November 2013

REES WITH the ‘Cuda, back in 1969.

When Curt Rees sold his ‘69 Plymouth Barracuda, just a few months after taking delivery of it in 1969, he never dreamed he’d be driving that same custom car 44 years later. He only owned the car from May until fall one year, but never could get it out of his head.
Rees ordered the 340 ‘Cuda in March of ’69, before he got out of the Army. He and his wife, Dianne, enjoyed the car for their honeymoon, but decided to sell it later on that fall while they were living in Mitchell. “It was just not a wintertime car,” he said. The last time he saw it was in 1970.
In 1995 he crossed paths with the car again. A man from Geddes owned it at the time, the third owner. Rees wanted to buy it, but just didn’t have the money.
This past May, he felt the ‘Cuda tug again while looking through old photos of it and decided to see if he could find it. He contacted that third owner, who now lived in Sioux City, and found out he had sold it to another man in Sioux City, who had sold it to a fellow in Omaha.
The man in Omaha had sold the ‘Cuda in 2002 to a restorer in southern California, but he couldn’t remember the man’s name. Rees hit a dead end.
So, he got on the internet and joined a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Web site called “For A Bodies Only.” He posted a story and photos of the car asking if anyone had any information on the car. Only 68 Barracudas were built that year and all the options were made to order, making his particular car very unique and rare.
Rees received several replies to his message, but one stood out. The man was from New York and was able to send him build sheets for the Barracuda’s model. A car with the right options was built on March 11, 1969 and another on March 13. Rees didn’t think either one were his car, until the man sent him pictures of a car that could have been its twin.
As it turns out this “twin” ‘Cuda was THE car he and his wife had owned all those years ago in 1969 South Dakota. Rees immediately offered to buy it, offering to pay full price, if the price was fair enough.
The man had to think about it and Rees had just given up hope when he received a message offering the car for sale. Finally at the beginning of October, the owner from New York settled on selling it and a price. Rees left almost immediately on the 1,655-mile, one way, trip to pick up the car.
Rees has already begun the restoration process on the car, although for being 44 years old, he says it is not in bad shape and will not need as much work as most comparable cars need. Most of the issues are mechanical, rather than cosmetic.
The car is a 340, four-speed with a 3:91 Sure Grip rear end notch back. Rees says all the numbers, including the engine, transmission and body serial numbers, VIN number and dash number all match, making the car even more rare.
Rees says he didn’t think finding the car would be possible, but he sure is happy to have done so. “It is going to be fun to drive it again!” he says.

MYRNA PETERSON receives her award from South Dakota Department of Transportation Program Director Bruce Lindholm.

Retired Sanborn County Transit bus driver Myrna Peterson was awarded the South Dakota Driver of the Year for 2013 during the annual Dakota Transit Association conference in Bismarck, ND in September
Only one transit driver per state receives this honor each year. Peterson was nominated this past summer by Jessica Pickett, Senior Services Executive Director for the City of Mitchell.
Peterson was the transit director in Sanborn County for 30-plus years. Besides driving the bus, she acted as office manager, secretary, grant writer and she took care of the bus, washing and detailing it. In her nomination letter, Pickett writes, “Myrna was truly the definition of a One Man Band operation for Sanborn County Transit and the biggest reason it has been a successful program for so many years.”
Pickett adds, “Not only is Myrna an amazing and one of the safest drivers anyone could ask for, she knows where EVERYTHING is located, including all back roads in Huron and Mitchell in order to avoid construction or just to take the safest and shortest route.
“She has established such a close relationship with all of her passengers and goes out of her way to help them. Myrna is a friend to all of her passengers and all of her passengers are her friends,” says Pickett. “Myrna made sure to introduce the new bus driver to all of the passengers personally, even if it included going to their house and knocking on their door.”
Peterson was essential in keeping the bus service running in Sanborn County, always making sure to keep compliant with all rules and regulations and meeting all state deadlines. She was instrumental in securing the three-stall bus garage where the bus and van are kept, along with the ambulance.
She was known for keeping the cleanest bus around. Pickett states, “In fact, the new bus driver said to me, ‘I better keep this bus spotless or Myrna will kick my butt!’ and she’s not kidding!”
When Peterson decided to retire, she was concerned with the community losing their bus service, so she took it upon herself to contact Palace Transit in Mitchell, inquiring if they would be interested in continuing the service. Palace Transit and the mayor of Mitchell both could see the value of the service and were happy to enter into a management agreement to continue operation of Sanborn County Transit.
Pickett states in her letter that many of Peterson’s passengers and county co-workers were sad to hear the news of her retirement, but that she felt it was HER time to ride the bus. And ride the bus she has, in order to make sure her old customers are comfortable with the change and the new driver is comfortable with the route and area.
The new Sanborn County transit driver is currently operating the same schedule as in the past, and Palace Transit hopes that together, they can continue to provide the same quality of service Peterson did for over 30 years.

The students of Woonsocket School will be presenting a Veteran’s Day program on Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Woonsocket armory. There will be patriotic music and readings.
The community is invited to the Veteran’s Day celebration. Please come and show your appreciation. The Program will also be shown live on the Santel school channel #104.