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Tribune Staff

October 29, 2009 3:47 am

Locked and loaded

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Saul Guerrero, shown here in action last season, is one of three returning junior college All-Americans and one of five returning national tournament qualifiers for head coach Jim Zeigler this season. The Trappers will hold some exhibition matches this Saturday at the Trapper Gym in the Johnson Fitness Center before opening the year Nov. 7 with the Northwest College Open. Tribune file photo

Experience a plus for Northwest Trapper grapplers

Seven starters, including three junior college All-Americans and two other national tournament qualifiers, return this season for Northwest College head wrestling coach Jim Zeigler. The team will be gunning for its 16th consecutive finish in the national top 10.

“We placed 10th last season, and that almost felt a little disappointing,” Zeigler said. “As much tradition as our program has, we expect to be in the top tier of the standings.”

October 29, 2009 3:42 am

PHS swimmers aim for fastest times

Thirteen Lady Panthers will put their swimming skills and training on the line Thursday and Friday in the Wyoming 3A state swimming finals.

Leading the Powell team will be seniors Samantha Baker, Jessica Curtis and Stepfanie Thompson. Baker and Curtis are among the top swimmers in the backstroke this year, and both have qualified in several events, giving Coach Luke Robertson options for the state competition. Diver Thompson has achieved her personal best score during the season and will be shooting to better that mark this week.

October 29, 2009 3:29 am

Lady Panthers begin title defense

A relaxed, confident group of Lady Panthers departed for Casper yesterday to begin defense of their 3A state championship.

Powell enters the tournament as the top seed from the west by virtue of their win in the regional tournament last week, and will face Buffalo, the fourth-seeded team from the east in the first match of the tournament at 3 p.m.

For most of the season, Powell, despite being the defending champion has been ranked third in the state, behind Wheatland and Rawlins, and a win over Buffalo would likely match the Lady Panthers with Rawlins in the semi-finals. Wheatland is on the opposite side of the bracket, by virtue of winning the East Regional.

The Lady Panthers, though, are not concerned about the rankings, according to senior hitter Hannah Pollart.

“We're just there to play,” Pollart said. “We're not concerned about rankings.”

After a bit of flu hit the team last week, most notably with head coach Cindi Smith, the team is healthy and looking forward to the challenge.

“We're excited,” said senior Kami Cooley. “It's going to be fun.”

October 29, 2009 3:28 am

Hate crime bill signed into law

But Wyoming congressional votes further misperception of state

President Obama yesterday (Wednesday) signed an updated federal hate crimes bill into law.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act has been called by many the most sweeping legislation enacted since federal hate crimes laws were put in place following Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 assassination.

The bill is named after University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard — who was beaten, tied to a fence on the prairie outside Laramie and left to die because of his sexual orientation — and for Texan James Byrd — who also was brutally beaten, then dragged behind a pickup truck until he died. The reason: Because he was black. Both crimes highlight the senseless brutality regularly associated with hate crimes.

Existing hate crimes laws provide for federal assistance with investigating and prosecuting cases of violent crime committed against victims based on color, race, religion or national origin. The Shepard/Byrd act strengthens those laws to include attacks based on sexual orientation, disablity, gender or gender identity.

The bill passed both houses of Congress by a strong majority — and without any help from Wyoming's congressional delegation. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., all voted against the bill.

Lummis is the only one of the group to release an official statement about her vote. She claims, among other reasons, to have voted against the bill because “I do not believe a new federal hate crime law is necessary for violent crimes that are already illegal and impose stiff criminal penalties. All violent crimes are hateful and should be condemned. Like any other crime, despicable crimes motivated by hate or intolerance should be investigated, prosecuted and punished accordingly.”

But the fact is, certain groups are more vulnerable and often singled out in violent attacks. That includes members of minority races, certain religious groups and, yes, homosexuals.

The Matthew Shepard murder is a heinous example of a hate crime — and one that hits awfully close to home.

The new law will provide additional training, funding and assistance to state and local agencies investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. According to National Public Radio, that funding is important: The Albany County Sheriff's office nearly went bankrupt prosecuting the Shepard case.

The three “nays” not only convey a lack of support for prosecution of hate crimes cases, they also further a widespread misperception about attitudes in Wyoming.

October 29, 2009 3:24 am

Pick of the patch

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Emerson Wormald smiles over the pumpkin she picked out Friday at Southside School. Kindergarten classes chose pumpkins, which will be used in class activities, after hosting their parents at lunch. Tribune photo by Steve Johnston

October 27, 2009 4:17 am

Extra allotment

Growers dig extra sugar beets ahead of predicted cold, snow

With freezing temperatures and snow in the forecast this week, sugar beet growers spent the past few days digging extra beets.

Ric Rodriguez, a Heart Mountain beet grower and vice chairman of the Western Sugar Cooperative board of directors, said Monday that cooperative officials allowed growers to dig the next two sections of the allotment, or harvest quota. It's an effort to help growers harvest more beets and keep a steady supply to the factory through the re-haul in case the ground freezes.

October 27, 2009 4:13 am

Flu hits Powell schools

So far, no emergency

The H1N1 flu made its presence known in the Powell schools last week, but so far, there has been no major outbreak.

“If there was a concern (about absences due to the flu), nobody reported it to me,” Superintendent Kevin Mitchell said Monday.

The future of Eleutian Technologies' corporate headquarters remains up in the air. Last week, the company confirmed it was backing out of plans to build a new 10,000 square foot office building in Ten Sleep.

Eleutian had eyed a number of different locations for its expanded headquarters — including Cody — before announcing in September that it would be working with the Washakie County Commission to stay in Ten Sleep, where the company was founded and is currently based.

October 27, 2009 4:10 am

Panthers second at state

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From left, Emily Schwahn, Desiree Murray, Brooke Nisley and Kristi Mingus warm up prior to the start of Saturday's 3A girls' state championship cross country race. Murray earned all-state honors as the foursome, along with teammates Kassey MacDonald, Alyssa Rodriguez and Lauren Fagnant, finished as the 2009 Wyoming 3A runner-up. It was the fourth consecutive top-three finish by the Panther girls' program. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Powell girls get fourth trophy in four years

Powell placed all five scoring runners among the top 20 at the Wyoming state cross country championships in Sheridan on Saturday to score its fourth trophy in as many years with a runner-up finish in the girls' 3A championship race. Similar to the regional race eight days before, the Panthers came in second to Jackson.

Sophomore Desiree Murray earned all-state honors for the second time in her career as she completed the five-kilometer course in a time of 21:15 for fourth place in the 69-runner field.

Lady Panthers take their third-straight title

It looked a little shaky for a while Saturday night, but when the last whistle sounded, the Powell Lady Panthers had successfully extended their streak of regional volleyball titles to three with a five-set win over a tough Mountain View team.

After winning the first set 25-17, the Lady Panthers gave up the next two games, 22-25 and 23-25, and found themselves one game short of finishing second as they gathered at the water cooler before game four. Showing no signs of panic, though, the girls calmly discussed what they needed to do, and heard a quick pep talk from a former teammate, Erica Woodward, who ran across the gym to offer encouragement.