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Tribune Staff

Nine visitors to Yellowstone National Park were injured — and one hospitalized — when they were struck by lightning at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, said a news release from the National Park Service.

All were on the boardwalk or walkways around the Old Faithful Geyser when a small thunderstorm cell produced a single lightning bolt.

The Sports Guy is currently sitting in a terminal at Denver International Airport. I thought about trying to hitch a ride with Auston Carter and see if there was room on the flight to Poland, but had some doubts as to whether or not my chiseled physique would pass for a wrestler.

Instead, I'm thumb-twiddling and flipping through sports publications to kill a two-hour layover. It appears that all is not well in Big 12 land. In fact, it resembles the deck of the Titanic.

As many of you who pay attention to national sports broadcasts might be aware, the Big 10 opened a can of worms by stating earlier this year that it would like to invite as many as five other schools to join its party. Apparently feeling left out, the PAC-10 is evidently willing to kick things into nuclear escalation mode by offering spots to six of the Big 12 members.
More telling, nobody seems to be in a rush to deny that little rumor.

So, imagine if you will, a landscape where the Big 12 is suddenly the Big Four and Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State are attempting to ascertain the license number of the truck that just hit them. Wyoming better start taking notice.

Don't think for a second the Big 10 and PAC-10 could expand without repercussion. The Southeast and ACC would quickly plunder Big East leftovers and possibly a Conference USA school or two.

Let's face it. The Mountain West Conference is already starved for attention and kicking at the door of the BCS to be let in.

If you think that door is hard to get open right now, just imagine how things will be when two-thirds of Division I football schools and virtually all of the “power players” are consolidated into four super-conferences, each complete with their own multi-million dollar television network.

Notre Dame might be able to tred water in such an environment. Wyoming cannot. And don't even try convincing me that The Mountain deserves mention in the same breath as the Big Ten Network.

Wyoming and the rest of the Mountain West can hardly afford to wait around and see where the dust settles after the initial wave of conference expansions. Acting is far better than reacting in this case.

If Boise State and Nevada aren't already on the Mountain West speed dial, now's the time to start pushing digits and making an offer. Send a call out to Fresno State and San Jose State as well — there are a lot of television sets in California, and the Mountain West's largest downfall at present is its lack of media share compared to BCS leagues.

For that same reason, if Baylor really is left out in the cold, the MWC might want to give the Bears a look. A second Texas presence would keep TCU from feeling lonely and also could help add more market share. As a league, I'm not sure where you go from there, but I'd be making those phone calls long before the folks over in the Western Athletic Confernece ponder making a grab for Colorado State, TCU, BYU, Utah, UNLV and San Diego State.

Beyond shuffling chairs on the conference deck, though, Wyoming needs to have a worst-case scenario plan. What is the school prepared to do in a landscape where four superconferences rule the NCAA landscape?

By all indications, it isn't a question of “if” massive conference realignment is coming to the NCAA's upper ranks. It is only a question of “when” and “how.”

Even though Wyoming and the Mountain West Conference aren't standing on the front lines in this change discussion, any actual changes will inevitably sweep through every league and every program in college football's bowl subdivision. The best thing Wyoming and the MWC can do right now is be proactive and start laying a plan so that we have options when the official membership offers start to fly.

(Aug. 19, 1918 - June 4, 2010)

Jane Elizabeth “Betty” Derry died Friday, June 4, 2010.

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It was a long night for Powell and Cody firemen last weekend as they battled the fire at Treasure Valley Seed. Firemen attack the fire at the west end of the warehouse from a safe distance just before the wall collapsed toward them. Tribune photo by Don Amend

All-night battle controls major fire

Powell's volunteer firefighters faced a difficult situation when a major fire broke out at Treasure Valley Seed in the middle of a holiday weekend, but they were able to control the blaze in an all-night battle.

Firemen were called to the scene just before 11 p.m. Sunday, and remained on scene until 6:30 a.m. Monday. A building was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived.

Will rebuild in Powell

Despite the destructive fire that destroyed part of Treasure Valley Seed's Powell facilities during the long weekend, the company opened for business Tuesday morning.

“Business isn't exactly as usual,” said manager Jamie Franko Tuesday morning, “but we're still loading trucks and still processing beans.

Heart Mountain homesteader reflects on WWII experience

From his quiet homestead in Heart Mountain's shadow, the beaches of Normandy seem a world away. But when he looks at a photograph or recalls a story, closing his eyes for a moment, Bill Jackson is there again.

Sixty years ago on D-Day, June 6, 1944, Jackson crossed the English Channel, bound for Omaha Beach with thousands of other soldiers.

{gallery}06_03_10/pioneers{/gallery}

Grant Geiser delivers a pitch during Powell's 21-1 win over Lovell on Tuesday in Cowley. Geiser pitched a complete game, allowing one run and five hits while fanning eight. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Conference play opens with lopsided 21-1 win

For five innings on Tuesday, it appeared Lovell might challenge the Powell Pioneers in the team's first conference contest of the 2010 American Legion baseball season. Two innings later, the Cowley scoreboard looked more appropriate for a football game.

The Pioneers broke Tuesday's game wide open with a six-run sixth inning. The team paraded 11 runs across home plate in the seventh to transform a four-run cushion into an eventual 21-1 rout.

Northwest College head volleyball coach Flavia Siqueira unveiled the members of her 2010 recruiting class. The Trappers have currently signed a total of seven players to supplement the returning members of the 2009 Region IX North championship team.

“I'm really excited with this class,” said Siqueira, who was honored this past year as one of the American Volleyball Coaches' Association's “30 under 30” award recipients. “We could still add one or two more before the fall.”

Meagan Butler, a senior at Syracuse (Utah) High School, has signed a letter of intent to play women's basketball at Northwest College next year. Butler was an all-state honorable mention player in Utah this past season.

“Meagan will be a great addition to our team, on and off the court,” said Trapper women's basketball coach Janis Beal. “She brings a level of competitiveness to our team that we need and she fits our system perfectly. From the point guard position, she sees the floor extremely well and will push the ball for us.”

Butler is a 5'4” point guard who was a member of the Syracuse High honor roll. She was a member of the undefeated 5A state championship team at Syracuse, earning a spot on both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association all-star team and the Davis County all-star team. She was an all-region second-team selection in Utah's Region 1.

Butler also participated in tennis and track and field during her time in high school.

Butler is the first signing announced by Beal for the 2010-2011 academic year. The Trappers, who graduated just two players off Beal's first roster as head coach, are expected to announce additional signings later this summer.

It seems the last several weeks have been nothing but work at the Bonner residence.

Holiday weekend? What holiday weekend?! It passed by in a blur of dirt, plants and heavy lifting.

Brad and I have been accused of being slightly obsessive/compulsive — we prefer to say “we don't let much grass grow” when projects are involved. And, so far, it's working for us — and we're increasingly aware that we really deserve each other.

As you may know, we're currently living in tight quarters. While our newly-remodeled house is perfect in many ways, the closets leave a lot to be desired — not to mention the single bathroom. Oh, and we also need some more bedrooms — but we're biding our time before embarking on the next remodeling project, which left us in a bit of a dilemma.

We realized we really needed to utilize our outdoor space to avoid feeling claustrophobic. The backyard is our favorite part of the property, but last year's construction left it in pretty sad shape. The towering pine tree that we cut down to accommodate the project left a huge expanse of dirt and debris — dirt that has been mud through many of the last months.

So, several weeks ago, we decided we'd be well-served to spruce things up for the immediacy. A little fix-up would render our yard useable for the summer months.

My muscles currently don't feel like “little fix-up” adequately describes the project, even though it all started innocently enough: Let's buy some sod so we can get rid of the dirt patch right outside the back door.

So Brad and I picked up three tons of sod a couple Fridays ago. By Saturday afternoon, we had that wonderful sense of instant gratification. Overnight lawn!

But could we just leave it at that? Of course not ...

One of us (I may deserve the blame) decided we should build a small patio as well. Several loads of pea gravel, sand and pavers later — not to mention worn out gloves and an atrocious sunburn — we had our patio, complete with a fire pit and benches repurposed from the original house's fireplace hearth and mantle.

Then back to our real jobs for the week. On the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday, a load of cedar landscape timbers landed in our driveway. Hello, gardens!

While Brad filled and patched holes in desperate need of grass seed, Bliss and I planted vegetable and herb gardens on Saturday and Sunday.

Not to miss an opportunity, we had a little dinner party on Sunday night, and then we headed to the greenhouse for more plants on the Memorial Day holiday.

Hmmmm: Is it really a mystery why I'm feeling so fatigued after the three-day weekend?

But, there was a tremendous sense of satisfaction as we sat on the patio Monday evening, gazing at our projects — and actually enjoying the backyard the way we envisioned.

Little Bliss has enjoyed the process, I think, while offering loads of the variety of help only a 3-year-old can offer. Digging sand out from between the pavers (we finally relented and bought her a sandbox), riding in the wheelbarrow, stealing shovels and “planting” flowers plucked from brand-new plants. Ugggh.

She even got a pair of purple Dora the Explorer gardening gloves (but she doesn't want them to get dirty.) And I really thought I was imparting some of my limited gardening knowledge to her — including that dandelions are not the most desirable garden plant.

Though I will admit I've been gentle about it since she loves the little yellow harbingers of summer so.

As we were driving along a county road yesterday morning, Bliss spotted a field full of dandelions.

Excitedly, she pointed them out.

“Mom, look at all the dandelions,” she almost shouted. “Some of them are the smelling kind and some are the blowing kind!”

I'm afraid all our efforts of the past few weeks may go to the weeds if Bliss has anything to say about it.

Page 488 of 503

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