Redefining Ritual

Photo: MAXKT/

By Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates and Yoga defines “ritual” as “a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service”.  Other sources further clarify ritual as “a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly” or “a ceremony in which the actions and wording follow a prescribed form and order”.  Most definitions refer to ritual as part of religious observance, but I would suggest that the meaning is broader than that.  To me the term refers to any sequence of activities that is performed repeatedly at certain times in an established manner.

Rituals can be a source of comfort for people, especially at times when the way forward is not immediately clear.  For example, funerals are a ritual that people turn to when a death occurs.  It gives the survivors a path to follow which can help them acknowledge and begin to deal with the loss.  Having experienced death in my own family I understand the value of having a set procedure that dictates the expected order of events.  Sometimes this can become a way to postpone the actual process of grieving, but still it helps pave the way through the transition from the known to the unknown.  So ritual can be a good thing.

As with anything, though, when taken to extremes rituals can be harmful. Following rituals can become a ritual in itself.  Some people become so fixated on the process that they forget the meaning.  The need to adhere to the order of activities becomes so rigid that eliminating  or changing any piece of the ritual for whatever reason can be a cause for distress.  So as with anything, applying moderation is usually recommended.

We have just emerged from a season that is rife with rituals of all kinds.  Whether traditional or recent, there are rituals at every turn.  There are songs, movies and plays that are only performed at this time of year.   There is Black Friday and, more recently, Cyber Monday.  Add to that parades, decorating trees and houses, photos with Santa, Salvation Army bell-ringers, office parties, and distributing gifts to those less fortunate than ourselves.  All of these activities are every bit as ritualistic as the religious rites that also play a role in this multi-week celebration. Some of you reading this may scoff at the inclusion of these activities as ritual.  But they are all a part of our communal culture.  When participating in these rituals we are often able to set aside our differences and share an experience that is familiar to all.

Many of us have daily routines that border on ritual.  This is certainly true for me.  I rarely have to look at the clock after getting out of bed since most days I perform the same tasks in the same order every morning.  There are slight variations depending on my schedule, and, of course, circumstances can arise that require alterations, but usually I follow a specific set of practices.  From time to time my usual routine is disrupted for one reason or another.  Sometimes the disruption is temporary, but a true life change can require crafting a new routine that fits the new set of circumstances.

If you examine your own life I suspect you will find activities that you try to maintain consistently at reasonably regular intervals.  When these are thrown off for whatever reason, it can leave you feeling a bit out of sorts or disoriented.  Think about all of the rituals in your life that you have adhered to for long periods of time.  If you’ve maintained them, they must be important to you for one reason or another.  But you weren’t born with the need for them.  It’s a process you’ve learned.  This means you can continue to learn new ones.

At this moment we are in the middle of another annual ritual:  the making of New Year’s resolutions.  Despite the fact that every day is a new day and a new opportunity, we are all urged to latch on to this particular date to make changes in our lives.  New Year’s resolutions often revolve around forming a new habit or routine.  Yup – a ritual.  Due to our modern lifestyle, it seems that the most common call is to exercise more and/or lose weight, but there are others.  Maybe you want to listen more attentively or meditate regularly or read more.  There are any number of ways in which we feel we need to improve ourselves and numerous articles on how to make resolutions that work. Making resolutions is easy.  Sticking to them is much more difficult.  So rather than talk about how to make the change, I’d rather focus on what to do when you realize that the best laid plans have somehow disintegrated.

When you recognize that a new ritual is not working and changes need to be made, it is important to think not only about the logistics (e.g., time of day, type of action, obstacles presented) and the various (valid, no doubt) excuses that can be made.  But it is equally or even more important to examine your reasons for wanting to incorporate this new routine into your life in the first place.  How much do you really want to make this change?  Why do you want to make this change?  Are you willing to rearrange something else in your life to accommodate the change? Or is the new demand not calling to you sufficiently to overcome the excuses?  There is no right or wrong here.  These should be decisions you are making for yourself.  The author Gretchen Rubin wrote a book called The Four Tendencieswhich theorizes that most people fit into certain personality categories.  Of course, these categories are not mutually exclusive, but often we find our tendencies toward one category or another.  If you’re interested, you can take the quiz on her website and see where you fit.  Are you  willing to adhere to your ritual whether or not anyone knows about it?  Or perhaps you are looking for approval from someone else.  Maybe you start to make the changes, but then begin to wonder if they really have any value.  Or suddenly you start to think “I don’t have to do this just because it’s expected of me.”  It’s all about being honest with yourself and deciding what is really important to you right now.

When you decide that you really do want to make the change you’ve laid out, but stuff keeps getting in the way, then it’s time to formulate a new plan.  This may mean pulling yourself out of your comfort zone.  Incorporating ritual into your life is similar to forming a habit.  There are varying theories on what it takes to establish a new habit, but most of them involve maintaining a practice for a period of at least 6 weeks.  From that point on, the theory goes,  you’ve established the routine, overcome some of the obstacles and begun to make the ritual a part of your life.  Those around you recognize that it has become a priority for you and, hopefully, will help you stick with it, or at least stop objecting.  An occasional variation from the routine due to circumstances will no longer stop you.  You’ll be able to get right back into your practice as soon as your able.  In fact, you may find that, as described above, you begin to miss the ritual when you aren’t able to complete it.  In my opinion, the key is wanting the ritual in your life enough to help you overcome obstacles.  Then if something arises that threatens to get in your way, you can always remind yourself that your ritual is important enough to you to find a way around the obstacle.  If the obstacle persists, change the ritual. This doesn’t mean to scrap it entirely.  Just find a way to make it work.  Remember, too, that small changes can be a good first step.

If nothing seems to work no matter how hard you try to find a way, then maybe the time just isn’t right for you to start this practice right now.  That’s OK, too.  But if you really want to do it, keep looking for that opening.  It may turn up in a way that you didn’t anticipate.  An open mind might be the most important requirement for finding your way to your best self.


Star Academy To Become Sustainable Light Industrial Complex and Energy – SLICe

January 5, 2017

Custer, SD – My team of partners and investors would like to extend a heartfelt thank
you to the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Custer Area
Economic Development Corporation. Without their assistance and information, we could not have completed
this task.

While I can’t speak to the identities of my partners, rest assured that this is a local effort; with
local interests and concerns taken into account from beginning to end. As the changes to this property
take place over the coming year, we believe that the Custer area residents will be pleased with its low
environmental impact, innovative technology, beauty and, most importantly, the jobs created.

This will be a low impact, highly sustainable, light industrial complex that makes use of cutting-edge
technology to introduce new industries to our area, while also providing much-needed space for
commercial and light industrial concerns in the community. This latter phase will be flexible enough to
encompass everything from start-ups to established craftsmen.

I thank you for understanding the need for confidentiality in this age of highly competitive, global
business; especially in areas of new technologies. As business and competitive demands allow, updates
will be given with regard to our operations and upcoming opportunities for local employment. In the
meantime, we need to roll up our sleeves and begin the next stages of our operation.

Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who made this stage possible. Thank you for all that you have
done up to this point, and all you will be doing over the next year. I’d also like to thank the community
for your undying support of local initiatives and businesses. You make all things possible here in Custer.

Jared Carson
Sustainable Light Industrial Complex and Energy
SLICe, 617 Lechner Lane, Custer, SD 57730

See Rapid City Journal Article Here.

Black Hills National Forest Employees Receive National Awards

Custer, South Dakota, – Two employees on the Black Hills National Forest recently received National recognition and awards for superior performance in their fields.

Justin McConkey, Range Management Staff Officer, Hell Canyon Ranger District. photo: NFS

Justin McConkey, Range Management Staff Officer, Hell Canyon Ranger District, received the National Rangeland Management Award. McConkey has worked on numerous projects to improve range conditions including an Elk Mountain Water Development project that provided better water distribution for cattle grazing and wildlife. He has also built strong working relationships with permittees and other partners.

“Justin has shown strong leadership and knowledge of rangeland management for the Hell Canyon District range program,” said Tracy Anderson, Hell Canyon District Ranger. “He takes tremendous pride in ensuring our range lands are managed to standard and ‘gets down in the dirt’ working with our permittees. His dedication, honest approach and ability to listen has resulted in buy-in from his staff and our partners. This National award and recognition is well deserved.”

Black Hills National Forest Silviculturist Blaine Cook, Supervisor’s Office. Photo: NFS

Black Hills National Forest Silviculturist Blaine Cook, Supervisor’s Office, recently received the Presidential Field Forester award from the Society of American Foresters.

The Presidential Field Foresters Award recognizes foresters who have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry on the ground using sound scientific methods and adaptive management strategies. The award is presented to individuals who have displayed uncommon talent, skill, and innovative methods to achieve a record of excellence in the application of forest management.

“Blaine is a great asset to the Black Hills National Forest.  All those that work with Blaine know he is very knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to managing our forest health and vegetation management challenges here on the Forest. We are glad to have him on our team,” said Brian Jackson, Natural Resources Staff Officer, Black Hills National Forest.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit





January 2nd, 2018 – City Hall Council Chambers

5:30 P.M.

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

2. Approval of Agenda

3. Approval of Minutes – December 18th, 2017 Minutes, December 21st, & 28th, 2017 Special Meeting Minutes

4. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

5. Public Presentations – Public Hearings

a. Resolution #01-02-18A – Depositories Listing

b. Resolution #01-02-18B – Incidental Disbursement Account

c. Resolution #01-02-18C – Wage Scale (COLA applied)



6. Old Business



7. New Business

            a. Designation of Official Newspaper

            b. Designation of Administrative Official to Approve Raffles

            c. Intergovernmental Contract with Public Assurance Alliance

            d. Comprehensive Plan Contract – Black Hills Council of Local Governments

            e. Approval of Cemetery Grave Digger

            f. Cemetery Caretaker Contract

            g. Annual Wage Listing



8.  Presentation of Claims –

9. Department Head Discussion & Committee Reports –

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

11. Adjournment


General Government Committee Meeting – January 8th, 2018 4:30 P.M.

Planning Commission Meeting – January 9th, 2018 5:00 P.M.

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

Park & Recreation Committee Meeting – January 17th, 2018 5:30 P.M.

Public Works Committee Meeting – February 5th, 2018 4:30 P.M.

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




December 28th, 2017

Mayor Corbin Herman called to order a special meeting of the Common Council at 5:00 p.m.  Present at roll call were Councilpersons Maciejewski, Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Blom and Arseneault. The Pledge of Allegiance was stated.


No conflicts of interest were stated.


Councilperson Fischer moved to adopt Ordinance #800, Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2017. Seconded by Councilperson Blom, the motion carried with Councilperson Maciejewski, Heinrich, Nielsen, Fischer, Blom and Arseneault voting yes.


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

AE2S, Professional Fees, $1,059.61

AFLAC, Insurance, $660.28

American Solutions for Business, Supplies, $510.86

AFSCME Council 65, Dues, $173.26

Amazon, Supplies, $72.69

Banner Associates, Inc, Capital Improvements, $16,458.50

Beesley Law Office, Professional Fees, $1,640.00

Black Hills Energy, Utilities, $2,978.46

Century Business Products, Supplies, $174.31

Code Works, Professional Fees, $985.12

Custer Car Wash, Repair and Maintenance, $5.25

Chamber of Commerce, Sales Tax Subsidy, $4,254.32

Chronicle, Publishing, $239.93

Custer Do It Best, Supplies, Repair and Maintenance, $38.87

Custer Heating and Air Conditioning, Repair and Maintenance, $321.43

California State Disbursement, Deductible, $53.19

Discovery Benefits, Supplies, $681.92

Dacotah Bank, TIF #2 Payments, $2,417.66

Dacotah Bank, TIF #4 Payments, $26,335.98

Delta Dental, Insurance, $148.20

EFTPS, Taxes, $12,553.93

First Interstate Bank, Supplies, $65.50

First Interstate Bank, TIF #4 Payments, $26,335.99

First Interstate Bank, TIF #1 Payments, $9,446.32

Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, Professional Fees, $100.00

G & R Controls, Repair and Maintenance, $1,576.06

Green Owl Media, Professional Fees, $145.20

Golden West Telecommunications, Utilities, $610.04

Golden West Technologies, Supplies, Professional Fees, $648.50

Hawkins, Supplies, $4,075.02

Home Slice Media Group, BID Board Advertising $14,259.50

Imageall, Supplies, $92.00

It’s Rustic LLC, Supplies, $1,080.00

KLJ, Professional Fees, $400.00

Lynn’s Dakotamart, Supplies, $5.39

Michael Todd & Company, Supplies, $123.43

Northwest Pipe Fitting Inc, Supplies, $7,949.17

Pace, Supplies, $210.00

Petty Cash, Supplies, $339.56

Pitney Bowes, Supplies, $597.38

Quill, Supplies, $318.70

Rapid Delivery, Professional Fees, $51.76

Sanders Sanitation, Garbage Collection Contract, $13,422.54

State of SD, Sales Tax, $3,208.13

Servall, Supplies, $165.02

Shanklin’s, Supplies, $57.08

SD One Call, Supplies, $92.40

SD Retirement System, $5,663.86

Supplemental Retirement, $420.00

Thomson Reuters-West, Supplies, $64.58

Toby Brusseau, BID Board Advertising, $6,400.00

United Way, Contributions, $120.00

Verizon Wireless, Utilities, $465.10

Western SD Senior Services, 2017 Subsidy, $2,500.00

Wright Express, Supplies, $611.31

YMCA, Contributions, $150.00

Mayor & Council, $4,400.00

Finance Department, 5,351.47

Public Buildings, $263.72

Planning Department, $6,561.92

Public Works Department, $2,997.60

Street Department, $8,862.48

Cruisin Department, 106.42

Parks Department, $1,398.07

Water Department, $11,600.17

Wastewater Department, $11,638.24

Total Claims, $226,713.40


            With no further business, Councilperson Arseneault moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:03 p.m. Seconded by Councilperson Heinrich, the motion unanimously carried.

ATTEST:                                                                      CITY OF CUSTER CITY

Laurie Woodward                                                          Corbin Herman

Finance Officer                                                              Mayor


The Legion Lake Fire
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard
December 29, 2017 

There is no place like Custer State Park. Each year nearly 2 million people from all over the world come to see the buffalo, drive the wildlife loop, hike Lover’s Leap, fish on Legion Lake, and swim and kayak at Sylvan. The 72,000-acre getaway destination is home to the State Game Lodge – the historic building that President Calvin Coolidge used as his summer White House – and it is a place where memories are made.

Custer State Park employees could not have anticipated the events of the week ahead when they came to work on Monday, Dec. 11. That morning a call went out on the radio to relay that a fire had started near Legion Lake. As one staff member put it, “I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Usually fires in December include a lot of mop up and just driving around.” But after arriving at the scene, it was clear this was going to be something entirely different.

Over the next two days, the weather conditions and terrain made things difficult. High winds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and dry conditions led the fire to grow to 54,000 acres, becoming the third largest recorded fire in the Black Hills.

We were very fortunate to have our own Type II Incident Command Team based in the Black Hills to lead the response. We could not have responded as quickly or as effectively without South Dakota Wildland Fire.

Professional and volunteer firefighters from all over the state and region responded. Local ranchers and Custer State Park staff all contributed. When high winds caused the fire to jump containment lines, firefighters, emergency responders, law enforcement and park staff went door-to-door to help families evacuate as the fire pressed at their heels. More than 340 firefighters worked that night, and in the days after, to protect primary structures. Their efforts helped abate the further spread of the fire into Wind Cave National Park, and limited damages to livestock feed, wildlife and timber. After containing the fire, they acted to mop up hotspots around Custer State Park facilities and to cut fire-weakened trees near roadways.

Thanks to the efforts of all involved, no lives were lost, no one was injured, and no homes or primary structures were lost. All 175 houses in the area were protected and the farmers, ranchers and local residents all had a home to which they could return for Christmas.

A fire can be healthy if it clears grass and undergrowth, and in many areas of the park, that’s what happened. Thankfully the buffalo herd and wildlife were largely unaffected. Custer State Park lost fencing, most of the winter pastures, and some stands of timber; but the recovery is well underway with fencing crews on site, hay purchases, and relocation of some of the buffalo to an unburned area.

The Legion Lake Fire could have been much, much worse, if not for the hard work and heroic efforts of our firefighters. It was South Dakota at its best – people from all across the state and region pulling together in a time of need. Thanks to the efforts of all involved, Custer State Park is open for business again. With good moisture, burned areas will turn emerald green next spring, as new grass emerges. 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.

U.S. Forest Service Map Prices Set To Increase January 1 For First Time In Ten Years


Prices of paper and plastic coated maps will increase to $14 on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

December 28, 2017

Custer, SD – For the first time in nearly a decade, increasing costs of production, printing, and distribution are driving the need for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service to increase the price of its maps. Prices of U.S. Forest Service paper and plastic coated maps will increase to $14 on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

The U.S. Forest Service continually updates its maps and looks for ways to enhance maps. The Forest Service expects to shorten the revision cycle as cartographers continue to apply new digital technology to the map revision process.

The U.S. Forest Service continues to increase the availability of digital maps. Digital maps for mobile applications can be downloaded here: Digital maps cost $4.99 per side.

Visitor maps for forests and grasslands within the Rocky Mountain Region are available for purchase directly from national forest and grassland offices. The Rocky Mountain Region manages 17 national forests and seven national grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Maps can also be ordered by mail, fax, phone, or online through the National Forest Map Store at

Phone your order to 406-329-3024
Fax your order to 406-329-3030

Mail your order and payment to:

USDA Forest Service
National Forest Store
P.O. Box 7669
Missoula, MT 59807

The physical location of the National Forest Map Store will soon be relocating to Portland, Oregon.  When the move is complete, the new address and phone number will be available online at

To help offset the pricing increase for volume sales, starting Jan. 1, 2018 discount pricing will be made available on sales of 10 or more of maps of the same title. Discounted maps are only available when purchased through the National Forest Map Store.

The U.S. Forest Service is dedicated to researching, producing and distributing informative, accurate maps that can help improve the experience on America’s national forests and grasslands. Additional online resources that may help users enjoy the great outdoors:

·        Interactive Visitor Map to help you find great places to go and explore

·        Know Before You Go for tips that can help you enjoy the outdoors and be safe

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.





December 21st, 2017

Mayor Corbin Herman called to order a special meeting of the Common Council at 4:30 p.m.  Present at roll call were Councilpersons Maciejewski, Nielsen, Fischer and Arseneault.


No conflicts of interest were stated.


Councilperson Fischer moved to approve the first reading of ordinance #800. Seconded by Councilperson Nielsen, the motion carried unanimously.


            With no further business, the Mayor adjourned the meeting at 4:31 p.m.

ATTEST:                                                                                            CITY OF CUSTER CITY

Lisa Trana                                                                                         Corbin Herman

Deputy Finance Officer                                                                      Mayor