Elections to be held

Thursday, October 30, 2014

By Carrie Moore

With races and ballot measures for local, state and national selections, voters across South Dakota will have a lot to think about when they step into the polling booth Tuesday, Nov. 4.

In the sole local race, Pennington county voters will select a new commissioner in the fifth ward. The race is between Republican candidate Ron Buskerud and Independent Aaron Sammeli. The winner will serve a four-year term.

In the District 30 House of Representative state race, incumbents Lance Russell of Hot Springs and Mike Verchio of Hill City, both Republicans, are running against challenger Gardner Gray of Pringle, an Independent. The position is for a two-year term.

Voters will also have a decision to make for the Seventh Circuit Court Judge spot, an eight-year term, which will be vacated after circuit Judge Thomas Trimble retires at the end of the year. Heidi Linngren and Jane Farrell are the two candidates running for the position.

In state races, two candidates are challenging incumbent Dennis Daugaard and Matt Michels for the governor and lieutenant governor race. Susan Wismer and Susy Blake will run on the Democratic ticket while Michael J. Myers and Lora Hubbel will run as Independents. In the state attorney general race, Republican incumbent Marty Jackley will square off against Chad Haber, Libertarian. The position is a four-year term.

In the secretary of state race, four candidates will vie for the four-year term: Lori Stacey, Constitutional, Emmett Reistroffer, Libertarian, Angelia Schultz, Democrat, and Shantel Krebs, Republican. For state auditor, another four-year term, Kurt Evans, Libertarian, and Steve Bennett, Republican, will square off, while Ken Santema, Libertarian, Denny Pierson, Democrat, and Rich Sattgast, Republican, will square off for the state treasurer position. The state treasurer position is for four-year term.

In the commissioner of school and public lands race, John English, Liberartarian, will run against Republican Ryan Brunner while Wayne Schmidt, Constitutional, David Allen, Democrat, and Gary Hanson, Republican, will face off in the public utilities commission race. The school and public lands position is a four-year term and the public utilities position is for a six-year term.

Voters will also have to elect one person to represent South Dakotans in the U.S. Senate, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the senate race, Republican Mike Rounds, Democrat Rick Weiland, Independent Larry Pressler and Independent Gordon Howie are all running for the vacated seat of Sen. Tim Johnson, who is retiring. In the representative race, Republican incumbent Kristi Noem is opposed by Democratic challenger Corinna Robinson.

Voters will also have two initiated measures and a constitutional amendment to vote on.
Initiated Measure 17 would require insurance companies to list all health care providers who are willing, qualified and meet the conditions established by the insurer while Initiated Measure 18 would raise the hourly minimum wage for non-tipped employees from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 per hour. Constitutional Amendment Q would authorize the Legislature to approve the new games for Deadwood casinos, which are currently limited to offering card games and slot machines. Federal law mandates that if the games are allowed in Deadwood, they must also be allowed at on-reservation tribal casinos. For more information on the initiated measures or constitutional amendment, see the more detailed articles in this week’s Prevailer.

To see where your polling precinct is, see the Oct. 22 issue of the Prevailer or call the county auditor’s office at 394-2153.


Explaining the unexplainable

By Kacie Svoboda

Doors swinging open or closed on their own, the sound of footsteps when there is no one else home and a shadowy figure watching at the corner of the room—there one second and gone the next. These are all experiences people have had in the Black Hills. But now these people can get some answers.
Black Hills Paranormal Investigations (BHPI) is a science-based team that focuses first on debunking paranormal happenings and uses evidence captured to provide owners of the residence or business with a better understanding of unexplained activity. They do not declare any place as haunted.

“We don’t catch a spirit and put it in a jar for you,” said lead investigator Maurice Miller.

The eight-member team averages about nine investigations per year and has been active since 2007. BHPI takes cases only when approached and requested by the owner or resident. The client begins by telling the team what their experiences have been and where they occurred. BHPI uses this interview to determine if the client is of sound mind. Then they focus on debunking as many of these experiences as they can. They use electromagnetic field (EMF) and static electricity detectors to rule out electrical interferences. However, their main weapon is common sense as they rule out any effects caused by everyday patterns, human error, fumes or seismic activity.

The team then looks to capture any anomalies. For this, they rely on forward-looking infrared and regular cameras as well as motion detectors and “mel” meters—which measure EMF readings, temperature and static electricity.

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


Zoning changes for new hotel

By Carol Walker

The city council on Monday night quickly dispatched the business of approving a change of zoning for three adjacent parcels of land along the Old Hill City Rd. near the current Holiday Inn Express in Hill City. Council members had no questions for Shane Schriner who plans to build a hotel on the property. The unanimous vote to change the zoning from C-1 to C-3 came after the proposal was discussed at a previous Hill City Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).

“A motion was made and seconded at the P&Z meeting and the commission voted unanimously to change the zoning. In the past all the commercial property was Commercial Light Industrial but with the new zoning there are now four designations, C-1 through C-4,” said Brett McMacken, city administrator.

According to the municipal code, C-1 allows such things as automotive facilities, convenience and commercial centers, day care facilities, libraries, public and governmental services, churches and restaurants. C-3 allows everything in C-1 and C-2 as well as things such as hotels, amusement centers, automotive sales, building materials sales, cultural institutions, hospitals, campgrounds, publishing businesses, theaters and storage warehouses.

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


Voting is a privilege and a right

By Norma Najacht

An informed citizenry is indispensable to a Constitutional republic like the United States of America. It is up to us, the citizens, to decide who is guiding our federal, state and local policies.

Voters are tasked with the responsibility of first finding out which candidates are running in races that could impact them. The Custer County Chronicle will print information in an upcoming issue, both in articles and in the public notices section, about the races and ballot topics to help provide voters knowledge to guide their voting decisions.

I’ve heard some people say — and I’ve probably said it myself — that it doesn’t seem like South Dakotans have much of a voice in national races.

However you look at that, it’s a fact that local elected officials make decisions on policies that directly affect our taxes, home value and professional lives.

Our local representatives work hard to enact laws and regulations that impact all of us. Wages, taxes, zoning ordinances and landowners’ rights are a few of the aspects of our lives that are influenced by our local officials.

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


Obituaries for Oct. 29

Eliza Henry Patterson, born Oct. 31, 1927, died Oct. 23 at Custer (S.D.) Regional Senior Care. Funeral mass was held Wednesday, Oct. 29, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, in Keystone. Burial followed at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D. An online guestbook may be signed at www.osheimschmidt.com.

Paul B. Champion, born on Jan. 11, 1925, died Oct. 15, 2014.

James Elton Green died Thursday, Oct. 16, at Weston County Manor in Newcastle, Wyo. A memorial service was held Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Black Hills National Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.

To read the full obituaries, pick up the Oct. 29 issue of the Hill City Prevailer. To subscribe, call 605.574.2538.


McCurdy joins city

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW FACE AT CITY HALL — Chirs McCurdy joins the Hill City officals as development services coordinator. In her role, she will deal with municipal and building codes. [PN Photo/Kacie Svoboda]­

By Kacie Svoboda

Welcoming is probably the last word that comes to mind when discussing municipal and building codes, but after speaking with Hill City’s new development services coordinator, Chris McCurdy, it might be the first.

“My philosophy is how can we do what you want to do — how can we make this work for you,” said McCurdy.

About a month ago, McCurdy was chosen for this part-time position and since then she has been working to take on everything it demands. McCurdy comes to this position after spending over 13 years as a law enforcement and zoning code enforcement officer.

Her ever-expanding list of duties ranges from conducting building inspections to archiving and digitizing records. She also will review construction plans, go before the zoning commission and resolve Hill City’s addressing issues. However, the main purpose of McCurdy’s job will be to set up a unified system for code enforcement and the permitting process so, as Hill City expands, property values and overall quality of life can be maintained.

This one-woman building department has her work cut out for her, as she endeavors to create an infrastructure that will allow her to keep up with the work on a part-time schedule.

“It’s tough to juggle all these different aspects. This initial part is going to be tough, but after that I can see it automating a little bit,” said McCurdy. “It’s a challenge. But I love challenges.”

According to city administrator, Brett McMacken, this system and McCurdy’s job are necessary due to the town’s increasing development. In fact, the position could become full-time in the future if development continues to increase.

“The job is getting big enough to warrant its own special attention,” said McMacken.

This is an attention that McCurdy seems able to provide. In addition to her background in enforcement, she has worked with zoning and has formal schooling on the construction process, as well as a strong interest in figuring out how things go together.

McCurdy invites anyone with questions to call, email or drop by her office at city hall.

“What we’re trying to do is improve the community and maintain the awesome quality of life we have as we grow,” said McCurdy. “We are trying to set forth a foundation for the future.”


Harkins chosen as contract supervisor

By Kacie Svoboda

On Oct 1, Deputy Sergeant Randy Harkins took on the position of contract supervisor for Hill City and other small towns in Pennington County.

Harkins will serve as the direct contact and liaison between the city governments of Hill City, Keystone, New Underwood and Wall and the Pennington County Sherriff’s Department. This position will help both the towns and the contract deputies, as there will be one designated person for both parties to come to with questions and concerns.

As contract supervisor, Harkin will meet with both community leaders and deputies. This position will also keep Rapid City from taking precedence over the other communities within Pennington County.
Harkins will have been with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years next month and has spent the last two years assigned to Keystone. He has also responded to calls around Hill City, so he is familiar with the area. According to Senior Deputy Doug Kimball, Harkin has lots of experience—which will be good for the communities, the town contracts and the deputies assigned to them.
“I look forward to working for him,” said Kimball.

Harkin lives near Nemo and is excited to continue working with smaller communities, which he prefers. This position has been vacant for nearly three years since Kurt Weber, the previous contract supervisor for Pennington County, retired.