Sept. 9, 1993

n Two Challis women met their deaths late Saturday night in the tragic end to a domestic violence case that had been on the books for over a month. It is assumed that Gerald Shawn Laney, age 25, attempted suicide after shooting his estranged wife and her friend in the victim’s apartment above the Challis Motor Lodge.

Billie Sue Conley died at the scene and Bertha Laney died in an ambulance en route to the Challis Airport shortly after midnight September 6. Shawn Laney was lifeflighted to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. Wednesday morning he was reported to be in very critical condition with no improvement.

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office has filed no charges at this point, but issued a statement that it is a possible double homicide/attempted suicide case if Mr. Laney survives his wounds to be charged.

Shawn Laney was arrested August 4 and incarcerated that night for domestic battery against his wife. He was found guilty of battery in Magistrate Court on August 5 and was sentenced to serve two days in jail, fined $200 and ordered to pay court costs of $49.50.

Bertha called dispatch at 12:59 p.m. on September 5 and reported that she had just received two threatening phone calls from her husband. She told the dispatcher on duty she wanted the calls logged, but did not indicate she wanted any further action taken.

Details of the actual crime are scant. Bertha and her friend Billie Sue Conley, who were employees of the Challis Motor Lodge and had left the bar and gone upstairs together. Shortly thereafter, the shooting occurred. A call came in to the Sheriff’s Office from the Motor Lodge at midnight saying, “There are three people bleeding.” Sheriff Al Finley, Deputy John Tobias and City Officer Dave Nelson were dispatched to the scene.

n Twenty parents united and met with School District #181 Superintendent John Brock for an hour at Challis Elementary School on Friday, September 3, to address the problem of class sizes and a combined second- and third-grade class in one room (11 second-graders and 11 third-graders). At the conclusion of the meeting, parents presented a letter requesting that a full time teacher for second or third grade be hired as soon as possible, rather than hiring an aide.

Brock pointed out that he sees the issue as black and red, citing finances that are now in the black and hiring another teacher might put the district in the red. At the meeting, Brock would not agree to recommend to the school board the addition of a teacher. He said he thought it was a reasonable request, but needed to look at the numbers.


Sept. 5, 1968

n Persons interested in history will find a visit to the ghost towns of Custer and Bonanza along the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River an exciting activity.

They will be particularly interested in strolling through the historical museum which the Challis National Forest maintains at Custer. However, if they hope to do so this year, they will have to hurry. The Custer Museum will close for the season next Monday, September 9.

Since the museum opened last June 10, 9,500 persons have visited there. This represents more than a fifty percent increase over last year.

Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Nelson, who have staffed the museum this summer, have had the opportunity to greet visitors from all over the world. Residents from forty-three of the fifty states found their way to the isolated Yankee Fork country. They were joined by visitors from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. In addition, citizens of the foreign countries of England, Australia, Holland, Mexico and Japan found their way to Custer.

n No loss was reported from the break-in at the Custer County Bank in Challis over the Labor Day weekend.

The break-in was reported by Frank Burstedt, executive vice president of the bank, when he discovered it at 8 a.m. Monday.

n A shortage of water within the city has forced the city of Challis to issue an order limiting hours for water irrigating. The order states that there is to be no irrigating between the hours of 12 noon and 7 p.m. daily.


Sept. 8, 1943

n Once more the annual school election of Challis Independent District No. 1 is past, and as has been the case for several years, but little interest was shown. It seems that this year was even more so than any year for some time, as but ten votes were cast. Three of these votes were cast by the clerk and the judges, which makes but seven going to the school house for the purpose of voting for two trustees of the district.

Irene Pfeiffer and Floyd Bradbury, the incumbents, had been filed and their names printed on the ballots. This alone almost assured their election.

When the votes were counted it was found that Irene Pfeiffer received seven, Floyd Bradbury received six, Ernestine Drake was given one vote, and Harry Waters, Elbert Colter and Albert Siebe also received one vote.

The board of trustees will be composed of the same as before, namely Olive Koch, Irene Pfeiffer, Floyd Bradbury, Seth Burstedt, Wm. Cameron, and F.W. Cummins.

n The Challis committee in charge of the Third War Bond drive, which will open Thursday morning and continue for three weeks, in which Custer county is expected to raise $75,000 by selling war bonds in addition to the regular sale of bonds, met last evening and made plans for the drive to be centered around Challis.

n Plans were discussed and put in motion to hold a gigantic card party and auction in the Challis school house on Saturday evening, September 18th. Patriotic citizens will be contacted to donate almost anything for the auction, including a pint or quart or more of cream, eggs, spuds or anything they have.


Sept. 4, 1918

n Last Sunday the flags waving to our gentle central Idaho breeze were all fluttering at half staff in honor of our County’s first heroic dead, Private Philip Kirk, who was killed in action somewhere in France on July 31st.

At three o’clock that afternoon, patriots from every corner of central Idaho gathered at he Dodge Hall to participate in a Memorial Service for our dead son.

Several speakers addressed the large audience, principal among whom was the Honorable Chase A. Clark. On the platform with Mr. Clark were veterans of the Civil, and Spanish American wars and First Lieutenant Samuel T. Patterson in the service of his country in the present great conflict.

Mr. Clark painted in glowing word pictures the life of valor ended in the death of Philip, and the patriotic pulses of the people there assembled beat with a martial fervor as the speaker carried his hearers from our peaceful shores to the shell-scarred battlefields of France on one of which the patriotic soul of the young man was released from its prison to join the greater Army of the Lord.

n We are desirous of extending our thanks to the many loyal citizens and friends of central Idaho who gathered in Challis last Sunday to show in such a wonderful way their devotion to our son and brother, Philip, who was killed in action in France on July 31st. The many acts of kindness have served to make our great loss easier to bear. — The Kirk Family.

n Mr. and Mrs. Fred Funkhouser’s little four and a half year old son, Merle, died last Friday night of some stomach trouble. The little fellow had been sick but a short time, but the disease which had fastened itself upon him was too strong for the little fellow to combat. Services over the remains were held on Sunday and interment was made in the Challis cemetery. The sympathy of the community is extended to the bereaved parents.

n Henry Van Camp’s little baby is still very ill.


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