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December 31, 2012 8:09 am

Despite some negatives, 2012 was OK

Written by Don Amend

A look back at the year we are about to leave reveals, as most years do, a mixture of positive and negative news stories in the pages of the Powell Tribune.

It was a year that saw many changes in leadership in the Powell area. We have a new police chief, a new CEO at Powell Valley Healthcare and a new director at Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce. Powell High School has a new principal this year, and Northwest College will be choosing a new president soon.

We elected a new mayor this year, and two Powell-area seats in the Wyoming House of Representatives have new occupants. There is a new member of the Park County Commission, and the boards of both Northwest College and School District No. 1 have new members.

Many of the negative stories locally involved money as state and local governments tightened their belts. Powell is set to lose its Circuit Court as an economy measure, and cost cutting by the Wyoming Department of Health will affect the department’s Prevention Unit in Park County. Northwest College was faced with budget cuts, and next year’s students will face higher tuition fees. Powell Valley Healthcare was forced to make layoffs.

The Powell City Council wrestled with funding for the golf course, and a pesky problem with the lining of the leisure pool at the Powell Aquatic Center plagued the city most of the summer.

The city and county proposed a 1-cent sales tax to address infrastructure needs, but it was handily defeated by voters.

On the legal front, Powell Valley Healthcare filed a suit against former CEO Paul Cardwell, who also was charged with embezzlement in both Wyoming and Indiana. Cardwell subsequently disappeared and has yet to be found.

A standoff at a local motel led to the shooting death of a man by a Powell police officer, an action that was found to be justifiable by the County Attorney’s office. In addition, a former police officer was charged with sexual assault.

There were a number of burglaries and other crimes in Powell, but the worst area crime stories came from Cody, including the kidnapping and alleged assault of a young girl, and a woman who was killed, allegedly by her husband.

On the positive side, northwest Wyoming, unlike most of the state, had sufficient irrigation water that, with help from nearly perfect weather conditions during the summer, produced a near record sugar beet crop in the Powell area.

A newly formed committee began working to revive economic development in the area, and a study to determine if a community health center would be appropriate for Powell got under way as well. Meanwhile, the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic continued to provide health care for those who can’t afford it and recently was able to expand its hours. Under new CEO Bill Patten, positive steps were taken at Powell Valley Healthcare to overcome the organization’s recent difficulties.

NWC has strengthened its Criminal Justice program with the addition of a firearms simulator and has established a new aeronautics program as well. Plans are moving forward for a new building to enhance instruction at the college. 

Another positive education story came from Parkside Elementary, which was named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, an outside study found that the Powell schools are fiscally strong.

Other good news was the construction of a $3 million plant by an oil-field related start-up company, and Habitat for Humanity completed its first house in Powell in several years.

Finally, we can’t forget some feel-good stories about Powell’s kids, including an impressive performance by the Powell High School robotics club that, in its first year, made it all the way to the national competition. In addition, PHS brought home state championships in drama, football and wrestling.

All in all, despite our problems, 2012 was a positive year for the Powell area. We hope 2013 brings more good news than bad, and we trust Powell’s people, from elementary kids to senior citizens, will continue to work to make it happen.

3 comments

  • Comment Link December 31, 2012 8:40 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    2012 was really positive after moving away from Powell....life is good now.

  • Comment Link December 31, 2012 9:51 pm posted by Alan

    It's real good that you've moved away! Now stop posting here and enjoy your new community. Happy New Year D.T.

  • Comment Link January 14, 2013 9:04 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    Oh I plan on enjoying my new community now that have my sanity back,Alan.

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