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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

February 03, 2009 4:28 am

Public and House size-up wolf options

While pondering wolves, the Wyoming House of Representatives examined bills on Friday morning while considering potential litigation, conservation groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that appears to be calling the shots.

The 2009 Legislature has five wolf-related bills to choose from or amend.\

Hundreds of automated phone scams rang Big Horn Basin phones this weekend. The computerized messages, which continued on Monday, purport to be from First National Bank and Trust, asking for credit card information.

The calls were bogus.

February 03, 2009 4:23 am

Eight straight

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Lady Panther Olivia Rogers (30) has her sights set on a short shot in the lane as Worland's Michelle Reutter (left) applies defensive pressure. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Lady Panthers continue winning ways

Different uniforms, same result.

The Powell High School girls basketball squad picked up two more wins this weekend to run their winning streak to eight games. On Friday, the Lady Panthers downed Worland, 48-38, and on Saturday, they demolished Class 2A Rocky Mountain, 55-12.

Lander the latest to fall against PHS

In sports, team rankings are often hotly debated. Thanks to the Powell High School Panthers' performance over a week-long time span, they left no doubt who is Class 3A's top team at this point in the season.

Last Thursday, the top-ranked Panthers defeated No. 4 Lander 42-27 in a dual meet at LHS. The victory came on the heels of a stellar showing in the Buffalo Bison Duals Jan. 23-24, where the Panthers' wins included decisions over No. 2 Douglas, No. 3 Wheatland and No. 5 Torrington. But don't expect the Panthers to rest on their success in recent duals.

“It's pretty easy to stay humble,” said PHS head coach Nate Urbach. “We don't have anybody who is undefeated, so that lets the guys know there are still things they can do to get better. We're still working on consistency, and we're still trying to improve. We've had some good wins lately, but like I told our guys, when it really matters is at the end of the season.”

Against Lander, the Panthers won eight of the 13 matches that were settled on the mat. One forfeit victory was claimed, and it went in Lander's favor in the heavyweight division.

Panthers emerging victorious against the Tigers were Randy Andrews (No. 3 at 130), Cory Eden (No. 3 at 135), Auston Carter (No. 1 at 140), Cole Kary (No. 2 at 145), Trevor Donarski (No. 1 at 152), Monte Nickles (No. 5 at 189), Tyler Showalter (No. 6 at 215) and Olie Olson (No. 2 at 112).

Of PHS's victories, three came against ranked wrestlers. Andrews, a freshman, defeated second-ranked Brodie Bullington 5-4, and Eden claimed a 9-5 decision over fourth-ranked Chris Pitt. At 112, Olson pinned fifth-ranked Dillon Von Rein.

Urbach also noted that Carter, Kary, Donarski, Nickles and Showalter all won by pinning their opponents.

At 119, PHS's Jessee Craig returned to the mat after having been sidelined with a broken collarbone since the Powell Invite in early December. Craig's return resulted in a close matchup, but the Panther sophomore came out on the short end of a 2-1 outcome.

“Jessee lost to a tough kid,” Urbach said. “He's been out of the lineup for about two months, so he was a little rusty. But I was very pleased that he was able to return to the mat. He fills a big spot for us (at 119), and I think we've got enough time to get him to peak form.”

Third-ranked Colt Nix, wrestling at 125 for the Panthers, also sustained a loss in his bout. Nix was outscored 7-1 by fourth-ranked Jake Budd.

In a matchup of top-ranked wrestlers at 160, No. 2 Cody Kalberer was pinned by Lander's Brett Klopp, who currently holds Class 3A's No. 1 spot.

At 171, Panther wrestler Joe Lujan suffered a 9-5 setback to fifth-ranked Colton Marrow. Though his bout went into the scorebook as a loss, Lujan's performance drew high praise from his coach. For Lujan, his matchup was another step forward in his battle to overcome a major knee injury which sidelined him from multiple sports last year.

“Joe's coming back from an injury, so he's been a little rusty, too,” Urbach said. “We just got him back recently, and I've been really happy with the progress he's shown. It means a lot to have a kid like that. He was dealing with an injury, but he came to me and said he wanted to wrestle once he was able. What he has done shows a lot of dedication.”

The 103-pound bout boasted the No. 1 and No. 2 wrestlers in the standings. In that matchup, Lander's Alex Klopp overcame Powell's Ren Utter and topped the Panther senior by registering a pin.

• Up next: The Panthers' next action is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday when they take part in the Pepsi Invitational in Riverton. Wrestling is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.

February 03, 2009 3:45 am

PHS keeps on rolling

Panthers top Worland, Rocky Mountain

Powell High School's boys basketball team extended its winning streak to six games last week with victories over third-ranked Worland and Rocky Mountain.

The biggest win of the two, a 58-53 decision against West Conference rival Worland last Friday, was sparked by the Panthers' quick start, which translated into a 13-7 lead at the end of the first period.

“Getting off to a good start was a big key for us,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand. “Worland has had a lot of success by getting ahead early. They've been able to extend those early advantages to sizable leads in a lot of cases, and we wanted to counter that.”

Throughout the second period, the Panthers (8-5 overall, 4-3 West Conference) continued to keep the tempo to their liking and stretched their advantage to 30-21.

During the late stages of the third period, however, the Warriors showed why they are ranked among Class 3A's top teams by storming back from a 10-point deficit.

“With about three minutes to go in the third, Worland really increased the pressure on us,” Hildebrand said. “When they got on that run, we didn't do as well when it came to taking care of the basketball. Because of that, we went from being up by 10 to being down by two early in the fourth period.”

By the end of the third period, Worland had cut the Panthers' lead to 37-35. After Worland pushed ahead in the final quarter, PHS senior Jordan Brown came through with a timely 3-pointer that put the Panthers back on top, 44-43. At that point, PHS began to slowly pull away from the visiting Warriors using a steal and lay-up by Brown and a consistent showing at the free-throw line. In the fourth period alone, PHS connected on 12 of 14 shots from the foul line. For the game, the Panthers hit 13 of 15 free throws.

“It was a big win for us,” Hildebrand said. “For the most part, we controlled the tempo, and we were able to take them out of their style of play. We did pretty well when it came to being patient with the ball and taking advantage of their aggressive style of play.”

Leading the charge for PHS was Brown, who finished with a career-high 20 points. The senior was two of two from 3-point range and hit all four of his shots from two-point land. At the free-throw line, Brown connected on six of eight attempts. He also finished with three assists, five steals and three blocked shots.

The Panthers got double-digit scoring efforts from Galen Mills (11 points), Matt McArthur (11) and Ryan Brandt (10).

Brandon Sullivan, Gavin Mills and Matt Kifer contributed with two points each. Hildebrand pointed out the solid shot selections made by Galen Mills and McArthur. Those two combined to hit seven of 11 from the field. They joined forces to hit five of five free throws.

The rebounding effort was paced by Brandt, who finished with 13 boards.

“Ryan's ability to come up with so many rebounds on the defensive end really made a difference,” Hildebrand said. “That was a huge key to them only getting one shot during a lot of their trips down the floor.”

The Warriors, who were held to a zero-for-11 showing from 3-point range, were led by Chantz Ramos' 18-point effort.

Robert Heyer and Adam Heessel rounded out Worland's double-digit scoring efforts with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

On Saturday, the Panthers followed up their solid effort against Worland by dismantling Rocky Mountain 57-37. In a game PHS was favored to win, Hildebrand noted his squad's ability to take care of business one night after a hard-fought effort in a key conference game.

“We spent a ton of energy the night before, and I was really pleased with the way the guys came out and played against Rocky,” Hildebrand said. “Rocky has a scrappy team, and that was another good win for us to get.”

PHS opened with a 19-9, first-period lead and held a 32-19 advantage at the intermission. In the second half, the Panthers were able to increase their lead by outscoring Rocky Mountain 14-8 in the third period and 12-10 in the fourth.

Galen Mills, one of three Panthers to turn in a double-digit scoring effort, finished with 12 points, thanks to a six-of-seven shooting performance from the field. Brandt and McArthur added 10 points each. The remainder of the scoring load was shouldered by Brown (8), Gavin Mills (7), Kifer (5), David Starcevich (3) and Sullivan (2).

Brown added a season-high eight rebounds to go along with five assists. Gavin Mills contributed with seven rebounds, a career-high seven assists and two steals. Brandt and Sullivan chipped in with five and three steals, respectively, and Kifer added three assists.

As a team, the Panthers forced 25 turnovers while committing just 15 of their own. The Panthers also combined for 24 assists to only nine for Rocky Mountain.

• Up next: The Panthers have two games scheduled this week, and both contests will be played at PHS. The first will be a conference battle against Jackson Friday at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Panthers will face West Conference foe Pinedale at 2:30 p.m.

The Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, the non-profit group behind the revitalization of Sleeping Giant Ski Area, has taken a prudent approach in its quest to reopen the resort.

Last fall, the foundation made the tough choice to not open the ski area for the 2008-09 season after all. Organizers cited a lack of funds as the primary reason for the delay. Former spokesman Garrett Growney said the last thing the community needs is for the ski area to open deep in debt.

Proposed improvements to the resort are extensive, and expensive — triple the skiable terrain, a new chair lift, a Magic Carpet lift for beginning skiers and a deck and other significant upgrades to the lodge.

Since the decision to delay the opening, the foundation, with the backing of the Park County Commission, has been successful in obtaining a $500,000 grant from the Wyoming Business Council. It's a good step forward, but there's a catch: The grant is contingent on the foundation's ability to raise nearly $800,000 in matching funds by April 30.

That's a lofty goal, especially given the short timeline. The economic downturn hasn't made fundraising any easier.

The group's aim in reopening the area is to operate a family-oriented ski area, easily accessible to the people of the Big Horn Basin — period. As a nonprofit, they're not out to make money. But the benefits of the reopening truly are significant for individuals and families, as well as businesses in the Basin.

The case could even be made that the area is every bit as important — if not more so — than Sylvan Pass in terms of economic development and winter activity on the North Fork and in surrounding communities. In early January, the Park County Commissioners, recognizing the impact of the ski area, each personally contributed $100 to the effort.

Now, as the clock ticks toward April 30, it's time for other Big Horn Basin residents to show their support for this project.

The Yellowstone Recreations Foundation is consistent in its message that people should give what they can afford — whether it's $20 or $20,000 — to revitalize Sleeping Giant.

At last count, the foundation had raised about $200,000 — still a long way from $800,000 — but with strong community support, the goal is attainable. And the quality of life in the Basin will be better for it.