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The Cody Bureau of Land Management is seeking comments on a proposed natural gas drilling project in McCullough Peaks within the wild horse management area and will host a public meeting to discuss it from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Bighorn Federal Community Room, 1701 Stampede Ave in Cody.

According to a bureau notice, the proposed project area is situated on approximately 12 sections (7,680 acres) inside the Rocktober Federal Unit in the McCullough Peaks area.

“Three-quarters of the unit has the HMA (Horse Management Area) in it,” said Ann Perkins, BLM planning and environmental coordinator.
“I am totally against it (drilling) myself,” said Ken Martin, who operates Red Canyon Mustang Trips in Cody.

Martin fears for the wild horses and aesthetics. He said if the wells hit pay dirt, it will soon resemble Oregon Basin.

Three of the seven wells would be in the Horse Management Area with compressor station outside the HMA. Two of the wells are under application, the other five would only be drilled if the first two wells are productive, Perkins said.

Perkins encourages the public to attend Wednesday's meeting.

“We would appreciate it if different stake-holders and members of the public attend the public scoping meeting to share their concerns, comments and any solutions so the BLM can make an informed decision,” Perkins said.

Martin said he is well aware of the crucial need for oil and gas, but said if the bureau allows drilling in the McCullough Peaks area, he hopes best management practices are employed to ensure that drilling is low-impact and does not compromise the scenic views.


Powell students continue to do well on Wyoming's statewide tests, according to results released last week by the Wyoming Department of Education.

Elementary and middle school students exceeded statewide averages in all categories but one on the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students administered to public school students in the state last spring.

Overall, the district is “really happy with the results” compared to the statewide performance, said R.J. Kost, curriculum coordinator for Park County School District No. 1. But he added that exceeding the state results is not the goal of the district.

“We're not trying to compare ourselves to the rest of the state,” Kost said. “Our goal is to push ourselves as high as we can.”
The assessment, commonly called PAWS, has been administered to students in grades three through eight and grade 11 since 2006. Each student's performance is rated in one of four levels: below basic, basic, proficient or advanced.

The assessment is used by the state to measure school progress as required by the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. This year, the standards for performance increased, requiring a larger percentage of students to score as proficient or advanced. Despite the increase, Powell schools easily met the new requirements.

“This year, there was a bump in the requirements,” Kost said, “but our teachers have met the challenge. The whole district is proud of them. Overall, we're happy with the results.”

September 09, 2008 1:01 am

Over the top

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A jubilant Gavin Mills leaps into the air along with teammate Ryan Brandt (right) at the conclusion of last Friday night's 13-7 victory by the Panthers against Worland. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Panthers use late scoring drive to edge Worland

One year after enduring a 3-6 mark and a quick exit from the Class 4A playoffs, the Powell High School Panthers are team with one thing in particular on their minds — redemption.

The fourth-ranked Panthers, facing a hard-nosed Worland team on the Warriors' own turf, left nothing to chance and didn't wait for the ball to take a bounce in their favor last Friday night in the Class 4A West matchup. Instead, they hunkered down and seized a golden opportunity to pick up a quality victory. And they did so in dramatic fashion, winning 13-7.

With the score tied at 7-7 and just moments after a missed field goal attempt by Worland's Jon Gehrts, the Panthers took possession of the ball at their own 20-yard line with 10:26 left in the fourth quarter and embarked on a 14-play, 80-yard scoring march. The drive ended with senior quarterback Galen Mills leaping over the top of his surging offensive line and desperate Worland defenders trying to stand in his way. Chalk one up for the Panthers because Mills reached paydirt and put PHS ahead 13-7 with 3:26 left to play with his one-yard touchdown plunge.

"It felt like four years of trying came down to that one play," Mills said after the game. "That one was all about our offensive line. They did what they had to do."

September 09, 2008 1:01 am

PHS tennis teams split matches

Girls go 2-1, boys go 1-2

It was an up-and-down week for the PHS tennis teams.

On Thursday, the PHS boys and girls emerged victorious over the Cody Broncs and Fillies, both by 4-1 margins.

PHS coach Ray Bieber couldn't recall another time in his tenure that Powell has swept Cody.

Things took a downturn Saturday morning. Both boys and girls squads came up empty against Jackson, losing their 10 matches.

Bieber said that although the final scores may not show it, all the matches were competitive.

“We gave it a good effort, but (Jackson) played very well,” he said.

Bieber said he's never seen a team play as well as Jackson did on Saturday.

“We figured out some things to work on, which is good,” he said. “It was a good wake-up call for us.”

Bieber said the Panthers need to battle against teams like Jackson if they want to succeed at state.

Both the boys and girls teams bounced back in the Saturday afternoon match against Riverton. The guys took a 3-2 victory, and the girls won 5-0, two matches by forfeit.

Girls No. 1 singles player Darcee Lynn played three strong matches last week, Bieber said. Lynn, a senior, beat Cody's Jill Ross in three sets (7-5, 4-6, 6-1) on Thursday. In Saturday's competition, Lynn fell to Jackson's Mady Gerard (6-2, 6-1), but trumped Kelsey Fuztos of Riverton (6-2, 6-2).

Senior Chelsea Akin also had three good matches, Bieber said. At No. 2 singles, she beat Alison Johnston of Cody (7-5, 6-0), lost to Jackson's Madison Pachoe (6-4, 6-1), and then defeated Riverton's Hailey Reiter 6-2, 6-1.

At No. 1 doubles, seniors Alexa Kienlen and Taylor Stockdale beat Cody (6-0, 6-1), dropped a match against Jackson (6-1, 6-1), and won by default against Riverton.
Bieber said the Riverton squad had some people sick and one girl missed the team bus.

No. 2 doubles duo Kelli Lewis and Kelsey McKearney went 2-1 last week. The seniors trumped Cody (6-3, 7-5), suffered a Jackson setback (6-3, 6-0), then turned around and beat Riverton's team (7-5, 6-0).

Sophomore Lisa Schiermeister and junior Brittany Feller rounded things out at No. 3 doubles. The pair lost to Cody (7-5, 6-3) and Jackson (6-0, 6-3), and then won by forfeit against Riverton.

On the boys side, Jonas Kuehl took down Cody's Gunnar Lampe at No. 1 singles 6-1, 6-3). On Saturday, junior Kuehl fell to Jackson's Cody Blum (6-1, 6-1), but rebounded against Riverton's Randy McKinnon (6-2, 6-2).

Senior Chris Brinkerhoff had similar results on a 2-1 week. At No. 2 singles, he beat Cody's Wiley Newsome (6-3, 7-6(3)), lost to Jackson's Nate Tratenberg (6-1, 7-5) and beat Quintin Harrison of Riverton (6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4).

Bieber was pleased with the improvement of No. 1 doubles team Levi Anderson and Sam Wise. The juniors came through with their first win of the season on Thursday, trumping their Cody counterparts in split sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Anderson and Wise lost to Jackson (6-1, 6-3) and Riverton (6-2, 6-1).

At No. 2 doubles, freshmen Todd Lewis and Eric Curtis fell to Cody (6-1, 6-4) and Jackson (6-2, 6-4), but bounced back to beat Riverton in straight sets (6-2, 7-6(4)).

Tyler Morgan and Robert Speiser triumphed in three sets over Cody's No. 3 doubles team, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. The sophomores dropped matches against Jackson (6-1, 6-2) and Riverton (7-5, 6-4).
Bieber said the teams will have plenty of work this week. Specifically, they'll practice volleys and second serves.

“This weekend it isn't going to get any easier,” Bieber said.

The Panthers will take on Kelly Walsh and Natrona this Saturday, two teams that Bieber says should be strong.

September 09, 2008 1:01 am

Cross country teams start strong

PHS girls seventh, boys 12th at Billings Invite

Another cross country season started on a strong note for the Powell High School boys and girls squads, who traveled to Montana for the Billings Invitational Friday afternoon.

“It was a great day for a meet,” said PHS head coach Cliff Boos. “It was 68 degrees and partly cloudy. Last year, the temperature was near 100. It was a lot better for the kids this year, and they turned in some really good times.”

The Lady Panthers, bolstered by a solid mix of youth and experience, tallied a seventh-place effort in the event, which featured 24 teams. The Bozeman High School Lady Bulldogs took the team title at the invitational and were paced by Heidi Turner, who finished first overall with an effort of 17:55 in the three-mile event. Teams finishing between Bozeman and the Lady Panthers were Billings West, Billings Senior, Hardin (Mont.), Butte (Mont.) and Worland high schools.

The Lady Panthers' top runner was senior Lauren Dunleavy, who finished 38th overall with time of 21:05. Her time was a one-minute and three-second improvement over her effort in the same invitational last season.
Lady Panthers finishing behind Dunleavy included freshman Alyssa Rodriguez (50th, 21:25), senior Jordan Bigelow (52nd, 21:30), junior Emily Schwahn (65th, 22:02), junior Kristi Mingus (83rd, 22:44), sophomore Kassey MacDonald (88th, 22:55) and junior Megan Darrow (90th, 22:58). Overall, 119 competitors took part in the varsity girls' portion of the invite.

On the boys' side, the Panthers notched a 12th-place finish. The Bulldogs, like in the girls' portion of the event, finished as the top team and helped Butte to a sweep of both the varsity and junior varsity divisions.

The Panther boys, like the Lady Panthers, faced a 24-team field. Overall, 105 runners competed.

Leading the way for the Panthers was senior Patrick Sullivan, who recorded a time of 18:38 and a 61st-place finish. His time was almost a three-minute improvement compared to his time in the 2007 Billings Invitational.

The remainder of Powell's top-seven runners included sophomore Patrick Voss (62nd, 18:38), sophomore Danny McKearney (65th, 18:40), senior Alex Speiser (83rd, 19:28), senior Jake Firnekas (87th, 19:49), sophomore Tyler McCauley (92nd, 20:08) and junior Devin Lynn (98th, 20:24).

“It was a great start to the season for both teams,” Boos said. “Of the kids that ran in this event last year, most of them improved their times. We also got some strong efforts from our first-year runners.”

• Up next: PHS's boys and girls cross country squads are scheduled to compete again Friday, Sept. 12 at the annual Cody Invitational at Don Little Park. The event is slated to begin at 4 p.m. with the middle school event. The junior varsity and varsity events will follow.

September 09, 2008 1:01 am

College is setting a good example

Northwest College officials and the board of trustees recently decided to move forward with a major project aimed at conserving energy campus-wide.

Through the State Energy Program administered by the Wyoming Business Council, the college will retrofit campus buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Program personnel already have conducted a campus-wide energy audit. Based on the findings, the college will undergo what is essentially an “energy remodel.”

The program guarantees participating organizations that their energy savings will pay for the improvements. In fact, the savings actually are used as collateral for the projects.

As Tom Fuller, the manager of the State Energy Program said recently, “The hardest part is convincing people that it's not too good to be true.”

NWC, with the help of this remarkable program, is leading the way in responsible energy use in our community. The city of Powell would be wise to follow suit.

September 09, 2008 1:01 am

Margaret Corbett Wirth

(Oct. 30, 1922 - Sept. 3, 2008)

Funeral services were held Saturday, Sept. 6 at the LDS Church in Powell for Margaret Corbett Wirth, who died Wednesday, Sept. 3 at the Sheridan hospital. She was 85.

Margaret, or Meg as she was called, was the first child of John and Loy Sessions Corbett. She was born on Oct. 30, 1922 in Thermopolis.

Margaret grew up in Byron and graduated from Byron High School. On March 28, 1941, she married James Francis Wirth at the home of her grandparents, Byron A. and Ellen J. Sessions, who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on that day.

At first, Jim worked for Ohio Oil Company, which later became Marathon Oil.

They next lived in Laramie where Jim attended the University of Wyoming until they moved to Oakland, Calif., during World War II to work in the shipyards.

When Jim received his draft notice, they returned to Byron so she and the children could be near her parents while he was gone. He left for Denver, but didn't pass his physical because of asthma. He resumed work for Marathon and through the years worked his way up to District Superintendent. Through the years they lived in Sidney, Nebr., Lafayette, La., and McFadden and Casper in Wyoming. Jim died in 1980.

After Meg's parents died, she and Jim took her three siblings to raise as their own even though Meg was only 24 and Jim was 25 and they had three children of their own. She was a loving, kind and thoughtful person who was loved by all who knew her.

She is survived by three children, Rodney and wife DeAnna Wirth of Buffalo, Sandra and husband Ralph Watts of Adel, Iowa, and Steve and wife Elaine Wirth of Wapiti; her sisters, Bertha Mueller of Sidney, Nebr., and Jackie Hecht of Powell; brother Jerry and wife Michele Corbett of Lovell; 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grand; one sister–in-law, Jeanne Wirth of Powell, one brother-in-law, Evan Wirth of Minneapolis, Minn. She also has 11 nieces and nephews who lovingly called her "Grandma Meg."

She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Dorothy Wilkinson, and infant sister Barbara, as well as three brothers-in-law.

Thompson Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. The family requests memorial donations to the Byron Memorial Park. Donations can be sent to Town of Byron, Box 5, Byron, Wyoming 82412.
The Powell City Council will meet at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8 in the City Hall Council Chambers to discuss the future of the new pool. Representatives from Burbach Aquatics will be on hand at the meeting to outline bidding/value engineering and other pool issues. No other business will be considered at the special meeting.
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Cameraman Jim Abel of Billings, focuses on Sylvan La Cross as La Cross evaluates cattle at the Northwest College Livestock Pavillion on Saturday. On the left, filming assistant Justin Fonda of Bozeman, Mont., holds a boom microphone overhead to capture the sound. LaCross, who recently earned associate degrees in agriculture business and farm and ranch management, will be the subject of an episode of “The Real Winning Edge” on many Fox stations nationwide. The episode tentatively is scheduled to air in February. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson

So far, Sylvan La Cross' life journey hasn't been an easy one — but he says the hardships he's faced during his 20 years made him stronger.
His determination through adversity and his refusal to make excuses resulted in La Cross being chosen as an example for other youth to follow.
La Cross, who graduated from Northwest College in May, will be featured in a new Fox television show, “The Real Winning Edge,” sometime early next year.
The series' producer and a film crew were in Powell on Saturday to film La Cross for the reality series aimed at teens.
La Cross, of Red Lodge, Mont., describes himself as a “pretty darned clean-cut guy. I try to lead a good life, being polite and well-mannered, being thankful for every day we get.”
His mother, Patricia La Cross, died in June after an 11-year battle against a rare, critical illness.
Because his parents were divorced, his mother's illness meant La Cross and his younger brother, Logan, assumed much of the responsibility for running the family's eight-room motel in Cooke City, Mont.

September 03, 2008 1:09 pm

Forget last year

Panthers looking to get back on winning track in ‘08
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Ryan Brandt and the fourth-ranked Powell High School Panthers are scheduled to officially open the season Friday night in a road matchup with fifth-ranked Worland. Tribune photo by David Dickey
The Powell High School Panthers will attempt to get the ‘08 season started on a winning note Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. when they open the slate with a road game at Worland.
They will do so sporting a new offensive look that PHS head coach Jim Stringer hopes will help the Panthers rise above the competition in what appears to be a wide-open race for the Class 4A crown.
When it comes to contenders, many of the usual suspects are present. Buffalo, last year's 4A runner-up, boasts a lineup loaded with returning starters, and Stringer fully expects Buffalo to put a talented team on the field.
Jackson, a team that lost a number of key players from last year's state championship team, also appears ready to defend its title. Those teams currently are tied for the top spot in the first coaches and media poll released by WyoPreps.com.
“Just like last season, I think there's a lot of parity in Class 4A,” Stringer said. “Buffalo looks to be the cream of the crop, but there's a lot of other teams out there that will have a chance.”