Congratulations to the Najachts

OK, let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat. Yes, we were admittedly a little biased in naming the 2021 Custer County Chronicle Citizen of the Year. Having said that, that doesn’t mean this year’ recipients aren’t worthy of the accolade.
As you saw on the front page of this issue, the 2021 Citizens of the Year are Charley and Norma Najacht, former owners of this newspaper. The two sold this newspaper, as well as its sister paper, the Hill City Prevailer News, to Jerry Lenander back in October. In doing so they closed out storied careers in the newspaper industry that spanned three states and several newspapers, including this one, of course.
 You could call this year’s award something of a lifetime achievement award for a couple who owned the Chronicle from late 1999 until they sold it this year. In that time they not only owned and operated the two newspapers and the accompanying Western Trader, but also launched and at one time published or continue to publish a variety of publications to benefit the town and the surrounding area, including the chamber of commerce directory, including the Southern Hills Vacation Guide, Black Hills Adventure Guide and Down Country Roads Magazine. They were also behind the launching of the annual Citizen of the Year Award, for that matter. They impacted almost everyone in this county in some form or fashion over the course of their nearly 22 years of ownership.
Owners of newspapers generally toil in obscurity, and really are only brought up when there is something about the paper people don’t like. You don’t see them being given awards at chamber of commerce get-togethers, or come to the forefront of people’s minds when you think about the most important businesses in a town. But they are that important and should be thought of that way, and the Chronicle continued to cover all that was happening in Custer County guided by the steady leadership of Charley and Norma.
The two have stepped into a well-earned retirement, although they do poke their head into the newspaper here from time to time to say hi or answer a question or two. Norma contends she’s busier now than she was when she worked at the newspaper. That’s hard to believe, considering how hard she worked while she was here. We trust that retirement is treating them well, and have no doubt they will continue to contribute to the good of Custer in some form or fashion.
Join us in congratulating the Najachts on being named our Citizens of the Year. For us it was an obvious choice, and one that was a long time coming. They brought you the news for two decades, and that’s something that is vitally important in every town.

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