“Book Chat” Facilitated by Amy Kirk at The Custer County Library Thursday September 22, 2016

The word book comes from Old English “bōc”, which in turn comes from the Germanic root “*bōk-“, cognate to “beech”.Similarly, in Slavic languages (for example, Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian) “буква” (bukva—”letter”) is cognate with “beech”. In Russian and in Serbian and Macedonian, the word “букварь” (bukvar’) or “буквар” (bukvar) refers specifically to a primary school textbook that helps young children master the techniques of reading and writing. It is thus conjectured that the earliest Indo-European writings may have been carved on beech wood. Similarly, the Latin word codex, meaning a book in the modern sense (bound and with separate leaves), originally meant “block of wood”. (WiKi)

While Amy Kirk is not suggesting you bring a “block of wood” to the Book Chat, she did say, “this book chat is for readers who are interested in future book ideas or would like to share what they are currently reading”. There will be coffee and “goodies” available. Mary Richards assistant librarian said ” you can enter the library by using the regular entrance where the book drop is, even though the construction barricades are still up in the parking lot there is ample parking for all”.

Custer County Library
447 Crook Street
Custer, SD 57730





Black Hills National Forest to Begin Prescribed Burning



Custer, SD, September 19, 2016 – The public may notice smoke in various parts of the Black Hills National Forest during the next several months as fire crews conduct prescribed fires.

The Hell Canyon Ranger District on the Black Hills National Forest is planning to ignite the 289 acre Mahoney prescribed fire beginning this week or next depending on weather.

The Mahoney project area, located approximately 5 miles northwest of Pringle, SD, focuses on treating Forest Service land around the wildland urban interface. (Map attached)

“Prescribed fire is an important tool in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire across the landscape,” said Todd Pechota, Forest Fire Management Officer. “It allows us to reintroduce fire, using lower fire intensities, to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations on the forest floor.”

Hazardous fuels reduction will help to protect nearby private property and homes, and to aid fire suppression, tactics and strategies in the event of an unplanned wildland fire.

Reduced fuels will slow a wildfire’s rate of spread and reduce flame length, which reduces the potential for a crown wildfire (fire that spreads from treetop to treetop). “By removing these fuels, wildfires will not burn as aggressively in a treated area,” said Pechota. “This gives firefighters increased suppression options to safely and effectively manage a wildfire incident.”

Prescribed fire also encourages new growth in forage for wildlife and cattle, maintains many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire, minimizes the spread of pest insects; removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem and recycles nutrients back to the soil.

Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day. A prescribed burn will not be ignited unless the conditions meet the criteria described in the burn plan.

Forest visitors, including hunters, are asked to be aware of their surroundings and watch for prescribed burning operations in the months ahead. Areas where burning operations are taking place will be signed to notify visitors. The public is also encouraged to contact a nearby Forest Service office with questions.

As conditions permit, fire officials will continue to assess ignition of other prescribed fire units across the Black Hills National Forest

Wind Cave National Park and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Seek Volunteers to Reduce Elk Population in the Park

NPS Photo: Elk in Wind Cave National Park

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD– The National Park Service (NPS), working with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), will use skilled volunteers to reduce its elk herd at Wind Cave National Park (Wind Cave) to help address the high rate of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the park. Beginning in mid-November, trained volunteers selected through a lottery system managed by GFP will work with NPS staff to reduce the number of elk inside the park.

Volunteers will be selected by lottery through the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, and will be trained by park staff.

The elk management plan for Wind Cave has a targeted population objective of 232 to 475 elk. Current population estimates indicate numbers of around 550 elk in the park. A recently released report by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates the CWD prevalence rate in the park’s elk herd is around 9.5 percent, which is higher than previously understood. Scientists seek to determine if this increased prevalence is linked to the higher density of elk in the park. It is believed that by reducing the elk population within the boundary of the park, it will also reduce the prevalence of CWD. The effectiveness of this management action will be evaluated over the next several years to coincide with the lifespan of the disease in elk. This action is consistent with the range of options presented in the Wind Cave Elk Management Plan/ Environmental Impact Statement signed in 2009.

“Our scientists believe the density of the park’s elk population and CWD are related,” Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Dávila said. “We will be following the herd’s health over the next several years to determine if the reduced density of elk lowers the prevalence of CWD in the park. Every animal taken during this operation will be tested for CWD.”

The NPS is partnering with GFP to distribute meat with a “non-detected” finding for CWD to Feeding South Dakota, an organization dedicated to eliminating hunger in the state, to be distributed. Also, volunteers who work an entire week on this operation will be eligible to receive some of the elk meat. Only meat with a ‘not-detected’ test result for CWD will be distributed.

Four different volunteers will be needed each week for this operation. Each day two teams will be formed: consisting of an NPS team leader and 2 volunteers. Anyone wishing to volunteer should submit an online application through GFP website at:https://apps.sd.gov/gf79license/login.aspx. A lottery, similar to those conducted for elk permits, will be conducted.  Applications will be accepted from September 14, 2016 to September 28, 2016 at 8 am CDT.  Only online applications will be accepted.  No paper applications will be allowed. Applicants need to be over 18 years of age, a South Dakota resident, not have a felony record, and be willing to undergo a background check. Applications will be accepted only through the online process.

On their first day, volunteers will be required to demonstrate advanced firearms proficiency and physical fitness to participate. This will include shooting a minimum of 3 out of 5 shots into an 8-inch circle at 200 yards using their own firearm and non-lead ammunition. During the week, volunteers will be required to hike up to 10-miles over rough terrain and carry packs up to 70lbs. The operation is expected to continue through February.

“As people fill out the application, they have to understand that this is difficult work that includes several hard days in the field under strenuous hiking and weather conditions,” said Dávila. 

For more information visit nps.gov/wica/learn/nature/elk-cervus-elaphus.htm

Thune Provision Would Help Prevent Out-of-Control Federal Prescribed Burns


Washington – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) Tuesday offered an amendment to the Emergency Wildfire and Forest Management Act of 2016 that would address the way prescribed burns are handled by federal agencies. Thune’s amendment, which was adopted by unanimous consent during today’s Senate Agriculture Committee markup, would require the federal government to cooperate with local and state fire officials before a prescribed burn is initiated or actually started when fire danger is at extreme levels. The amendment also requires the chief of the Forest Service to submit a report to Congress describing the number and locations of prescribed burns conducted by any federal agency.

Thune stressed the importance of federal-local collaboration ahead of any a prescribed burn determination, saying, “Local officials are going to know a little bit more about what the conditions are in the area.” Thune went on to say that had local officials been consulted prior to the initiation of the prescribed burns in question, the fires never would have been set in the first place.

Thune offered this amendment in response to the Pautre fire, a prescribed burn that was intended to cover just over 100 acres in northwestern South Dakota, but quickly turned into a 16,000 acre out-of-control fire that burned for several days and destroyed millions of dollars in property; and the Cold Brook Fire, which was set by the National Park Service and burned out of control on Wind Cave National Park property.

Last April, Thune introduced the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015, a standalone bill that would require similar collaboration between federal, state, and local agencies.

Public Forum on 2016 Ballot Questions to be Held at Custer Senior Center

An educational forum on the 2016 Ballot Questions will be held for the public on September 28, Wednesday, at the Custer Senior Center at 7 pm.  There are 10 ballot questions that will be decided by the voters in the November election.  They include five Constitutional Amendments, two Referred Laws, and three Initiated Measures.  Tracy Kelley, Custer County State’s Attorney, and Pat Ginsbach, Fall River County Assistant State’s Attorney, will give an explanation for some of the more confusing questions.  A discussion of the pros and cons along with time for questions and answers from the audience will also be part of the forum.   A pamphlet available from the office of the SD Secretary of State can be found online at their website.     https://sdsos.gov/elections-voting/assets/2016%20BQ%20PamphletCover.pdf.   It contains all 20 ballot questions and an explanation by the Attorney General along with some pros and cons of each.  Refreshments will be provided.  This forum is a community service organized by the Custer County Democrats

Custer County Library Announces Tentative Plans For Limited Reopening September 6th, 2016

Custer, SD. Current plans are to reopen the Custer County Library on Tuesday, September 6th. Patrons will have access to our most popular library collections, such as the New Arrivals, Videos, Audiobooks, General/Mystery Fiction, and various Children’s collections. There will be no access to the Large Print, Young Adult, Western Fiction, and Science Fiction collections as they will be in storage for a while. Patrons may need staff help to locate/retrieve books from P to Z in the General/Mystery Fiction collection because they are either housed in a different location than normal or in an area only accessible to staff. Patrons in wheelchairs may need help accessing books in certain sections of the library because our furniture is closer together than it normally is. Our staff will be glad to help you find what you need. We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday and appreciate your patience with us during this process. Have a great Labor Day!

Custer County Library Wall Rammed By Senior Citizen Monday Afternoon

By Herb Ryan

Custer, SD – Early Monday afternoon August 30, 2016 a 83 year old woman rammed the west end of the Custer County Library after mistaking the gas pedal for the brake pedal while attempting to park at the library. The driver, a Custer resident was reported to be shaken but unharmed while her vehicle sustained front end damage.

Because of significant damage to the library wall and possible damage to some roof joist, the library will remain closed until further notice.
Assistant Librarian Mary Richards said ” I was working at the front checkout desk when I heard this loud explosion, time seemed to go into slow motion as I watched dust pour down from the ceiling. The back wall exploded in a cascade with bricks, cinder blocks more dust and  wallboard bulging out into a reading area” I asked  assistant librarian Janice Stadler to call 911 while I ran out to see what happened. A still visibly shaken Mary Richards Tuesday afternoon said ” living in Lead 34 years ago, an earthquake struck town with a terrible thundering boom, the effect of the wall being hit by a car yesterday was much louder ”

Custer County Librarian Doris Ann Mertz said ” As long as the library is closed, late fees will not be applied to videos, books or music.
Options are being considered for a temporary drop off station, but until the building damage assessment is complete, we have no idea when the library will re-open.”

Info: Custer County Library Facebook Page


Custer County Library, Tuesday August 31, 2016. A Bobcat is used to support the west wall of the library until repairs are made.Photo/Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


The vehicle involved in the Custer County Library accident Monday August 30, 2016. (submitted photo)


Interior west wall of the Custer County Library shows impact on bookcases and table after a car struck the wall Monday August 30, 2016. (submitted photo)


Custer County Librarian Doris Ann Mertz moves books in preparation for repairs on the west wall that was damaged by a car crash August 30, 2016. Photo:Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press – Taken August 31, 2016