Sunday, June 7, 2015

Deadwood slag pile shooting range irking Shirttail Gulch residents


Deadwood homeboys tell the stories of the shooting range at the slag pile in Whitewood Canyon just below town.

Creating a precedent, the Sheriff's Department and Deadwood city cops shot down there until the US Environmental Protection Agency began restoring the watershed in 1981. They shot there when I moved to Deadwood in 1977. According to the late Tommy McGrath setting off a vintage Thompson submachine gun from the city arsenal was commonplace and lead from a century of gunfire pollutes the sensitive riparian zone. The official practice range is south of Lead on Yellow Creek Road.

This blogger haunted that part of the canyon just beyond the city limits and witnessed the periodic sloughing-off of the black slag pile where wild turkeys and bald eagles live above the recovering stream that carved the canyon.

Real estate sales have been active where long-held properties are being lost to out of state investors.

Less than a week ago the Rapid City Journal removed a piece by Deadwood-area reporter, Tom Griffith. That article detailed a failed city commission candidate's attack on the mayor and council over their hesitation to approve a proposed shooting range.

Nutcase Greg Vecchi, who lost his bid for a commission seat to far better qualified candidates, wants to build a bar with an attached firing range atop the slag pile in the Northern Hills community and attacked sitting members of the governing body who oppose it.

Now, another Griffith story brings the Shirttail subdivision into the scene.
Vecchi’s Rapid City attorney, Kyle Reese, said the gun range met all city ordinances and state statues, and noted the variance had been unanimously approved by the commission after two public hearings one year ago. Concerts, shootouts, hot rods, and motorcycles were all louder than sounds emanating from the gun range, Reese said. [Rapid City Journal]
Shirttail was developed by former Deadwood City Attorney, Jon Mattson whose wife, Barb is part of the historic Rachetto family. Having done the drywall in many of the homes in the subdivision noise can be a sensitive matter in that area. I know nearly every homeowner there. These are not powerless people: one resident, Tim Davis, owns the Devils Tower Trading Post at the foot of the Tower. Danny Gray is a retired motorcycle equipment manufacturer with ties to the Hells Angels.

A comment below Griffith's article alludes to the death of Vecchi's wife and a botched investigation by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.

In 2011, during a staged event in Hill City three tourists were shot when an actor fired a loaded handgun at them.

The parent company of the Rapid City Journal, Lee Enterprises, is known for supporting extreme right wing causes. Griffith is married to Nyla Griffith who sits on the South Dakota Democratic State Committee. Democrats brought gaming to Deadwood where over $95 million was wagered in April.

South Dakota's GOP junior senator is crowing his support for America's right to bear arms while attacking EPA for trying to clean up a century of decimation so going gently into that dark and stormy night is likely miles to go before Deadwood sleeps.

Transportation officials are now saying that as many as 1.2 million armed, drunken bikers will descend on the Black Hills for the 75th Sturgis Rally.

Deadwood has become home for white, male, meth-infused biker trash from somewhere else. The image above is a little message that appeared overnight on a decal attached to one of my rigs in 2012.

How people believe they can parachute into Deadwood Gulch and fix it remains a mystery. 50-year resident and optometrist, Mike Guilbert calls it the Deadwood Triangle.

You poor bastards.

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