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Lighting ignites fire on the North Fork
About 5,100 acres of burning trees have forced evacuations and brought in a type I fire-management team to take over the Cascade Fire about 10 miles west of Red Lodge, Mont.
According to a Monday morning fact sheet issued by the Custer National Forest, there was zero containment as of Monday.
Cascade began burning Saturday afternoon and is in the west fork of the Rock Creek drainage, said Ken Britton, Gardiner District Ranger.
Custer National Forest officials said the fire nearly doubled on Sunday.
At this time, officials are not sure the cause of the blaze, but believe it began in the vicinity of Cascade Campground.
“The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” said U.S. Forest Service Spokesman Jeff Gildehaus.
The West Fork of Rock Creek Road is closed at the junction with Red Lodge Mountain SkiResort. Grizzly Peak subdivision and the West Fork of Rock Creek above Timbercrest Girl Scout Camp have been evacuated.
Five homes and an outbuilding at Camp Senia recreation-residence area have been lost, Gildehaus said.
More evacuations were expected as the fire advanced on Red Lodge.
“The (Red Lodge) ski area is right in front of the fire that is moving down the canyon,” Gildehaus said.
Because structures are threatened, efforts will be made to extinguish the blaze.
“We would definitely be trying to suppress anything that is occupied,” Britton said.
“Heavy air tankers are available for retardant drops,” said the fact sheet. “A heavy, a medium and a light helicopter are the other air attack resources on the fire today (Monday). There are 27 engines, four water tenders a bulldozer, three-20 person hand crews, and 50 overhead support staff are on the fire, totaling 200 personnel.”
The Gunbarrel Fire, in the North Absaroka Wilderness, about 38 miles west of Cody, had claimed about 575 acres as of Monday, but no structures had burned.
The lightning-caused blaze started Saturday and is burning in heavy, beetle-killed timber. It is two to three miles north of U.S. 14-16-20 between Goff and Gunbarrel creeks.
Clint Dawson, zone fire manager for the Shoshone National Forest, and Russ Wenke, administrator for Park County Fire District No. 2, are taking daily helicopter flights over the fire, said Susie Douglas, writer/editor for the Shoshone Forest.
Due to the rugged terrain, no personnel are being sent to the fire at this point, but they are monitoring it closely, Douglas said.
“We're going to develop a long-range management plan,” Douglas said.
She said Forest Service experts will use a computer model to predict where the fire will likely burn. If any structures are threatened, personnel and resources will be dispatched.
Cody has been smoky, and more haze is anticipated. To allay concerns, a public meeting will take place in the next day or so, Douglas said.
A number of young cowboys and cowgirls took their respective shots at six-second scoring rides during the miniature bull riding competition at the Park County Fair last week, and Chance Karst of Powell was among the first-place finishers.
Karst, riding in the junior division, was bucked off of his bull, but he still managed to log the longest ride time during the event. His effort was enough to vault him into the top spot during the competition, which proved to be quite challenging for the young riders.
In the senior division, Clearmont's Mason Rockafellow earned the championship buckle and $60 in prize money with a score of 146 points accumulated during two rides. Gabe Carlson of Lame Deer, Mont., also rode two bulls successfully and finished as the runner-up with 143 points. His efforts helped him earn a payout of $45.
Third place and a payout of $30 went to Powell's Bailey Atkinson, who posted one scoring ride which was good for 73 points.
Miniature bulls used during the event were provided by the Emblem-based Tiny Twisters company.
The competition also included a visit from profession bull rider and Powell resident Kanin Asay. Asay, who was injured during a bull riding event earlier this month, took time to visit with the young riders and offered support.
Tournament schedule included at bottom.
Six American Legion baseball teams will be vying for the first-place trophy at the West District Class A Tournament in Powell beginning Thursday morning at Ed Lynn Field. This year's district event will feature Cody, Powell, Riverton, Jackson, Lovell and the combined squad from Worland and Lander.
The Cody Cubs and Powell Pioneers earned the top two seeds in the tournament, and both squads will have the benefit of a first-round bye and an automatic berth in the quarterfinals. That means Cody and Powell each need to win just one game to earn a berth in the state tournament, which is slated to begin Aug. 5 in Cheyenne.
With so much riding on the Pioneers' first game of the double-elimination tournament, a 7 p.m. matchup Thursday against the winner of contest between Riverton and the combined squad from Worland and Lander, Powell head coach Jeff Young said his team will likely send pitching ace Scotty Jameson to the mound.
“We want to win the district tournament, but our first goal is to earn a trip to state,” Coach Young said. “We'll probably go ahead and pitch Scotty because that will give us a good chance of getting the win we need. He's been throwing very well at home lately, and his arm will be fresh. He's been hot lately, and I anticipate he'll be our guy during that first game.”
July 28, 2008 1:47 pm

Ralph C. Larsen

Ralph C. Larsen, 89, of Meeteetse, died Sunday, July 27 at the West Park Long Term Care Center in Cody.
Funeral arrangements are pending and a complete obituary will follow.
July 28, 2008 1:45 pm

Paula Vivian Washut

Aug. 11, 1922 - July 23, 2008
Funeral Mass for Casper resident Paula Vivian Washut, 85, was celebrated Monday, July 28 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Casper. She died Wednesday, July 23 at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper after a long struggle with cardio-pulmonary disease.
Paula was born Aug. 11, 1922, in Emblems, daughter of Howard and Gladys (Reeg) Johnson. She was raised and educated in Burlington, graduating from Burlington High School in 1940.
On Aug. 19, 1942, she married Heny Paul Washut in Hardin, Mont. They lived in Cody, Sheridan and Billings before settling in Casper in 1945. She was active in Saint Anthony Catholic Church and worked as a volunteer at St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store, but primarily spent her life as a mother and homemaker. In her later years, her greatest joys were sharing the experiences of her grandchildren.
Survivors include four children, Sister Renee Washut, SCL, of Denver, Kay L. Munson (Ted) of Great Falls, Mont., Henry (Hank) Washut (Caro) and Arthur L. Washut (Megan), both of Casper; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband and five brothers.
July 28, 2008 1:43 pm

Freda Lucille (Niday) Feusner

Former Powell resident, Freda Lucille (Niday) Feusner died at the age of 95 at the Prestige Assisted Living residence at Mira Loma in Henderson, Nev., on Friday, July 18. She had lived in the Las Vegas/Pahrump, Nev., area near her son, Joe, for the past six years after the death of her husband, Wayne, in 2001.
One of four children born to Albert and Nora Niday, Freda was born on June 4, 1913, on the Foster Farm southeast of Union, Nebr. She graduated from Union High School with the class of 1931. After high school, she worked various places in the Union area while living at home on the family farm. She met her future husband, Wayne, on a blind date. On April 5, 1939, Freda married Wayne Feusner in Nebraska City, Nebr., and they moved to Basin to begin their married life. Together they worked with the Feusner family to build and operate their family-owned dairy processing business, which became known throughout the Big Horn Basin as Cream of the Valley Dairies. The business had been organized and started on Emblem Bench west of Greybull in 1935 to supplement a farming income. \par
While living in Basin and working in the dairy business, two sons, LeRoy and Joe Feusner, were born. As their dairy business continued to prosper and grow, the family moved to Powell in 1948 to establish the central milk processing plant and corporation headquarters. Freda worked as the head bookkeeper for the dairy processing business until 1982. Their dairy products received many high quality state awards and were marketed within the entire Big Horn Basin from Powell to Lander, and in southern Montana. In the 1970s, the business expanded into a full line of manufactured plastic blow-molded beverage containers with manufacturing plants in Powell, Billings, and Denver, as well as a large chicken egg production operation and frozen food product line in Basin. Cream of the Valley Industries thrived for over 47 years as a family-owned business until February 1982, when the Feusner family sold the entire company. Wayne and Freda then retired in Powell.
According to family members, Freda loved to crochet and took great pride in working their large vegetable and flower gardens that surrounded their home. Her family said she was outstanding cook, an immaculate housekeeper, and a talented seamstress, and she took pride in her family\'d5s many activities and achievements.
She is survived by two sons, LeRoy (Lynnette) Feusner of Cheyenne, and Joe (Jo Ann) Feusner of Pahrump, Nev.; four grandchildren, Kristi (John) Warden of Fort Worth, Texas, Katreena (Joe) Mullican of Huntsville, Ala., Jonathan (Ellie) Feusner of Wichita, Kans., and Janell Feusner of Las Vegas; one great-grandson, Timothy Mullican of Huntsville, Ala.; and, several nephews and nieces. Mrs. Feusner was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne; her parents, Albert and Nora Niday; two brothers, Earl and Glen Niday; and one sister, Donna Jean (Niday) Dayton.
A private graveside memorial service will be held at Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell on Friday, July 25, at 2 p.m. under the direction of the Thompson Funeral Home. Freda will be interred alongside her husband.
July 23, 2008 8:00 pm

Slippery when wet

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The Hog Tamers, the junior division pig-wrestling team made up of (left to right) Danna Hanks, Lexee Craig, Megan Wagner and Livia Higgins, came close to getting their pig in the barrel. But the slippery pig squirmed away just prior to pay-dirt, and the Hog Tamers failed to register a time.
Tribune photo by Toby Bonner
Powell notches 30th victory of season
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Trent Gillett and the Powell Pioneers will host Green River Thursday (today) in a doubleheader at Ed Lynn Field. The Pioneers enter the game after picking up their 30th win of the season during a twinbill with Spearfish, S.D., last Sunday. Tribune photo by David Dickey
The Powell Pioneers registered a 3-1 mark during stops in Gillette and Spearfish, S.D., last Saturday and Sunday. In the process, Powell hit the 30-win mark for the fourth straight year under the direction of head coach Jeff Young.
“It was a good trip for us,” Coach Young said. “We played some pretty good baseball.”
During their two-game stop in Gillette Saturday, the Pioneers picked up a win over the Billings Regulators and Gillette. Against Billings, Andrew Young improved to 5-0 for the season after a solid six innings of work on the mound. Tyler Dahlgren also assisted with the pitching duties and retired the side in the seventh and final inning. Overall, Powell's pitchers surrendered five hits, three walks and struck out two batters during the 11-6 win.
Gianluca Giarrizzo, Scotty Jameson and Grant Geiser led the hitting attack with three hits each. Giarrizzo and Geiser also collected two RBIs each, as did Tyler Dahlgren, who finished with one hit. Erik Brimhall, Trent Gillett, Andrew Young and Schyler Borders each registered one hit. Andrew Young and Borders also were credited with one RBI each.
Against Gillette, the Pioneers picked up a 4-2 victory with the help of Gillett and Dahlgren on the mound. Gillett, the starter, gave up one run on two hits and eight walks while striking out two. Dahlgren, who earned the save after two innings of work, gave up just one run on one hit and one walk.
It's official. Sylvan Pass will be open this winter.
Earlier this week, Park Service Regional Director Mike Snyder signed off on the agreement reached in June that would keep the pass open for winter use.
Many in the Big Horn Basin breathed a sign of relief at the announcement.
People whose incomes are affected by winter tourism and recreation — lodging companies, snowmobile guides, snowcoach operators and restaurants, among others — can rest easy for this winter, at least.
And those who snowmobile for a hobby know that, for the cost of a guide, they can enjoy the park's wintertime splendor — that is, if the daily quota of snowmobilers through the East Gate hasn't already been reached.
But don't breathe too easy.
Gov. Freudenthal is already questioning how long it will last. He said he hopes the Park Service doesn't use the “vague language” of the agreement as “justification for closing” the pass sometime in the future.
And with legal battles continuing over the number of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone each day, things are still in a state of flux.
The decision is a temporary reprieve — the pass will be open this winter — but it's certainly not a guarantee for the future.