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Tribune Staff

A half-dozen Powell Tribune staffers traveled to Cheyenne this past week for the Wyoming Press Association's winter convention.

The convention brings people from newspapers around the state together for interaction, education and competition.

Throughout the three-day convention, conversation consistently turned to how the combination of the Internet and the nation's economy is changing the newspaper business, forcing staff reductions, closures and restructures across the country.

The good news for those of us in small-town Wyoming is that community newspapers continue to fill an important role in our lives. Google can help us learn almost anything about the world around us, but to keep up on happenings and events in our own backyards, we still rely on local newspapers.

In turn, those papers must focus on the needs of their readers: What do they care about? What do readers want to know? What's most important?

It's not that this challenge hasn't presented itself before. Powell's centennial year, 2009, also marks 100 years for the Powell Tribune. In earlier decades, local newspapers were threatened by the advent of radio, then television and other new technologies. Somehow, community newspapers have survived — mostly by continuing to focus on the lives and needs of their readership.

Rest assured that, as we enter the Tribune's second century, our focus will remain on our readers.

January 20, 2009 3:32 am

PHS girls win two more

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Powell High School's Darcee Lynn (right) drives for a basket during the second half of the Lady Panthers' victory over Riverton Friday night in Powell. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Run record to 9-1

The wins just keep coming for the second-ranked, Class 3A Lady Panthers basketball squad.

The Powell High School team picked up its eighth and ninth wins of the season on Friday and Saturday, beating Riverton, 45-33, and Lovell, 55-46.

January 20, 2009 4:07 am

Bob McNeill

(Feb. 5, 1935 - Jan. 15, 2009)

Bob McNeill, 73, died Thursday, Jan. 15 at Powell Valley Hospital.

He was born on Feb. 5, 1935, in Flint, Mich., to Lynn and Ruby McNeill. On Feb. 16, 1957, he married Dorothy Ort in Casper. The couple had three children.

Bob was a teacher for Lamont Public Schools of Lamont, Wash., and Park County School District No. 1 in Powell. He also worked as a teacher/administrator for the Lower Kuskowin School District of Bethel, Alaska.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; son Ron (Alesa) McNeill of Honolulu, Hawaii; daughter Ede (Jim) Dozier of Cody; son-in law, Greg Bentley of Garland; brother Pat McNeill of Kennewick, Wash.; five grandchildren, Jared and Trent Dozier, Corrie and Lee Bentley and Amy McNeill; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Von Bentley; granddaughter, Kaycie Bentley; and his brother, Lynn McNeill.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial services were held Monday, Jan. 19, at Thompson Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the Absarokee Lodge No. 30 in Powell.

January 18, 2009 1:15 pm

Charlotte Ficken

(April 10, 1914 – Jan. 12, 2009)

Charlotte (Schweizer) Ficken died Monday, Jan. 12, at Aspen Meadows in Billings, Mont. She was 94.

She was born in Lincoln, Neb., on April 10, 1914 to Emma (Fritz) and Christian Schweizer. She grew up in New Raymer, Colo., where her father owned a meat market. She graduated from high school in New Raymer and went to business school for a year in Lincoln, Neb.

She married her high school sweetheart Howard Ficken, and they were married for 63 years. To this marriage four children were born: Diane, Karen, Linda and Steve.

Charlotte was a wonderful mother and caregiver. She was active in many organizations for her children: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, PTA and Job's Daughters, and she was also a longtime member of Eastern Star.

Charlotte and Howard lived in Powell for more than 50 years. After Howard's death in 1998 she moved to Billings to be closer to her daughter Diane, although she left her heart in Powell. She greatly missed her friends, neighbors, bridge club and especially the Union Presbyterian Church in Powell. She was employed for a time in retail sales which she enjoyed, especially at Nellemay's in Powell.

She was preceded in death by her husband Howard, her parents, a daughter Karen, and son-in-law, Gary Noddings.

She is survived by her children, Diane Noddings, Linda Manson, and Steve (Gwen) Ficken; grandchildren Chad (Madeline) Noddings, Cara (Thaddeus) Noddings Russo, Cavin (Joan) Noddings, Jane Gilmore, Dr. Tony (Katie) Manson, Stacy Arnold, Tara Ficken and Brian Ficken; great-grandchildren Chari and Cayden Noddings, Cole and Madison Russo. Max, Claire and Natalie Noddings, Hayley, Shelby and Jordan Gilmore, Katie and Tristan Arnold, and her brother and sister-in-law, Lloyd and Mary Schweizer and their son, Steve.

Funeral services were held Monday, Jan. 19 at Union Presbyterian Church in Powell with interment at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary was charge of arrangements.

January 17, 2009 12:39 pm

Powellink fiber network nearly done

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Dennis Vrooman, with Powellink, works on an electrical meter connected to the home of Wayne Meidinger of Powell Wednesday morning. Meidinger's home is one of the first to receive fiber-optic service through Powellink. Vrooman, of Salt Lake City, has worked on the citywide fiber project in Powell for the past six months. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

11 of 13 fiber optic zones completed

After years of planning and months of waiting, some Powell residents are beginning to receive fiber-optic service for telephone, Internet and television at their homes.

As of Wednesday, splicing and testing were completed on 11 of the 13 Powellink zones. The 11 completed zones were released to Tri-County Telephone (TCT), the company providing service to local customers.

Look again

Bills before the 2009 Wyoming Legislature run the gamut this year, touching on just about every aspect of life in Wyoming.

If passed, measures before the Legislature this year would affect state residents in many ways, ranging from property tax relief (House Bills 37, 68, 87 and 138) to prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places (House Bill 31).

High school students in Powell and other towns in the Big Horn Basin will have an opportunity to earn college credits under an agreement with Northwest College.

The Park County School District No. 1 board unanimously approved an agreement establishing a three-year pilot program providing for concurrent-enrollment classes at Powell High School.

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Powell High School head coach Cindi Smith has been named Class 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Smith credits players for honor

Powell High School volleyball coach Cindi Smith has been named Class 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association, but she says the honor belongs to her team as well.

“I feel honored,” Smith said of the award, “but it's what we've all done together that earned it.”

January 15, 2009 3:36 am

NWC wrestling reaping benefits

Tough early schedule paying off for NWC

Prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, Northwest College head coach Andy Ward made it clear that his Trappers were facing a difficult early schedule.

Making the early portion of the slate even more challenging was the fact that NWC's roster boasted just three sophomores. Of those, only two were returning players from the 2007-08 squad — Julian Olubuyi and Jordan Harris. The third sophomore, Cody Ball, transfered to NWC from Montana State University-Northern.

As Ward expected, his squad took several lumps starting out, and after a half dozen games were in the record books, NWC had a 1-5 mark against teams with more experience.

“By playing a lot of tough teams early, it showed the guys the level they were going to have to reach in order to be successful,” Ward said. “Doing that can be difficult, especially when you're dealing with a young team. But I think it has paid off.”

During that six-game span starting out, the Trappers fell to the College of Eastern Utah twice, North Idaho College, Central Florida Community College and the College of Southern Idaho. The lone victory in that stretch was a 90-78 win over Central Arizona College.

Since the second loss of the season to Eastern Utah in mid-November, however, the Trappers have proven to be almost unbeatable, as evidenced by their eight wins in the last nine games. The Trappers also have a four-game winning streak that includes decisions over Western Nebraska Community College, Laramie County Community College, Miles Community College and Central Wyoming College.

NWC (9-6) is now 1-0 in Region IX's North Sub-Region and 2-0 in the Wyoming Community College Athletic Conference. Their WCCAC mark could get even better Friday and Saturday after road matchups with Casper College and Western Wyoming Community College.

“We have a chance to pull off a sweep, and if we can do that, we'll be in the driver's seat as far as the conference goes,” Ward said. “But we're going to have to play our best basketball of the year for that to happen.”

Casper currently has a 5-14 record in what has proven to be a season of transition. The team is coached by Joel Davidson, who is in his first year with the Thunderbirds after replacing departed, long-time coach Gary Becker.

Davidson previously enjoyed a successful coaching stint at Sheridan College, where he was twice named Region IX Coach of the Year.

Though the Thunderbirds' record isn't eye-catching, Ward said their series of recent performances is.

In a pair of road games last weekend, Casper defeated Eastern Wyoming College and LCCC. Eastern Wyoming, coincidentally, is the team that handed NWC its only loss in its last nine games.

“Casper has won three of its last four, so we know it's going to be a challenge for us,” Ward said. “Right now, our focus is on them.”

After Friday's game with the Thunderbirds, the Trappers will have to be ready for a matchup with WWCC in Rock Springs Saturday. Like Casper, the Mustangs (11-8) just completed a road sweep of EWC and LCCC.

“Western Wyoming is a lot like us,” Ward said. “They have a young team, and they played a tough schedule early.”

With this weekend's matchups against formidable opponents looming, Ward said he will be counting on his players to continue playing well-rounded basketball. In particular, Ward will be looking for Olubuyi, the Trappers' starting point guard, to continue providing the leadership he's displayed throughout the season.

Through the 2008 portion of the season, Olubuyi averaged 14.2 points per contest, and just last week the sophomore scored a combined 36 points during victories against Miles and Central Wyoming. Twenty-six of those points came against Central Wyoming in a game where Olubuyi grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists.

“Julian has definitely been a key factor for us,” Ward said. “He's been playing with a lot of consistency at point guard. He's one of our team captains, and he's done a good job of providing a lot of leadership.”

Casper Hesseldal, a 6-6 freshman from Aarhus, Denmark, also has shouldered much of the scoring load. Through NWC's first 14 games, he averaged almost 15 points per game, and like Olubuyi, he also finished last week's two-game stretch with 36 points. He even was among the squad's leading rebounders in last week's victories.

But NWC's fortunes aren't solely based on Olubuyi and Hesseldal. A number of players have made significant contributions on both ends of the court and rank among the team's statistical leaders. Freshman Ricardo Bodra, a 6-6 freshman from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is among Region IX's top rebounders and is a threat to notch a double-double every game. Freshman Mitchell Ackelson also has proven to be a player who can put up big numbers, as evidenced by his 27-point effort against Williston State College during the first half of the season.

Jordan Harris, also a team captain, has put up solid numbers as well, including a 27-point scoring effort in a memorable, 77-54 dismantling of Northeastern Junior College during the First National Bank and Trust Shootout in November.

“Probably our biggest strength is the number of weapons we have,” Ward said. “We've got quite a few guys who can go out and put a lot of points on the scoreboard. We've got four or five guys averaging double figures in scoring, and that makes it tough for opposing defenses when you are getting that kind of production on the offensive end.”

NWC's matchup against the Thunderbirds Friday in Casper is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday's contest against WWCC is slated for 5 p.m.

January 15, 2009 3:29 am

Phillip Keith Schuster

(Aug. 20, 1920 — Jan. 11, 2009)

Phillip Keith Schuster, 88, died Jan. 11 at his home in Powell of pancreatic cancer.

Phil was born Aug. 20, 1920 to Ray and Velma Schuster in Mancato, Kan. He was the third of 10 children.

Phil was married to his first wife, Audrey, for 18 years. They later divorced. They had one son, Kenny, who died in a car accident as a high school senior.

Phil later married Doris Moody on March 18, 1978 in Reno. He loved Doris's children as his own, and he took great pride in being called Dad and Grandpa.

As a World War II veteran, Phil served from 1941-1945 with Merrill's Marauders in the Army. Upon returning home from the war, Phil became a mechanic, managing several service stations, and eventually owning his own garage.

Phil also delivered Darigold milk and, at one point, managed Cassie's Supper Club in Cody.

Phil and Doris enjoyed camping and fishing on both the Pacific Ocean and Antelope Lake in California.

He survived both larynx and colon cancer earlier in his life, and he remained cheerful and he enjoyed entertaining children with his electronic larynx.

Phil was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Kenny; sisters Eva Schuster, Margaret Thompson, Betty Shipper, Marcelle Bennion, Beverly Moore-Bennett; and his brother, Wayne Schuster.

He is survived by his wife; sisters Norma Roemmich, Neva Lindley and Belva Mulley; stepchildren Brent (Merlene) Moody, Debra (John) Jones, John (Liz) Moody, Scott (Vanessa) Moody, Cindy (Jeff) Justice and Sherri (Clint) Tomlinson; brother-in-law Don (Sidney) Banks; sisters-in-law Carol (Jim) Kemp and Colleen (Vic) Baca; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. at the LDS Stake Center, 1300 Heart Mountain St., in Cody.