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Tribune Staff

Three rural Powell residents charged in connection with the seizure of 157 cats from their home last week have pleaded not guilty to charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Appearing in Powell's Circuit Courtroom on Friday, Clifton Taylor, his wife Maurielena “Mimi” Nesbit, and her twin sister, Michelle “Miki” Nesbit, denied the 35 criminal counts against them.

For a town of 351 people, Meeteetse has experienced an eventful year. Last month, the town found itself in the national spotlight when an escaped fugitive turned up on its quiet streets. About eight months ago, Hollywood released a film based on Meeteetse.

Now, the town's residents are weighing in on a proposal that would put Meeteetse on the map as home to a 144,000-square-foot French gothic monastery.

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Northwest College midfielder Gavin LaFollette fights to maintain possession of the ball against pressure from Laramie College on Thursday. The Trappers play today (Tuesday) at Western Wyoming. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

NWC finishes level against defending Region IX champs

Like any good coach, Northwest College men's soccer skipper Rob Hill wanted the victory. That said, he wasn't exactly upset by his team's 2-2 tie against Region IX foe Laramie County Community College on Thursday.

“You just played better than the supposedly best team in our Region,” Hill told his side after 90 minutes of regulation soccer and two overtime periods ended Northwest's first-ever home match in a deadlock.

Bears battle into tiebreak

The Northwest College women's volleyball team picked up its first victory of the season last Tuesday in Billings. The Trappers knocked off the Rocky Mountain College JV squad by a 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 25-22, 16-14 final count.

Suriname freshman Sandrina Hunsel planted 20 kills onto the Rocky Mountain side of the net as the Trappers rallied from a 2-1 deficit in games to pick up their first victory in six tries this season.

Awesome angling

Having competed as a professional in fishing tournaments since 2002, Powell's Pat Slater is all-too-familiar with the challenges posed by attempting to hook a walleye at Big Horn Lake. Having competed in the Yellowtail Fall Finale in previous years, he knew it was downright difficult.

“There was one year I came here and there were only three caught by the entire field,” Slater said of the two-day tournament.

“There's so much natural forage (at Big Horn Lake) that the fish don't need what we have. Getting them to bite in August is just difficult.”

Maybe. But Slater might have a hard time convincing folks of that after he and amateur partner Mark Nuss, also of Powell, more than doubled up the field to win the final stop on the five-event Montana Walleye Circuit this year. The pair were the only duo out of 21 teams to catch their five-fish limit both days.

By the time it was done, the pair had turned in more than 30-1/2 pounds worth of fish and pocketed $1,800 in prize money. The runner-up team reeled in just shy of 15 pounds.

“They said they were pretty sure it was a record for this event,” Nuss said of the team's walleye haul.

“We had a great weekend,” Slater said of the event, noting the team had a pretty good pre-tournament omen. “I'd gone up the two previous Sundays to practice, the last time with Mark. We got two or three walleye each day, including a really nice one the Sunday before the tournament.”

Strategy also went into the team's success, according to Slater.

“The Thursday and Friday before the tournament, we practiced fishing the lake again and identified four or five spots we felt had potential,” Slater explained. “On the morning of the tournament, we refined that to three locations.”

As it turned out, Slater and Nuss really only needed one location. After drawing a 7 a.m., Saturday launch time, the pair motored to its first selected location. Finding none of the earlier launched teams there, they dropped in on the site and began to fish.

“We watched a lot of teams go by us,” said Slater. “And for the first hour, we were kind of wondering if we shouldn't have gone past too. All we did was fight with snags, but we knew the fish were there, so we just kept casting.”

At 8:30 a.m., Slater got a bite and reeled in the day's first fish. Perhaps more notable, it was the first legal fish Slater had landed in the tournament's previous three years. Twenty minutes later, the team popped a 19-incher into the boat.

The pair continued to work roughly a 200-yard stretch of the lake and at 9:30 a.m., Slater saw his pole snap back.

“It snapped back like it had hit a snag, but I tried to set the hook, just to make sure,” said Slater.

It's a good thing he did. The object on the far end of Slater's line wasn't a snag. It was a 27-inch walleye.

“We were pretty pumped up at that point,” said Slater.

Since the tournament was a live-release event, the pair immediately departed from their fishing hole in search of one of the three weigh boats to log their catch. Successful in that endeavor, they returned to find that nobody had moved in on their location, hooking two more fish to fill out their first day's limit and enter the tournament's midway point with nearly an eight-pound lead.

“At that point, we knew we had a good weight,” Slater said. “But I knew we needed to catch something the second day to protect our lead.”

So the next day, they returned to the scene of the crime and again found their primary site empty of other competitive anglers. Within the first half hour, they pulled in a 24-inch walleye that weighed in at roughly five pounds.

“At that point, I knew our lead was safe and we just started having fun,” Slater said. “They just kept biting. We each stuck two more and were done within three hours. The last fish we brought in was 21 inches.”

In an amazing feat that only hardcore anglers might appreciate, Slater notes the pair were able to land every fish for the event.

“There were a couple that tried to get away,” Slater admits. “But we were able to get them all to the boat, and that doesn't happen all the time.”

The team also had success in selecting the right lure. All 10 tournament fish were caught using a lure known as the Cha Cha Squidder. Nine of the 10 attracted to one specific shade of the lure.

Slater and Nuss dominated both days of the event, recording the highest catch weights on both Saturday and Sunday. The day also shattered Slater's previous best professional finish.

“I'd never placed above fifth previously,” said Slater. “It was a phenomenal feeling to win it going away like that. It was just humbling and gratifying.”

It seems like only yesterday that I heard my minister declare one Sunday that America had elected “the man God wants” to be president of the United States.

I probably would have been offended, since I voted for the other guy, but, as a lifelong Baptist, I'm used to hearing preachers say things that I disagree with, so I let it pass. While it's acceptable among Baptists to call out an “Amen” when you agree with the pastor, it's considered unseemly to yell “Oh, baloney” when you don't, although, I must admit, I've been tempted to do that a few times.

That Sunday, of course, was 10 years ago, when the “values” people had taken credit for electing George Bush II. I doubt that same minister is singing the same tune since the last election, although I haven't talked to her since then. She's probably of the opinion that the same electoral process that gave us the “right” candidate back then has given us the “wrong” guy today, i.e. the somewhat more liberal Barack Obama.

And she's not alone. The latest right-wing radio heartthrob, Glenn Beck, called a big rally last week to proclaim that it's time for America to “turn back to God.” The implication is that we all disobeyed God if we voted for President Obama, and it's a belief I don't buy.

This rally, as you probably heard, was “not about politics,” according to Mr. Beck, but that assertion really does rate an “Oh, Baloney.” You don't call a rally in Washington two months before an election to proclaim that America is going in the wrong direction for any other reason than to influence the election.

This is especially true since Mr. Beck and his sidekick at the rally, Sarah Palin, have spent the last couple of years blaming the current president for taking America in the wrong direction, presumably, away from God.

The right guy, of course would be a “real conservative” as defined by Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin. Personally, I think these two are radicals, not conservatives, but that's a semantic discussion for another time.

One of the big messages at the rally, set forth, I believe, by Mrs. Palin, was that we need to reject the “fundamental change” President Obama is always talking about. Instead, she believes we should return to “traditional American values,” which, in conservative circles, are perfectly in line with God.

There's quite an irony in that position in Mrs. Palin's case, since she is the product of fundamental changes in American society, not traditional values.

It wasn't too long ago that one of the unofficial qualifications for president was being a white male. Without the fundamental changes that America has undergone since the 1960s, those “traditional American values” would have meant Mrs. Palin would likely have reached her highest elective office when she was president of the PTA. Being elected governor would have been unlikely, and running for vice president would have been a pipe dream.

In that regard, Mrs. Palin has a lot more in common with President Obama than she does with, say, Mr. Beck, who fits nicely into the white male demographic.

And that's just one problem with leaning on traditional American values. Our rose-colored view of our national history has to ignore quite a bit of violence and injustice, a lot of which was aimed at protecting “traditional American values.” That often meant persecuting Catholic immigrants and other religious minorities, lynching African-Americans and taking Native American children from their parents to drive the Indian out of them. None of that seems very Godly to me.

Mr. Beck, for example, might reflect on a certain mob in Carthage, Ill., whose members almost certainly thought they were defending traditional American values when they shot Joseph Smith, the founder of Mr. Beck's religious faith, in the Carthage jail.

Now I'm firmly in favor of the nation turning to God. I think everybody should consult God prior to making decisions about politics or anything else, and I did so when I cast my ballot for president two years ago. I didn't turn away from God to do so, and I didn't make a mistake.

All I did was reject the philosophy of Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin, and I did so because, from my perspective as a born-again Christian, there is nothing Godly about it.

As hunting season begins, many outdoorsman wish they could aim their guns at wolves. Rife with controversy since they were first re-introduced 15 years ago, gray wolves have now grown 1,700-strong in the Northern Rockies amid ever-present political tensions and court battles.

Worried about dwindling elk herds and the constant threat to livestock, many Wyoming residents believe wolves must be hunted to regulate the growing population.

But hunting wolves remains illegal in Wyoming — and now in Idaho and Montana as well, where managed wolf hunts occurred last year.

A decision last month by federal Judge Donald Molloy brought wolf hunts to an end in all of the Greater Yellowstone Region.

Ruling that it violated the Endangered Species Act to remove protection in two states but not in Wyoming, Molloy restored protection to gray wolves in Idaho and Montana.

Many rightfully blame Wyoming for halting wolf hunts in our sister states.

Wyoming's wolf management plan calls for the animal to be shot on sight in most of the state — around 90 percent.

Considering that plan too hostile toward the 320 wolves that dwell in Wyoming, federal officials rejected the state's management plan and maintained protection for gray wolves.

It's unrealistic for Wyoming leaders to expect wolves to go directly from the endangered species list to unregulated, open-season hunts in most of the state.

If wolf hunts are to occur in Wyoming in the future — and, it appears, in Montana or Idaho —state lawmakers must modify the shoot-on-sight predator zone.

We agree with Tom Strickland, assistant U.S. secretary of Interior, who criticizes Wyoming's position.

“The court's decision clearly shows that, for the gray wolf, recovery requires Wyoming to change its policy,” Strickland wrote.

“If Wyoming were to join its neighbor states and develop a wolf management strategy with adequate regulatory mechanisms on human-caused wolf mortality, including hunting, all three states would benefit.”

With 1,700 gray wolves roaming the Northern Rockies, the species must be de-listed and managed through hunting — but for that to happen, state leaders must change their management plan.

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PHS senior Maddy Jones heads for the finish and a state qualifying time in the individual medley at the Powell Aquatic Center last week. The Lady Panthers dual with Buffalo was the first varsity competition in the new pool, which will host the annual Gene Dozah Invitational on Sept. 11. Tribune photo by Don Amend

City signs agreements with school district, swim club

The community-shared water of the Powell Aquatic Center takes in a variety of swimmers — from competitive teens to exercising adults to playful toddlers. To accommodate the needs of swimmers sharing the facility, the city of Powell recently signed agreements with Park County School District No. 1 and the Powell Swim Club.

Both groups need lanes for team practices and, several times a year, will host swim meets at the aquatic center.

The three residents at the rural Powell home where 157 cats were seized last week were charged Wednesday with a combined 35 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

Homeowner Clifton Taylor, 79, and his wife, Maurielena “Mimi” Nesbit, 63, each face 17 counts of cruelty for 17 of the cats found in poor physical condition. Each count carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and a $750 fine.

Growers learn of sale in letter Wednesday

A Minneapolis-based company has purchased the Busch Agricultural Resources barley processing facilities at Ralston and Powell.

Barley growers across the Powell growing area received letters Wednesday advising them that Riverland Ag had bought the facilities. The letters state that Riverland Ag “expects to keep the current staff at the Ralston and Powell facilities.”

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