‘Dinosaur 13’ wins Emmy

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Smiling Sue — Sue has plenty of reasons to smile since “Dinosaur 13,” the story of her discovery and the conflict it encited, won the Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming. [PN File Photo]

By Kacie Svoboda

“Dinosaur 13,” the documentary film about “Sue” — the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, won the Emmy for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming during the 36th Annual News and Documentary Awards on Monday, Sept. 28. “Dinosaur 13” beat out four other nominees to take the honor.

“Dinosaur 13” tells the story of the discovery of “Sue” in 1990 by Hill City’s Black Hills Institute of Geological Research paleontologist Pete Larson and his team and the ensuing conflict between Native Americans, the federal government and museums over the ownership of the dinosaur.

The documentary was produced and directed by Todd Miller and is based on the book “Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law and My Life” by Larson and Kristin Donnan. The film was broadcast on CNN.


50th Roundup rumbles to new record

HERE THEY COME! — The buffalo made the crowds’ wait worthwhile when they ran toward the crowd, kicking up dust. The herd will be branded, vaccinated and culled down to about 900 head, with the rest to be sold at the Custer State Park Buffalo Auction in November. [PN Photo/KACIE SVOBODA]

By Kacie Svoboda

All conversation stopped when the tiny dots of the one-ton, brown-backed bison crested the ridge. The Custer State Park (CSP) buffalo herd kicked up dust across the golden prairie toward a record number of attendees at the 50th anniversary Buffalo Roundup. Approximately 21,500 people — substantially more than the usual average of 14,000 attendees — rose early and set up on the CSP slopes to view the herd and get a taste of Black Hills living history.

With this many more attendees, the stampede was delayed about 30 minutes as park personnel strove to find space for everyone and dealt with coordination problems. Visitor services coordinator Craig Pugsley found trying to park around 5,000 vehicles the most challenging part of this year’s event, even with an expanded parking area arranged to accommodate the higher attendance.

“I think it went real good,” commented six-time seasonal Roundup volunteer Oliver Tollefson. “It went off a little late due to logistical issues.”

Tollefson has worked as a traffic control coordinator, directing vehicles through the parking process for two years now. He noted that there were “many, many more vehicles” this year and he also saw more people who had come specifically to see the event.

A group of friends originally from Minnesota traveled to the 50th Roundup for their annual girls trip for a variety of reasons, ranging from the beautiful scenery and the grandeur of the buffalo to the cowboys. Group member Cindy Brinker of Las Vegas, Nev., planned the trip based on a South Dakota travel guide.

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Keystone works on ADA compliance

By Bev Pechan

The town of Keystone is mulling over its continuing list of places and things that need to be addressed within the confines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Over time, upgrades to city property have been required, making public areas accessible to handicapped persons. While several efforts have been made in the past to become compliant, new construction and remodeling projects continue to move the need for more regulation forward. Along with accommodating the handicapped, state law compels communities to incorporate safety measures that are easily accessible by all.

Earlier this year, Barb and Walt Digmann, owners of the Keystone Country Store in old Keystone, were informed by the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) that their gas pump may be in the state right-of-way and may have to be moved. “We’re going to wait and see what happens,” Barb Digmann told the Prevailer recently. “We’ve been told that this may go higher than the local level,” due to the way roads were reconstructed after the 1972 flood, she said.

Town board president Nikki Ball concurs with the Digmanns’ take on the matter. “(Trustee) Kwinn Neff wanted to send a letter to the DOT because a pump is needed (in town),” Ball said, but he was told to hold off for the time being so other information could be attained. “We’re not even sure the road is where it’s supposed to be after the flood.”

Available only in the print version of the Hill City Prevailer News. To subscribe, call (605) 574-2538.


SD images are everywhere

By Bev Pechan

We probably don't think about it much, but South Dakota is on the map and in the news much more than we perhaps realize. Everyone knows about the iconic image of Mount Rushmore, though lots of Americans still don’t have a clue where it is located. Great things and great people have come out of South Dakota and have been absorbed in our culture and our history more often than is realized.

When “Dances With Wolves” first hit the screen in 1990, the spinoff publicity fed tourism coffers for at least the next 20 years. Then there was the Sue story — a true story about the world’s largest T. rex and her rise to fame via South Dakota’s longest and costliest lawsuit and more recently, the release of the movie “Dinosaur 13,” a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Lots of firsts happened in our state, too. Each year the Custer State Park buffalo roundup and auction gets a bigger fan base. Sturgis and the motorcycle craze needs no further mention.

Then there was the “Deadwood” television series that put us on the map all over again. I finally watched it for the first time a couple months ago on home video with mixed feelings. The settings, etc., were well done. The vocabulary was a turnoff and words and terms were used that I’m certain were unknown during that period. That said, I had difficulty understanding why no one apparently bothered to get actors who resembled the characters they were portraying. Carradine as Wild Bill Hickok was maybe the closest and, though I have never seen a photo of Al Swearingen, I could imagine him resembling the actor who played him. Calamity Jane did a great job of showing her character, though the likeness was way off the mark, and Charley Utter and Seth Bullock were perhaps the worst. In real life, Utter did not wear a derby, he wore the buckskins of a mountain man and had the long, dark beard to go with it. Seth Bullock is instantly recognized in old photos by his large, hooked nose and huge, bushy mustache that drooped at the corners —certainly not the baby-faced characterization we see on the screen. He looked more like Sandra to me.

I’m thinking about this because I have been watching lots of old movies and TV shows on retro channels while I am in Minnesota. Nearly every day, it seems like someone mentions Deadwood, the Black Hills, Sitting Bull, Hickok or Custer. Often times the scenery is vintage Arizona, but the names stick with you. Countless movie characters use Cheyenne as a monicker. Indians wear black wigs that appear to be made of yarn, but then, one of the most iconic of Indian figures — Iron Eyes Cody — was found upon his death to be Italian with no connection to any tribe. Russell Means and Floyd Westerman went to Hollywood and gave outstanding performances representing Indian country.

South Dakota gained worldwide notice when the Stratophere flights took place near Rapid City in the 1930s — the beginning of America’s space program. In the 1940s, the Black Hills was in the top running for the world headquarters of the United Nations.It was beat out by New York in the end, but it almost happened and there are blueprints to prove it. No other place in the world has the world’s largest sculpture (Crazy Horse) and the life-size bronze figures of our American Presidents — all the way from number one to G.W.Bush — cost $50,000 each and created by superb South Dakota sculptors. Locals often take them for granted and many Rapid City children I am told have never been to see “the faces,” but the outside world can tell you about our history.

We have pigtail bridges and mountain lions. The movie “Hidalgo” starring Viggo Mortensen was about a man from South Dakota and his horse. Mountaineer Jedediah Smith was mauled by a bear and crawled for months to reach civilization, living on bugs, snakes and rodents. Just as amazing was the feat of his biographer, South Dakota's Frederick Manfred, who repeated much of Smith’s ordeal to tell the story in his classic “Lord Grizzly.” Laura Ingalls Wilder made prairie life palatable by printing only her best recollections of the many hardships her family endured.

Famous people came from South Dakota, where they learned to work hard and to be resilient. Athletes Jim Thorpe, Casey Tibbs and Sparky Anderson helped put us on the map. Jim Abnor, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Tom Daschle and Bill Janklow defined politics during their eras. V.J. Skutt grew up near Faith and founded Mutual of Omaha. Tom Brokaw fondly recalls his youth in South Dakota, as did Al Neuharth, founder of USAToday. There’s more, of course, but you get the general idea.


Robert (Bob) Lee Black

Robert (Bob) Lee Black was born on Feb. 2, 1930, in Mitchell, S.D., to Charles and Valeria Black. He spent his early years in Tripp, S.D., before settling in Rapid City where he graduated from Rapid City High School. Bob worked for the Bureau of Reclamation before enlisting in the Navy, where he served his country on the USS Boxer from 1948-1951.

Bob worked for NW Bell for 37 years. His career took him from Belle Fourche, Rapid City, Philip, Huron and Sioux Falls in South Dakota to Casper, Wyo., and finally to Denver, Colo.

After retiring, Bob and his wife Gayle settled in the Black Hills, where he was active in the South Dakota Snowmobile Association — serving as president from 1995-1997. He had an uncanny resemblance to the Gunsmoke TV character, Matt Dillon, so his participation in the Hill City Shootout was always favorably received by the summertime tourists.

Bob was always an enthusiastic community volunteer. He was an announcer for Huron American Legion baseball and was instrumental in bringing the Huron Little League under the stewardship of the American Legion. He was also a high school football referee. After retirement, Bob was active in the Telephone Pioneers, serving as State President for two years.

Bob of Hill City passed away on Sept. 23 under the loving care of Rapid City Hospice House. He is survived by his wife Gayle; his sister Judith Black of Spearfish; his children Stephen (Cindy) Black, Leann Black Mueller, Christopher Black and Anthony (Mindy) Black, six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; stepdaughters Lynn (Michael) Grout, Judy (Rod) Lindstrom and five step-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Betty Lou Black.

Private family services will be held at a later date.

Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home is in care of the arrangements and condolences may be conveyed to the family at Behrens-Wilson.com.


Ronald Eckert

Ronald Eckert was born March 19, 1937, in Keystone, S.D. He lived most of his life Vista, Calif., until moving to South Carolina in 2006.

He served in the USMC and was a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart recipient before retiring in 1974.

Ronald, 78, died Sept. 10, 2015.

Ronald is survived by his wife, Dora Botero of Fort Mill, S.C.; son, Jeffrey (Karen) Eckert of Port Richey, Fla.; daughter Beth (William) Gebbie of Fallbrook, Calif.; grandchildren, Brittney Mata of Oceanside, Calif., and Emma Eckert of Port Richey; great-granddaughters, Isabella and Amelia of Oceanside; and other relatives and friends.

A funeral service will be held at a later date at Fort Myer Old Post Chapel in Arlington National Cemetery of Arlington, Va.

Arrangements are in care of Heritage Funeral Home of Indian Trail, N.C. Condolences may be left at HeritageCares.com


Full service dentistry set up in Hill City

Thursday, September 24, 2015

FULL SERVICE — Dr. Melissa Rupert offers full service dentistry at Hill City Dental on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rupert, left, works on a patient and is assisted by Carrie Stalcup, in back, and Diann Asher. [PN Photo/CAROL WALKER]

By Carol Walker

Some Hill City residents are smiling a little bigger these days because they didn’t have to travel out of town to find dental care, but rather have taken advantage of the general dentistry services offered right in town at Hill City Dental. Dr. Melissa Rupert, the new dentist in town, and the members of her staff are seeing patients in the clinic tucked between Sentinel Credit Union and Hill City Hardware Store.

Rupert has roots in South Dakota, having been born here and attending elementary school in Yankton. Her father was in the newspaper business, which meant the family moved quite a bit to locations throughout the Midwest. Currently, most of her family and extended family live in South Dakota and her husband’s family members live mainly in Nebraska and Iowa.

Her husband, Brian Rupert, works for himself from home as a web developer. Their son Luke is in fourth grade, and Max is in second grade at Hill City Elementary School.

“I wanted to get back to my home state and was looking for a smaller community. I also knew Hill City had not had a dentist for some time. My brother-in-law, Dr. Chad Carpenter, a dentist in Rapid City, also was interested in helping Hill City get a dentist.  He knew it was a great community and so we collaborated and jumped in,” said Melissa.

Hill City Dental now is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a full staff, including receptionists Karen Carpenter and Debbie Olson, two dental assistants, Carrie Stalcup and Diann Asher, and a dental hygienist, Abby Fisher, who is there on Tuesdays. Hygiene services are also offered on Wednesdays.

Rupert is fairly new to the dentistry profession, having previously attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln to receive a degree in accounting.

“I worked in Omaha for Arthur Andersen for a few years and then in Fort Collins for about five more years for a local firm before moving back to South Dakota to be a stay-at-home mom for awhile,” said Rupert.

She enjoyed the accounting work, but wished for more interaction with people and decided dentistry was a way for her to meet that desire in a profession. She was accepted at dental school at the University of Iowa in Iowa City where she completed her work and passed her board exams last spring.

In July, the dental clinic sponsored a community barbeque, mainly to meet people from the area. According to Rupert, they had a great turnout and met quite a few people from Hill City, as well as a few tourists.

“We are really excited about living in this place where people come to vacation. We’ve been having fun exploring the Hills, working on our house and meeting people in the community. We have a great bunch of neighbors as well,” said Rupert.

She added, “People have been really welcoming. I’ve been asking many of my patients if they’ve lived in Hill City a long time. Regardless of whether it’s a long time or a short time, I’ve noticed almost without fail, when asked, people say they love it here and are glad to live here. I’s really encouraging.”