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June 27, 2013 8:06 am

EDITORIAL:Thumbs up & Thumbs down

Written by Tom Lawrence

Thumbs up to the 2013 Powell High School Alumni Reunion this weekend.

The Alumni Association invites all graduates to celebrate their school years, but classes celebrating five-year and 10-year anniversaries, from 1943 to 2003, are holding special gatherings. We hope all enjoy a chance to see old friends and recall their years together.

There is a bittersweet tinge to the celebrations, however, as people who graduated from PHS may see the former Powell High School for the final time. It opened in 1959, closed in 2008, and will be torn down in the coming year.

But for the most part, this will be a time of joy. The community is celebrating alumni weekend, and gala events and parties will be held across Powell.

That’s fitting. Enjoy the weekend, and the memories.

Thumbs up to news that more highway improvements on U.S. Highway 14-A are under way.

The formerly two-lane road, which is used by more than 5,000 vehicles a day, according to Wyoming Department of Transportation resident engineer Todd Frost in Cody, is undergoing a dramatic upgrade.

About 3.5 miles of U.S. 14-A will be widened to five lanes with a continuous turn lane and eight-foot shoulders. This will conclude a long-running effort to widen 24 miles of the highway between Cody and Powell.

The new road will be safer and will allow people passing through the two communities more peace of mind as they travel. It’s a good investment in infrastructure and in the quality of life for those of us who use 14-A.

Thumbs down to a report that Park County’s assessed value dropped 3 percent.

The Powell Tribune reported on June 18 that Assessor Pat Meyer said local governments collected $67.75 million in property taxes last year. It appears the total for this year will be about $2 million less.

That means fewer dollars for schools, towns, public safety and other areas that impact all of us. Meyer blamed a dip in prices for natural gas and oil. We hope this is a temporary fluctuation in valuation and not a sign of a long-term downward trend.

Thumbs up to American-Legion Hughes-Pittinger Post 26 for its efforts to honorably retire damaged and soiled American flags.

Seven Legion members held a solemn ceremony on the Northwest College campus on June 14, which was Flag Day. We admire these veterans for their continued devotion to flag and country.

Thumbs up to the people behind the Powell Community Garden.

It’s a welcome addition to the community, as people have the opportunity to use the plots in Veterans Park to grow healthy vegetables and other plants. The 4-foot by 20-foot plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

This started as an idea last winter and has now blossomed into a reality. Organizers hope to someday offer gardening lessons, art, music and other attractions.

Thumbs down to the vandals who uprooted plants and damaged the community garden on June 16.

It takes effort and energy to either create or destroy, and we cannot fathom why some fools choose the latter. The garden will be more closely watched, and a fence may have to be erected around it.

That’s a sad statement. We hope the vandals do not return to create more havoc, but instead choose to join in the effort to grow.

They could also take a lesson from Rick Martin, owner of the Straw Igloo garden, who has offered free tomato plants for anyone who needs them to replace those destroyed. That’s the true spirit of a community effort such as the garden.

Thumbs up to the first day of summer.

The hot season officially arrived Friday. It marks a time for picnics and ballgames, swimming and snoozing on the grass.

We enjoy the variety of seasons and the splendor each offers. But we love the long, warm days of summer and are glad to see them arrive.

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