Chronicle catches strays on sewer flap

If you read last week’s issue of the Chronicle, you saw the story across the top of the front page written by John Hult of South Dakota Searchlight that told of how the Preserve French Creek group took its opposition to the City of Custer’s plan to discharge city effluent into French Creek to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Both sides presented their arguments, and there is no timetable as to when the high court will hand down its decision. If we had to guess, we would bet the court will side with the city, simply because it is the state that issued the needed permits, and allowing groups of people to overrule the issuance of state permits would open a Pandora’s Box of issues for the state. We could be wrong, of course. And whether it will be factored into the decision or not, the city already has the pipe in the ground. Moving it would cost the city taxpayers millions more.
We won’t go over the arguments for both sides again, as that has been litigated at city meetings, county meetings at the ballot box, now at the supreme court, and has also been written about in this newspaper more times than we can count. Everyone is dug in on their side of the argument, and the state supreme court will finally, hopefully, put this issue to rest one way or the other.
What we do want to address is a quote from the hearing, which was also quoted in the Searchlight story. The attorney for Preserve French Creek argued the city, state, DGR Engineering, etc., did the bare minimum in putting the required legal notices for the project and proposed effluent relocation in the Chronicle, which Preserve French Creek has argued is an antiquated way to notify people of such a project. It is their argument they should have been notified directly by the city, DGR, or both.
In his argument, Steven Beardsley said “They (the city) published it (the notice) in the Custer Chronicle, and that goes out to about 12 people.”
For full context, Beardsley explained he was exaggerating, but was making his point that the group believes in this day and age publishing something in the newspaper is not an adequate way to inform people of such a project. Many downstream from the proposed discharge site are upset they weren’t informed.
We can’t help but chuckle at the irony in someone saying they weren’t informed when they don’t read the local newspaper. It seems to us never reading your local newspaper would be a surefire way to ensure you’re not informed as to what is going on around town and in the county. As we have said before, had those county residents subscribed to the newspaper, they would have known about the project from the moment it was conceived instead of learning about it by accident because someone was at a city council meeting for an entirely different matter and the subject just happened to come up.
We get it. Not everyone subscribes to the local paper. But it’s counterintuitive to want to be informed about your city, county, etc., and not make the most obvious effort to achieve that goal. You’re rarely going to read news about Custer in the Rapid City Journal or see Custer on the nightly news. When you do, it’s a major story or a fun story like Gold Discovery Days. There are Facebook pages where county and city residents gather, as well, but that’s more of the “I heard” and “my cousin’s uncle’s sister’s pastor’s Border Collie heard,” not an always-reliable source.
There is one entity that covers the Custer City Council, Custer County Commission and Custer School District Board of Education, and you’re looking at it. We’re at every meeting, and we give you the reliable facts. We’re your source for local news, and we’re darn proud of that. Facebook is not going to cover the Custer City Council. Mark Zuckerberg is nowhere to be found at 5:30 p.m. the first and third Monday of the month.
If you’re not a subscriber, we encourage you to climb on board. You won’t be disappointed. And, if you already subscribe, we appreciate that. You are the reason we can do what we do, so thank you.
All 12 of you.

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