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Over the last year, it was all too common to read a release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol that another person had been killed in a car wreck on one of the state's roads.

The wrecks occurred in every corner of the state, and for many reasons — alcohol, excessive speed, weather, cell phones, you name it. But there was a common thread that connected many of the fatalities: “The victim, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected and died at the scene.”

Cody Beers, spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said the lack of seat belt use among Wyoming drivers is “extremely frustrating.”

According to Beers, through the end of November 2008, there were 144 traffic fatalities on Wyoming's roads — 53.5 percent of the victims were unrestrained. Of the dead, 74 percent were Wyoming residents.

Additionally, 41.7 percent of the deaths were in single car rollovers — 87 percent of those victims were not properly restrained.

These are sobering statistics that are hard to comprehend. Not only is it against state law to drive or ride in a vehicle without being buckled up, it's just plain stupid.

The quick moment it takes to click the seat belt could save your life — the proof is in the numbers.

If you don't already buckle your seat belt — every single time you get in a car — make a resolution to start doing it now. This should be the one New Year's resolution that sticks.

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High heels didn't deter Carrie Parmer from a walk on the diving board at the Paul Stock Aquatic and Recreation Center in Cody, where she worked as the aquatic supervisor. Parmer was recently hired as the Powell aquatic facility superintendent. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

Carrie Parmer has a lot to look forward to in 2009.

Monday was her first day as Powell's aquatic facility superintendent. Though the pool's completion still is about a year away, Parmer has plenty of work to do in the next 12 months.

“I'm excited,” Parmer said. “It's going to be a busy year, with staffing and training — getting everything up and ready to go.”

An avalanche on the South Fork of the Shoshone River last week claimed the life of an ice climber, Keith Spencer of Laramie.

Spencer, 45, and a companion, Mark Jenkins, 50, also of Laramie were climbing in an area known as “The Main Vein” approximately 40 miles southwest of Cody on Friday, Jan. 2, when the avalanche occurred.

January 06, 2009 3:54 am

Bus service continues in Basin

More ridership and possible subsidies needed to ensure bus runs continue

Bus service continues in the Big Horn Basin through Black Hills Stage Lines, and a shuttle bus runs twice daily as needed between Cody and Lovell with stops in Powell.

But that's not general knowledge, and long-term viability of the bus system remains to be seen.

“Ridership is still down... but we knew it would be down over the wintertime, anyway,” said Linda Palmer of LP Transportation, who drives the shuttle from Cody to Lovell and back.

January 06, 2009 3:53 am

Centennial starts with a bang

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Powell ushers in its centennial year with the colorful explosions of a downtown fireworks show on Bent Street and Colter Avenue at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day. The show, launched by the Powell Volunteer Fire Department, was just the start of the community's centennial celebrations in 2009. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

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Powell High School head coach Nate Urbach (left) directed the Panthers to a seventh-place finish at the Bozeman Invitational last weekend. Tribune file photo by David Dickey

Donarski wins title at 152

After a short holiday break, the Powell High School wrestling team resumed its season at the Bozeman Invitational last Friday and Saturday. The Panthers, the lone Wyoming squad in the 33-team field, made the most of the trip and came away with a seventh-place finish. Also, PHS senior Trevor Donarski recorded the team's best individual effort by finishing first in the 152-pound weight class.

PHS head coach Nate Urbach said prior to the event that improvement was the main goal for his Panthers in Bozeman, and that goal was met.

January 06, 2009 3:47 am

Lady Trappers go 1-1 in Arizona

NWC tops South Mountain 78-72

The Northwest College Lady Trappers picked up their third victory of the season during last week's trip to Phoenix, Ariz., for games against a pair of Arizona-based schools — Mesa Community College and South Mountain Community College.

NWC's much-needed win came against South Mountain Saturday. The Lady Trappers (3-11) posted a 78-72 decision over the Cougars, and NWC head coach Chad Oletzke said he is optimistic that the victory will be a sign of things to come for his squad as they dive into the remainder of the 2009 portion of their schedule.

The win over South Mountain helped Oletzke's squad snap a losing streak that reached seven games following a 72-36 loss to Mesa Community College a day earlier. Mesa moved to 12-1 with its victory over the Lady Trappers.

“The trip didn't start as well as we had hoped,” Oletzke said. “Against Mesa, it was obvious that we hadn't played in a while. The first half was rough, but we gradually played better as the game went along.

“Against South Mountain, we played a lot better at the start, and it was good that we were able to pick up the win. Because of that, I thought it was a successful trip for us. I think it perked up everybody's spirits. In the first half of the season, we lost a lot of close games, and that made things pretty stressful for everybody. Hopefully, we can take that win and get on a roll.”

No statistics were available from either game, according to Oletzke.

• Up next: The Lady Trappers will open sub-region competition Wednesday when they host Miles Community College. The start time for that contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. NWC also will face Central Wyoming College Saturday in a 3 p.m. contest at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell.

January 06, 2009 3:41 am

Robert (Bob) Lauren Crawford

(May 23, 1924 - Dec. 30, 2008)

Robert “Bob” Lauren Crawford, 84, died Tuesday, Dec. 30 at his home in Auburn, Calif.

He was born May 23, 1924 in Denver, Colo., to Lauren and Helen Crawford. Bob grew up in Powell, graduated from Powell High School and worked on the family farm until moving to Sacramento, Calif. in 1959.

He spent many years working with Big Brothers of Sacramento and became the director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association before retiring.

Bob moved to Auburn in 1987 and was active in alcoholism recovery programs, including Sierra Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Bob is survived by his daughter, Sheryl (Dennis) Wilson of Wheatland; his son, Ray (Lori) Crawford of Encino, Calif..; grandchildren Tara Wilson of Wheatland, Kristine Crawford of Phoenix, Ryan Crawford of San Francisco; and great-grandsons Dustyn and Dakota Wilson of Wheatland.

A memorial service was held on Monday, Jan. 5 at the First Congregational Church of Auburn. Remembrances can be made to Sierra Council, MDA or Big Brothers of Sacramento.

January 06, 2009 3:38 am

Amee Lea Barrus

(March 18, 1958 - Dec. 31, 2008)

Amee Lea Barrus, 50, died on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at her home in Cody.

She was born March 18, 1958 in Powell to Roy and Brenda Marshall. She spent her first seven years in Byron with her family. She then moved to Aurora, Colo., where she graduated from high school in the top of her class.

After graduation she moved back to Wyoming, where she loved to spend all of her time. Amee's two daughters, Shasta and Desiree, were the light of her life.

On June 17, 1995, Amee married her best friend, John Barrus. They spent many wonderful years together living on the South Fork raising paint horses and running the Flying H Ranch. Amee also worked at Wal-Mart for 13 years and made many friends there.

Amee's passion was being in the outdoors. She loved camping up at Lilly Lake in the summer with her friends and family. During hunting season, she was often seen dressed in camouflage with a rifle in her hands. She loved to go into hunting camp, especially with John, and everyone loved the meals she made on a camp stove.

Amee also loved arts and crafts, and recently she had started making her own jewelry, which she sold at jewelry shows in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

She was an avid member of Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife and helped get the Cody chapter up and running.

Amee was a true friend to many people. She loved Cody and spending her life there. She faced may trials and tribulations throughout her short life, but she was a fighter and would never give up.

Amee was a kind and loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. She devoted herself to making others happy and always put their needs before hers.

She is survived by her husband and love of her life, John Barrus; daughters Shasta (Robert) Maupin and Desiree Moxon (Chad Wildman); parents Roy and Brenda Marshall; brother Lance (Laura) Marshall and his children, Hunter and Kealey; cousin Darin (Carrie) Marshall; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

She was preceeded in death by her grandmother and grandfather Marshall; great-grandmother Anderson; grandfather Archie Ames; and uncle Ken Marshall.

A viewing was held at Ballards Funeral Home on Monday, Jan. 5. Services will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Wyoming Ave. in Cody. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery in Cody.

The new year promises to be a significant one for Powell as the community celebrates its centennial.

Over the past year, the Powell Centennial Committee began prepping for the milestone with a lecture series and other events. This year, much more is planned — gatherings, lectures, a beard contest in honor of the town's namesake, John Wesley Powell, and a calendar featuring 365 interesting tidbits of Powell history.

Each issue of the Powell Tribune in 2009 will carry one of those notable facts on the front page.

Powell's Centennial is a chance for its residents — present and former — to reflect on the people and events that have shaped Powell since its inception.

Those events include the oil discovery in Elk Basin, the completion of the Buffalo Bill Dam, the establishment of local schools and the development of homesteads and businesses.

People shaping Powell's history include the internationally acclaimed W. Edwards Deming, a 1917 Powell High School graduate who helped raise Japan to a world economic power, and the infamous bank robber Earl Durand.

As Powell celebrates its centennial during the next 12 months, residents will have opportunities to learn about its history, appreciate the community for what it has become and establish a foundation for its next 100 years.