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November 21, 2013 8:25 am

EDITORIAL: Council made right move in approving a code of conduct

Written by Tribune Staff

Thumbs up to the Powell City Council for approving a code of conduct for its meeting.

On Monday night, the council passed a resolution approving the code, which was presented to it by city staff. It’s a simple matter of being “proactive,” according to City Clerk Tiffany Brando, who noted many other cities and towns have such guidelines.

The code defines how the meeting will be conducted, and sets rules on what will and won’t be allowed. Harsh, personally critical comments and disruptions are not allowed, but open debate is encouraged. A culture of openness and welcoming people to the meeting was stressed in the code.

The council, led by Councilman Josh Shorb, discussed how long people will be allowed to speak. The draft version they reviewed said two to five minutes without prior approval. The final version calls for five minutes, and Mayor Don Hillman said speakers need not worry about being cut short.

In fact, if they take the time to get their item placed on the agenda, they can make a longer presentation. It’s important to hear from the public, and the council recognized that, while also setting reasonable limits to prevent repetition and long-winded presentations.

This council works quickly, and is usually done meeting in less than an hour. Ensuring people can have their say may lengthen those bi-monthly meetings a bit, but we are glad to see a full and open debate will be encouraged.

Thumbs up and congratulations to the Powell High School football team’s win over Douglas on Friday, making the team the state Division 3A champs for the third straight year. It was another thrilling title tilt.

Offensive and defensive players worked together through the intense end of the closely matched game, first to prevent Douglas from scoring, then to score the winning touchdown for the Panthers in overtime. The PHS squad gave a dramatic demonstration on what teamwork is all about, and that is a reason to be proud of this championship group.

Thumbs up as well to Vali Cinema and TCT West for providing free access to a live video broadcast of the 3A championship game at the theater’s twin screens. Showing it at the theater allowed community members to come together to cheer and celebrate the team and its victory in a way never before possible without traveling to the game. Food Basket IGA and Pepsi also deserve mention for their roles in promoting the service.

Thumbs down to the increase in hepatitis C infections in Park County.

The fact that there were 56 new reports of infections in the county is particularly distressing, given that much of the increase is due to sharing needles and other unsafe practices associated with illicit drug use. These are problems that were identified as contributing causes to blood-borne diseases decades ago.

It is distressing to learn that young people still are putting themselves at risk for life-threatening diseases by injecting drugs with dirty needles. It’s also sad that they are using drugs and alcohol at such rates.

Thumbs up to a revival of retail shops downtown, with new or relocating businesses opening or planning to open on Bent Street and other locations.

Those include Habitat’s Shop on Bent, Buffalo Billies Toys and Gifts, Wyoming Wireless, Golden Buffalo Fine Jewelry, Electric Graffix and a tattoo parlor. In addition, Hansel and Gretel’s has new owners and a new manager, and Eagle Recovery towing service now has a Powell branch to its business. In a day when many small downtowns in America are struggling to survive, it’s good to see retail businesses filling storefronts on Bent Street.

However, we do note the loss of established businesses, such as Sunlight Mattress and Discount Appliance, which relocated to another town in the Basin after its owners moved.

We encourage Powell area residents to support all local businesses during Friday’s Sample the Season event and during the entire holiday shopping season.

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