Final Post

July 10, 2018


To all of you who have been loyal fans and followers of this website, it is with great sadness that I must inform you that Herb Ryan will no longer be maintaining this website.  Herb began Custer Free Press as a labor of love.  He believed that there was a need in Custer for an additional news source to provide current, broad and unbiased information at a time when journalism is under attack.  He took this responsibility very seriously and did his best to pursue truth wherever he found it.  Often he stayed up late at night to bring you the latest information on events as they unfolded.  His coverage included many events that were not covered in other publications and, of course, he brought them to you accompanied by his spectacular photography.  It was incredibly important to him to give you, the reader, a chance to see and feel these events for yourself.

Among the things he loved the most was documenting first responders as they battled fire or helped rescue lost hikers.  He was awed by the color and spectacle of Native American dances and ceremonies.  And, of course, the beauty of our environment here in the Black Hills was a constant source of inspiration.  He was an artist first and foremost and has left a legacy of amazing photographs which I will cherish always.  Creating the design of each post gave him great pleasure as did tailoring his photographs to give you the best views.

I urge you all to take some time to review the posts on this website.  Custer Free Press  bears witness to so many local events and the people who made them happen.  All of our friends and neighbors are represented here.  Herb selflessly gave his time to document life in our area.  Enjoy the memories.  He wanted you to have them.

Through the years, Herb truly appreciated all the feedback (both positive and negative!) he received and the relationships he developed with the resources necessary to bring you the news.  He was a person of strong opinions and passions which sometimes clashed with those of others.  But he never shied away from controversy and was always true to his ideals.

Already he is greatly missed by those who loved him.

Thank you all for your loyal support.


Peg Ryan (Herb’s Wife of 35 years)


PIERRE, S.D. –  Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that Steven Ryan Koster, 29, Mitchell and Mitzi Cifuentes, 22, Huron, have been indicted on several drug related charges. The charges include the following:

Steven Ryan Koster

–      three counts of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, class 5 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in the state penitentiary and/or $10,000 fine

–      two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine

–      two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, methamphetamine in a drug free zone, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine

–      one count of possession with intent to distribute one ounce or less of marijuana, class 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 years in the state penitentiary and/or $4,000 fine

–      one count of possession with intent to distribute one ounce or less of marijuana in a drug free zone, class 4 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in the state penitentiary and/or $20,000 fine

–      one count of possession of firearm by one with prior drug conviction, class 6 felony, punishable by up to 2 years in the state penitentiary and/or $4,000 fine

–      one count of possession of two ounces of marijuana or less, class 1 misdemeanor

–      one count of obstructing law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency management personnel, class 1 misdemeanor

–      one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, class 2 misdemeanor

Mitzi Cifuentes

–      one count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, class 5 felony, punishable by up to 5  years in the state penitentiary and/or $10,000 fine

–      one count of possession of two ounces of marijuana or less, class 1 misdemeanor

–      one count of obstructing law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency management personnel, class 1 misdemeanor

–      one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, class 2 misdemeanor

USDA Announces Pilot Program to Increase Homeownership Opportunities on Native Lands Department is Partnering with Native Community Development Financial Institutions

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is launching a pilot program to increase homeownership opportunities on Tribal lands.

“To thrive, rural America needs a creative and forward-thinking partner in USDA,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is harnessing innovation so we can be a better, more effective partner to Tribal communities in building their futures.”

USDA is partnering with two Native Community Development Financial Institutions (NCDFIs) that have extensive experience working in Native American communities. The Department will loan $800,000 each to Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial and to Four Bands Community Fund. The organizations will relend the money to eligible homebuyers for mortgages on South Dakota and some North Dakota Tribal trust lands. Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial and Four Bands Community Fund also will service the mortgage loans after they are made. USDA is providing the funding through the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program.

Each NCDFI will contribute $200,000 for mortgages in the pilot program.

USDA has helped nearly 4 million rural residents purchase homes since passage of the Housing Act of 1949. However, homeownership rates on Tribal lands historically have been significantly lower than those for other communities.

Both NCDFIs have deep ties to the local communities and will be able to reach potential homebuyers more effectively than USDA and other lenders. Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and creates homeownership opportunities for the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Four Bands Community Fund, headquartered in Eagle Butte, S.D., provides financial products to businesses as well as home mortgages in South Dakota and North Dakota. Part of its service area includes the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.

The pilot program will begin this summer. USDA Rural Development’s state office in Huron, S.D., will oversee the initiative.

In April 2017, The President established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit



Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

Please accept our best wishes as you and the people of Samoa celebrate Independence Day.

Since 1971, the United States and the Independent State of Samoa have been close and enduring partners in the Pacific. Our two countries are joined by our shared belief in democracy and freedom. Together, we have partnered to further these foundational principles across the region. This work continues as we work together in the Indo-Pacific to promote democracy, expand economic opportunity and safeguard natural resources.

May today remind you of the freedoms we have secured, the freedom we enjoy today, and the freedom we are striving to secure for the generations to come. Happy Independence Day


South Dakota’s Philip High School finished in 6th place in the 15th Annual Capitol Hill Challenge (CHC) national program and wins an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC for the teacher and students on the winning team. 3,374 teams representing senators and congressional representatives nationwide participated in the 14 week competition. Philip High School was matched with Senator Mike Rounds.  The top 10 winning teams and their teachers will be recognized at an Awards Reception on June 13 at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

The Top 10 Schools and their Congressional representatives:

  1. Redan High School                                GA       Senator Johnny Isakson
  2. Albany High School                               CA       Rep. Barbara Lee
  3. Glacier Peak High School                      WA      Senator Maria Cantwell

4.    Waterford High School                          WI       Rep. Paul Ryan
5.    Simsbury High School                            CT       Senator Chris Murphy
6.   Philip High School                                SD       Senator Mike Rounds
7.    Granada Hills Charter High School         CA       Rep. Brad Sherman
8.    Canyonville Christian Academy              OR       Rep. Peter DeFazio
9.    Lewisburg High School                           PA       Senator Robert Casey Jr.
10.  Battle Mountain High School                  NV      Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Philip High School teacher Brigitte Bruchlacher participated in the program with her Family & Consumer Sciences class.  Her student team of Dyson Schofield and Hunter Peterson, both juniors, finished with a final portfolio of $ 115, 322.  Their big winner was the purchase of Solar Edge Technologies (SEDG) that increased 85 % over 14 weeks.  “Philip High School is the first South Dakota school to place in the CDC top 10 nationally and that is quite an impressive accomplishment considering that there were nearly 3,400 teams competing from all 50 states,” said Professor Don Altmyer, South Dakota Stock Market Game Coordinator and Director for the BHSU Center for Economic Education.

The CHC organizes teams of middle and high school students by congressional district for each state and teaches the importance of saving and investing, while simultaneously promoting a better understanding of our government. Teams invest a hypothetical $100,000 for a 14 week time period in listed stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and learn the value of the capital markets as they work together to maximize the return of their portfolios.

Since the Capitol Hill Challenge began in 2004, the program has made more than 4,100 matches of U.S. representatives and senators with schools, reaching more than 115,000 students. Middle and high school students from all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia are participating in this year’s competition.  The CHC competition is sponsored by the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education.

“Capitol Hill Challenge provides critical educational experiences to young people across America, enabling students who otherwise might not be exposed to the capital markets to gain insights that lead to their success,” said Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation. “Capitol Hill Challenge students experience the positive compounding effect of understanding from an early age how finance, civics and government touch their lives.”

The competition uses the SIFMA Foundation’s curriculum-based Stock Market Game to help students develop a better understanding of the global economy, become college and career ready, and improve their knowledge of math, economics, and business. The program is proven to raise student scores on tests of mathematics, economics and financial knowledge. It is also proven to positively impact students’ and teachers’ personal financial behavior.

Founded in 1977 by academics at Buffalo State, The Stock Market Game has since expanded through a national network of educational nonprofit organizations to reach 17 million students. An independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught the Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

The Capitol Hill Challenge is just one component of the Stock Market Game, which operates in all 50 states. The program has significant benefits including professional development opportunities for teachers, teamwork and confidence building for students, and reinforcement of students’ technology and online research skills (the trading simulation is online). The program improves students’ and teachers’ financial knowledge and behavior and fulfills national standards and state-level subject matter requirements in ELA, Math, Social Studies, Business, Economics, Technology, and Consumer Science.

The dates for the Fall 2018 South Dakota Stock Market Game are: October 1 to Dec 7 and for the Spring 2019 Game: February 11 to April 8.  To learn more about the South Dakota Stock Market Game program, visit or contact Professor Don Altmyer, South Dakota Stock Market Game Coordinator at


MITCHELL, SD – The Dusty Johnson for Congress campaign is pleased to announce the results of a public poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and commissioned by The Argus Leader and KELO-TV. The survey of 625 registered Republican voters showed that 41% of South Dakotans will vote for Dusty Johnson for Congress on June 5th. This is an 18 point lead over Shantel Krebs, who trails at 23%.

Other highlights from the poll include a regional analysis of the results that show Dusty Johnson commands a plurality of support across South Dakota’s Republican universe and that he has the highest favorability rating among the three candidates.

“This is incredible news for our campaign, our supporters, and South Dakota,” said Dusty Johnson. “It’s proof that South Dakotans are fed up with the negativity and gridlock that is crippling Washington. From the beginning, my candidacy has been solutions oriented and that will never change – it’s who I am. Even as my opponents have turned to mudslinging and character attacks as a last-ditch effort when they are behind in the polls, I have stood my ground and stuck by my pledge to run only positive, solutions-oriented ads. South Dakotans should know that I will always stand up for what is right in Washington, just as I have in this race. With less than a week until the primary, I remain committed to attacking only the issues like: pushing for fiscal responsibility, working on a new Farm Bill, and bringing much needed reform to our welfare system. If you support positive campaigning and believe that we need a problem solver representing South Dakota, I would be honored to have your vote on June 5th.”

Dusty Johnson grew up in a working-class family in Central South Dakota and graduated from USD Vermillion. A former policy staff member for Governor Mike Rounds, Dusty learned early on he had a passion for public service. After serving on the Public Utilities Commission, Dusty became Governor Daugaard’s Chief of Staff and helped lead the state out of a $127 million deficit. Dusty currently works as Vice President at Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell where he helps telecommunications companies deploy fiber and broadband into rural communities.


Library Receives Donation of Popular Art Valued in the Millions


Largest Donation of Comic Books in Library History Includes the Original Storyboards for the Creation of Mickey Mouse

Steve Geppi, owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors in Baltimore, Maryland, shows off his collection, May 22, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi has donated to the nation’s library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.  This multimillion-dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials, and select items will be on display beginning this summer.

The Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts has been on public display in Baltimore, Maryland, for the past decade and is a remarkable and comprehensive assemblage of popular art.  It includes a wide range of rare comics and represents the best of the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1970) and Bronze (1970-1985) ages of comic books. The mint-condition collection is also noted for its racially and socially diverse content as well as the distinctive creative styles of each era.

The collection also includes motion picture posters and objects showcasing how music, comic book characters, cultural icons and politicians were popularized in the consumer marketplace.  Among these are Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Outcault’s The Yellow Kid printing blocks and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.

One signature item in the collection represents the birth of one of animation’s most iconic characters. Six rare storyboards detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film, “Plane Crazy.”  It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced, but the third to be released, after sound was added, in 1929. “Steamboat Willie” was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be theatrically released, on Nov. 18, 1928, which marks its 90th anniversary this year.

“The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.”

“When I began collecting comic books as a young boy and then in earnest in 1972, I would have never dreamed that a major portion of my collection would find a home at the Library of Congress, alongside the papers of 23 presidents, the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s library,” said Geppi. “This gift will help celebrate the history of comics and pop culture and their role in promoting literacy.”

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, May 22, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Geppi is the owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, based in Baltimore.  A fan of comic books as a child, he later began seriously collecting them and turned his passion into a series of pop culture businesses.  Over the years, Geppi amassed one of the largest individual collections of vintage comic books and pop culture artifacts in the world.

Geppi will continue to be an active collector and will be considering other donations to the Library of Congress in the future.  “I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship,” said Geppi.

The Library holds more than 140,000 issues of about 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s.  The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands; the first series featuring Batman and other iconic characters; and All Star Comics #8, which introduced fans to Wonder Woman.  The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which tells the origin story of Spider-Man, and the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for that issue. The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues.

The Serial and Government Publications Division maintains one of the most extensive newspaper collections in the world.  It is exceptionally strong in United States newspapers, with 9,000 titles covering the past three centuries. With more than 25,000 non-U.S. titles, it is the largest collection of international newspapers in the world. Beyond its newspaper holdings, the division also has extensive collections of current periodicals (40,000 titles), comic books (13,000 titles) and government publications (1 million items). The collection of comic books is available for research use by scholars, collectors and other researchers in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day.  International in scope, these visual collections represent a rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor—science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm oft he U.S.Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S.federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at


PIERRE, S.D. –  With summer under way, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety continues its efforts to discourage people from drinking and then driving by holding sobriety checkpoints statewide during the month of June.

There are 35 checkpoints scheduled in 24 different counties during June. The checkpoints are funded by the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety and conducted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

June checkpoints are scheduled for the counties of:  Brookings, Butte, Charles Mix, Codington, Custer, Edmunds, Davison, Day, Hamlin, Hughes, Jackson, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Meade, Mellette, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Roberts, Sanborn, Stanley, Walworth and Yankton.

Both the Office of Highway Safety and the Highway Patrol are part of the Department of Public Safety.


Mayor Corbin Herman called to order the second meeting of the Common Council for the month of May 2018 at 5:30 p.m.  Present at roll call were Councilpersons Maciejewski, Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Blom and Arseneault. City Attorney Chris Beesley was present. The Pledge of Allegiance was stated.


Councilperson Heinrich moved to approve the agenda. Second by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


Councilperson Maciejewski moved, with a second by Councilperson Arseneault, to approve the minutes from the May 7th council meeting. The motion unanimously carried.


Councilperson Maciejewski stated he had a conflict with the minor plat for Block 131 Subdivision. No other conflicts of interest were stated.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to approve the malt beverage & wine license for Custer Beacon contingent upon proof of insurance being provided. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


            The Council was presented with a renewal list of malt beverage license applications for the July 1st, 2018 – June 30th, 2019 license period. At this time there were 28 malt beverage licenses for renewal. Councilperson Nielsen moved to approve the applications. Seconded by Councilperson Blom. Councilperson Nielsen amended her motion to approve all applications as listed contingent upon proof of insurance being provided. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to table Resolution #05-21-18A, Fee Schedule until the June 4th Council Meeting. Seconded by Councilperson Maciejewski, the motion unanimously carried.


            After a presentation by four members of the local Girls Scout Troop, Councilperson Heinrich moved to approve the placement of planter boxes constructed by the Girls Scouts in a City Park until such time that they can be relocated to the Veteran’s Memorial. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to approve the minor plat for Lot 7R of Block 6. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.

Councilperson Maciejewski excused himself from the meeting at 5:40 pm.


            Councilperson Arseneault moved to approve the minor plat for Block 131 Subdivision contingent upon receiving a signed mylar. Seconded by Councilperson Nielsen, the motion unanimously carried.

Councilperson Maciejewski rejoined the meeting at 5:42 pm.


            Councilperson Nielsen moved to approve the preliminary plat for Tract 1 & 2 Revised of Big Rock Subdivision, Schneller Tract and Brouillard Tract. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to approve the Chamber of Commerce’s request to block off four parking spaces on Mt Rushmore Road in front of Way Park on July 3rd and 4th, 2018 for the Planters Peanuts Nutmobile. Seconded by Councilperson Heinrich, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Nielsen stated that since a petition was filed in the Finance Office on May 17th and South Dakota Codified Law 9-20-11 sets forth the options to schedule an election for a referendum question, she moved to set an election date of November 6th, 2018 for ballot question regarding Ordinance #802, An Ordinance Amending Municipal Code Chapter 17.12 Residential Districts, which was passed by Council on April 23rd, 2018. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


            Mike Carter, Custer County Emergency Management Director, expressed an interest in Custer County taking ownership of Tract Clinic, with the Search & Rescue Organization utilizing the building. Councilperson Maciejewski moved to authorize the Mayor and City Attorney to work with Regional Health to investigate the potential of transferring Tract Clinic to the County contingent upon Custer County approval. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to approve hiring David Pickford as Part-Time Seasonal Trail Specialist effective May 22nd at $15.01 per hour. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved, with a second by Councilperson Heinrich, to approve the following claims.  The motion carried unanimously.

A & B Electric, Repair and Maintenance, $709.19

Black Hills Chemical, Supplies, $254.79

Black Hills Energy, Utilities, $13,324.87

Black Hills Power Equipment, Supplies, $301.01

Cullum’s Camping Adventures, Refund, $25.00

Chamber of Commerce, Sales Tax Subsidy, $6,531.21

California State Disbursement, Deductions, $53.19

Dakota Greens, Supplies, $276.00

Fastenal, Supplies, $500.97

First Interstate Bank, Supplies, $45.40

Hach, Repair and Maintenance, $372.46

Hawkins, Supplies, $6175.22

Image All LLC, Supplies, 32.00

Ketel Thorstenson, Professional Fees, $3,000.00

Kimball Midwest, Supplies, $241.50

KLJ, Professional Fees, $1,000.00

Lighting Maintenance Co, Repair and Maintenance, $318.46

Lynn’s Dakotamart, Supplies, $119.13

Metering & Technology Solutions, Supplies, $8,063.78

Midcontinent Testing Labs, Professional Fees, $108.00

Petty Cash, Supplies, $37.20

Power House, Repair and Maintenance, $913.88

Pace, Supplies, $251.43

Ramkota Hotel Pierre, Travel and Conference, $95.00

Regional Health Network, Sales Tax Subsidy, $33,184.06

Sanders Sanitation, Professional Fees, $7,659.71

SD DCI, Safety, $43.25

SD Department of Revenue, Licenses and Permits, $4,200.00

SD Governmental Finance Officer Association, Travel and Conference, $180.00

SD Governmental Human Resource Association, Dues, $125.00

State of SD, Sales Tax, $1,047.82

Team Lab, Repairs and Maintenance, $4,404.50

The Hartford, Insurance, $64.12

USDA Loan Payment, $8,909.99

Dakota Trading Post, Utility Deposit Refund, $41.79

Total Claims $102,609.93


            Various committee reports were given in addition to department heads giving an update.


            With no further business, Councilperson Arseneault moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:13 p.m. Seconded by Councilperson, Maciejewski, the motion carried unanimously.

ATTEST:                                                                                       CITY OF CUSTER CITY

Laurie Woodward                                                                          Corbin Herman

Finance Officer                                                                              Mayor