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The year in photos - 2005
The year in photos - 2004
July-December 2004
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Amber Fiesel, States Attorney, brought information gathered on longevity, “We need to be consistent.”
An issue arose when an employee was mistakenly paid who had break in service. Two other county employees may need to be paid back-pay.

“In the motion [back in 2008], it doesn’t say anything about leave. It makes no difference between four days or four years. It says nothing,” stated Commissioner Kuryn. “It’s my belief that we start over with a policy. We will need to give everyone their time regardless of any aspects. Financially it’s a pickle.”

The commissioners tabled the issue until the January 6th meeting for a full board.


Sheriff Grohs talked at great length about the Portal railroad crossing on County Road 2. The public is encouraged to send complaints to the Public Service Commission.

Sheriff Grohs also reported that Bowbells, Flaxton and Lignite have signed policing contracts at $5.51/person, a five percent increase. He is waiting for the paperwork to be returned from the City of Portal and the City of Columbus has not acted on it yet.

He is also working on filling the two open deputy positions.


Janet Cron reported on the Vision West Conference in Washington DC she had attended. Commissioner Ryberg thanked her for taking an interest and representing Burke County.

Grant writer/9-1-1/Emergency Manager, Barry Jager reported on the security grant for the third floor (courtroom, judge’s chambers, etc.). The commissioners would like him to check on securing the second floor as well.

Marla MacBeth, Planning & Zoning, presented two zoning permits which were both approved.



Another successful Christmas tree hunting expedition has concluded and we have a fine specimen of Black Hills spruce mounted and adjourned in front of our picture window for all the world to see. All the world that drives by our house anyway.

The hunt took place a little later than usual as we waited for our daughter, Sierra, to venture home from her first semester of college. First semester of many, we anticipate.
We’ve been venturing out into the Black Hills to hack down a Christmas tree for about 15 seasons now. Fifteen seasons go fast.

If I remember right (I seldom do anymore) the first of the 15, Sierra was about four years old and I pulled her through the woods on a pink plastic sled while she sat pondering the majesty of it all.
The pondering produced a question, as it often does, and her question was simple, thoughtful, and poignant.
She simply asked, “Dad, don’t they sell Christmas trees at the store?”

To which I replied, “Yes, they do, but isn’t this much more fun than going to the store?”
Rarely one to complain and always conscious of the feelings of those around her, she took a brief reflective pause and tactfully and gently replied, “Yeah, but they sell them at the store too.”

The traits our children carry into adulthood show themselves at a young age. I often wonder just how much sway our parental nurturing has over nature in how our children act and who they become and whether, as parents, we’re simply poorly paid tour guides.

Tour guides clunkin’ around with a half a tank of gas, bald tires, smelly exhaust, and outdated maps. Maps that lead somewhere at one time. Somewhere we thought we were headed but habitually find ourselves nowhere near for reasons we can’t identify.

Life’s distracting. With all the flashing lights, bells, whistles, hairpin turns and black ice, it’s easy to get turned around. That’s assuming you had an inclination of the direction you were headed in the first place. That’s a rather large assumption to assume.

I think it’s safe to assume that an assumption of any sort is something that should be avoided, especially if you happen to be a man married to a woman. Which, in that case, assume you’re wrong and you will be right and vice versa. So it goes.

So we have a tree.

Christmas cards and letters from near and far find their way to our mailbox most every day, and we are grateful for those our wayward winding path has crossed somewhere hither and yon.

It’s that time of year. Time to prepare for the end of one and the beginning of another.
They come and they go and so must we.

We can think back and we can look forward but the present is all we have that is of any certainty.
I hope you get all the present you wish for with all those you wish to share it with.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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