Sunday, March 30, 2008

Consultant Uerling pointed out in his assessment that the elementary school in Deadwood “should have potential as a valuable commercial site,” . . .

The Deadwood School Building still smells of the sweet mopping odors that these gentlemen janitors provided in our day. Image that to the smoke stink of a gambling establishment . . .

Dave Klein DHS54 provides the following 3/29/08 posting reference from the old Pioneer Times:

~~ This sure adds to importance of the School Plaque we added to the DHS entrance steps (see Site right hand column). Stupid ideas seem to hang on then bloom. Can you imagine our school building being sold as another gambling establishment? ~~DD

Closure of elementary school in Deadwood ‘not imminent’
Black Hills Pioneer
LEAD In a special meeting of the Lead-Deadwood Board of Education Thursday night a preliminary oral report on the school district's Facility Use Study was presented to an audience consisting of nearly 40 members by Educational Consultant Dr. Donald F. Uerling of Nebraska. Although Uerling pointed out in his assessment that the elementary school in Deadwood “should have potential as a valuable commercial site,” no recommendations were made at this point to close the facility.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Leikvold reassured those in attendance that there is no intention of closing the elementary school in Deadwood.

“I have had several people come up to me on the street and say, 'Hey, what are you trying to do, closing the school in Deadwood?' That is not imminent,” said Leikvold. “There is lots and lots of time to gather input from community members and the end result will ultimately be what the school board decides,” he said. “My plan is to have the conversation introducing the information regarding the study tonight. I will give my recommendations on the process of how to proceed and then allow the community to absorb that information over the summer,” explained Leikvold.

Commissioned nearly one year ago by the Board of Education as part of the school district's strategic plan, the study addresses the impact of declining enrollment on the district and its resources.

“You have great facilities, great space, but your enrollment is declining,” said Uerling. “There is a lot of space for the number of students enrolled in your school.”

He explained that people need to get comfortable with the new information. He added, “Once they're comfortable with the information, people tend to make good decisions.”

The oral presentation consisted of eight sections: an introduction and overview; the school district; demographics; enrollments; programs; buildings and sites; finances; and conclusions and recommendations. With findings from the six school-specific sections each overlapping and affecting each other, Dr. Uerling's conclusions and recommendations portion of the study showed the following.


Lead-Deadwood enrollments have declined dramatically during recent years.

There were approximately as many students enrolled in the high school alone in 1995 (440) as there were students enrolled in the middle school and the high school combined in 2007 (448). Compared to fall enrollments for 2007, during the projection period from 2008 to 2017, average enrollments for grades kindergarden through fifth are projected to be nearly 11 percent larger (from 319 to 358.8), for an average of 59 students per grade; average enrollments for grades six thorugh eight are projected to be 8 percent smaller (from 180 to 165.6), for an average of 55.2 students per grade; average enrollments for grades nine through 12 were projected to be 22 percent smaller (from 268 to 209), for an average of 52.3 students per grade; and average enrollments for all grades kindergarden through 12 were projected to be 5 percent smaller (from 767 to 728.3), for an average of 56 students per grade.

The demographic data indicate that there should be an increase in the number of Lawrence County births, however, an increase in the number of Lawrence County births during recent years has not been reflected in an increase in the number of kindergarten students.


Lead-Deadwood, like most pre kindergarden through 12 school systems, has added a number of new instructional and support programs during the past several decades. Both staff and space have been provided to support these programs.

A potential instructional program addition identified was a prekindergarten for general education students. Some recent decisions about staffing will have an impact on the number of classroom sections offered.

Buildings and sites

Lead-Deadwood has four instructional buildings located on two sites: the elementary school, the middle school, high school, and the welding building for a total of 266,910 sq. ft. Compared to an array of other school districts, there is a relatively large amount of total building space per student. Much of the building space at the middle school and high school is not fully utilized. Many rooms could have been scheduled for more periods each day. A few spaces are not used at all, a few spaces are used infrequently and a few spaces are used because they are available.

All buildings are well-maintained. There has been a number of additions and remodeling projects during recent years. There is a relatively small amount of site space for the instructional buildings and parking.

The elementary building in Deadwood should have potential as a valuable commercial property.

School District Planning

Since the Lead-Deadwood School District was formed in 1971, there have been a number of major adjustments to the inventory of buildings and sites to bring the facilities in line with declining student enrollments and evolving educational programs.


Lead-Deadwood should monitor enrollments closely for the next several years. During the next five years it should become more clear whether the enrollments will continue to decrease or will stabilize or will even increase.

If enrollments continue to decline, it should be possible to move middle school grades sixth through eighth to the high school building. The fourth floor might provide appropriate accommodations; however, local staff would make that determination.

If middle school grades sixth through eighth were moved to the high school building, then the elementary grades pre-kindergarten through fifth could be moved to the existing middle school building.

The existing middle school building would not have enough rooms for the elementary school. Probably it would be necessary to construct additional space, perhaps an early childhood addition for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs.

School staff should explore these various options. Administrators who are directly involved in scheduling programs and allocating spaces and teachers who are directly involved in delivering instruction are in the best position to determine specifically who best to use various building spaces.

School district officials, employees and patrons should all become familiar with the information provided in this study and all should be involved in discussions about long-range facility planning.

Two questions came from the audience when Dr. Uerling opened up the floor for discussion. Jerry Apa asked if it wasn't true that the population increase in Lawrence County, shown on one of the handouts, reflected a high median age. Dr. Uerling affirmed this observation and added that the area seems to attract an older population who may not have children enrolled in school. The other question dealt with the total number of births in Lawrence County and whether or not it had been taken into account that the Deadwood birthing center at the hospital had been closed, forcing some women out of the county to have their children. Dr. Uerling assured the group that for census purposes, births are counted according to the mother's place of residence.

“Your school system is doing the right thing. Rather than wait for a problem to be staring them in the face down the road, they're being proactive,” said Uerling. The preliminary oral report will be followed by a formal written report in May.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Travel Pictures of Egypt from Bob Chyba

Bob Chyba DHS53 says he never thought he would ever see the Egypt he studied when attending DHS. These are pictures of his sister Janet Chyba Thoresen DHS55, Don Gross DHS57 and Bob's wife Rene with views of Egypt.

As you can see from Bob's old Bear Log pictures, he had someone else's glasses on up-side-down.   Looks like he has mellowed some too.

Bob holding a Pyramid

Janet on camel

Bob leading camel and Don riding arms free

Bob looking on
Bob standing at attention

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Old Deadwood Train Engine History Pictures from Ed Morris

"Hope you enjoy this pictures of Deadwood train engines. Pictures that are sample engines are not all from the Deadwood/Edgemont Line." Ed Morris DHS54

Steam switch Engine #1510.

Diesel switch Engine #9145 (sample) replaced #1510.

Steam passenger Engine #331. No replacement as stopped service.

Mallet (no visible # and is sample).

Double header Mallets.

Steam Mallet #4100. Derailed heading toward Kirk Hill. My Dad and I went there and took this picture.

Diesel Unit #123 replaced Mallets.

~~ I believe the Passenger Engine #331 took the DHS-55 Class to Denver on their classic Skip Day. The Mallets were called in to push heavy loaded cars up the steep Slime Plant siding. DD

Frank Derby named 2008 Winner of DHS Reunion Scholarship reported by Bill Beshara

Subject: 2008 DHS Reunion Scholarship information

Dear committee and dhsclassmates,

There were two other applicants, but Frank Derby was our first choice. We checked with his past employer, the school counselor, and the head of the honor society, all of whom spoke very highly of him. Ron Pray, school counselor, extends his thanks for our thoughtfulness in providing this scholarship. If any of you would like to review the application process in the future let me know and I will give your name to Ron Pray. Otherwise I will inform him that his committee is in charge of the selection process.

There are two more yearly scholarships left from the proceeds of the 2008 Reunion activities. We hope to have a report on the School BackPack program that also was given funds.

As always

Monday, March 24, 2008

A humorous memory of John Korneman the King of Bus Drivers

Picture from Judge Will Severns (Rapid City, SD) of John Korneman shortly before he died October 1973. This picture was taken during an extensive interview with John to capture many of his memories of historic Deadwood of 1890s until his death. I have not found a way to get the audio segments on this blog. ~~DD

Reported by Jim Hennen DHS56:

"The only time I ever saw Johnny drive the old Deadwood school bus in this fashion was each time I came out of the school 5 minutes late and tried to flag him down as he pulled out and headed towards Central City on his first run of the evening. I ended up walking the mile home after being winded from wildly flaying my arms in the fruitless chase to get his attention. Believe me, that was the proverbial country mile." ~~Jim

This 23 second video clip will run on high speed connections only. Select video play arrow.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jim Hennen's report on Mrs. Morthland's 100th Birthday

Subject: Hazel Morthland's 100th B'day

Here are three (3) pictures taken at Mrs. Morthland's 100th birthday party today (March 20th). She was the object of attention, as it should be, and was surrounded by many folks wishing her the best. It was hard to get to her for pictures with so many crowding around. We did manage to get these few pictures and would like to share them with you.

Most are self explanatory but the last one shows Sandy visiting with Tommy Martin (Barry Martin's younger brother), Muriel (Roth) ??? and one of Mrs. Morthland's nieces from California.

Mrs. Morthland told Sandy and I that she was now 100 years old and this was her graduation day. When the guests began singing "Happy Birthday Hazel" she opened up and sang right along.

It was great.

Jim & Sandy (Snapp) Hennen

Comment: Thanks, Dick. You do a great job in putting this blog together. Glad we could contribute to this salute to a wonderful teacher and a truly remarkable lady. I told her nephew from Spokane that it was good so see them again and we were looking forward to the celebration next year!


~~Hazel is recovering from a recent stroke so may look different from previous years. DD

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bob Heller reports Betty Melton's Passing

Thanks to Bob Heller, Yvonne Hendrickson and Janet Thoresen for posting information:


IDAHO FALLS, ID -- Betty Mae Kesterman Melton, 76, of Idaho Falls, passed away March 19, 2008, at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

She was born September 19, 1931, in Sundance, Wyoming, to Alfred Henry Kesterman and Georgina "Ena" Jeffery Kesterman. She grew up in Terry Gulch and Lead, South Dakota, where she attended Deadwood Elementary, Keystone Elementary, Keystone High School, and graduated from Lead High School.

She married Jene H. Melton June 3, 1952, in Sturgis, South Dakota. They made their home in Spearfish, South Dakota, where she was a homemaker and raised their five children. She also worked as a Medical Executive Secretary and Bookkeeper. She and Jene moved to Idaho Falls six months ago.

She was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Deadwood, South Dakota. She enjoyed quilting, sewing, needlework, reading, and traveling. She is also survived by her dog, Max.

Survivors include:
Husband: Jene H. Melton, Idaho Falls, ID
Daughter: Kara (Leo) Diede, Thornton, CO
Son: Porter Marc (Joyce) Melton, Woodbridge, VA
Daughter: Deborah (John Thomas) Weiers, Rigby, ID
Son: Jeffery Melton, Sturgis, SD
Son: Patrick Michael (Carolyn) Melton, Pass Christian, MS
Brother: George (Joy) Kesterman, Phoenix, AZ
Brother: Robert (Rita) Kesterman, CA
Sister: Joan Merritt, Spearfish, SD
10 Grandchildren & 8 Great Grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Bill Kesterman, and a grandson, Nathan.

Memorial Services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donations to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 405 Williams Street, Deadwood, SD 57732.

Friday, March 14, 2008

No enemies . . .

Toward the end of Sunday service, the Minister asked,"How many of you have forgiven your enemies?" 80% held up their hands.

The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one small elderly lady.

"Mrs. Neely?"

"Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?''

"I don't have any", she replied, smiling sweetly.

"Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. "How old are you?''

"Ninety-eight" she replied.

"Oh, Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front and tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years and not have anenemy in the world?"

'The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said: "I outlived the bitches".

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Can you identify this picture and location?

This picture scan is thought to be in the Northern Black Hills maybe the Tinton area. Let me know if you have any ideas. DD

Support Fund for Bob Beshara

Bob is Bill Beshara's (DHS55) and Sandy Gravelle Beshara's (DHS57) son.

Bob is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.The Beshara family is raising money to build a ground floor addition on Bob's home to accommodate his handicap care and to provide a handicap van so he can get around.

If you would like to contribute or contact the Beshara's see Bob's web site . The web site has some neat pictures and more will be added.While attending the 2007 All DHS Reunion I met Bob for the first time. Bob has a marvelous sense of humor and we were all laughing. I took the following pictures in Bill's office in Rapid City and a few days later Bob was diagnosed with ALS.