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The men's basketball team at Northwest College moved into the top spot in the North Sub-Region standings Tuesday night with a 70-56, road victory over Miles (Mont.) Community College.

With the win, NWC now controls its own destiny as far as earning a No. 1 seed for the Region IX Tournament in early March. The Trappers have three sub-region contests remaining, and two of those will be played at Hank Cabre Gymnasium on the NWC campus.

“This was a big win for us,” said NWC head coach Andy Ward. “We struggled shooting the ball in the first half and actually trailed by two points at halftime. But in the second half, we did a better job offensively, and we continued to do a good job on the defensive end.

“Now we're in a position to earn a No. 1 seed for the tournament. We control our own fate at this point, so we're not having to figure out a lot of different scenarios that would put us in that position. We just have to take care of business and keep winning our sub-region games.”

The Trappers (12-11, 4-1 North Sub-Region), who connected on just 26 percent of their shots from the field in the first half, entered halftime trailing 28-26. However, they were able to overcome that deficit with an improved offensive performance in the final 20 minutes of the game. During that stretch, the Trappers hit near the 40-percent mark on their field-goal attempts. They also made solid use of their trips to the free-throw line, particularly late in the game. Overall, NWC hit 23 of 28 free throws.

“We didn't shoot a lot better in the second half, but we were able to do a better job than we did during the first 20 minutes,” Ward said.

During the first 30 minutes, NWC and MCC exchanged the lead 10 times and were tied on seven different occasions. After that stretch, NWC held the Pioneers to a one-for-seven shooting clip for four minutes and claimed a double-digit lead. The Trappers outscored MCC 44-28 in the second half, including a 30-12 run during the final 10 minutes.

And whereas the Trappers found more offensive success as the game progressed, the Pioneers continued to struggle and finished with a 21-of-70 effort. MCC also failed to capitalize on opportunities at the free-throw line, where they hit just eight of 17 shots.

Leading the way for the Trappers was point guard Julian Olubuyi, who enjoyed a solid all-around performance. The sophomore finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Olubuyi was one of three Trappers to notch a double-double during the game. Ricardo Bodra and Casper Hesseldal were the others to accomplish that feat. Bodra finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Hesseldal added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“The guys were really attacking the boards,” Ward said. “To have three guys finish with double-digit rebounding totals was pretty impressive, and we almost had a fourth. As a team, we outrebounded them 52-37.”

The Trapper who almost became the fourth with 10 or more rebounds was Mitchell Ackelson. He came up with nine rebounds to go along with eight points.

Others scoring for NWC were Jordan Harris (11 points), Cody Ball (7) and Anthony Harris (4).

The Pioneers (14-9 overall, 3-3 North Sub-Region) were led by Trent Fildes (16 points) and Darnell Maze (11 points). Maze also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

• Up next: The Trappers' next contest will be in Riverton against Central Wyoming College Friday at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, Feb. 13, NWC will be on the road for a sub-region matchup against Little Big Horn College in Montana.

MCC overcomes early deficit

The Northwest College Lady Trappers, after holding a double-digit lead early, dropped a 67-54 decision to Miles Community College Tuesday night in Miles City, Mont.

NWC raced to a 13-2 advantage in the first four minutes of the game, but a 15-4 run by the Lady Pioneers tied the score at 17 at the 10:25 mark. The next 10-plus minutes produced six lead changes and a tie with neither team gaining more than a five-point advantage.

MCC freshman Dina Fritz hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half to send the Lady Pioneers into the halftime break with a 31-28 lead.

In the final 20 minutes, the two teams swapped the lead four times and were tied twice before the Lady Pioneers took the lead for good with about eight minutes left. MCC was able to stretch its advantage to 63-50 on the strength of a 15-1 run.

During that span, the Lady Trappers were held to a zero-for-eight showing from the floor. For the game, NWC hit 22 of 59 of its attempts to finish with a 37-percent percentage from the field. The Lady Trappers also committed 21 turnovers, which translated into 23 points for MCC.

Only five Lady Trappers scored in the contest, including Gita Grava, who tallied 16 points. Larissa Crump added 14 points, and Sheena Ryan finished with 11. Others contributing to the scoring load were Erin Cooke (8 points) and Lacey Gilmer (5 points). Grava also led the rebounding effort with nine boards.

Sophomore Beata Bak of Poland led MCC with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

• Up next: The Lady Trappers (6-17 overall, 2-3 North Sub-Region) will travel to Riverton for a matchup with Central Wyoming College Friday at 5:30 p.m.

For many American drivers, multitasking behind the wheel is commonplace. Switching a radio station, drinking coffee, checking a map and talking on a cell phone are all everyday tasks that easily interfere with driving.

In recent years, another activity has spurred distraction: Text messaging.

As the Tribune reported Tuesday, state legislators are considering a bill that would make texting and driving an illegal combination.

However, as local law-enforcement officials point out, it would be a difficult statute to enforce.

Just as drivers rush to click a seatbelt when pulled over by an officer, they can easily tuck a cell phone away. Drivers are unlikely to readily admit that they were distracted by a text message after a traffic stop, or worse, a car wreck.

Last fall, in separate crashes, two young Wyoming athletes' deaths were linked to texting, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Highway Patrol believes Mitchell Birch, 17, of Encampment, a football player at Saratoga High School, and Brittany Rentas, 16, of Wright, an all-state cross country runner, were texting at the time of the fatal collisions.

These tragic deaths show the danger of mixing messaging with driving.

Young drivers —who have less experience on the road to begin with —are much more likely than older drivers to text while driving.

In a report released in December, 50 percent of drivers ages 18-24 admitted to sending text messages while driving, according to the American Auto Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Text messaging while driving is already illegal in numerous states, including Alaska, Connecticut, California and Minnesota. It's time for the Cowboy State to act as well.

Though a law may curb some texting behind the wheel, it's also up to drivers of all ages to be sensible and focus on driving rather than messaging.

February 05, 2009 3:42 am

Tammy Rae Saldana

(Oct. 2, 1962 - Jan. 12, 2009)

Tammy Rae Saldana of Casa Grande, Ariz., died Jan. 12 at her home. She was 46.

She was born Oct. 2, 1962, in Powell to Joe and Ylaria Saldana. She owned and operated the Pita Pit, in Casa Grande, for the past two years. She was an optimist and adventurer and treated people as she wanted to be treated. She always had a smile and was a great cook.

Tammy loved the outdoors, riding her motorcycle, camping and fishing, and was an avid New York Jets fan. She loved elephants, and her cat, Louie. She thought elephants brought her luck.

She is survived by a daughter, Marquita Koplitz, and a son, Zach Koplitz, both of Casa Grande; her parents, Joe and Ylaria of Powell; three sisters Laurie Ochoa of Thousand Palms, Calif.; Mickey Carillo of Layton, Utah; and Melanie Saldana of Casa Grande; and brothers Joe Saldana of Casa Grande and Mark Saldana of Powell.

Cremation has occurred and services were held Jan. 17 at Simes Mortuaries Casa Grande Chapel.

February 05, 2009 3:40 am

Isabell E. Young

(March 21, 1919 - Feb. 3, 2009)

Isabell E. Young, age 89, a longtime Meeteetse resident, died Tuesday, Feb. 3 at Powell Valley Care Center in Powell.

Isabell was born on March 21, 1919, in Kline, Mont., the daughter of William and Sarah (Allen) Cammock. She married Charles F. Young on April 5, 1941, in Cody.

They lived in the Sheridan area before moving to Meeteetse in 1968. While in Sheridan, they carried mail on the Kirby to Decker route for more than 20 years. When they moved to Meeteetse, they owned and operated Young's Service Station and Cafe until Charles' death in 1998.

Isabell and Charles were partners throughout their lives. Having no children of their own, they helped raise their nieces and nephews.

Following Charles' death, Isabell lived with her nephew and niece, John and Lela Lawler, in Powell for a number of years before moving to Powell Valley Care Center.

She is survived by nephews, John (Lela) Lawler of Powell and Charley (Ann) Lawler of Meeteetse; nieces Reta (Harvey) Collins of Cody, Joyce (Doc) Neal of Wyola, Mont., Janet Keeler and Sharon Desjarlais, both of Billings, Isabel (Bill) Kershaw of McMinnville, Ore., and Susan (Leonard) Hixson of Ranchester; and numerous great-nephews, great-nieces and cousins.

Isabell was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Charles; and all of her siblings.

Cremation has taken place, and private family interment services will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Thermopolis at a later date.

February 05, 2009 3:39 am

Ken Webb (Dicks) Franks

(April 21, 1948 - Jan. 30, 2009)

Ken Webb (Dicks) Franks, 60, of Lovell, died Jan. 30 in Evanston.

Ken was born April 21, 1948, in Lovell, the son of Richard and Pearl (Webb) Franks. At an early age, he was adopted by his stepfather, Emet Dicks.

He spent his youth in Powell. He later graduated from Lovell High Scool and Utah Technical College. He became an auto body repairman, a career he continued until becoming disabled with Hunnington's Chorea. He enjoyed talking about his children and his cars.

Ken is survived by daughters Julie (Eric) Mann of Lovell, and Jamie (Paul) Jenkins, Janie Franks, Nicole (Eric) Nigg, and Natalie Franks, all of Idaho Falls, Idaho; a son, Richard Franks, also of Idaho Falls; mother, Pearl Dicks of Cody; a sister, Cindy (Val) Wheelwright of Ogden, Utah; and brothers Dee (Vicki) Dicks of Powell and Hal (Barbara) Dicks of Cody.

Cremation has taken place, and a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

February 05, 2009 3:38 am

Roy D. Thomas

(July 4, 1926 - Feb. 3, 2009)

Roy D. Thomas, 82, died Feb. 3 at the Powell Valley Care Center.

Roy was born in Kansas on July 4, 1926, to Roy and Maude Thomas. He was the fourth of five children. He worked on the farm as a boy, riding his work horse to a one-room school in the winter. On Saturdays, he would ride to town to charge the battery for the radio so he could listen to the Grand Ole Opry show that evening. While in town he would go to the matinee cowboy picture show.

He joined the Army during World War II. While serving in the Philippines he learned to operate heavy equipment, which he continued throughout his lifetime. His love of country music led him to “round up some guys” to form a band to pick and sing during off-duty times while stationed overseas.

After his discharge from the Army he headed west to Wyoming. He met a “little red-headed girl” in Cody. When he asked her to go to a picnic with him, she said he had to ask her dad. Roy often said that was one of the scariest things he ever had to do. Roy and Lurraine were married on Feb. 12, 1949, in Cody. Roy loved the mountains of Wyoming and hunted and fished with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, Carl and Earl Sauerwein.

Roy operated heavy equipment throughout the Big Horn Basin. He leveled many of the fields around Powell for farming, built locations for drilling rigs in Elk Basin and worked on various road construction jobs. Roy and Lurraine worked in Sunlight Basin before they had children. He ran the Caterpillar tractor, building roads, and Lurraine was the camp cook.

Roy owned and operated a farm on the Willwood from the mid-1970s until his retirement. During the winters he worked at the Powell Auction yard.

Coming from the flats of Kansas, he loved the mountains of Wyoming. He lived in Cody, Powell, and Ralston with Lurraine until her death. Roy then moved to the Powell Valley Care Center in December 2007.

He is survived by a daughter, Rosemary (Daniel) Barnes of Albany, Ore.; a brother, James R. Thomas of Seattle; five grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Roy was preceded in death by his wife, Lurraine, and a son, James E. Thomas.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, at 10 a.m. at Thompson Funeral Home. Viewing will be one hour prior to services. Burial will be in the Crown Hill Cemetery.

February 05, 2009 3:37 am

Jerome (Jerry) Asay

(Aug. 24, 1935 - Dec. 30, 2008)

Jerome Charles (Jerry) Asay, 73, of Powell, took his last ride Tuesday, Dec. 30 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

He was surrounded by his loving family. His spirit could not be broken, but he could not physically conquer the cancer that had invaded his body. He will be missed so much.

Jerry was born Aug. 24, 1935 in Lovell, the son of John Hatch Asay and Evelyn O'Donnell Asay. He attended schools in Lovell and graduated from Lovell High School. He joined the Army after high school and was stationed in Germany. Later he became a master electrician, a big game outfitter and a rancher, but his true loves were always his family, his horses and the high country. Jerry never met a stranger, and he always enlightened the crowd with his sense of humor. He never went anywhere that he didn't make a friend before he left. Jerry loved his family so much and was very proud to introduce them to everyone he came in contact with.

His passion in life was the mountains. He loved going to the family cabin in the Big Horns and always loved to ride his horse and spend time with his children and his grandchildren.

Jerry is survived by a brother, Ken (Shirley) Asay of Pavillion; sisters, Betty Asay of Powell and Carole Anne (Chuck) Myers of Dubois; nine children, Jerry Allen (Chris Bakke) Asay of Worland, Connie (Alvin) Harimon of Bayard Neb., Lori (Mike) Bogen of Sheridan, Ore., Carrie (Tom Schutt) Asay of Bayard, Neb., Mike (Kim) Asay of Powell, Kathy (Steve) Shaffer of Ralston, Karen Morgan of Powell, Kristi (Nathan) Harder of Houston, Texas and Monte (Joni) Asay of Pine Bluffs. He is also survived by 30 grandchildren: Clint, Stacy, Michael, Amanda (Joe), Erin (Travis), Jaimi (Jared), Anna (Sean), James (Hayley), Kirsten, Klayten, Kanin, Kaleb, Cory (Danielle), Curtis (Melanie), Jennifer, Joe (Jonie), Ashley, Jeremy, Ryan (Jordan), Paul (Heather), Seth, Tyler, Justin, Jacob, Amanda (Jared), Eric (Meghan), Nicholas and Austin.

He also left behind 18 great-grandchildren: Ethan, Kaylinn, Aiden, Traeton, Owyn, Rayden, Brooke, Braxton, Colby, Brooklynn, Lauren, Hailee, Natalie, Dominick, Nathan, Brayden, Conner, Makayla and Jackson.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Evelyn; brothers, Jack, Tom and Ron; sisters, Margaret and Evelyn; a daughter, Kim; a son, Mark and a grandson, Jason.

Funeral services were Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, at Saint Barbara's Catholic Church in Powell. Interment followed at the Lovell Cemetery.

Vernon and Becky Smith want to know what Powell's new fiber-to-the-home network will do for them. What are the plan options? Is the telephone service decent? And, most importantly for the couple, how much is it going to cost?

“We want to see if we can save some money,” said Becky Smith.

February 03, 2009 4:40 am

Pink Panthers bring hope

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Powell High School students, including Laura Morse (left) and Hannah Toland, got into the spirit of last week's Hoops for Hope campaign to raise money for breast cancer research. Pink was the fashion statement of the day, appearing in T-shirts, bandanas, hats, basketball uniforms and, in the case of Morse and Toland, face makeup. The week-long campaign raised approximately $20,000 for the cause. Tribune photo by Don Amend For more photos click here