Keystone looks back on Haunting

By Jeff Smith


Keystone has another annual event coming up.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, the Victorian Christmas will begin in Keystone during the morning hours and turkey bingo will take place in the afternoon. Victorian Christmas is an event for vendors to come and sell holiday items at the Keystone Community Center.

President of the town board, Sandi McLain, said the event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this year.

“There are already quite a few vendors at this point and we’ll have some entertainment,” McLain said.

Turkey Bingo will start around 5 p.m. Powder House in Keystone has donated all the turkeys for the event. A ham will be donated by the Town of Keystone.

It was decided that the town will provide a main course and the rest of the citizens will bring side dishes.

According to McLain, the Haunting of Keystone was pretty successful this year. Over the course of the nights it was held $78,000 was made.

“It overwhelmed us to the point it created problems we didn’t expect,” McLain said.

The problem was there ended up being a lack of parking; there was nowhere to park in Old Keystone.

McLain said there was maybe three or four complaints during the whole event.

She said they are in the process of paying bills for citizens in need, which is a large part of what the event proceeds help with. The Holy Terror Days Committee is also looking for other ways to spend the money. Ideas that came up at the Nov. 1 meeting were traffic cones for public works and ADA improvements at the Senior Citizens Center.

Equipment for the Keystone Fire Department and Christmas lights for the town are some other ideas that have been thought of.

McLain said the Haunting of Keystone team did really well to amend any problems. There was extra security and the shuttle to the Rush Mountain Adventure Park kept people off the road late at night.

“I think that was highly responsible,” McLain said.

There were also over 125 volunteers that contributed to making the event go smoothly.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped us,” McLain said.

Next year the organizers are projecting to have over 200 volunteers.

Bev Pechan, a former resident of Keystone, was concerned about contaminated water wells in Keystone.

She was diagnosed with cancer in August of 2015. Doctors found it in two locations in her body and her son and husband both died from terminal cancer.

Three people in one household had cancer and Pechan said oncologists said that is very unusual.

She talked to the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

One of her thoughts on e issue of cancer was the water in Keystone. And oncologists also talked to her about radon in the air.

She ended up thinking about The Lodge at Mt Rushmore which has had problems due to a failing wastewater treatment program.

Pennington County Planning and Zoning Department has confirmed that the owner, Mark Arend, has not serviced or repaired the wastewater treatment system since the property was purchased in 2008.

Pechan read a lot of environmental issues stemming from investigations by Pennington County and the EPA at the meeting.

Pechan said she was not sure if there was any connection or not to her current condition but thinks the EPA or somebody needs to come in and do some water tests.

“Something is happening somewhere and I hate to think that this could keep happening,” Pechan said.

She is thinking there might be potential contamination to the underlying aquifer and other public and private drinking water wells.

The Town of Keystone does regular water tests. There are weekly tests for chlorine levels and bi-annual tests on water wells. The bi-annual tests cover a whole gambit of metrics.

Over the past decade or so,  Keystone has also received numerous state awards for the upkeep and excellence of its water treatment.

An issue dealing with public safety and potential road damage is hopefully solved.

The Pacer Corporation of Pennington County has been hauling lots of rock on Cemetery Road in Keystone. Cassandra Ott, Keystone city clerk, said there have been some concerns from citizens about the condition of the road if large trucks continued to use it.

Keystone finance officer Vanessa Row gave a call to Pacer about the concerns. Mitch Johnson, city attorney for Keystone, drafted a letter of notice to the corporation letting them know there were some concerns as it is a residential street.

A driver of the trucks ended up sharing how heavy the trucks are and breakdown of how much the rocks weigh.

“He went out of his way to come and talk to her (Row),” Ott said.

Ott said he was respectful and the letter seemed to take care of the issue.

Shane Schriner’s plans to have a one story parking structure over the existing parking lot at the Quality Inn in Keystone were also approved at the meeting. The description of the work and type of materials in the permit application says the parking structure will sit on concrete piers that will be installed by cutting out portions of the existing concrete parking lot.