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Don Amend

An explosion felt more than a mile away and subsequent fire totally destroyed a home on Llama Drive late Sunday evening.

Officials said Monday morning that no one was in the house when the explosion occurred. Park County records say the property is owned by William and Jean Imsand.

The cause of the explosion was apparently a natural gas leak, but that has not been confirmed. One neighbor reported minor damage from the explosion, and was planning to have his home inspected.

Llama Drive is a short street off Riverside Drive about half a mile east of the Willwood highway approximately three miles south of Powell.

For more information, see Tuesday’s Tribune.

As they do every year, Powell High School Alumni will be coming back to the old home town this weekend to reunite and rekindle old friendships.

Northwest College will ask the Wyoming Community College Commission to consider a proposal for a new classroom and laboratory facility.

The NWC board voted to submit the proposal at their regular meeting last week, and included a provision that the college would provide 10 percent of the estimated $14.3 million cost from reserve funds.

The 11 percent increase in Park County’s assessed property valuation announced this week is generally a positive development.

The increased valuation means that, without raising tax rates even one mill, property tax revenue in the county will rise by $5.8 million, which will help the county, towns, fire departments and other taxing entities in the county maintain their services.

Since becoming manager of The Merc two months ago, Lesli Spencer has made a number of changes, and she’s still working to improve the store’s offerings.

“We’ve been doing a lot of reorganizing of the departments, and they are pretty much set now,” Spencer said. “I’m trying to organize more like the bigger stores, like Penney’s or Kohl’s.”

New proposals by the Bureau of Land Management for managing land in the Big Horn Basin have, predictably, ignited the perennial discussion of balance in the development of land and resources.

Everyone in Wyoming knows, or should know, how important mining and drilling are to the state and to our pocketbooks. Income from the development of our mineral wealth, particularly our energy wealth, is what enables us to enjoy excellent highways, a good educational system and other benefits while enjoying lower taxes on fuel, sales and property than almost every other state. That realization argues for fewer obstacles to further mineral activity in the Big Horn Basin.

A few months ago, I was recruited, or maybe I should say drafted, to help with a project.

The recruiting officer in this case was Clark school teacher Cathy Ringler. She and her students were launching a campaign to have members of the Clark community read 5,000 books by the end of the school year. My coverage of the school program apparently made me a candidate for the draft — uh, recruitment — and I was happy to jump in and help, especially since I learned to read in a setting somewhat like Clark school down in Hyattville, where I spent my first two years in school.

The Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce has hired a  Powell native to lead the organization in a new direction.

Craig Kenyon, a 1985 Powell High School graduate, has been named the chamber’s executive director, replacing Kim Dillivan, who was terminated by the chamber board in March.

Powell residents are no doubt aware of the positive impact Northwest College has on the economy of Powell, but they may not be aware of the size of that impact.

Now, thanks to a recent independent study into the role NWC and other Wyoming community colleges play in the state, we can see just how much the college means, not only to Powell, but to the rest of Park County as well as Big Horn and Washakie counties as well.

This year, Memorial Day comes amid a flurry of efforts to honor our veterans.

In recent months, Gov. Matt Mead has traveled to Park County specifically to meet veterans, particularly those who fought in Vietnam and Korea, and thank them for their service.

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