. After waking up, she learns that her parents and nearly everyone she knows has died of cholera. She is found by survivors of the outbreak and sent to England to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven (Matt Nesmith), whom she has never met.