HITCH'N POST + HUMANE SOCIETY + BNSF RAILROAD + GEORGE MCCUE
JULY/AUGUST 2020 • ISSUE 45 • FREE
M A G A Z I N E
GET READY FOR THE SPORTS SEASON Sports physical or child wellness exam You have options to get your child ready for middle school or high school sports: • A sports physical includes a physical exam with a provider to ensure safe participation and completion of the sports physical form. The cost is $25 cash and not billable to insurance. • A child wellness exam is billed to your insurance and includes a comprehensive evaluation, immunizations, family history review and sports physical requirements. Please bring your child’s school physical form with the parent portion completed and signed.
CLINIC HOURS Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. LOCATION Sanford Aberdeen Clinic Appointment required.
Call (605) 226-5500 to schedule your appointment.
A MESSAGE FROM BROWN COUNTY FAIR MANAGER DEREK RICCI Friends of the Fair and Brown County Fair Fans; The Fair Board, Staff, and countless key people, both from the community and those that make Brown County their home for fair week, have been working, planning and evaluating the 2020 Brown County Fair situation since it began in March and April. We have run through the who, what, where, when, why and hows that any event would ask itself under a normal year, but we have had to add a few more to that list this year. There are good reasons to try and push forward to have the event, but unfortunately there are more reasons that have led us to the challenging decision to postpone the Brown County Fair until 2021. There have been many conversations with dozens and dozens of partners, too many to list them all. A rollercoaster of information has been received. There have been many emotions felt as these difﬁcult decisions were being made. Do we cut? What do we cut? Can we run without X or Y or Z? The Brown County Fair has a very large number of moving parts that all need to move smoothly behind the scenes, in the same direction to make The Brown County Fair the memory maker we all love. If all of the moving parts don’t move smoothly in the same direction, it’s a big problem. There are many organizations and partners depending on each other to move full steam ahead to carry out the Brown County Fair. It takes exhibitors, entertainers, contestants, carnival providers, sound and light companies, equipment providers, vendors, concessionaires, sanitation crews, staff, board members, key volunteers, an army of shift volunteers, and many organizations to carry out the major aspects of the fair. We can’t forget about you the fans, we can’t do it without all of you. It doesn’t take a drop to zero participants to impact severely the success for the Brown County Fair. Our greatest assets, free parking, no gate admission, and a small army of volunteers, is also a very big reason for the unknown. The other major hurdle is the health and safety of many of our volunteers and fair participants, especially those in the vulnerable population groups. Most of the volunteers that help this amazing event are in those very same groups. Another aspect that weighed heavily is the ﬁnancial responsibility to the taxpayer. The Brown County Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars. The fair has been fortunate over the last number of years and has not cost the taxpayers any money including the salary and beneﬁts for paid staff. This was a decision that will have a big impact, but was not taken lightly. Some will grieve the decision and others will celebrate it. This isn’t a time to further divide the community about how some were right or some were wrong. The Brown County Fair is a community event and celebration. It has to work for all of Brown County; not just certain groups, age ranges, afﬁliations or the loudest voices in the room. We know from those in the public ﬁeld that this will be with us for the foreseeable future, what we don’t know is how long that foreseeable future is. If we had a crystal ball and could see the future, we would be able to absolutely make the right decision no matter which way was right. Unfortunately we don’t. We have to make the best-educated decision with the information we have at the time and to think about the future and the ability for Brown County to fund future Brown County Fairs. We appreciate everyone’s support over the years and it’s because of that support the Fair Board and Staff are working to make future fairs bigger and better, after all the Brown County Fair…It’s Kind of a Big Deal!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 1. Will I be able to get a refund? We want to make it as easy as we can while giving you options. • You can request a refund. • You may hold your tickets for next year’s events. They will still be valid. 2. What if I lose my tickets between now and next year? Don’t worry. • Your tickets are stored in the ticketing system and can be resent to you next year. 3. How will camping work? Again more ﬂexibility. • You can request a refund • You can ask that your camping fees be rolled over to the 2021 Brown County Fair • You can camp as you intended. We will be working with the Fairground’s staff to help make the transition easier. 4. Will there be Vendors? • At this time because we are postponing the Brown County Fair, the vendors will be given the same ﬂexibility as the campers and are entitled to a refund. We can’t state at this time if there will be any food vendors that will choose to be on site. 5. Will there be a carnival? • While there will not be a carnival due to the postponement of the Brown County Fair, there are discussions for other events that are not the Brown County Fair. Check back for future details. 6. Are there any volunteer opportunities? • There may be some projects that we may be able to work on. We will have to look at those at a later date. There are always projects from April to October. You can always call the Brown County Fair ofﬁce to inquire about current projects 605-626-7116. 7. Can I donate my tickets or fees to the Brown County Fair to help? • You may choose to donate the price for tickets, camping or vendor space to the Brown County Treasurer’s General Fund which funds the Brown County Fair. We will send you a form. 8. Can I join the Board? • We always look for passionate people to give their time and talents to help, serve and work on the Brown County Fair Board. You can inquire on the website www.thebcfair.com or call the ofﬁce at 605-626-716. 9. Can I Volunteer for next year’s Brown County Fair? • We are always looking for those who want to volunteer. It can be one day, one shift or a couple of hours. There are many ways to help, even community service hours for students and non-students. • Inquire by calling the ofﬁce and online at www.thebcfair.com
VOLUME 8 • ISSUE 4 • JULY/AUGUST 2020
04 FROM THE EDITOR
Your source for what’s happening in Aberdeen.
Never miss an event in the Hub City.
USING ART FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Learn about how five local artists are working together with the United Way of Northeastern South Dakota to create educational material about local problems to bring social change to Aberdeen.
TAILS ARE WAGGING FOR KELLY’S PET TRAINING
After training dolphins for years, Kelly Pulis has brought those same skills to Aberdeen! Get the scoop on how this once pro dolphin trainer has found a new passion in training pets in Hub City.
HONORING CHS ALUMNI
A VET DOESN’T EVER JUST GROW UP THAT WAY
Central High School’s 2020 Hall of Fame Class has been announced. Learn more about the members being forever enshrined in blue and gold in the annual ceremony happening this fall.
From the family records of Dr. George McCue, explore the extraordinary life of one of Aberdeen’s most notable veterinarians written by his grandson, Robert.
THE COOLEST STORE EVER
Hitch'n Post is celebrating 50 years of business! Saddle up and ride through the business’s unique history and learn yourself a thing or two about owners Terry and “Pete” Larson.
Like other classically trained musicians, Travis Netzer is seeking to mix classical techniques with modern sounds to create a hybrid form of music. The result? Rock Tuba.
BUSINESS NOT AS USUAL
A GROOVY RETRO RANCH RESIDENCE
Have you ever tried making treats for your pet? We have two homemade treat recipes that’ll have your cats and dogs woofin’ ‘em down.
REMEMBERING A LOST PET
The loss of a pet is difficult to deal with, but two local businesses are making that transition easier for families across the Aberdeen area. The Aberdeen Area Humane Society provides one of the most valuable services to Hub City: rescuing animals. Catch an update on their million-dollar campaign to raise funds for a new building.
CROSSING TRACKS CROSSING CENTURIES
All aboard! Travel back through time and explore how the railroad has changed Aberdeen physically, economically, and the impact it’s had on community since 1881.
40 FUNDING A FUREVER HOME
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2 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
HITCH'N POST + HUMANE SOCIETY + BNSF RAILROAD + GEORGE MCCUE
JULY/AUGUST 2020 • ISSUE 45 • FREE
M A G A Z I N E
In part four of our Aberdeen 2020 series, we look at how COVID-19 has challenged local small businesses, and how their owners plan to forge onward.
Find out why this Aberdeen newcomer chose her home and how its retro appeal started with a pink toilet paper holder.
Two universities. One community. With classes resuming on campus this August at PC and NSU, celebrate by getting to know more about school mascots Spirit and Thunder.
RESOURCE GUIDE: PET CARE IN ABERDEEN
We’ve unleashed all Aberdeen has to offer in our ultimutt resource guide for pet care. Check it out for all your furry friend’s needs.
PLAYING HEAVY METAL
FRIENDS FUREVER ON THE COVER We conducted a poll on our Facebook page earlier this year to see where Aberdeen’s loyalties are at: dogs or cats? To the delight of canine lovers, dogs won out by only a few votes, and that’s why our cover features Presentatin College's mascot, Spirit and fellow Saint Bernard, Daisy. They love riding around in caretaker Stacy Bauer's MINI Cooper. Special thanks to PC and the Aberdeen Police Department for helping with this photoshoot. Photo by Troy McQuillen
COLLEGIATE INSPIRED ITEMS AND APPAREL FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
FROM THE EDITOR elcome to our Pet Issue! The gorgeous Spirit and her sweet sister Daisy are our cover girls for July/August. I love animals and I have always had a pet in my life. I’ve been the caretaker to dogs, cats, fish, and even a bearded dragon when I was in high school. I recently got a new orange kitten back in May, and he’s been the perfect addition to my family. My pets mean the world to me and I wanted to share that love with the rest of Aberdeen. But before we get into that, I want to take a moment to address what is happening in the world. We are still living through the COIVD-19 pandemic, and Aberdeen has been affected by it. We are on the upswing of reopening Karlie Spiry businesses and dining rooms but returning to normal seems a distant MANAGING EDITOR memory with the protests and political unrest throughout the nation. We are on the verge of a major historical moment, and rather than argue about what’s right or wrong, I invite all of you to educate yourself on the deeply rooted issues in our country and in our community. Knowledge is power, and some of the best ways to bring change is through education and through empathy and exercising the right to vote. Now, if you love pets, have we got a lot in store for you! This is our largest issue yet! It’s jammed packed full of stories about pets and the people who work with them, care for them, and love them. Are you looking for a quick reference for a groomer, a vet, or even the address for an off-leash dog park? We’ve got you covered with our ultimate Pet Resource Guide on page 30. The Aberdeen Area Humane Society is raising funds for a new building, check up on their progress on page 40. Did you know Aberdeen has resources to memorialize your pet? Grief over a lost pet is a very real thing, and we explore that on page 36. We have pet recipes, pet training tips, and so much more regarding our four-legged family members. Don’t worry, we still have our usual awesome content, too! Hop on board as we cross the tracks and learn about the railroad in Aberdeen and how it’s changed our traffic habits on page 62. Our Open House feature is back with a throwback to a retro inspired home on page 56. Last but certainly not least, our Buzz section covers standout regional and local news while still giving you that hometown feel, and that can be found on page 6. //
CONTRIBUTORS JENIFER FJELSTAD is a journalism and French major studying at Augustana University. In her free time, she enjoys dancing in hiphop and pom styles with the Augustana Spirit Squad.
PATRICK GALLAGHER is a regular contributor commenting on Aberdeen’s personality, food options, and history.
BOB MCCUE and wife Sydney are in the self storage and consulting business in Missoula, MT. A second generation owner operator. Bob is the 4th grandchild of Dr. George and Mae McCue.
DANI MCQUILLEN loves parties with themes, decorations, and creative cooking as befits the granddaughter of the original Sioux "Martha Stewart" of the Prairie. As the mother of five, with three still at home, she's a master of large, budget-friendly meals.
JENNY ROTH is a writer who loves this beautiful, windy corner of South Dakota. She and her husband farm near the Hosmer area and are raising three daughters. She is the former Managing Editor of Aberdeen Magazine.
4 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
ANGIE CLEBERG and AARON SCHULTZ are on the executive team at the United Way of Northeastern South Dakota. The United Way is instrumental in providing support for health and human service programs in our community.
VOLUME 8 • ISSUE 4 • JULY/AUG 2020
MANAGING EDITOR Karlie Spiry PUBLISHER Troy McQuillen DESIGN Eliot Lucas AD SALES Julie Lillis firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLICATION OFFICE McQuillen Creative Group 423 S. Main St., Suite 1 Aberdeen SD, 57401 (605) 226-3481 PRINTING Midstates Printing SUBMISSIONS Aberdeen Magazine welcomes your input. Message us your story ideas, drop off historic photos, or stop in for a chat. Email us at: email@example.com WEBSITE www.aberdeenmag.com PRIVACY STATEMENT Any personal information, email addresses, or contact submitted to the editorial office or online via our Facebook page will not be sold or distributed. Aberdeen Magazine does wish to publish public comments and attitudes regarding Aberdeen, therefore written submissions and comments on our Facebook page implies permission to utilize said information in editorial content. Aberdeen Magazine is produced exclusively in Aberdeen, South Dakota. All content is copyright with all rights reserved. No content may be shared, copied, scanned, or posted online without permission. Please just ask us first. We're pretty flexible.
Facebook @AberdeenMagazine INSTAGRAM @aberdeenmagazine
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The Former Shopko Building was purchased by Americo Real Estate Co. earlier this year.
From Shopko to Storage The 66,749 square foot building has remained vacant since early 2019 when previous occupant Shopko filed for bankruptcy and closed all locations across the country. The 500 North U.S. Highway 281 location has been purchased by Amerco Real Estate Co. It is a commercial real estate company based out of Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in real estate and developmental services with U-Haul. The real estate company has requested a building and zoning change with a special exception for the open storage of rental trucks, trailers, and other vehicles associated with moving and storage. An opening date has yet to be confirmed for the new business. // — Karlie Spiry
Social media is a great way to connect to family and friends, but it’s also extremely helpful in locating lost pets in the Aberdeen Area. Missing Pets of Aberdeen, SD is a Facebook group that allows for people to post pictures of pets who may have wandered away from home. The page also offers tips and advice on general pet welfare. With over 6,000 members, this group is extremely helpful in locating the owners of lost pets. The group is public, so anyone on Facebook can join and help people reunite with their missing pets. // — Karlie Spiry
“Mrs. Education” To Be Inducted Glenna Fouberg, retired educator and former member and president of the State Board of Education will be inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame for her efforts and commitment to education. For years, Glenna focused on helping and encouraging students on the margins of the education system in South Dakota. One of the most notable aspects of Glenna’s career is her work with the Alternative Learning Center in Aberdeen. She expanded the center to include middle school, the New Beginnings Center, and the Detention Center. The induction ceremony will take place on September 11-12, 2020 in Chamberlain/Oacoma, SD. // — Karlie Spiry Tickets for the ceremony are on sale at the Hall of Fame’s website at sdexcellence.org or by calling 605-234-4216.
Sales Tax Is Up With the pandemic affecting so much of our community, the question remains: how has the Aberdeen economy faired? City Finance Officer Karl Alberts reported back in April that we are still early in the game for 2020. The pattern of sales in Aberdeen has taken an interesting turn in 2020. Starting in December, sales were up 6.7% and then fell 4.6% in
6 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Glenna Fouberg earned Teacher of Year in 1994 and served 19 years on the South Dakota State Board of Education, of which she served four years as president.
January. February saw a slight increase in sales of just 0.4% and then saw a huge leap in March with a 21.1% increase. April’s sales numbers were announced in early June and were positive at 19.3%. Numbers for May and June won't be available until after publication of this issue. Social distancing restrictions put a halt to social life and non-essential businesses in Aberdeen, but the renewed spirit of shopping local has helped the Aberdeen economy stay afloat. // — Karlie Spiry
Photos by Troy McQuillen
Missing Pet? Check Facebook
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july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
Joe Gaa stands in front of historic City Hall as Aberdeen’s new City Manager.
Dominka Blum and her husband John pose with Limitless Success with Dominika Blum. Photo by Monica Burgeson
Blum Writes Inspirational Book Aberdeen resident Dominika Blum co-authored Limitless Success with Dominika Blum with 47 different authors who have traveled the world, seeking the keys to a happier life. “For most of my life, I have always wanted to write a book. I thought I had a story to tell that would inspire people,” says Dominika. The book centers around achieving goals through each author’s own personal struggles. For Dominika, a Polish immigrant who moved to the U.S. when she was a child, she believes that “By aligning our actions with our intentions, we can make our dreams come true” (from Limitless Success with Dominika Blum). // — Karlie Spiry To order your copy of the book, go to Amazon and search for Limitless Success with Dominika Blum.
The search ended for a new city manager of Aberdeen in early May when Joe Gaa of Dickinson, ND was selected for the position. Joe, who’s been a city manager in several other towns around the nation, including Dickinson, started the job in Aberdeen on June 22. He says he hopes “to continue the momentum because city staff is doing a great job.” Joe also plans to support the creative spirit of the business community in Hub City, and to find ways to help it grow the local economy. “I always strive to improve the quality of life in the city I work and live in,” he says. Welcome to Hub City, Joe! // — Karlie Spiry
The New Biz’ in Town Comm Tech is a business that specializes in a lot of different technological services for commercial, agricultural, and residential areas. Originally based out of Pierre with other service locations in Mitchell and Rapid City, the Aberdeen location opened in June. Comm Tech provides services in network communication, running cables and fibers in buildings, telecommunications, security, audio, and video to name just a few. The new business also offers a showroom for customers to experiences DIYs in installing TVs, using printers, and installing security and surveillance cameras. Comm Tech is located at 1715 Sixth Avenue Southeast. // — Karlie Spiry
Roy Lake Resort Purchased by State Many families in Northeastern South Dakota hold dear memories of Roy Lake Resort near to their hearts. The popular family destination was purchased by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks on March 2 from long time owner Jan Pitzel. The Roy Lake State Park district office began managing the resort back in March. All previous reservations for this year are still being honored by the resort. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks District Director Scott Simpson said, “We will strive to offer many of the same services, modified watercraft rentals, convenience store and bait sales. However, on-water gas sales will be discontinued.” Reservations are available through www.campsd.com, or by phone at 1.800.710.CAMP as units become available. // — Karlie Spiry
8 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Photos by Troy McQuillen
Gaa Hired as City Manager
NEW LOOK! SAME GREAT MUSIC!
YOUR FAVORITE STATIONS JUST GOT A FACE LIFT. LISTEN LIVE ON RADIO | STREAM LIVE ONLINE | DOWNLOAD OUR APP
Snug as two Saint Bernards in a rug, or rather, MINI Cooper. Spirit (right) and Daisy are ready to cruise! K9 Officers Neko (left) and Dex, along with their handlers Officers Tom Barstad and Jarrod Zaruba are always ready to stop crime.
Let’s Go for a Ride
Four-Legged Crime Fighters
Presentation College is home to one of the only living animal mascots in South Dakota, and she’s a pretty cute Saint Bernard named Spirit. Famed for her loving nature and adorable big, brown eyes, Spirit is well known across PC’s campus and around Aberdeen. In fact, if you see two Saint Bernards piled into a MINI Cooper driving around town, that’s just Spirit and her “sister” Daisy going for a ride. Daisy is not Spirit’s actual litter mate, but she is a Saint Bernard who also enjoys a good car ride. Stacy Bauer, who works at Presentation College, is the caretaker of these two giant fluff balls. She says, “It’s kind of comical seeing these two big dogs in a tiny car, but they just love it!” // — Karlie Spiry
K-9 Officers Dex and Neko have been working hard this year in fighting crime in Aberdeen! As heroes for all dogs in the Hub City to look up to, their exemplary career in community service is something to celebrate. Whether they are out patrolling around town or assisting in investigative work, these crime fighting canines are always at the top of their game. Did you know the Aberdeen K-9 Officers are a special resource and are often called to assist other agencies in the area? Officers Dex and Neko have assisted the South Dakota Highway Patrol, Edmonds County Sheriff’s Department, and they have even performed school searches in the Aberdeen Area to help keep kids safe. // — Karlie Spiry
Sander’s Sew-N-Vac and The Fabric Bin are celebrating 75 years of business in Aberdeen. As one of the oldest businesses in Hub City, Sander’s has been selling vacuums in Aberdeen since 1945 when original owner Al Sander would go door to door selling vacuum cleaners. He set up shop when housewives would ask about sewing machines. Ever since, the Sander family has been selling top of the line vacuums and sewing machines alike. Greg and Deb Sander took over the business in 1976 and have continued the family business of serving Aberdeen’s cleaning needs. They’ve even started offering quilting classes and a scissor sharpening service. // — Karlie Spiry Greg Sander is proud to own and operate one of the oldest businesses in Aberdeen.
To shop for top of the line vacuums, visit their website www.sanderssewnvac.com, or give Greg a call at the store at 605.225.4203.
Treat Your Car to a Spa Day Mike Carrels, owner of C-Express, Black Diamond Casino, and Platinum Auto Spa, decided the time had come to upgrade his business on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Roosevelt. Construction wrapped up April 13, and the store remains open with regular sanitizing and health precautions in place. The most popular new additions to the business have been the laundry mat and partnership with the Junction to serve their prepared food. Platinum Auto Spa is another major addition to the already existing business. It offers an express car wash in less than two and a half minutes. Carrels says he is looking forward to Godfather's Pizza and a prepared breakfast foods section opening soon. // — Jenifer Fjelstad
10 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Photos by Troy McQuillen
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Back in May, area pork producers gave away over 13,000 pounds of pork in the 2020 Hog Wild Giveaway. The event took place at the old Shopko parking lot on US Highway 281. Following social distance guidelines, hundreds of cars were directed to line up in the parking lot to receive their 20-pound box of various pork products. The pork came from South Dakota producers in the Aberdeen Area and was processed at SDSU with the help of South Dakota Pork Producers. The goal of the Hog Wild Giveaway was to promote local pork producers and to showcase their products to the community. // — Karlie Spiry
Hub City Goes Hog Wild
3M Brings Growth to Aberdeen
Photo by Troy McQuillen
The 3M plant has been awarded two U.S. Department of Defense contracts to increase its production of N95 respirators. The first contract was awarded in April for a sum of $76 million, and the second contract came in May for $126 million. 3M drastically increased the production of face masks in January to help combat the worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These two contracts also allow for 3M to add an additional 120,000 square feet expansion to the plant, and 100 jobs. 3M is estimating the plant will gradually increase the production of N95 respirators from 35 million to 95 million per month with this new addition and jobs. // — Karlie Spiry
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Main Street hasn’t looked quite the same since the Malchow’s fire last October. The 506 South Main Street lot has remained completely barren since the ruined building was torn down in November. Earlier in May, the Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced plans to build Malchow Plaza over the empty lot. This $2.5 million plaza will include the construction of one new building and repairing the Anchors of Faith building that took on severe damage during the fire. The Convention and Visitors Bureau will be moving to the plaza upon completion, along with Aberdeen Development Corp., Dakota Broadcasting, the South Dakota Small Business Development Center, and The Market, a new business coming to Aberdeen. // — Karlie Spiry For more updates on the plaza, be sure to follow the Convention and Visitors Bureau page on Facebook.
12 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
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Wiley Park 4th of July Celebration
JULY VIRTUAL STORY TIME Tuesdays in July, 10:30 AM K.O. Lee Public Library Facebook Live Free event Songs, stories, and special guests brought to your child from the Youth services staff. (605) 626-7097 www.facebook.com/ publiclibraryaberdeensd ABERDEEN MOOSE LODGE BINGO Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Moose Lodge $21 - $35 Bingo and special games. Bring donations for Journey Home. (605) 225-5185 www.visitaberdeensd.com MELGAARD PARK FUN RUNS July 1, August 5, 7:30 PM Melgaard Park $3 per person; $5 per family Noncompetitive trail runs open to runners of all ages and abilities, drawings for prizes. (605) 626-7015
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MINA LAKE FREEDOM FESTIVAL July 3, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM July 4, 8:00 AM & 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM Mina Lake Free event A full weekend including kids fishing tournament, games and inflatables, firework display, live music, and a 5K, 2 mile, or kids run. For more details check out Mina Lake on Facebook. WILEY PARK 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION July 4, 5:00 PM Wiley Park, Campground and Storybook Land Free event Performances from SBLT, the municipal band, and AquaAddicts, a Duck Derby, and of course, lots of fireworks! (605) 626-7015 SUMMER CONCERT SERIES July 9, August 6, 6:00 - 11:00 PM Main Street by the Flame Free event Pack up a lawn chair and head downtown for a family-friendly outdoor music event with local food and drink vendors available. (605) 226-3441 www.aberdeendowntown.org
DRAW PARTNERS DOUBLES NIGHT July 9, August 6, 7:00 PM NSU Courts Free event Randomly chosen partners compete in doubles tennis matches and win door prizes. (605) 626-7015 SUMMER CRAZY DAYS July 11, All day / business hours Downtown businesses Free event Sales at downtown businesses, outdoor kids games, and live music. (605) 226-3441 www.aberdeendowntown.org ZOO BAR MENS AND WOMENS 12’’ SLOWPITCH SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT July 11 - 12, Time varies by team Moccasin Creek Softball Complex Free event Bring a team out for a day of slowpitch. (605) 626-7015 www.visitaberdeensd.com CHICAGO JAZZ/ROCK CONCERT July 13, 6:00 - 10:30 PM Red Rooster Coffee House $10 in advance; $15 at door Performances by Marbin with Citisity and the Damn Shame. (605) 225-6603 www.redroostercoffeehouse.com
Aberdeen Aquatic Center RYAN SUMMERS CONCERT August 20, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Red Rooster Coffee House Free event Performance by electronic music artist Ryan Summers. (605) 225-6603 www.redroostercoffeehouse.com Ryan Summers
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE TRAP SHOOT July 15 - 19, 9:00 AM Aberdeen Gun Club $5 plus additional fees Annual state-wide trap-shooting tournament. (605) 228-2449 www.aberdeengunclub.com FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL TOURNEY July 21, 6:00 PM Sunshine Park Basketball Court Free event Outdoor basketball tournament for third through seventh graders. (605) 626-7015 YOUTH TENNIS CARNIVAL July 23, 9:00 -11:00 AM NSU Tennis Courts Free event Tennis matches, activities, and prizes for kids of all ages and abilities. (605) 626-7015 CHS GRADUATION CEREMONY July 25, Time TBD Aberdeen Central Free event Local graduates will be honored in person after May ceremonies were postponed. www.aberdeen.k12.sd.us Sizzlin' Summer Nights
CLASH AT THE CREEK SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT July 25 - 26, Time varies by team Moccasin Creek Softball Complex Free event Softball tournament (605) 626-7015 www.visitaberdeensd.com CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT July 27, Tee times vary Moccasin Creek Country Club $500 per team 4-player teams tee off for a game of golf, including a served lunch. www.aberdeen-chamber.com/141/ Chamber-Golf-Tournament firstname.lastname@example.org.
AUGUST 3RD ANNUAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS CONFERENCE August 19, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Dakota Events Center $50 - 130 A keynote speaker, networking, and exhibitors gather to support local business women. (605) 642-6948 www.bhsu.edu/sdceo
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE MEN’S 14’’ SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT August 22 - 23, Time varies by team Players Field Softball Complex Free event Softball tournament www.visitaberdeensd.com SIZZLIN’ SUMMER NIGHTS CAR AND BIKE SHOW August 28 - 29, Evening Main Street Free event Outdoor concert Friday followed by rows of unique cars and bikes on display, local vendors, and beer garden Saturday. (605) 226-3441 www.aberdeendowntown.org DAKOTA OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT August 29 - 30, 7:00 AM Moccasin Creek Country Club and Lee Park Golf Course $125 per player Tournament including golf, prizes, and lunch. (605) 226-0989 or (605) 626-7092
• Leisure Pool • 3 Water Slides
• Lap Pool with Play Features • 380’ Long Lazy River
10th Ave. SE & S. Dakota St.
www.aberdeen.sd.us/aquatics Lee Park Municipal Golf Course 18 Hole Course | Cart Rental Club Rental | Driving Range Snack Bar | Beer Tee Times Daily Golf Lessons by PGA Professionals
Hwy. 281 North Next to Village Bowl
Family Fun Headquarters!
WOLVES TRI August 30, 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM NSU Barnett Center $15 - 60 This triathlon means a 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run. www.nsuwolves.com
Campground | Storybook Land | Land of Oz Miniature Train | Carousel | Balloon & Coaster Rides Paddleboats & Canoes | Mini Golf | Go Karts Zoo | Bumper Boats | Bike Rentals
Hwy 281, 1 Mile North of Aberdeen
www.aberdeen.sd.us/storybookland july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
Local artists have teamed up with the United Way to promote social change in the Aberdeen Area.
by UNITED WAY STAFF
he United Way of Northeastern South Dakota met with local area artists Peter Killian, Nick Fischer, Nicole Fischer, Dan Cleberg, and Jacob Bosmoe to collaborate on a unique project: to help create educational material on social problems. Each artist has created a painting that spotlights a social problem from a local perspective. The United Way chose five issues based on input from local agencies. The chosen issues addressed are mental health, addiction, domestic violence, financial instability, and aging/senior care. Each piece features materials that educate and raise awareness of the problems we are facing in our region. Angie Cleberg of United Way further explains, “Our goal is to create awareness of issues that are happening right here in our own communities.
We hope that when people see the art, along with the data regarding our own state, they realize that these aren’t just numbers, they are their friends, families, and neighbors. By bringing these issues home, we hope it motivates people to give, volunteer, and advocate for the programs tackling these issues knowing they are helping the people and community they care about and call home.” By teaming art, education, and social issues together, the United Way means to give a more holistic learning experience that drives the message home from several angles. Cleberg says, “Art tells a story in a way that data and facts never can. Uniting them together will strengthen the message.” This concept highlights the second goal of the project. Nicole Fischer, fulltime artist and Board Member for United Way
16 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
explains, “Coming from an artistic mindset, I know the unique value creativity brings to the decision making and problem-solving discussions. If you want any organization to be successfully innovative in reaching their goals, you must bring creativity to the center. Artists belong on your boards and committees, from the business sector to human service agencies. We hope this project demonstrates this point.” United Way has other activities to help the learning experience. Round table discussion events based on each topic with follow up action plans are scheduled for fall 2020 and early 2021. Funding for this project came from a grant through The Change Network. The Change Network is a unique learning experience for people in North and South Dakota who want to build the skills and connections that will help them become more effective leaders. Part of the training includes creating a project that promotes positive change in the community they live in. Angie Cleberg took part in the 2019-2020 cohort. The United Way Foundation matched the grant to cover costs of education materials and discussion events. //
Photo by Troy McQuillen
Using Art for Social Change
Social conscience works of art created for the United Way are (left to right), Addiction by Nick Fischer, Aging/ Senior Care by Jacob Bosmoe (not pictured), Domestic Violence by Peter Killian, Financial Instability by Nicole Fischer, and Mental Health by Dan Cleberg.
CHRISTOPHER STANICHAR, CONDUCTOR/DIRECTOR
UPCOMING 2020-2021 SEASON
101 Years of Making Music Together NOV. 7
“Fairy Tales Can Come True”
“Pirates of Penzance”
Two famous works of music with number five: Shostakovich Symphony no. 5 Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 5 “The Emperor” Featuring renowned pianist, Ivo Kahánek Featuring works inspired by fairy tales that will delight kids and adults of all ages: Kilar: Orawa (with Aberdeen Central High School Orchestra, Joe Berns, Director) Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf , presented by Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre NSU Concerto-Aria Winners (TBA) | Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite Featuring Matěj Číp, Cimbalom (NSU Student) Featuring a collaborative production with NSU Opera and NSU Theatre of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance— fully staged opera with AUCS and NSU student singers
For more information call 605-626-2900, or email email@example.com. For more information about the AUCS or tickets for orchestra concerts, contact the NSU Fine Arts Office at 605-626-2497.
2020 8th Ave NE, Aberdeen, SD 57401
Visit us on the web at www.aberdeensymphony.org
ARCC DANCE, MUSIC, AND VISUAL ARTS CLASSES Registration begins Tuesday, August 4 at 7:00 AM In person: 225 3rd Ave SE, Aberdeen
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july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
TAILS ARE WAGGING FOR KELLY’S PET TRAINING If your pet’s behavior is disrupting your life, Kelly Pulis has solutions for restoring the peace in your home. by JENNY ROTH hen Rhonda Carda saw a flyer for Kelly’s Pet Training, she figured she had nothing to lose. The Carda family includes Beau, a four-yearold cocker spaniel with the sweetest brown eyes and a soft spot for curling up next to you on the couch. Beau is also fiercely protective of his people. So, when visitors would show up at the Carda home, he would voice his concerns. Rhonda explains, “He was really aggressive with strangers. My son couldn’t even have his friends over because Beau would go ballistic if someone outside of the family came to the front door.” Feeling at a loss for what they could do, the family decided a professional pet trainer was worth a shot. After just one session with Kelly Pulis, they were able to understand Beau’s triggers and find solutions for how they could help him feel comfortable with having strangers in the house. Four sessions later, and they have seen a huge improvement in Beau’s behavior and are continuing to practice everything they’ve learned. “I totally recommend Kelly working with your pet. She very quickly picked up on why Beau was having anxiety toward guests and has taught us so many tricks and techniques we can use to help him get over this hurdle,” Rhonda says.
5 Tips for a Happier Home with Your Pet by KELLY PULIS
18 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Reward behavior you like with food, praise, and love, and ignore the rest. It’s proven that positive training happens faster and is retained longer than punishment. Let’s be positive!
Make training a fun game and not a chore. Training should be energizing, not something that makes you feel like you have to drag your feet and force yourself to do. If it’s not fun, take a break and come back to it another time.
Photos by Kelly Pulis
After graduation, she and her husband moved to Mississipi and worked at a conservationfocused aquarium for the next nine years. Here, her childhood dream of marine animal training was brought to life. She hosted countless animals shows, took care of a number of stranded dolphins, and rehabbed hundreds upon hundreds of sea turtles. During her experience, she noticed how a one-on-one interaction with people made the most impact. “For the majority of people who come to an aquarium, that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is something they take home and remember. I noticed that when we got to talk one-on-one with people that we could really answer their questions and concerns and make real connections with them,” she says. From Dream Career to Business Owner
Going All-In After The Dream Career The Cardas aren’t the only family in Aberdeen celebrating a happilyever-after with their fur baby thanks to Kelly’s Pet Training. It’s client stories like these that make Kelly’s career feel full-circle. While growing up, she dreamed of becoming a marine animal trainer and working with dolphins. But living in the very landlocked Midwest, that dream didn’t seem realistic when it came time for college. Instead, she earned a degree in Wildlife Biology and found a job doing research. It involved spending eight hours a day at a computer and not interacting with animals at all. “So, I went back to school, this time for what I really wanted to do,” she explains. Kelly’s search for a career working hands-on with animals took her to Moorpark, California, where she attended the exotic animal training and management program at Moorpark College. The school is a zoo and college in one. Students earn grades both in the classroom and by training animals at public shows for zoo-goers.
Keep it simple. Breaking each task into small, achievable steps instead of one large one will make your training more successful.
When Kelly and her husband moved to Aberdeen two years ago for his job as a professor of biology at NSU, she knew it would mean a huge pivot for her career. “There are no dolphins here,” she jokes. But what she also noticed was that while there are group dog obedience classes in town, no one was offering private, in-home pet training. Remembering the difference of that one-on-one connection with people from her time at the aquarium, she felt inspired to start Kelly’s Pet Training after that model. Kelly now helps individual families by coming to their homes and teaching them how to correct whatever issues they are having with their pets. She trains all animals but has been called mostly to help dogs in the Hub City. “It is so important to do the training at the pet’s home because that’s where they are the most comfortable, and it allows us to take in the layout and the family environment. So, we look at things like who lives here, where does the pet sleep, what door are they using, who are they jumping on or barking at, etc. This way, we can really hone in and see
Bring the best treats broken into small pieces. Using many small, peasize treats of your dog’s favorite thing instead of one big treat creates more opportunities to learn.
what will be the most effective in correcting the behavior,” she says. As part of these personal sessions, Kelly answers questions and goes over scenarios with clients, giving them tools to continue the pet training after she leaves. She says positive reinforcement is key. “I always teach through positivity and teach clients to do the same for their pets. This means using something that motivates the pet toward good behavior— usually with dogs this means food and offering treats for the behavior we want to see.” Most clients start with a half hour or hour session and add on if needed. Kelly has experience in spades when it comes to animal training, but starting a business was a completely new challenge. To get her name out there and find those first clients, she offered group training classes at the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center and hung flyers around town to advertise. Eventually, she partnered with other businesses, like her collaboration with Pinned Workshop to promote dog training and make a leash holder, and local vet clinics. “Our vets in town have been so gracious in telling pet owners about me when they have animals come in who are nervous or fearful or have other behavior issues the owner is looking for guidance on.” For now, Kelly meets with her pet training clients on nights and weekends. During the day, she works full time as the biology lab manager at NSU. When she isn’t working, she and her family love getting outside, hiking, and boating. True, there aren’t any dolphins in Aberdeen. But Kelly has built her own niche here to serve the animals that do live in her new community. She says being a business owner feels right. “I know it can be so frustrating when you have a pet that is having a problem at home and you have no idea what to do and nothing is working. I love helping people find solutions in those situations so they can feel happy at home with their pets.” // To reach Kelly Pulis with Kelly’s Pet Training, call 605-622-0428, visit kellyspettraining.com, or find her on Facebook @kellyspettraining.
Read your dog’s body language to know if you are on the right track. It’s hard for dogs to learn when they are nervous or uncertain, so make sure the time and place are right for happy, positive learning.
july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
Honoring CHS Alumni The Aberdeen Public School Foundation, Inc. announced its inductees for the 2020 CHS Hall of Fame class. Each year, alumni of the public high school are nominated by community members and chosen by a selection committee to be enshrined in Central’s Hall of Fame. The 2020 Hall of Fame class includes Loel Schrader, class of 1942, Dr. Richard Boettcher, class of 1953, Ed Schaefle, class of 1974, Wayne Hansen, class of 1978, Bill Gayton, class of 1979, Dr. Stuart Bale, class of 1983, Brian Hoke, class of 1992, Kellie (Heier) Calhoun, class of 2003, and the Golden Eagles 1961 State A Champion Boys Basketball Team. Glenna Fouberg will also be honored at this ceremony and will receive a distinguished service award for her work as an educator from 1973 to 2001. Aberdeen Magazine wishes a big congratulations to all the honorees! // — Karlie Spiry The induction ceremony will be on September 19, and tickets go on sale this summer. Do you want to nominate the outstanding CHS alumni in your life? Contact Gretchen Sharp at 605.725.7118, or visit the Aberdeen School District website and click on the Foundation, Alumni and Friends tab at the top of the page.
Dr. Stuart Bale, '83
Dr. Richard Boettcher, '53
Brian Hoke, '92
Wayne Hansen, '78
Ed Schaefle, '74
Loel Schrader, '42
Kellie (Heier) Calhoun, '03
Bill Gayton, '79
Glenna Fouberg, ASD '73-01
1961 Boys Basketball Team
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Y E S T E R DAY S George, Mae, Celia and Bob McCue sitting outside on a sunny day circa 1936 at the McCue family home located 1220 North Washington St.
Bob with wagon and horse team of Bucky, Dolly and dog named Guard (all belonging to the McCues) along with fellow 14-year-old Central high school pals. They are on a weekend Boy Scout scrap drive for the WWII effort. The house in the background is over on Congress St. Circa fall 1943.
Yellowed newspaper articles and black-and-white photographs only just begin to tell the stories of exceptional country doc George P. McCue, who devoted his life’s work to caring for animals large and small and the community that surrounded them. by ROBERT P. MCCUE
22 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Photos courtesy Robert McCue
A Vet Doesn’t Ever Just Grow Up That Way
n 1942, Dr. George P. McCue penned an editorial for Bit and Spur Magazine headlined, “A Vet Doesn’t Ever Just Grow Up That Way.” He wrote, “few occupations demand such a diversity of qualifications as the practice of veterinary medicine.” From 1920 to 1961, Doc McCue dedicated his diversity of expertise to the caretaking of Aberdeen’s animals and, in the process, became both influential and beloved in his adopted hometown. The second oldest of seven children, five boys and two girls, George was born in 1887 to Lawrence and Catherine Rooney McCue in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The family moved to Milwaukee in 1897, where they were often visited by his mother’s brother, Henry Rooney, the chief draught horse wrangler of the Ringling Circus. As “Boss Hossler,” Uncle Henry was responsible for the entire team of horses that pulled circus wagons and engines as the extravaganza traveled from stop to stop across America. Watching his uncle’s skill with those sturdy beasts, George’s imagination and interest in animals came alive. He became the lucky kid
Celia getting ready for Pony Patrol. Pony Patrol getting ready for their first Aberdeen parade circa 1939. Celia is far right mounted on pony. Bob is mounted right next to her and Gene is four spots away. The PP parade was organized by George and the Aberdeen Elks Club of which George was a long time member. Photo is taken in front of the Brown County courthouse.
The McCue House is still standing on North Washington Street, however, there is no more room for ponies.
Mae and George circa 1922. George and all three kids on two ponies.
who got to travel with the circus for several seasons, observing and assisting his uncle and experiencing the life of an animal medic. In the early 1910s, the lure of the big city pulled George to Chicago. He enrolled in McKillop Veterinary School in 1912, studying and attending class by day and working as a coal shoveler during the evenings. As his son, Robert Sr., (Bob) later wrote, George was fiercely proud of his eighth-grade education and “graduate study at the University of Hard Knocks on the streets of Chicago.” As an echo of his circus days, George reported that he especially enjoyed treating the engine horses of the Chicago Fire Department in his medical rotations. In 1916, George became Dr. McCue upon graduation from McKillop. Like so many men of his day, George was drafted into the U.S. Army shortly after graduating. Fresh out of veterinary school, the young doctor’s skills were in high demand to treat and care for the war horses that pulled artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons behind the Allied battle lines during World War I. He was honorably discharged six months after the war came to an end and set his sights on the American West to establish a new life. Aberdeen, a town of three thousand people in 1919, became Doc McCue’s new home. George became acquainted with Dr. Elliott and his family, who ran the local veterinary hospital, and was made a partner in the practice not long after he received South Dakota veterinary license number 333 in 1920. As a partner, George tended
to the needs of all manner of local livestock and pets, from quarantining cattle afflicted by anthrax to treating family dogs for rabies. He became a fixture at the weekly Brown County Sales Barn, where he tested and inoculated horses, cows, and hogs. After several years of partnership, George went into business for himself and opened his own clinic in the Lacey Ice Cream and Dairy building on Fourth Avenue. While Dr. McCue was thoroughly occupied with the obligations of a country vet, he also courted Miss Mae Tierney, a schoolteacher in Chicago. Their long-distance relationship was made possible thanks to the direct line of the Milwaukee Railroad to Chicago. In 1925, George and Mae were married at the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, and the young couple moved into Aberdeen’s plush Dorian Apartments. As both the family and the veterinary practice grew, the McCues built a house on fifty acres on North Washington Street, their one and only home as Aberdonians. They raised horses and other small animals, as well as vast fields of hay. Although George was named the president of the South Dakota Veterinary Association in 1929, he and his family were not spared the hardships of the Great Depression any more than their neighbors. To add to the strife of the Depression, the early 1930s brought incredible drought to Aberdeen. Farms and businesses were lost, families were pressed from their homesteads, and George was forced to move the Fourth Avenue clinic to his home. During those july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE Casey Klum unearthed this glass medicine bottle while cleaning stalls at his barn in Ferney, SD. When Klum posted a photo to an Aberdeen history Facebook group, fellow member Bob McCue, Jr. recognized his grandfather’s imprint. The two men connected, and a bit of Aberdeen’s past came full circle.
lean days, George would often accept chickens, cows, and other animals in lieu of money as payment for veterinary services. Happily, the three McCue children, Eugene, Bob, and Celia, were fond of being raised in an animal hospital. All three kids developed talent and kinship with animals, horses especially. With the help of their parents, young Bob and Eugene spent their youth raising, training, and selling ponies. The McCues had enough acreage at their home in the Highlands district of Aberdeen to raise the ponies, which they would sell to local kids. George and the kids often spent time in Wylie Park, with Bob offering pony rides to the Girl Scouts and George offering his services to families who brought their horses, dogs, cats, and other pets to the park for exercise and vet consults. A 1939 Aberdeen American News article touted eighteen local kids, ranging in age from twelve-year-old Eugene to four-year-old Celia, as the “only pony patrol of its kind in the world.” The troupe was a feature attraction at the Independence Day celebrations in Aberdeen that summer, showcasing jumping skills, cavalry stunts, and, in the words of the reporter, “a hatful
of tricks which are ordinarily seen only with big time circuses.” The Pony Patrol was organized by Doc McCue and sponsored by the Elks Club. Beyond their skill with horses, all the members of the McCue family were known for their community involvement. Doc McCue was almost constantly on-call for local and regional needs, when not on the road to state and national veterinary conventions. He served not only the community of Aberdeen and Brown County, but Marshall, Spink, Day, Clark, and Edmunds counties to name a few. He was a local member of the Knights of Columbus, Elks Club, and a Boy Scout leader. Mae McCue was a skilled teacher and school principal in the Chicago school system before her marriage brought her to Aberdeen. She was a prolific philanthropist, having helped found the Aberdeen chapter of the Catholic Daughters of America in the 1930s. She was highly active in the Sacred Heart Parish Alter Society, Bonne Foi, ETW Study Club, and several other community service organizations. In 1952, she campaigned for the public office of Register of Deeds. Though unsuccessful, her bid was another indication of her devotion to community service.
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In 1942, thirteen-year-old Bob McCue hitched his ponies, Buck and Dolly, to a collection wagon and rode around town with his friends soliciting iron scrap donations in a drive to help support World War II efforts. His community service earned him a write-up in Bit and Spur Magazine, with the reporter advertising that “if you want a horse broke, call on him.” In their rare downtime, Mae would take their children to the family cottage on Lake Enemy Swim, and George would join them when his practice would permit. George sold the cabin in 1959 to the Bossley family, who owned a farm just south of Aberdeen. For years, they had called on Doc McCue to attend to the care of both their farm animals and family pets. When George put the cabin up for sale, the Bossleys became the new caretakers. As an adult, Bob later wrote in a family history that, following World War II, George “had many good years practicing his life’s vocation.” With his encyclopedic knowledge of veterinar y medicine, nutrition, surgery, immunology, obstetrics, pharmacology, and husbandry, Doc McCue had become an indispensable Aberdonian and a dear friend of so many farmers, ranchers, and families. In 1959, Mae died suddenly of a heart ailment at the age of 63. George was so stunned and grief-stricken by the loss that he lost interest in his career and retired from medicine two years later at the age of 74. The South Dakota Veterinary Mae and George enjoying a laugh Medical Association recognized on the front porch of their 1220 his contributions to both the North Washington St. home circa practice and his community summertime 1938. The home today looks virtually the same as it did back when they honored him with a in the 1930s. They built the house in lifetime membership in 1965. 1925 and lived there until it was sold George spent the next few years in approximately 1967. of his life traveling the country to visit his children and grandchildren, and in 1969, he took rest next to his beloved Mae in Aberdeen’s Sacred Heart Cemetery. Considering the sheer breadth of his skill and the depth of his relationships within the community, George certainly embodied the archetype of the wise, weathered country vet who “didn’t just grow up that way.” Though he studied for four years at McKillop Veterinary School, the bulk of his education came from decades of serving Aberdeen. Imagine all those long, midnight hours in birthing sheds, pulling calves and foals that did not want to come. Or picture the mingled trepidation and determination of a young vet corralling anthrax-infected cattle for quarantine. His dedication to a lifetime of such demanding work, dodging mule kicks and dog bites along the way, speaks to an innate, outright love for his vocation. // The author, Robert McCue, is interested in any memories or stories about his family and their time in Aberdeen. If you have a story, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
F E AT U R E
THE COOLEST STORE E V E R
ixth Avenue is dressed in all kinds of businesses these days, but one business on the east side of town sticks out in particular. It dons an old western exterior that looks like something straight out of a John Wayne film rather than a retail store. Rustic designed western billboards, murals, and signs featuring cowboys in their element stamp the exterior of the building. It’s clear that Hitch'n Post is not just any retail store. Looking more like a tourist attraction you would see in the Black Hills than a store in Aberdeen, this western wear store has caused many a cowboy to “tie up his horse at the door” and take a gander inside. Once inside, there is a great variety of things to shop for. The store isn’t just for cowboys either. Patrons of Hitch'n Post can expect to find quality clothing for every occasion. Western clothing has evolved for everyone to
26 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Hitch'n Post is celebrating 50 years of successful business in Aberdeen.
wear. It truly is a crossover style. Terry and Pete are happy to also offer a selection of antiques, footwear, jewelry, purses, hats, colognes and snacks for your favorite farmer’s wife or city slicker. Not to mention you’ll walk away with the satisfaction of shopping local and supporting an Aberdeen small business. Hitch'n Post has been a staple western store in Northeastern South Dakota for the past 50 years. In fact, at one point, it was the biggest western store in the state, and the store sported that slogan to boot. Now, the store sports the logo “Quite Possibly the Coolest Store Ever.” Longtime owners Terry and Kathryn “Pete” Larson have managed the store together since the ‘80s. Terry, along with George Lemer, actually bought the business from John and Bobbie Pagones in 1983, but more on that later.
by KARLIE SPIRY
In the ‘50s, John and Bobbie Pagones owned P & H Bootery, a shoe store on Main Street. 1958 was a big year for western wear so much so that John and Bobbie opened Western Corral, a retail store dedicated to the western fashions of the time. The new western store was an instant hit among the farmers and ranchers of Northeastern South Dakota. The only problem was that not all their customers could reach the Main Street location. Larger trucks and horse trailers were not exactly the easiest to maneuver on the small street. And so, in the ‘60s, John and Bobbie opened another western store on the east outskirts of Aberdeen. This business was called Hitch'n Post. The location used to be an old gas station and used car lot, but to John and Bobbie, it was the perfect place for where their dreams could grow. People thought that John and Bobbie were crazy for locating so far out of town. The location would end up paying off though, because what was the far edge of town back in the ‘60s is now the main strip of Sixth Avenue today.
Originally from Watertown, Terry received the best advice he’s ever heard from his friend and former employer Jim Miner, who said, “If you take care of your business, your business will take care of you.” Terry has carried this advice with him in every business venture he’s taken, and it’s definitely paid off. After graduating from Northern with a degree in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Business, Terry didn’t put roots down in Aberdeen right away. He traveled to California for a taste of life on the west coast. “I quickly found out California living wasn’t for me, and I came back to South Dakota,” he says. He left the surfboards and busy city life behind for the solace of small-town living. As the only retail business on the east side of town at the time, Hitch'n Post was doing great. It was in August of 1970 that Terry came to work for John Pagones. Before that, Terry was operating a small dry-cleaning business in Aberdeen that John was a customer of, but Terry wanted more out of life. “I wanted to work in a more interesting place, and when I realized John was the owner of Hitch'n Post, I joined the team,” says Terry. Kathryn who goes by the nickname of “Pete” from her maiden name Petersen, hails from Doland and she graduated from Northern in 1973 with a degree in Elementary Education. But her career wasn’t meant for the classroom. Pete says, “I was the 13th person hired at the Aberdeen Kmart, and I worked there for 11 years.” While Pete was still in college, she met Terry through her roommate. They hit it off and became partners in life and eventually business. Pete eventually came to work at Hitch'n Post in 1987, and she’s been there since. The Western Legacy Continues In the early ‘70s, the store was already 4,000 square feet in space, but with business booming in 1973, an additional 2,000 square foot expansion was added to the store. Expanding
Photos by Troy McQuillen
The West Goes East
july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
This building may seem unrecognizable to some, but it is actually the old gas station John and Bobbie Pagones purchased in the ‘60s. It also served as a used car lot. Overtime, this building transformed into the iconic western exterior we all see today.
Owners Pete (left) and Terry Larson have been in the western retail business since the early ‘80s. They are wearing a classic western style: blue jeans, large belt buckles, and big smiles. Pete wears a long pendant necklace made of turquoise that features a shiny pendant and tassel. Terry dons the classic western staple: a cowboy hat. At right is Duster, Pete and Terry’s beloved dog who also visits the store.
the retail store didn’t stop there. In 1976, John and Bobbie added another 3,200 square foot room making the total space a staggering 9,200 square feet. Hitch'n Post then became one of the largest independently own retail stores in Aberdeen, and the largest western store in the state for a time. In 2015, a car drove through the oldest part of the store, the lady’s department, and put that section out of commission for a few months. The incident was an opportunity for renovation and upgrades. Many people are shocked at just how big the store is when they walk in because it seems small from the outside, but it is indeed a big store with big heart. Pop culture usually has an influence over retail sales, and for Hitch'n Post, this big influence came in 1980, when the movie Urban Cowboy premiered and became a hit. John Travolta and Debra Winger star in the film, and their character’s influence over western style fashion had significant effects at the store. Everybody
28 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
wanted to be a cowboy just like in the film. At the same time, the Northern Border Pipeline was being built near Aberdeen. “The workers bought tons of merchandise from the store,” recalls Terry. It would be this business boom that would encourage Terry to buy Hitch'n Post from the Pagones, and he did so with his business partner George Lemer in 1983. Challenges came quickly as the economy dipped in 1983 and interest rates took a jump. A lot of farmers and ranchers went out of business, and this had a negative impact on business for Hitch'n Post. Both Terry and George feared that the cowboy craze was over, and the store would go out of business. In 1987, Terry bought out George, and Pete came to work at the store. Together, she and Terry have been working side by side ever since. They both always had a love for western wear and South Dakota style, and going to work together has been fun for them. Over time, business and the economy gradually improved. “I credit our continued success to our many great salespeople we’ve had over the years,” says Terry. 1990 became the year that Hitch'n Post would cement its permanent status as an Aberdeen icon. The Lakewood Mall opened, and not only did it help increase business for the western store, but it also increased business for Aberdeen in general. Sixth Avenue became the hot spot for business, and as Terry says, “All those naysayers back in the ‘60s were proven wrong.”
Being a family owned business has helped set the western wear store apart from the rest. Some of the first things that people notice about the building are the signs and murals. They have been up as long as Terry and Pete can remember. The Levi’s sign on the west side of the building was actually painted by Terry’s own brother. Terry and Pete’s two daughters worked in the store at one time or another. Currently, their daughter Alissa works in the store. Since coming to work for her parents, Alissa has updated the store to a computer system from the old paper system. Before that, everything, even their receipts, were handwritten. Alissa also runs the Hitch'n Post Facebook page and has created a close community of western wear lovers through it. Terry says that it may be time to think about retirement, but Pete teases that he is already semi-retired because he gets Sundays off so it’s not quite Alissa’s turn to take over the family business just yet. Over the past 50 years, Hitch ’n Post has earned itself a rich history. A celebration for all the good times is planned for September. They are not sure of all the details yet, but they plan on 9 to 10 days of great deals in the store. Don’t think you have to wait until then to get great offers! Hitch ’n Post always has great deals and bargains in store for customers. // Hitch’n Post is open Monday through Saturday from 9-6 and on Sunday from 12-4. For more information about the upcoming celebration, be on the lookout for upcoming advertisements or Facebook posts about the event.
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We know you love your furry friends as much as we love ours. Here are the businesses you need to know about to find the best pet care in the Hub City. //
VET CLINICS Northern Plains Animal Health 2503 West Highway 12 605-226-3816 Tim’s Veterinary Service 38339 134th Street 605-226-8895
Cooper Animal Clinic 39224 133rd Street 605-225-3500 Animal Care Clinic 704 S Melgaard Road 605-229-1691 Companion Animal Mobile Clinic 39173 140th Street 605-229-6838
The Pet Place 305 N Main Street 605-262-0185
Aberdeen Area Humane Society 2511 385th Avenue S 605-226-1200
The Dog Shop 1105 6th Avenue SW 605-725-4325
Pet Rescue League 1020 6th Avenue SE Suite 1 605-228-2984 or 605-290-9039
The Pooch Parlor 116 N Main Street 605-225-5726
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TA S T E
These two recipes have been designed with our four-legged foodies in mind. by KARLIE SPIRY
These are rolled into one-inch balls. Bigger dogs will woof them down, while smaller dogs may want to nibble at them. Since there’s no meat in these they may last longer, but consider freezing extras.
PERFECT FOR PUPS
No Bake Peanut Butter Ball Dog Treats
INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree (baby food works)
INSTRUCTIONS Dump all the wet ingredients into a bowl and mix. Gradually add 1 cup of the oats and mix well.
1/4 cup of peanut butter (make sure it’s xylitol free as xylitol is toxic for dogs)
Take a scoop or your hands, and form inch sized balls out of the mixture and then roll it around in the leftover oats.
1/8 cup of milk
Refrigerate for an hour, or until set, and serve to your pup!
1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
32 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Photos by Troy McQuillen
If you love to spoil your pooch, then you are probably no stranger to dog treats. But have you ever considered making them for your dog from scratch? If you haven’t tried making your own dog treats before, it’s a great way to make sure your pup is eating healthy, dog-safe foods. Making treats for your dog doesn’t have to be hard either. This No Bake Peanut Butter Ball Dog Treats recipe is an absolute favorite among my two dogs, Gemma and Lainey. This simple recipe involves four ingredients that can be found around almost any home. Of course, if your dog has a special diet, feel free to make the needed adjustments so your furbaby can have a tasty snack, too!
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Roll the ingredients into small balls and store in a zip top bag or plastic container in the fridge. You may want to freeze some of them as the chicken probably won’t last too long. Just experiment with how big your cat likes them. You can break one ball into smaller bits for multiple treats.
FOR THE FELINES
Chicken Bite Cat Treats I love my dogs, but I really am a cat person. Mr. Whiskers and Lily are my two cats and they just get me. But, when it comes to buying treats for them, they are the definition of picky eaters. I’ve tried all kinds of treats to no success. To make things even more difficult, Mr. Whiskers is allergic to fish so finding cat foods that are fish free can be difficult. I’ve never made treats for my cats before, and after doing some research, I created this Chicken Bite Cat Treats recipe in an attempt to find a treat that both of my cats like and is safe for Mr. Whiskers to eat. The one thing I wanted this recipe to be is easy, and so I’ve modeled it after the recipe found above, and in case you are wondering, baby food is pet safe. INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree (baby food works)
INSTRUCTIONS Boil the chicken breast in water until done and then grind in a food processor.
1/8 cup of frozen peas, thawed
Pour the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until paste-like. If the mixture is looking a little dry, use some of the water left over from boiling the chicken to wet it.
1/2 plain chicken breast cutlet, boiled and ground 3/4 cup of old-fashioned oats
Photos by Troy McQuillen
34 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Scoop or roll the mixture into 1/2 inch sized balls. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until set, and then serve to your pretty kitty.
Ronnie (above) and Thelma both enjoyed these treats.
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F E AT U R E
A LOST PET Crossing the Rainbow Bridge in Aberdeen by DANI MCQUILLEN
Cooper’s Pet Cemetery is home to over 600 Aberdeen pets.
ost people have known a beloved pet and have also unfortunately lost a beloved pet. Since I moved to Aberdeen in 2005, I’ve lost a couple hamsters, but have not otherwise had any loss of a longterm pet in the intervening years. Looking over the course of my whole life, I have sad memories of times where I’ve had to bury some of my best furry friends. When my husband announced this issue would include a lot of stories about pets, I asked him if he thought it would be odd to write a story about pet loss. The more I talked to people about pet grief and loss, I discovered just how special the amount of love people hold in their hearts for the animals many of them affectionately called “fur babies.” This love launched the creation of Pets at Rest at Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory. Owner George Schriver was inspired by his family’s love of their myriad collection of pets. One portion of the facility is dedicated as a pet mausoleum, which currently is used just by the Schriver family. The mausoleum can
36 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
also accommodate any community pets for a small ongoing maintenance fee and includes a nameplate for your pet. Pets at Rest offers a number of other options for pet memorials, including a variety of containers or jewelry that holds pet cremains. The latter has become very popular today.
George remembers almost a decade ago when they made the investment in a crematorium dedicated to community pets. He wasn’t confident usage would follow, but at present, his family cares for the final disposition of an average 60 pets a month. They have handled every kind of pet imaginable, from a miniature
Photos by Troy McQuillen
horse (at the upper limits of the crematorium’s capacity) to a pet fish. Other pets entrusted to Schriver’s care beyond the more common cats and dogs include snakes, hamsters, bunnies, guinea pigs, and birds. George and his family understand what it feels like to lose a furry family friend and have dedicated themselves to helping you through your initial grief process. Some of the pets that arrive at Schriver’s come from Cooper’s Animal Clinic across town. Dr. R.D. Cooper, the owner of Cooper’s, described his experiences with helping families grieve loss over the years he has been in business. He says in the early years, families lovingly wanting to shield children from grief, would sometimes tell children a pet ran away or not involve children in grief processes. In the 1970s, community members aware of the land Dr. Cooper had available started to ask if animals could be buried near the clinic. Dr. Cooper agreed and thus began the Cooper’s Pet Cemetery. Dr. Cooper notes that he even has children, now adults, still coming to the Pet Cemetery to visit their pet family members. Holidays that see humans placing flowers on family graves also regularly give rise to families coming out to place flowers on graves for their pets.
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John and Rhonda Webb’s memorial urns for their family dogs.
Unlike the Stephen King title with a similar name, the Pet Cemetery at Cooper’s is the permanent and peaceful resting place for over 600 Aberdeen pets. Because there is not enough land for every pet to be buried, there is a fee for burials today, but about a dozen families a year still continue to utilize this option. Dr. Cooper says pet cemeteries of this size are unusual and ones associated with veterinary clinics are exceedingly rare. “A cemetery with a veterinary
38 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
clinic might be perceived that the clinic fails. This may not necessarily be the image you want to display,” Dr. Cooper says. But he also went on to describe that despite vastly improved care in veterinary medicine, pet loss is a part of everyday life. For some families, he hopes the clinic and the cemetery helps our community process pet grief in a more meaningful way. Dr. Cooper says the clinic also offers other services to save a paw print or otherwise honor
the memory of family pets. He notes that every family experiencing pet loss gets a card with a poem about crossing the rainbow bridge. Around Aberdeen, families have also independently made decisions they felt honored their pet’s memory. Aberdeen Magazine publisher and my husband, Troy McQuillen buried his beloved dog, Rylie, where Rylie preferred to lay in the grass in the backyard. Rhonda and John Webb have captured my attention for years with their repeated posts about their pets who have passed away. Rhonda describes how the loss of their dogs has impacted their family over the years. She has four urns, each with a picture of a dog they’ve loved and lost. The Webbs have used Schriver’s for these most recent pet losses. Rhonda describes those services as a blessing. She says, “there is something about the process and care used by Schriver’s that helped me have the opportunity to move through the grieving process with a little less trauma.” My personal favorite story of pet loss comes from local home appraiser, Amy Frink, who shares the loss of her terrier mix, Clyde, who passed in the late 1980s. Clyde was semi-famous locally and was known in his neighborhood for accompanying the mailman on his route. Once, when Clyde went missing, Amy attempted to call the pound with just a description to no success. Her Dad told her she should tell them his name and the pound immediately responded, “Clyde? He’s been here all day.” Another time, when Clyde was home sick, several neighbors called to check on him because they hadn’t seen him for a few days. Amy recalls speaking with one of the Schriver family members after Clyde passed because she fully intended to publish an obituary for Clyde, so everyone who knew him would know he was gone. She was told that it might seem disrespectful to families to include her pet’s obituary among human ones. While she understood the possible discomfort for others grieving family members, she would have absolutely paid for the space if allowed because she loved Clyde so much. It only makes sense that beloved pets would be nurtured even at the time of death. Schriver’s services described above is unusual – with only two others offering similar services in the entire state of South Dakota. Cooper’s Pet Cemetery example is even rarer. Aberdeen is a special place for a lot of reasons, but the way we love animals who cross the rainbow bridge is just another example of just how special. //
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F E AT U R E
A FUREVER HOME
The Aberdeen Area Humane Society (AAHS) has been serving Aberdeen and the surrounding area since 1982. In 2019, they launched their $1,000,000 campaign to build a new shelter on the current property, and as of May 2020, $400,000 of that goal has been raised. by KARLIE SPIRY
Courtesy of HKG Architects
The new AAHS shelter design was created by HKG Architects. Sitting on 2.5 acres of land, the 7,400 square foot shelter has been designed for the health and safety of the animals, giving them plenty of room to exercise and feel comfortable as they await to find their furever homes.
40 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
ccording to the ASPCA, over 6.5 million companion animals come and go from shelters across the United States. Of that total, 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. It’s estimated that over 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year with 1.6 million being dogs and the other 1.6 million being cats. Some stray animals are lucky enough to be returned home; 710,000 strays are returned to their owners. The ASPCA reports of that number 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats. Shelters play a significant role in saving animals by getting them off the streets and providing them medical care, shelter, and love. In Aberdeen, the community and animals alike are lucky to have the AAHS to be a safe place for these pets. Afterall, the AAHS’s mission is to shelter homeless animals, place animals into good homes, and rescue animals from abusive situations. Since the early ‘80s, that mission has steadfast remained the same, but the building that houses these animals is a different story. One that’s changed and will continue to change to fit the needs of the homeless and unwanted animals in the Aberdeen community. Elaine Schaible, the Shelter Manager of the AAHS, knows that the current building is passed its prime and a new set up is needed to keep the shelter running safely for all the animals. For its first four years in operation, the late Dr. Bill Svensen allowed the AAHS to use kennels at his veterinarian clinic and to adopt animals out from there. Things changed in 1986 when Dr. Albin Janusz leased the land the shelter sits on currently to the AAHS for a small fee (by the year 2000, the 2.5 acres of land were later donated to the shelter by Delphine Janusz). A trailer house was placed on the land and a cat room and dog kennels were constructed in in 1986 as well. “Operations started out of the trailer house,” Elaine says, “our office currently resides in the building donated by George Meyer in 1989. That building first replaced the trailer house.” By 1992, 12 dog runs with cement floors were built on the outside of the southside of the building, and in 1998, a large exercise area was installed on the growing complex. In 2009, the addition of a laundry room, 14 dog kennels, and a cat isolation room brought some much-needed space for the shelter to control the spread of diseases
The AAHS receives food donations throughout the year. To pass the kindness on, the AAHS offered an Emergency Pet Food Assistance Program to help those effected with income loss due to the pandemic.
Photos by Troy McQuillen
Shelter Manager Elain Schaible (right) and Kennel Worker Amelia Thorpe hold two shelter cats available for adoption. The shelter maintains a staff of four individuals dedicated to helping animals while also receiving countless volunteers and donations throughout the year to help the shelter.
july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
among its feline population. The Richard W. Marsfield Estate donated the funds for the construction of a roof to be built over the outdoor dog kennels in 2013. The last major update the facility received was in 2015, and that was the addition of ‘catios’, or outdoor areas for cats. Currently, the shelter has 31 dog kennels and 15 cat kennels for the pets that are ready to find their furever homes. Most of time, it’s just cats and dogs who take up residence at the AAHS, but the shelter is no stranger to unconventional pets like birds, chickens, guinea pigs, hamsters,
gerbils, snakes, fish, chinchillas, rabbits, rats, and turtles. “We were asked to take in a pet skunk in the past, but we had to decline on that one as we don’t carry the correct licensing for it,” says Elaine. At the time of this interview, only three dogs and 25 cats were living in the shelter. “It is extremely rare for us to have this few pets in our care! We saw a huge spike in adoptions through the month of April – social distancing has its benefits,” Elaine says. The AAHS hopes this trend continues when daily routines are restored for public life. “Under normal
With a bit of ingenuity and a ton of passion, we made this unique setup work for many years, but it is becoming cost prohibitive to maintain and repair.” 42 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
circumstances, we would reach out to our rescue partners and notify them that we have room for additional pets. However, the veterinarians who work with us are forced to limit their services because they are having trouble obtaining supplies like gloves, masks, etc.,” she says. Even with the additions to the building over time, the whole structure needs to be replaced in order to increase and maximize the security, comfort, and health of the animals that find their way to the AAHS. The current shelter is made of the original building, which was moved onto the property almost 40 years ago. “With a bit of ingenuity and a ton of passion, we made this unique setup work for many years, but it is becoming cost prohibitive to maintain and repair,” says Elaine. Over the past few years, the building has demanded major repairs including broken pipes, a failing water heater and air conditioner, worn down shingles, and crumbling brick dog kennels to name a few on the long list of things broken down in the facility.
Photos by Troy McQuillen
The month of April proved to be a big adoption month for the shelter, and in early May, there were less than 30 animals living there. The majority of animals at the shelter are cats, some of which can be seen in this photo showing off one of the cat rooms and in the photo to the right.
ADOPT DON’T SHOP
Preventing the spread of illness is a high priority for staff and volunteers at the AAHS. Just like humans, and just as we have learned recently, pets can contract and spread very contagious diseases between each other. “We are really good at cleaning and we do our best to “social distance” or isolate animals from one another when they are sick,” says Elaine. However, this is hard to do with no isolation rooms for dogs and few isolation rooms for cats. The ideal set up for the AAHS would be like that of a hospital: a specific entrance for the intake of animals in which the vaccination history of the animal is unknown, an HVAC system that filters the air regularly, all surfaces in the building would be able to be disinfected and cleanable, and an isolation ward for both cats and dogs to help control the spread of diseases. The plans for the new facility will address all these needs and more. Designed by HKG Architects, the new shelter will have 7,400 square feet of space that is optimized to the flow of traffic and keeps operational efficiency in mind for the employees and volunteers. The new dog area will feature spacious kennels with indoor and outdoor access for dogs to have plenty of room for exercise. The cat area will be located away from the dog area to ensure the least amount of stress possible for them. The cat area will also be expanded so the shelter can increase their intake of felines. Additionally, separate isolation wards for cats and dogs will
also be a part of the facility, and there will also be rooms designated for education and adoptions. Adopters will have the chance to spend more time with the animals in bigger rooms. The AAHS is always looking for donations from the public. In fact, the animal service depends on the generosity of individuals and businesses alike to keep running. Elaine wants the Aberdeen community to know, “The AAHS receives no city, state, or federal dollars or financial support from national humane organizations to conduct operations.” If community members would like to donate, they have several options to choose from to make sure their donation is being utilized in the way they want. The general fund option goes towards routine operations and care of the animals and includes animal food, staff salaries, utilities, and insurance. A second option is Chloe’s fund, which was created in memory of an animal abuse case in which major medical surgery was required. The money donated to this fund specifically goes towards the medical expenses and care of the animals at the shelter. The third option is the building fund itself, in which donations go towards the new building. The AAHS also offers a membership program and sponsorship of a kennel as two ways to support the shelter. More information on these programs and donation options can be found on the AAHS’s website, www.anewleashonlife.net, or donations can be directly sent to PO Box 1013, Aberdeen, SD 57401. //
When the AAHS started in the early ‘80s, ads were placed in the Daily News listing all the animals available for adoption. At that time, there was no fee to adopt an animal. However, pets were also not vaccinated nor were they spayed or neutered. “Over the years, we have worked with local vets to ensure every animal who leaves our care is healthy and will not add to the unwanted animal population,” says AAHS Shelter Manager Elaine Schaible. Today, the shelter takes in over 400 pets each year. All adoptable animals are listed through the AAHS’s website and come with an adoption fee that is cheaper than buying a purebred puppy or kitten. Animals that come through the AAHS receive their vaccinations and are either spayed or neutered if not done so already. Elaine explains, “People somehow assume there is something wrong with the animals that come into our care, which is not true at all. In most cases, animals who come into our care are with us because their owners were no longer able to provide proper care, sometimes due to financial hardship, a move, or illness or death of the owner. It is no fault of the animal.” //
july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT Travis sits in the studio ready to jam. Photo courtesy Travis Netzer
SCAN THE CODE TO WATCH TRAVIS PERFORM!
44 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Now more than ever,
Heavy be well. Metal A TUBA SOUNDING LIKE AN ELECTRIC GUITAR? SEEMS FARFETCHED, BUT IT’S ACTUALLY QUITE POSSIBLE WITH TRAVIS NETZER PLAYING. by KARLIE SPIRY
ravis, like most musicians, loves to create music, and when he walked into the Guitar Center in Tempe, Arizona, and declared “I want to make my tuba sound like an electric guitar,” the employee laughed at him. It wasn’t until after the employee realized Travis was being completely serious that Rock Tuba was about to be born. Travis, who is an adjunct professor of music at Northern State University, says “Rock Tuba came about as my contribution to what many other classical musicians are trying to accomplish today – showing folks that the world of pop music and classical music can co-exist.” It’s a feat many musicians undertake, and because of it, we have hybrid artists like Two Cellos or Simply Three, who take unconventional approaches to music and produce incredible sounds. How exactly does one make a tuba sound like an electric guitar? Well for starters, you need a tuba. People tend I WANT to think Travis uses a specialized tuba TO MAKE for his music, but it’s just a regular MY TUBA tuba hooked up with a microphone in SOUND LIKE the bell of the brass instrument, and an amp. Travis also uses several guitar AN ELECTRIC pedals to distort the tone of his tuba GUITAR.” to sound like an old, fuzzed out guitar. Another important component to Rock Tuba’s sound is the loop station, which records a portion of music Travis plays and repeats it. Sometimes Travis will beatbox into his tuba to produce the drumbeat, and other times he will have drummer and NSU student Roger Frank help. After layering all the instrumentals together,
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Travis will then sing or play an additional solo as the final element to the piece. Growing up on a farm in Ipswich, South Dakota, music has always been a part of Travis’ life: “Like most kids, I’d hear the music on the radio and imagine myself being the guitar player or lead singer in whatever band I was listening to.” Band starts in the fifth grade at Ipswich, and when it came time for Travis to select his very first instrument, there was really only one option that made sense to him: tuba. Inspired to play the tuba from watching old VHS tapes of Tubby the Tuba, a Puppetoon by George Pal featuring a tuba going on an adventure to find his own song, Travis believes his fifth grade band teacher was ecstatic to learn he was interested in the instrument. “I think she probably did a back flip because she actually had a kid excited to play tuba.” Playing music and playing tuba both became passions of Travis’ to the point he went off to school to study them and make them his career. He received his bachelor’s in Music Education from Northern State and went on to get his masters from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. While completing his doctorate degree in Tuba Performance at Arizona State University, Travis began
experimenting with Rock Tuba. It was when he came back to Northern to teach Euphonium and Tuba that he found out about the developing artist grant from the South Dakota Council of Arts. “Rock Tuba was really in its infancy at that point,” says Travis. “I had messed around with it while finishing my doctorate and managed to make a YouTube video. I applied for the grant with the hopes of assistance in getting necessary equipment to help my idea grow and get another YouTube video up.” Travis filmed one of the two videos on his Youtube channel at Makoche Studios in Bismarck, North Dakota.
With the money he received from the grant, Travis was able to purchase more equipment to improve the quality and sound of Rock Tuba productions. “The equipment I was able to purchase completely opened the door on doing what I’m doing now. My sincerest gratitude goes out to the wonderful folks at SDAC and at Makoche Studios.” // Want to see Rock Tuba live? Travis is available for booking at firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you interested in hearing more from Rock Tuba? Check out Travis’s Instagram @rocktuba07 for musical snippets or go to his Youtube page by searching for Travis Netzer to see his videos.
Congratulations to our Aberdeen Public Schools athletes, fine arts performers, and academic achievers. We have GREAT students and staff, and the Aberdeen Public Schools Foundation is proud to support them ALL!
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Mania Unmasking the stories behind Aberdeen’s collegiate canines. by JENNY ROTH
Whether they’re on the sidelines, at a sporting event leading the crowd in a cheer, or welcoming students to the first day of class, mascots play an integral role in college life. Here, we’ll meet Aberdeen’s collegiate mascots and find out how they became symbols of our community.
Thunder NSU’s wolf as you see it today is Thunder, a fierce and focused mascot. Thunder was born in 1993 when alum Thomas Gross beat out 64 other entries in a public contest to create a logo for the university. In 2010, Josh Phillips refreshed Gross’s original design, and the forward-looking wolf has been the face of NSU ever since. But this mascot really goes back much further. In the early 1920s, the school’s newspaper announced a contest to identify Northern Athletics. While they didn’t receive any entries, the men’s basketball team voted to call themselves the wolves. The name stuck. As the story goes, the team had just come off of two losses on the road, and after adopting the wolf mascot, they won their next game. Then in 1954, another contest was announced, this time to formalize the mascot. The NSU Art Department entered the winning entry, “Waldo the Wolf.” Waldo was more cartoonish in appearance, a stark contrast to the determined Thunder. Rumors have circulated that Walt Disney sent the university a letter asking them to cease the use of Waldo as it infringed on a trademark they owned. But it has never been confirmed if such a letter was really received from Disney or if it was a hoax. Nevertheless, Waldo was replaced by Thunder, but he does make an occasional appearance on the “heritage” or
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“throwback” series of NSU apparel. The costumed Thunder who energizes the crowd during sporting events is played by NSU students who apply for the position. One of the mascot’s main jobs is to interact with young NSU fans. Outside of Northern athletics, Thunder goes trick-or-treating downtown and helps with the crosswalk at May Overby Elementary. When you see him dancing on the sidelines, or playing jokes on NSU’s president before a game, it’s likely studentathlete Zach Bohenkamp behind the mask. Zach is in his second season of playing Thunder, that is, when he isn’t playing on the football field himself. He says the best part of the job is getting fans of all ages involved in the game. “The kids are always super happy to see Thunder or get high-fives from him. It makes sporting events a better experience for everyone because even if they don’t understand what’s happening in the game, they still have something fun to look forward to and to keep them entertained.” Photos by Troy McQuillen
Thunder, Bernie, and Spirit are the three mascots you’ll see around town representing Northern State University and Presentation College. Mascots are a face for higher education, but they also play an important role in welcoming students and giving young fans something to look forward to at sporting events.
Spirit Presentation College now has two mascots, but before 2013, they had none. The college decided a live Saint Bernard would fit well with their athletic logo— “The Saints,” and in a spark of luck, around this same time, a community member in Aberdeen happened to welcome a litter of 13 Saint Bernard puppies. Enter Spirit, a now six-year-old, 125-pound, living mascot. At just a few months old, her first “job” was to hang out at PC’s booth at the Brown County Fair. She’s been out and about at Aberdeen events ever since. Spirit lives w i t h S t a cy Ba u e r, Executive Assistant to the President at Presentation, but the college is her real home away from home. She comes to campus every day and spends time with different departments. And it isn’t unusual for her to be walking down the halls or wandering into classrooms. Everyone at PC can spend time with her or take her for walks, but like any dog, the real way to Spirit’s heart is through her
stomach. “Really, what Spirit does all day is she lays around,” Stacy laughs. “She’s smart, though. She knows which offices have dog treats, and you can easily find her there. She also likes to go to the cafe whenever given the chance.” The breakfast sausages and bacon are two of her favorites from the menu. Spirit has also figured out that if she takes her naps in the hallways instead of inside an office, that’s where more students will be and she can get some extra attention. She’s just the right height that students can walk by her and run a hand down her back, a subtle but comforting thing for someone living away from home for the first time and missing their pets. Most students have a Spirit story, too. She’s been caught on video snatching unattended sandwiches and also barking at classroom windows. As for her mascot duties, she attends athletic and booster events in the community and at PC. Stacy says, “She’s really everybody’s dog.” A couple of years after welcoming Spirit, PC also added a costumed Saint Bernard named Bernie, short for Bernard. The person inside the Bernie suit is either a PC staff member or a student filling the role as a work study position. At many events, Bernie and Spirit work together to build school camaraderie. //
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ď ? VERSION 2020
L A U S U S A T O N BUSINESS demic and find out what you can do to help.
navigating the global pan Hear from local businesses on how they are by JENNY ROTH
50 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE july/august 2020
Photos by Troy McQuillen
Pictured L to R, Devin Marzolf, Kevin Fiedler, Jennifer Deutsch, George Schriver, Jessica Fischer, Sean Dempsey.
hen we first planned a story on Aberdeen’s economy back in November, like all of you, we had no idea how much COVID-19 would devastate business as we know it. Even writing this story in May feels shaky because by the time you read it in July, things could be drastically different than they are right now. It is my hope that they are. It is my hope that things are entirely changed for the better. You’ve followed the news and watched many of our businesses close, and then slowly reopen with a list of new protocols a mile long. You’ve seen debates at city council meetings and on social media about whether they should have closed, or reopened, at all. Whatever your stance, I’d like to peel away our differences and see how at our core we all are more alike than we realize. I’m betting most of us can agree on two things. 1) We want a safe and healthy Aberdeen, and 2) Our small business owners are absolute rockstars. Can you imagine almost overnight having to tell your employees to go home because you must close your doors? Can you imagine trying to serve clients while also making sure everyone is wearing a mask and continuously cleaning every surface? When I pick up my groceries, safe in my vehicle, I want to throw my arms around my personal shopper and hug them for days. I know that is overly emotional but watching them work with the public day after day reminds me that my staying at home routine is a privilege. Not everyone gets to do that in order for our community to remain afloat. That’s why we put this article together with quotes directly from small business owners in Aberdeen, so you can hear from them what these past few months have really been like. Their stories of adapting to this “new normal” and showing up despite everything are amazing. Whenever you feel ready to go out and about again, remember to give your business owners grace. They are trying to navigate something that is completely scary and unexpected right alongside you. They are trying to help you, while also juggling a thousand new worries. Let’s show up at their doors with thankful hearts and give back to them the best we can. Note: the following are quotes from businesses obtained on or before May 10, 2020.
Unravel: Aberdeen Escape Room 305 S. Main Street Owner Jessica Fischer
“COVID-19 has completely changed our business. We closed our doors in early March, and as of May 10, have still not reopened our escape rooms. Our part-time employees are not working, and our revenue is not what it usually is this time of year. We often slow down a lot in the summer, so we rely on our winter/ spring income to help us pay the bills through the summer months. About a month after closing our doors and being so bored at home with my kids (there are only so many board games and Netflix shows you can watch!), I had the idea to create a scavenger hunt around town that could be done entirely from your
vehicle. We partnered with 10 local businesses around town and used things in their storefronts/ buildings as clues. The hunt went bonkers! We had over 200 families complete the hunt on the first weekend it was released, and we ended up releasing a second one in early May. I realized people were starved for entertainment and things they could do to get them outside of their houses!
The most valuable lesson I have taken away from this as a business owner is the power of collaboration. It’s been great to see other local businesses supporting each other. Something as simple as one business sharing another business’ post on their Facebook page could expose their audience to an entirely new market. When we share the love, we do truly all benefit!”
“IT’S BEEN GREAT TO SEE OTHER LOCAL BUSINESSES SUPPORTING EACH OTHER.” —JESSICA FISCHER, OWNER, UNRAVEL: ABERDEEN ESCAPE ROOM
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Next Generation Performance Center 3315 6th Ave. SE, Ste 64 Owner Jennifer Deutsch
“The fear of this virus had completely stopped all aspects of NGPC on March 15, 2020. We had no way of bringing in money, and many of my bills rely on monthly income. I had nothing for my staff to do after the first few days. NGPC is about creating a place for kids to learn and play. Once we were advised to close anything that involved people gathering, we simply had to shut our doors. We provided a YouTube channel for the kids to follow mini-workouts if they wanted. I created leotard packages for curbside pickup that we sold on Facebook. We sold Easter eggs filled with gymnastics goodies, and I promoted the sale of
gift certificates or open gym punch cards to buy now and use later. I personally did small gestures and mini-games to keep my families engaged and to let them know we missed them. I never thought something would happen to halt everything so quickly! When something so rare like this happened, and no one had any protocols or guidance, it was truly scary not only as a member of the community but also as a business owner. Insurance companies didn’t cover this, banks
and the SD Department of Labor were not prepared to handle so many requests at one time, the list can go on! So, the lesson learned here is that anything can happen at any time, and if it does, you simply have to adjust and move on. One day at a time. Don’t give up. Preparing to reopen during this pandemic time has been a crazy emotional ride! Trying to make sure I’m doing everything right to make everyone safe once we start back up is a very real stress that only business owners understand. Most
of us business owners have always had cleaning and safety protocols in place, but this is going to be so much more. Some changes I’ve embraced and will probably keep in place forever, other changes are hard and may make my atmosphere feel quite different. All I can hope is that one day we will be back to normal and not have to live in fear. I pray one day my gym will be filled with many kids and families laughing and having fun again.
“I NEVER THOUGHT SOMETHING WOULD HAPPEN TO HALT EVERYTHING SO QUICKLY!” —JENNIFER DEUTSCH, OWNER, NEXT GENERATION PERFORMANCE CENTER
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Danger Von Dempsey’s Pizzeria & Brewhaus 1023 S. Main St. Owner Sean Dempsey
“With the start of the pandemic, we were forced to slash our normal operating hours down from a full 11-9 daily to a 4-8 on weekdays and 11-8 on weekends. We saw (even before the ordinance closed down business) that people were terrified to come in and be around other people. We saw an immediate decline of about 60% of our sales. We do a fair amount of takeout, but our bread and butter has always been our dining room crowd. We started this year with 23 employees, and we have been forced to be running with a skeleton crew of about 7.
We were forced to get more creative with the way we do business. We started doing take and bake pizzas almost immediately after they closed businesses as a way to try and create more revenue. We also (and my favorite) started selling DIY pizza kits, where for $7, you could buy a dough ball, sauce, cheese, toppings, dusting flour, and instructions on how to make a pizza at home. We got about 20 different photos of different kids (and adults)
with the finished product. It’s always great to see people having a fun time in the middle of this. We also added curbside (we were lucky to already be partnered with Zapoya for delivery) and contactless delivery. We’ve also seen our online orders skyrocket. Most nights, we do more online orders than telephone orders! Owning a business has lots of ups and downs, and everything around us is unpredictable. The lesson I’ve learned is how proud I am of
having a business in Aberdeen. The Chamber of Commerce really stepped up with their gift card promotion. That was most timely, generous, and amazing. The community really, really stuck together to support local places. I just cannot stress how thankful we are to be in Aberdeen and to see what the future holds. Hopefully, fewer viruses and more pizzas.”
“THE COMMUNITY REALLY, REALLY STUCK TOGETHER TO SUPPORT LOCAL PLACES.” —SEAN DEMPSEY, OWNER, DANGER VON DEMPSEY'S PIZZERIA & BREWHAUS
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3315 6th Ave. SE, Ste 43 Owner Devin Marzolf “We went from our busiest prom season to completely dead in a day. It had a significant impact on our sales, just like every other small business, we’re all suffering. We have a lot of summer products coming in and not a lot of shoppers. So, we hope to not have a lot of merchandise left at the end of the season. We are fortunate to have a wonderful staff that we could still give limited hours to, but we hope to be back to normal soon! We were able to remain open with limited hours, so we offered curbside pick-up, delivery, and shipping. We also attempted to post more on our social media platforms, but we’re not the best at that! We prefer one on one with our beautiful customers. It is so important to support your local small businesses, not only at a time like this but all year round. It might be cheaper at Walmart, but you won’t get the same customer service as you would in a small business. I’ve also learned this community can be so supportive and understanding. We greatly appreciate all of our customers.”
Ken’s SuperFair Foods 2015 6th Ave. SE Owner Kevin Fiedler
“COVID-19 has definitely impacted the way we do business with our Groceries To Go Program really increasing more than we ever imagined. We offer both pick-up and delivery options, with many customers taking advantage of these services to stay safe during this outbreak. We have added or moved a number of employees over to these areas to handle the increased orders. We have seen the dedication of our hardworking employees, both in Aberdeen as well as the five satellite
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stores, who have really stepped up to do their best during a very challenging and stressful time in our business. We appreciate the loyalty and understanding of our customers who realize we are trying to keep our employees and customers safe and are doing our best to deal with the product shortages at this unprecedented time.”
“JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER SMALL BUSINESS, WE’RE ALL SUFFERING.” —DEVIN MARZOLF, OWNER, THE FUZE Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory 414 5th Ave. NW Owner George Schriver
“This pandemic has been the most difficult not on us necessarily, but on the families we serve. With no more than 10 people being able to gather, many families are deciding to wait to host funeral services for their loved ones. Other families are holding services with immediate family members only present. And with churches not being open, we are hosting more services in our building than ever before. One of the hardest parts is that family members aren’t allowed into healthcare facilities, so when their loved ones pass away, they can’t be there with them. That has been very difficult for our families. We are trying to help people by offering live streaming of services, which they can watch live or later on our website. Even with so many limitations in place, we are still here to help and do what we can for our families who are grieving.” //
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR ABERDEEN BUSINESSES RIGHT NOW The total impact COVID-19 will have on our economy is tough to predict. Some business sectors, specifically retail, have been hit hardest of all. This is a trend seen not only in Aberdeen but across the country. On a positive note, other industries such as manufacturing, have seen an increase in demand and the need for new products they hadn’t produced before the virus, allowing them to expand during this time. Mike Bockorny of the Aberdeen Development Corporation says one of the biggest unknowns going forward will be trends in online shopping. “The number of new online shoppers has grown exponentially across the board. The unknown is what they are going to do going forward. Maybe they hadn’t shopped online as much before because they didn’t want to or weren’t used to it. But now that they’ve been forced to shop online, the question is: are they going to go back to shopping in their communities like they did before all of this happened?” With that in mind, if you are wondering how you can support your local businesses starting today, here are seven ideas you can do (even from home).
Order Delivery or Curbside This is a great way to get your favorite dish from a restaurant, or shop for gifts, without having to leave your vehicle or house.
Purchase Gift Cards Most places make it easy to snag a gift card by allowing you to purchase them online or by phone.
Share the Love on Social Media Like and share their posts, tag your friends who would be interested, or leave a comment. It costs nothing to share on social media, and it helps businesses spread the word about what they do.
Buy Local Whenever Possible We all benefit when the businesses in our community are doing well. Let local stores know your needs and give them a chance to fulfill them. They might surprise you with what they can special order in or deliver!
Keep Your Memberships If you can, don’t cancel your memberships to gyms and activities that you normally participate in. Hopefully you will be back in their businesses soon!
Leave A Review Anytime you have a 5-star experience at a business, let other people know about it by leaving them a review on Google or Facebook.
Be Understanding and Respectful Be understanding that businesses might be shortstaffed and are carrying a massive burden in trying to sustain their profitability. Show good faith by respecting their rules and adjustments (like wearing a mask or abiding social distance markings).
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The Dacotah Prairie Museum Presents...
Living History Fall Festival Saturday, September 19, 2020 * 1 to 5 p.m.
oin us for an afternoon of historic fun in 2020!
Enjoy historical demonstrations and reenactments! Fur trading, birch bark canoe, fiber arts, prairie ecology, artist in residence and more. Also scheduled: kid’s spelling bee, pioneer home life, one room school, historical museum exhibits, pumpkin decorating, children’s activities, and old fashioned entertainment. Free Admission!
New Location! Located at Centennial Village Brown County Fairgrounds Celebrating 50 years in Historic Downtown Aberdeen!
Due to ongoing COVID19 situation & CDC recommendations, this event may be modified or cancelled. Check the Dacotah Prairie Museum website or Facebook page for current updates. www.dacotahprairiemuseum.com or @dacotahprairie
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Both living room and basement fireplaces are still used by Pam. The surfboard coffee table was purchased from the previous owners.
A GROOVY RETRO RANCH RESIDENCE Small touches of character add up to attract an Aberdeen newcomer. story and photos by TROY MCQUILLEN
ealtors have their work cut out for them for sure. They have to juggle a person’s needs, tastes, and budget with what is actually available for sale at a particular time. Quite often they read a client in a particular way, trying to hone in on exactly what will pique their interest. Realtor Craig Mickelson probably was a little taken aback with Aberdeen newcomer Pamela Monaghan-Geernaert when she picked a house because of a rather nondescript feature: a pink toilet paper holder in a basement bathroom. Pam moved to Aberdeen in the summer of 2019 to take a position at NSU. She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and focuses a lot of her work on Native American cultures. For that reason, South Dakota was very attractive to her. When looking for a house, she says she wanted character. She’s lived in southwest-style homes in New Mexico and a 100-year-old historic house in Maryland. Newly built homes just didn’t resonate with her. She has an affinity for the mid-century modern style (retro 1950s era) and even had a few furniture pieces in that style. She looked at a couple houses in the Eisenhower Circle neighborhood, but many were too large and needed updating. She really wanted move-in ready. When she was shown this house on North Jay Street, it spoke to her on so many levels. “The blue and pink bathrooms really sold me,” she explains. Pam says the previous owners of her house took great care to remove truly outdated, worn things (carpet, wallpaper, paint, fixtures, etc.) and replaced them with retro-sensitive items. Many original items were left, fortunately for Pam. “I needed specific spaces for a home office and gym,” Pam states, “so I just loved the basement.” The basement living room provided the space for a dedicated office complete with natural light and built in bookshelves. It even has a working fireplace that she used in her first winter here a few months back. “My doorbell plays 'A Bicycle Built for Two' and 23 other songs,” she says. “The house is perfect. The attention to detail and character just fits me. Once I saw that pink toilet paper holder, I knew this was the place for me.” //
Lucite chairs along with the glass table help keep the relatively small dining area look less cramped. The chandelier is new but is reminiscent of the Googie style of architecture of the 1950s. The dining room extends to an outside patio behind the house.
The kitchen includes two wall ovens. Pam affectionately calls these her “Easy Bake Ovens” because they are relatively small. In fact, her cookie sheets would not fit in them. But she loves the style and flair of them. The red brick surround creates a vintage feature wall.
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Pam was drawn to period details like the louvered doors, laundry shoot, fireplace, and of course the bathrooms. Downstairs bedrooms have been converted to a craft room and a small gym.
This toilet paper holder helped seal the deal with Pam when she was house hunting.
Pam required a separate home office that was not also a bedroom. Built-in bookcases contribute to the period charm.
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When this house was built in 1955, it was in a location known as Aberdeen Township. For several years, the city tried to convince people in this part of town to be annexed into the city because they were taking advantage of city services and schools, yet only paying taxes to the county. Citizens and companies actively lobbied not to be annexed due to the financial burdens. The city won out ultimately in the early 1960s. Pam says the house is “brick on brick” construction, meaning its structural components are brick, not wood, and the house is covered with decorative brick on the outside.
Pam and her daughter Sophie love the neighborhood around their house. It’s quiet, close to bike trails, and compared to big city living, it’s close to NSU as well!
Pam’s dog Avalanche is right at home. The house includes two built-in planters. Because of this, Pam refers to her house as the Brady Bunch house, which had a built-in planter prominently situated by the staircase.
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TRACKS CROSSING CENTURIES THIS AIN’T YOUR GREATGRANDFATHER’S RAILROAD by PATRICK GALLAGHER Photos by Troy McQuillen
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o, you’re stuck at a railroad crossing in Aberdeen. It happens to everyone. But don’t get mad. Get informed about what put that train there and its place in the Hub City. Trains are, after all, necessary because “fundamentally, we connect Aberdeen to markets around the world,” says Amy McBeth, Regional Director of Public Affairs for BNSF. As we will see, it’s a pretty good point. So, sit back and relax (and shift into Park).
the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroads became the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, later branded as BNSF Railway. In 2010, Warren Buffet stepped in, and BNSF became a Berkshire Hathaway company. As a freight railroad, BNSF does host and operate passenger service in a few cities. Not in Aberdeen, though. The Hub City, like the rest of South Dakota, has been without passenger rail service since 1969.
BOXCAR BUSHELS The average railcar can hold about 3,200 bushels of wheat, about 350,000 bushels in a 110-car grain train. South Dakota farms produce an average of about 55 bushels per acre (it varies). That grain train could carry the harvest of about 6,000 acres of farmland, which is about four times the size of the average South Dakota farm.
A BUSINESS THAT MOVES Founded as a stop on the east-west line of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, Aberdeen grew to be a central location for trains in northeastern South Dakota. A hub city for sure, early maps show rail lines from all directions converging on and crossing through Aberdeen like spokes on a wheel. Many of the trains on those spokes were passenger trains. The railroad was central to Aberdeen’s daily life for decades. A hundred years ago, about 700 people worked for railroad companies here, nearly 5% of the city’s population. One of the railroads operating in Aberdeen was the Great Northern Railway, an ancestor of today’s BNSF, which is now the only railroad serving the Hub City. Stuck at a crossing, we might see cars sporting other railroad logos, but it’s a BNSF train being pulled by a BNSF locomotive operated by a BNSF crew. Just as any single train could be an amalgamation of rail cars from various railroad companies, each current company contains the DNA of many forebears—and maybe none more so than BNSF. About 700 railroads operate in America today. BNSF is one of the largest—which is perhaps not surprising, because it is the result of the mergers of some 390 railroad companies over 170 years. Its earliest predecessor, the Aurora Branch Railroad, a six-mile line near Chicago, was established in 1849 (becoming the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy a few years later). The other chief branch of the family tree launched in 1869 with the birth of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. After a century of many mergers, a combination of five railroads in 1990 created the Burlington Northern, and the final union occurred in 1995 when
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SHUTTLING THE GOODS Wherever you’re stopped by a train, it’s either going to or coming from the railyard (sometimes seemingly doing both, going forward and backing up as you watch and wait while unseen coupling and decoupling occurs down the track). The yard is where it happens. Over time, the railroad footprint in town has consolidated as the railroad companies have. Only one depot of the several that once graced Aberdeen still has railroad activity, and that only in a small part, but the railyard still covers a significant part of town. Starting at Main Street and stretching west, “Our yard is approximately two miles long,” Amy says. “In it, we have 13 tracks that we regularly switch on, where we’re building trains or taking cars out of arriving trains.” You might be able to guess what’s on most of the cars passing in front of you. “The type of
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commodities hauled in and around Aberdeen are mostly agricultural products and industrial products,” says Amy. While she couldn’t offer specifics for Aberdeen, she described a statelevel trade surplus, “Overall, we ship about 149,000 carloads of agricultural products from South Dakota each year, and about 4,300 carloads of industrial products. For commodities shipped into South Dakota by rail, we ship about 15,000 carloads of industrial products, 13,000 carloads of coal and 9,000 carloads of ag products each year.” That’s over 150,000 out and about 35,000 in. With four cars “exported” for each one “imported,” the math demands that what goes out must come back—so it can go out again. The answer is that some entering trains may be empty. Amy explains, “We have found it efficient to run ‘shuttle’ trains: a train where all the cars
come from one origination, such as a particular grain elevator, and go to a single destination.” So, we might be stopped by a shuttle train in which all cars are full or all empty. The other basic system is the manifest train, which will include cars with various types of freight that are not all going to the same destination, and some cars may be transferred to other trains at certain points. Aberdeen averages eight trains a day, processing maybe hundreds of cars per day. “It’s a 24/7/365 business,” Amy sums up—and anyone living in range of the railyard can attest to hearing the rolling thunder of building trains in the middle of the night. You’d have to look fast while you’re stuck at a crossing to see the train’s crew. There are only two on a typical train: the engineer, who operates the train, and the conductor, who
CROSSING THE LINE Railroading is a lifestyle. Trainmaster Joey Holzer has worked at BNSFfor nearly 12 years. Before him, his grandfather also worked for the railroad in Aberdeen, which is something that’s not uncommon.
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builds the train, inspects it, manages the safe movement, and does the paperwork. “The most visible job to the public is the train crew, an engineer and conductor operating a train through town,” Amy notes, “but it takes many jobs unseen by the public to run a railroad.” In Aberdeen, there are three basic groups of employees: transportation or yard workers, which includes the on-board crew as well as those who work in the yard to sort the cars and freight, the mechanical crew deals with rail cars and equipment, and the engineering crew inspects and repairs track. Today, there are about 125 BNSF employees in Aberdeen. The one in charge is the trainmaster, who is responsible for seeing that trains carry the right freight to the right places. In Aberdeen, that’s Joey Holzer, who has worked at BNSF
for nearly 12 years, previously as a conductor. His grandfather also worked for the railroad in Aberdeen, which is something that’s not uncommon, Amy says, because “Railroading is a lifestyle.” Several multi-generational railroad families work in Aberdeen, sometimes fathers and sons, brothers, or, like Joey, employees with a grandfather retired from BNSF.
STUCK IN TRAFFIC Depending on when you got stopped by the train, you may or may not have seen the locomotive. While the industry took off in the nineteenth century, there’s no more chug-chug, choo-choo, or puffs of black smoke. Today’s railroad is fully modern. Amy quotes the BNSF CEO’s comment, “The only thing that’s still the same about the railroad from the old days is steel wheels on
Sitting at a crossing, you’ll see all kinds of artwork on train cars that wasn’t there when they rolled off the assembly line. The railroad isn’t a fan. “It’s not romantic,” BNSF’s Amy McBeth insists about the graffiti. “It’s dangerous and illegal. It’s trespassing and vandalism.” There’s risk involved too. She warns, “You don’t know when a train might move.” The railroad is no more excited about riding the rails and hoboes, people who’ve been stowing away on trains for about as long as there have been trains. “It was dangerous back in the day, and it is now,” Amy explains. “Current stowaways are often evading law enforcement. If we have reports of one, we’ll work with law enforcement.” Ironically, we think of hoboes as tramps or bums, but the term originally meant a migrant worker, such as someone who worked on the railroad in one place until the work was done, then moved to another place to work—at least eventually. In time, the words and their meanings merged.
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CROSSING OVER Okay, trains are cool, but can we time our travel so we’re not stuck at crossings? BNSF’s Amy McBeth commiserates, but “Freight trains don’t operate on a set schedule. We try to be mindful to limit the impact of our operations on the communities that grew up and around the railroad tracks”—but their trains are always going to run into some community’s rush hour. She adds, however, “Like the interstates, where vehicle traffic can occur without interruption, the best option is an overpass or underpass so that both trains and motor vehicles can operate at all times.” And there’s the answer to avoiding train delays. For something so central as driving in Aberdeen, it’s hard to believe the Second Street overpass is only 60 years old. Built in 1959, the idea first surfaced much earlier. In 1935, the state filed a plan for an overpass and one for an underpass on Main Street, both envisioning a pedestrian tunnel, but they didn’t go far. Twenty years later, things boiled up, and a Second Street overpass was put to a city vote in September 1956. In a public meeting at the Municipal Building before the vote, most people were supportive, some noting that failure to build the overpass might result in Highway 281 being rerouted west of town and the city losing business from travelers. A wry newspaper reported that some Northsiders were late for the meeting. “Guess why?” the headline smirked— because of a train. As the Daily News reported, “Aberdeen’s dream of 30 years became a reality when 68 per cent of the voters approved the erection of an overpass on Second Street by favoring a $220,000 bond issue for the city’s share of expenses” (federal funds covered the rest of the million dollar project). The structure still took three years to build, although, not because it included an innovative heating system to melt snow and ice. The July 1959 dedication drew Gov. Ralph Herseth, many state dignitaries, and a crowd of citizens. The Daily News reported one speaker’s quip that “the crowd was almost as large as the ones that are held captive by freight trains at the Main Street crossing.” After the Governor cut a ribbon, a parade of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians crossed the overpass. Forty years later, the state elected to build a bypass west of Aberdeen for Highway 281, which included a railroad overpass (pictured above). The 1950s concern about losing traffic and business to a 281-bypass seemed to have faded, and the west overpass opened in 2002.
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steel rail.” She adds, “The locomotive is a massive computer running down the tracks.” And it receives an amazing amount of data to improve performance and especially safety. When it comes to safety and accidents, Amy says, “Typically the cause is either something with equipment, track, or human error. The question is how can we attack the causes of incidents to make things safer for everyone?” One answer is taking 35 million data readings every day on the equipment traveling on the lines. “We have matched technology for each broad cause of incident,” she notes. Equipment detectors—some of which are built into the tracks—can see if components of rail cars are not in the right position, detect heat, or hear defects in wheels or bearings. Special railcars take measurements of the track using infrared, ultrasound, and
sonar technologies to “see” the inside of the rails, detect flaws, and measure tie density. To prevent human error, BNSF has implemented Positive Train Control, a federally mandated and extremely sophisticated system to track train movements and stop the train in certain circumstances in the event of human failure to respond. Collecting this data and leveraging it has helped BNSF prevent derailments and other problems. By now, it can seem like old technology, but obviously trains don’t run on coal anymore. “In fact, it’s the most environmentally friendly form of transportation,” Amy asserts. “A train can move a ton of freight 500 miles on a gallon of diesel. It would take 280 semis to transport the same amount.” That’s another thing to remember when you’re stopped by a train: imagine hundreds more semis on the roads.
LISTENING TO THE TRACKS For more than a century, trains—as real objects or symbols—have inspired an amazing array of music, from deeply spiritual to challengingly allegorical to mysteriously insightful to simply hokey. Here are a bunch of them (in alphabetical order). “The Ballad of Casey Jones, or, The Brave Engineer” Composer Eddie Newton, lyricist Wallace Saunders, T. Lawrence Seibert “The Ballad of John Henry” “Chattanooga Choo” by Harry Warren (music) and Mack Gordon (words) “Choo Ch’boogie” by Louis Jordan “City of New Orleans” by Steve Goodman “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne “Down There by the Train” by Tom Waits “Downbound Train” by Bruce Springsteen “Downtown Train” by Tom Waits “Fast Train” by Solomon Burke “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash “Homeward Bound” by Simon & Garfunkel The "cockpit" (left) on the right side of the engine is incredibly modern, computerized, and comfy. It accommodates only one person. The infamous horn or whistle button is located next to the cup holder. Above is the Milwaukee Road's 1911 depot. This is the fourth depot built by the Milwaukee near Main Street and the tracks. Presently the front portion is privately owned. Railroad Avenue is actually the dividing line between north and south Aberdeen, not the railroad tracks.
Not surprisingly, a company that can look back a century and a half doesn’t look just a few years ahead. A business that old has seen customers and products come and go. As Amy says, “For years, coal was a major commodity, and we built infrastructure for it, but coal will go away. Now ethanol is relatively new. We wouldn’t have foreseen it a few decades ago. What will be the next thing we don’t know about now?” As it thinks ahead, BNSF works today with communities to ensure they have strong railroad connections. It’s a winwin arrangement, promoting economic development, especially for smaller rural areas, and continuing business for the railroad. “There’s a multiplier effect: We employ people who serve customers here who hire local people, too,” Amy says. Further, “Local businesses can exist, and grow, because they have access to rail service.” As an example, she points to the new AGP soybean plant in Aberdeen, for whom rail service is critical. BNSF referred to it in its
national public relations the large investment by this customer. In another way of supporting customer communities, the company gives back philanthropically where its employees “live, work and play.” In Aberdeen, the BNSF Foundation has made more than $100,000 in donations in recent years to the Boys & Girls Club, Storybook Land, the YMCA, Safe Harbor, and the K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library. One more thing to remember when stuck at a train crossing, is, as Amy says, “Almost everything we consume was at some point moved by a train.” Most of the things you see in your car, or through the windshield, or that you own likely traveled on a train on its way to you. Even the t-shirt you’re wearing probably traveled from China in a container ship to a port in California, then was moved by truck to a local railyard and shipped by rail to Chicago or Kansas City. Then it was trucked to a box store near you. It’s a lot to think about. Good thing that train still has a few minutes to go. //
“I Don’t Want to Ride the Rails No More” by Vince Gill “I Heard that Lonesome Whistle” by Johnny Cash “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” “Land of Hope and Dreams” by Bruce Springsteen “Last Train to Clarksville” by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart “Long Train Running” by the Doobie Brothers “Love Train” by The O’Jays “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & the Pips “The Midnight Special” “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe” music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer “Orange Blossom Special” by Ervin T. Rouse “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield “Rock Island Line” by Johnny Cash “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum “Southern Pacific” by Neil Young “Stop that Train” by Bob Marley and the Wailers “Take the ‘A’ Train” composter Billy Strayhorn, lyricist Joya Sherrill “(This Train Is) Bound for Glory” “Train of Love” by Johnny Cash “Train Song” by Tom Waits “Tucson Train” by Bruce Springsteen “Wabash Cannonball” by J. A. Roff july/august 2020 ABERDEEN MAGAZINE
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