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May 04, 2010 3:38 am

New surgeon coming to Powell

Written by Tribune Staff

A new surgeon will come to Powell this summer, but he's no stranger to Powell Valley Healthcare.

Dr. Nathaniel Rieb and his family plan to move to Powell in July after he completes his five-year surgical residency at Bassett Healthcare, an affiliate of Columbia University in Cooperstown, N.Y.

May 04, 2010 3:37 am

Bull's eye of Cowley Rodeo

Written by Tribune Staff

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Bull fighter Dustin Lara runs in during the Cowley Rodeo Saturday afternoon to divert this bull's attention from bull rider Jessie Cornett of Big Piney. Thanks in part to Lara's quick action, Cornett, a student at Northwest College, was unhurt. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson

May 04, 2010 3:26 am

For the record

Written by Tribune Staff

Wrestlers experience a record setting season

The Powell Panthers' wrestling record book was re-written this past season, as team members set 12 new records and tied two more.

As a team, the Panthers scored 401 escapes, 414 near falls and 357 falls on their way to 528 individual wins. All four accomplishments are new team records.

The Panthers scored 308.5 points in winning the West Regional tournament, a new team record for most team points in an eight-team tournament, and their 274.5 points in the state tournament was a new record for most team points in a 16-team tournament.

Thirteen wrestlers placed at state, tying the record set two years ago and repeated last year.

Individually, senior Auston Carter set four varsity career records. His fourth state championship was a first for Powell wrestlers, and he also set career records for most pins in a career with 75, most career take-downs with 420 and most wins with 159. In addition, Carter and junior teammate Jessee Craig set a season record, as each competed in 53 matches.

Senior Monte Nickles set two individual season records for the Panther wrestlers. His 36 falls in the season was a new record, and also a record for combined falls and technical falls. One of his falls came just nine seconds into the match, tying the record for fastest pin set in 1982-83 by Nick Metzler.

According to Coach Nathan Urbach, Robert Friday was named the most valuable JV wrestler for the season. The most valuable varsity wrestler award will be announced during the PHS awards banquet later this month.

Months before voters head to the polls in August, the 2010 primary already promises to be an interesting election.

With four Republican candidates vying for the Wyoming gubernatorial seat, a $14.2-million sales tax proposal from West Park Hospital and numerous local and county positions on the ballot, August's primary election plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of Park County.

This month, residents have the opportunity to consider if they want to pursue public office at the local, county or state level.

The filing period for municipal, county and state offices is May 13-28.

Locally, three seats are open for the Powell City Council. At the county level, three Park County Commission seats will be decided, as will the county attorney, coroner, sheriff, clerk, treasurer and assessor.

Recently, there has been some rumbling among Powell residents about decisions made at the county level. True, most commissioners live in the Cody area — but it's worth noting that, in recent elections, no Powell-area candidates ran for the position.

If we want issues important to Powell-area residents to receive more weight with the commission, we need to have more local representation on the commission.

As Americans, we enjoy the privileges to vote, speak freely and to hold public office.

This month's filing period provides opportunities for anyone interested in filling those or other local seats to serve their community.

More details:

For a detailed list of the public offices that will be considered at the primary election, visit www.parkcounty.us, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 754-8620.

An item we published last week caught my eye, and I thought it deserved a bit of commentary from somebody who has observed government and politics for about half a century — me.

The item that piqued my interest was a letter to the editor decrying the intention of Powell's EMS service to apply for state money to purchase a new ambulance. In the writer's opinion, Powell Valley Healthcare should take up a collection so we can buy our own ambulance, rather than applying for state money. The writer apparently thinks this will help alleviate the federal deficit. After all, it would only cost each of us $11.17.

OK, now, I know a lot of people around here believe Powell is some sort of special enclave that somehow survives entirely on its own. That is not true, never has been true, and never will be true.

In fact, Powell is part of an entity called the state of Wyoming, which derives a pretty fair share of its revenue by taxing the state's mineral wealth. That money belongs to Powell as much as it belongs to Cheyenne, Gillette, Casper or Green River, and it has been appropriated our state Legislature to fund any number of similar needs in the state.

That money will be awarded to some government entity in the state. If it doesn't buy an ambulance for Powell, it will do something else — fill potholes on somebody's streets, buy a garbage truck for some other town or fill any one of a number of needs in the state's communities.

However it is spent, it will not create any more debt for our children, because Wyoming has no government debt, and if it is not spent, it will do absolutely nothing to reduce the federal deficit or our taxes.

Moreover, the ambulance in question will not serve Powell exclusively. Powell EMS answers calls far beyond the limits of Powell. It often responds to accidents along Wyoming 32 in Big Horn County, and, in the event of a major emergency, could be called to help out in Cody, Lovell, Red Lodge or beyond.

It also will serve people who choose not to send in their $11.17 — not one of whom is going to turn down an ambulance ride if he really needs one — and I suspect there will be a bunch of those people who will argue that the old ambulance was good enough for grandpa, so it's good enough for them. People who go bananas at the thought of a 1-cent sales tax increase aren't likely to voluntarily send in a check to the city of Powell.

In short, it's like expecting the Army to pass the plate to buy a Bradley fighting vehicle.

May 04, 2010 3:20 am

Norbert J. Joe' Meyer Jr.

Written by Tribune Staff

(May 30, 1957 - May 1, 2010)

Norbert J. “Joe” Meyer Jr. died on May 1, 2010, at Powell Valley Hospital after battling an extended illness.

Joe was born May 30, 1957, in Billings, to Norbert Joseph and Mary Jane (Anderson) Meyer. He attended Pratt Memorial Catholic Elementary, Lewis and Clark Junior High and Billings Senior High.

He had a 35-year career as a meat cutter, including managing the meat department at various grocery stores. He had a strong work ethic, which began when he became a vendor at Cobb Field in Billings at the age of 9.

Joe married his high school sweetheart, Mona Stevens, on Feb. 19, 1977. To this union a daughter, Sasha, was born.

He was later blessed with three grandsons, Coby, Jaden and Kamren, who spent countless hours with their grandfather.

Joe enjoyed playing the guitar, collecting coins and fishing with friends and family. He looked forward to annual Fourth of July celebrations at his home.

He was known for his kindness and generosity to others.

Joe is survived by his wife, Mona; daughter Sasha Davis (Chris) of Powell; sisters Cheryl Meyer of Hardin, Mont., Linda Meyer of Billings, and Donna Abramson (Jan), also of Billings; grandsons Coby May, Jaden Davis and Kamren Davis of Powell; mother-in-law Beverly Labadie of Billings; sister-in-law Lori Wright (Rob) of Midland, Mich.; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 4, from 6-8 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Wednesday, May 5, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Barbara's Catholic Church. A reception will follow at the Elks' Lodge. Memorial donations to the Wyoming Epilepsy Association would be appreciated.

Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Last week William Ayers — the controversial figure best known for his association with the Vietnam-era anti-war group the Weather Underground — spoke at the University of Wyoming.

Ayers' speech — which, ironically, focused on education issues — happened only after a federal judge forced the university to allow him to speak on campus. The event was the culmination of a brief legal battle which shined a bright spotlight on the university's poor choice to kowtow to wealthy donors — at the expense of free speech.

When Ayers' scheduled appearance was first announced in late March, it ignited a firestorm of protest.

Despite the fact that the former 1960s radical was slated to speak about education, angry e-mails and phone calls from parents, alumni and donors prompted the UW Social Justice Research Center to withdraw its invitation. When a student re-extended the invitation to Ayers, UW officials refused to allow him to speak on campus, citing security concerns.

Security apparently wasn't the primary concern. At the federal court hearing, UW President Tom Buchanan testified that he received objections to Ayers' appearance from three members of the UW board of trustees ... as well as from several university donors, notably John Martin, a wealthy Casper oil man.

Ayers addressed the issue at the beginning of his UW speech: “A donor who gives to the University of Wyoming — just as a donor who gives to the University of Illinois or the University of Chicago or Harvard or Yale or the University of California — gives to the idea of the university. That donor doesn't get to say ‘By the way, you have to hire this professor and this is the book the professor has to teach out of.' What kind of university would that be?”

Wyoming Chief U.S. District Judge William Downes, who made the ruling in the case, ultimately agreed and determined that the objections and perceived threats amounted to a “heckler's veto” of free speech.

“If the First Amendment can't find sanctuary on a college campus, where can it take refuge?” Judge Downes asked.

Indeed. In refusing to allow Ayers' speech, UW violated the fundamental goals of an institution of higher learning — to provide a marketplace of free speech and ideas and to foster debate and the development of critical thinking.

Judge Downes, a former Marine, said at the hearing, “I can scarcely swallow the bile of my contempt” for the Weather Underground. Nonetheless, he determined that past actions, no matter how reprehensible, don't negate the right to free speech.

That's as it should be. Dick Cheney's appearance at UW in 2009 drew a crowd of protesters. If campus conservative groups are successful in bringing political commentator Ann Coulter to UW this fall, she most certainly will be greeted with some protest. It's all part of what you get — and what you should get — in a university experience. Allowing donors, alumni and others to dictate who is and who isn't allowed to speak is wrong, and it dilutes the quality of education UW students receive.

The University of Wyoming's mission statement reads, in part, “ ... we seek to provide academic and co-curricular activities that will ... nurture an environment that values and manifests diversity, free expression, academic freedom, personal integrity, and mutual respect.”

University officials would do well to stand by that mission when making future decisions.

May 06, 2010 3:21 am

Aquatic Center to open in May

Written by Tribune Staff

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Carrie Parmer, city of Powell aquatics director, talks with Dusty Wentz of Colorado Timing Systems Wednesday morning. Wentz was completing the timing equipment for competition lanes. Sletten Construction crews and subcontractors are working to complete the $10-million center in early May. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

Total project cost estimated at $10.3 million

Water is streaming through the continuous river. Rules of the pool are posted on the wall. And, soon, swimmers will be diving into the Powell Aquatic Center.

This week, crews are finishing construction at the nearly-complete center, prepping for a May opening.

Position appointment finalized May 24

Three local residents have submitted letters of interest in a seat on the Powell Hospital District board that has been vacant since the death of Kay Carlson last month.

Carlson was elected first in 2004 and was serving her second term on the board, according to Rod Barton, chief executive officer for Powell Valley Healthcare.

A bill that would authorize a study to examine the future of the former Heart Mountain Relcoation Center camp site between Powell and Cody is moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House's Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands expressed support for H.R. 3989, the Heart Mountain Relocation Center Study Act, at a hearing on Tuesday. The measure is sponsored by U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.