Brooke 2015-2Brooke Schloss of Swier Law Firm, Prof. LLC, has been selected by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys as a “Top 10 Attorney Under the Age of 40.”

The National Academy of Family Law Attorneys is an organization devoted to recognizing the top family law attorneys in the nation. Through a stringent selection process, the NAFLA awards the best family law

attorneys in each state with its most prestigious honor of being named “TOP 10.”

On the Campus

•Rebecca Kartak of Colome has been named to the dean’s honor roll at Eastern Wyoming College.

•Named to the dean’s list for the spring semester at University of Nebraska at Lincoln are Jordyn Heinle and Lexie Heinle, both of Hamill.

•Named to the dean’s list for the spring semester at the University of Sioux Falls are Haley DeMers, Winner, nursing major; Dayna Diez, Winner, nursing major and Ashleigh Tuttle, Winner, criminal justice and psychology major.


clint sargent


Clint Sargent of Sioux Falls was presented with the annual South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year Award during the Association’s annual meeting in Rapid City on June 18.

The award is based on service to the trial bar and the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association. The Association noted Mr. Sargent’s achievements in trial and appellate practice throughout his career. His efforts to educate the public concerning the need to preserve the integrity of the civil justice system and other public service were noted by the panel.

Ideas Shared at Town Hall Meeting

town hall meeting


By Dan Bechtold, Editor

Ideas on how to promote Winner and attract more people here were expressed at a town hall meeting June 18.

The meeting is part of a project by the South Central Development Corporation. Conducting a community survey and serving as moderators at the meeting were Jamie Halverson, Jacob Naasz and Clay Hoffman. All are graduates of Winner High School  with Hoffman and Halverson recent college graduates and Naasz with one year left of college.

Halverson said the goal of the survey is to understand the feelings and views of those in Tripp County in order to better move forward in improving the community and region.

‘Jurassic’ movie has giant animals; Lenkers have giant plants

dave lenker reaches high2

By Dan Merritt, Advocate reporter

“Jurassic World” movie, recently released, shows gigantic reptiles lumbering around the countryside.

In town, in Winner, there are gigantic rose plants 15-feet tall and probably higher at the David and Pat Lenker home, southwest Winner.

The rose blooms tower high, nestled among the foliage of cedar evergreens. The trees support the rose plants as they stretch upward.

“They want to climb to the sky! We’ll stand back and see,” Pat observed.

When she and her husband put five “little shrub” plants, they said, into the soil at the back of their lot near a neighbor’s cedar trees in 2001, it wasn’t known they were climbing roses.

But the plants kept getting taller. “When they met the trees, they went up,” Pat commented.

Through 14 winters. Normally, other flowering rose plants on their place have to be covered in winter to protect against freezing.

But the Lenkers’ towering bavily (or possibly baffin) rose plants can’t be covered.

For some reason, exposed to winter cold, they have continued to survive. And thrive in the summers.

“We’ve never done anything, they just stay alive. That’s an unusual trait,” Pat noted.

The freakishly tall plants sport numerous blooms — in the hundreds, maybe thousands, said Dave.

Former business owner dies in plane crash

The former owner of a crop spraying business in Winner died Monday, June 8, in a plane crash outside of Kadoka.

Joseph Schneller, 49, Keystone, owned Semper Fi Aviation in Winner for a couple of years.

Schneller was a former Rapid City police officer and a U.S. Marine.

According to a story in the Rapid City Journal, Schneller had just taken off from the Kadoka Municipal Airport at 4:18 p.m. in his alfalfa crop dusting plane when the aircraft apparently had a mechanical failure said Jackson County sheriff Ray Clements Jr.

Witnesses saw the plane rising, then saw the right wing dip suddenly.

The plane crashed across the road from the airport along a sports field fence on the east side of town.

Federal investigators reviewed the crash site June 8 to determine the cause of the crash.

‘New’ year means another photo together for kidney transplant brothers

BartlesBy Dan Merritt, Advocate reporter

April’s over and it’s into a new year for brothers Lane and Troy Bartels — the former of Sioux Falls and the latter at Los Angeles, Calif.

They know that at some point in the coming year it will be time again for THE PHOTO. A shot of them together, probably at Christmas at the home of their folks Ray and Judy Bartels, rural Winner.

The photo must be taken by their mother, according to the two men now ages 33 and 43 respectively. No “selfie” — a phone-photograph taken by either one of them as they stand side by side and then e-mailed to mom.

“It’s kind of like the first day of school picture,” Troy noted. Something that only a mother can do, when she takes a photo of her school-age children heading-out to their nearest educational centers.

Yes, it’s definitely a mom photo to take, Lane agreed. “It’s what she does.”

Turkeys ‘work’ for him, but in a good way

dianne&bob with canned vegs


By Dan Merritt

Advocate reporter

Turkeys work for Bob Vrbsky at his rural Colome garden, west of town. The bird kind, that is.

“Wild turkeys come and they’ll go right through there and clean them bugs right out.

“They pull the potato bugs off. So we don’t have to spray.”

And that’s just fine with the now retired, former 40-year law officer at Winner, Colome, and Gregory.

He largely employs organic gardening methods at big gardens west of town and in Colome at his home place.

Control of weeds is by hand and tiller.

“Pesticides and chemicals. Herbicides and all that,” Vrbsky said. They’re not his choice to help in the growth of all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

All sorts which are eaten, canned, or frozen including tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, peas, onions, sweet potatoes, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mulberries, cucumbers, rhubarb, asparagus, watermelons, muskmelons, pumpkins and many more of nature’s goodies.

He and wife Dianne even make wine from the grapes, elderberries, chokecherries, strawberries, and gooseberries they grow.

“I’d just as soon have our own (fruits and vegetables) because it’s known how they are grown,” Vrbsky commented.

The taste is so much more lively direct from the gardens, he noted. So much more snap to it.

And the savings is tremendous, taking his wife “out” to eat, he added.

“I take her out for supper every night. We walk down to the garden and say ‘What do you want tonight?’ ”

“Everybody thought that was kind of expensive (going out nightly), till they found out we were going to the garden, eating veggies,” Vrbsky laughed.

The two can harvest a meal, for example, of lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, sweetcorn, carrots.

Of course, that’s later in the summer when these things have matured.

“Right now, winter onions are just going out. We’ve been eating them,” Vrbsky noted.

“They’re getting just about to the end; now something else will come in.

“They stay over-winter and then they bunch-up.They’re called bunching onions.

“They grow every year from bulbs. Early in the spring, they’ll be up and growing.”

It’s early summer now by the calendar, but the weather this garden season hasn’t seemed to notice.

“We had frost the other night,” Vrbsky reported. “It got some of our tomato plants we started.

“We’ll have to see how much damage there is.

“But we have volunteer ones coming up. So we’ve got, always, plenty of tomatoes. We don’t worry about that.”

Gardens are known for pumping-out lots of tomatoes once they start ripening. At times, the overflow is difficult to deal with, even giving them away.

That’s where canning comes in at the Vrbsky resident as directed by expert Dianne.

“Making taco sauce, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato juice,” she said.

A lot of it goes to their now-grown three sons and one daughter and their families. The Vrbskys also have 11 grandkids and two great-grandkids.

And there’s more than just canned tomato products that go to their offspring, the Vrbskys reported.

“Anything. Whatever they want. Sauerkraut from cabbage. Pickles. Asparagus,” the two said.

They were both raised on farms in the Winner-Colome area. A big garden just went with farming and they continued on with the tradition in town with their own large patch (actually, two: one east of their home and the other just south).

They added another acre or so of garden west of town about 10 years ago.

When the Vrbskys were “growing” kids at their place in town, the garden was a natural, mandatory work project for the youngsters.

“They called it ‘Hell’s Half-Acre,’ ” Dianne disclosed. Particularly when they were owly with each other and were sent there as punishment.

“They had to pull weeds when they fought — just pickin’ at each other,” she reminisced.

“When they got a little naughty, they had a chore to go pull a row of weeds,” Bob recalled.

But, for the most part, working the family garden was just part of life at the Vrbsky home, they indicated. Still is. Last year, they harvested 900-pounds of potatoes.

Bountiful harvests after 40 years of gardening as a married couple (not to mention being raised with gardens as kids) — one can probably expect that.

And it can be expected next year. And the next. And the next . . .

As long as he has the ability to get to the soil, Bob Vrbsky vowed. “As long as I can still crawl down the row.”

The couple’s daughter is Guyla of Kimball. Their three sons are: Gary and Ray in the US Army (Philadelphia, PA and Clarksville, TN) and Dave in Taylor, Texas.

Students on SDSU Dean’s List

Area students has been named to the spring semester dean’s list at South Dakota State University.

Named to the list are: Tasha Hauf, Colome; Emilee Graesser, Dallas, 4.0 grade point average; Chance Littau, Carter;  Carson Covey, Hamill; Trevor Larson, Hamill, 4.0 grade point average; Sarah Calhoon, Justin Vanneman, both of Ideal; Jack Kerner, 4.0; Kip Littau, Katie Mathis, Trace Meyer, 4.0; Rebecca Moorhead, 4.0 Samantha Stickland and Corey Wackel, 4.0, all from Winner; Allie Kingsbury, Wood.