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Tribune Staff

There has been an inordinate amount of concern about Halloween around our residence this year.

It's not that I'm all that revved up about Oct. 31, understand. I'm not much for spending a lot of time observing special days, unless they involve a day off from work or special foods to be consumed, and Halloween involves neither, unless you count little Hershey bars and tiny bags of Skittles as special foods. Then there's that whole costume thing, which I can easily forgo. However, this attitude has not been passed on to my two children, who, it appears, are pretty big on Halloween and dressing their kids in costumes.

Now, since our grandchildren live an average of 1,500 miles from Powell, you might think this costuming thing wouldn't affect us back here in darkest Wyoming, far from the beaches of Florida or the Minnesota prairie. But that's not the way their grandma (who doubles as my wife) sees things. She takes her grandma duties pretty seriously, leading her last year to volunteer to make costumes. Naturally, this started a tradition, so she is now in the midst of making this year's costumes suitable for 3-year-old girls and year-old boys.

Now it happens that Karen is a 4-H veteran whose mom taught sewing, and she is a pretty good seamstress. In the past, she has produced dress shirts and some exceptionally wild ties for me that look as good as the ones at J.C. Penney. Once she even made a sport coat that would have looked store-bought except for the outrageous color and pattern of the material I insisted on — it was the '70s, so you can probably imagine how wild it was. It now belongs to the Greybull High School drama department, although it's so loud that it may have caused other costumes to fade, and may even have melted the hangar it was hanging on, either of which may have led to its being buried somewhere, despite the good workmanship.

Given her background and skill, then, you might expect that turning out four costumes would be a snap for my wife. Well, it isn't.

For starters, we have a couple of granddaughters with quite different interests. In Minnesota, we have a princess; in Florida, we have a budding ornithologist. The first wants to be Belle, of “Beauty and the Beast” fame; the other wants to be an owl.

Now the Belle wanna-be was also a princess last year, so Grandma already had the pattern and princess-making dress experience, but an owl?

Her last year's costume pattern, a tiger, just couldn't be converted to an owl, even though both species are predators. Fortunately, Google came to the rescue, and Grandma discovered not one, but two patterns for the production of an owl costume.

That leaves the two little brothers, who don't know Halloween from Hanukkah and probably don't give a hoot about whether they are dressed as owls or knights.

Big sisters being big sisters, though, the two girls have definite ideas for their brothers. The big owl, it seems, is to be accompanied by little owl, and what's a princess without a knight in shining armor. So now a third pattern is required to make faux armor, and both it and the owl patterns have to be sized down considerably. This sizing problem is complicated by distance, since neither kid is available for direct measurement, and a costume in progress can't be compared to an actual body to check size as you go.

Consequently, as you might imagine, there has been a lot of cutting, sewing, ripping and re-sewing going on around home, not to mention emails requesting more measurements.

Happily, the process is almost complete. As I write this, the big owl costume is in Florida to see if it fits. It apparently does and has been pronounced wonderful by the granddaughter and her mom. From all accounts, little brother is envious and can't wait for his to arrive. Belle is nearly done, and the forging of the shining armor is well underway. Both should be on their way to Minnesota this week.

That leaves the little owl, and that will take a little time, due to the need for all those feathers, but Grandma is confident it will be done on time, so confident, in fact, that she has taken a day off to ready the house for some visitors expected Tuesday night.

The experience, though, has Grandma declaring that next year, she will just send money and direct our progeny to find the nearest big box store for costuming.

I don't believe it, though. I'm betting she'll take on the task again next Halloween, come what may.

She will, after all, still be a grandma.

Three weeks from today, voters will head to the polls, casting decisive ballots for who our next leaders will be in local, county, state and national offices.

At the city level, Powell voters will elect three City Council positions. Prior to Election Day on Nov. 2, we encourage local voters to know the candidates and issues.

Here's what we feel are the most important issues Powell councilmen face:

Landfill: For new councilmen who take office in January, the Powell landfill will close during their term on the council. Facing a scheduled September 2012 landfill closure, city leaders must decide where Powell's trash will go.

Likely, it will either be hauled directly to the regional landfill in Cody each day or stored at a Powell transfer station and then taken to Cody a few times a week.

Powell leaders favor the transfer station option, but it's unclear whether the county would assist in operating such a facility. Whether trash is hauled directly or stored at a transfer station, there will be an added cost for local residents.

City leaders need to evaluate the costs of each option and determine exactly how much it will cost Powell citizens, who already are weary of any increase.

Budget: With the national economy still in the doldrums, Powell — like many municipalities in the U.S. — must deal with a leaner budget.

Following funding cuts at the state level and anticipating tax revenue shortfalls, local leaders reduced this year's budget by about $5 million from the previous fiscal year.

While Powell may not have seen the end of funding cuts, we hope the next council continues to see areas to trim the budget so Powell withstands the current economic downturn.

Powell Aquatic Center: Four years ago, voters approved a 1-cent tax that funded Powell's pool. Swimmers are enjoying the new facility, but its future funding is quite worrisome.

In its 2010-11 budget, the city's projected revenue for the aquatic center is just $217,475, while its estimated operating expenses are budgeted at $829,728.

Though pool membership numbers are higher than originally anticipated, city leaders must find creative ways to keep the pool's operating costs low so it remains affordable to swimmers.

The aquatic center's first year is a crucial time to gather usage statistics and determine actual costs and revenue, but the next few years are even more important to ensure the pool isn't a drain on the city's budget.

Council candidates will discuss these and other issues during an Oct. 21 forum, sponsored by the local chapter of American Association of University Women. The forum begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, and also includes candidates for the Park County Commission and Powell Hospital Board. A forum for Northwest College candidates takes place Thursday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. on campus.

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, become an informed citizen — show up at local forums and be ready to cast an informed vote Nov. 2.

(April 10, 1950 – Oct. 4, 2010)

Alice Katherine Heath Bird died after a valiant fight with cancer on Oct. 4, 2010, at the West Park Long Term Care Center in Cody. She was 60.

(Feb. 23, 1937 – Oct. 10, 2010)

Harold Vincent Shockley, formerly of Powell, died Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010 with his family by his side. He was 67.

(Jan. 12, 1937 - Oct. 5, 2010)

James L. Fleming of Powell died Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Billings. He was 73.

Funeral Mass for Mary Ann Revill, 79, of Williston North Dakota was held at 11 AM Monday, October 4, 2010 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

{gallery}10_07_10/monkhearing{/gallery}

New Mount Carmel Foundation attorney Michael LaBazzo speaks to the Pakr County Commission on Tuesday, as (from left) Brother Michael Mary, Father Daniel Mary, attorney Joey Darrah and Assistant County Planner Becky Conrad listen. Commissioners unanimously approved the foundation's plans for a large monastery and coffee-roasting barn west of Meeteetse. Tribune photo by CJ Baker

A proposed monastery west of Meeteetse received the blessing of the Park County Commission Tuesday, with the commission unanimously voting to allow the project to go forward.

The county granted special use permits to the non-profit New Mount Carmel Foundation of America to construct a 144,000 square foot French Gothic-style monastery and a 7,500 square foot coffee roasting barn.

As he sat in the back of a Powell police squad car on Sept. 29, 2009, Jeramie J.E. Large swore at his arresting officers and told them “you ain't got a case.”

“Let's show it to the jury,” Large said, knowing he was being videotaped. “Let's let the jury decide. Thank God for the jury.”

With three months left in the calendar year, Yellowstone National Park has already set a record for annual visitation, thanks in part to strong numbers in September.

On Wednesday, spokesmen for the National Park Service and Xanterra, the park's concessionaire, attributed the high volume in part to aggressive marketing that enticed people to visit Yellowstone.

{gallery}10_07_10/nwcsoccer{/gallery}

Pueblo, Colo., freshman Olga Phelps jockeys for the ball during Wednesday morning soccer action between Northwest College and Western Nebraska. The games concluded too late to get full information into today's paper, but the Trapper women surrendered a pair of goals after scoring on a penalty kick to lose 2-1. The Northwest College men set up a Saturday showdown with Otero with a 4-2 victory over Western Nebraska. The game was the last home contest of the year for the Trapper women. NWC's men host Otero at 1 p.m., Saturday. Tribune photo by Toby Bonner

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