DEADWOOD — Across the West, a pneumonia-causing bacteria has wreaked havoc among bighorn sheep herds in numerous states, including South Dakota.
In 2004, the Custer State Park bighorns contracted mycoplasma ovipneumoiae, the pneumonia-causing bacteria that killed 70-80 percent of the park’s 200 sheep.
It is also in the Black Hills herd, found near Rapid City, and now the state’s newest herd, located in the Lead-Deadwood area, have animals testing positive for the pathogens.
Since October, six sheep in the herd have died to various injuries or causes. Of those six, three have tested positive for mycoplasma ovipneumoiae. A fourth is expected to test positive.
“We definitely have the pathogens in the herd that causes pneumonia. What we haven’t had is a mass die-off. So far, it appears to be a few individuals that have tested positive for it,” said John Kanta, regional terrestrial resources supervisor for the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.
Where or how they are picking up the pathogens is unknown.
“We’re scratching our heads. We don’t know,” Kanta said. “That is part of what we are doing right now, too, trying to determine where that risk is.”
The 26 sheep, when they were captured in February 2015 in Alberta, Canada, prior to being relocated to South Dakota were tested for a variety of diseases, including for mycoplasma ovipneumoiae. All tests were negative.
Wildlife managers know wild sheep can acquire the pathogens from domestic sheep and goats, but there has been no known contact with domestic animals, with one exception. That occurred last fall when the herd’s 2-year-old ram ventured out of the Black Hills and came into contact with sheep near St. Onge.
In accordance with department policy, that ram was killed before it came back into contact with members of the herd. Even then, the ram tested negative for the pathogens.
Kanta said it is concerning that the new sheep are testing positive. A planned augmentation to the herd in the next year or two is now on hold until the animals do not test positive for the pathogens.
The first sheep to die recently was on Oct. 13, when it fell from a cliff. A second died on Oct. 29 and tested positive for mycoplasma ovipneumoiae. It had a neck injury but the exact cause of death was unknown.
On Nov. 3, another sheep tested positive. It was one of the herd’s oldest ewes and had an infection of the upper jaw.
On Nov. 7, a sheep in the isolated Gilt Edge herd, a breakaway group of six animals from the Lead-Deadwood herd, drowned in one of the mine’s ponds. The animal was too far decomposed to be tested.
The same week another animal was injured and euthanized. It too tested positive.
The sixth animal, appeared to be sick and was euthanized on Nov. 15. Tests are not yet back, but Kanta said he anticipates the ewe to test positive.
“So far we haven’t documented any sheep dying because of the pneumonia. We are finding sheep that have been hit by vehicles, or had injuries, then when we test them, they tested positive,” Kanta said.
Kanta said there have been instances in other states where herds that have acquired the mycoplasma ovipneumoiae have had a portion of its herd die off.
A new study with the Custer State Park and the Black Hills herds is showing promise. Both herds have individual animals that test positive for the pathogen. Last winter, the GF&P captured every sheep in both herds. Those that tested positively for shedding the pathogen were removed from the Custer herd as the treatment group. All animals in the Black Hills herd were released as the control group.
This spring, nine lambs were born in Custer State Park and all but one have survived. The lone lamb that died did not die from the pneumonia.
In previous years, before the “shedders” were removed, nearly all lambs died.
“So far we are seeing really good results, and it appears as if this is something that would work,” Kanta said of removing selected sheep from the herd.
Unfortunately, the only way to test the animals is to capture them and swab their nose and throats.
Aside from the few animals testing positive for the pathogens, the 34 animals in the Lead-Deadwood herd are doing well. Five lambs were born this spring, down from 13 last spring. But Kanta said this was expected since the only rams in the herd are young and are not as successful in breeding as the older, mature rams.
“Our expectation this year is breeding should be better this year,” he said.
PIERRE, S.D. (KOTA TV) – With up to three feet of recent snow in some spots, the start of the Black Hills snowmobile season should be good.
However, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks staff reminds snowmobilers that the trail system does not open until Dec. 15.
“We get a lot of people asking why the trails aren’t open when there is so much snow in the Northern Hills,” says Ryan Raynor, trail program specialist for GFP. “A large portion of the trail system runs through private property and those agreements do not start until Dec. 15.”
Raynor stated that while snowmobiling is permitted on Forest Service managed lands before Dec. 15, riders need to respect the various areas of the trail system that cross private property.
Trails are open Dec. 15 through March 31.
Snowmobile trail maps for the entire state can be obtained from most GFP offices or by calling 605-773-2885. The maps outline the nationally-recognized Black Hill trails (350 miles) and 15 trail systems in eastern South Dakota (more than 1,300 miles).
The maps also include locations for food and fuel, as well as additional information about snowmobiling in South Dakota.
For more information about snowmobiling in South Dakota, visit gfp.sd.gov or contact Ryan Raynor at 605-773-2885 or the Black Hills Trail Office at 605-584-3896.
DEADWOOD | Trevor Tridle had a powerful weekend in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month, and he didn’t even see Mickey Mouse.
Tridle, 26, a high-functioning autistic young man with a penchant for hoisting incredible weights, and a national reputation as a powerlifter in the Special Olympics, competed in the World Open Powerlifting Championships on Nov. 13-19, and he brought home the hardware.
Competing with 255 athletes representing 39 nations in the contest hosted by the International Powerlifting Federation, Tridle weighed in at 255 pounds and bench-pressed 347 pounds, hoisted 407 pounds from a squat, and dead-lifted 474 pounds — good enough to earn two silver medals and a bronze medal. The efforts also garnered him a silver in the combined competition.
“Those were all personal bests for him,” Tridle’s father, John, said last week after returning to South Dakota. “We were pretty proud, because it’s a great accomplishment and he’s worked so hard.”
The senior Tridle credited his son’s coach, Brent Steinbach of Spearfish, with teaching Trevor the proper techniques that led to his success in the world competition. Steinbach and his wife, Tracey, have long been instrumental in training a team of 20 disabled athletes to compete in the Special Olympics.
Steinbach, a technician for a communications company and a competitive powerlifter for a dozen years, said the bond he and Trevor had established over the past six years extended well beyond the normal coach-athlete relationship.
“Two nights before he lifted, I sat in my hotel room and wrote him a letter,” Steinbach recalled on Tuesday. “I told him how proud I was of him and I welcomed him to the big stage. I told him he was about to mingle with and compete against some of the best powerlifters in the world. Toward the end of the letter, I got a bit teary-eyed.
“He’s come so far as a man and I’m so proud of being his friend."
Steinbach accompanied John, Deb and Trevor Tridle, as well as Trevor’s girlfriend, Natalia McCauley, to Florida for the competition.
On Nov. 19, a Saturday, Tridle’s big day in the competition, his coach told him, “You’ve worked your butt off in the gym, and today’s payday. He looked back at me when I asked what day it was and said simply, `Payday.’”
That day Tridle flawlessly lifted the heaviest weights he’d ever attempted.
“He was lifting in front of the most critical judges on the planet,” Steinbach said. “He nailed all nine of his lifts and he did not get a red light (indicating a failed lift) all day. That’s unheard of in the IPF. He was perfection.”
A man of few words, unless it involves politics, Tridle was succinct when asked about his medals last week.
“It felt great,” he said. “I worked out hard for three months with my coach to get there, and I liked the intensity. I did all three events in one day, and I was very worn out, but I was surprisingly not sore.”
On the flight home from Florida, Steinbach said he and Tridle were reveling in his success when the coach brought up a new event in the Special Olympics called “Unified,” in which a competitive powerlifter and a Special Olympics athlete team up and compete together. Steinbach said Tridle’s first question was, “When do we start training for that?”
“I told him, 'We’ll rest for a week and start planning our next adventure,’” Steinbach said with a laugh. “But for now, we’re just enjoying the moment.”
Last week, Tridle was back at work, shoveling snow and performing custodial duties for the Deadwood Parks Department, which recently hired him full time. But the young man’s weekend success did not go unheralded.
“Trevor doesn’t get really excited and he’s not a braggy sort of guy, but he got three silvers and a bronze, and we were all pretty happy and excited,” said Scott Reif, who, as assistant parks superintendent, is Tridle’s supervisor.
“He’s incredibly strong, and he’s got the right coach, who has taught him the right techniques. Trevor is a pretty good kid, and we’re all so proud of him.”
With their imaginations fixed on the stars, students at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are building a robot that may someday rove across the sands of Mars for NASA.
The “Moonrockers” rover is the product of two years of labor by an interdisciplinary team of more than 20 engineering students, all cooperating in hopes of winning NASA's eighth annual Robotic Mining Competition. Last year, the School of Mines team placed second among about 50 entries for its creation of a bot capable of piloting itself. Now, team members Dakotah Rusley, 21, and Chas Hartman, 24, are setting their sights on improving their past success.
“That’s what we’re looking forward to this year, is spring-boarding off that,” said Rusley, a computer engineering student at Mines. “If we did it last year, how can we make it better?”
Space travelers of the future will need a cheap and abundant source of water, oxygen and fuel to power their ships through the solar system. Based on findings by the Curiosity rover, scientists have come to believe that “icy regolith” found in the ancient clay of Mars is a plentiful source for all three.
“The water can be used for human consumption, hygiene, (to) make rocket propellant for the journey home, grow plants, provide radiation shielding and for use in various manufacturing processes,” reads a description of the competition on NASA’s website.
To get at and efficiently stockpile that icy regolith will require a fleet of sturdy, reliable, and autonomous robots sent to the red planet in advance of any manned spacecraft.
That’s where young, innovative engineers like Rusley and Hartman come into the picture.
The $7,000 prototype they’ve designed is equipped with a conveyor of metal scoops that feed into a hopper capable of hauling roughly 65 to 176 pounds of mined material at a time. Weighing in at about 130 pounds, the aluminum “Moonrockers” rover has an articulated frame that ensures that at least three of its four wheels will be in contact with the rough Martian terrain at all times.
Besides the motors and computer hardware, every piece of the rover has been designed and handcrafted or 3-D printed by the Mines students. The modular computer and electrical interface has been deliberately designed for maximum ease of use on the competition floor. If a system malfunctions, repairs could be conducted by simply unplugging the affected area and removing it to be tinkered with outside the robot’s chassis.
“It’s so even someone like me can use it,” said Hartman, a mechanical engineering student at Mines.
The team has been putting the rover through its mining and navigation paces in the sand of the school’s volleyball pit, the closest available approximation of Martian soil. When it isn’t piloting itself, the rover can be steered with an Xbox 360 controller.
Autonomy of motion is key, however, in circumventing the challenges of communicating with the rover over vast gulfs of space.
“If this thing is on Mars and it gets stuck in a hole or on a rock, the signal delay is such that by the time you send a signal to avoid the rock, the rover is already stuck,” Rusley said.
Both Rusley and Hartman have enjoyed the challenge of solving that problem and many of the others that come with designing a rover for NASA. Before this project, neither of them had had much experience working in robotics.
“Now it’s all I want to do,” Hartman said.
This year’s NASA competition will run May 22-26.
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A Republican state lawmaker plans to sponsor a bill that would let people who can legally carry a concealed handgun in South Dakota to do so without a permit.
Right now, it's a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit. Rep. Lynne DiSanto said Monday that her bill is about personal protection.
Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard in 2012 vetoed a measure that would have allowed people over 18 with a valid South Dakota drivers' license to carry a concealed pistol without a permit.
A similar proposal that would have removed the requirement for a concealed pistol permit from state law passed through the state House in 2015, but died in a Senate committee.
Monday was not a good day for the prairie dogs that inhabit Wind Cave National Park, but it was a great day for nine black-footed ferrets and the people trying to save them from extinction.
The ferrets were released into the park in the southern Black Hills, where they will feed on the prairie dogs that abound there. The release is part of an ongoing effort to bring the endangered ferrets back from the brink of extinction.
Dan Roddy, a biologist at the park, looked on proudly as the ferrets crawled out of portable kennels and down into prairie-dog holes.
But he was not ready to declare success.
“Talk to me next spring and summer, and we’ll see if we have kits,” Roddy said, referencing ferret babies.
Getting through the winter and producing offspring will be a challenge for the ferrets. Just as they’re looking to pounce on prairie dogs, there are other predators looking to pounce on the ferrets, including owls, coyotes, badgers and bobcats.
Providing habitat for native and endangered animals like ferrets is part of the mission of the National Park Service, which celebrated its centennial this year. Black-footed ferrets are native to the area and the broader Great Plains, but their numbers declined drastically as their primary food source, prairie dogs, suffered widespread eradication efforts by farmers and ranchers.
Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct as recently as 1981, when a few ferrets were found in Wyoming. The find yielded efforts to breed ferrets in captivity for reintroduction to the wild.
Wind Cave National Park became one of the reintroduction sites in 2007 when about 50 ferrets were brought to the park. It is not known exactly how many ferrets are in the park now, partly because the nocturnal animals are difficult to spot, but Roddy said there are at least 25 to 30.
“We know there are more,” he said, “but those are the ones we’ve been able to count.”
Fewer ferrets have been roaming the southern part of the park in recent years, partly because of an outbreak of white horehound, a plant that prairie dogs avoid. The non-native plant thrived during drought years but has been out-competed by native plants in wetter years and has also been treated with herbicides. Prairie dog numbers have been rebounding as the horehound wanes, which led park officials to recognize an opportunity to reintroduce more ferrets.
The nine ferrets released Monday were bred and raised at the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center, which is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Wellington, Colo. For 30 days prior to their big move, the ferrets were kept in outdoor enclosures where they were supplied with live prairie dogs.
The brief introduction to prairie-dog hunting will hopefully help the ferrets adapt to life in Wind Cave National Park, where prairie dog towns cover about two square miles of the more than 50 square miles in the park. The prairie dogs congregate and dig tunnels under the short-grass plains that intermingle with the park’s pine-forested hills. Ferrets take up residence and raise their offspring in abandoned prairie-dog holes.
Each of the nine ferrets was kept individually in a portable kennel during the trip from Colorado. At various places away from roads in the park, the kennels were set on the ground and the ferrets cautiously crept out. Some darted immediately down into a prairie dog hole, and others slunk around in the grass for a few moments, their long bodies staying low and their brownish and yellowish coats blending into the dry grass.
The animals can grow to about 2 feet in length and weigh about 2 pounds. The mask-like black markings around their eyes, combined with their stealthy traits, have led some to call them "prairie bandits," Roddy said.
Watching the ferrets explore their new home Monday was satisfying for Roddy, but with winter ahead and predators lurking, he knows the effort to save ferrets at Wind Cave and elsewhere is a work in progress.
“It’s a tough world out there, believe me, for a ferret,” Roddy said.
A driver fleeing a South Dakota Highway Patrol officer caused a crash involving five vehicles, one of which rolled over, Monday afternoon at the intersection of Lacrosse and Anamosa streets, officials said.
Lt. Elias Diaz with the Rapid City Police Department reported multiple injuries but no fatalities. The exact number and severity of injuries was uncertain, but at least four people went to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment of their injuries, a news release from the police department said.
Police said that shortly before 3 p.m. a state Highway Patrol officer stopped a late-model Monte Carlo driven by Andrew Chipps, 25, of Wanblee, who then fled south on Lacrosse Street, causing the five-vehicle wreck at the corner of Anamosa Street.
Witnesses told police the Monte Carlo ran a red light at a high rate of speed at the intersection, causing a chain-reaction crash.
Chipps was arrested at the scene on charges of aggravated eluding, driving under the influence, driving under suspension, open container in a vehicle and four counts of vehicular battery.
Diaz said that alcohol was a factor in the crash, though whether the driver was intoxicated remained under investigation Monday afternoon.
“There was a presence of alcohol in the vehicle as well as on the person,” Diaz said, adding it was unclear whether the driver was injured.
“I know he had some blood on him but I’m not sure if it was his.”
The intersection where the crash occurred remained closed for several hours Monday afternoon as the investigation continued.
DEADWOOD | Armed with months of historical research, planning and design work and a $1.2 million commitment from city officials, this Northern Hills tourist town is poised to transform its southerly gateway and create a new park that recognizes a long-forgotten, century-old power plant.
Work already has begun on two new city parks, South Gateway and Powerhouse, according to Deadwood City Planner Bob Nelson Jr. By fall, residents and visitors will be enjoying each, he said.
“Projects are going on throughout the whole community, including the reconstruction of Highway 85, and we hope these inspire adjacent landowners to spruce up the southern gateway to Deadwood,” Nelson said. “These two projects represent a fairly fine blend of the historic and the contemporary and continue to tell Deadwood’s story.”
South Gateway Park
On 2 acres adjacent to the 109-mile-long Mickelson Trail, this new park will occupy the former site of the Ice House Building and the dilapidated All Seasons Budget Motel, which burned to the ground in a fire in 2000, Nelson said.
The park, situated on Whitewood Creek overlooking some small waterfalls, will feature parking for trail-users, 24-hour year-round public restrooms, a picnic area and an attempt to beautify the southerly entrance to Deadwood, on which nearly half of the town’s visitors arrive, he explained.
Total costs of the new park are projected at $750,000, of which $85,000 is coming from a transportation alternative grant administered by the state Department of Transportation, Nelson said.
Mayor Chuck Turbiville said the new park would help change perceptions of nearly 1 million visitors who arrive in Deadwood on U.S. Highway 385 from the Central Hills each year.
“That area has always been a blighted area with old torn-down buildings, but soon it will be the first thing many of our visitors encounter when driving into Deadwood and we hope it will serve as an example of what they can expect from the rest of the community,” Turbiville said. “It will also be a highly visible attraction as you walk the Mickelson Trail.”
Deadwood’s second new park pays tribute to a long-forgotten power plant and an archaeological site along Whitewood Creek that most residents didn’t even know existed due to an overgrowth of vegetation. But at one time during the early 1900s, the site included a 135-foot smokestack, the tallest structure ever built in Deadwood, city officials said.
The City of Deadwood eventually will invest an estimated $450,000 in Powerhouse Park, across Whitewood Creek from the Sherman Street parking lot, near the northern terminus of the Mickelson Trail, according to Nelson. A $95,000 contribution from the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission and a $50,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program administered by state Game, Fish & Parks also will help pay for the new park he said.
“The Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission and our office are very excited with the development of Powerhouse Park,” said Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker. “This park is being carefully constructed over the archaeological ruins of the foundation for the powerhouse which powered the trolley between Deadwood and Lead.”
In its first phase, a new 330-foot boardwalk complete with interpretive signage was completed late last summer. Future phases include partial reconstruction of 4 to 5 feet of the smokestack using bricks from the original structure, a new trail to the McGovern Hill neighborhood, a new retaining wall along the creek, a pedestrian bridge across the creek, and a new trail to the Deadwood Mountain Grand resort hotel, Nelson said.
Picture the past
According to Tanya Olson, a landscape architect and partner in Custer-based Tallgrass Landscape Architecture, which researched the site for the city and helped develop plans for the new park, the venue represents Deadwood’s coming of age.
“The period of time this represents shows just how quickly Deadwood moved from the time depicted in HBO’s `Deadwood’ series to becoming one of the most modern communities in western South Dakota,” Olson said. “This electrical trolley car connected Deadwood and Lead every hour, at a time when Lead was the richest little town in America, with an opulent opera house, a kindergarten, the railroad and all the roadways that connected the area.”
Olson said her research at the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center, and findings of earlier archaeological assessments, explored the powerhouse, which operated only from 1901 until it was decommissioned in 1911, a victim of a bus service, better roads and rail service between the sister cities and increasing private ownership of motor vehicles.
While the power plant was dismantled shortly after its decommissioning, the massive smokestack stood until sometime in the 1920s, when it either fell or was demolished, Olson said. The trolley operated into the 1930s, powered by another power plant at nearby Pluma, she said.
When completed, Powerhouse Park and its interpretive exhibits will allow residents and visitors a better understanding of the history of Deadwood, Olson said.
“I hope visitors to the new park have the same sense of discovery that I had when I explored its past," she said, "a much richer history based on everyday life than we get from popular media.”
Under a $220,000 contract awarded last month by the Deadwood City Commission to RCS Construction of Rapid City, a new pedestrian bridge across Whitewood Creek and a new trail extending from the boardwalk to the section of reconstructed smokestack will be completed by the time snow descends on the Black Hills next fall, Nelson said.
Lead S.D. (KOTA TV) - The recent snow fall and low temperatures have increased the chances of the Terry Peak Ski Resort opening on time.
They have begun making snow. The snow guns have been blowing fresh sheets of snow across the mountain for a couple days now.
They started on Wednesday at about 9 pm.
This will continue through Saturday night on three different ski slopes.
The goal is to get between 18-24 inches of man-made snow packed on the mountain before opening.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for. We did receive about five inches from this last storm. Also with the cold temperatures the snow makers have been able to really put out some snow, and they will continue to do so until the temperatures will not allow it anymore, Terry Peak marketing director Linda Derosier said.
Snow makers will be hard at work until open.
“I’m track packing. Track packing the fresh snow so when the sun hits it, it will set up and start making a base,” said Timmy Leppert, Terry Peak snow operations manager.
The ski resort plans to open on Dec. 4 depending on weather conditions.
Pearl Hart, who participated in a turn-of-the-century stagecoach robbery, turned her life of crime into national fame
This piece is part of an ongoing series on the unsung women of history. Read more here.
Imagine an olden-timey stagecoach robbery complete with pounding horses’ hooves, masked assailants and a box of loot. Now imagine the bandits carrying out the daring crime. Do you envision a woman among them? Probably not—but it turns out that at least one of history’s most infamous stagecoach robbers was a 28-year-old woman.
On May 30, 1899, a woman cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and held up a stagecoach in Cage Springs Canyon, Ariz. Her name was Pearl Hart, and she was no stranger to a life of crime.
Hart, who was born to an affluent family in Canada around 1871, had long associated with gamblers, pimps and drug dealers—perhaps as a way of rebelling against the boarding school her parents shipped her off to as a teen. Her relationship with her first husband was volatile, and she followed him from Canada to Chicago, where he worked as a carnival barker and she attended the legendary Chicago World’s Fair.
There, she became fascinated by one of the fair’s most piquant attractions: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Though the rough-and-tumble Wild West was still in full effect in real life, Buffalo Bill Cody used the fair to promote his glamorized version of pioneer life. Hart, who later told a reporter she was “good-looking, desperate, discouraged, and ready for anything that might come,” was enthralled—so enthralled that she ran away with a piano player on a train headed West.
The next phase of Hart’s life is murky to historians. Conflicting reports say she spent her time as a cook, a performer or a prostitute, or possibly reunited with her husband. In either case, by 1899 she was cash-strapped and desperate. She joined forces with a man named Joe Boot, a down-on-his luck miner. The drifter and the desperate woman hatched a plan to rob a stagecoach en route to Florence, Ariz.
It didn’t go too well. Though Hart was able to get the money—about $425, minus a dollar she gave to each passenger so they could afford lunch when they reached their destination—she wasn’t great at the getaway part. After leaving the coach, the driver seems to have simply gone ahead on one of the horses to seek the sheriff. On the run (or simply lost), Hart and Boot escaped temporarily, but were apprehended while sleeping.
The very concept of a female stagecoach robber was enough to send Florence, Ariz.—and the national press—into a frenzy. Hart wasn’t a successful robber, but she turned out to be an ingenious self promoter. In her captivity, she found the opportunity to highlight her situation and burnish her own fame.
Hart was assailed by photographers and reporters, gave autographs, and was given gifts by admiring fans who called her “the Bandit Queen.” She didn’t give up, though; while awaiting trial she broke out of her lath and plaster prison cell and escaped briefly. She was caught, but her daring deed earned her even more attention.
The trial that followed was nothing short of a media sensation. Hart could—and did—play the demure victim when necessary. She told the jury that she desperately needed the cash to help her sick mother. She also complained about her inability to vote, declaring that “I shall not consent to be tried under a law in which my sex had no voice in making.”
The jury bought it and acquitted both bandits. But the outraged prosecutors who had brought the case immediately had her and Boot re-arrested, this time for tampering with U.S. Mail. This time, they were incarcerated in federal prison and found guilty.
Perhaps in deference to her sex, Hart was only given a five-year sentence. Boot, on the other hand, was condemned to 30 years. (He escaped and disappeared after just one year.)
Hart’s stay in federal prison in Yuma was just as eventful as her short stay in Florence. She was given her own special cell, allowed to give interviews, and allowed visitors. This led to a new form of escape. After serving just 18 months, she was set free after claiming to be pregnant. (No child materialized after her release, which calls that claim into question.)
“Quite a large number of people were at the depot to get a glimpse of Arizona’s famous female ex-bandit,” wrote a paper of her release, “and they were not disappointed…if there is one thing more than another that Pearl is not shy on, it is a fondness for notoriety.”
Hart lived up to that reputation. Not content to move on, she briefly joined the very show that had given her an itch to go west—then faded into the shadows of history.
Some claim that she married a man named Cal Bywater, changed her name and lived quietly into her 80s—an honest woman at last. Either way, during her brief criminal career she broke a barrier the Wild West didn’t realize could be challenged, proving that when it comes to grit and gun-slinging savvy, a woman could be just as dangerous as a man.
RAPID CITY, S.D. ( KOTA TV ) You may have seen this Black Hills free spirit with his skateboard and guitar in a variety of West River places.
There are sightings of him in the Badlands, near Rushmore Mall, the Library, along Interstate 90 and around the Lead - Deadwood area.
Andrew Valasek is becoming a Black Hills celebrity of sorts.
A 2003 graduate of Hill City High School with a wanderlust for Hollywood. Valasek went to California after high school but something his grand father told him brought him back to the Black Hills.
"I came back from California after checking out the whole Hollywood aspect." Andrew said, "My grandfather told me something that just kind of stuck with me. He said that, don't abandon the family, someone has done that before in the family and sticking in California is no good."
So Andrew moved back and just a few years ago while living in lead this musician made a rash decision when it came to his travels to Spearfish.
"I would skateboard the Spearfish Canyon from Lead to Spearfish when I went to get foods stamps and other items I needed to live." Andrew said, "It came down to where I had to sacrifice one or the other, the guitar or the skateboard and I was having a fit about it and I tried doing both and it worked out and its great."
Andrew shortly there after started skateboarding everywhere. He moved from Lead to Rapid City and on occasion will skateboard to Lead along Interstate 90 to hit the "amazing" food pantry the city has.
"My mom lives in Hill City so once in a while I'll skateboard out there to visit her." Andrew said, "My grandfather lives in Central Nebraska and Texas so when he's in Nebraska, I've visited him. That's been probably my longest trip in one straight shot, over 100 miles one way."
Why skateboard, why not get a bike, a scooter or car?
"Why skateboarding? Because it's great exercise and it's the most freedom as you can get, totally 100 percent." Andrew said, "With a car you have to have a payment, insurance and gas. I like my freedom."
Andrew uses that freedom, his $100 dollar skateboard and $200 dollar guitar as inspiration towards his songwriting.
"I just get so inspired being out here in the Black Hills." Andrew said, "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Asked how his family feels about his lifestyle?
"That got a little tricky," Andrew said, "Everyone tried to tell me what to do and it got really tense and I really didn't care for it. They've eased up so things are pretty good now."
It's now a way of life Andrew isn't going to change anytime soon.
"I just feel like I was blessed for respecting my grandfathers words and coming and skating the beautiful Black Hills." Andrew said.
Family means a lot to Andrew, he looks up to his grandfather and hopes to someday have a long lasting relationship that resembles his grandfather's. Andrew's parents are split up with his mother in Hill City and his father stationed in Alaska as a military recruiter.
"Divorce and separations are so hard on young kids," Andrew said, "It's so confusing to them and they don't need to be a part of that. I don't feel anyone should experience that."
Andrew is happy doing what he is doing. He is a song writer and musician and records his music and his place with his "expensive" guitar. An artist who likes to draw and create his own designs on his pants. He has a look that resembles Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He also posses the free spirit of a Huckleberry Finn, letting life take him where it wants.
You'll find this free spirit, roaming the Black Hills, the Badlands and anywhere else seems like a good place to go.
If you would like to contact Andrew to book a show, hear his music or follow him, look for him or contact him on his facebook page at:
Andrew would love to land a music gig in the Black Hills, hopes to earn a girlfriend some day and has his eye on a house on the south side of Rapid City.
Any future plans for a car?
"If I get a girlfriend and she has a car, I'll ride in it." Andrew said, "If it's a short distance I don't mind hoping on my board to go get something."
STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - A consortium of three Native American tribes - the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho of Oklahoma, the Northern Cheyenne of Montana and the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota...topped 21 other bidders to buy 270 acres of property near the Bear Butte monument near Sturgis for more than $1 million.
Irene Millin's family has owned the property for nearly 75 years and auctioneer Lonnie Arneson told the Rapid City Journal that Millins was surprised by the purchase price.
Bear Butte has cultural and religious significance to many tribes and Arneson says representatives of the consortium told him they didn't have plans to develop the property.
The Rosebud Sioux already own ground at the northwest corner of Bear Butte while the Northern Cheyenne already own over 500 acres around the mountain.
BLACK HILLS, S.D. (AP) — When Frank Garcia was only eight-years-old, when he remembers going to the library in West Tampa, Florida, and opening up a book about dinosaurs. The first page he saw featured a depiction of the massive ancient marine reptile called a mosasaur swimming in deep blue water.
"I saw that and I thought to myself, gosh that is so cool, I sure would like to find something like that someday," Garcia, now 70, said during a phone interview on Friday. "It fueled my passion for paleontology."
In October — more than 60 years since opening that book and after a long career as a world-renowned paleontologist — Garcia finally found what he had been looking for while on a dig in South Dakota, the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2f7QFFt ) reported.
"It's a dream come true for a child who never grew up," Garcia said with a laugh.
Garcia, his wife, Debby and his friend Gary Brown uncovered an extremely well-preserved skull of an ancient marine reptile within the mosasaurus genus along with several other pieces of the skeleton.
Peter Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, called the discovery "very significant." He said other mosasaurs have been found in South Dakota but nothing this complete.
"This looks to be the very nicest one from what I have seen," Larson said, adding that the Black Hills Institute has one partial fossil of a mosasaur. "It's definitely in the mosasaurus genus but it's unclear what the species is."
Larson said mosasaurs are closely related to the Komodo dragon of today but lived only in water. He said they would have been an air-breathing reptile that was carnivorous, could grow to more than 40 feet long and lived more than 60 million years ago.
"From the looks of this one, it's a nice big adult," Larson said.
Garcia moved to Edgemont two years ago after spending a career making significant discoveries in Florida, where he said it eventually got too crowded. Though he had a hand in the discovery of more than 30 previously unknown species of prehistoric animals and his work is featured in museums across the country, Garcia called last month's mosasaur discovery his "greatest thrill."
He wouldn't divulge exactly where the fossil was found but did say it was on private property near the Black Hills, in a Pierre Shale formation. He is afraid other fossil hunters may come bother the landowner if they knew its location.
He and his friend Gary Brown first found vertebra sticking out of the soil while on a fossil hunting mission in late October. They started clearing away the dirt to free the pieces of vertebra and hoping they would find more.
"I figured if I dug down just a little bit in the area, sure enough, we would start finding more," Garcia said.
After a day's work, he came back to the site with his wife the next morning. They sat down and started meticulously brushing away the small pieces of dirt in hope of uncovering more of the ancient reptile.
"As we started to dig, we found ribs and parts of its hand or flipper, all the time I kept thinking if we follow this spinal column, that head has to be here somewhere," Garcia said. "We uncovered more, and I was thinking 'This is the biggest thing I have ever seen.'"
Debby suggested digging under a small bush near where the rest of the fossils were found.
Fourteen inches below the surface under that bush, they found exactly what they were working for. A beautifully preserved, 4-foot long mosasaur skull with two 4-foot long jaws. Garcia figures with a head that large, this specimen would have been more than 50 feet long — about the size of a humpback whale.
The team was able to cast the fossils to protect them and remove them from the site. The skull alone weighed more than 300 pounds.
Garcia said he plans on working with the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research to prep the specimen. "It's going to be gorgeous once it is done," he said.
Garcia said Friday afternoon he plans on donating the find to the Museum at Black Hills Institute in Hill City.
"It was found in South Dakota, so I think it should stay here," Garcia said.
As for the name of the fossil, Garcia plans on calling it Debby, after his wife.
Gun-propelled nets streaked down from helicopters and engulfed wild elk last week in Wind Cave National Park as researchers began trapping animals in order to perform a long-term study of a fatal disease.
The researchers are capitalizing on an opportunity to monitor the effects of a large and swift reduction in the park’s overabundant elk herd. During the next few months, volunteers assisted by park staff will shoot and kill up to 300 elk, bringing the population down from 550 to around 250, with some of the meat going to a statewide hunger-relief group.
Among the surviving elk will be 40 cows that were fitted with neck collars during last week’s helicopter operation. The collars will transmit the location of the elk to researchers for several years, and when a period of inactivity indicates an elk has died, the carcass will be evaluated for causes of death including chronic wasting disease.
Researchers hope to learn whether the lower concentration of elk in the park will slow the spread of the disease, which struck the Wind Cave herd in 2002 and now afflicts an estimated 9.5 percent of the elk. The disease causes brain degeneration, emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.
Glen Sargeant, a research wildlife biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the 53-square-mile park — about 50 miles from Rapid City in the southern Black Hills — will be an excellent laboratory.
“We haven’t really understood the role that high population density plays in CWD transmission,” said Sargeant, who is based in Jamestown, N.D. “What we’re going to learn here is transferable to other places.”
The other places include Custer State Park, which shares a border and a colorful history of elk management with Wind Cave National Park. Elk are native to South Dakota but were hunted and pushed out during the settlement boom of the late 1800s. Elk from other Western states were brought to Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park in the early 1900s.
The elk thrived in both parks, and public hunting was used to help control numbers in the state park. The federal legislation that created Wind Cave National Park does not allow open public hunting, so park officials sold surplus elk until 1940, used shooters to conduct targeted thinning operations in the 1950s, and began transferring live elk to other tribal, federal and state agencies in the 1970s. The transfers continued until 1997, when the first case of CWD in a South Dakota elk was discovered in a captive herd on private land.
The termination of the transfer program left Wind Cave National Park with few options to control elk numbers, and the elk population grew to 800 by 2004. Around that same time, about 1,000 elk were roaming Custer State Park. Both numbers were higher than each park could sustain.
Then, elk numbers in Custer State Park began declining because of a combination of factors including hunting, predation by mountain lions and a migration outward of elk through vulnerable or open spots in park boundaries. The migrating elk might have been fleeing human visitors, who number nearly 2 million annually at Custer State Park compared with about 600,000 annually at Wind Cave, or they might have been fleeing increased logging activity resulting from a pine-beetle infestation.
“We don’t know for sure exactly what caused it, but we do know the population of elk in Custer State Park fell dramatically in a very short time,” said Mike Kintigh, Rapid City-based regional supervisor in the Wildlife Division of the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks.
The solution for high elk numbers at Wind Cave National Park and low elk numbers at Custer State Park seemed simple: Just push some elk from the national park over the shared boundary into the state park.
That was tried with the aid of horses and helicopters, but with little success. Some of the elk that were herded into Custer State Park exploited weak spots in the boundary fence to escape back into the national park, and many of the elk that did not escape back into the national park took up residence along the fence line, perpetually looking for a way to get through it.
“The elk were homebodies,” Kintigh said. “They did not want to leave Wind Cave.”
Meanwhile, an effort to allow a natural migration of Wind Cave elk out of the park through adjustable gates also met with little success.
With the relocation efforts failing and with research revealing a higher prevalence of CWD in the Wind Cave herd than park managers previously suspected, Custer State Park officials declined further elk from the national park, opting instead to grow their own herd in part by limiting hunting licenses.
Wind Cave officials needed another means of thinning their herd, and they settled on volunteer shooters. A lottery was conducted to select 48 volunteers from roughly 1,800 applicants.
From now through February, park staff will accompany the volunteers into the field. The volunteers will first be required to demonstrate their shooting proficiency and physical fitness; if they pass those tests, they will head out on hikes of many miles in pursuit of elk while shouldering packs weighing up to 70 pounds.
Harvested elk will be tested for CWD, and carcasses that are free of the disease will be processed. The volunteer shooters will be eligible to keep some of the meat, and the rest will be given to the nonprofit organization Feeding South Dakota.
Sargeant hopes that sacrificing some elk in the short run will yield findings about CWD to save more elk in the long run.
“Wind Cave is really unique in the sense that we’re about to have an opportunity to observe a fairly abrupt change in elk density, and observe population response to that,” Sargeant said. “That’s kind of a big deal.”
In a scene that is all too familiar in South Dakota, a big buck came suddenly out of the night and ran directly into the path of Alyssa Oberlander’s car not long ago.
There was nothing the 18-year-old from New Underwood could do to avoid a collision without endangering her own safety, she said.
“I wasn’t texting and driving, but I did look down for just a couple seconds, and when I looked up a deer was right in front of me,” said Oberlander, who decided her best option was not to try a desperation attempt to veer around the animal.
“I’d rather just damage my car than hurt myself,” she said.
Oberlander was driving her 2008 Chevrolet Impala about 10 miles west of Chamberlain on Interstate 90 when she slammed into the deer.
She was scared but not hurt, with the car’s right-front fender, headlight and hood taking the brunt of the impact. Her passenger side door was also dented in, she said.
"It was so loud," she said.
In South Dakota, the odds of a car-deer collision rise dramatically in the spring but especially so in the last three months of the year, peaking in late November when the rut, or deer mating season, is in full force.
“This is probably one of the worst times of the year, and it’s due in part to deer starting to move around, as we’re getting real close to the breeding season,” said John Kanta, regional wildlife manager with the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department.
Kanta said deer will be on the move in both spring and fall as they travel between winter and summer ranges. In the fall, bucks are aggressively seeking mating partners and in the spring, does are looking for a place to have their fawns, he said.
The start of the West River deer hunting season earlier this month also put deer on the move as they flee from hunters or are kicked up out of their beds.
“Hunting can certainly push deer around and get them moving around more,” Kanta said.
According to annual statistics compiled by State Farm Insurance, South Dakota ranks fifth among states for car-deer collisions, with motorists facing a 1-in-70 chance of hitting a deer anytime they're on the road.
West Virginia drivers have a 1-in-41 chance of hitting a deer, followed by Montana (1-in-58), Pennsylvania (1-in-67), Iowa (1-in-68) and then South Dakota.
Motorists elsewhere in the Northern Great Plains are also at high risk of a car-deer encounter of the expensive kind.
Minnesota is seventh, with a 1-in-80 chance. Wyoming follows in eighth (1-in-85), North Dakota is 11th (1-in-99), and Nebraska is 21st, with a 1-in-132 shot.
Smacking a deer will damage a car or truck but also deliver a hit to a driver's pocketbook.
According to statefarm.com, this past year the national average cost per car-deer damage claim was $3,995, down a bit from a $4,135 average cost in 2014-15.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety tracks wild animal collisions, including all animals — buffalo, deer, antelope, pheasants and geese.
Lee Axdahl, director of the state department of highway safety in Pierre, said the state averages about 4,600 reported wild animal hits each year, with an average of two fatalities and 82 injuries each year.
As of Nov. 3 of this year, 3,172 hits have been recorded, killing three and injuring 56.
Deer make up 97 percent of all wild animal collisions, and many of those strikes are not reported, Axdahl said.
“A lot of these semitrucks with the big bumpers will blow through a deer and just keep driving,” he said.
Peak times for deer movement are just before dawn and in the hours after sunset. Oberlander said her deer strike occurred about 8 p.m.
Kanta said deer move under cover of darkness looking for food.
Signed highway deer crossings are based on past incidents of deer strikes and may be near areas offering cover, food and water for animals, Axdahl said.
Axdahl said keeping eyes on the road is the best defense against any highway accident, whether it’s another car coming into a controlled intersection or a wild animal coming out of nowhere at night.
“Any of these things can happen in an instant, and nobody wakes up thinking that today is my day,” Axdahl said.
For those encountering a deer, it’s best not to swerve, which will increase the risk of losing control and rolling a vehicle.
Staying at or below the speed limit, particularly in known deer crossing areas, will increase chances of slowing to avoid a collision.
“Ideally you go straight on and that deer is going to move out of the way,” Kanta said. “What you end up with is your heart rate going up, you’re OK, but just a close call.”
Oberlander said she now drives with her bright headlights on as much as possible. Her car has been partially repaired with a new headlight, but she hopes to buy another car soon.
She is certain the impact killed the deer, and she also knows the outcome could have been far worse.
“I always said the deer committed suicide, I didn’t kill it,” she said.
DALLAS | The head of the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline said Friday that it won't be rerouted but that he'd like to meet with the head of an American Indian tribe to try to ease the tribe's concerns about the project.
Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, told The Associated Press that the company has no alternative than to stick to its plan for the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would ship oil from North Dakota to Illinois and which is nearly completed.
"There's not another way. We're building at that location," Warren said.
Warren said he would welcome the chance to meet with Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, to address the tribe's concerns that the pipeline skirting its reservation would endanger drinking water and cultural sites.
Archambault, who was with celebrity sympathizers who toured the tribe's protest encampment Friday, including the actors Shailene Woodley and Ezra Miller, said he'd be willing to meet with Warren but that he doesn't think it would make a difference.
"We already know what he's going to say — that this is the cleanest, safest pipeline ever," the chairman said."What he doesn't know is that this is still an issue for Standing Rock and all indigenous people."
The 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline is largely complete except for a section that would pump oil under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in southern North Dakota. The Standing Rock tribe fears that a leak could contaminate the drinking water on its nearby reservation and says the project also threatens sacred sites, which Warren disputes.
President Barack Obama earlier this month raised the possibility of rerouting the pipeline, and Archambault has told the AP that would be acceptable to the tribe as long as the new route wouldn't take it near the reservation.
Warren noted that the Dakota Access route parallels the existing Northern Border Pipeline, which crosses the Dakotas as it carries natural gas from Canada and the U.S. to the Chicago area.
"We're going to cross the river at that location," he said, calling it the "least impactful" site.
The Army Corps of Engineers in July granted ETP the permits needed for the crossing, but the agency decided in September that further analysis was warranted given the tribe's concerns. On Monday, the Corps called for even more study and tribal input.
ETP responded the next day by asking U.S. District Judge James Boasberg to declare that it has the right to lay pipe under Lake Oahe. The judge isn't likely to issue a decision until January, at the earliest.
The matter might linger until after President-Elect Donald Trump takes office. Trump, who owns stock in ETP, has said he wants to rebuild energy infrastructure.
"Do I think it's going to get easier? Of course," Warren said of the incoming administration. "If you're in the infrastructure business ... you need consistency, and you need rules and (regulations). And we need to follow those — everybody needs to follow them, including our own government. That's where this process has gotten off track."
In the meantime, the months of protests against the pipeline continue. There have been demonstrations at the protest encampment near the site of the proposed reservoir crossing and elsewhere, including at the state Capitol and state-owned Bank of North Dakota. About 500 people have been arrested, in total.
Warren called protests that became violent "repulsive," but he also said the company could have done some things differently.
"I think we could have had communication with state government before we did," he said. "That dialogue wasn't started until after we had a problem."
STURGIS, S.D. -- A 36-year-old Nebraska man who was hoping to have sex with a 15-year-old girl at the 2015 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been sentenced to four years in prison.Marcus Lee Dorsey of Loup City was convicted of attempted trafficking with respect to involuntary servitude and forced labor.
Dorsey was one of four men arrested in an undercover sex trafficking sting operation at the rally targeting persons willing to pay to have sex with underage girls obtained through the internet.
Dorsey responded to an online advertisement posted by Division of Criminal Investigation undercover agents, which purported to offer young girls for sex. Following several messages with a person Dorsey believed to be associated with a 15-year old girl, but who was in fact an undercover agent, he proceeded to negotiate the time and place they would meet, along with the price he would pay, which was $70.
The undercover operation and arrests were a joint effort between the DCI, the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Rapid City Police Department, and the Pennington County Sheriff’s office.
LEAD — Attendees at the fifth annual First Interstate Bank Lead-Deadwood Community Fund Business Luncheon Tuesday heard from keynote speaker and Commissioner of the Governor's Office of Economic Development Scott Stern, regarding his office's focus areas for the near future.
Stern said there are four areas that require attention, in order to grow South Dakota's economy, including: business development, workforce recruitment, community education, and local infrastructure.
"We have to grow the businesses in the state," Stern said. "What's important is the businesses we have here. For the 20,000 or so businesses we have in the state, in our office, we apply the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of our time should be spent expanding and helping each of these businesses in the state ... our greatest opportunity to grow is right here."
Stern said that because there is a huge demand for workforce in South Dakota, his office worked to bring in 23,500 non-farming industry employees over the last five years.
"Workforce recruitment is very important," Stern said. "That is the biggest challenge we have when people look at expanding their operations to South Dakota. They say we don't have enough workers."
In order to address the worker shortage, the governor's office has instituted a program to encourage the 70,000 or so students who have embarked on a secondary education career and never finished, the chance to do so.
"The state of South Dakota spent $1 million last year on workforce recruitment," Stern said. "We did it through digital, social and belly-to-belly guerrilla workforce recruitment."
His fourth and final focus point mentioned, Stern said the state would continue to support local infrastructure capabilities.
"The leadership we have right now believes in frugality," Stern said. "Our partners ... how we will get this done, includes each one of you in this room, along with local banks and economic development corporations ... remember that emotional currency you can't put a price tag on that I talked about earlier? What sells your communities is you."
Expanding on the idea of emotional currency and the types tools of economic development tools available and used across the state, Stern set forth the example of the low-interest Revolving Economic Development and Initiative (REDI) Fund, created in 1987 as a way to promote job growth in South Dakota and the type of state assistance used most prolifically in the Northern Hills area.
From 2003-2013, six REDI loans have been issued in the area in the amount of $3.1 million, which have generated $10 million in projects.
"The state supplies up to 45 percent of a project's total cost to be used for such things as land, construction, and equipment," Stern said. "The other 55 percent comes from banks and other financial institutions."
There is currently $52 million in the revolving fund, with $18 million committed and a total in the REDI loan fund of approximately $70 million.
Stern also mentioned the Community Development Block Grant, where monies go toward infrastructure support services.
"These are federal grant monies," Stern said. "In the last 13 years, $4.3 million in grants have been received in this area, resulting in $12 million in expansion projects."
Project locations for the block grant funds have included the Sturgis library, storm sewer projects in Whitewood, Lead, and other towns, and the Belle Fourche rail infrastructure.
Stern also shared the main components of the state's strategic plan focus areas.
"The Governor's Office of Economic Development's vision includes growing the South Dakota gross domestic product, expanding the property tax base and improving the quality of life of all South Dakotans," Stern said. "Collectively, South Dakota's gross domestic product is $46.7 billion. Property tax base expansion helps us fund schools, cities, counties and the services they provide ... If we can create opportunities for a South Dakota mom or dad to have a better job in order to enjoy a better quality of life, that's what we do."
Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville said he thinks the state is very fortunate to have someone like Stern.
"He has taken over an extremely important position and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise," Turbiviille said. "I think he is going to be a major asset in years to come."
Deadwood Lead Economic Development Director Lori Frederick said the Governor's Office of Economic Development has been a great partner and resource for local economic development and bring great value in assisting in all their programs and offerings.
During the question and answer portion of the program, Jerry Apa, former mayor of Lead, asked if Stern thought the closure of the visitor centers on this end of the state might impact tourism and hinder economic development.
"Using a football metaphor, I want to punt that," Stern said. "But those decisions were made before me."
He then offered to provide the data that drove those decisions.
In response to a question regarding whether or not the governor will put an emphasis behind vocational schools in this area, Stern said Daugaard is very committed to the vo-tech schools and has provided 300 full-scholarship grants to two-year programs for students across the state.
"We had 1,300 applications, and we could only give out 300," Stern said. "I wish we had more money to provide more ... the likelihood that these students will stay in South Dakota is extremely high. If we can get them to stay here, there is a huge demand for those types of workers."
Lead-Deadwood Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Leikvold said that four students from Lead-Deadwood High School were recipients of the grants last year and are attending welding school.
Leikvold explained that Stern was invited to speak after a board discussion and suggestion to feature Stern from community fund board member Casey Derflinger.
The Lead-Deadwood Community Fund, founded in 2010, is a non-profit organization designed to support area charitable, recreational, and educational organizations, as well as individuals living within the boundaries of the Lead-Deadwood School District.
"The biggest thing our benefactors like is that anything that's raised here, stays here, within the Lead-Deadwood School District boundaries," Derflinger said.
Their goal is to raise $250,000 over the next five years to help fund the grant program.
In 2001, reports Tom Griffith at the Rapid City Journal, archeologists in Deadwood, South Dakota, uncovered a cache of more than 200 coins while excavating part of the Old West city’s Chinatown. The coins were catalogued and in 2009 transferred to a storage facility in Deadwood's city hall. But recently, coin experts Margie and Kevin Akin took another look at the stash. While they found that many of the objects were brass religious medals or gaming tokens, one coin did stand out: an 1883 racketeer nickel.According to one tall tale, the racketeer nickel was developed after the U.S. mint issued the Liberty nickel in 1883. On one side it had the head of Liberty. On the obverse, it simply had the Roman numeral V and nowhere did it spell out its value as 5 cents. As it so happened, the nickel was close in size to the $5 gold piece, which had a similar design. So, as the story goes, a man named Josh Tatum began gold-plating the nickels and passing them off as $5 gold coins, for instance buying a 5-cent cigar then placing the coin on the counter and getting $4.95 in change. When he was finally caught, he was exonerated since he was unable to speak, and thus never actually misrepresented the currency.
While that story is apocryphal, the nickels are not. The problem is, points out Sarah Laskow at Atlas Obscura, they are easily faked and show up regularly on eBay. The Akins tell Griffith that the Deadwood nickel is only worth about 10 cents because of its poor condition, but that’s not the point. What makes the Deadwood coin special is that it may be the only racketeer nickel to actually show up in an archeological dig. The fact that it was found in situ in Deadwood gives it meaning even if it’s not valuable. “It’s pretty easy to plate a nickel,” says Kevin Akin. “It makes such a great story, but they’re fakes. None of them has the provenance of this particular coin, the Deadwood Racketeer Nickel.”
Griffith reports that newspaper accounts from Deadwood in 1880s say people weren’t actually trying to pass off the nickels at the poker table (and risk getting shot over the ruse). Instead, young men used the gold-plated coins as cuff buttons that “to the uninitiated look for all the world like genuine five-dollar gold pieces.”
Griffith reports that U.S. Treasury officials publicly scoffed at the idea that the coins could ever be used for counterfeiting, but that was probably just a smoke screen. Coin Trackers reports that they wised up and began printing the word “Cents” on the back of the coins starting in 1884. The nickel was produced until 1913 when it was replaced by the buffalo nickel.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/brief-history-racketeer-nickel-180961066/#7GZgw4YvPOde0P2P.99
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Eddie Perez was living in Los Angeles when he first discovered The Mavericks, but he was immediately drawn to their unique mix of neo-traditional country, rockabilly, Latin and Americana music.
"A few years later, in '96, my dad and I went to their concert, and I remember sitting in the audience and saying, 'I should play in that band,'" Perez said. "My dad asked, 'Really, you think so?' Yeah, I can play in that band."
Perez's idle thoughts at the time came true: after meeting the band in the late 1990s through a mutual friend before joining the band in 2003, and 13 years later he's a major part of the band as it tours across the country with a stop at the Deadwood Mountain Grand on Wednesday.
It's a second chance with the band, which broke up in 2004 following the tour for their self-titled sixth album. At that point, the group had become stars in the country music world, earning back-to-back Country Music Association awards for Vocal Group of the Year in 1995 and 1996 and a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with vocal for "Here Comes the Rain." Additional top 20 country hits included "There Goes My Heart," "O What a Thrill" and "All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down."
Perez had befriended Malo after moving to Nashville, joining him for solo concerts and impressing him after learning and playing several songs from both the Mavericks and Malo's solo repertoire.
"He said, 'hey man, I didn't know you play as well as you do,'" Perez said. "He asked me to join, as natural as that."
It had gone according to plan: Perez had noticed that an announcement for the Mavericks' plan for their next album didn't feature the guitar player.
"I did intend to plant that seed when I played with him," Perez said. "I didn't know it would work, I was just putting it out there."
Perez said that the transition as a musician was effortless, but being the new member in the short-lived 2003-2004 run didn't give him as much time to have his own input or influence on the group.
"I was so much younger, and I hadn't had a whole lot of road experience," Perez said. "It was a brand new experience and I was just trying to hold on, and being a new guy who's a little bit younger makes you the little brother with less input. You're still friends and they respect you as a person, but you're a spectator in a way."
After the band's breakup, Perez spent years working with Dwight Yoakam, Wynonna Judd and Miranda Lambert in the studio and on tour, but admitted he missed the camaraderie that came with being a part of the band. By 2011, there was talk of the band reuniting.
"At first it was a strange thing, with a lot of hurt feelings and unfinished business that came from lack of communication," Perez said. "But Raul had been writing songs he felt were Mavericks songs, and we started realizing there was something to the idea."
When the band sat down to cut "Back in Your Arms Again," the first track on their 2013 comeback, they came back together to see if they could still make music together. The track was finished in one take.
"We did it like that. it was the first thing we tried to record, and it was like no time had gone by at all," Perez said.
Malo remains the principle songwriter, but Perez says that the process has grown more inclusive and changed the energy of the band on both "In Time" and their 2015 album "Mono," both critical hits and Top Ten U.S. Country albums.
"I wish I had an answer to make me sound like a doctor or scientist when it comes to how it works," Perez said. "But the truth is, we all take our cues from Raul and try to find that special unknown something to add to it. There's no real rules. 'Does this go here?' 'I don't know, what does it feel like?' It's about trying to make you feel something."
Perez says that it helps that, as across the board music and audiophiles, they have diverse influences and are quick to recommend music to each other.
"It could be anything from Jimmy Rodgers and Hank Williams to Motley Crue and Van Halen or Linda Ronstadt," Perez said. "We've got a vast vocabulary of music, so there's a reason we play well together."
The Mavericks are now touring in conjunction with the Oct. 14 release of "All Night Live Volume 1," reflecting both their increased productiveness and popular live show (with 120 or more shows every year for the past 4 years) and the nostalgic feelings they draw upon, both as musicians and as fans of the now all-too-rare event of live releases.
"We wanted this to be as organic as it gets, so there are no overdubs, no nothing," Perez said. "It's celebrating a connection we have not just with fans, but all the people working with us."
It's become one of the most fruitful periods for the band (who are working on another studio album), and one of the most rewarding.
"At this moment, we're trying to capture all of the creativity that we can," Perez said. "It's very joyous, and has been the whole time this time around."
To purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or call 605-559-0386.
The Augustana University Vikings will add a local swimmer to its roster next fall, and she is from Deadwood.
Taylor Beagle is a senior at Lead-Deadwood High School and this fall she will be moving to Sioux Falls to swim for Augustana.
"I really liked the campus, I have family close by, I like the city and I felt like it was a good fit," Beagle said. "I really liked the Division II feel. It's challenging and if I need to see my family I can."
Beagle has swam for the Black Hills Gold Swim Team in Spearfish and has been under the supervision of head coach Brenda Hendricks for the last five years. Before that she swam for a swim club in Deadwood.
Now, she will be coached by Augustana's Lindsie Micko, who used to coach in Spearfish.
With no high school swimming in South Dakota Beagle said an important part of her recruitment was how connected all the coaches for the state club teams are with the college coaches.
"In South Dakota, because there isn't high school swimming the coaches all know each other," she said. "Lindsie (Micko) used to coach here, and one way or another we knew all the coaches that recruited me."
She said she wasn't sure what events she would be swimming in at Augustana. She swam in individual medleys and distance races, and she said she imagined those are the races she will participate in during her college career.
Beagle was recruited by other schools but decided that going to Sioux Falls was going to be the best decision for her.
"It was a difficult decision because I liked the other coaches we went to visit and all the campuses we went too," she said. "It was a difficult decision but I felt like Augustana was where I was going to fit in best."
It is the close of another volleyball season in South Dakota, and the Black Hills Conference has announced who has made its all-conference team.Custer, who was 9-0 in conference play last season, led the way with six selections to the team including Jordan Menken, Marlee Schneider, Morgan Parys and Lisi Baker made the team with Ashlee Kritenbrink and Leah Zacher making the honorable mention team.
Douglas had five selections and went 7-2 in the conference. It put Destinee Woolett, Alisha Davis and Alisha Gleason with Amber Girtz and Jeslyn Jindra being named honorable mentions.
Belle Fourche was in the same position, it went 7-2 and had five selections as well.
Bret Woelber, Sierra Ward and Bricee Bisgaard made the team while Dylana Ward and Tiann Garman were honorable mentions.
St. Thomas More had four selections and went 6-3. For the Cavaliers, Dru Glyten and Alana Brown made the team while Phebie Rossi and Sophia Gomez make the honorable mention team.
The 5-4 Hill City Rangers had three selections, including Brittney Arnold who made the team. Tatum Henderson and Nicole Ballard were honorable mentions.
The rest of the team consisted of Holly Gerberding from Sturgis, Emma Murphy from Spearfish, Carolyn Groeger from Lead-Deadwood, Elizabeth Lockhart from Hot Springs and Alanna Holiday from Red Cloud.
Donni Bruch and Brook Janz made the honorable mentions list from Sturgis. Mikayla Koistinen and Sydney Knutson from Spearfish, Miranda Luze and Alexis Simpson from Lead-Deadwood also made the list.
Madison Russell and Diamond Miller made the honorable mention list from Hot Springs, and Mariah McGhee and Jasmine Derby made the list from Red Cloud.
Rushmore's drop another one run game in tournament
Another day, another one-run loss for the South Dakota Rushmores at the Roy Hobbs 70 and over championships down in Ft. Myers.
South Dakota dropped the game 7-6 to Toledo after it came back in the ninth inning.
Howie Birch and Doug Stamo both had two hits and drove in one run during the game.
Kent Rolfing scored one run and had two hits.
South Dakota takes on the Minnesota Saints today.
Join us Saturday the 26th from 5pm-8pm in the Charlie Utter Theater. We will have 16 vendors for you to shop from and the best part is we supply the WINE!
Monday night's full moon was 30 percent brighter and appeared 16 percent larger then the average full moon because of its proximity to Earth. The next time the moon will appear this large won't be until 2034.
DEADWOOD | There’s a moose on the loose in them ‘thar hills.
The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department confirmed Thursday that its staff has been monitoring relatively rare but repeated reports of a cow moose moving in a northerly direction through the central and northern Black Hills.
The moose was first spotted by the GF&P in March near Crazy Horse Memorial as wildlife officials conducted an aerial survey for elk, according to Regional Wildlife Manager Trenton Haffley. Since then, reports of a moose sighted near Hill City and Deerfield Reservoir, and later on Rochford Road south of Lead, have been made to the agency, he said.
“It’s somewhat rare, but it’s not overly alarming and nothing we are concerned about,” Haffley said Thursday from his Rapid City office. “If she’s been hanging around out there for a few months, people probably just quit calling us.”
Carol and Ralph Reausaw, who live in Spearfish Canyon, spotted the moose in October off Rochford Road near the Lead Country Club and quickly reported it to the GF&P.
“It was just after dark and we were driving on this gravel road and it walked right across the road in front of us,” Carol Reausaw said Friday from Arizona. “It was such a shock. We said, 'It’s a deer, it’s an elk — no it’s a moose.’”
The Reausaws watched as the animal, the first moose they had ever seen in the Black Hills, scurried through the ditch and vanished into the trees.
Though rare, Haffley noted moose have been spotted in the Black Hills several times in recent years. Moose are far more common in Canada or the northern woods of Minnesota than in the Dakotas.
In July 2015, another misplaced moose was spotted and photographed near Timber Lake in northcentral South Dakota, according to Associated Press reports. In October 2009, a young bull moose that had earlier been spotted browsing in Custer State Park and swimming in Pactola Reservoir was killed by a poacher.
In September 2003, GF&P conservation officers shot and killed a moose in the front yard of a home in the 3600 block of West Main Street in Rapid City. The agency later said the animal had posed a danger to the public.
On Thursday, Haffley predicted that the latest moose in the area eventually would wander off to a more friendly environment.
“We don’t feel the habitat is terribly suited to moose in the Black Hills,” the wildlife official said. “Eventually they’ll realize this isn’t the place for them and move on.”
Rumors had also surfaced recently of a bull moose being seen several times in the area near Wall east of Rapid City, though that was not confirmed.