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Tribune Staff

Former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson is currently under fire for his response to the leader of a women's organization regarding Social Security.

By describing Social Security in terms that were, shall we say, indelicate, Simpson offended a whole bunch of people who, predictably, have demanded that President Obama fire him as co-chairman of his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Obama has said he will not do that, and consequently, has drawn fire himself.

This is not the first time that the senator's words have been criticized. He admits to having had to withdraw his foot from his mouth on many occasions, and his “colorful” language and metaphors could often be described as offensive.

But, while not defending the senator's choice of words, we think the sentiment he expressed is valid. In the interests of government fiscal responsibility, Social Security must be part of the discussion along with every other government expenditure.

We have a national debt because all of us make demands on the government to spend money while simultaneously demanding lower taxes. Fulfilling both demands is, of course, impossible. All of us, including Social Security recipients (one of whom is this writer), are part of the problem.

However crude or insulting some may find Sen. Simpson's remarks, he should be commended for having the courage to raise the issue. That willingness to offend special interests is probably the reason why President Obama appointed him to help lead the Fiscal Responsibility Commission in the first place.

We may not entirely agree with Sen. Simpson's position or his way of expressing himself, but we hope President Obama sticks to his guns and keeps the senator on the commission.

(July 24, 1939 - Aug. 24, 2010)

William Wiley Layne died Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010, at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell.


One of the 157 cats captured at a rural Powell home stares into the camera, as dozens of others mill about in the Lane 11 residents' basement. Workers with the Humane Society of the United States, Park County Sheriff's Office, Powell veterinarian Teri Oursler and others worked all day Thursday removing cats from the home. Courtesy photo/Bradly J. Boner

A total of 157 cats were seized from a rural Powell home Thursday by workers with the Humane Society of the United States, called in to assist by the Park County Attorney's and Sheriff's Office.

Officials described the conditions at the Lane 11 home south of Powell as filthy, and said many of the cats were in poor health, some requiring euthanization. Most of the cats have since been transported elsewhere for adoption.

Despite problems with Wyoming's statewide school testing last spring, an outside study of the test has concluded the test results were valid and could be used to measure school progress.

Wyoming legislators were also recently advised to keep using the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) test to measure student achievement.

Members of the Heart Mountain Irrigation District Board of Commissioners should pay out of their own pockets for four wind anemometers they purchased with district funds, a Powell couple says.

That is because the board did not research the legality of wind development properly prior to buying instruments, which measure wind speed, Fred and Buffy Burris said Friday.


Although the draw had Powell starting behind the field out of the opening chute, the Panther girls passed the competition to capture the team title in their 2010 opening meet in Cody last Friday. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

PHS girls top field at Cody

The Powell High School girls won the title while the boys were runners-up at the Cody Invitational cross country meet on Friday. The event was the first of the 2010 fall season for the Panthers.

“Both the boys and girls teams got off to a good start to the year,” said coach Cliff Boos. “They got out there and ran with some enthusiasm and showed a good attitude.”

Two Powell Lady Panthers started their season by qualifying for the state swim meet Saturday in the first varsity competition at the Powell Aquatic Center.

Maddy Jones opened her final season as a Lady Panther by qualifying in the individual medley, and junior Anya Tracy earned her spot at state in the backstroke. Tracy finished second with her swim and Jones third.

Finishing with one of their best days in years, the Powell High School boys golf team took fourth at last week's Lander Invitational.

“We had a very good weekend on probably the most challenging course we play all year,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand of the Thursday-Friday tournament.

It really didn't matter to me what the books said. Or what I learned by Googling. Even the wisdom of experienced poultry hands couldn't keep me from it.

Every day — multiple times, mind you — I found myself drawn to the chicken coop in the backyard where I had lovingly placed a brand new nesting box in the darkest corner (following directions to a “T”).

I'd hold my breath in anticipation and slowly lift the lid/roof of the coop. Peering in with my trademark eternal optimism, my eyes would first go the nesting box, then, upon finding it empty, quickly scan the rest of the coop, thinking surely one of our hens must have decided to lay that long-anticipated egg. No such luck. Oh, the crushing disappointment.

This went on all summer, even though everyone, and everything I read, assured me it wasn't quite time for them to be laying. I experimented with different bedding (grass clippings, leaves, shavings) and got another nest box (don't ask me why I thought if the one remained empty, another box would entice fair hens to lay).

I even put golf balls in each nest after reading that the balls resembled eggs to a fair enough degree to convince hens to deposit some more.

Bliss evidently considered the golf ball idea a good one, since she now tosses every golf ball she comes across — and there are many of them around our house and garage — into “Chicken Land.”

Alas, all the effort was for naught — and I'm sure to the great amusement of the more experienced poultry people who got word of our endeavors.

That is, until the one afternoon when I wandered into the backyard and saw one, two, three hens ... Since they usually stick close together, I feared the absence of the fourth meant she'd met the same fate as the unlucky Black Bart. Quickly determining that Henrietta was the missing beak, I began my search for her.

It didn't take me long to find her, comfortably ensconced in the base of a lilac bush — and with five beautiful little pullet eggs underneath her! It was like a miracle.

I gently gathered the eggs from beneath her and took them into the house. Bliss was as excited about the discovery as her mother. After some celebration and the requisite admiration of the eggs, I decided since I couldn't be sure how long they'd been outside in the hot summer temps, it would be best to blow them out, thus preserving the memory of the girls' first eggs.

Since that lovely afternoon discovery, my four little hens have been laying quite regularly (or at least three of them have — Ginger, I know, is not quite old enough).

However, it's been quite the undertaking to convince them to lay said eggs in the nesting boxes. It seems they would prefer to stash their eggs in various suitable nest-like places around the perimeter of our yard. For the time being, our formerly free-range fowl are spending much more time locked up until they can be persuaded to lay their eggs in the right place — lay in the box, get some freedom.

Hens, I'm learning, are a little slow on the uptake (consider the morning I found two eggs, smashed, on either side of the coop.) Apparently, a couple of them decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to perch on top of the coop to lay eggs. That whole bird-brain thing? There's justification behind it.

Yep, every day is like Easter morning at our house — with no dresses or church!

Our egg hunt uncovers homegrown treasures: Henrietta's dark, chocolatey-brown eggs; Water-Head's larger eggs, the color of coffee with cream; and Pearl's, the lightest in color, little more than faint beige.

And, if we're particularly blessed on a certain day, we'll actually find one or more of the eggs in the boxes.

It's a horrible situation Powell residents never expected to occur in our own backyard: 157 cats seized from a local home.

On Thursday morning, dozens of felines were removed from a rural Powell house and transported to the Park County Fairgrounds. From here, many of the cats were taken to animal shelters in larger communities, where they await adoption.

While the recent case of cat hoarding is extreme and difficult to comprehend, it also highlights the importance of spaying and neutering cats and dogs.

Cats and dogs in need of homes are nothing new in Powell.

Strays, unwanted pets and abandoned animals often find themselves in the local City of Powell/Moyer Animal Shelter, where they wait for someone to adopt them. As a no-kill shelter, the local organization houses felines and canines for as long as it takes — sometimes, animals have waited a year or longer to be adopted. Once, a dog waited three years before it finally found a home.

Currently, the shelter harbors about 15 cats and a dozen dogs.

If more residents spayed and neutered their pets, fewer unwanted animals would end up in the animal shelter.

All adult animals awaiting adoption in the shelter are spayed or neutered, said Elfriede Milburn, president of Caring for Powell Animals. If a kitten or puppy is adopted, its new owners are given a certificate to have it spayed or neutered at a discounted price.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 to 8 million cats and dogs will end up in animal shelters across the nation this year. Unfortunately, many shelters are unable to keep animals long term, and an estimated 4 million cats and dogs are put down each year in America.

It's clearly a national problem, but the solution can start locally. To help prevent animal over-population, spay or neuter your cats and dogs. Rabbits aren't the only animals that multiply like rabbits.

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