Mayor Corbin Herman called to order the second meeting of the Common Council for the month of March 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 Fischer moved, with a second by Councilperson Blom, to approve the agenda. The motion unanimously carried.


Councilperson Nielsen moved, with a second by Councilperson Arseneault, to approve the minutes from the March 5th regular council meeting, March 12th special council meeting and March 15th special council meeting. The motion unanimously carried.


No conflicts of interest were stated.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to approve Tommy Hegerfeld’s request to operate a pedicab pending proof of insurance being provided. Motion was seconded by Councilperson Nielsen. After some discussion, Councilperson Maciejewski amended his motion to state that the pedicab be allowed to operate in the Central Business District for 1 year starting April 1st, 2018, pending proof of insurance being provided in the amount of $500,000 general liability and $100,000 property. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to table the Way Park usage request until the April 2nd meeting. Seconded by Councilperson Arseneault, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to table the BID Board agreement with HomeSlice until representation from the BID Board and HomeSlice could be in attendance. Seconded by Councilperson Heinrich, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Nielsen moved to table the BID Board General Manager Position until representation from the BID Board could be in attendance. Seconded by Councilperson Heinrich, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to approve the preliminary plat of Stone Hill Subdivision. Second by Councilperson Arseneault, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Nielsen moved to approve the final plat of Busskohl-Jenniges Subdivision Phase I. Second by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to approve the final plat of Tract Williamson Revised of Needles View Subdivision & Willow Creek Tract. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to accept Craig Walz’s resignation from the Planning Commission and thanked him for his years’ service. Seconded by Councilperson Heinrich, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Heinrich moved to accept the bid from Simon Contracting for the 2018 asphalt surface treatment project with a bid price of $38,516.72 ($2.53/unit) for CRS-2P Asphalt Emulsion, $45,651.45 ($79.95/unit) for cover aggregate and $13,319.60 ($2.80/unit) for CSS-1h fog seal for a total of $97,487.77. Seconded by Councilperson Fischer, the motion carried with Councilperson Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Blom, Arseneault and Maciejewski voting yes.


            Councilperson Maciejewski moved to approve the Fourth of July Celebration request from the Courthouse Museum for closure of Fourth Street from Mt Rushmore Road to the north alley, to be utilized by food vendors, from July 1st through July 4th, 2018 and allow the Skate Park to be utilized on July 4th for parade assembly. Seconded by Councilperson Arseneault, the motion unanimously carried.


            Councilperson Heinrich moved to approve the work order amendment #1 for the Transportation Alternatives Project (Eleventh Street bridge & trail) for $11,670 due to an environmental study. Seconded by Councilperson Maciejewski, the motion carried with Councilperson Nielsen, Fischer, Blom, Arseneault, Maciejewski and Heinrich voting yes.


            Councilperson Heinrich moved to acknowledge the 2017 annual report. Seconded by Councilperson Maciejewski, the motion unanimously carried.


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

A & B Electric, Repair & Maintenance, $104.60

AE2S, Professional Fees, $25,420.41

Black Hills Energy, Utilities, $7,215.42

Butler Machinery, Supplies, $10,269.98

California State Disbursement, Deduction, $53.19

Culligan, Repair and Maintenance, $18.50

Custer Area Economic Development, Subsidy, $10,000.00

Chamber of Commerce, Sales Tax Subsidy, $5,099.78

Custer Industrial, Repair and Maintenance, Supplies, $12.70

Dakota Supply Group, Supplies, $223.41

Discovery Benefits, Supplies, $25.00

Fastenal, Supplies, $114.86

French Creek Supply, Supplies, Repair and Maintenance, $1,267.12

First Interstate Bank, Supplies, $24.95

Golden West Technologies, Professional Fees, $1,621.00

Golden West Telecommunications, Professional Fees, $610.58

Hawkins, Supplies, $5,462.53

Itron, Supplies, $822.63

Jenner Equipment, Repair and Maintenance, $191.52

Lynn’s Dakotamart, Supplies, $15.98

McClellan, Bill, Reimbursement, $75.73

Midcontinent Testing Labs, Professional Fees, $108.00

Nelson’s Oil & Gas, Supplies, $1,575.23

Northwest Pipe Fittings Inc, Supplies, $707.35

Petty Cash, Supplies, $90.00

Pitney Bowes, Supplies, $48.69

Quill, Supplies, $153.89

Rancher’s Feed & Supply, Supplies, $1238.55

Rapid Delivery, Professional Fees, $95.15

Regional Health Network, Sales Tax Subsidy, $27,463.31

SD Municipal League, Conference, $50.00

SD Association of Rural Water Systems, Dues, $700.00

SD BIT, Utilities, $55.50

SD Dept of Criminal Investigation, Safety, $86.50

SD Public Assurance Alliance, Insurance, $38,945.79

Servall, Supplies, $165.02

Southern Hills Fire & Safety, Safety, $559.50

SD Secretary of State, Supplies, $50.00

USA Bluebook, Repair and Maintenance, $3,385.78

USDA Loan Payments, $8,910.00

Verizon Wireless, Utilities, $466.14

Wright Express, Supplies, $1,057.27

Rodarte, Albert, Refund, $100.00

Total Claims 154,661.56


            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 6:25 p.m. Seconded by Councilperson, Heinrich, the motion carried unanimously.

ATTEST:                                                                                       CITY OF CUSTER CITY

Laurie Woodward                                                                          Corbin Herman

Finance Officer                                                                               Mayor



Photo: Angelac72/

By Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates And Yoga

Does kindness matter?  This simple question is central to a recent article in Diabetes Spectrum highlighting research revealing the health benefits of self-compassion.  According to the article “Self-compassion is defined as the practice of treating oneself with kindness, care, and concern in the face of negative events.”  The article goes on to state that “self-criticism, a common consequence of self-care failure . . . can be seen as the opposite of self-compassion”.  Although this article focuses on the effects of self-compassion and its absence on diabetes patients in particular, it is clear that these health concerns can be more broadly generalized.  The article cites “A series of experimental studies suggest[ing] that quantifiable physiological and neurological processes underlie the experience of self-compassion.”  Furthermore, “consistent evidence suggests that self-compassion is related to physical and psychological health”.  As an example, “in a study [see citation below]* in patients with obesity and pain problems, self-compassion predicted lower negative affect, higher positive affect, more adaptive pain coping, higher pain self-efficacy, and lower pain catastrophizing.”

Not surprisingly, the opposite has also been shown to be true.  For example, ” the opposites of self-compassion, including self-criticism, self-hate, self-judgment, and negative perfectionism, have been linked to greater psychological distress, including depression.”  The article is full of additional confirmations, citations and examples of the positive health effects, both physical and psychological, of self-compassion and the related negative consequences of its deficiency.

An article in the Washington Post that refers to this research also cites a book by Kristin Neff titled “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”.  In it, the author speaks of the three elements of self-compassion:

  • Self-kindness – the ability to be understanding with yourself rather than judgmental or harshly critical;
  • Common humanity – the recognition that none of us is perfect and all of us make mistakes, thus viewing ourselves as part of the human experience;
  • Mindfulness – the ability to pay attention to the present moment, neither dwelling on the past nor excessively worrying about the future.

If you’ve been following this blog, you may recognize these themes.  In fact, a very recent post discusses the benefits of self-care which are obviously closely related to self-compassion.  The articles referred to here also talk about the ways in which we sabotage ourselves.  For example, some of us may believe that being kind to ourselves needs to be secondary to taking care of others.  Think about that:  how can you give others something you are unwilling to give to yourself?  Furthermore, the consequences of denying ourselves the compassion that we wish to share with others can be pretty dire.   From the Washington Post article: “The opposite of self-compassion is emotional reactivity, isolation, self-judgment and unhealthy perfectionism, all of which have been linked to depression, stress and reduced quality of life.”

These ideas are echoed in an article in Health Psychology Open.  It states that “Substantial evidence supports the idea that self-compassion
can reduce perceived stress”.   Research findings show that  “people who have higher levels of self-compassion tend to handle stress better — they have less of a physical stress response when they are stuck in traffic, have an argument with their spouse or don’t get that job offer — and they spend less time reactivating stressful events by dwelling on them.”  Since chronic stress has direct effects on all aspects of our health, this is no small thing.  Additional research is also cited in this article indicating that people with higher levels of self-compassion are more likely to start and adhere to healthy behaviors which further enhances the benefits.  In other words, self-compassion promotes better health which contributes to better feelings about oneself which enables more self-compassion.  Conversely, negative self-care leads to poorer health which takes one’s self-image in a downhill spiral in the opposite direction.

So next time you’re tempted to run yourself down for any reason, it might be worth remembering that berating yourself may be more than just a temporary mood darkener.  It just might have more serious negative health ramifications that could be avoided with a little kindness.  Isn’t that simple step worth the effort?  Try noticing those negative thoughts.  Maybe you can remind yourself that “to err is human, to forgive, divine”.  Our world would be a safer and healthier place if we all practiced a little more kindness.  You can start that practice with yourself.  If you want to treat other people well and you want other people to treat you well, you can set an example by treating yourself well, too.  Your health care practitioners will applaud!


* Wren A, Somers T, Wright M, Goetz M, Leary M, Fras A. Self-compassion in patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain: relationship of self-compassion to adjustment to persistent pain. J Pain Symptom Manage 2012;43:759–770

Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $1.8 Million to Support Custer State Park Fire Rehabilitation Project

Custer State Park, S.D. – The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded a $1.8 million grant to Custer State Park to aid rehabilitation efforts following last December’s Legion Lake Fire.

The fire burned nearly 50 percent of Custer State Park’s 71,000 acres and is the third largest fire in Black Hills recorded history.

“The Legion Lake Fire took us all by surprise and could have been much, much worse, if not for the hard work and heroic efforts of our firefighters,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “It was South Dakota at its best; people from across the state and region pulled together in a time of need. And that hard work continues through rehabilitation efforts with help from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. By peak season, park staff will have the park in pristine condition, ready to give visitors the high-quality experience they have provided for decades.”

The grant funds will be put to immediate use extending over a three-year period to support aerial mapping, tree thinning, reseeding, weed control, erosion control and stream rehabilitation efforts.

“Custer State Park is truly a gem for the entire state of South Dakota,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “The Helmsley Charitable Trust has already made significant investments in the park, providing funding for the theater in the visitor center and the remodel of the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center. We are pleased to assist with strategic efforts to mitigate the effects of the devastating fire and ensure visionary steps are taken to secure the park for future generations.”

Accepting The Things We Cannot Change


By Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates And Yoga

Last week we all had spring flashes and this week it’s welcome back to winter.  As usual, our weather here in the Black Hills is an adventure.  Wherever you are when you are reading this, my guess is you could say the same for your area.  Weather is a great example of how circumstances beyond our control affect our lives.  We can worry about it or get angry with it or defy it.  But in the end there isn’t a thing we can do to change or even influence it.  We can play with our clocks and give ourselves the illusion of control, but no matter what the clock says daylight will arrive and retreat on it’s own time.

Are there other areas of our lives over which we have no control?  Of course.  We dislike admitting it, but, for the most part going out into each day is an act of faith.  We might have a daily routine or what we imagine is a well-laid plan for the day, but in reality we will be lucky if things go the way we planned.  Yup – lucky.  Everyone wants to think that it is their own genius responsible for things going their way, but ultimately there is always at least a little luck involved.  Of course, we can prepare ourselves to take the best advantage of chips falling our way.  But ultimately no one – not even the most careful and detailed planner – can predict the future.

So how can we move forward when everything is really uncertain?  We could approach each day with trepidation and fear, worrying about every possible detail in hopes that worrying will somehow make a difference in the outcome.  Unfortunately, that never works.  Can you think of a single time when worrying about some unwanted concern actually prevented it from happening?  Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t, but either way the worrying you did in advance didn’t change anything.  All it did was stress you out.  And if what you worried about doesn’t actually occur (which is most often the case) then you stressed out needlessly.  And what about events occurring that weren’t even on your radar screen?  You didn’t even have a chance to worry yet here you are, having to deal with it anyway.  It might surprise you to see yourself somehow managing the challenge, whatever it is.  All of us can look back through our lives and find examples where that was true.  We’ve all had the experience of living through something we never would have thought we could handle.  Yet somehow we did.

Of course, I do my share of worrying, too.  And this is not to say that events shouldn’t make us angry or sad.  It also doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother planning. But a plan is like a path through the woods.  You don’t always know where it’s going to take you. Have you ever had the experience of following a route on a map but ending up someplace completely different from what you expected?  Outcomes can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean that the journey wasn’t worth taking.

Life is so full of uncertainties and none of us really knows what it’s all about. In the end, though, it all comes down to learning to go with the flow.  Which for me is a practice.  Not something I’ll ever be perfect at, but something to keep striving for and working at.  Accepting the good, the bad and the ugly of whatever life hands you and doing the best you can with what you’ve got to work with at any given time.  We can’t change the past or predict the future. And as much as we’d like to imagine we can control the behavior of others, that, too, is impossible.  Most of us can barely control ourselves.  Think of all the times you’ve said something you didn’t mean to say or done something you didn’t mean to do.

As Joni Mitchell writes in the song “Woodstock”:  “I don’t know who l am, But you know life is for learning”.  Treating life as an adventure is not always easy, but it might help to remember that nothing ever stays the same.  Everything is always changing.  Remember the weather.  As Mark Twain (or whoever it was) said, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.  It will change.”  Have a “Plan B” whenever possible, but no matter what happens, being kind to yourself and all those around you is always a good plan.  Focus on the things you can control like your attitude, your own behavior, your actions and reactions.  Attend to the journey and let the outcomes be what they are.


The Purpose of South Dakota’s Juvenile Justice System

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

It has been three years since we reformed South Dakota’s juvenile justice system. When the legislation was passed, South Dakota had the second highest juvenile incarceration rate in the country. It was nearly three times the national average. At the same time, our juvenile violent crime arrest rate was approximately one-third of the national average. We were locking up primarily non-violent juvenile offenders.

Since this law has been in effect, we are seeing fewer juveniles committed, fewer juveniles reoffending, and success among those who are sent to functional family therapy. Since Fiscal Year 2014, new commitments to the Department of Corrections have declined 56 percent and the number of recommitments has declined by two-thirds.

Additionally, functional family therapy, which offers treatment for the entire family to address juvenile issues, is available in every single community in South Dakota. To date, 346 families have successfully completed this therapy and 88 percent of these families have reported a positive change as a result.

These reforms still support institutionalization of children who pose a risk of harm to others. Our system has always allowed for that, and the juvenile reforms did not change that. A juvenile who commits a violent crime can be committed to the Department of Corrections, and a judge can also commit a child who is found to pose a serious risk of violence.

Reserving commitments to cases of violence is in line with the national trend. Juvenile commitments to state-run facilities have been falling in almost every state in the nation over the past 18 years. Nationwide, placements fell from 40,678 in 1997 to 13,970 in 2013. In South Dakota they fell from 315 to 102, even before the 2015 passage of juvenile justice reforms.

The statutory purpose of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, and we must never lose that focus. I spent 20 years working at Children’s Home Society, which operates institutions for children who have suffered abuse and neglect. Often these children have behavioral problems. At Children’s Home, our priority was always to do whatever we could to return children to their families, or if that was not possible, to a foster family or adoptive family.

I know that juvenile offenders can be difficult, but we need to remain focused on what is best for them. Locking up children because they are difficult to deal with is not acceptable. Putting a child in an institution, away from the community, is incredibly disruptive to the life of a child.

Beyond violent cases, we must continue to build our capacity to treat children in their communities – near their homes, families and schools – whenever possible.  For most children, this offers the greatest chance of true rehabilitation.


1. Call to Order – Roll Call – Pledge of Allegiance

2. Approval of Agenda

3. Approval of Minutes – March 5th, 2018 Meeting, March 12th, 2018 Special Meeting and March 15th Special Meeting Minutes

4. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

5. Public Presentations – Public Hearings





6. Old Business



7. New Business

            a. Request to Operate Pedicab – Tommy Hegerfeld

            b. Way Park Usage Request – Kirkham

            c. BID Board Agreement with HomeSlice

            d. BID Board General Manager Position

            e. Preliminary Plat – Stone Hill Subdivision

            f. Final Plat – Busskohl-Jenniges Subdivision Phase I

            g. Final Plat – Tract Williamson Revised of Needles View Subdivision & Willow Creek Tract

            h. Planning Commission Member Resignation

            i. Asphalt Surface Treatment Bids

            j. Old Time Country Fair Request – 1881 Courthouse Museum

            k. Transportation Alternatives Project Work Order Amendment #1

            l. Annual Report


8.  Presentation of Claims –

9. Department Head Discussion & Committee Reports –

10. Executive Session – Personnel, Proposed Litigation, & Contract Negotiations (SDCL 1-25-2)

11. Adjournment



Park & Recreation Committee Meeting – March 20th, 2018 5:30 P.M.

Public Works Committee Meeting – April 2nd, 2018 4:30 P.M.

Regular City Council Meeting – April 2nd, 2018 5:30 P.M.

General Government Committee Meeting – April 9th, 2018 4:30 P.M.

Planning Commission Meeting – April 10th, 2018 5:00 P.M.

Regular City Council Meeting – April 16th, 2018 5:30 P.M.


Bike Week 2017, Custer Cruisin vendor row around 1:00pm on the fifth day. With no one in sight, a religious group vending christianity appears to be praying for customers in the empty vending are. Photo: Herb Ryan Photography.

By Herb Ryan

Maybe it’s time to admit that vendor row is a dud and has been for the last three years. The constant bickering and micromanaging by the city and the Custer Cruisin committee and objections from local businesses has led to a loss of vendors, local musicians on vendor row and a general feeling that this is not a good place for a vendor to do business.

We were in the antique and auction business and traveled all over the country setting up booths at antique shows. There is a simple formula in the trade, actual promotion of the event, event management people who know what they are doing and finally customers. It really does not take long to figure out a particular show or event is not making you any money, so you change venues.

It’s not simply about how many people can be brought to a show, it’s about how many people desire what you are selling and have the money to buy it.

By the time bikers arrive in Custer from Sturgis and other areas they have seen the vendors setup along the road everywhere. The same stuff, all over the state. Tee shirts, jewelry, leathers, biker clothing…What’s different in Custer on vendor row ?

Nobody cares about vendor row, except the people it adversely affects. Do us all a favor and admit the vendors on South 6th Street have seen their day and it’s time to move on.

  • This issue does not require the services of a paid consultant. Consulting fees in Custer have ranged anywhere from $10,000 – $60,000.


Mayor Corbin Herman called to order a special meeting of the Common Council at 4:00 p.m.  Present at roll call were Councilpersons Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Arseneault and Blom. The Pledge of Allegiance was stated.


No conflicts of interest were stated.


            Councilperson Fischer moved to approve the Modification to the 2018 Cemetery Caretaker Bid and Contract from Edwards Enterprises. The modification stated that the city crew and equipment would be available for pickup and removal of waste plies on the side of cemetery road for the first two weeks of the contract; the contract is for April 1st, 2018 through September 30th, 2018; eliminated the fall cleanup of pinecones and pine needles; and that the contract amount would be $32,000. Seconded be Councilperson Nielsen, the motion carried with Councilperson Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Arseneault and Blom voting yes.


               With no further business, Councilperson Arseneault moved to adjourn the meeting at 4:13 p.m. Seconded by Councilperson, Fischer, the motion carried unanimously.

ATTEST:                                                                                       CITY OF CUSTER CITY

Laurie Woodward                                                                          Corbin Herman

Finance Officer                                                                              Mayor