Friday, January 28, 2011

New dimensions for the Black Hills School of Woodworking

Meg English
When Watertown native Meg English sat down to break bread with the Belle Fourche Lions Club this week (1/27/11), she was on a mission.  Her talk to the Lions was billed as background about the Black Hills School of Woodworking, but it ended up being quite a bit more.

She shared some exquisite wood products that had been built at the school, which is located in the old Belle Fourche City Hall and is operated by her and her husband, John.  Born in Limerick, Ireland, John English was trained as a cabinetmaker here in South Dakota and has become a renowned writer for most major woodworking magazines and was editor of Woodworker’s Journal.  He’s been building furniture for some 30 years.

But Meg English unveiled a bit of information that may have surprised a few old timers and newcomers alike – there’s a new school in town.

The Arts and Learning Center of the Black Hills goes beyond the many facets of the woodworking school, which already offers a bevy of topics in furniture design and building, including two lathe classes that will be offered in February.  The expanded offerings include writing workshops, photography, ACT preparation, tutoring, and more.

But beyond the creativity and educational activities they’re nurturing in the old City Hall building,  English touted the uniqueness of Belle Fourche.

“Most people don’t seem to realize what a treasure this is,” she said of Belle Fourche, seeming to encourage Lions to roar forward and participate in something of a renaissance for downtown Belle, perhaps building a bit on the historic roots of the old west town.

Lions Rik Bartels (left) and Ron Ensz (right)
help Meg English display items crafted at the Black Hills
School of Woodworking in Belle Fourche
There’s certainly an appreciation for history at the new Arts & Learning Center of the Black Hills.  Not only is it located in a Depression-era sandstone building, but it’s chosen the name Gallery 97 for the gallery where products from art furniture and stained glass to bronzes and fine art are exhibited.  Definitely rooted in history!

You'll find more information about both of these enterprises by visiting their new web site at  

This January meeting of the Belle Fourche Lions also finalized key elements for the Lions Annual Pancake Breakfast, which has been set for Sunday, March 27th at the Moose Lodge.  Lion Bob Schnaible reported that the “all you can eat” event will get underway at 8:00 a.m. and continue until 1:00 p.m., offering hungry customers delicious hotcakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee.  All members are encouraged to mark their calendars and spread the word.

See a few additional photos from this latest meeting in our Lions Gallery.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Belle Fourche Lions gather for first 2011 meeting

Lion Vicky Glatt
Visitors from the Spearfish Queen City Lions Club dropped in for the January 13th meeting of the Belle Fourche Lions Club at the Branding Iron -- the first official meeting for the  Belle Fourche group for 2011.  Members were pleased to welcome Lion Vicky Glatt, vice-president of the Spearfish group, and Lion Cynda Wessel.   

They shared information about plans for their wine tasting fundraiser scheduled  for next month in Spearfish.  The event will take place on February 12th at the Snapper's building in Spearfish City Park.  Of course, Lions Glatt and Wessel also sold a few tickets while in Belle Fourche.  They said awards will be presented for the best vintners and home brew entries for the tasting.  We suspect that more information about the event may be found very soon on their Queen City Lions web site. 

Lion Gerald Keil calls upon guest Lion Cynda Wessel from
the Queen City  Lions Club to assist with the 50-50 drawing
Belle Fourche Lions president Ron Ensz gave kudos to Lions Gerald Keil and Bob Morris for their fine work through the holiday for Lions events -- especially the great job they did for the December Christmas party.

Apart from routine business of approving the minutes and the financial report, the group also gave approval to  supporting the upcoming Belle Fourche Middle School Science Fair with a financial donation. The club has supported the fair in past years.

President Ensz reminded club members that the South Dakota Lions State Convention is just around the corner,  and this year it's being held at The Lodge at Deadwood Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22.  Check out the South Dakota Lions Foundation web sight for further information.

An early heads up was given regarding the fact that the Belle Fourche Lions Club will be celebrating its 75th anniversary next November.  Obviously we'll be hearing more about that in the weeks and months ahead!