“A Look at You”

Name:  Dave Baker

Birthplace:  Kansas City, MO

Family:  Wife Kristi. Daughter Bailey. Son Dalton.

Currently reside where:  Winner

Occupation:  State Trooper

The best thing about my job is:  I get to meet a lot of people. ϑ

My favorite childhood memory:  Watching George Brett play third base for the KC Royals.

Favorite sports team(s):  Kansas City Chiefs & Royals.

Favorite current television show:  Justified

Favorite past television shows:  Hunter & Six Million Dollar Man

Favorite movie(s):  Big Jake, Aliens. All of the 007 movies.

Favorite actor(s):  John Wayne and Clint Eastwood

Favorite actress(es):  Helen Hunt & Kathryn Heigl

Favorite musicians/band:  Metalica

Favorite publication(s) (newspapers, magazines):  Guns & Ammo, 4-Wheeler

Favorite holiday and why:  Christmas. Having the house decorated and being with family. 

Hobbies:  Shooting sports

Three things that can always be found in my refrigerator:  Steak, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, BBQ Sauce.

My favorite snack:  Raisinettes & Cashews

Someone I most admire and why:  Dale Earnhardt because of his will and determination.

I’ve never been able to:  Dance

If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to:  Pearl Harbor

My definition of a great evening is:  A steak dinner on the plaza in Kansas City with my wife and kids.

Gardner Named Region “Coach of the Year”

gardner interviwed


Brett Gardner, Winner High School boys basketball coach, has been named the Region 8 head coach of the year.

Gardner, in his first year of coaching in Winner, coached the Winner Warriors to a third place finish in the State A basketball tournament.

Named as the Region 7 head coach of the year is Jeff Determan of Gregory and the Region 7 assistant coach of the year is Lonnie Klundt of Gregory.

The South Dakota Basketball Coaches Association makes the announcement of the region coaches.

A Look at You… Mike Calhoon

Name:  Mike Calhoon

Birthplace:  Winner,  SD

Family:  Wife: Susan.  Children:  Megan (22), Sarah (20), Meredith (15), Shannon (13), Spencer (10), Matthew (7).

Currently reside where:  Ideal, SD

Occupation:  Rancher/Farmer

The best thing about my job is:  Being outdoors and watching new calves and crops grow.

My favorite childhood memory:  Going fishing with my Grandfather Leon.

When growing up, I wanted to be:  A Rancher/Farmer.

My most prized possession:  My family.

Favorite sports team(s):  Winner Warriors, Clearfield Sandburs,  SDSU Jackrabbits.

Favorite current television show: ESPN Sportscenter.

Favorite past television shows:  Cheers

Favorite movie:  The Longest Day

Favorite actor:  John Wayne

Favorite musician/band:  Merle Haggard

Favorite book(s)/author(s):  Max Brand, Louis  L’Amour.

Favorite publication (newspapers, magazines): Winner Advocate

Hobbies:  Woodworking,  coaching, or watching kid’s activities.

Three things that can always be found in my refrigerator: Cheese,  eggs, and milk. 

My favorite snack:  Dark chocolate chips.

Pet peeve:  People who talk negatively about our community and way of life.

Someone I most admire and why:  My wife Susan for being such a great mom.

Three words that best describe me: Honest, hard-working, reliable.

People would be surprised to know:  That I have had at least one child in the Winner School District for 31 consecutive years.

I’ve never been able to:  Snap my fingers.

I wish I could stop:  Worrying about the weather.

When nobody is looking, I:  Sing along to the radio.

I’m better than most at:  Calving out cows.

The best times of my life:  The births of my children.

My most embarrassing moment was:   Not saying.

If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to:  Europe

If I won the lottery:  Take my family on a trip to Europe.

My definition of a great evening is:  Spending it at home with my family.

A goal I have for the future:  Live to see all six of my children happily married with children of their own.

The best thing about where I live:  The great people that also live here.

If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s:  Never stop learning and challenging myself.

Finalists Named for 2015 South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award

front jorgensens

Sand County Foundation, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the South Dakota Grassland Coalition announce the finalists for the 2015 Leopold Conservation Award®, which honors South Dakota landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

Among the finalists is Jorgensen Land and Cattle Partnership of Ideal. This is a fourth generation farm, including diversified crops, livestock and hunting. It is owned by Bryan and Brenda Jorgensen, Cody and Abby Jorgensen, Greg and Deb Jorgensen, Martin and Mary Jorgensen and Nicholas Jorgensen. Their farm has been no-till since 1991 and contains 10,000 acres of non-irrigated crops, 850 registered Angus females and a 22 room hunting lodge.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac,” Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, outreach and multiple use benefits.

“Our South Dakota finalists work to enhance the landscape through their commitment to stewardship of natural resources and to sharing what they’ve learned with the broader community,” said Brent Haglund, Sand County Foundation President.

The 2015 award recipient, who will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold, will be announced later this month and recognized at the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention in December.

Disaster Mitigation Meeting Set

jon burdette

Blizzards, tornadoes and floods are a few of the natural hazards that strike this part of the country. Events like this have the potential of causing thousands of dollars annually in damage to property. To lessen the impact of these disasters in the future, Tripp County is beginning the process of updating its current disaster mitigation plan.

A series of public meetings will be held this year to obtain input as the plan is developed. These meetings are open to everyone.

“If you have an idea about what can be done to prepare for future disaster events occurring in Tripp County, you are urged to attend the meetings,” said Jon Burdette, Tripp County emergency manager.

The first meeting will be held April 29 at noon in the courthouse community room. Agenda items for the initial meeting include why the plan is being updated and identifying and profiling the hazards that impact the county. Burdette said there will be a review the county’s current disaster mitigation plan.

Additional information about the meeting can be obtained by contacting Burdette at the Tripp County Emergency Office at 842-1890. Persons can also call John Clem at 800-952-3562 or email him at john.   clem@districtiii.org.

“This is an excellent opportunity for your voice to be heard,” said Burdette.

Covey to Hold Senior Recital

carson covey recital

South Dakota State University student Carson Covey, a music education major from Winner, will present his senior recital project April 19 at 7 p.m. in the Peterson Recital Hall.

A pianist, Covey will perform pieces written by Brahms, Chopin, Mozart and Schubert. Piano instructor Mary Ermel Walker will assist Covey on a set of duets by Claude Debussy.

While at State, Covey has accompanied both instrumental and vocal students, as well as ensembles such as the Statesmen, Women’s Choir and the annual opera workshop. Covey has also studied voice and is a member of the concert choir. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association and Music Teachers National Association.

Bill Blewett Joins Swier Law Firm

bill blewet


Swier Law Firm, Prof. LLC  announces the expansion of its nationally recognized legal practice with the addition of Bill Blewett.

Bill will be a key member of the law firm’s Business & Corporate Law Practice Group. Bill focuses his practice on assisting clients in contract negotiations for the sale of their businesses and acquiring new businesses. He also assists clients in setting up corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships. Bill is also involved in contract preparation and review, as well as business planning, for the law firm’s clients.

Bill grew up in Rapid City and graduated from Black Hills State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He received his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law.  Following law school, Bill joined a Sioux Falls law firm where he practiced for several years.

“Bill Blewett brings experience and strength to our law firm’s Business & Corporate Law Practice Group,” said Scott Swier. “His joining our law firm is a reflection of our commitment to broadening our strong business presence throughout South Dakota. He is a great fit for our team.”

Swier Law Firm has an office in Winner.

“Night in Day” Still Vivid in Mind of 100-year-old Vavra

By Dan Merritt, Advocate reporter

She still recalls vividly the days when night took over.

“It was terrible” says Margaret “Marg” Vavra of Colome who was speaking of the 1930s Depression era. The Dirty ’30s when giant windstorms of dust shut-out the light of the sun.

She ought to remember. She turned age 20 in 1935. She was married to Ben Vavra at age 27 in 1942.

Her first and only child arrived in 1955 when she was age 40.

His name is Marvin Vavra and he turns 60 this year. Marg Vavra is now 100.

That century mark in age is being celebrated Sat., April 18, at the American Legion building in Colome from 2 to 5 p.m. The general public is invited.

Though she said she would have been content with a card shower. But son Marvin and wife Debra of O’Neill, Neb. said there needed to be more, Marg Vavra reported.

“They said I’m the only one in my family on either said, my mother or my father, or my husband’s side — none others have ever reached 100!”

And so there will be celebration at the Legion in Colome. It will be a time for some “ice cream and cake with me,” Vavra explained.

She and husband Ben ran Vavra’s Store or Gambles in Colome for 50 years. In her lifetime in this area. she’s had contact with many, many people.

Hopefully on the 18th, there will be many on hand to take part in the celebration.

“I hope so,” Vavra said. “I would be happy if there are.”

She actually reached age 100 on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. But two of her favorite people weren’t available to attend a celebration with her until this month, Vavra said.

Grandson Mark Vavra now of California is scheduled to be back from Japan where he was part of a U.S. troupe of singers and dancers who were performing there.

And a niece, Karen Ripperda of Sioux Falls, was due back from Florida where she spends the winters with husband Daniel.

Also expected at Colome on the 18th is Mark’s sister, Lisa Vavra, another grandchild, Vavra stated.

Now a centenarian, Vavra was born before World War I. She married in the early years of World War II.

She was in her late 40s when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

She was almost age 60 when President Nixon resigned from office in 1974.

She had reached 86 when the Twin Towers were demolished in 2001. She was 93 when President Obama was first elected.

Though arthritic, Vavra said she maintains good health generally.

She lives on her own at her home in Colome. She still operates an automobile. She traveled to a funeral in Hamill on April 7 and had people amazed that she had driven there herself, she said.

“They thought I was only 90,” she added.

But they were wrong. She’s reached the triple digits in age.

How? “I just did it. I don’t know why,” she admitted. “I must of done something right. I don’t know what.”

The horrific dust/sand storms of the 1930s may have had something to do with it, she speculated.

“I think I got sand in my craw. The sand that I ate . . . kept me going,” she added.

“And hard work, I guess. That’s all I’ve done is work. I like to keep busy.”

Busy for the next five years, for sure, Vavra indicated.

“Now I’m going to try to be 105. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not. But I’m going to try it.

“You just got to keep pushing if you want to get anywhere. You can’t just sit down.”

She didn’t sit much when she and husband Ben ran Vavra’s Store (Gambles) from spring 1949 to fall 1998. Just a smidgen shy of 50 years.

“We had a lot, a lot of customers. I enjoyed it. They were nice people. All of them were nice.”

And they’re still around, too, one way or another, Vavra pointed out.

“Some of them are up on the hill. And some of them are still farmers. And some are in the nursing home.”

Gambles was already a going business when the Vavras bought it. They had been farming but Ben Vavra was asthmatic.

“He couldn’t be around the cattle and the hogs. So we sold-out and we come to town.”

Farming and Gambles weren’t Marg Vavra’s only work experiences.

“I taught school for a little while. I was a waitress. I worked out on the farms for people who needed help in their houses.

“I didn’t get very much when I first started. But then there was no money around. I was just glad to have a job.”

A job during an era of economic and environmental troubles.

Especially troubling were the scary dust storms which she experienced at her home four miles south of Colome, she said.

“I tell you, the windstorms were so bad it was just dark. Just like nighttime in the daytime.”