Area News

The Sam F. Weller Family Foundation is a private foundation established by Richard F. Weller to honor his father Sam F. Weller and his family, to give something back to the Mitchell community that gave Sam and his family the opportunity to succeed in business, and to provide grant money to charities for special projects that are beyond their normal budgets. 

Sam was a well-known figure in the Mitchell area in the mid-1900s and was heavily involved in civic activities and community improvement. Sam would be pleased to see the support and commitment to the Mitchell area continue in the name of the Sam F. Weller Family Foundation. As Dick Weller would say, the foundation was the goose that laid the golden egg and would perpetually reward the community that helped the Weller family succeed. More information about the Foundation can be found at 

In the last couple of years, the Letcher Youth Program has committed to improving the baseball/softball field in Letcher. In 2024, they received an $18,000 grant from the Sam F. Weller Family Foundation for improvements. The grant covered the replacement of the backstop, which included removal of the original backstop and chain link fencing, purchase and installation of 24’ tall poles, netting, a 3’ tall backstop wall which includes composite deck boards for the inside wall and tin on the fan side, and padding from the home dugout to the visitor dugout. 

The CorTrust Bank ALM (Artesian – Letcher – Mt. Vernon) Community Foundation is an organization formed to attract and distribute gifts of capital to charitable agencies for community betterment. It was initially funded by CorTrust Bank with a match from the South Dakota Community Foundation for the benefit of the Artesian, Letcher, and Mt. Vernon communities. The first grants were awarded in August 2000. Information on the ALM Foundation can be found at 

In 2024, the Letcher Youth Program received a $2,500 grant from the CorTrust Bank ALM Community Foundation to purchase new cement for both dugouts at the ballpark.

Much of the work was completed by Letcher area volunteers, including some Teener baseball players.

The Letcher ballpark plays host to Little League baseball and Letcher Hawks VFW Teener baseball games. The Teener baseball team players represent all the towns in Sanborn County, and also have a couple of pick-up players from outside the county.

…See a picture in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

Each year SD 4-H selects top senior division shooters for the four-person teams to represent South Dakota at the National 4-H Shoot. This year Sanborn County was represented by Alex Schelske on the .22 Small Bore Rifle team. Sanborn County Shooting Sports Instructor Art Kneen was chosen to coach the National Air Pistol Team. Sanborn County Shooting Sports Instructor Audrey Kneen attended to assist each of the teams with equipment and supplies, and parents were also in attendance.

The National 4-H Shooting competition was held June 23-28 in Grand Island, Neb.  4-H youth from across the country competed in compound archery, recurve archery, air rifle, air pistol, .22 rifle, .22 pistol, shotgun, muzzleloading, and hunting skills. Each discipline has three days of competitive events, as well as practice opportunities for each event. 

As a state, South Dakota tied with Missouri for an amazing second place finish in the nation in the overall sweepstakes competition for all disciplines.

The group arrived in Grand Island on Sunday, June 23 and spent Monday with practice during the day and Opening Ceremonies that night.  Competition began on Tuesday.  

Overall, Schelske led his team with a solid individual performance, placing 15 of the 79 competitors, and the SD team placed sixth of the total 19 teams.

The week of Shooting Sports competition was definitely a success for Sanborn County and South Dakota.

…Read details and see a picture of the competition in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal.

SEEN ABOVE, hundreds of people flooded the sidewalks and lawns along the parade route of the Woonsocket Water Festival’s annual Fourth of July Parade. This year’s theme was “The Greatest Fourth on Earth!” centered around a circus concept, and people loved it, as usual.

With a theme of “The Greatest Fourth on Earth,” the Woonsocket Water Festival spanned four days of fun and family entertainment. The festivities started with the alumni banquet and alumni basketball game on the night of the third and ended with a street dance sponsored by Skeeters on the night of the sixth, with many activities in between. The title “Water Festival” had a bit of a new meaning for this year’s celebration, as there were several sporadic rain showers throughout all four days of the festival, and at times it was heavy rain, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or the fun everyone had. Once again, the Water Festival Committee put together an outstanding celebration, and we can’t wait to see what next year brings.

…See many more pictures of the festivities in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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