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Noem gives Star Academy residents until March 2020 to leave
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Noem gives Star Academy residents until March 2020 to leave

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Gov. Kristi Noem has decided to extend the leases beyond Oct. 31 for families living on the grounds of the former Star Academy campus near Custer.

“After hearing from impacted families, Gov. Noem yesterday (Thursday) agreed to extend the residential leases for families at STAR Academy until March 1, 2020. She understands it can be difficult to find housing in the Custer area on short notice and is willing to take on some of the liability risks in order to help those families,” Noem’s Press Secretary Kristin Wileman said Friday in an email to the Journal.

The decision came just three days after the Journal reported that Star Academy residents had received eviction notices from the state on Sept. 26.

At that time, Wileman explained in another email why the Governor’s Office decided to give those residents just one month to pack and leave their homes.

“The impact on tenants is real but each of them were in month-to-month leases and there are liability issues for the state and its taxpayers when the property reverted back to the state in early September,” the email said.

The eviction notices were sent to 11 residences as well as businesses located there. The state had repossessed the property from SLIC-e Holdings after it bounced a $116,588 check to the state for an annual payment that was more than four months overdue. The principal player in SLIC-e was Kevin Teasley, who operated a woodworking business on the STAR campus.

The state formerly operated a juvenile detention program on the 173-acre campus but closed the program in 2016 and sold the campus and all its buildings in 2017 on a $2.34 million contract for deed. Those businesses include a barbecue restaurant, a digital marketing/media firm and a gallery shared by about a dozen artists who operate individual studios.

The campus is about 5 miles south of Custer in a forested setting.

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