Our Community Articles
Published: Thursday, March 6th, 2014
The rainforests from around the world came to Custer Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the form of exotic animals, ranging from small and terrifying to large and cuddly.
Melissa Fugit with Wonders of the Rainforest brought the animals for Custer Elementary students to see up close.
Before bringing out the animals, Fugit talked a little bit about rainforests — both tropical and temperate — and what kind of habitat the animals live in.
Published: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
After a week of being closed, the Custer County Library will have a slightly new look when it reopens Monday. While not a major renovation per se, the removal and improvement of the carpet has been a long time coming — 32 years, to be exact.
“The carpet has been here since the library was built in 1982,” said librarian Doris Ann Mertz. “The carpet was high quality and withstood the high traffic in the library quite well over those 32 years.”
Published: Thursday, February 20th, 2014
It was a little messy Tuesday evening at Custer YMCA’s child development center. Messy and purple — thanks to the hard working staff at the YMCA.
Surrounded by staff members and a couple tubes of hair dye, Rex Jorgensen, director of the YMCA, underwent a hair color change, from grey to purple and gold.
“I’ve been at the YMCA for 26 years and this is the most insane thing I have done,” he said.
Published: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Two years ago, the average day for Justin Burke consisted of going to work, coming home, playing with his kids and doing other things that a normal, active 31-year-old would do.
Two years later, Burke is fighting for his life.
That’s because Burke, 33, has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)—a disease in which tissue deep in the lungs becomes thick and stiff or scarred. The formation of the scar tissue is called fibrosis.
Published: Thursday, February 6th, 2014
On Feb. 8, Custer area lovers of story, dance, theatre and music will be able to enjoy their favorite genre combined in the perennial classical favorite, Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet.
The ballet, featuring a fantasy world of childhood fairy-tale dreams and a young girl’s awakening to love, premiered in December 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and remains one of the most popular ballets of all time. It will be performed at 7 p.m. at the Custer High School theatre.
Published: Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Dr. Joy Falkenburg had a message for the audience attending Monday evening’s Reclaiming the Brain seminar: It’s never too late.
“I think it takes a village to raise children. I think a lot of us recognize that drug and alcohol problems exist around us,” she said. “This issue will affect all of us at one time or another. It’s insidious and slow — that’s the thing that’s scary about it; you don’t see it coming.”
In her 12 years working in Custer, Falkenburg has saved people from drugs, seen addicts who are still struggling and has even seen people die from the addiction.
Published: Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Even though Operation Black Hills Cabin (OBHC) has been helping wounded veterans and their families for three years, it only recently began hosting families for a week-long stay in its 9-month-old cabin. To date, 12 families have spent a week of fun in the cabin and, hopefully, more will follow. But in order for that to happen, help is needed.
“This time last year, there wasn’t a cabin, so it was the board and their spouses doing what needed to be done,” said Pat Baird, OBHC co-founder. “It was so crazy over the summer we didn’t know how to start committees, so most of us did the work. Now that we have time to re-group, we’re looking for volunteers to help.”
Published: Thursday, January 16th, 2014
It’s a new year for everyone. While many are making resolutions, Rosemary Arp is making a promise.
“I feel like 2014 is going to be a good year. I am really excited for this year and I want to be able to enjoy it,” she said.
One way Arp plans to enjoy the year is by getting healthier — and joining the Custer County Chronicle’s Biggest Loser contest.
Published: Thursday, January 9th, 2014
The ranching life isn’t cut out for everyone. But thanks to Amy Kirk’s book, “A Ranchwife’s Slant: Cowboys, Kids and Ranch Life,” everyone can experience life on a ranch without having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
“Writing a book has always been on my bucket list,” Kirk said. “I never thought I was ready for that, but when I was approached to do so, some of the pressure was taken off.”
Published: Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Amid the members of the 235th Military Police Co. sat hundreds of family members, friends and community supporters at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City Dec. 23 to welcome home 124 soldiers from the South Dakota Army National Guard (SDNG) unit. The 235th just returned from a nine-month deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Among the soldiers were Corey Virtue of Custer and David VanVleck of Hermosa.
The ceremony in their honor included speakers Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG.
Published: Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
The following is a list of the top 20 items in the Custer County Chronicle’s Sheriff’s Log for 2013, as selected by the staff of the Chronicle. The Sheriff’s Log is written weekly by Custer County sheriff’s deputy Seth Thompson. Numbers 20-11 will be listed this week.
“Stop butt dialing us.”
Wednesday, June 5
12:09 a.m.: Numerous 911 pocket dial calls came from the area of Camp Bob Marshall east of Custer. Two deputies spent a fair amount of time attempting to locate the phone, with no success. So, the next time you ask, “where are the cops when I need them?” you’ll know. Oh, yeah…and lock your phone when you put it in your pocket.
“Severe weather is the sh...the craps.”
Wednesday, Sept. 4
6:58 p.m.: A person called from a porta-potty near the Custer sign to report they were trapped by a hailstorm. The person was advised to stay put until the hail stopped.
Published: Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Some Custer County churches will hold special services and programs in honor of Christmas. The churches holding special services are as follows:
• Crossroads Church: There will be a special Christmas service on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 9:45 a.m. There will also be a Christmas Eve service from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Custer Community Church United Church of Christ: There will be a Christmas Eve service at 5:30 p.m.
• Custer Lutheran Fellowship ELCA: There will be two services on Christmas Eve, beginning at 4 and 7 p.m.
Published: Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Second graders in the Hermosa school have been getting their hands sticky for the sake of helping others.
Second grade teacher Becky Lowe and her students spent two afternoons making over 1,000 popcorn balls for people across Custer County, raising $1,019 for the Black Hills Children’s Home.
“We had great donations — some being $50 for a popcorn ball — and great support,” Lowe said.
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.