All-School Reunion to be held August 9 for Wood High School alumni

  • Category: News

The community of Wood is gearing up for their 2014 All-School Reunion. The reunion is set for Saturday, August 9, and a variety of activities are planned for all to enjoy.

A Mellette County Historical Society sponsored bus tour will leave from the Community Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Various points of interest, including old school building and other sites, will be included, as well as a sack lunch. The bus is expected to arrive back in Wood around 1 p.m.

Throughout the day Saturday, Kirch Library and the school/gym will be open for visitors, and guests are welcome there at any time. The school will also be open Friday for visitors. In addition, there will be activities for the kids, notably a coin sand pile in the park on Saturday afternoon.

Also at the city park, the time capsule that was buried 25 years ago will be opened. That will take place at 3 o’clock. A 2014 capsule will also be buried and anyone that would like to contribute is invited to bring items for the new time capsule.

At 6 p.m., reunion attendees will enjoy a roast beef dinner (guests can bring salads and desserts if they’d like). During the festivities Saturday evening will be roll call, photo opportunities, entertainment and more. Lane Moore from Vivian will be playing music at the Community Hall starting at 8:00 p.m.

The reunion committee, having sent out between 350 and 400 invitations, expects somewhere around 200-250 for this year’s reunion. The reunion is held the second Saturday in August every three years, and the 2011 reunion, held in conjunction with the Mellette County Centennial, hosted close to 400.

Honored classes for this year’s reunion are the classes of 1965 through 1968.

Wood High School operated between the years of 1938 and 1988. The graduating class of 1988 consisted of six (Kim Dimond, Valedictorian, Stacie Walton, Salutatorian, Marie Jackson, Cleveland Jackson, Russell White Hawk, and Craig Derry), as did that first graduating class from 1938. Three of those first year graduates were in attendance in 1988 for the final graduation ceremony (Mildred Harrison, Arlene Vesely, Mildred Kemnitz).

The folks of Wood have been prepping for the reunion now for several months and a number of community projects have been completed in anticipation of the event. A new tin roof has been installed  at Kirch Library, as well as a new door. The Community Hall has seen improvements that include new concrete. In the auditorium updated scoreboard and curtain are expected. Most recently a cleanup crew has been working to spruce up the town, trimming trees, mowing, and clearing rubbish.

Everything points to a fun weekend of coming home, catching up, visiting, and remembering as plans are in place for the 2014 Wood High School All-School Reunion. 

Mellette County Livestock Show nears

  • Category: News

In just a few weeks, the Mellette County Livestock Improvement Association will host the 20th annual Pen of 3 Heifer and Livestock Show in White River, S.D. Many changes and updates to the show have been made in the past 19 years, and this year, the 20th anniversary of the show, is expected to be the best.

The divisions will be as follows:

English: Early Spring (calves born in January or February);

English: Mid-Spring (calves born in March);

English: Late Spring (calves born in April or May);

Purebred: Early Spring (calves born in January or February);

Purebred: Mid-Spring (calves born in March);

Purebred: Late Spring (calves born in April or May).

There will be three places awarded in each of these divisions, for a total of 18 winning pens possible.

As usual, one Overall Champion Heifer from the Pen of 3 competitions will be chosen, with the owner receiving a Montana Silver belt buckle. This winning calf has become known as
the “Buckle Heifer.”

In an effort to encourage young cattle producers to become involved, an entirely new division was created last year and met with such enthusiasm that it is being included this year as well. It is called the Young Ranchers Heifer Calf Division.

This division is only open to producers under the age of 30. They must own the calf and have their own brand. 

Each young rancher will be allowed to enter a single heifer calf in this division. All of these calves will be penned together for judging  purposes. The owner of the Grand Champion heifer calf will receive a belt buckle, and the Reserve Champion will be awarded a trophy.

Knowing that some of these young ranchers might be in high school or college at the time of the livestock show, they may have a parent or other adult bring their calf to the show for them, but they will have to be able to show that the calf belongs to the young rancher, and not a parent or other producer.

A division of Feeder Steer Calves will also be included this year, as in the past three years. 

Any producer may enter one steer calf in this competition. All steers will be penned together for judging, and trophies will be awarded for the Champion and Reserve Champion Feeder Steer calf.

This livestock show, although held in White River, is open to producers from across the area. 

The date of the show this year is Wednesday, August 20, 2014. Cattle will be checked in from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. CT, with judging beginning promptly at 11 a.m.

A free beef lunch is provided to all attendees, as well as numerous door prizes, of which you have to be present to win.

There is no fee to enter cattle in this show. If you would like additional information, you may contact MCLIA President Dan Krogman at 605-259-3688.

RASDak bikers pass through area

  • Category: News

By Kristan Krogman

If you were around Mellette County Wednesday or Thursday of last week, it is likely you noticed the influx of bikers that were passing through. The riders were part of the Ride Across South Dakota (RASDak) bike ride organized by Kasey Abbott and Jodi Erickson and in its second year.

The ride began near Hill City on June 8 and on day four, Wednesday, the riders biked from Philip to White River, an 82.4 mile leg. Mellette County offered a warm welcome to the bikers and hosted several stops.

Bikers went through fog and cool temperatures early Wednesday and began rolling in for a Cattlewomen sponsored lunch, a “picnic on the prairie” near Corn Creek, around ten o’clock. With a satisfy lunch of roast beef sandwiches, chips, and fruit the bikers continued on their way. 

The White River High School FCCLA and boys basketball team manned a stop at Cedar Butte and also provided a hearty spaghetti dinner for supper and pancakes and more for an early morning breakfast on Thursday.

Travelling at their own pace, the 140 bikers, who came from fourteen states and Canada for the ride, began arriving in White River early in the afternoon. Support crews who travel the route arrived earlier. They mark the course, carry luggage/supplies, and handle bike maintenance and logistics. As the riders came in, tents began to pop up on all open areas around the school, and while many did camp outside, there was also a full house in the gym and some had family travelling along who had campers. Others elected for a room at the motel.

The visitors explored White River - taking advantage of the laundromat and showers at the school, visiting the museum, stocking up on supplies, enjoying  refreshments, among other things, and took time to rest up for the next leg.

Bikers Thursday enjoyed an morning stop at Karla’s Last Kall in Wood. The fire pit was a popular stop to warm up from the cool temperatures and 4-Hers and the community had tables of baked goods, plus entertainment, to welcome the group before they continued on their journey.

The ride, limited to 150 bikers, attracts riders from all across the country, as far away as Florida and Idaho, and all ages. Youth in their teens all the way to adults closing in on eighty years were part of the group. A big draw, attracting many riders, is the beautiful scenery of South Dakota. Bikers passed through the Badlands loop on Tuesday and the wildlife and uniqueness of the region left lasting memories. 

Another aspect of RASDak this year was not just the joy and accomplishment of biking across the state, but also the benefit to the Rancher’s Relief fund. Earlier in the month the group made a $10,000 donation to help support ranchers who lost livestock in blizzard Atlas last October.

Despite strong winds and threatening weather, the RASDak bikers, for the most part, escaped most of the severe weather that hit areas across the state through the week. The ride came to an end over the weekend when the group reached Sioux Falls.

Mellette County part of project Grow: 66/125

  • Category: News

By Kristan Krogman

Altman Studeny from Plankinton was in White River Monday morning where he collected close to three gallons of soil at the Museum. The soil collection is part of a project Studeny has come up with to celebrate South Dakota’s 125th anniversary.

Known as Grow: 66/125, Studeny’s project aims to collect soil samples from all 66 counties in the state and mix them all together as one. Once the soil has been mixed, it will be divided again and repotted. A Bur oak tree will be planted in each bucket and then delivered to each of the 66 sites where soil was originally collected.

Sudeny enlisted the help of local conservation districts to recommend sites for the soil collection and eventual planting of the tree. Studeny asked that sites be of  significance in or near the county seat, sites that were important to the community and where future care of the tree would be ensured. The backyard of the Museum seemed an ideal choice for Mellette County and Studeny passed through Monday for the soil collection. Between June 7 and June 22,  he will be collecting samples in each of the 66 counties of South Dakota.

Once the trees are planted Studeny has arranged for them to be displayed at the Governor’s Grove on the grounds of the State Capitol in Pierre where folks are invited to stop by and visit the display. They will remain on the grounds of the Capitol between July 19 and August 24. 

Following the display, the trees will be returned to each of the holes where the original samples were taken, this time with their own mix of the combined soil that symbolically brings all of South Dakota together. “There they will grow tall, healthy, and thanks only to the combined efforts of hard-working people across the whole of South Dakota in communities large and small,” said Studeny in a release “to greet each anniversary of statehood yet to come.”

Lions Club hosts rabies clinic

  • Category: News

By Kristan Krogman

There were dogs in crates and cats in boxes, dogs on leashes and cats held tightly by their owners, big dogs, little dogs, scaredy cats and brave cats. Such was the scene at the Lion’s Club’s annual Rabies Clinic held last week at the old Fire Hall in White River.

The clinic has been an ongoing project since at least 2004 and this year marked another successful event. Jan Endes with the Lion’s Club reported that thirty eight dogs and nineteen cats were vaccinated at this year’s event. Virtually all the animals were administered the rabies vaccine and a number of other products were also available and part of the clinic, some of those included distemper and parvo shots and worm prevention.

Clinics such as the one held Thursday are important for various reasons, but none more important than preventing the spread of rabies. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the last 100  years, the number of human deaths attributed to rabies has decreased from more than 100 per year to an average of only two to three per year. The CDC sites two programs for the decrease. Number one is more effective animal control and more widespread use of the rabies vaccination by pet owners. Number two is more effective vaccines and immunoglobulins for humans. 

Despite the decreased number of cases, the increased awareness and widespread vigilence, rabies remains a serious threat. There were 31 human cases in the United States between the years of 2004-2013, with 28 of them fatal. 

In 2013 alone, according to the Rabies Surveillance Report there were a total of 635 animals tested for rabies in South Dakota. Of those 635, 28 tested positive.  The majority of those testing positive were skunks, though there were also seven domestic animals that tested positive (5 cattle, 1 dog, and 1 cat). 

Four of the skunks that tested positive in South Dakota in 2013 were found in neighboring counties, one in Todd County and three in Bennett County. Though rabies is not as prevalent as it has been in the past, because of statistics such as these, it is still especially important that pet owners remain vigilant in protecting their pets, and as a result themselves from contracting the disease. 

Primary Election 2014

  • Category: News

The Primary Election, held last week June 3, has thinned the field in six races that were on the ballot. 

Results of the race for U.S. Senator, Governor, District 26A Representative, and Sheriff, and voter turnout are listed.

New sign welcomes visitors to Wood

  • Category: News

A new sign has been erected along the highway near Wood, welcoming passers-by and visitors. “Welcome to Wood” is printed across one side and “Ya’ll come back again” reads the other side. A photograph depicting Wood with the grain elevator highlighting the landscape provides the backdrop for the piece.

The project has been in the works for four years and came to fruition on Saturday when many from the community came together on the north side of the highway near D&E Food and Fuel to put up the sign and put up an eye-catching brick surround. 

The project is a Memorial to the people of the community of Wood and was funded by Memorial donations received through the years.

Memories of Mellette County homestead days

  • Category: News

By Kristan Krogman

April 15 marks a special date in the history of Mellette County. It was on that date in 1912 that homesteaders began filing on the land. Excitement prevailed as the promise of growth for the young county took root. 

Many from most everywhere across the nation made inquiries in letters to folks in the area and the local commercial club. In a letter included in the Mellette County News that was sent to the first few thousand inquiries, chickens, brood mares, milk cows, were among the things suggested to bring along. “All clothing and eatables and the necessaries of life are here in abundance and you can buy them as cheap as you can anywhere,” it said. Thousands consequently registered and then awaited correspondence with further instruction.

Homesteaders, after having registered, were assigned numbers by drawing and consequently notified, based on the numbers they drew, to appear in White River on a certain date to select a tract of homestead land. The land was graded and assigned a price ranging from $6.00 down to 25¢. Those with the highest numbers had first choice in selection of the land.

The first numbers were drawn Monday, April 15 and despite a heavy ran just days before, most all of the homesteaders with early numbers made it to White River to make their selections. “J.H. Wood of the Chamberlain Land Office is in full charge of the filing and is handling it with much credit to himself and the land department, -- everything is going off smoothly.” (April 18, 1912, MC News)

Forty two out of the first 50 numbers called responded and made selections within only a few days. Homesteaders had fifteen days after their number was called to respond and make selection and payment. By the time the fifteen days were up for the first fifty numbers, all fifty had paid the money and filed on the land. Three later dropped out and the land went back into the pool of available quarters. Most of the land taken by those with early numbers was in the eastern portion of the county and ranged in the $3-$5 dollar range. 

Filings continued in the weeks ahead. The first week, there were three hundred numbers called. It was later reported that of those first 300 numbers, 230 responded and made selections and out of those 230, only fifteen failed to follow through with filing and paying.

The Spring filings closed on Monday, May 27, after 4,000 numbers had been called. The May 30 Mellette County News reported that 682 responded and made selections and actual filings, though the fifteen days was not up for the final 194 numbers and some of those were expected to make selections. 

“It has been one of the most successful filings ever conducted by Uncle Sam. We do not mean by this that there has been more good land given away and less complaint by the number holders but we do mean to say that this has been the quietest, best conducted, best and most orderly crowd. There has been no gambling, no boozing, no fighting and very little complaint on the part of the number holders regarding their treatment and accommodations and of the land.”

A list of the first 100 filers was printed in the MC News on April 18, 1912, though because number holders were allowed to make their selections up to fifteen days following the drawing, some of the names were unavailable. It is also possible that for some of those holding the numbers, no selection or official filing was ever made.  

Among the names missing in the first 100 are numbers 15, 28, 29, 30, 42, 46, 47, 48, 54, 74, 77, 84. (If you have evidence in a family history or some other record that lists one of the unaccounted for names, you can contact us here at the office, 259-3642. Visit our website at for a complete list of those who filed with the first 100 numbers.)

Two interesting side notes that came out of the Spring homesteading were reported in the pages of the Mellette County News from 1912.

Filer No. 1, Mary J. Kendall of Rapid City selected NE 1-4, Sec 15, Twp 41, R26, seven miles northeast of Wood. In the May 16, 1912, edition of the Mellette County News, the sale of that land was reported due to relinquishment by Mrs. Kendall. J.G. Renwich of Harrisonville, Missouri, purchased the land. “Mr. and Mrs. Kendall are poor people and did not have the money to prove up their claim and improve it,” read the article. “Mr. Kendall being a cripple, Mrs. Kendall is the support of the family and this is done by selling fruit and vegetables on the streets in Rapid City, their home. With the money they received they can now build them a home and pay for it and live comfort, which  perhaps is much better than undertaking to prove up on their claim.”

Another homesteader, Benie Heney, No. 37, was the first homesteader in Mellette County to put up his shack and begin his residence. Unmarried and without a family, he selected land near Col. Jordan’s ranch south of Wood. It was less than two months after having selected his land that he suffered injuries in an accident that took his life. 

He “met with a bad accident last Sunday (May 26, 1912), while driving a team hitched to a corn planter. Mr. Heney stopped the team which was a pair of bronchos, in order to fix something about the harness and while doing so, the team became frightened and started to run, knocking Heney down and running over him.” The following week, in the June 6 edition, his neck having been stepped on by one of the horses, his death was reported.

Later, in the July 11 edition, it was reported that another round of filing was to begin on August 15 “and enough numbers will be called to take up all of the best of the land that remains.” It was then reported that only two thousand of the remaining four thousand numbers would be called. “After that the squatter will have their turn and no doubt will squat on all that is open.” 

At the start of the second round of filing, there were 800 open quarters of land in the county. With farm land held at a premium and much of the best of that taken in the first round in the Spring, it was a question as to how many of the number holders would elect to respond to the calling of their number. Only a “scattering few” quarters of land remained valued between $2 and $3 and any valued at greater than that was taken in the Spring. In the $1-$2 range there remained 264; 278 in the range of 75¢-$1; and 249 in the 75¢-25¢ range. 

The September 5, 1912, edition read as follows: “The last of the eight thousand number holders in the Rosebud and Pine Ridge land filing closed yesterday. The last man to file was Mr. M. Dunleary of Howard, Nebr. In the second filing, 135 responded and made selections. There are still 600 claims open to settlement and these will be thrown open to the squatter on October 1st at 9 o’clock. There are still many quarters of good land open to entry.”

The homesteaders faced hardships both expected and unexpected and encountered things we can only imagine today. The lifestyle and fortitude they displayed made the country what it is today, and those who have followed in their footsteps can only think back on their predecessors with wonderment and gratitude.

Acalympics continue to grow

  • Category: News

White River Middle School’s fourth annual Acalympics program was held in the Community Events Center Wednesday, March 26 at 12:45 p.m. Twelve teams competed in this year’s Acalympics quiz bowl style program.  This year’s teams attending included Timber Lake, Miller, Pierre, Stanley County, Cheyenne School (Stanley County), Kadoka, Murdo, Todd County, St. Joseph, Lyman, Winner and White River.  

Miss Becker, WRMS principal, was involved in an Acalympics program previously and several years ago decided to start one in White River. Mrs. Elaine Krogman, Mrs. Margie Homan and Mrs. Helen Schwarting developed the program and continue to build the program for our school district. The program has continued to grow and this year the number of participating teams was the highest ever.  

The Pierre School District has also jumped on board and recently started hosting their own Acalympics competition. Miss Becker is hoping to see more schools host the program.   

This year White River’s team took 5th place at the Pierre competition and took 7th place in the White River competition. There team was comprised of Nick Sayler, Brock Adrian, Nellie Leader Charge, Miaken Adrian, Sarah Keefe, and Paige LeBoeuf.

Overall, the competition went well with Lyman County taking 1st place, Timber Lake taking 2nd place and Miller taking 3rd place. 


A-Cross America Relay

  • Category: News

By Kristan Krogman

The Cedar Butte to White River leg of the 2014 A-Cross America Relay is taking shape. Local runners and walkers will complete the leg Tuesday, April 8, as part of the nationwide relay. The Relay is organized by Life Runners, a pro-life running/walking organization whose mission is to pray, raise funds and run/walk together until crossing the finish line that ends abortion.

This is the second year for the A-Cross America Relay. This year the Relay began on March 5, with participants on the west coast starting from the Golden Gate Bridge and participants on the east coast starting at the Brooklyn Bridge. After forty days, Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, the two branches will come together in Sioux Falls April 13. The west and east will meet near St. Joseph’s Cathedral and then rally together toward Falls Park, the designated finish line.

Blue t-shirts with “Remember the Unborn” will identify Relay participants as they travel their course, spreading the message of the Life Runners. Local participants will be running and walking several legs, beginning at 2 p.m. until close to 5 p.m. on April 8 between Cedar Butte and White River.  Participants will be responsible for their leg and are not expected to literally pass the baton, but will begin their respective leg at the appointed time. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join in the relay. The course will travel to White River along highway 44 and you can meet participants along the way if you’d like to show your support for the cause.

In the end, the 2014 A-Cross America relay will cover 4100 miles and 17 states, involve thousands of runners/walkers, and stay the course daily from sunrise to sunset.


According to information on the Life Runners website, abortion is the leading cause of death in America (1,200,000 per year), followed by heart disease (600,000/year) and cancer (575,000/year).

 Box F, White River, SD 57579 • 605-259-3642 •

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