Our Community Articles
Published: Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
It’s a safe bet there are few, if any, people who know the county road system better than Darcy Smith. That’s because Smith, who at 67 retired from the county highway department after 33 years of service Monday, is responsible for placing every road or 911 sign in Custer County.
That’s not hyperbole. If your Custer County road has a speed limit sign or a windy road sign or your Custer County home has a 911 address sign, it was installed by Smith, the county’s “sign man.”
Smith was hired full-time to the Custer County Highway Department April 20, 1983 by Leo “Pat”â��Mohler, but worked for the department even before that, first as a high school student and then in the summers of 1981 and 1982 as part-time help.
Published: Thursday, June 16th, 2016
On Sunday, March 26, 2006, Mike Tennyson talked to his eldest daughter, Jill, on the phone. She was in Denver, preparing to come back to Custer, having driven to theâï¿½ï¿½Mile High City for a date with a school teacher she had met on eharmony.com. One of her missions at the time, as a single 27-year-old social worker at Custer Regional Senior Care, was to find “Mr. Perfect.”
“She traveled far and wide in search of ‘hotties,’ as she called them,”âï¿½ï¿½Mike said.
Mike and his wife, Bonnie, were at home in Custer when Jill called. She told her father the date hadn’t gone well and her search for Mr. Perfect was still a work in progress.
Published: Thursday, June 9th, 2016
If you’re looking for some laughs, adventure and fun, look no further than this year’s line up at the Black Hills Playhouse (BHP)!
The BHP will kick off its 71st season this Friday, June 10, in what promises to be a summer filled with slapstick adventures, heroic storytelling and spectacular performances. This year’s lineup will feature five productions.
According to Dan Workman, BHP artistic director, a “well-rounded” season was something the artistic advisory board — which selects each season’s performances — wanted.
Published: Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
It’s never too late to graduate.
Anna Powell of Custer, who would have graduated in 1934, received her diploma Thursday, May 26 — 82 years later.
Like many other 14-year-olds at the time, Powell stopped attending school after eighth grade in order to help her family make ends meet. Powell, who turned 100 on March 30, entered the work force, later marrying and raising her family. They moved to Custer in 1941, where Powell has lived ever since, never going back to earn her high school diploma.
Published: Thursday, May 26th, 2016
Bright, shiny, new Tesla electric cars began showing up in Custer last Thursday night for the third annual Custer Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Tesla Rally held this past weekend.
Early arrivers were the first of some 62 cars that came this year from all over the United States. “Some are just learning about it on their road trips,” Rod Hoffman said last Friday afternoon. He is a Tesla owner from Denver. It was Hoffman, along with his brother-in-law, Custer Chamber executive director Dave Ressler, who organized the first rally here three years ago with 10 cars participating. Last year there were 35 Teslas here.
Published: Thursday, May 19th, 2016
In his 62 years of life, Gerald “Pee Wee” Dennis of Custer made many friends, inspired countless musicians and started his own music show, receiving countless accolades while doing so.
The honors have continued posthumously, as since his death in August 2001 he has had the Buffalo Roundup Art Festival dedicated to him (2001), been inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain (2004) and been recognized as a Black Hills Tourism Pioneer by the Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association (2005).
Published: Thursday, May 12th, 2016
American Legion Riders Chapter 71 from Hot Springs rode in on their motorcycles with the colors flying last Thursday morning to the 1881 Courthouse Museum in Custer.
They then helped present and post the colors, along with American Legion and VFW members in Custer, for the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Memorial exhibit dedication ceremonies.
Published: Thursday, May 5th, 2016
Mother’s Day this year will be much different for Nina Nielsen of Custer and her family, as it is the first holiday without the family matriarch, Agatha Chizek.
“We always got Mom flowers on Mother’s Day. She loved flowers,” Nielsen said. “But we all hated going flower shopping with her, because she was so precise. But it was a joy. It will always be a special time of year.”
Published: Thursday, April 28th, 2016
Custer is already home to a number of good-doer citizens and service organizations, but is adding one more to that group.
On Saturday, April 16, 21 members of the Custer Leo Club were inducted into their chapter. In addition, the Leo Club was chartered as a sub-club under the Custer Lions Club. In order to be a Leo Club member, students must be at least 12 years old. After 18 years of age, they can transition into the Lions Club.
Althought it was just chartered last Saturday, the club has already been active in its few months of organizing.
Published: Thursday, April 21st, 2016
State Public Utilities Commission member Chris Nelson had a message for Republican party faithful at last Friday evening’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner held at Blue Bell Lodge.
“This is not the first time we as a party have worked through some tough stuff,” Nelson said.
He was referring to the contentious Republican presidential primary race that has come down to front-runner businessman Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. None of the men appear to have enough delegates to sew up the nomination before the Republican convention in July.
Published: Thursday, April 14th, 2016
If you ask Anna Powell the secret to her long life, she’ll give you a simple answer: “I just keep breathing.”
The Custer woman celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday, March 30, followed by a family and friend celebration the following weekend.
“I’m right back to where I was in 1916,” Powell said of turning 100. “I just eat, sleep and holler for attention.”
Published: Thursday, April 7th, 2016
Months before their daughter was born, Quinten and Tessa Arp had a feeling something might happen.
“All of the things that could possibly go wrong ran through my mind,” Quinten said. “I didn’t dare say that to Tessa, though. I didn’t want to cause her any stress.”
“I just had a strong feeling that something might happen,” she said.
Call it an intuition or a premonition, but the Arps were right.
Published: Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Custer County compound leader Seth Jeffs has pleaded not guilty to helping orchestrate a food stamp fraud scheme among members of the secretive polygamous sect.
Jeffs, who was arrested just south of town Feb. 23 after leaving the Custer County compound for a trip to Rapid City, was extradited to Salt Lake City, Utah, after being denied bond at a court hearing in Rapid City.
Published: Thursday, March 24th, 2016
While the process of closing STAR Academy is underway, it isn’t the first time the facility has undergone change. In fact, the buildings and grounds have seen more than 100 years of change and renovation.
The 1909 legislature created the South Dakota State Sanatorium for Tuberculo-sis, authorizing the State Board of Charities and Corrections to select a suitable location. The board selected 150 acres five miles south of the City of Custer. With 80 to 100 acres in plow land, a spring and the protection of the heavily wooded land of the Harney Peak Forest Reserve, the location was ideal.
Published: Thursday, March 10th, 2016
In her 20-plus years of boarding and looking after pets, Joann Lynn has seen it all.
From cats and dogs to birds, a guinea pig, a turtle and duck, there’s always an adventure at Lynn’s Pet Motel.
“I’ve had some characters over the years,” Lynn said. “When I look back on it, I see that God was in control of everything.”
Lynn and her husband, Jim, came to the Black Hills to visit friends from Jim’s Air Force days.
Published: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
The Frontier Bar and Grill will serve up more than spaghetti or vegetarian pasta at the Custer Characters’ next dinner theatre show, “Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine,” to be performed April 14-16 and 21-22. Murder, mayhem and mystery will be on the menu, too.
Figuring out who done it will be a challenge for the audience as the 11-member cast features a variety of questionable characters ranging from a seedy detective to a schizophrenic teenager.
Published: Thursday, February 25th, 2016
In mid-March of last year, Town of Hermosa finance officer Shanna Harris felt a small knot on the left side of her back. Although it was annoyingly painful, she didn’t give it a lot of thought. Instead, she chalked it up to the old lumpy mattress she and her fiancee, Waylon, were sleeping on.
Three months later, Harris traveled to Pierre for the South Dakota Municipal League conference, ready to sleep on a different bed, as the pain in her back had become excruciating. The break from her bed didn’t make things better and she quickly realized something else was causing the pain.
Published: Thursday, February 11th, 2016
The Friends of Custer County Search & Rescue (SAR) will again host a Rocky Mountain Oyster feed fundraiser to support the Custer County Search & Rescue team and the work they do in our county.
This year the Friends are raising funds to purchase a trailer to haul one of the two Can Am side by side units and for the Polaris Ranger purchased with funds raised in the last oyster feed. Estimated cost of the trailer required is $8,000. The Can Am units can be run with either wheels or snow tracks, making them useful in virtually all weather conditions.
Published: Thursday, February 4th, 2016
Custerites are encouraged to help celebrate the opening of An English Touch Day Spa, the newest spa and salon in Custer.
Janet Cook, owner, will host an open house for the grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 4, from 1:30-5:30 p.m. A Touch of English Day Spa is located at 25389 McCurran Ranch Road in Custer.
Cook found her passion in the beauty industry at the age of 15 in Birmingham, England.
Published: Thursday, January 28th, 2016
There were many emotions during last week’s demolition of the Custer County Market building which took place a month after a fire destroyed the downtown grocery store. While the remnants of the building have been torn down and hauled away, the memories live on.
Long before Custer became a city, the property was just that: a grocery store. In the book “Custer County History to 1976” by Jessie Sundstrom, the property was mentioned in a portion submitted by the Walt Smith family.
Smith’s father had an uncle, George Smith, who established a general commission store along with a livery stable in the back. Instead of holding a celebratory dance as a “housewarming” (since George Smith was very religious) he secured Preacher Smith to hold a church service. This was the first service to be held in the Black Hills, given by the first preacher to live in the Hills.
Published: Thursday, January 21st, 2016
Eleven Custer County Korean War veterans were among hundreds honored in Pierre and across the state Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal Ceremonies. The local event was held in the afternoon at Custer Senior Center with a live webcast of the Pierre ceremony shown on a big screen television to about 70 people.
Those honored with presentations of red scarves and medals from Custer County were Arnold Anderson, Grant Muse, Kenneth Fortune, Kenneth Glaser, Richard Knutson, Harold Koester, Lloyd Nickels, Robert Schilling, Walter Thomas, Calvin Van Ornam and Harold Waltman.
Published: Thursday, January 14th, 2016
One year removed from entering the 2015 Custer County Chronicle’s Biggest Loser contest, the lifestyle changes that began with entering the contest are still with Scott Marsich.
These days, he still leads a “Spin Sculpt”âï¿½ï¿½class at the YMCAâï¿½ï¿½(a class that combines riding a stationary bike with light weight lifting) that he began when he joined the contest last January. When he’s not doing that, he and his wife, Terri, are playing volleyball, lifting weights or working out on the elliptical machines at the YMCA. They also still watch what they eat.
Perhaps Marsich’s easiest way to track his continued process, however, is through lost ounces—of Diet Mountain Dew.
Published: Thursday, January 7th, 2016
As always, the people of Custer County had plenty to say in 2015. Here is a sampling of some of the more “quotable” quotes uttered during the second half of the year.
“I will never say we don’t need rain. But I will say we could use a break once in awhile.” - Custer County emergency management director Mike Carter, on the extremely wet spring and early summer Custer experienced.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with you.” - Custer Mayor Gary Lipp to the Custer City Council at his last meeting as mayor.
Published: Thursday, December 31st, 2015
While Randy Scott has been a barber for 40 and 50 years less than some of his fellow South Dakotan colleagues, when it comes to accolades in his profession, few have risen through the ranks as quickly as Scott. Scott, owner of Randy’s Barber Shop in Custer, is already the president of the South Dakota Barber Association. More recently he was appointed to the South Dakota Barber Board of Examiners by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
The board falls under the umbrella of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, with the stated goal of protecting the public consumers of barbershop facilities from unsafe and unsanitary conditions by regulating the licensing of barbers, enforcing sanitary operating procedures and updating governing statutes, rules and regulations.
Published: Thursday, December 24th, 2015
When it comes to spreading Christmas cheer, there’s no one better for the job than Santa and Mrs. Claus. Fortunately for the Custer community, the jolly Clauses have been Custer County residents for years.
Arvon Hamilton has portrayed St. Nick for 32 years, with his wife, Ann, at his side as Mrs. Claus for 30 of those. While they started their journey on the mall circuit, the two’s purpose for spreading Christmas cheer soon grew, developing into what is now known as Christmas for Kids.
The Hamiltons began Christmas for Kids 24 years ago for two reasons.