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Cascading into the canyon

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Visitors to the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center are witness to a show of water power from the walk-way above the dam. The releases from a nearly-full reservoir fill the canyon with mist, creating a rainbow in the afternoon sunlight as swallows glide between the canyon walls. Tribune photo by Dave Bonner

It's been a good water year for the Shoshone River Basin.
A good snowpack in the mountains this spring, and wet weather in late May and June, resulted in a spring runoff well above average and a nearly-full reservoir behind Buffalo Bill Dam.
As of Tuesday, the reservoir was more than 95.4 percent full, less than four feet from its capacity.
John Lawson, Bureau of Reclamation area manager for Wyoming, said the spring runoff in the basin has exceeded predictions. On May 1, the bureau had forecast a total runoff during the April through July period of 720,000 acre feet.
“But then it caught us by surprise. All of a sudden we got a lot of snow in May,” Lawson said. “I think (the runoff) will probably end up around 950,000 acre feet.”
July 16, 2008 6:05 pm

City should move forward with pool

Written by Tribune Staff
City officials have a big decision to make regarding the aquatic center.
Designer/architect Burbach Aquatics' recommendation that the city reject all aquatic center construction bids didn't come as a surprise.
Burbach expressed disappointment in receiving only four bids, despite the company's efforts to drum up interest.
The lowest-cost base bid was 15 percent higher than what Burbach budgeted in January.
Burbach concedes that much of the increased cost correlates directly to rapidly-escalating energy costs.
But, at this stage, and with public support dwindling, the city would make a mistake to follow Burbach's recommendation. It's unrealistic to think that energy and materials costs will begin a downward trend. In fact, many entities are budgeting for huge increases in construction costs in the next fiscal year.
A re-bid of the project would not be a guarantee that bids would be lower. What if even fewer contractors bid?
Burbach's proposed schedule for re-bidding the project shows a mid-September bid opening.
At this point, time is money.
The city would be better served to accept the low bid from Sletten Construction — a local company — and work with it to determine what adjustments can bring the project closer to budget.
Sletten is ready to begin work, and the public is running out of patience.
It's time to get this ball rolling.
July 16, 2008 3:00 pm

Burbach: Reject all bids

Written by Tribune Staff
City council will make final decision on pool bids

Burbach Aquatics, Inc., the firm hired to design Powell's new aquatic center, recommended the city reject all pool construction bids received at the July 10 bid opening. The recommendation was made in a letter to City Administrator Zane Logan, dated July 11.
David Burbach said, in the letter, “The results...were a disappointment as the base bid amount is approximately 15 percent higher than the budget, as established for this project.”
The company had, in another letter dated January 7, 2008, estimated a base bid of $6,867,000.
Sletten Construction of Wyoming, the low bidder, submitted a combination bid for all three project contracts of $7,970,040. The Sletten bid included a base figure of $1,125,000 for the pool construction phase; $885,040 for the pool mechanical construction; and $5,960,000 for the general construction contract.
Three additional companies each bid on a single phase of the project. Ricchio Inc., of Illinois, bid $1,749,000 as the base cost for pool construction. Mechanical Inc., also from Illinois, bid on the mechanical phase, with a base of $851,000. L.M. Olson Inc., of Rawlins, submitted a base bid of $6,040,000 for general construction.
Each bid contract also contained alternates which could raise or lower costs, based on certain additions or modifications.
Skies and slopes of Sleeping Giant are literally buzzing with activity as vigorous efforts continue in an effort to get the ski area ready when the snow flies.
“We are working toward a Thanksgiving opening,” said Kerry Strike, spokeswoman for Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at getting Sleeping Giant opened again.
The old T-bar lift is gone, as is an old chair lift that sat in the parking lot for 15 years. A triple lift, purchased from Mammoth Mountain, Calif., is on the way. The used lift is in excellent condition and has complete maintenance records, Strike said.
“It is, in essence, exactly what we needed,” Strike said.
The existing double lift has been inspected and will be refurbished, Strike said.
The old rope tow, about halfway up the hill, also is gone. A “Mighty Might” lift for children will be installed in its place. Strike said a “Magic Carpet” lift may be installed in the future, a sort of escalator lift that kids love.
Snow-making equipment is on the way as well.
July 16, 2008 2:57 pm

Rejuvenated

Written by Tribune Staff
Panthers enjoy success at BHSU football camp

Rejuvenated. That word alone describes the Powell High School football team following what head coach Jim Stringer labeled a solid showing at the Black Hills State University summer team camp July 6-9.
Overall, 31 Panthers took part in the event, and Stringer said the squad left Spearfish, S.D., with a great deal of optimism about the upcoming 2008 slate after finishing second in both the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 competitions. PHS earned spots in the championship game of both events, and each of the title matchups were decided in double-overtime.
Stringer believes the confidence gained during the camp will go a long way in helping the Panthers put to rest the memory of last season's 3-6 record during a campaign that saw PHS lose a number of hard-fought, close contests.
“Our entire coaching staff came out of there feeling rejuvenated,” Stringer said. “As for the players, they came away from the camp feeling energized and ready to go.
Tom Burman, athletics director at the University of Wyoming, announced Monday that Mark Branch has been selected as the new head wrestling coach for the Cowboys.
Branch comes to Wyoming from Oklahoma State University where he was the associate head wrestling coach. He was a part of five NCAA team championships as a coach and student-athlete at OSU. As a college wrestler, Branch was a member of OSU's 1994 NCAA championship team and served on the coaching staff for OSU's 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 NCAA titles.
He provided the Cowboys from Stillwater with personal and team instruction including technique training, weight training, conditioning and nutrition. He was instrumental in the recruiting of student-athletes to Stillwater, as well as organizing fundraising projects, promotional strategies and assisting in public relation functions with student-athletes. Branch replaces Steven Suder, who coached the Wyoming Cowboys from 1989-2008.
“The hiring of Mark is exciting for the future of Wyoming Cowboy wrestling,” Burman said. “We feel his experience and passion will enable us to become a national player in the wrestling community.”
July 16, 2008 2:51 pm

Hazel LaFarge

Written by Tribune Staff
Hazel LaFarge of Billings died Sunday, July 13,. She was 87.
Hazel was born in Hollenberg, Kans., on March 30, 1921, to Clarence and Lula Hennerberg. She lived in Powell and Bellville, Kans., before retiring to Billings.
She leaves three daughters, Sharon (Lynn) Severance of Sheridan, Mont., Kay (Ray) Green of Powell, and Barb (Tim) Kirkwood of Kokomo, Ind.; seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Evelyn DeVera.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Marvin.
A memorial service was held Wednesday, July 16 in Billings. Private interment of her urn will be at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell.
July 16, 2008 2:48 pm

Quentin Tyler Ruzick

Written by Tribune Staff

Memorial services forQuentin Tyler Ruzick, 27, of Powell, will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 18 at Thompson Funeral Home. Graveside services will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery. He died Sunday, July 13, in Lovell.

Quentin was born March 14, 1981, in Powell to James Warfel and Shawna Edgell. His adopted father is Kyle Ruzick. He obtained his GED certificate, and loved fishing.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Shawna Ruzick. He is survived by his birth father James Warfel of Colorado and his adopted father, Kyle Ruzick of Scotland, a daughter Kaitlyn Ruzick, brothers Cole Ruzick and Shane Ruzick, and sisters Paytin Dirickson and Kamrya Ruzick. He is also survived by Ruth Werbelow, Sue Edgell, Bob Ruzick, Sally Ruzick, Doug Edgell, Michelle Edgell, Shelly Ruzick, and uncles Chad Ruzick, TJ Edgell and Boo Ruzick.

Thompson Funeral Home of Powell assisted the family.

July 16, 2008 2:47 pm

Pet group wants attention

Written by Tribune Staff
Mutilated dogs draw concern
Several gruesome dog deaths have a local pet protection group on high alert.
Three members of a Park County group called Stop Taking Our Pets (S.T.O.P.) appeared before county commissioners on Tuesday asking for some help.
Since the beginning of April, a handful of dogs have been found shot, gutted, halved, and even skinned in the county.
It is unknown if the killings are connected, or why they are happening.
S.T.O.P. wants people to keep their eyes open, and they asked if commissioners could pass that message along to county employees.
“We just want your workers to be on the lookout,” said member Debbie Brown.
S.T.O.P. formed in late March over concerns of disappearing dogs. The group originally feared dogs were being stolen for fighting.
Now, it believes a sick individual is mutilating them.
This spring, a skinned dog carcass was found with its paws cut off at Newton Campground along the Shoshone River's North Fork.
Park County Sheriff Scott Steward, who attended the group's meeting with commissioners, called the case disturbing.
He said it's possible someone was trying to mess with the Game and Fish Department — trying to make the dog look like a dead wolf or coyote.
He said it could also be possible — if unusual — that an owner had their pet taxidermied.
“We'll never know until we find the person who did it,” he said. “You can only guess a million ways as to what their intent was.”
In a separate incident, a South Fork resident received an anonymous call, telling her that her dog was in a nearby bone pit. She found it in a garbage bag.
Steward said his office is tracing that call, and should find the source in the next week or so.
The S.T.O.P. members said a half a dog was found on a motocross track on Diamond Basin Road. A different carcass a few miles away appeared to have been stoned death, the group said.
In general, Steward said, people must be more careful with their pets.
“The big thing we're looking at is the big number of dogs running in the county,” he said.
Steward said his office received around 1,000 reports of dogs at large in 2007.
“People need to keep their dogs at home,” he said.
Stray dogs — especially those harrassing livestock — can make an easy target.
Steward said there nine reported dog deaths last year. Two of those cases were unsolved: one was a hit and run, and the other was a body found at the county landfill.
S.T.O.P. member K.T. Irwin said it's crucial that community members come forward if they see a dead dog or something that “doesn't feel right.”
“We understand that law enforcement can't do anything unless someone sees something,” she said.
Both S.T.O.P. and Steward stressed that the sheriff's office must be contacted first.
“The dogs that are coming up [dead] are just not being reported [missing] to us,” Steward said.
S.T.O.P. said dispatchers can not take dog disappearances lightly.
“Obviously, people are more important, but this is serious,” Brown said. “I'm really concerned that this person is going to move on to people.”
Brown said community awareness should help catch whoever is responsible.
"We just need more attention,” she said.
Commission Chairman Tim French agreed.
“Hopefully the public can us bust them,” he said.
For non-emergencies, county dispatchers can be reached at 754-8700.
S.T.O.P. can be contacted at 307-250-2027 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
July 09, 2008 8:00 pm

Aquatic center bids opened

Written by Tribune Staff
Sletten apparent low bidder, but city waiting on Burbach's recommendation
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City crews are already hard at work on the access road to the new aquatic center. The city is also working on water plans for the center — the plans must gain Department of Environment Quality approval in terms of how waste water is handled. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner
Bids on construction of the family aquatic center were opened at City Hall on Thursday, July 10, and a local firm is the apparent low bidder.
Sletten Construction of Wyoming, a Powell-Cody company, submitted the low overall bid of $7,970,040 to construct all three phases of the project. However, until a formal recommendation is made by Burbach Aquatics, the Wisconsin firm hired by the city to design and engineer the project, no action will be taken.
According to City Administrator Zane Logan, “Even with their recommendation, it doesn't mean anything until the City Council acts on it at their July 21 meeting.”
Burbach's recommendation hinges on a thorough evaluation of each individual bid, in addition to checking the various certifications required of each bidder.
“They need to make sure, both legally and practically, that we're (making the right decision),” said Logan.
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