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February 26, 2009 2:59 am

James (Jim) C. Rodgers

(Oct. 14, 1918 - Feb. 23, 2009)

James ‘Jim' C. Rodgers, 90, died Monday, Feb. 23 at West Park Long Term Care Center in Cody. He was born Oct. 14, 1918 in Bassett, Nebr., the son of James F. and Ella (Kops) Rodgers.

Jim was raised in Bassett and received his schooling there. He and his family came to Wyoming in the early 1930s, first to the Riverton area, where he worked on a ranch and later to the Casper area. He entered the U.S. Army on Nov. 12, 1942 and served in the European Theatre during World War II. Following his discharge in 1945, Jim worked in South Dakota until moving to Cody, where he was employed by Taggart Construction. He met Myrna J. Kaiser, who he married on May 31, 1951 in Riverton. Jim continued working for Taggart's until the company closed. He went to work for Graham and Hill Construction and finally was employed by the city of Cody until his retirement.

Jim enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting and the outdoors. He was a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge, Eagles Lodge and the VFW. Jim served as a faithful and longtime member of the VFW Honor Guard, which held a special place in his heart.

His survivors include his wife of more than 57 years, Myrna; his children and their spouses, David Rodgers of Cody, Larry and Joni Rodgers of Mesquite, Nev., Carol and Karl Butler of Cody, and Brian and Anna Rodgers of Powell; a brother, Calvin Rodgers of Shoshoni; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Janet; his parents; and eight brothers and sisters.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27 at Ballard Funeral Home with Jerry Lanchbury officiating. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery with the VFW Honor Guard presenting military honors at the graveside.

Memorial donations can be sent to the VFW Honor Guard, c/o Veterans of Foreign Wars, 808 12th St., Cody, WY 82414.

February 26, 2009 2:59 am

Alice Zlomke

Alice Zlomke, 85, formerly of Deaver, died Tuesday, Feb. 24 in Rapid City, S.D.

Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, March 2 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and burial will follow at the Deaver Cemetery. Visitation will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 at Thompson Funeral Home and one hour prior to services.

A full obituary will follow in Tuesday's paper.

The worth and value of an education is rarely questioned. Its delivery, however, is often scrutinized.

At all levels of government, leaders are evaluating education policies, asking how to keep teens in high school and how to help students across the spectrum succeed.

As new education revisions are sought, the policies need to be creative, and lawmakers need to understand that more money can't be the only solution.

Wyoming knows from experience that simply putting more money into education doesn't automatically result in improvement. Despite funding education at a high level, students statewide continue to struggle.

Addressing the Legislature in January, Gov. Dave Freudenthal urged state lawmakers to look at the system and see whether the state is making the best investments for education.

“Wyoming ranks first or second in nearly all of (the) ratings in terms of the funding effort, and then it falls off,” Freudenthal said. “Whether it is test scores, matriculation or dropout rate, we are in a position where the only ‘A' we get on the report card is for funding.”

In his address to Congress and the nation Tuesday night, President Barack Obama encouraged parents to engage in their children's education. Schools may open the doors of opportunity, but it's up to parents to make sure children walk through them, he said.

“In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a mother or father who will attend those parent-teacher conferences, or help with homework after dinner, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, and read to their child … responsibility for our children's education must begin at home,” Obama said.

With uncertain economic times, the value of an education is clear. We can hope that lawmakers and educators successfully reform the current system, but as Wyoming shows, it's not just in the funding. Education starts at home.

February 26, 2009 2:55 am

Legend honored

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Keith Bloom, known as Mr. Panther, had his No. 57 Powell High School basketball jersey retired during a Friday night ceremony at the new Panther gymnasium. The evening also recognized PHS greats Eddie Kawano, Dennis Havig and Jesseca Cross, who each had a banner unveiled in their honor in the new Hall of Fame Corner, an area of the gymnasium dedicated to athletic accomplishments. Tribune photo by David Dickey For full story CLICK HERE

February 24, 2009 4:04 am

Enzi skeptical of stimulus bill

New approach needed in Afghanistan

Despite the bad economy, U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said he believes Wyoming will weather it because of communities like Powell.

“I like coming to Powell,” Enzi said. “There's entrepreneurial spirit here that can solve problems.”

Charges allege neglect

A Deaver couple faces 78 charges of animal cruelty after allegedly failing to provide enough food for their horses.

Charges filed Friday in Circuit Court allege that Brian Michael Francis, 24, and Stephanie Francis, 22, neglected their 25 mares and 14 studs and geldings penned in a Ralston corral.

A task force formed in January to review and analyze Wyoming's distance-education and video-conferencing systems was prompted by a presentation last year by Dave Reetz of Powell and Kent Holiday, president of Eleutian Technology.

Reetz and Holiday gave a presentation on distance education to the Community College Planning Task Force during a meeting in September.
Eleutian Technology, based in Ten Sleep, uses a program over the Internet that allows teachers in the Big Horn Basin to teach English to students in South Korea.

February 24, 2009 3:58 am

Panther domination

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Powell High School's Monte Nickles (right) goes head to head with Lovell's Darren Ballard (left) during Friday's action at the Class 3A West Regional Tournament in Cody. Nickles went on to claim first place in the 189-pound weight class. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Nine Panthers earn titles as PHS wins 3A West Regional

The Powell High School Panthers steamrolled the competition at the Class 3A West Regional Tournament last Friday and Saturday, claiming the team championship and nine of the 14 individual titles that were up for grabs.

Cross, Kawano, Havig also recognized

Keith Bloom, the man known as Mr. Panther, was on the receiving end of an honor long overdue Friday night at Powell High School.

Bloom, an accomplished student-athlete and 1945 graduate of PHS, had his No. 57 basketball jersey retired in front of a large crowd at the new Panther gymnasium. His jersey retirement was included in a ceremony where PHS officials unveiled what is now known as Hall of Fame Corner, a special area in the gymnasium which highlights the accomplishments of sports greats in PHS's illustrious history.

As part of the ceremony, Bloom, Eddie Kawano, Dennis Havig and Jesseca Cross each had a banner unveiled in their honor.

Jeff Jones, PHS activities director and assistant principal, noted during his speech Friday night that Kawano, Havig and Cross have already had their jerseys retired. Those jerseys are included in the trophy cases in the hallway in front of the PHS gymnasium.

Since Bloom's PHS basketball jersey is believed to have been lost, a special jersey with his No. 57 was made and presented to Bloom by the PHS varsity boys basketball team during last week's ceremony. That jersey, according to Jones, will join the others, which are on display at the school.

“Now it is time to extend a long overdue honor to one of the greatest student-athletes to ever wear a jersey at Powell High School,” Jones said during the ceremony Friday night. “All of us in this school and community take great pride in the tradition of excellence in our athletic programs that have been developed and preserved over the years. To this day, we strive to uphold the standard that has been created by the many impressive individuals who have come before us. The tradition of excellence we all feel at PHS is a direct result of our programs being influenced by amazing people like Mr. Keith Bloom.”

The presentation of the jersey and the unveiling of the banner in Bloom's honor was met with a long ovation and proved to be a special moment in the career of the man who spent countless hours as a PHS student-athlete, coach and athletic director.

“It's been a truly special night,” Bloom told one of the people who offered to hug his neck following the ceremony.

During Friday's event, Jones shared a list of highlights from Bloom's career. Bloom was an all-state selection in football, basketball and track. After graduating high school and serving in the United States Navy, Bloom attended the University of Wyoming on a basketball scholarship. He played basketball four years in Laramie while also playing football for one and baseball for three.

To this day, Bloom is the last person to letter in three sports at UW, according to Jones.

After college, Bloom went on to play professional basketball and baseball for a brief period. During his stint in baseball, Bloom broke his leg during a double steal. Soon after, he had the opportunity to return to Powell and serve as a coach in Park County School District No. 1, which he did for 38 years.

During those 38 years, Bloom served as the head boys basketball coach for 17 years. He also was an assistant football coach and track coach. For 20 years, he coached three sports at PHS. Bloom also started the tennis program at PHS and served as the tennis coach for many years.

Bloom finished his service to the school district as the athletic director for the final 17 years of his career.

As a tribute to Bloom, Jones had the year 1945 placed on Bloom's banner.

“Keith, I know you are a humble person and are thrilled to have the jersey retired at all,” Jones said. “But on behalf of the current student-athletes and coaches, all those that have come before us and everyone in this gymnasium, it is my honor and privilege to present you with your Hall of Fame banner marked with the year you should have had your jersey retired.”

The gesture appeared to bring tears to the eyes of Mr. Panther, who was joined by a many of his family members, including his wife, son and grandson.

The unveiling of the three banners for Kawano, Havig and Cross also proved to be memorable for those involved.

Kawano, who traveled from Colorado to be part of the event, enjoyed a stellar career while at PHS during the 1950s. The former running back scored 360 points during his time with the Panther football team. During his senior year alone, Kawano scored 186 points, which placed him fourth in the nation.

He averaged 9.4 yards per carry, and was named as an all-conference and all-state selection his junior and senior seasons.

Kawano, whose jersey was officially retired in 1957, was named the top backfield performer for the state of Wyoming his senior year, and was tabbed an Associated Press and United Press All-American.

“This is another fond memory from Powell High School that I will always treasure,” Kawano said during his speech Friday night.

Cross, who also was in attendance at the ceremony, was recognized for her many contributions in the areas of athletics. At PHS, she was an all-state selection in volleyball (one year), basketball (two years) and track (four years). Cross also was tabbed a Gatorade National Player of the Year in track as a sophomore, junior and senior and was an All-American in basketball her senior year.

Following high school, Cross attended UW on scholarships for track and basketball. As part of the Cowgirl basketball team, she was a two-time all-conference selection and received Academic All-American honors. Cross was a three-time All-American in track, an All-American strength and conditioning selection and was named an NCAA Woman of the Year, an honor given annually to the top collegiate athlete from each state.

Cross, who recently learned she has been chosen for the University of Wyoming Hall of Fame, also is a former Olympian. In the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, she competed in the shot put and hammer throw. Her PHS jersey was officially retired in 1993. Cross, who lives in Powell, is now a fitness trainer in Powell and Cody and serves as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team at Cody High School.

Havig, who resides in Georgia, was unable to attend Friday's event. However, he sent a letter to Jones, which was read for the crowd. In that letter, Havig stated, “I am sorry I can't be there, but I am proud to be a Powell High School alumnus and very honored to have had my number retired. I feel blessed to have grown up in Powell, Wyoming, and it is always a highlight of our year to return home and visit family and friends.”

In his letter, Havig also extended words of congratulations to Bloom for the honor of finally having his jersey retired.

“God has given us a glimpse of what a man should be about in this life,” Havig wrote. “He has lived his life humbly with the wife (Joyce) of his youth and been blessed with an outstanding legacy of family and friends. What more could a man ask for in this world? We can all look at Coach Bloom and Mrs. Bloom and see how life is meant to be lived.”

Havig played fullback for the Panthers in 1964-66. As a junior, he gained 876 yards and scored 73 points en route to all-conference and all-state honors.

In his senior season, Havig was again all-conference and all-state as well as an All-American. That year, 1966, he rushed for 1,311 yards and scored 85 points. He also was named Wyoming best fullback that year and was presented with the Wilford Mower Award.

Havig went on to play collegiate football at the University of Colorado, where he was a guard from 1967-70.

In 1970, he was an All Big-Eight selection. He also played in the East-West All-Star Game, the Senior Bowl and the Liberty Bowl. In 1971, Havig was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, and in 1972, he was chosen as a member of the Football Digest's All-Rookie squad.

From 1972 to 1978, Havig continued to play in the NFL for the Falcons, Houston Oilers and Green Bay Packers. His PHS jersey was officially retired in 1975.

February 24, 2009 3:37 am

Thomas George (Tom) Wren

(Nov. 7, 1944 - Feb. 14, 2009)

Former Powell resident Thomas George “Tom” Wren died in his sleep at his home in Riverton on Feb. 14.

Tom was born in Stockton, Calif. on Nov. 7, 1944 to Lester and Lucille (Miller) Wren. His parents divorced when he was an infant and his mother later married George Van Dorn of Craig, Colo.

Tom was a free spirit who had his own beliefs and ideas about life. He had many adventures over the course of his life, from riding bulls in the rodeo to building a log cabin in Alaska. Along the way, he was fortunate enough to find love, not once or twice, but three times. His three wives, Toni, April and Diane, preceded him in death.

Tom enjoyed old western movies, watching football in his recliner, midnight snacks, entertaining and cooking for loved ones and telling stories about the “good ol' days.” He had a kind heart, a quick wit and an infectious laugh.

Tom is survived by his children Tracy, Tasha, Tammy, Todd, Darcy, Debbie, Kevin, Shawna and Eric; sister, Myrna Martin; brother, Carl Van Dorn; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wives and a brother, Melvin Wren.

A celebration of his life will take place at a later date.