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August 14, 2008 1:45 pm

Using fire for good

Gunbarrel Fire, now at 41,000 acres, is a history-making tool
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Wapiti District Ranger Terry Root (right) told lodge and cabin owners and residents of the North Fork at a Wednesday morning briefing on the Gunbarrel Fire that the forest service “didn't want another Blackwater Fire Memorial,” a reference to firefighters killed in battling fire on Blackwater Creek on the North Fork in 1937. Citing difficult terrain, the decision was made to preserve public safety and protect structures on the North Fork corridor while allowing the Gunbarrel Fire to burn in beetle-infested timber of the rugged back country. In the foreground is Dave Van Norman, operations section chief of the incident command staff. Tribune photo by Dave Bonner
You're going to see smoke for a long time from the Gunbarrel Fire on the Shoshone National Forest west of Cody.
It is growing in size, and if all goes according to plan, it will get even bigger in the rugged back country on the north side of the North Fork corridor.
This is a beneficial fire, as far as forest fires go.
So said forest managers as the Gunbarrel Fire grew beyond 41,000 acres Wednesday. In a briefing at the old Wapiti Ranger District headquarters on the North Fork, forest managers and incident command officers touted the history-making significance of this fire as a tool to clean out a beetle-killed forest.
In fire control terms, the Gunbarrel is classified as a “fire-use fire,” one that is managed to perform a benefit to the health of the forest. Incident Commander Don Angell of Denver said the Gunbarrel Fire is now the largest “fire-use fire” in the history of forest firefighting in the Rocky Mountain Region.
That doesn't mean the fire goes unchecked. The priority remains to protect structures and public safety, including the safety of firefighters.
Necessary actions are taken to protect lodges, cabins and other structures and to keep traffic moving safely on the North Fork highway, U.S. 14-16-20.
August 13, 2008 2:28 pm

Getting defensive

UW's defense expecting another strong season
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Linebacker Ward Dobbs is one of several returning starters expected to help anchor the Cowboys' defense in 2008. Courtesy photo/University of Wyoming
A year ago, the University of Wyoming's defense was among the top units in the country. By season's end, the Cowboys were ranked 22nd in both total defense and sacks, 27th against the run and 30th in pass defense. With seven starters returning from that group, it's no surprise that UW head coach Joe Glenn is expecting an encore performance in 2008.
“We're going to be more physical,” said UW head coach Joe Glenn. “I don't think there is any question about that. “(Defensive coordinator) Mike Breske has a great nucleus there.”
Among the anchors for that unit with be the players along the defensive front, including junior defensive tackle John Fletcher (6-6, 280). Fletcher had an outstanding sophomore campaign and earned Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors. He recorded 10.5 sacks last season and ranked 11th nationally. He also had 14 tackles for losses to rank 52nd in the nation, and his total of 60 tackles for the season placed him sixth on the team.
At a time when Americans are more polarized than ever — the primary election is creeping closer, and races promise to rise in intensity in the coming months — the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games offer a welcome moment of pause.
When the Olympics roll around, most of us actually agree on one thing: We want our team to bring home as many medals as possible.
People who struggle to see eye-to-eye at any other time find it hard to argue about Michael Phelps' stunning performances — and he's only halfway through his races. Others who usually would be hard-pressed to cop to watching gymnastics or beach volleyball admit to being riveted to their TV screens when an American medal is on the line.
And who doesn't get misty-eyed, or at least feel a twinge of emotion, as they watch a U.S. athlete fall off the balance beam? Or when an unsung or underdog American teammate pulls off a medal-winning performance?
It's a nice reminder that patriotism has a place and a role.
In a couple of weeks, we'll see polarization return to the forefront. Increased drilling vs. conservation. Stay the course vs. pull out the troops.
Public funding of capital facilities vs. no new buildings. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Business as usual.
But for the moment, “our” team is playing. Our players are doing great. And we're pulling for them.
The Gunbarrel Fire on the North Fork of the Shoshone River has grown, but Cascade, Tumble Creek and LeHardy fires have slowed significantly.
Gunbarrel rising
Significant growth of the Gunbarrel Fire occurred on Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday, according to official updates Wednesday.
The 41,000-acre fire, about 40 miles west of Cody, is burning on the north side of U.S. 14-16-20. The fire is burning in timber consisting of 50-80 percent beetle-killed spruce and fir trees.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire had grown by more than 3,450 acres Since Monday's update.
To date, about $4.4 million has been spent fighting the fire.
Growth took place Tuesday evening when islands on Turret and Grizzly creeks ignited, said the report.
Throughout Tuesday, crews labored to remove fuels on south side of the highway near Kitty Creek.
The update said similar fuel reduction projects have occurred around 160 structures on the edge of the North Absaroka Wilderness area.
The firefighting effort is considered preparation — removing trees and brush, installing sprinklers and hose-lays, or running fire hose from a water source to the protection location, said Ben Brack, public information officer for the Rocky Mountain incident management team.
Preparing lodges and cabins can protect these areas for this season or safeguard them from future fire seasons. Brack called it a proactive approach.
August 13, 2008 2:01 pm

Phillip L. James

April 11, 1953 - Aug. 9, 2008
Memorial services for Phillip L. James, 55, of Sheridan, were held Wednesday, Aug. 13 in Sheridan. He died Saturday, Aug. 9, in a motorcycle accident.
Phillip was born April 11, 1953, in Lusk to Lee and Mary (Hales) James. He graduated from Niobrara High School in 1971 where he was a state champion wrestler in his weight class. He was a government trapper, a welder, a senior construction manager in Iraq, and presently a general contractor owning his own business, CRC,Inc. He was a member of the Elks Lodge and a life member of the NRA. He was a former resident of Lovell.
He is survived by his mother, Mary James; wife Jaclyn; two sons, Joel and Timothy; two daughters, Amy Jo James and Aimee (Troy) Wagner; one brother; one sister; one grandson and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, one sister, and one son.
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 907 N. Poplar St., Suite 185, Casper, Wyo. 82001.
August 13, 2008 2:00 pm

Raymond Mason Linton

Nov. 15, 1931 - Aug. 11, 2008
Raymond Mason Linton, died Monday, Aug. 11, at his Powell home. He was 76.
He was born Nov. 15, 1931 to Raymond and Cressie (Armstrong) Linton. He attended Black Hills State College, and received his master's degree from Northern State College.
He married Barbara J. Hall on May 4, 1952, in San Diego, Calif. Raymond was an industrial arts instructor for many years, and they lived in California, South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming. He was in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was a member of the National Education Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and the Methodist church. He enjoyed woodworking, hunting and fishing, and was an avid LA Dodgers and Green Bay Packers fan.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Barbara; sons David of Gillette, Jeff (Cindy) of Powell, Doug (Sue) of Rapid City, S.D.; daughter Naomi (Ed) Schlup of Gillette; sisters Virginia (Dean) Hyatt of Anchorage, Alaska, and Jean (Bob) Baldwin of Warrensburg, Mo.; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Jack.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at Thompson Funeral Home in Powell. Pallbearers are David Linton, Jeff Linton, Doug Linton, Ed Schlup, Leo Monahan, Jim Gillett and Naomi Schlup. Cremation will be followed with a private burial to be held in Ray's beloved Black Hills of South Dakota.
Memorials may be made to Habitat for Humanity in the name of Ray Linton. Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
August 13, 2008 1:59 pm

Norma May Scott

Jan. 10, 1924 - Aug. 11, 2008
Funeral services for Norma May Scott, 84, of Powell, will be held Saturday, Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. at the Powell Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She died Monday, Aug. 11 at the Powell Valley Care Center.
Norma was born Jan. 10, 1924 in Eve, Mo., to John and Mae (Williams) Winter. She was a Powell High School graduate, and in June of 1941, she married Leonard Scott in Red Lodge, Mont. She was a computer operator for Amoco Oil, and a member of the Baptist church. She enjoyed ceramics, scrapbooking and sewing.
She is survived by a son Keith (Vicki) Scott of Las Vegas, Nev., brother Glen (Alberta) Winter of Cody, sister-in-law Edna Scott of Laurel, Mont., seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard, her parents, daughter, Eileen, and grandson, Michael.
Pallbearers will be Daniel Anderson, Jerry Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Daniel V. Anderson, Stephen Anderson and Timothy Anderson. Burial will be in Crown Hill Cemetery.
Thompson Funeral Home handled arrangements.
August 13, 2008 1:59 pm

Area fires held at bay

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The Gunbarrel fire continues to burn, but all lodges, campgrounds and trails are open at this time. However, no hiking is allowed north of U.S. 14-16-20 from Dunn to Grinnell creeks. Things were a bit warm a mile or so up the ridge from Wayfarers Chapel Saturday afternoon. Tribune photo by Gib Mathers
Estimated costs for fighting the Gunbarrel Fire rose to about $4 million by Monday, with most of that invested in protecting area structures.
Gunbarrel, about 40 miles west of Cody, off U.S. 14-16-20, was at 37,650 aces Monday. Although rain cooled the fire a little on Friday, winds increased fire activity slightly over the weekend.
Meanwhile, most of the LeHardy Fire remains inactive in Yellowstone National Park.
Mop-up continues on the Cascade fire near Red Lodge, Mont., and the Tumble Creek fire 40 miles to the west is being monitored, according to news releases from fire commanders Monday.
GunbarrelContainment is not an issue. The plan is to allow the fire to burn in remote areas to remove dead trees and protect structures on the North Fork, said Ben Brack, public information officer for the Rocky Mountain incident management team.
“This corridor, the North Fork, is very important to the people around here,” Brack said.
Winds and lower relative humidity increased fire behavior Sunday.
August 11, 2008 2:01 pm

Title hunt ends early

Riverton ousts Pioneers from state tournament
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Powell base runner Auston Carter (left) gets past Cheyenne Hawks' catcher Cody Farrell en route to scoring a run during the opening round of the Wyoming State A Legion Baseball Tournament at Powers Field in Cheyenne last Thursday. Michael Smith/Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
An unexpected 30-plus win season came to a close for the Powell Pioneers during a third-round, loser-out matchup against Riverton in the Wyoming State A Legion Baseball Tournament in Cheyenne Friday afternoon.
The Raiders emerged victorious in the matchup by edging Powell 8-7. Adding to the frustration for the Pioneers was the fact that they had notched a 5-1 record against the Raiders prior to last week. During the West District Tournament, the qualifier for the state event, Powell pounded Riverton 12-1.
“It was tough to lose to a team we had played well against all season,” said Pioneer head coach Jeff Young, whose team finished the tournament with a 1-2 mark and tied with Gillette for fifth place. “You have to give Riverton credit. They got things going at the right time, and they made it to the championship game. Riverton deserved to be there, but it made all of us kind of sick because we felt like we should have beaten them, especially looking back at what we had done against them earlier in the season.”
The Saturday Farmers' Market draws consumers from around the area.
People come to buy the usual suspects — beans, chard, cucumbers, zucchini, and the yet-to-be-seen tomatoes, along with other home-grown produce.
Many also look for baked goods like breads, dinner rolls and cakes.
However, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture's Consumer Health Services, under pressure from the FDA, may soon prohibit the sale of those products — unless they are prepared in a licensed, commercial kitchen.
Existing Wyoming Statute § 35-7-124 (a) says that “any person processing, distributing, storing or preparing any food ... shall obtain a license.”
However, farmers' market vendors around the state have been allowed to continue sales of baked goods because of a loophole in subsection “e” under the same statute. It says the law “...shall not apply to food operators or kitchens in private homes that prepare food that is not potentially hazardous (cakes, cookies, dinner rolls and breads) and (is) prepared for sale or use at functions, including those operated by not-for-profit charitable or religious organizations.”
The state Attorney General's office in 2006 interpreted the word “functions” to include farmers' markets, but the office has now reversed course, saying farmers' markets are not “functions” after all. The decision apparently was based on whether a vendor is selling goods for profit.
Differentiating between for-profit farmers' markets and not-for-profit bake sales is splitting hairs. In both cases, most buyers are aware that the items they're purchasing are rarely prepared in commercial kitchens.
As one Powell Tribune Blog reader put it, “Given the choice, I'll take home-made bread purchased at a farmers' market any day over Wonder Bread. If people want guarantees when it comes to food safety, go to IGA or Blair's.”
The Wyoming Consumer Health office — recognizing that the statute, and the attorney general's interpretation, is overly restrictive — may soon introduce a bill making the sale of such products legal.
That's the right choice. Hopefully our legislators also will see that over-zealous regulation of farmers' markets and similar events is not needed or wanted.
Besides, aren't there bigger problems to tackle?