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October 08, 2013 7:10 am

Possible club closure cause for real concern

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Thumbs down to the possibility of closing one of the local Boys and Girls Clubs, but thumbs up to local support and donations for the cash-strapped organization.

“All donations have been awesome. The public has really stepped up since we put out the plea,” said Tina Bernard, chief professional officer. “However, it’s still not enough. We’re still looking at closing one of the two clubs.” For many local families, the Boys and Girls Clubs are a godsend, providing a safe place for kids during the summer and after school, and at a low monthly cost. We’re grateful for the support the community has shown so far, and hope additional money can be raised to sustain this vital nonprofit in coming months.

Thumbs up to Powell High School’s Homecoming week. Panthers will celebrate homecoming with a variety of events, culminating with Friday night’s game when the undefeated Panther football team takes on the Worland Warriors. PHS athletes of all sorts have seen success this fall, and we’re proud of their hard work. The volleyball team hosts Worland Tuesday night, the swim team welcomes Worland, also on Tuesday, and the cross country teams will hold their only home meet at the Powell Golf Course Thursday afternoon. Cheer on the Panther teams, and be sure to wear your orange and black.

Thumbs down to the expiration of the farm bill. Yet again, Congress has failed to pass comprehensive legislation funding agriculture and nutrition programs. The farm bill quietly expired on Sept. 30 amid the loud outcry of the federal government shutdown, which started Oct. 1. While the Senate passed a farm bill in June — months before the deadline — the House failed to do so. Unfortunately, we’re no longer surprised by lawmakers’ inability to get the job done. The latest impasse is sure to affect rural America. “The government shutdown and the expiration of the farm bill has created a double whammy of uncertainty for the economy and for the 16 million Americans who work in this country because of agriculture,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Thumbs up to the best use of $40 we’ve seen. Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt recently purchased two Dodge pickups for just $10 apiece. The 2009 Dodge vehicles will replace two older cars used by the police department. The chief also purchased two four-wheel drive vehicles for $10 each last year. Blessed with strong financial times, generous leaders in Sublette County chose to help others in Wyoming by offering an exceptional deal on its vehicles. We appreciate Sublette County’s benevolence and Chief Eckerdt’s wise purchase. When a tank of gas often costs more than $40, it’s incredible to purchase four vehicles for that price.

Thumbs up to the many educational programs offered by Powell Valley Community Education. Local residents of all ages have the opportunity to learn about the Civil War, wild horses roaming in the McCullough Peaks, the Alaskan wilderness, Internet basics, needlepoint and British pub food — and that’s just this week. Throughout the year, PVCE offers a wide variety of educational programs. Thanks to a new vehicle, the organization rolled out new Education-on-Wheels programs this year. “Our van, purchased recently from a local dealership, has opened up many opportunities,” said Program Assistant Vicki Olson in July. Broaden your horizons and take a PVCE course, whether close to home or on wheels.

Thumbs down to the federal government’s closure of national parks and monuments, and the decision to shut down scenic turnouts on roads that remain open through national parks. These actions, designed to make Americans feel the pain of the government shutdown, are both spiteful and stupid.

We fail to see how allowing people to pause to reflect on the nation’s history at the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial is in any way a political issue. And it’s foolish to shut down access to the roadside pullouts. If someone needs them due to car trouble or a flat tire, they should have that access. We wonder if the Republicans and Democrats battling in the Capitol really care if someone snaps a photograph of America’s majesty. Most of us are disappointed, if not disgusted, with the ongoing shutdown and federal lawmakers’ inept performances. Shutting down access to national treasures only adds to our frustration.

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