Keystone hosts Victorian Christmas

Thursday, November 20, 2014

By Bev Pechan

Old Keystone in wintertime with a fresh blanket of snow very much resembles scenes from an old Currier and Ives Christmas card. From the bell tower of its old school to the stained glass windows of the congregational – or UCC – church, both dating to the 1890s, the look is peaceful and homey.

That is the effect the Holy Terror Days Association has created in the seven years of the event’s existence. Monies received through table rentals and other items provided are used to give back to the community in charitable ways over the next year and have included helping some residents pay heating or food costs, providing gift certificates and generally helping Keystone families where there is a need.

In the meantime, even though there is a lot of work to be done, the group has fun. Christmas trees are donated or sold for a minimal cost through the generosity of area thrift stores. These in turn can be selected by local merchants or individuals who decorate them and donate them to the silent auction, held throughout the day. It has been a primary fundraiser for the group’s efforts and often has resulted in good-natured bidding wars between two or more parties, adding to the spirit of the festivities. Besides individuals and families who set up booths, some commercial venues are also represented, as are local organizations, such as the Keystone Senior Citizens’ Center. This year, the center decided to add a new twist to their bake sale. Center manager Karen Root spent hours baking her treats, as did other center members, deciding for the first time to sell the sweets by the pound by mix-and-match choice. The center also raffled off a Raggedy Ann and Andy gift basket and a basket of packaged food products.

The two Pattys – Cofoid and Songstad – provided an interesting array of handmade quilts and baby items and vintage gift items and handbags. Tom Dakota of Custer had handmade jewelry from native stones and some antique items. You could book a candle party or check out the other booths with candles and scents while listening to traditional Christmas songs.  Hot, homemade food was popular as the cold nipped noses outside.

This week, Saturday, Nov. 22, Keystone’s community center will be the location of the annual Turkey Bingo and Potluck at 4 p.m.


Mountain lion killed

By Kacie Svoboda

Last week, a mountain lion was spotted around the south side of Hill City near Black Hills Trailside Park Resort.

The healthy, approximately 1½-year-old female had buried a deer kill under some pine needles, posing a public safety issue because of the likelihood it would return to the area and the kill’s proximity to residents.

According to Blanche Farrar of Everything Prehistoric, the deer was buried only about 60 yards from her doorstep.

According to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) regional wildlife manager, John Kanta, mountain lion specialist Jack Alexander of Pringle was called in to address the situation. The GF&P sent out specially trained hounds to chase the lion away or tree it. However, they were unable to catch up with it, so the GF&P waited near the deer kill.

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Garden club decks the halls with holiday greenery

DECORATING — Garden club member Sandy Frank trims the decorative kinnikinnick on one of the club’s many holiday wreaths. [PN Photo/KACIE SVOBODA]

By Kacie Svoboda

For about 15 years, The Hill City Evergreen Garden Club has been making and selling holiday wreaths as its annual fundraiser.  From the humble beginnings of this project that began in a member’s garage, using coat hangers to mold the wreaths, the fundraiser has expanded to producing a professional quality product.

The club now uses specialized tables with clamps to squeeze the greens onto actual wreath forms, which include the traditional circle as well as more creative candy canes and crosses.

The wreaths have become so popular that now the club makes them only by pre-order. This year, they have about 160 wreaths to make for both commercial and residential clients and were sold out as early as Nov. 5.

Prices range from $20 for the smallest swags to $65 for an extra large wreath. Those who order can designate their preferred ribbon color or even take a look at the club’s massive selection and pick their own.

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High school drama department puts on dinner theatre who-dunnit

Wedding song cast —  The cast of the high school drama department’s dinner theatre production of “Wedding Song” pose in character. Pictured from left, back row: Angel Simental, Woodlin Smith, Madison Busetti, Sadie Dillon, Micah Pennel, Cooper Timm, Taylor Sandven, Tori Lind, Hannah Goloda Wilson, Jasmine Britton; front row: Ryan Stremick, Courtney Welu, Jordyn Vaughn, Molly Anderson. Not pictured are Katie Jacobs and Sammy Fowler. See them all in action Nov. 20-22 in the Hill City High School Commons. [Submitted Photo]

For a night of great food and entertainment, look no further than to the Hill City High School drama department’s dinner theatre production of “Wedding Song” by David Moberg.

Set against the backdrop of a wedding, patrons will be treated as guests of the ceremony from the moment they walk through the door and sign the guestbook.

However, things at the wedding soon go awry and the audience of “wedding guests” become active participants in a murder mystery.

The rest of the evening will be spent helping the cast figure out the whodunit.

The play is a comedy at heart and the actors will interact with the audience throughout the performance.  In addition to this light-hearted fare, guests will also be treated to a wedding meal of penne pasta with grilled chicken and creamy marina sauce, with a side salad and dinner rolls. The meal will be rounded out with punch and even wedding cake and cupcakes for dessert.

This dinner theatre event will be held in the High School Commons on the evenings of Nov. 20-22, starting at 6 p.m. each night.

Ticket prices for the event will be $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and $5 for students.  Because of the dinner and limited seating opportunities, tickets will only be sold in advance.

All cast and crew members will have tickets available for sale. In addition, tickets may be purchased from Bryon Christian or Lori Jones at the high school. They can be reached at 574-3000.


Black Hills Bronze owners cast new future

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Final Pour — Workers at  Black Hills Bronze pour molten bronze into a mold. The foundry will pour its last load of metal on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in its facility in Hill City. [Submitted Photo]

By Kristin Standard

Black Hills Bronze, the region’s fine arts foundry located in Hill City, will close the business by the end of the year. A finale celebration—including the company’s final bronze metal pour, an art sale, a book signing by author Marcia Mitchell, beverages by Prairie Berry and live music by James Van Nuys—will occur on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. at the facility.

Owners Grant and Kristin Standard have dedicated nine years to the company, which grew in stages over that period and the company has been pouring its own metal castings since 2011. The Standards also assisted the Hill City Arts Council in launching and maintaining the area’s only juried art show, Sculpture in the Hills, an annual June art sale featuring sculptors from across the country.

Bronze foundries primarily serve sculptors, although they can produce other products, such as vehicle or industrial parts. The company has made castings for all of the area’s prominent sculptors—including Dale Lamphere, John Lopez, Peggy Detmers, James Van Nuys, Jim Maher and the sculpting team of Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby.

It produced more than half of the president sculptures for Rapid City streets as well as other monuments, such as the new Van Nuys’s war memorial eagle recently installed at the Sixth Street Memorial Park Promenade and “Grubby,” the life-sized mascot at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

“It’s been an honor to work with our area’s finest artists,” Grant said. “Each of them has a vision and you can see it in the artwork they produce. As a metal finisher, I make sure that what I do enhances what they do.”

However, in the last several years, trends in the marketplace have shifted, causing what Grant called “a tightening of the belt” for artists, galleries and therefore service providers. As local demand for this kind of work lessened, the foundry has gradually downsized until owners decided the venture has run its course. The foundry anticipates completing all in-process projects by early December.

“In larger cities with a deeper reserve of clients, foundries have bounced back strongly,” Kristin said. “Cities, architects and builders are again commissioning monuments and artists are working—which makes work for foundries. Not so in our area, at least not yet.”

The foundry has trained many workers over the last decade in the skills required for bronze art production. Those most suited for the heavier jobs can find work in the building trades or in welding shops—especially with the boom related to oil development in North Dakota.

Both a master metal finisher and artist, Grant is considering his next move. Highly trained in the very particular work associated with bronze art, he also has worked in metal fabrication companies and is a certified welder.

“It’s the end of an era,” he said. “We’ll just have to see what happens with the market and how I can use my skills.”

Kristin is a writer best known for her work on the book Rex Appeal, the story about Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex and Sue’s paleontologist Peter Larson, president of Black Hills Institute in Hill City.
The tale is chronicled in a documentary called “Dinosaur 13,” which was made by director Todd Douglas Miller and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

She also became a fixture at Black Hills Bronze, where she managed business operations at the company—something she had to learn on the fly.

“I told my husband I would help him get his foundry started, but I didn’t realize I would be running a manufacturing business for nine years,” Kristin said. “It’s been a real learning experience and I’ve loved it, but I have writing projects lined up that will keep me busy for the next five years.”

Grant moved to the area a decade ago when he was asked to join a foundry venture slated for Hot Springs. A veteran of the “bronze capital” of North America in Loveland, Colo, He decided to open his own more modest facility when the Hot Springs company did not materialize. That’s when he set his sights on the arts-centric community of Hill City, his wife Kristin’s hometown.

“Hill City has been wonderful for us, but the world of business is always changing,” Kristin said. “We’re sure this is not the end of bronze in the Black Hills, but we’ll all just have to wait and see what the industry will offer next.”

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Girlfriends find fun, treasure in Hill City

WINNING GIRLFRIEND – There was something for everyone on Girlfriends Weekend, but Kate Frentz of Hill City was the grand prize winner of a basket of gifts totaling $915. She stood with organizers for the event, back, from left, Blanche Farrar Pam Wynia; front, Frentz, Dawna Kruse and Lorena Freis. Not pictured from the planning committee is Anita Peters. [PN Photo/CAROL WALKER]

By Carol Walker

Women of all ages made the circuit of shops in Hill City Nov. 7-8 to participate in the Second Annual Girlfriends Weekend. Those with stamps on their passports from at least 25 of the 33 participating stores could enter their name in a drawing for a grand prize basket of gifts worth $915. This year the winner was Kate Frentz of Hill City.

The person who came the farthest for the event was from Washington, D.C.  Lexie Kaufman of Rapid City, age 12, was the youngest participant at the drawing, and Bev Howie of Hill City, 87, was the oldest participant. Both received prizes as well.

“This weekend was bigger than last year, and there were some people who stayed both days. The great majority of women participated on Saturday. Everybody said it was great. The merchants loved it and the women loved it,” said Lorena Freis, one of the organizers for the event along with Dawna Kruse, Blanche Farrar, Pam Wynia and Anita Peters.

Last year it was a one-day event and participants found it hard to get to so many shops in one day, so organizers decided to expand it to two days. Women were on the streets both Friday and Saturday. A style show on Friday night at the Best Western Golden Spike Inn and Suites featured more than 80 outfits from seven different businesses. Jackets and Jewels, DJ’s Boutique, Bloom, Warrior’s Work, Granite Sports, Jewel of the West and the Handbag Store all had outfits and accessories displayed at the show. Best Western and Jackets and Jewels provided refreshments for the women at the show.

Each of the shops had a photograph of Hill City taken by Judy Larson hidden somewhere. Participants had to find the photograph before their passport could be stamped.

At the end of the week when all the extra passports have been collected from around town organizers will be able to calculate how many women attended the event. Lorena Freis said they do know that about 140 names were entered in the drawing, which meant those individuals visited at least 25 stores.
Women shopping, talking and eating together is a sure recipe for fun. It looks like the fun will continue as a date of Nov. 6-7 has already been set for 2015. Ladies, time to mark your calendars.


Ripley’s museum buys ‘Eagle Bike’

THE EAGLE BIKE – has been purchased by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Orlando, Fla. It left Keystone Friday enroute to its new home. [PN Photo/BEV PECHAN]

By Bev Pechan

Last summer during the Sturgis Rally, Jarrett Dahl of Dahl Brothers Chainsaw Art in Keystone was set up across from the Broken Spoke Saloon with several of their chainsaw-carved eagles and bears. Included in the display was the ‘Eagle Bike,’ a larger-than-life eagle image carved into a motorcycle shape. Dahl said he noticed a man looking at the carving, but they didn’t speak to one another. The man just picked up a promotional brochure and left.

Dahl was to find out the man, Edward Meyers, was connected to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! “Odditorium” Museum in Orlando, Fla., and a month later, he contacted Dahl, telling him the board of directors was interested in acquiring the piece for the museum.

Dahl told reporters last Friday that the man was also interested in the symbolic epic-sized Indian holding an eagle aloft and the triple eagle carving, but that was not doable at this time. The eagle fetched a price of $25,000 and was loaded Friday, Nov. 7, for the trip south, with Jarret Dahl transporting it personally halfway.

The Eagle Bike, which has been a popular attraction in Keystone the past four years, began life as a 25-foot cottonwood tree in Madison County in southern Minnesota. According to Dahl, it and one other cottonwood, considered the largest in the area, were removed to make room for a car dealership. At the same time, Jarret and his younger brother, Jordan, were contemplating coming up with an unusual piece to feature at the Sturgis Rally which pertained to bikers. Jarret conceived the idea about a year after they acquired the two huge logs, one of which had tipped over during the winter, giving Jarret the idea for a horizontal work.

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