High School Softball Team Falls in 2 Games

softball duffy pitch

The fall high school softball team from Winner lost two games when they played Sunday at Dakota Valley.

In the first game, Dakota Valley won 15-7.

Losing pitcher was Hallie Hollenbeck.

Leading hitters were Delanie Nelson and Keyleigh Stands.

In the second game, Winner lost to Tri Valley 13-7.

Kenndall Turnquist was the losing pitcher.

Leading hitters were Alex Bohnet, Turnquist, Mary Calhoon and Nelson.

The next game will be Sunday, Sept. 17 in Pierre when Winner takes on Aberdeen at 2:30 p.m.

Middle School Softball Teams Splits Games

middle school softball team

Winner middle school fall softball team played two games on Sept. 10 in Sioux Falls.

The girls were defeated by Pipestone, Minn., 13-3 and then defeated Brookings Twedt 10-3.

In the Pipestone game, Josey Kludt and Aleya Miller each had an RBI. Rylee Root took the loss on the mound.

In the game with Brookings, Libbie Petersek and Root led the team with 2 hits each. Kelbi Meiners and Melanie Brozik each had 1 hit and an RBI. Karlee Brozik also had a hit.

Faith Covey pitched for the win.

Next action is Sunday, Sept. 17 at Dunham Park in Sioux Falls.

Girls cross country team wins 1st in Scotland

cc jaclyn laprath

Winner area girls cross country team won first place at the Scotland Invitational on Sept. 5. The Winner area boys team took second place.

Sidda Schuyler won the girls division as she took first place in 19:56. Jaclyn Laprath placed 4th in 21:01; Meagan Blare, 7th, 21:31; Saige Schuyler, 11th, 21:35; Aryn Meiners, 16th, 22;26; Madison Thieman, 22nd.

Kade Watson led the Winner area boys as he took 4th place in 17:49. Also placing for Winner were Dawson Phillips, 8th, 18:32; Wyatt Turnquist, 19th, 19:36; Atlas Willuweit, 36th.

In the girls junior varsity race, Melanie Brozik placed 3rd followed by Katherine Jankauskas, 11th; Charlotte Shopene, 12th; Gabriel Kocer, 14th.

CiCi Watson placed 6th in the girls junior high race.

Anthony Raymond Opbroek, 54

tony opbroek obit

Anthony Raymond Opbroek was born to Leona (Bentz) and Robert Opbroek on Nov. 12, 1962 and God called him home on Sept. 5, 2017 at the age of 54. Growing up Tony could be found working on the family farm, pestering his older siblings, and enjoying farm life. Tony went to elementary in Fairfax, SD from Kindergarten until 3rd grade, at which point the family moved to Gregory, SD where Tony graduated in 1981.

Tony married Sherry Smith on Aug. 9, 1985. From this union came three daughters: Sarah, Amber, and Teresa. Tony and Sherry were “two peas in a pod” wherever one ventured the other was not far behind supporting each other, suggesting new ways of doing this and that, and always loving each other in everything until the very end.

Tony was a proud member of the South Dakota Army National Guard. He enlisted on March 23, 1980 and was sent to boot camp with the “Dirty Dozen”, a group of 12 South Dakota boys who all went through bootcamp together. Tony graduated Officer Candidate School in 1986 and began his successful career in the Guard. Tony commanded many units and received many awards throughout his career. He was a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus in Burke. Tony graduated BHSU in1987 and moved back to Burke where he worked for Missouri Valley Mutual Insurance, then The Gregory Advocate and finally Southern Dakota Insurance.

Tony loved life. You could find him always fixing things and making old things new again. Tony loved Husker and Steeler football, and lived for Husker parties. His latest pride and joy was the kitchen and living room remodel he finished this summer. Tony truly enjoyed fishing trips with his fishing partners, Alan Peterson, Mike Jones, Jason Mosterd, and his brother Dave. He would always say that his trip to Canada was the perfect trip. Tony loved to fish, golf, work on the perfect yard, and relax on the patio. Although these things were important to him the most important things to Tony were faith and family. He lived for time spent grilling for “his girls” and spoiling his grandkids. His whole world were those four little kids. Tony was the biggest supporter to his family, church, community and his friends. He was involved with many community projects including the wood floor at the school and the patio project at the church, just to name a few. His latest projects included being co-president of the Cougar Athletic Club and the Altar Project at church. His mission in life was to make everything alright for everyone.

Tony is survived by his wife Sherry, daughters: Sarah (Nate) Bottjen of Kingsley, IA, Amber (Thomas) Horn of Aberdeen, SD, and Teresa (Tyler) Klug of Mitchell, SD, Exchange daughter Anna Zara at home in Burke. Five grandkids: Parker, Nona, Tucker, Rubee, and baby Horn (coming in December). . His mother, Leona of Gregory, SD and mother-in-law, Janice Smith of Burke, SD. Brothers and Sisters: David (Lannette) Opbroek, Terry (Rosemary) Opbroek, Gene Opbroek, Cheryl Clark, and Dolores (Jim) Moore. Brothers and Sisters in-law: Ray (Donna) Smith, Rick Smith and special friend Pat, Annie (Brandon) York, and Tina (Austin) Buhta. A host of nieces and nephews and friends.

Awaiting Tony’s arrival into heaven: his dad Robert Opbroek, father-in-law Leroy Smith, paternal grandparents Henry and Margaret Opbroek, maternal grandparents Fred and Lydia Bentz, and his two unborn sons.

Melba Veren, 89

melba veren obit

Four score and nine years ago on Nov. 9, 1927, Melba Grace Heller was born to Charles and Dora (Bainbridge) Heller. She would join three brothers and two sisters and later a younger brother. Melba attended East Star Valley Grade School and Ideal School. During her junior/senior years of high school, Melba lived with her grandpa Judge Louis F. Heller and was often a witness to the marriages he presided over. She was an excellent student and was on the yearbook staff and debate team. She took piano lessons and often accompanied the school chorus. Melba graduated with high honors from WHS in 1945.

Melba attended Jamestown College in North Dakota and then transferred to the University of South Dakota. A woman ahead of the times, Melba advocated for equal education and was admitted to the Honors program at USD where she was one of very few women that graduated with a master’s degree in biology and botany.

Melba’s first teaching job was at Platte. Teaching, directing plays, and community plays occupied her life. She stayed in Platte four years and then moved to Delmont after her fiance was killed in a plane crash. Melba then went to Rapid City where she taught four years and worked at Reptile Gardens during the summer.

In 1956, Melba married Merlyn Veren and they had a darling baby girl, Alice Leah. The marriage ended and Melba moved to Mission where she taught for three years in the brand new school. Wanting to be closer to her parents, Melba took a teaching job in Gregory. She was active in the Community Players, the Congregational Church, and the Library Board. She implemented a Girl Scout program, co-founded Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority and Retired Teachers Society, earned her pilot’s license, and lifeguarded at the Gregory pool. Melba was a good friend and acted as a confidant to many.

In 1972, Melba and Alice moved to Douglas, AZ where she taught one year in an English speaking Mexican school. Teaching in Cheyenne, WY, Melba designed the new science lab and greenhouse and was the administrator of the gifted student program. She was active in Alpha Delta Kappa, PEO, Frontier Days, and was always present at Alice’s many activities. Melba retired from teaching in Cheyenne, but was often called upon to be an advisor.

Melba enjoyed her retirement years traveling and spending time at the Deadwood cabin. She later moved back to Gregory where she enjoyed her gardens and yard. She was glad to be back in “God’s Country” with Alice and many treasured friends. She attended the Congregational Church, and was a member of the Historical Society and the Oscar Micheaux Festival. Melba dearly loved her music and one could hear her “rock out” on the organ. She would often drive out to the farm near Ideal to visit her brothers Lowdon and Wayne. She traveled to Florida to visit Alice, but was always glad to return home.

Melba was diagnosed with lung cancer in October of 2016. She was able to stay in her home thanks to the wonderful hospice program. Melba passed away peacefully in Alice’s arms on Aug. 25, 2017 at the age of 89. She was the last surviving child of Dora and Charles Heller.

We will miss her smile, wry sense of humor, and genuine sense of friendship. Melba was indeed a remarkable woman who influence many lives.

The saddest moment is when the person who gave you the best memories is a memory.

Waiting for her in heaven are her parents Dora and Charles Heller, sisters Cora Kaiser and Dr. Marcella Owens, brothers Wayne Heller, Colonel Kenneth Heller, Lowdon Heller, Alva Heller, and infant brother Edward, brothers-in-law Earl Kaiser and Harry Owens, sister-in-law Georgia Heller, and nephews Kenneth Heller Jr. and Roland Kaiser.

Grateful for sharing her life are her daughter Alice Veren, Gregory, SD; sisters-in-law Lois Heller, Winner, SD, and Vivian Heller, Laramie, WY; nieces Pat Heller, Peg Heller, Jude Heller, Dana Gapter, Mary Ann Christensen, Donna Beltz; and nephews Mike Heller, Chuck Heller, Todd Heller, and Terry Kaiser.

John P. Collins, 93

john collins obit

John P. Collins was born on Aug. 8, 1924, the eighth of fourteen children born to John F. and Margaret Collins of Winner, South Dakota.

He graduated from Winner High School in 1942 and joined the U.S. Navy the following year. He served on a submarine tender as a torpedo man in the South Pacific until his discharge in December 1945.

Following the war, he enrolled at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he graduated with a degree in Business Administration.

In 1952, he married LaVaine Ruzicka. Six children were born to this union: Connie Billings, Patrick, Daniel, Colleen Dooly, John and Steven.

John was employed for 31 years by Dial Finance, which merged with Norwest Financial, and subsequently Wells Fargo. He retired from Norwest Financial as a district manager in 1982. John was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church for fifty years and was also a long time member of the Knights of Columbus.

John passed away on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 at Kavanagh House Hospice in Des Moines at the age of 93.

He is survived by Helen Collins; children, Pat (Sue) Collins, Dan (Teresa Natale) Collins, Colleen Dooley, John (Kelle) Collins, Steve (Monica) Collins; son-in-law, Mark Billings; twelve grandchildren; eleven great grandchildren; and sisters Kathleen Steele and Joan Foltz.

He was preceded in death by his wife, LaVaine; daughter, Connie Billings; parents and eleven siblings.

Visitation will be Tuesday, September 5, 2017 from 5-7 p.m. with a vigil service beginning at 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in West Des Moines, Iowa.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with interment following at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines.

Reminder to Remove Hay Bales from the Right of Way

Hay Bales

The South Dakota Department of Transportation reminds land owners hay remaining in highway ditches after Oct. 1 is deemed illegal.

After Oct. 1, the department will remove or authorize the removal of any illegal hay bales remaining in the public right of way.

Any person wishing to claim ownership of illegal bales must obtain a permit from the South Dakota Department of Transportation. Those permits are issued on a first-come first-served basis and allow permit holders to take ownership of any illegal hay bale.

Permits are available at Department of Transportation area offices in the following communities: Aberdeen, Belle Fourche, Custer, Huron, Mitchell, Mobridge, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, Winner and Yankton. Phone numbers can be found on the website at http://www.sddot.com/dot/region/Default.aspx.

For more information, contact the Division of Operations at 605-773-3571.

Hospital Project Takes Next Step


Administration and the Board of Directors of Winner Regional Healthcare Center received positive news this week regarding the progress of their $23M expansion and building project. The USDA notified Winner Regional they have scheduled a required pre-construction conference meeting the first week of September, which is one of the final steps before construction can begin.

“This is great news!” stated Board President Brian Schaeffer. “It’s been a longer path to get to this point than we expected, but it’s wonderful to take another step forward with this exciting project.”

An exact groundbreaking date has not yet been determined. “Watch for news regarding that milestone as we work through the final details with the USDA over the next couple of weeks,” said Winner Regional CEO Kevin Coffey.

Along with a low interest Community Facilities loan from the USDA, the project is being funded with the previous gift of $3 million from the late John and Raymond Erickson brothers, a 10 year $1 million donation from Sanford Health, as well as $3 million in local philanthropic donations. Dr. Tony Berg is serving as Chair of the fundraising campaign and initial efforts have brought in over $1.3 million in donations and pledges. ““We are very appreciative of the support the community has shown this critical project so far,” said Berg. “As construction gets underway, it’s the perfect time for others to step forward and partner with us to ensure the wellbeing of our community for generations to come.”

Plans include 28,000 square feet of new construction, along with 16,000 square feet of major renovation work. All hospital services will continue to be operational throughout the course of construction. To support the primary goal of improving the patient experience, the main focus of the project will be the construction of a new clinic, ER and OR, along with a streamlined registration area for the entire facility.

If you would like to make a donation or have questions on the building project, please contact Foundation Director Jody Engel at (605) 842-7231.

Witten Native Named BHSU Swarm Day Parade Marshal

Distinguished teacher, veteran, and real estate entrepreneur Joe Jorgensen will lead the annual Swarm Day Parade as Parade Marshal. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Donald E. Young Center Parking Lot and will proceed down St. Joe Street, Jackson Blvd. and then Main Street.

The city of Spearfish would look much different if not for the real estate leadership of Black Hills State University alum Joe Jorgensen. Jorgensen was recently named the 2017 Swarm Day Parade Marshal.

A distinguished teacher, veteran, and real estate entrepreneur, Jorgensen will lead the annual homecoming parade through Spearfish Saturday, Sept. 9 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Donald E. Young Center Parking Lot and will proceed down St. Joe Street, Jackson Blvd. and then Main Street.

It’s a bit of a flashback for Jorgensen who helped plan the homecoming festivities at Black Hills State 50 years ago as the student chairman of the Swarm Day Committee.

“Every club spent days and weeks building their float for the parade,” remembers Jorgensen.

“The floats were huge and stuffed with napkins of different colors.”

Born and raised in Witten, S.D. in Tripp County, Jorgensen began attending Black Hills State in 1964. His hometown graduating class included just 10 students, so attending Black Hills State was a big jump for Jorgensen.

“I was nervous initially going to a big school. But I took one speech course and one theatre course to start and I just continued until I obtained my degree. I’ve used those course throughout my lifetime and Black Hills State was a big contributing factor to my success,” said Jorgensen.

Jorgensen graduated with bachelor’s degrees in social studies and speech/theatre and started teaching at Spearfish High School. Jorgensen taught several subjects including world geography, world affairs, psychology, sociology, and speech. He obtained his master’s degree in educational administration with an emphasis in guidance and counseling from BHSU in 1970.

After three years of teaching, Jorgensen was drafted into the U.S. Army where he worked with Pershing missiles. When the Vietnam War came to an end, Jorgensen returned to teaching in Spearfish and then went into real estate.

“The education my dad provided me, learning how to trade just about anything – from horses to land, real estate was always an interest of mine,” said Jorgensen, whose parents were livestock dealers.

Ever the forward-thinker, Jorgensen brought the first seated chain restaurant to Spearfish with the introduction of Pizza Hut. He introduced townhouses in 1983 and is now developing the city’s first “pocket neighborhood” Crow Peak Place.

Just one of Jorgensen’s honors or accolades would be enough recognition for a lifetime, but his commitment to economic development is consistently recognized by his neighbors. Jorgensen received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Spearfish Chamber of Commerce in 2017, Lifetime Achievement from the Black Hills Board of Realtors in 2013, the Volunteer Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008 from Black Hills Community Economic Development, the Spirit of Spearfish Award in 2007, the Vocation Award from the Rotary Club in 2006, the Spearfish Economic Development Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and BHSU Distinguished Alumnus in 1987.

He has served on the Spearfish School Board, as President of the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation, and was elected as Mayor in 1981.

Of all his accomplishments, Jorgensen said he is most proud of establishing Jorgensen Park and all the parks through which he’s worked to dedicate land to the City.

“We’ve contributed walking and bike paths to the City which the City has continued to maintain for the community. I’m also proud of the bronze horse statues we built to honor our parents at Jorgensen Park,” said Jorgensen.

Over the years, Jorgensen has supported BHSU by giving to several student scholarship funds named in honor of faculty and students: Marion Hilpert, Sever Eubank, Charlotte Forsberg, and the T.H. and June Proctor Scholarships.

Jorgensen is currently working with a group of developers on a commercial development called The Village at Creekside, and also on Dakota Meadows – a commercial and housing venture at exit 10.

“Spearfish is a wonderful place to live with no mosquitos,” Jorgensen says simply when asked why he chose to stay and build his career here. “I’m very honored and pleased to be the Swarm Day Parade Marshal at my alma mater.”