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Tribune Staff

For many American drivers, multitasking behind the wheel is commonplace. Switching a radio station, drinking coffee, checking a map and talking on a cell phone are all everyday tasks that easily interfere with driving.

In recent years, another activity has spurred distraction: Text messaging.

As the Tribune reported Tuesday, state legislators are considering a bill that would make texting and driving an illegal combination.

However, as local law-enforcement officials point out, it would be a difficult statute to enforce.

Just as drivers rush to click a seatbelt when pulled over by an officer, they can easily tuck a cell phone away. Drivers are unlikely to readily admit that they were distracted by a text message after a traffic stop, or worse, a car wreck.

Last fall, in separate crashes, two young Wyoming athletes' deaths were linked to texting, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Highway Patrol believes Mitchell Birch, 17, of Encampment, a football player at Saratoga High School, and Brittany Rentas, 16, of Wright, an all-state cross country runner, were texting at the time of the fatal collisions.

These tragic deaths show the danger of mixing messaging with driving.

Young drivers —who have less experience on the road to begin with —are much more likely than older drivers to text while driving.

In a report released in December, 50 percent of drivers ages 18-24 admitted to sending text messages while driving, according to the American Auto Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Text messaging while driving is already illegal in numerous states, including Alaska, Connecticut, California and Minnesota. It's time for the Cowboy State to act as well.

Though a law may curb some texting behind the wheel, it's also up to drivers of all ages to be sensible and focus on driving rather than messaging.

February 05, 2009 3:42 am

Tammy Rae Saldana

(Oct. 2, 1962 - Jan. 12, 2009)

Tammy Rae Saldana of Casa Grande, Ariz., died Jan. 12 at her home. She was 46.

She was born Oct. 2, 1962, in Powell to Joe and Ylaria Saldana. She owned and operated the Pita Pit, in Casa Grande, for the past two years. She was an optimist and adventurer and treated people as she wanted to be treated. She always had a smile and was a great cook.

Tammy loved the outdoors, riding her motorcycle, camping and fishing, and was an avid New York Jets fan. She loved elephants, and her cat, Louie. She thought elephants brought her luck.

She is survived by a daughter, Marquita Koplitz, and a son, Zach Koplitz, both of Casa Grande; her parents, Joe and Ylaria of Powell; three sisters Laurie Ochoa of Thousand Palms, Calif.; Mickey Carillo of Layton, Utah; and Melanie Saldana of Casa Grande; and brothers Joe Saldana of Casa Grande and Mark Saldana of Powell.

Cremation has occurred and services were held Jan. 17 at Simes Mortuaries Casa Grande Chapel.

February 05, 2009 3:40 am

Isabell E. Young

(March 21, 1919 - Feb. 3, 2009)

Isabell E. Young, age 89, a longtime Meeteetse resident, died Tuesday, Feb. 3 at Powell Valley Care Center in Powell.

Isabell was born on March 21, 1919, in Kline, Mont., the daughter of William and Sarah (Allen) Cammock. She married Charles F. Young on April 5, 1941, in Cody.

They lived in the Sheridan area before moving to Meeteetse in 1968. While in Sheridan, they carried mail on the Kirby to Decker route for more than 20 years. When they moved to Meeteetse, they owned and operated Young's Service Station and Cafe until Charles' death in 1998.

Isabell and Charles were partners throughout their lives. Having no children of their own, they helped raise their nieces and nephews.

Following Charles' death, Isabell lived with her nephew and niece, John and Lela Lawler, in Powell for a number of years before moving to Powell Valley Care Center.

She is survived by nephews, John (Lela) Lawler of Powell and Charley (Ann) Lawler of Meeteetse; nieces Reta (Harvey) Collins of Cody, Joyce (Doc) Neal of Wyola, Mont., Janet Keeler and Sharon Desjarlais, both of Billings, Isabel (Bill) Kershaw of McMinnville, Ore., and Susan (Leonard) Hixson of Ranchester; and numerous great-nephews, great-nieces and cousins.

Isabell was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Charles; and all of her siblings.

Cremation has taken place, and private family interment services will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Thermopolis at a later date.

February 05, 2009 3:39 am

Ken Webb (Dicks) Franks

(April 21, 1948 - Jan. 30, 2009)

Ken Webb (Dicks) Franks, 60, of Lovell, died Jan. 30 in Evanston.

Ken was born April 21, 1948, in Lovell, the son of Richard and Pearl (Webb) Franks. At an early age, he was adopted by his stepfather, Emet Dicks.

He spent his youth in Powell. He later graduated from Lovell High Scool and Utah Technical College. He became an auto body repairman, a career he continued until becoming disabled with Hunnington's Chorea. He enjoyed talking about his children and his cars.

Ken is survived by daughters Julie (Eric) Mann of Lovell, and Jamie (Paul) Jenkins, Janie Franks, Nicole (Eric) Nigg, and Natalie Franks, all of Idaho Falls, Idaho; a son, Richard Franks, also of Idaho Falls; mother, Pearl Dicks of Cody; a sister, Cindy (Val) Wheelwright of Ogden, Utah; and brothers Dee (Vicki) Dicks of Powell and Hal (Barbara) Dicks of Cody.

Cremation has taken place, and a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

February 05, 2009 3:38 am

Roy D. Thomas

(July 4, 1926 - Feb. 3, 2009)

Roy D. Thomas, 82, died Feb. 3 at the Powell Valley Care Center.

Roy was born in Kansas on July 4, 1926, to Roy and Maude Thomas. He was the fourth of five children. He worked on the farm as a boy, riding his work horse to a one-room school in the winter. On Saturdays, he would ride to town to charge the battery for the radio so he could listen to the Grand Ole Opry show that evening. While in town he would go to the matinee cowboy picture show.

He joined the Army during World War II. While serving in the Philippines he learned to operate heavy equipment, which he continued throughout his lifetime. His love of country music led him to “round up some guys” to form a band to pick and sing during off-duty times while stationed overseas.

After his discharge from the Army he headed west to Wyoming. He met a “little red-headed girl” in Cody. When he asked her to go to a picnic with him, she said he had to ask her dad. Roy often said that was one of the scariest things he ever had to do. Roy and Lurraine were married on Feb. 12, 1949, in Cody. Roy loved the mountains of Wyoming and hunted and fished with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, Carl and Earl Sauerwein.

Roy operated heavy equipment throughout the Big Horn Basin. He leveled many of the fields around Powell for farming, built locations for drilling rigs in Elk Basin and worked on various road construction jobs. Roy and Lurraine worked in Sunlight Basin before they had children. He ran the Caterpillar tractor, building roads, and Lurraine was the camp cook.

Roy owned and operated a farm on the Willwood from the mid-1970s until his retirement. During the winters he worked at the Powell Auction yard.

Coming from the flats of Kansas, he loved the mountains of Wyoming. He lived in Cody, Powell, and Ralston with Lurraine until her death. Roy then moved to the Powell Valley Care Center in December 2007.

He is survived by a daughter, Rosemary (Daniel) Barnes of Albany, Ore.; a brother, James R. Thomas of Seattle; five grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Roy was preceded in death by his wife, Lurraine, and a son, James E. Thomas.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Feb. 9, 2009, at 10 a.m. at Thompson Funeral Home. Viewing will be one hour prior to services. Burial will be in the Crown Hill Cemetery.

February 05, 2009 3:37 am

Jerome (Jerry) Asay

(Aug. 24, 1935 - Dec. 30, 2008)

Jerome Charles (Jerry) Asay, 73, of Powell, took his last ride Tuesday, Dec. 30 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

He was surrounded by his loving family. His spirit could not be broken, but he could not physically conquer the cancer that had invaded his body. He will be missed so much.

Jerry was born Aug. 24, 1935 in Lovell, the son of John Hatch Asay and Evelyn O'Donnell Asay. He attended schools in Lovell and graduated from Lovell High School. He joined the Army after high school and was stationed in Germany. Later he became a master electrician, a big game outfitter and a rancher, but his true loves were always his family, his horses and the high country. Jerry never met a stranger, and he always enlightened the crowd with his sense of humor. He never went anywhere that he didn't make a friend before he left. Jerry loved his family so much and was very proud to introduce them to everyone he came in contact with.

His passion in life was the mountains. He loved going to the family cabin in the Big Horns and always loved to ride his horse and spend time with his children and his grandchildren.

Jerry is survived by a brother, Ken (Shirley) Asay of Pavillion; sisters, Betty Asay of Powell and Carole Anne (Chuck) Myers of Dubois; nine children, Jerry Allen (Chris Bakke) Asay of Worland, Connie (Alvin) Harimon of Bayard Neb., Lori (Mike) Bogen of Sheridan, Ore., Carrie (Tom Schutt) Asay of Bayard, Neb., Mike (Kim) Asay of Powell, Kathy (Steve) Shaffer of Ralston, Karen Morgan of Powell, Kristi (Nathan) Harder of Houston, Texas and Monte (Joni) Asay of Pine Bluffs. He is also survived by 30 grandchildren: Clint, Stacy, Michael, Amanda (Joe), Erin (Travis), Jaimi (Jared), Anna (Sean), James (Hayley), Kirsten, Klayten, Kanin, Kaleb, Cory (Danielle), Curtis (Melanie), Jennifer, Joe (Jonie), Ashley, Jeremy, Ryan (Jordan), Paul (Heather), Seth, Tyler, Justin, Jacob, Amanda (Jared), Eric (Meghan), Nicholas and Austin.

He also left behind 18 great-grandchildren: Ethan, Kaylinn, Aiden, Traeton, Owyn, Rayden, Brooke, Braxton, Colby, Brooklynn, Lauren, Hailee, Natalie, Dominick, Nathan, Brayden, Conner, Makayla and Jackson.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Evelyn; brothers, Jack, Tom and Ron; sisters, Margaret and Evelyn; a daughter, Kim; a son, Mark and a grandson, Jason.

Funeral services were Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, at Saint Barbara's Catholic Church in Powell. Interment followed at the Lovell Cemetery.

Vernon and Becky Smith want to know what Powell's new fiber-to-the-home network will do for them. What are the plan options? Is the telephone service decent? And, most importantly for the couple, how much is it going to cost?

“We want to see if we can save some money,” said Becky Smith.

February 03, 2009 4:40 am

Pink Panthers bring hope

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Powell High School students, including Laura Morse (left) and Hannah Toland, got into the spirit of last week's Hoops for Hope campaign to raise money for breast cancer research. Pink was the fashion statement of the day, appearing in T-shirts, bandanas, hats, basketball uniforms and, in the case of Morse and Toland, face makeup. The week-long campaign raised approximately $20,000 for the cause. Tribune photo by Don Amend For more photos click here

February 03, 2009 4:28 am

Public and House size-up wolf options

While pondering wolves, the Wyoming House of Representatives examined bills on Friday morning while considering potential litigation, conservation groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that appears to be calling the shots.

The 2009 Legislature has five wolf-related bills to choose from or amend.\

Hundreds of automated phone scams rang Big Horn Basin phones this weekend. The computerized messages, which continued on Monday, purport to be from First National Bank and Trust, asking for credit card information.

The calls were bogus.