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Tribune Staff

The Powell Fire Chief wants the city of Powell's Electric Department to respond more quickly to after-hour emergencies.

Fire Chief Joey Darrah said that twice last month, firefighting efforts were hampered by slow responses from the electrical department.

Megan Goodman, shown here absorbing a foul against the East Idaho All-Stars, looks to help the Trappers to a successful start as NWC begins Wyoming Conference play at home against Gillette and Casper this weekend.

More details emerge in case of overage goalie

Quake team officials continue to await word from the North Pacific Hockey League, or NORPAC, regarding possible penalties stemming from last week's revelation that one of the team's goaltenders was actually a 25-year-old man masquerading as a 19-year-old. That verdict could come as early as this weekend when all NORPAC teams gather in Spokane, Wash., for the league's annual showcase.

NWC wrestlers fare well as lone JUCO team in field

The sixth-ranked Northwest College Trapper wrestling team crowned two champions at the University of Great Falls open tournament. The finish pleased Trapper coach Jim Zeigler, who noted that Northwest College was the lone two-year program in the tournament field.

“Three of the teams that were there were ranked in the NAIA polls,” said Zeigler. “It was a deep tournament with a lot of good wrestlers.”

Eighteen swimmers will head for Lander Friday as the Powell Panther swim team leaves the blocks for a new season.

Eight swimmers return from last year's squad, including five who qualified for state competition. Two seniors are out for the first time and a number of promising freshmen are in the pool as well.

Returning state qualifiers include senior diver Cole Good, a seventh place finisher at state last year, along with fellow seniors Billy Cummings, who placed in the individual medley and the breaststroke last year, and Danny McKearney. Junior Kyle Anderson swam in the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle and sophomore Jaren LaPierre did the same in both the 500 and 200 freestyle.

Other returnees are seniors Brennan Althoff and Tyler McCauley and sophomore Sam Kuntz.

Seniors Dillon Jeffs and Dylan Ulmer are new to the team this year, along with freshmen Edwin Oursler, Nic Tracy, Quinn Wetzel, Jakob Bowers, Garrett Hall, Jake MaGill, Mathew Riedhammer and Trevor Zickafoose.

Coach Jerry Rodriguez said he is optimistic about the team's prospects this year, particularly the freshmen, several of whom he has coached in his USA program.

“We have some freshmen with a good USA background,” Rodriguez said.

Lander again figures to be the top team in the state, Rodriguez said, and the Panthers will face them right away in their opening dual in Lander. The following week, the team will go up against several 4A schools in the Riverton Invitational. Their first home appearance will be Jan. 8 when they host the annual Gene Dozah Invitational at the Powell Aquatic Center.

My paternal grandfather, known as Papa, died last week.

He was my last living grandparent, and I was surprised to feel such overwhelming feelings of being “orphaned” when he died. Not having any grandparents left is going to take some getting used to — even at the ripe old age of 36.

My mom's dad, Grandpa Stoney, was the first to go, way back when I was a sophomore in high school. The rough, tough, carousing old cowboy left boots no one could hope (or want) to fill. But there was a side of him that others didn't see — the loving, funny, kind and smart man who loved his family and spoiled his grandkids and dogs almost equally.

One of my favorite recollections is of one of our many “covert” trips to Dairy Queen with Grandpa. (Mom didn't approve of sweets, but Grandpa didn't pay her much mind.) He loaded my sister and me into his beat-up pickup truck on a sweltering summer day.
As we neared Cody, we were stopped briefly for construction, but we continued on our way. When we got to the Dairy Queen, Grandpa ordered four chocolate milkshakes.

Hallie and I looked at each other, then asked him why. There were only three of us in the vehicle.

“That poor little flagger back there looked awful hot,” he replied.

Grammy, my mom's mother, was next, in 2003. In her quiet way, she left a legacy even larger than her husband's in many ways — at least for her family. Her grace, patience and non-judgmental nature is something I always strive to live up to. But, best of all, she was more than a grandma to us, she was our dear friend and confidante. I still have the urge to call her when I have news — important or mundane, funny or sad, it didn't matter. Grammy was always the first to know.

When my paternal grandmother died two years ago, we, of course, mourned Nana's loss. Not as warm and approachable as Grammy, she was, nonetheless, a remarkable woman. From her early days of traveling by train with her father's rodeo company, rodeo clowns teaching her how to do a proper headstand in the arena dirt at Madison Square Garden, to her later years as a wife, mother and grandmother, she had many tales to tell. Her four grandchildren were privileged to hear hours and hours of stories over the years.

Nana was also the cook, the entertainer, who inspired my love of both and taught me how to do them right.

And now, her husband, Papa, is gone.

He was a talented singer and musician, and he remained a steadfast supporter of the Wyoming Cowboys right up to the end. Even during this dismal football season, his optimism never wavered.

“They just need some time to get things right,” he'd say, before going on to list the things the Cowboys had done well in the game.
He was also stubborn and opinionated and, as a former fighter pilot, he never lost his need to be in control.

After Nana's funeral in 2008, he remarked off-handedly that he reckoned he had about two years left in him before he went to join her.

Somehow, no one who knew him well was terribly surprised when, true to his prediction, he died two years — to the day — after she did.

That's just how Papa was.

At the risk of being called a name-dropper, my friend, Sen. Al Simpson called me yesterday, and he apparently misinterpreted something I casually mentioned as we talked. I said, “It's a coincidence you called since I ran into Sue today.” My friend Al replied, “You ran over my daughter? Was she hurt?”

We exchanged a few more word-play quips, but Al couldn't talk long since he was leaving again for D.C. the next morning. He mentioned that he had “managed to tick off nearly everyone in the country lately,” but I assured him I'd never be among them. For someone so high-profile (He was once a Senator, ya know?) to remain concerned about the welfare of a stumblebum like me speaks volumes of the gangly statesman.

Obviously I hadn't actually run over Sue Simpson Gallagher with my truck, so I should have more carefully worded it as, “I came across Sue today,” or “My and Sue's paths crossed.” But even if my friend, Sen. Al Simpson's confusion was feigned, it highlights what is often a huge obstacle in casual conversation: what I like to call “Inadvertent Simile Snafu.”

So many distinct words are so similar in spelling and/or pronunciation, yet so distant in meaning, that intent can be badly misconstrued. For instance, “incompetent” and “incontinent.” That might not be the best example, since those two words at least aren't diametrically opposed. For instance my dog Trina, since she was rendered incontinent when she was (in this case, literally) run into, it's not entirely inaccurate to confuse the words. Her keester, now being “incontinent,” is in a way, “incompetent.”

But other words separated by only a single letter or two can lead the listener wildly astray. I once heard a pastor delivering a sermon about some Biblical leader who spent so much alone time with his “concubine” that his wife was furious. I sat there in my pew (not to be confused with “P-U; you stink!”) thinking: “But in the husband's defense, when a man works the fields all day, it's easy to become attached to your farm equipment. At least he didn't run off with one of the oxen.”

I later learned that a concubine is, “a woman who is the lover of a wealthy, married man, but with the social status of a subordinate form of wife, often kept in a separate home.” A combine of course, is defined as “a machine that reaps and threshes grain.” I was even more outraged though, to finally realize this Godly man was reaping — and quite possibly threshing – his concubine, or mistress, if you will.

Should someone call me “supercilious,” which means “full of contempt and arrogance,” I might assume they admired my “super-silliness.” I'm not ashamed of my humor, nor should I be. But I am never arrogant and I don't show contempt, except once for the court, which landed me in the klink, or “hooskow.”

These nearly-identical words and phrases can be misconstrued so easily that complimentary can turn caustic in the stink of an eye. I might write to an author, “I just finished reading your book and I was appalled throughout.” She might angrily reply, “Oh yeah, joke boy? Well, I just read your latest column and I too was sickened!” She would never realize I was “enthralled,” but my spell-check was too illiterate to understand context.

Countless word similes can get one into trouble — “onion” and “bunion” for instance, among other food-related requests. While ordering a burger at a fast-food window, if I was asked, “Would you like flies with that?” I might superciliously answer, “Well, what do you think, Stupid?”

Cognizant of this type of misunderstanding, I would never tell an overweight, hard-of-hearing woman, “Well, at least you've got your health,” since “health” and “girth” sound too much alike.

Not to belabor the point, but if I were to offer my opinion on a subject and someone accused me of “vacillating too often,” I'd defensively snap, “How dare you judge me? And what business is it of yours how frequently I do it?!” Obviously “vacillate” can easily be misunderstood for…well, “exacerbate,” or “promulgate,” to name a few.

I'd like to add that no matter how others might judge my friend, Sen. Al Simpson's sometimes-irreverent wit, I happen to find it quite regressing. And I don't just bring that up to name-drip.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson has had a long career in public service, and his latest contribution as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform may be the greatest service he has provided to the nation.

What Simpson and his co-chairman, Erskine Bowles have done, quite simply, is tell the truth to the American people, that we are all responsible for the current fiscal situation, and fixing it will require sacrifice from all of us.

(July 26, 1927 - Dec. 7, 2010)

Ann Gonzales Ramirez of Worland died Dec. 7, 2010, at the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. She was 83.

(Dec. 24, 1939 - Dec. 5, 2010)

Norman L. Pomeroy of Lusk, died on Dec. 5, 2010, while sitting on his favorite stool watching football. He was 70.

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