Friday, November 9, 2012

Local Peace Poster winners selected....Congratulations!

Winners of the annual Lions Peace Poster Contest were honored last night (11/8/12) during a meeting of the Belle Fourche Lions Club.  

The creators of the two winning posters are in front with their certificates and cash prizes.  

On the left in front is John Maher, whose poster captured 1st Place and won him a $50 prize.  His parents, Jim and Jean Maher are behind him.   On the right in front is Caden Kinter, who won 2nd Place and received a $35 prize.  His mother, LeAnn Steffen, is behind him. 

Standing at far right are Kristy Messner, supervisor of the contest at the Belle Fourche Middle School, and Bill Kunerth, who is chairman of the local contest.  For a closer look at the awards ceremony and the winners, visit our Lions Photo Gallery!

Each year, Lions clubs around the world proudly sponsor the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in local schools and young groups.  The contest encourages young people worldwide to express their visions of peace.  For 25 years, more than four million children from nearly 100 countries have participated in the contest.  

We're proud of all the  Belle Fourche kids who participated in this contest.  And our congratulations again to John Maher and Caden Kinter! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lion Rik Bartels mans a drill during a Lions weekend work project.  Several Lions turned out on both Friday and Saturday (November 2-3) to help remove the old metal roof from our Lions building and replace it with a new fiberglass roof, hopefully putting an end to persistent roof leaks.  You'll find a few more photos in our Belle Fourche Lions Gallery.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lion Harry Haivala reflects on 30 years as a Game Warden

Winter arrived for sure this week -- a bit of snow accompanied by some cold temperatures was a bold reminder that winter is just around the corner.

But the Stadium Sports Grill was warm with fellowship and humor Thursday evening (10/25/12) as the Belle Fourche Lions gathered to conduct business, partake of a meal, and enjoy a program presented by fellow Lion Harry Haivala.

A native of Harding County, Lion Haivala served as a South Dakota Game Warden for some 30 years.  Such a robust career surely has lots of memories, and Lion Harry reflected upon some of his more exciting -- and humorous -- experiences.

One of the events we found particularly intriguing took place up near O'Neil Pass.

Lion Harry Haivala 
"I could see a spotlight working up in the trees off the road, so I parked off to the side of the road and shut down my lights.  A vehicle then came out onto the road and I pulled up behind them and stopped them.  They had loaded firearms in the vehicle, which was against the law, so I wrote them a ticket.  But they also had a deer in the trunk of the car, and they claimed they'd gotten the deer the day before, and it had their tag on it."

Haivala says after writing a ticket for the firearms, he let them go, and then turned his vehicle around and started down the road, even though he said he felt something "just wasn't right."

"I had cut-off switches for my lights and tailights, and I had earlier turned them off but forgot to turn them on.  These same guys came up behind me and started flashing their lights, so I stopped and got out.  They said 'you know, you don't have any tail lights, and we're going to make a citizen's arrest.'"  

"It kind of irritated me, and I said 'I want to see that deer you got again.'  Earlier that day, I had read a story in the Rapid City Journal about a young hunter who'd been camped up in that area and got his first deer.  It was hung in a tree...and somebody stole it."

The news article had gone into detail about how the deer had been hung and how the rib cage was propped open, and Haivala had remembered that.

"So I checked the deer out real close, and then let them go on down the road. I then got in touch with the Rapid City guy and his son who had shot the deer, and they described the kind of deer it was, the number of points, and the stick they had carved from a pine tree to prop the rib cage open.  So I called ahead to the police department in Lead, who stopped the guys when they arrived in town and confirmed it was the stolen deer."

The father of the boy who had shot the deer told Haivala that they wouldn't press charges if the men would bring the deer back and apologize to the boy for stealing the deer.  The men complied.  While there were no charges for the theft of the deer, the men did have to go to court on the spotlighting and firearms violation.

"They're probably decent citizens by now," said Haivala, spurring a round of laughter.

Lion Swede Wennberg (left) feted.
Lion Swede Wennberg has honored for his 35 years of service to Lions.  A letter from International President Wayne Madden was presented to Wennberg by club president Rik Bartels (see photo at right). 

During a brief business meeting, it was determined that it may well be spring before all necessary approvals can be obtained for planned additional construction on the Johnny Spaulding Cabin.  In the meantime, the city has agreed to store the construction materials until the work can finally take place.

And members also postponed work on the Lions Building until the weekend of Friday and Saturday, November 2-3, when we hope to have better weather for replacing the roof to the structure.

Recognizing the special work performed by the Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department, members also voted to make a donation of $250 to the department, which has had a particularly challenging year.  

Several other business items were discussed as well.  You'll see them duly noted in the latest meeting minutes (Just click on the "Minutes" tab at the top of this page).

Friday, October 12, 2012

District Governor Wagner visits Belle Fourche

Lions 5SW District Governor Janice Wagner visited the Belle Fourche Lions Club on Thursday, October 11, and used the occasion to outline goals for Lions at both the district and international levels.  She also took a moment to congratulate two long-time Belle Fourche Lions members.  Shown left-to-right are club president Rik Bartels; District Governor Janice Wagner of Hot Springs; 30-year member John Cooper; and 45-year member Chuck Livingston.  To take a peek at other recent awards and activities, visit our Lions Gallery.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Awards highlight Lions 2012-13 opening meeting

While there was lots of business on the table for our September 2012 meeting of the Belle Fourche Lions Club, a key moment was the recognition of two fellow Lions for their tenure in Lions, International.  In these photos, Lion President Rick Bartels presents certificates to two of our own.  At left:  Chuck Livingston was recognized for 45 years as a Lion -- and please note that he's had a perfect attendance through the years!  That, friends, is no small accomplishment!  At right, Lion Pat Deering is recognized for 15 years membership.  Our hats off to these gents!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let there be light!

Before he graduated from Belle Fourche High School in May, Jake Ryan approached the Belle Fourche Lions Club with an idea for his Eagle Scout project. 

He had already talked with the Belle Fourche Director of Public Works about his idea of putting lights in two of the shelters at Herrmann Park.  Although there is electricity in the shelters, there were no lights.

“My mom works with Cub Scouts, and they had an event in the park that ran in to the evening hours – and it got too dark for them to finish their event,” said Ryan.

“That’s when I came up with the idea of putting lights into the shelters for my Eagle project.” 

With approval from the city to move forward, young Ryan attended an April meeting of the Lions Club seeking financial support for his project. The Lions Club unanimously approved $350, and Ryan forged ahead – buying a set of 180-Degree two-headed LED lights for the shelters.  Each light cost almost $100.   He also purchased conduit, wire, boxes, and related hardware necessary to complete the installations.

The 18-year-old Ryan, son of Jim and Kelli Ryan of Belle Fourche, then went to work at the shelter and completed the project in May.  His work was then checked by a certified electrician, who gave his work a thumbs up.  The lights are activated by motion detectors, and they provide park patrons with much-needed light – and a higher degree of safety!

Although he’s no longer a Boy Scout, young Ryan is “still involved” with Troop 19, whose Scoutmaster is his dad, Jim Ryan.  He’s working full time this summer in Belle Fourche, but will enroll this fall at Montana State University in Bozeman, where he will major in architecture. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

President Kline reports on summer activities...

Fellow Belle Fourche Lions Club Members:

I wanted to update everyone on how our fundraiser turned out for the All Car Rally.  We had a great turnout of workers and I want to thank everyone who came out Friday and Saturday to help!  Your work is much appreciated and helps keep our club running! Thanks!  Our gross sales were $2522.25 and with that we had to pay sales tax (I believe for the first time) at 8.5 %, $214.39; with the $50.00 permit and food costs at $1017.40, we netted a profit of $1240.46.

Thanks to everyone that showed up over the 4th to usher at the Roundup grounds.  Some of you worked two rodeos and that helped a lot.

I had a fun and learning year as your president and am honored to have served as the 75th  President of the Belle Fourche Lions Club.

Our new president will be Lion President Rick Bartels.  See everyone at our first meeting  in September.


Lion Brian D.Kline

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wolff talks violence.....and Bartels wins award

Black Hills State University David Wolff, shown above, gives an animated presentation on a topic that always seems to capture the attention of history buffs:  violence in the early days of the Black Hills region.  Wolff shared some of his research with the Belle Fourche Lions Club last night (5/24/12) at the Belle Fourche Country Club.  "Popular media portrayals claimed there were as many as two deaths a day in Deadwood during its early days.  My research indicates there was only one death about every five-and-a-half weeks."  Still, Wolff concedes that Deadwood was a fairly wild place, and statistics indicate that Deadwood was on a par with Dodge City, Kansas, as one of the most dangerous towns back in the 1870's.  Still, violence in neither of those towns compared with that western city recognized for lots of things -- but probably not "western violence":  Los Angeles?!

Rik Bartels (left) is Lion of the Year
Wolff's talk generated lots of questions and comments, a fitting climax for a year of outstanding programs,  There was particular interest in Seth Bullock, about whom Wolff wrote a book.  Bullock was given much of the credit for establishing Belle Fourche; however, his real notoriety came in recent years with his character portrayed prominently in the HBO television series Deadwood.

During the meeting, members embraced another restoration-related project for the Johnny Spaulding cabin, but voted to defer implementation of the work until after the first of September.

Lion Rik Bartels, who served four years as club secretary, was presented with the "Lion of the Year" award from president Brian Kline.  Bartels has been a consistently involved and active Lion.  He was given a round of applause for his many contributions to the Belle Fourche Lions Club. 

Now serving as vice-president, Bartels will assume the presidency of the club in the coming year.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lions get an early look at new vision screening device

Lions Brian Kline and M.J. Knobe
M. J. Knobe, Executive Director of the South Dakota Lions Foundation, points to a PowerPoint photo that shows a piece of equipment that promises to help Lions transform the way children are screened for vision problems in South Dakota.

Knobe told a gathering of Belle Fourche Lions Club members on Tuesday (5/15/12) that the foundation hopes to be able to purchase eight of the Pedia Vision units and make them available across the state for widespread screening of children.  Representatives from a few other community organizations also attended the meeting at the Belle Fourche Country Club.  The planned statewide initiative would seek to screen South Dakota children before they reach six years of age.  

"Most schools don't require vision screening," said Knobe, "and the earlier we can identify vision problems in youngsters, the better the chances of accurately diagnosing and treating problems."  

South Dakota Lions are awaiting word from the Lions International Foundation regarding a grant request for more than $59,000 to buy the eight units and help train Lions across the state to use this new technology.  

A decision is expected in June, according to Knobe, and South Dakota Lions have already begun collecting necessary funds that would match a grant from the international Lions organization.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vision screening is topic for special May 15th meeting

South Dakota Lions are launching a statewide initiative that will provide vision screening for more than 13,000 preschool children -- a formidable task, but one that clearly is at the core of the Lions mission.

Lions executive M.J. Knobe
Details of the project will be unveiled at the Belle Fourche Country Club on Tuesday, May 15, as members of both the Northern Lights Lions Club and the Belle Fourche Lions Club gather for a joint meeting at noon.  Members can order from the Mulligan menu and enjoy lunch as they hear more about the statewide vision initiative from M.J. Knobe, Executive Director for the South Dakota Lions Foundation.

Knobe will be visiting Lions clubs across the Black Hills all week, sharing information and answering questions.  The South Dakota Lions Foundation has a history of more than 45 years of screening and other sight-related projects.

Given the importance of this project -- and the challenges that lie ahead -- the public is invited to attend this informational meeting.

New technology devices can quickly and easily detect vision issues across all age groups, detecting problems ranging from near-sightedness and far-sightedness to  astigmatisms and eye misalignment (strabismus).  

Early information indicated that eight devices will be purchased and placed around the state so that every club will have access to screening equipment.  And screenings will be provided by trained personnel.

But to get the latest information and have an opportunity ask questions about this important project, join us for this luncheon meeting at noon on Tuesday, May 15th, and the Belle Fourche Country Club.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow....but maybe wind?

Nope....not even strong chilly winds deterred these determined Belle Fourche Lions members from taking to U.S. Highway 34 west of town on Thursday evening, May 10th to clean up trash from the roadside.  Shown seated (l-r) are Tim Cleveland, Chuck Livingston, Harry Haivala, and Gerald Keil; standing are Larry Miller, Brian Kline, Lee Voyles, Rich Drabek and Del Neumeister.  Lion Harry Haivala is Chairman of the Lions Highway 34 Clean-Up crew -- part of the Adopt-a-Highway program.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another successful Pancake Breakfast!

The weather cooperated, and a nice crowd of some 350 people found their way to the Moose Lodge in Belle Fourche on Sunday (3/25/12) for the Lion's annual Pancake Breakfast.

When the pancake batter settled, ticket sales and donations amounted to nearly $2,000, which will -- after paying expenses for the event -- go a long way to support the various community service activities performed by Lions.

Lion Swede Wennberg was quoted in the Belle Fourche Post that it was "...a gangbuster day!"  He said Lions workers had to go "three or four times" to get more sausage.

A nice bonus came with the presentation of a $266 donation from Lynn's Dakotamart, which had conducted its own fundraiser on behalf of Lions. 

Lynn's local Manager Jim Grapentine (on the right in this photo) presented a check to Lions Treasurer Rich Drabek.  Many thanks to Jim Grapentine and the many good folks at Lynn's Dakotamart for their staunch support!

Lion Bill Kunerth was kind enough to slip behind a camera and capture a few candid photographs from this event.  You'll find them in our Pancake Gallery!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Lions get the scoop on local drug enforcement

BF Police Sergeant Scott Jones
Abuse of prescription drugs has grown rapidly in recent months, and so-called "synthetic drugs" have also taken hold across America -- and this region.

Sergeant Scott Jones of the Belle Fourche Police Department gave a sobering presentation to the Belle Fourche Lions Club yesterday (3/22/12), providing lots of information and spurring considerable interest among members.  There were lots of questions.

Although Jones has been with the Belle Fourche Police Department for only about a year-and-a-half, he has some 14 years of experience in law enforcement and is one of a handful of drug identification officers in this area.

While the drug problem in Belle Fourche isn't nearly as pervasive as many parts of the country, Jones provided statistics from 2011 that should be cause for concern:  there were 18 cases that resulted in 91 citations and 34 instances of drug paraphernalia, two attempts to deliver, and 23 possessions.

During the first three months of 2012, there have been 10 cases involving 24 citations, 10 paraphernalia, six possessions, two possessions of a controlled substance, six ingestions, and one possession of an intoxicating substance.

Lions Club Program Chairman Leo Orme (at left) poses with
speaker Scott Jones of the Belle Fourche Police Department
and Lions Club President Brian Kline on Thursday (3/22/12).
Jones noted that the biggest problem continues to be marijuana and that the department is rarely seeing any instances of LCD or PCP, which were popular in an earlier era.  There also is not much evidence of cocaine in the area.  However, it is now prescription drugs that seem to have become the biggest problem.

Jones called prescription drugs containing opiates "legal heroin" and expressed the view that it would be good if physicians prescribed them only for acute pain and then only for short periods of time.  He also compared the abuse of Ritalin to cocaine.

While he applauded the work done by the South Dakota legislature in dealing with drugs in the state, Jones said that the legislative response will have to be quicker in order to deal effectively with the surge in synthetic drugs.  In the past five years or so, synthetics have become a serious concern.

One challenge is that the synthetic drugs like "Bath Salts" and "Night Lights" don't show up in drug and urine tests.  Sergeant Jones underscored the importance of not violating the constitutional rights of citizens, and he cited three ways employed in catching drug users and pushers:  
  • Observation - when paraphernalia is seen in vehicles or in homes during routine calls
  • Sources of information - a variety of individuals in the community, often even concerned family members, will often come forward 
  • Confidential sources - finding individuals within the drug culture who will provide useful information; this has proven to be among the best ways to catch drug pushers
Jones said that the drug culture may be a smaller problem here than in major cities, but that it is among the "tightest" that he's seen anywhere.  Even individuals caught for serious offenses often refuse to cooperate in turning evidence against others.  That is, however, loosening up a bit, according to Jones.

While it's unlikely that our community will ever be totally free of drugs, the goal of the Belle Fourche Police Department is to eliminate drugs in the community and make it as drug-free as possible.

Lions members were reminded that the Belle Fourche Lions Pancake Breakfast is coming up this weekend at the Moose Lodge.  The doors will open Sunday morning (3/25/12) at 8:00 o'clock, and we'll continue serving until 1:00 p.m.

While many tickets have already been sold, it's important to remind folks that tickets will also be sold at the door.  Only $5 per person for all the pancakes you can eat.  Of course, we'll have sausage links, orange juice and coffee, too!  Kids under five years of age are free.   Tell your friends and come join us for a great breakfast!

(NOTE:  Thanks to Lions Bill Kunerth and Del Neumeister for contributing to this story!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Northern Plains Eye Foundation project outlined

In late January, the Belle Fourche Lions Club voted to support the "Lions of South Dakota Preschool Vision Screening Initiative."  It's a project designed to focus on preschool vision screening of approximately 12,000 to 13,000 registered preschoolers across the state.  To implement the initiative, Lions of South Dakota are planning to purchase eight devices to be strategically placed in the state so that "every club will have access to screening equipment." Screenings will be provided by trained personnel.  The program was scheduled to be in place by this summer.

Ronda Gusinsky
Another similar but separate initiative has been organized by the Rapid City-based Northern Plains Eye Foundation.  Its Executive Director, Ronda Gusinsky, came to Belle Fourche this week (3/8/12) to share information about their foundation and to seek financial support for their initiative.  She was accompanied by Dick Tupper from the Rushmore Lions Club in Rapid City.  We understand that Rushmore Lions Club, Downtown Rapid City Lions Club, and clubs in Piedmont and Hill City are supporting the NPEF project.

Gusinsky told about their CVSI Children’s Vision Screening Initiative and how it is about a year old.  Statistics:  one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school age children are affected with vision problems.  11.5% require glasses.  The identification takes into consideration that there is still the need to contact a Health Care Provider.  She spoke of new technology available and a machine called PediaVision Assessment Solution System.  She noted that they are looking for financial support. (Thanks to BF Lions Secretary Del Neumeister for his timely minutes!)

While it may be a bit confusing that similar initiatives are being launched in western South Dakota by two disparate regional organizations (NPEF and the SD Lions Foundation), it's good to know that there is not only a recognition of a need for early detection of vision disorders in children -- but plans of action for early intervention and treatment.

We'll keep you posted as we learn more about these initiatives.

Lion Joyce Drabek (at right) from the Northern Lights Lions Club (or was that a frisky Leprechaun?) visited the club to remind members that there will be a big Dodgeball Tournament this Saturday (March 10th) and there is still need for a few volunteers.

Members were also reminded that the annual Lions Pancake Breakfast is just around the corner (Sunday, March 25th), and there's still need for volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks.  Lions who can participate in this important event are asked to get in touch with the project chairman, Lion Ron Ensz.  The next Lions meeting will be on Thursday, March 22nd.  Thanks to Lion Bill Kunerth for capturing the above photos!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big battle with pine beetles still ahead

Forester Bill Coburn (left) with Program Chairman
Leo Orme (center) and President Brian Kline.

Bill Coburn has had a busy week.

The Procurement Forester for Neiman Timber Co., which runs mills in Spearfish and Hill City, South Dakota, as well as Hulett, Wyoming, made stops in both Spearfish and Belle Fourche this week to talk about the  continuing battle against the mountain pine beetle.

Coburn told his story to the Spearfish City Council on Tuesday night, outlining the rapidity with which the beetle infestations are moving northward in the Black Hills – and are now impacting Spearfish Mountain.  By the time he left the meeting, the council unanimously voted to allocate some $60,000 to help battle the tiny beetles, which have wreaked havoc across the Black Hills.  But it’ll take a lot more than that.  Coburn says the annual price tag to win the battle is in the range of $10 million.

Last night (2/23/12) Coburn spent even more time with the Belle Fourche Lions Club, providing a clear picture of just how the tiny little beetle is ravaging the Hills, and offering some ideas about what more needs to be done.  He also enlisted the help of club members in spreading the word about the importance of dealing with beetle infestations.

“This affects everyone in the Black Hills,” said Coburn, noting that the beetles not only will take their toll on tourism, but will cause havoc in many ways – from increased wildfires and public safety issues to loss wildlife habitat and reduced property values.  That, of course, will affect tax revenues.  The beetles also threaten watersheds and drinking water.

“Right now, the Black Elk Wilderness Area around Harney Peak is ‘ground zero’ for beetle infestations, with some 13,000 acres of timber already 90 percent dead,” Coburn said.

And the critters are moving northward with the south and southwest winds of summer.  Their movement is most dramatic during the period from late July to early September.

Contrary to what many people think, mountain pine beetles not only attack pine trees, but spruce as well.  It’s hard to imagine that the tiny beetle can cause so much damage.  But thousands will infest the bark of a tree and result in its demise.  The life cycle of a beetle is only one year.

E.M. Griffith  witnessed
pine beetle growth near
O'Neill Pass back in 1901.
Coburn provided an overview of pine beetle history in the Black Hills, which reaches back to the late 1890’s, when one-time U.S. Forest Service chief Henry Graves was working in parts of the northern Hills and detected some 3,000 acres of dying timber in the O’Neill Pass area.

A mere four years later, E.M.Griffith – who was something of an apprentice to legendary American forester Gifford Pinchot – assessed the same area and found the growing infestation had reached 116 thousand acres!

Earlier this week, the Black Hills Pioneer reported that Lawrence County has been authorized by the State of South Dakota to spend some $1.8 million in unspent Mine Severance Tax funds to fight pine beetles.  And there's been a hodge-podge of public and private funds that have been accumulated and spent on the problem.

"I think it is important that  the public understands that the State of South Dakota only authorized Lawrence County to spend the $1.8 million if they as a commission agree.  The Commissioners will be meeting on Tuesday, February 28th to decide if and how much they intend to spend," Coburn later told us. 

He further noted that there has been significant amounts of money -- around $400,000 -- that has been contributed by private donors, and that Lawrence County has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to this fight.

But Coburn has noted that the funding to combat the mountain pine beetle will have to be stepped up and believes that it will require a substantial outlay of public funding in order to be successful.  And that will require greater public awareness and support.

With that in mind, he invited Lions members to sign up for e-mail updates and to become engaged in helping solve the problem by encouraging support from public officials and helping to create greater public awareness about the breadth and depth of the problem.

Belle Fourche Lions members were keenly interested in the presentation and lingered longer than usual to ask questions and learn more about one of the most serious plights facing not only the natural beauty of our Black Hills Region – but the very economy of our region.

Tickets for the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast were distributed to club members by committee chairman Ron Ensz.  Tickets are $5 each and the event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 25 the Moose Lodge.

 Well done Lions Swede and Rick! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Attending to attendance!

These Lions were recognized for perfect attendance during the past year.  Shown l-r are:    Rich Drabek, Del Neumeister, Rik Bartels, Leo Orme, Chuck Livingston, Brian Kline, and Larry Miller.  Lions Swede Wennberg and Rick Walton were not available for this photo.  Of special note (and you'll be hearing more about this!) are the 45 Years of perfect attendance by Lion Chuck Livingston! (Photo credit: Lion Robert Morris, Esq.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

SDLF launches new Preschool Vision Screening program

There are more than 59,000 children under age 5 in SouthDakota, and South Dakota Lions are launching a statewide program to provide vision screening for more than 13,000 preschoolers.
The program will use new technology devices to quickly and easily detect vision issues ranging from near and far-sightedness to astigmatisms and eye misalignment.

The goal is to detect vision disorders in children before they reach six years of age, helping to bolster their capacity to learn, adapt, and develop throughout childhood.

Lions plans to purchase eight devices to be strategically placed across the state so that every club will have access to screening equipment.  Details, of course, need to be worked out, but the screenings will be provided by trained personnel.

The South Dakota Lions Foundations is asking every Lion in the state -- and their clubs -- to commit their support for the Lions of South Dakota Preschool Vision Screening Program initiative.

The Preschool Vision Screening program  will launch this coming spring and summer.  We'll keep you posted as the initiative unfolds!