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Tribune Staff


National Geographic photographer Sam Abell (left) visits with Matthew Idler of Cheyenne at Northwest College Friday. Idler is a 2002 graduate of the NWC photography program. Behind them are NWC photographer Dave Vaughn (left) and photography student Daniel Cirbo. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson

National Geographic photographer Sam Abell describes his career and his life during NWC visit

When he was 10 years old, Sam Abell watched as his father took photographs as the Ringling Brothers Circus arrived on a train in Toledo, Ohio.

His father documented the process through pictures as circus crews unloaded all the animals and paraphernalia. Then Sam watched, spellbound, as handlers guided powerful elephants to set up the big top circus tent.

A mediator will return to Northwest College on Friday for another round of talks with groups and employees on campus.

Pamila Fisher of Bozeman, Mont., was hired by the NWC Board of Trustees last spring to help identify issues behind ongoing tensions at the college and find resolutions for them.

Bringing an anticlimactic end to a heated legal battle over its 2006 approval of the Copperleaf subdivision, the Park County Commission reaffirmed the conditions of the controversial Wapiti development in a brief, uncontroversial hearing on Tuesday.

The hearing was the result of an April Wyoming Supreme Court decision ordering county commissioners to reconsider several conditions they relaxed at a 2006 contested case hearing. In that hearing, the county agreed to allow Copperleaf's developer, Worthington Group of Wyoming, to install a gated entrance, have semi-private roads and multi-family townhouses — things the county originally denied in the upscale, 155-lot subdivision.


Northwest College bull rider Cayd Kluesner finds himself in a tough position after being thrown during competition in the 2010 Trapper Stampede. The Trapper men finished fourth and the women third in the final team standings. Tribune photo by Kevin Kinzley

Montana State sweeps first fall events

The Northwest College women placed third while the NWC men were fourth on both days of the Trapper Stampede rodeo this past weekend. The Friday and Saturday events, which were scored individually, marked the beginning of the 2010-2011 collegiate rodeo season.

Bareback rider Jordan Gill was the lone winner at Friday's session. Gill scored a 72-point ride to finish two points better than Miles' Brendon Lemmon. Clinton Griffis was fifth overall in the final standings.

Accuracy and power helped the Powell Lady Panthers to a volleyball win over Greybull Tuesday night.

Steady play both on the back line and at the net by Powell were too much for the 2A Lady Buffaloes, and the Lady Panthers won the match in three games, 25-17, 25-13, 25-18.

Spikers fall to No. 9 LCCC

Through the early part of the season, Northwest College head volleyball coach Flavia Siqueira has already dealt with more than her share of physical problems. While the injuries have forced her to juggle her lineup multiple times, she's confident she can handle that part of the equation.

The mental issues, however, have her baffled.

In a season filled with early contests against top 10 opposition, the Trappers proved little more than a speed bump for ninth-ranked Laramie County Community College on Tuesday night, falling in three games 25-10, 25-19, 25-13. Afterward, Siqueira wasn't shy with her critique of the team's performance.

“We played scared and immature,” she said. “It was the worst game I've seen.”

The Trappers' coach acknowledged that LCCC was a strong team. That alone, however, doesn't explain the match's final margin.

“They have some good hitters,” Siqueira said. “But it isn't something we haven't seen already this year and its not something we can't stop. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that, mentally, we weren't there. We've been doing that a lot lately.”

The loss was the Trappers' first within Region IX North play this season. Coupled with Monday's 25-16, 25-15, 24-26, 25-22 victory at Eastern Wyoming, the Trappers are now 4-9 overall this season.

Randi McInerney and Sandrina Hunsel paced the Trappers' attack at the net in that contest. The pair drew praises from Siqueira for their play in the match.

The road won't get any easier for the Trappers this weekend. The team travels to the College of Southern Idaho to participate in the school's Top 10 Tournament.

Northwest College is slated to face Salt Lake, North Idaho, Frank Phillips, Snow College and the host CSI squad at that event.

Four of those five teams appear in this week's NJCAA national rankings. The College of Southern Idaho carries the No. 3 ranking into the event. Salt Lake is two places lower at No. 5. Frank Phillips, 8-2 this seaosn, checks in at No. 13, while North Idaho is ranked No. 19. The Trappers dropped a decision to Snow College to begin their 2010 season.

The high school football season is just two weeks old, but already there's plenty to talk about. The latest media and coaches' poll has bumped the Panthers to No. 4 in advance of Friday night's road showdown at No. 2 Buffalo (Douglas is No. 1, Cody No. 3 and Riverton No. 5 for those curious).

That head-to-head clash on the other side of the Big Horn Mountains may well be the game of the week in Wyoming 3A football this Friday night. After all, Powell and Buffalo are two of the remaining four unbeaten teams in the class.

But that's not really the big story coming out of the Powell locker room early on this season.

The early-season head-turner has been the Panthers' perfect 10 —10 interceptions in just two games by the Powell High School secondary. Put another way, Powell's defense, through two games, has caught two more passes than its receiving corps has, and without the benefit of a quarterback that's actively trying to throw the football to it.

The Sports Guy has stood on the sidelines of many, many prep football fields over the years. The six picks he witnessed last Friday night against Wheatland may well have been a first in that decade and a half. Gut instinct leads me to believe that accomplishment has to at least be in the neighborhood of a state record — except it seems the state of Wyoming is somewhat lacking in the record book department when it comes to high school football achievements.

I do, however, have in my hands a copy of the Panthers' team stats dating back to 2003. According to that sheet, the most interceptions recorded by the team over the course of an entire season has been 10, accomplished by the 2005 defensive unit (although the stat apparently wasn't tracked in either the ‘07 or the ‘08 seasons). Powell matched last year's total of six interceptions in just 48 minutes of play this past Friday.

Look, I'm a realist. I know the trend probably won't last. Sooner or later, someone is going to get their hands on some game film and realize that putting the ball in the air against this unit might not be the soundest of strategies. When that occurs, two things will happen.

First, Powell's defensive front seven will have a chance to step up and showcase their mettle. Second, it likely will spell fewer opportunities for the Panthers' secondary to get its hands on footballs.

Or maybe it won't. Powell junior Olie Olson snatched three balls out of the sky in the Panthers' opening week win against Riverton. Guess who Wheatland targeted on the first passing play last Friday night.

Regardless of what happens this weekend and in the weeks ahead, Panther fans have already witnessed a special rarity.

Defensive performances like last Friday night's don't come along every week, or even every season. Hopefully the fans that turned out for the Wheatland contest understand and appreciate the uniqueness of the moment. Hopefully the players both take a measure of pride in accomplishing it and feel a pang of hunger to repeat the achievement.

In any event, from the pass rushers hurrying opposing quarterbacks into making bad decisions to the guys in the back that are finding the football, here's a tip of the ol' ballcap in recognition and appreciation. Keep at it boys!

Sometimes there's no good way to do something that needs to be done.

Such is the case with Montana's efforts to clean up an environmental mess near Cooke City that has been polluting water flowing into Yellowstone National Park for years.

As part of that project, Montana plans to haul nearly 50,000 tons of mine tailings from Cooke City to Whitehall, Mont., by way of the Chief Joseph Highway. This has raised concerns from some in Park County, who fear that a number of big trucks hauling heavy loads through Sunlight Basin and over Dead Indian Pass will disrupt travel through the scenic area, create danger for other motorists and cause damage to the highway.

Mostly though, the current anger expressed by Park County officials stems from the fact that they weren't consulted before this plan was put in place.

When the Tribune investigated the situation back in June, though, the project didn't seem to be a secret. We learned that the Wyoming Department of Transportation was able to review the condition of the Chief Joseph Highway before a contract was awarded by Montana. The department determined that the highway was capable of handling the traffic with certain conditions.

Montana DEQ waited until the review was done and agreed to WyDOT's conditions before awarding the contract.

One Park County commissioner said at that time that the Wyoming Highway Patrol would be watching the highway closely to ensure safety, and he had great faith that WyDOT and the patrol could handle the situation.

As for disrupting tourist traffic, the extra trucks couldn't possibly be more disruptive than average road construction projects — and many of those last longer than the one summer planned for hauling out the tailings.

The plan to haul part of the waste out of the area appears to be a compromise. Ideally, all of the tailings would be removed, but that is impractical. Leaving all of them in place, on the other hand, increases the risk that a seismic event would cause containment of the tailings to fail. The compromise is to haul some of the waste away to provide more secure containment of the rest.

Once that decision is made, there are only three ways to haul out the waste. It should be obvious to anyone who has driven it that the Beartooth Highway is not an option. The highway from Silver Gate into the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone is not engineered for heavy trucks, and this stretch of road is very narrow, with no shoulders, in many places. In addition, sections of the road are bordered by forest, reducing visibility for some distance, so it's not an option, either. That leaves Chief Joseph.

The purpose of this project is to stop acid from leaking into a creek that flows into Yellowstone Park. That is a worthy goal, and because it is a worthy goal, it is worth the price of a summer's disruption on the Chief Joseph Highway.

Park County shouldn't stand in the way.


Jewelry maker Janet Cozzens explains her use of natural stones as she talks with an interested customer during the Deaver Festival Saturday. The festival featured booths from many local craftsmen and artists, antique salesmen and food vendors as well as several performing acts, including the Scandinavian Dancers from Red Lodge, Mont., and the Del Cannon Band. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

After criticism, Montana officials plan meeting

The director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality plans to meet with Park County officials next month to discuss a controversial plan to haul tens of thousands of tons of gold tailings across the Chief Joseph Highway next summer.

County commissioners, local state legislators, landowners and Cody officials have all voiced concern with the plan's potential impacts on traffic, tourism and the road itself — and frustration with not being notified of the plan until it was all but finalized.

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