Our Community Articles
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.
Published: Thursday, June 19th, 2014
A lot is happening in Buffalo Gap these days. That may not have always been the case, but thanks to a couple of local nonprofit organizations — Windcross Conservancy and the Buffalo Gap Area Community Center — things are changing. The organizations are co-hosting a fundraising event, Buffalo Gap Frontier Days, to continue the beautification and revitalization of Buffalo Gap.
Frontier Days will take place Friday, June 20, through Sunday, June 22. A number of activities are planned for kids and adults alike. Lucia Roda, president of Windcross Conservancy, said they want the event to be a “family fun event. We want parents to know their kids will have fun and be safe. And we wanted to provide something for the big kids, too.”
Published: Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Ever since she was little, Tori Glazier has loved attending shows at the Black Hills Playhouse (BHP). This year, however, will be different. Instead of sitting in the audience and watching the actors perform, Glazier will be on stage, staring into the crowd.
Glazier will perform the lead character of Mary in the BHP’s performance of “The Secret Garden,” premiering Thursday, June 19, and running through July 6, a production she is ecstatic to be a part of.
Published: Thursday, June 5th, 2014
As the parents of five children—two of which have disabilities—David and Tracey Williams know about hardship and know about expenses. What they knew little about, however, was vacationing.
That all changed early this year.
The parents, with their five children—Anthony, 18, Joseph, 16, Charity, 10, Daniel 7, and Phillip, 4—received an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World in April, paid for through the Make-A-Wish Foundation after Phillip’s neurologist, Dr. Heather Johnson of Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, submitted the family’s name as possible trip candidates.
Published: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
The 69th season of the Black Hills Playhouse will kick off in just a few weeks with its first of four plays. On this year’s agenda is “Syliva,” “The Secret Garden,” “Spamalot” and “The Best Man.”
Choosing the plays is quite a process, according to Dan Workman, artistic director of the Black Hills Playhouse (BHP), who leads the artistic advisory board made up of professionals from around the country, as well as a couple of BHP board members who are well versed in theatre.
Published: Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Marcel and Sherry Wahlstrom didn’t have your typical honeymoon.
Sun-splashed beaches and picturesque balcony views were replaced by painting, hammering and ripping up carpet with vice grips.
Such is life in the hospitality business.
The Wahlstroms, new owners of the Bavarian Inn Motel, were married two weeks ago and gave up the pampering and excess of a traditional honeymoon to continue work on their new property which opened under ownership that didn’t have the last name of Jackl in over 40 years.
Published: Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Four Republicans and one Democrat comprise the field for this year’s race for three seats on the Custer County Commission, as three incumbents and two newcomers square off in an election that won’t be officially decided until the November general election.
Phil Lampert, one of the Republican incumbents, has been on the commission over five years after being appointed in 2009 to fill the vacancy left by former commissioner Joe McFarland. Lampert sought and won reelection in 2010 and is now completing his first full term. He is the current commission chairman.
Lampert, 68, has lived in Custer County most of his life and is a third generation Custer County resident. His grandparents were two of the first white settlers to homestead in western Custer County and he has lived or been in business throughout the county.
Published: Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Current Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler is seeking a third term as the county’s top law enforcement official and is being challenged by Joe Bawdon and Seth Thompson. All three are Republicans. The winner of the primary election will win the sheriff’s seat, as no Independent or Democratic candidates filed for the seat.
Bawdon, 61, moved to Custer County in 1998 and has been in law enforcement for 16 years. He is a graduate of Highmore High School and Denver Technical College and has taken a variety of other law-enforcement related college courses in his adult life. He and wife, Susan, have been married for 24 years and have three children: Cody, 18, Casey, 17, and Cassie, 14.
Published: Thursday, May 1st, 2014
The Black Hills Film Festival is gearing up for its fifth year of films, workshops and meet-and-greets on Wednesday, April 30. While many of the films showcase local talent, ideas and locations, the community of Custer has ties to the festival with one film slated to be shown.
The Specter of Old Main, which will show Friday, May 2, in Hill City was written, directed, edited and even starred Dylan Jost, a 2006 graduate of Custer High School.
“I did plays in school just about every year, so I hope people will remember me and come check out my film,” he said.
Published: Thursday, April 24th, 2014
In March 2008, during a major operation, my heart stopped. I had a NDE [near death experience]. I met the Creator and was told, ‘You’re not finished. You still have work to do.’”
An AIGC alumnus, Dr. AC Ross (Sichangu and Santee Sioux) asked himself the question, “Why did I return?” When separated, the words in this question stand alone as simple, versatile and common. Yet, when combined, they form something profound.
Why am I here? It is an awakening question; one that begets an individual to ponder his or her own meaning or purpose. The response to “Why am I here?” might change for some, as life experiences drive new motivations and wisdom awakens dormant passions. It is an introspective question demanding an equally thoughtful answer.