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Tribune Staff

November 28, 2008 3:42 am

Inger Shanor

(Oct. 15, 1930 - Nov. 22, 2008)

A supporter of the resistance as a child in her native Denmark, Inger Shanor, long-time resident of Powell, died quietly Saturday, Nov. 22 at her Cody home, surrounded by family. She was 78.

Inger was born Oct. 15, 1930, in Barrit, Denmark, to Ragnald and Yrsa Piepgrass. She was 12 years old when Nazi Germany occupied Denmark during World War II. She and her older brother helped the underground smuggle Jewish children out of Denmark by escorting them through a heavily-wooded area approximately two miles to the sea shore. Waiting ships would carry them to safety.

Inger came to the United States in 1950. Shortly after obtaining her citizenship, she joined the Army as a WAC and was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. There she met her future husband, Robert Shanor, who was also serving in the Army.

The couple married in Germany in 1955, where their first child, Bobbie, was born the following year. In 1959, their son, Ron, was born in Powell.

After military service overseas, the family returned to Seattle, Wash., then moved to Powell. As a naturalized citizen, Inger felt it was a privilege to live in this country. She was a familiar face in Powell because of her many years of working in the offices of the City of Powell and then Nelson Insurance.

Inger loved the outdoors and spent most weekends on a snowmobile or 4-wheeling, motorcycling and camping.

She and her husband enjoyed traveling. In 1999, she and Bob, with another couple, rode motorcycles 6,900 miles over 33 days in Alaska.

She had been in every state in the U.S., as well as three Canadian provinces.

Inger was an accomplished seamstress. She sewed all of the children's clothing until Bobbie was in the third grade. She would knit Canadian sweaters for the family and for sale. If the patterns weren't to her liking, she would draw her own.

Survivors include her husband of 53 years, Robert (Bob) Shanor of Cody; daughter, Bobbie Holder of Cody; son, Ron (Jean) Shanor of Cody; four grandsons, two great-grandchildren and a great-great grandson.

She was preceded in death by her parents and all five brothers.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be conducted at Thompson Funeral Home in Powell at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec 1. A gathering to celebrate Inger's life will be held at The Commons in Powell immediately following the service.

November 28, 2008 3:37 am

Mary J. Rodriguez

(Jan. 2, 1926 - Nov. 24, 2008)

Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, Nov. 29 at 9 a.m. at St. Barbara's Catholic Church for Mary J. Rodriguez, 82, who died Monday, Nov. 24 at the Powell Nursing Home.

Father Glen Szezechowski will officiate at Saturday services. Rosary will be said Friday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. at St. Barbara's.

Mary was born Jan. 2, 1926, in San Bernardino, Calif., daughter of Leonides Juarez and Maria (Mata) Juarez. She attended school through the sixth grade in Juarez, Mexico. There, she married Ben Rodriguez on July 20, 1941.

The family moved to Wyoming, settling in the Lovell area in 1954 and on to Powell in 1956.

Mary was known for her cooking and loved to cook for her family. She also applied her skills as a cook at Northwest Community College for 20 years.

Her grandkids were her pride and joy, and she was a big part of their lives.

Survivors include her daughter, Janie Rodriguez Chavira (Adan) of Powell; four grandchildren, Mike Chavira of Washington, D.C., Laura Vizarraga of Denver, Theresa Chavira, stationed in the U.S. Navy in Japan, and Jennifer Chavira of Laramie; a sister, Maria Sarinana of El Paso, Texas; and many nieces and nephews in Lovell and El Paso.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ben; and her brother, Franciso Juarez.

Honorary pallbearers include Mike Chavira, Adan Chavira, Jose Sarinana and Alex Rodriguez, Sr.

For those who wish, the family would appreciate memorial donations to the Alzheimer's Foundation.

Cremation has taken place. Thompson Funeral Home is assisting the family.

November 28, 2008 3:35 am

Elmer Sonny Ratcliff

(March 13, 1932 - Nov. 24, 2008)

Elmer (Sonny) Ratcliff, 76, died Monday, Nov. 24 at his Powell home, surrounded by family.

The Texas native had been a resident of Powell since 1973, affiliated for many years in oilfield manufacturing and cattle industries.

He was born March 13, 1932, in Liberty, Texas, to Elmer Ratcliff and Alice (Tanner) Ratcliff. He graduated from Liberty High School in 1950.

He married Delilah May Stearns July 15, 1952, in Liberty, Texas. Sonny served in the Army in a radar unit and anti-aircraft battalion.

Upon his discharge from the military in 1955, he returned to his Texas roots to begin a lifelong affiliation with the oilfield service. In 1962, the family moved to Billings where he was vice president of Continental Laboratories, Inc., developing several mudlogging instruments. The family lived in Billings and Shepherd, Mont.

In 1973, they moved to Powell where he became manager for construction and operation of Cattle, Inc. He also bought a farm two and a half miles west of Powell and started his own machine shop, Ratcliff Machine, designing and manufacturing equipment for mudlogging companies worldwide. His son, Russ, and grandson, Dusty, joined in the family business. In addition, they repaired equipment for several area farmers.

He was a member of the New Hope Southern Baptist Church, the National Rifle Association and the NWC Welding Department. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, horseback riding and singing.

Survivors include his wife, Dee; son, Russ Ratcliff (Tammy) of Powell; daughter, Sandy Ratcliff Griffin of Powell; grandchildren, Mandy (Mike) Schneider of 29 Palms Calif., Josh (Amber) Ratcliff of Akron, Ohio, Dusty (Shelly) Ratcliff of Powell, Jeanee (Kevin) O'Mara of Powell and Amanda (Daniel) Gonzales of Powell; and eight great-grandchildren, Cambria Schneider, Ashton Ratcliff, Zachery Ratcliff, Mckenzie Ratcliff, Riley Beckett, Sydney O'Mara, Olivia Griffin and Kai Gonzales.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, one brother, and one great-grandchild, Dustin Caden Ratcliff.

Funeral services will be Monday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, with the Rev. Darwin Payton, area missionary for Montana Southern Baptist Convention, officiating. Burial will be in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Pallbearers include Robert Beasley, Josh Ratcliff, Dusty Ratcliff, Michael Schneider, Daniel Gonzales and Kevin O'Mara. Honorary pallbearers are Karl Bear, Lloyd Sullivan, Lee Stearns, Dick Stearns, Roland Munoz, Jim Bellin and Bill Powell.

For those who wish, memorials to the American Cancer Society or the Gideon Bibles would be appreciated by the family.

Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home.

November 28, 2008 3:34 am

AIDS still is a health crisis

Monday is the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day.

The purpose of this day is to bring renewed attention to the global epidemic — a worldwide health crisis that seems to have faded in the American public's eye.

In the 1980s, when the virus was first discovered, a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. Now, with new medications that slow the progress of infection, and even suppress the virus, infected people can live relatively normal, disease-free lives.

Better treatment options, however, have led to a more permissive attitude toward behaviors that put people at risk of contracting the disease. Frankly, many people just aren't as scared of the specter of AIDS as they were 20 years ago.

An article early this week in the Casper Star-Tribune quotes Laurie Johnson, who works with the federally-funded Early Intervention Services, as saying, “It's not a hot topic anymore. People don't hear about it. They don't think about it so they don't use protection.”

Even here in Wyoming, where the total number of cases is relatively low — 166 people in the state were living with AIDS at the end of 2007 — the rate of new infections is increasing.

Education still is a critical component — and early testing is crucial. Anyone potentially infected with HIV/AIDS should be tested, both to avoid spreading the disease and to increase longevity. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine HIV testing for nearly all people in the U.S. Free tests are available, year-round, at the family planning offices in Park County.

Even after this year's World AIDS Day is in the past, we can't afford to forget about this disease.

For the average Park County resident, following Yellowstone National Park's winter-use plans easily could induce a headache.

As usual, Yellowstone's plans for the upcoming winter season were stuck in convoluted litigation.

Until an early-autumn ruling, Yellowstone leaders planned to allow up to 540 snowmobiles in the park each day. A district court judge in the District of Columbia voided those plans in September, prompting the U.S. park Service to create a temporary plan for only 318 machines per day. In early November, a Wyoming district court judge ordered the park to revert to a 2004 temporary ruling of a 720-per-day limit of snowmobiles.

For local winter enthusiasts, it's good news. For environmental groups, such as the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, it's a disappointing setback.

Grappling over winter use is nothing new — various winter-use plans have been fashioned and scrapped for a decade. Yet the back-and-forth litigation and shifting limits are time-consuming and costly, not to mention frustrating.

It's certain that environmental groups will continue to pursue options to reduce the limit of snowmobiles in Yellowstone, and it's inevitable that others will counteract such attempts.

What is also certain: A long-term plan for winter use is necessary. Yellowstone is a beloved park for many, environmentalists and winter enthusiasts alike. A long-term plan that strikes a balance between protecting the park and enjoying it in winter months needs to be established — one that will stand for years to come.

November 25, 2008 5:54 am

Snowmobile battle poised to continue

New temporary plan draws ire of conservationists

Plans for the upcoming winter season in Yellowstone National Park are set, but the long-term picture remains as foggy as ever.

The more than decade-old conflict over snowmobiling in Yellowstone reached a temporary stalemate Nov. 7, when Wyoming District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer ordered park officials to allow 720 snowmobiles per day until a new, permanent rule is drafted.

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During Sample the Season in downtown Powell on Friday evening, Augusta Larsen pauses to peer at a tree adorned with all things Barbie. Dozens of locals voted on decorated trees and sampled holiday treats from main street businesses. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

Reserve money to keep scholarship commitment

While falling stock prices seem a long way off for some Wyomingites, their effects hit closer to home than many realize.

One of those effects is the erosion of the endowment fund invested by the Northwest College Foundation to help pay for scholarships at the college.

But college and foundation officials say they have no plans to reduce the number or dollar amounts of scholarships next year.

What currently serves as a barley field eventually will become Centennial Park, possibly housing a miniature golf course, a sledding hill, a rock climbing wall or a skate park — or a combination of those attractions and more.

Powell residents are helping determine what will be offered in the park's 10 acres.

Last week, locals and city officials shared their ideas with the park's design firm, Peaks to Plains Design of Billings, and engineering firm, Inberg-Miller Engineers of Powell.

“Be sure to dream big,” Peaks to Plains landscape architect Jolene Rieck told Powell folks.

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Trapper Jordan Harris (4) launches a shot during Northwest College's Friday matchup with Williston State College during the first night of the First National Bank and Trust Shootout in Powell. Harris finished the two-day tournament with a total of 42 points. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Youth and inexperience led the Northwest College Trappers to a 1-5 record during its first six games this season.

However, it was the coming together as a team and new-found confidence that helped the Trappers plow through a pair of top-notch opponents in the 19th annual First National Bank and Trust Shootout at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell last week.

NWC, a team that boasts a lineup consisting of 11 freshmen and only three sophomores, put its recent, youthful woes behind and looked more like a veteran squad during convincing victories against Williston State College Friday and Northeastern Junior College Saturday. Both teams entered Powell with winning records, but neither was able to topple the Trappers.