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Tribune Staff

February 23, 2010 3:58 am

Regional champs x 3

PHS three-peats as regional champs, 16 finish in top 4

Twelve Powell Panthers reached the finals and eight took championships to lead their team to their third straight regional wrestling championship last weekend.

Four more Panthers earned third place, three finished fourth and four more reached the top eight, pushing the team score to 309.5 points, 89 points ahead of second-place Worland. Lander finished third and Mountain View fourth.

When meetings concern public land issues, it's hard to make an argument for why citizens should be barred from such meetings.

Yet over the last few months, that is exactly what U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials have been doing — trying to argue why they need to meet behind closed doors to discuss revision of a resource management plan.

Secrecy and lack of public access have concerned various interest groups, from the Park County Commission to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition to the Meeteetse Conservation District.

Despite requests from the commissioners and environmentalists to open the meetings, BLM officials have maintained their closed-meeting position.

The bureau's concern is that residents will only get snippets of information at meetings — not the full picture — and therefore misunderstand discussion and where it's leading.

Yet, in an attempt to prevent misunderstanding, BLM officials are in danger of creating mistrust.

A Wyoming Outdoors Council representative, Nathan Maxon, said he's already seeing it. One bentonite industry worker told Maxon that he is concerned about the plan after hearing a commissioner say it may be bad for industry.

Of course, without knowing the specifics, he likely fears the worst.

In order to trust the government's handling of public lands, citizens need to be able to listen to discussion concerning their land. Opening the meetings would help Big Horn Basin residents gauge the situation for themselves.

That's what many interest groups want.

For commissioners, they feel the public needs to see how environmentally-oriented the plan may be. For environmentalists, they believe the public needs to see how commissioners and others are seeking to make the plan industry-friendly.

With doors closed and information limited, citizens are unable to make their own assessments.

While we appreciate the opposition commissioners and others have voiced, at this point, it seems it may be too little, too late.

A BLM representative made the point last week that the bureau doesn't want to change horses midstream.

Still, the BLM's reluctance to allow public access at meetings concerning the public's land is unacceptable. In a democracy, citizens have a right to be involved with discussion involving their land.

What is the harm if the BLM lets the public know what is happening during the revision process? Excuses from the bureau have fallen short.

February 23, 2010 3:35 am

Grant V. Bjerke

(April 26, 1918 - Feb. 19, 2010)

Grant V. Bjerke, 91, died Friday, Feb. 19, 2010 in Cheyenne.

He was born April 26, 1918 in Grafton, N.D. and had lived in Cheyenne since 1962, with prior residence in Bowdoin and Malta, Mont., and Riverton, Worland and Powell.

Grant worked with his father in a plumbing shop following his graduation from Powell High School in 1936.
He served in the Navy from 1942-1948 on the USS Belleau Wood.

He was employed by Wyoming Automotive/Industrial Automotive/Fairmont Automotive before retiring in 1988.

Grant was a member of the Airport Golf Course and Cheyenne Bowling Association, and he was still active in both until the time of his death.

He is survived by two sons, Kibben Bjerke of Platina, Calif. and Dale Bjerke (Tamara) of Cheyenne; three sisters, Rhoda Gillilandand Eileen Kindler, both of Cody, and Betty Ann Butler of San Diego, Calif.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Audrey America (Snodgrass) Bjerke in 1954; parents, Conrad and Mary Bjerke; two brothers, Lee Bjerke and William Bjerke; and sister Avis Bjerke.

Services will be in Cheyenne, with military honors provided by the American Legion Post #6 Honor Guard.
Interment will be Friday, March 5, at 10 a.m. in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Thompson Funeral Home will be handling local arrangements.

February 23, 2010 3:28 am

Burns Bassett Brimhall

(Feb. 12, 1946 - Oct. 30, 2009)

Longtime Cody businessman Burns Bassett Brimhall died at his home on Oct. 30, 2009. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

Burns was born in Lovell on Feb. 12, 1946 to Mary Eliza Brimhall and Hazen Burns Brimhall. He was the youngest of eight children.

Burns graduated from high school in Lovell in 1963 and joined the Army National Guard in 1965. He received an honorable discharge in October 1971.

In 1967, Burns married Sue Crosby. Together they had three children, Amy, Burns and Jackson.

Shortly after high school, Burns graduated from meat-cutting school in Salt Lake City. He worked as a meat-cutter in Greybull and in Wendover, Nev. before a business partnership with Chuck Kinder helped create ABC Packing in Cody. He worked there for three years, and during the time between selling ABC Packing and purchasing The Zero Box Meat Processing Plant, Burns worked for Julian Construction.

Burns and Sue owned the Zero Box for 15 years until selling the business in 1984. That same year Burns purchased the Downtowner Liquors and Lounge. In 2008 Burns sold the Downtowner, and he and Sue retired.

Burns was known for his savvy business skills, his straight-forward attitude and his impeccable honesty and work ethic.

He is survived by his wife, Sue; his children Amy Norby (Mike) and Burns and Jackson Brimhall; granddaughters Rylie and Rowan Norby and Christen Grant (Sky); sisters Ruby Reno of Powell and Patsey Hudspeth of Lovell; and his brother Harlow Brimhall, also of Lovell.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Linda Brimhall and Shirley Norton, and his brothers, Keith Brimhall and Phil Brimhall.

Funeral services have taken place.

February 23, 2010 3:27 am

Cornelius Francis Neil' McCarthy

(July 5, 1940 - Feb. 15, 2010)

Cornelius Francis “Neil” McCarthy, 69, of Omaha, Neb., died Monday, Feb. 15, 2010, at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Neil was born July 5, 1940, at Broken Bow, Neb., to Cornelius and Francis (Mohatt) McCarthy. He attended Cozad High School where he was active in 4-H and FFA, graduating in 1958.He married his high school sweetheart, Rosemary Lauby, on January 28, 1961, at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Lexington, Neb.

Neil was a member of the Lexington Chaptr of Knights of Columbus, the Lexington Jaycees and the Nebraska National Guard.

Neil and Rosemary lived in Powell for seven years, where he drove a truck for the Gillett Dairy.

Later in life, Neil enjoyed camping and fishing, often serving as a campground host. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years; sons Jerry (Lori) of Blair, Neb., and Chris and partner Jimmy Victor of Omaha; daughter Trueline; and grandchildren Kristina, Mason, Evan and Dominque.

Neil was preceded in death by his son Robert Anthony; infant daughter Christine Anne; infant grandson Tyler Anthony; his parents; and a sister, Janet.

Services were held last week, with burial following in St. Ann's Catholic Cemetery at Lexington.

Memorials are suggested to the family for the grandchildren's education.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington handled arrangements, and online condolences may be directed to reynoldslovefuneralhome.com.

May 08, 2002 9:06 am

Leola Sironen

(Oct. 23, 1919 - May 1, 2002)

Leola Sironen, 82, a long-time Powell resident, died Wednesday, May 1.

She was born Oct. 23, 1919, in Red Lodge, Mont., daughter of Oscar and Mary Spanger. She grew up in Red Lodge, Butte and other Montana communities. She graduated from Carbon County High School in Red Lodge in 1937.
She then attended Montana State Normal College in Dillon, Mont., before teaching school at Draper school and Fox school near Red Lodge.

She married Archie Sironen on Feb. 7, 1945, in Englewood, Colo. They lived for a short time in the Denver area before moving back to Red Lodge and then to Powell. Her husband began work in the Elk Basin oilfields, and she worked as a legal secretary and later as a clerk for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In Powell, she was active in the community, serving in leadership roles in the VFW Auxiliary, BPOE Does, the Powell Hospital auxiliary and the community blood drive.

Survivors include two sons and daughters-in-law, Paul and Sue Sironen of Cody and John and Susan Sironen of McMinnville, Ore.; and one granddaughter, Stephanie Sironen of Cody.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Mildred, and her husband, Archie.
In keeping with her wishes, cremation has taken place. A memorial gathering will take place in the VFW Hall in Powell on Thursday, May 16 at 3 p.m.

The family would appreciate memorial donations to the Powell Hospital Auxiliary Memorial Fund or a charity of choice.

February 23, 2010 3:21 am

Lady Panthers top Lander

PHS looks to clinch conference title

Racking up the points in the fourth quarter, the Powell High School girls' basketball team turned a close contest into a 55-43 conference win over Lander on Friday.

The victory put the Lady Panthers' record at 16-3 overall, and 10-2 in Class 3A's Western Conference with two games remaining in the regular season. A Powell win against either Worland or Cody this weekend will clinch the conference's No. 1 seed in the regional tournament.

“Our mission is to show up and play hard every night, and hopefully the scoreboard will reflect that at the end of the weekend,” said PHS head coach Luke Danforth.

The team's second half play paid off last week with a 12-point win in a game that was tight for three quarters.

Lander's Lady Tigers played without their second-leading scorer, Kristy Ragan, who is out for the season with a knee injury, but top scorer Ruthie O'Neal stepped up early. In the first half, O'Neal netted 18 of LHS' 24 points.

With Lander shooting well and Powell having a tough time handling the ball, Danforth said the Lady Tigers were able to take a 24-21 lead at halftime.

“Second half, I think we settled down a little bit,” said Danforth. The Lady Panther D held O'Neal to just six points in the final two quarters while PHS senior Hannah Pollart tallied 18.

In the third quarter, Powell turned a three-point deficit into a two-point, 36-34, advantage, Danforth said. But as the last few seconds ran off the clock, Lander hit a 3-pointer, and just like that, PHS was again trailing, 37-36, entering the final period.

Lander's lead would be short-lived, however, as the Lady Panthers opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run.

“At that point, I thought the girls just did a good job taking care of the ball,” said Danforth. PHS made seven of nine fourth-quarter free throw attempts to put the game on ice.

Danforth said the game was another example of the Lady Panthers' team-oriented play, with seven girls making contributions on offense and defense.

As a team, Powell made a healthy 50 percent of their field goals (22 of 44 attempts from the floor), while holding Lander to just 35 percent shooting (18 of 51).

Pollart led the PHS attack with 24 points, including making seven of eight free throws.

Savannah Donarski joined her in double digits, scoring 14 points, and making it a double-double with 12 rebounds.

Kami Cooley added 8 points, Katie Kipp 7, and Leslie Thronburg 2.

Today (Thursday), PHS will host Worland in what will mark the last home game for seniors Pollart, Donarski, Cooley and Kipp. Danforth said the four girls will be missed when they depart the Panther program and appreciated the post-season, which he said is “a testament to their work not only as basketball players, but also as teammates.”

The coach said he expects a strong effort from Worland's Lady Warriors (7-12 overall, 5-7 in conference play) in the 5:45 p.m. match-up.

“They're going to show up here and try to make something happen,” he said.

The regional rivalry continues in earnest on Friday with a 7:30 p.m. game with the Fillies (15-5, 8-4) in Cody.

The two contests will close the regular season for PHS.

“I anticipate both games being fiercely competitive,” said Danforth.

The 3A West regional tournament is scheduled to begin March 4 in Lyman.

Editor's note: This version of the story corrects the days that the Lady Panthers will play this week.

There's blame to go around

A letter sent by Northwest College President Paul Prestwich in early February has raised a question of impropriety.

The letter, sent to 1,002 high school parishioners of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, touts the opportunities offered by the college and the Powell community for those of Mormon faith. Prestwich clearly states in the letter that he too is a member of the church.

NWC's enrollment management plan for 2007-2010 lists as a strategy for increasing diverse student populations: “Partner with local churches, NOWCAP, Headstart and local businesses.”

According to the admissions office, the college has in the past worked with both the Newman Center, which is affiliated with the Catholic Church, and with the LDS Institute in Powell to send recruiting letters.

But according to a faculty member on the committee that drafted the enrollment management plan, the intention was to increase the diversity on campus by recruiting more Hispanic and international students, not to target those of a particular faith.

The language of the plan is ambiguous at best, leaving that specific strategy wide open to interpretation.

In the most recent case, college admissions office personnel specifically asked Prestwich to pen the correspondence, which was accompanied by a letter from the president of the Cody Stake of the LDS church.

That's where the issue gets sticky: The recent letter was sent only to Mormon high school students, raising the ire of some NWC students, faculty, staff and community members. They question whether a single religious group is being shown special favor.

Prestwich says the letter was sent to LDS students as a recruiting tool for a select target audience. While recruitment letters haven't recently been sent to other religious groups, he and admissions office personnel say they may work with the Newman Center and with Protestant-based Campus Ventures in the future to recruit students of faith.

That shouldn't occur. The policy and practice of singling out certain religious groups for recruitment is bad policy and a dangerous practice.

Efforts to recruit students should be all inclusive and focus on NWC's outstanding academic programs, extracurricular activities and the abundant recreational opportunities. Religious affiliation — or the lack thereof — should play no role.

While from the worst-case perspective, this episode represents a case of impropriety and favoritism, more likely it's simply a case of bad judgment.

The committee that developed the recruitment plan, NWC's admissions office and Prestwich all deserve their share of the blame.

The college needs to make certain this situation doesn't happen again.

February 25, 2010 3:16 am

Norma Tryon Clevenger

(March 12, 1938 - Feb. 12, 2010)

Former Powell resident Norma Clevenger , 71, died Feb. 12, 2010, of cancer in Eugene, Ore.

She was born March 12, 1938, in Sheridan to Joe and Thelma Hibler Tryon.

She married William Clevenger Sr. on Dec. 31, 1954, in Worland. He died Feb. 15, 2009.

She graduated from high school, and she was a homemaker and artist for most of her adult life. She also worked in sales for Adzumos Cracker Co., Fred Meyer, Coast to Coast and Umpqua Ice Cream Co.

Survivors include a daughter, Linda Hogan of Eugene; three sons, Glen of Springfield, Ore. and William Jr. and James, both of Eugene; four sisters, Leona James and Bonnie Tryon, both of Junction City, Ore., JoAn Anderson of Salmon, Idaho, and Diana Bevier of Marcola, Ore.; three brothers, Larry Tryon of Junction City, Dennis Tryon of Eugene and Dale Tryon of Wasilla, Alaska; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Grace Baptist Church in Eugene. Arrangements are being handled by Poole-Larsen Funeral Home in Eugene. Remembrances may be made to Grace Baptist Church.

February 23, 2010 10:09 am

Spring clean-up at Smith mansion

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Maynard Brown of Powell carries scrap lumber to a burn pile Saturday at the Smith mansion during a volunteer clean-up effort. Sunny Smith Larsen, owner of theWapiti mansion, called the weekend a “huge success.” Tribune photo by Carla Wensky