Our Community Articles
Published: Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
It was a rainy morning Thursday, June 4, but if you asked the 183 people receiving U.S. citizenship at Mount Rushmore, they probably wouldn’t have even noticed.
Of the 183 people receiving citizenship — coming from 49 homelands as far away Belarus, Bhutan, Burma, Cote D’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kenya, Liberia, Panama, Philippines, South Korea, Ukraine and Zaire and even as close as Canada and Mexico — was Maria Lyndoe of Custer.
“I didn’t know what to expect of the ceremony. I thought I was going to have to stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance; I was nervous,” she said. “I’m really so excited to finally be a citizen. It’s been such a long process.”
Published: Thursday, June 18th, 2015
Look!âï¿½ï¿½Up in the sky!âï¿½ï¿½It’s a bird!âï¿½ï¿½It’s a plane!âï¿½ï¿½It’s....a bright yellow motorcycle-looking contraption flown by an Irish man who is either really brave, or really crazy!
Truth be told, Norman Surplus isn’t crazy. Rather, he is an aviation enthusiast flying a unique aircraft around the world on a quest to raise awareness about bowel cancer. Having already stared death in the face in his long struggle against the disease, the prospect of flying a wobbly plane in the face of the elements really isn’t much of a challenge at all.
Custer was one of the stops on Surplus’ travels that will see him attempt to set a world record and fly his German gyrocopter registered G-YROX on a 7,500-mile flight across the North America and the Atlantic.
Published: Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Priscilla and Dan Engen love to read. With the advent of the Kindle, however, they started reading e-books and soon found themselves with stacks of old books they no longer wanted to hold onto. They held a garage sale, but the books didn’t sell and they were loath to simply throw them away. In comes the Little Free Library.
While visiting their daughter who attends college in Portland, Ore., Priscilla saw one and thought, “Oh, that would be perfect for us!”
Published: Thursday, June 4th, 2015
Less than a year after closing some horse crossings on a trail in the Upper French Creek and Limestone area northwest of Custer, Forest Service officials have done an about-face. After touring the area with riders who first raised concerns about the closures last October, Forest Service officials have now pledged to resurvey the area and accommodate riders’ request to reopen the 11 crossings on the stream.
The issue began last year, when riders expressed outrage that the area was “virtually destroyed” by the Forest Service last summer, with the riding path covered with numerous trees that had been cut or bulldozed and the trail crossings the riders used blocked by large rocks, trees or fences.
Published: Thursday, May 28th, 2015
According to Fred Baumann, Maria Von Trapp was nothing like her on-screen portrayal in “The Sound of Music,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. And he should know — he spent a summer working for her.
Fred, information associate for the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce, was a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., when the Baroness visited to receive an honorary degree. It was finals week and the St. Olaf choir performed for her. There was one young woman who caught her eye, thinking of a possible potential wife for her youngest son, so she invited the entire group — and the St. Olaf band and orchestra, of which Fred was a member — to work at the lodge in Stowe, Vt., for the summer of 1968.
Published: Thursday, May 21st, 2015
Scott LoBaido is on a mission.
That mission brought him to the VFW Post 3442 in Custer, where a large-scale mural of the Stars and Stripes was painted on the front of the building. The painting is part of LoBaido’s “Painting Flags Across America” tour, which will see him painting a mural of the flag on an American Legion or VFW post in all 50 states.
“The flag is the greatest piece of artwork ever created. And it’s the most recognizable across the world,” said LoBaido, who is referred to as “America’s Artist.”
Published: Thursday, May 14th, 2015
You’ll have to forgive Hermosa Americanâï¿½ï¿½Legion Post 303 Commander Jim Preston—and his fellow Post members—if they were overly excited last week. When they stuck a shovel into the ground to begin construction on a new Post home May 5, it was a project eight years in the making.
Since 2007, Post 303 members have been applying for grants and raising funds for the new home, which Preston said he hopes is complete by fall. The building, which will be located across Hwy. 40 to the north of the old home, around a quarter mile east of Pops Grocery Store, will be 4,050 square feet, over three times the size of the current home.
Published: Thursday, May 7th, 2015
When Mindy Dooley found out that she was Custer Jr./Sr. High School’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year, she was surprised and even a little embarrassed to read her name on the list.
“I knew that Teacher of the Year would be chosen from the three of us, but I thought I (didn’t have a chance),” she said. “The other two teachers are more experienced teachers and I have heard such wonderful things about both of them.”
Dooley wasn’t planning to bring anyone to the awards ceremony, because she was so sure the Teacher of the Year award wasn’t going to her.
Published: Thursday, April 30th, 2015
LiJane Brunner remembers the eye rolls and the stares well. She was buying a cake, frozen pizzas and soda for a birthday party for one of her four children. And she was doing it with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds (formerly known as food stamps) using a Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
She could sense the people around her weren’t thrilled with the purchases she was making with “their money.”
“Everybody gets to have a birthday,” LiJane said. “Right?”
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.