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Neighbors Upset With Polygamist Compound

September 19, 2011, 10:19 PM by Derek Olson

Neighbors Upset With Polygamist Compound
PRINGLE, SD - Since polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison early last month for sex crimes the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS has faded from news headlines. But for people living around the group's compound near Pringle, problems of a different kind still grow.

In the sparsely populated hills south of Pringle, one would expect there to be an abundance of peace and quiet.  But the FLDS sect has been in a near constant state of construction for more than five years, and neighbors have had enough.

"It just goes on and on and on, there's no end to it day and night," Rick Hickstein said.

"I can't put up with it. I'm sorry. It's not right to be this rude to your neighbor," karl Von Rump said.

On August 24, the Custer County Commission held a meeting to address the concerns. The compound's leader, Ben "Ed" Johnson, was then asked to consult with his neighbors about appropriate times to work.

But Karl Von Rump, who has a home less than 300 feet from the construction of a new dairy facility, says that hasn't happened.

"If you ask them to be quiet they'll say, 'oh, we're sorry. We want to be good neighbors.' They'd be quiet for a week and start right back up again," Von Rump said.

And with the recent addition of a batch plant, which the group uses to mix cement, it doesn't look like construction will stop any time soon.

"There's no end. Right now they have a five-year plan for construction and they're in the first year of that five year plan," Hickstein said.

Rick Hickstein lives about two miles from the compound. His concerns about the construction aren't limited to noise complaints.

"If we need fire service or an ambulance, these guys are impacting the roads, terrible. We don't know if they're going to hold up or not," Hickstein said.

And although they've voiced their concerns with the county, Von Rump and Hickstein aren't optimistic that anything will change.

"Something needs to be done," Hickstein said.

"This is a cancer and it's gonna get worse," Von Rump said.

FLDS members have also been required to build a private access road as part of the permitting process.
We were unable to enter the compound or speak with any of those members.

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