December 23rd

Jeff Willert, NFR 2005 World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider

With a smile, Willert autographed pictures for about an hour and a half, including one for his lifetime friend Linda Smith, before his welcome-home program. Program speakers included calf-roping champion Paul Tierney, stock contractors Jim & T.J. Korkow, and Tommy Tibbitt who introduced rodeo as South Dakota's official sport.

Once upon a time there was a little cowboy …

A childhood dream turned to gold on Sunday, December 11, when Jeff Willert, a 23-year-old cowboy, put Belvidere back on the map after winning the title of 2005 Wrangler World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider.

After 10 days of eight-second intense rodeo action Willert earned the world title, finishing top in the money with $278,168.74 and placing fourth in the average. He went into the NFR with $159,538.93 and in 10 days he earned another $118,629.81 to set a new earning record for a single year.

Haakon School District finishes up calendar year

The last meeting of the 2005 calendar year for the School Board for Haakon School District 27-1 Board was short and simply closed up official paperwork.

A routine audit scheduled for this coming spring will include last school year as well as this school year. The board scrutinized and approved this last months’ financial report.

Career lane changes for several staff members were noted and corrected for the official record. Volunteer coaches for basketball and wrestling were officially approved for legality sake.

Midland to co-op all school sports in 2006-07 season

The Midland School Board has decided to co-op all of its school sports.

December 13th

Etta Copps

Etta Copps, loving mother and wife, died Saturday, Nov. 12, 2005, at the age of 87.

Services were held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Miles City, MT, with Father Thomas Pittappilly officiating. Interment was in the family lot at Calvary Cemetery in Miles City.

Pallbearers were her grandchildren: Dan Hillner, Peter and Jamie Drakos, Edward Copps, Jr., Kurt, Shane and Katie Copps, Jeston Black, Kelly Jo Weber and Deanna Mydland.

Mac B. Houston

Mac B. Houston, age 69, of Wanblee, died Sunday, December 4, 2005, at Meadowbrook Manor in Rapid City.

Graveside services were held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

Mac Bryan Houston was born April 21, 1937, in Baldwin, MS, the son of Milton and Annabelle (Miller) Houston. He grew up in Moro, AR, where he received his education.

As a young man, he served in the United States Army National Guard for a year and a half before enlisting in the United States Army.

Mary G. Williams

Mary G. Williams, age 90, of Philip, died Tuesday morning, December 6, 2005, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.

Visitation was Sunday, Dec. 11, with a rosary at 7:00 p.m., all at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.

Mass of Christian burial was Monday, Dec. 12, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Father Ron Garry as celebrant.

Music was provided by JoAnne Stilwell, organist, and Maureen Palecek, vocalist. Pallbearers were Jack, Tom, Don, Mike, Bruce and Galo Williams. Ushers were Jasper Williams, Chase Sanftner and Cory Williams.

Mary G.

Kenneth Willert

Kenneth Willert, 61, of Miller, passed away Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005, at Hand County Memorial Hospital.

Funeral services were Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Miller, with Rev. George Wieland presiding.

Burial was Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Belvidere Cemetery, Belvidere, SD, directed by Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Visitations was held Tuesday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home with a service of comfort.

Ken Willert was born December 27, 1943, the youngest son of Emil and Etta (Griswold) Willert.

December 7th

That is cold ...

Remember the Johnny Carson lead-in jokes that started “It was so cold ...” and someone would ask “How cold was it?”

Well, sometimes in Western South Dakota those aren’t jokes.

I personally remember, as a child, opening my parents’ front door and facing a level sheet of snow piled higher than the doorknob. While in college, I remember my roommate’s can of beer sitting by the window pane and blowing up because it had frozen solid.

Two local law enforcement officers complete Academy

Haakon County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Foley and Philip Police Officer David Butler.

Haakon County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Foley and Philip City Police Officer David Butler have completed the 12 weeks of the Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy in Pierre.

The 123rd session of the academy began on August 29 and graduation was November 18. These, and all officers, are encouraged to continue their education.

Both local men had the same classes. Academy training consisted of 520 hours of instruction spread over the twelve weeks. Testing for each week was on Friday.

The state covered the cost of the training – instruction, lodging, food, etc.

Commissioners scheduled meeting a quiet one

It was a basic meeting for the Haakon County Commissioners at their December 6, 2005 meeting.

Kenny Neville, Haakon County highway superintendent up-dated the commissioners on the bid let for the McDaniel bridge project. The bid came in under $22,000 from the engineer’s estimate. The commissioners accepted the bid for the two double box culverts and other work that will replace the bridge.

Neville also asked for their approval to reinstate two work projects that will replace two bridges in the county. One is scheduled for 2008 and the other in 2009.