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Ilene Olson

A decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to delay future attempts to delist the grizzly by two or three years is the right thing to do.
Many scientists believe the grizzly has recovered as a species and no longer needs to be included on the Endangered Species List. But the most recent legal maneuvers by environmental groups have focused on the decline in whitebark pine trees due to disease and pine beetles. The seeds of the whitebark pine traditionally are an important source of food for grizzlies, and some believe the decline of the trees could threaten the grizzly’s continued recovery.

When Bill Patten took up his new position as chief executive officer for Powell Valley Healthcare on Feb. 27, he missed the proverbial frying pan and landed straight in the fire.

But Patten said he’s OK with that.

“While the learning curve is a lot more steep than I would have guessed it to be, it reaffirms my belief that I can make a difference here,” he said recently.

Patten’s first day on the job came four days after his new employer, HealthTech Management Services, filed a lawsuit against his predecessor, Paul Cardwell, alleging Cardwell had embezzled nearly $850,000 from Powell Valley Healthcare.

During his first day on the job, the Powell Valley Healthcare board voted to join in that lawsuit.

April 17, 2012 8:30 am

New leadership, new vision:

Strategic planning retreat focuses on future at Powell Valley Healthcare

The last year or two have been difficult for Powell Valley Healthcare.

“It kind of started with a change in the system, and it shook our faith in the system,” said Dr. Mark Wurzel, president of the Powell Valley Healthcare board.

After years of legal wrangling and enmity, it is good to see the state of Wyoming and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally working together to delist wolves in the state and hand their management over to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

However, even as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department holds meetings around the state to get public feedback regarding wolf hunting in the state, one has to wonder when — or if — that ever will happen.

When considering a new Park County Fair facility, the Park County Commission is right to move forward with care. After all, the estimated cost of $4 million is a substantial investment for a county like ours with a relatively small population.

Commissioners also were wise to hire a grant writer who is expert in seeking out available grants and other possible funding sources. Identifying and applying for possible funding could increase possibilities for the building and reduce the cost of replacing the former Large Exhibit Hall and adjoining buildings.

April 05, 2012 8:54 am

A picturesque career

Photography instructor set to retire in May

Best pay cut I ever took,” Woody Wooden said Tuesday when recalling his 2001 move to Powell to take a position as a photography instructor at Northwest College.

Prior to coming to Northwest, Wooden was a program manager at the Community College of Southern Nevada, where he also taught photography.

“Northwest College had a very strong photography program, and we had just gotten a little baby girl,” he said. “All of the women who are in the program (at the Nevada college) who are born and raised in Las Vegas sort of had a superficial attitude. Everything was instantaneous gratification.

Two school leaders plan to step into new positions

Leadership in several Powell schools will change for the 2012-13 school year, following announced resignations of two principals and the proposed transfer of leaders at two other schools.

Luke Danforth resigned last week as principal of the Shoshone Learning Center. That follows the previously announced resignation of Bill Schwan as Powell High School principal.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The West Park Hospital Prevention and Wellness office in Cody and other prevention-aimed organizations in Wyoming have taken that philosophy to heart. And, as prevention programs have increased, teen drinking and smoking in Wyoming have decreased.

Local prevention office staff say they were given no chance to submit a proposal

A recent decision by the Wyoming Department of Health to consolidate prevention efforts in the state hit a nerve among employees and partners with the West Park Hospital Prevention and Wellness Office.

For the two boards governing operations and facilities at Powell Valley Hospital, “business as usual” — isn’t.

The boards — the Powell Valley Healthcare board and the Powell Hospital District board — learned Monday that they must start the planning process over for updating hospital and medical facilities. That is largely due to apparent deceptions by former CEO Paul Cardwell.