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May 15, 2014 7:15 am

EDITORIAL: Search and Rescue members display amazing courage

Written by Tom Lawrence

Thumbs up and a pat on the back to the Park County Search and Rescue Unit for its courage and willingness to endure extreme conditions, all in the name of trying to help others.

Search and Rescue deserves our praise and appreciation all year, but its efforts in recent days, as it looked for a plane that disappeared last week, merit special attention.

“Our initial team spent over 14 hours in the backcountry on foot trekking through 5 feet of snow, over extreme mountainous terrain, in winds of up to 50 mph in an attempt to reach the downed aircraft,” Sheriff Scott Steward said.  “These people are all volunteers and I can’t say enough about their dedication. The people of Park County are fortunate to have them available.”

The plane was found Monday. It had crashed against the eastern slope of Howell Mountain, and the two brothers aboard are presumed to have perished. The area is too dangerous to approach, so the recovery effort is on hold.

But the Search and Rescue members did their level best in extremely trying conditions. We’re proud of their service and thankful for their bravery.

Thumbs up to the Powell City Council on administering an effective budget process.

The council, led by Mayor Don Hillman, met with city staff last week to hammer out the framework for the 2014-15 fiscal year budget. It created what appears to be an effective document, with an $18.2 million budget that will provide services to the citizens while focusing on improving infrastructure.

The council also agreed to provide $116,575 in cash to groups and organizations. That’s an increase from the past two years, when the council wisely tightened the city’s belt to get through some rocky financial times.

There is a lesson there for groups that did not apply for money. The council actually gave some groups more money than was requested.

It’s like the pretty girl at the dance. You never know if she will say yes unless you ask.

Thumbs up to Northwest College graduates.

The Powell college holds its commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Cabre Gym. It marks the end of studies here for most of the graduates and the start of the next phase of their lives.

Some will continue their studies elsewhere while others will take jobs. There is no doubt that all have life lessons to learn at home, in society, in the classroom and in the workplace.

But Saturday morning is a time to applaud them for this accomplishment. Hats in the air, grads.

Thumbs down to the mean-spirited comments directed at Michael Sam, the former University of Missouri star who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the NFL Draft.

The main point is, Sam was a great college player who received All-American status and was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Southeast Conference. The SEC is the best college conference in the nation.

Yes, Sam is gay, and yes, he wept and kissed his boyfriend in joy upon learning he was the first openly gay player to be drafted. Straight players did the same things with their girlfriends and wives.

Sam knew the vitriol that was headed his way, and sure enough, it oozed out of Twitter and other forms of social media. People can disagree about gay people and hold their own views on morality and lifestyles, although it is increasingly accepted in the world.

We choose to look at Sam as a football player. He has the potential to be an NFL player for years, perhaps even a star.

That’s the important fact here.

Thumbs up to Anna Gransoe, who won every match she played for the Powell High School tennis team during her time on the team.

Gransoe, an exchange student from Denmark, was a state champion last fall and concluded her career with a 6-0, 6-0 win over a Cody girl last week, and then teamed with Rachel Anderson to defeat a Cody boys’ duo 6-4 in a one-set match.

You can’t do any better than perfect, and Gransoe was all that during her time as a Panther.

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