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Tribune Staff

Pine beetles plague ‘important' tree species

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider listing the beetle-embattled whitebark pine as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, thanks to a December 2008 Natural Resources Defense Council petition.

But that does not mean listing is a slam dunk.

West Park Hospital is encouraging Powell residents to learn more about its modernization project at a pair of meetings in coming weeks.

On July 28 and Aug. 3, West Park staff and elected trustees will present information and answer questions about proposed upgrades to the Cody hospital. Both upcoming presentations will be held in Fagerberg Room 70 at Northwest College. The presentation on the 28th is scheduled from 3-5 p.m., while the presentation on the 3rd is slated for 5:30-7 p.m.

Antique hunters with the television program “American Pickers” are scouting out the Powell region and may soon scour local yards, garages, sheds and barns for unique treasures.

“People may think it's just junk, but these guys know what they're looking for,” said Gina Vogel with the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce.

July 22, 2010 3:36 am

State tourney underway

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Sheridan's Skyler Holwell delivers a pitch to home plate in the opening game of the 2010 Wyoming Babe Ruth state championship tournament. The event runs through Saturday afternoon in Powell. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

Powell all-star team hopes to defend title

In the end, there can be only one.

Eight 15-year-old Babe Ruth baseball teams descended upon Powell on Wednesday to begin state tournament play. The competition will run through Saturday afternoon, with the winner earning a spot in the Pacific Northwest regional tournament, to be played later this summer in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Defending district champs eye repeat

Throw strikes. Play solid defense. Wait for the big inning.

On paper, Powell's strategy for the start of the American Legion baseball post-season seems fairly straight-forward. The defending 2009 Class A state champions will begin pursuit of their title defense at 1 p.m. on Thursday when they face the Sheridan Troopers in their North District tournament opener in Cody.

The Powell Piranhas Swim Club hosted the Wild West Challenge last weekend, and a dozen Powell swimmers swam times that qualify them to swim at the state USA meet this month.

Swimmers from nine USA swim clubs, including some from as far away as Rangely, Colo., participated in the meet. No team scores were kept for the meet.

The meet was the first competition held in the new Powell Aquatic Center, but Jerry Rodriguez, coach of the Powell club, said it went very smoothly.

Among Powell swimmers, Kacey Creed and Jared Fuller swam in the 10 and under division. Creed swam to four second and four third places, while Fuller finished with one third, two fourths and two fifths.

In the 11-12 girls' division, Amanda Tracy grabbed a first in the 500-yard freestyle and another in the backstroke.

She added a second and a fourth in other individual events. Katie Brown competed in nine events, earning two second places, three thirds, three fourths and a fifth. Aly Schneider picked up four fourths and four fifths in her eight events while Katelyn Doughty competed in six events, finishing with two fifth places and three sixths.

Competing in the 11-12 boys' division, Seth Fuller earned a second, a third, a fourth and a fifth in his events, while Nyckalas Harvey earned a second, two thirds and three fourths in his events.

Among swimmers 13 and older, Roy Oursler swam in 10 events, winning six of them and finishing with three seconds and one third. Edward Oursler also swam 10 events, finishing with one second, one third, four fourths, two fifths and one sixth. Kyle Anderson, Derek Phelps and Nic Tracy each swam three events. Anderson took a second and two thirds in three events, Tracy earned two third and a fifth, and Derek Phillips finished with a third, a seventh and an eighth.

Seven Powell swimmers competed in the 13 and older female division. Belen Quillen competed in 10 individual events and one relay, she finished in the top 10 in seven of the events, earning a third, two fifths, two eighths and a ninth. Natalie Quillen earned four top-10 finishes in eight events, including a fourth, a sixth, a seventh and a ninth.

Kaiya Rodriguez earned a first place in the 200-yard backstroke, and also collected two fourths, one sixth and two sevenths in six events. Gretchen Moretti swam state qualifying times in her five events while earning three top-ten finishes, a fourth, a fifth and a ninth. Sarah Jean O'Neill earned two eighth places while swimming four individual events and one relay. Megan Curtis also swam four individual events and earned one top-10 finish with 10th in the 200-yard freestyle.

Jessica Curtis swam in two events and earned a second and a third. Anya Tracy finished with one eighth and one 10th in her two individual events, and she also swam in a relay.

While watching the British Open on television last weekend, The Sports Guy's mind got to wandering. After all, it had to be the most boring major sports championship since the Giants-Ravens puntathon in Super Bowl 35.

ESPN.com columnist Gene Wojciechowski, a name I'm admittedly throwing in here because I know it will give my proofreader fits, compared Sunday's final round of the Open to staring in the mirror for four and a half hours and watching your eyebrow hair grow. My eyebrows are evidently more exciting than Wojciechowski's, because at 11 a.m. last Sunday, that would have sounded like a welcome proposition.

If, as former NFL head coach Herm Edwards is fond of saying, you play the game to win, then Sunday's final round of the British Open should have consisted solely of Louis Oosthuizen (there's another bone for the ol' proofreader). Everyone else was simply going through the motions of conservatively playing to not lose a tournament they weren't winning.

The 2010 edition of the British Open stirred up as much excitement about golf as vanilla stirs up interest in an ice cream buffet. Apparently the ‘major' in this leg of golf's major titles was a modifier describing the boredom one received by tuning in.

In the midst of the nondescript play by golf's supposed best and brightest, yours truly caught himself marveling at just one thing. The Old Course at St. Andrews deserves a place alongside blood transfusions, Nikola Tesla and the advent of the forward pass as things truly ahead of their time.

Think about it, faithful reader. We're talking about a golf course layout established in the mid-1800s that, with relatively few changes, remains relevant in a sport where oversized, aerodynamic, depleted uranium driver heads, graphite shafts, square grooves and balls engineered to spin on command have virtually re-written the sport over the past 15 years.

By contrast, consider that Augusta National, usually heralded as the gold-standard against which all other American courses should be compared, was constructed nearly a full century after the Old Course. It has been forced over the past decade to make numerous layout changes to avoid being overwhelmed by technology.

Then there are courses like Denver's famed Cherry Hills, site of the 1960 U.S. Open where Arnold Palmer rallied from seven strokes back on the final day to claim victory. Cherry Hills was removed from the U.S. Open rotation decades after its 1923 construction because the advance of technology had rendered the course too short for major golf. Despite two concerted efforts to lengthen the layout, it is still considered too short to serve as the host for a modern men's major (although the 2012 U.S. Amateur will be contested there).

Lest this be construed as a lament that they just don't build ‘em like they used to, let me be very clear. They wouldn't build them like this at all today.

The Old Course features seven so-called “common” greens, meaning that two tee boxes are playing to different hole placements on the same green. For example, the green for hole 3 also has the flag that folks playing hole 15 are aiming for.

The tee shot on hole 17 at the Old Course features a blind carry over the corner of a hotel. That's the sort of thing typically reserved for a round of Combat Golf on the Playstation.

Try proposing either of those features today and see how quickly the lawyers step in and object for fear of the ensuing lawsuits.

The Old Course has one other unique feature not seen in the modern era — it was designed to be played backwards. Three days out of each year, golfers can do something that I imagine would be very frowned upon at the Powell Golf Club by stepping onto the first teebox and aiming toward the hole 17 green, playing their entire round in reverse.

In retrospect, that's probably the only way Sunday's final round could have held any intrigue. At least I have a new-found appreciation for my eyebrows.

It's time for the state to rethink student assessment

NCS Pearson, the company that administers Wyoming's student assessment — the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students, or PAWS — is running a public apology for technical glitches that rendered many students' test scores unusable this year.

Due to the widespread nature of the test problems, the state has requested that some scores be thrown out. And, according to an Associated Press report, the state Department of Education estimates the problems cost the state about $9.5 million in damages.

In addition, the colossal waste of teacher and student time can't be ignored. In an attempt to meet mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act, instructors spend months teaching to statewide assessment tests. Students feel the pressure to perform, and valuable class time is spent preparing for and taking the PAWS test.

NCS Pearson certainly owes the education department, teachers, students and parents an apology, as well as financial restitution, for its ineptitude — but it's time for the state to question its relationship with the company and to move forward in evaluating and rethinking its assessment process.

The State Superindent of Public Instruction oversees the Department of Education — the person who wins that race in the November elections should make a revamp of student assessment a top priority, and NCS Pearson should not figure into the equation.

July 22, 2010 3:15 am

Fred Prestly Riddle

(Jan. 10, 1947 - July 15, 2010)

Fred Prestly Riddle, 63, of Gillette, died July 15, 2010, doing what he loved, driving truck.

Fred was born Jan. 10, 1947, to Walter and Patricia (Thompson) Riddle in Cody. He was raised and educated in Cody, before moving to the family ranch in the Sunlight Basin, where he lived until the early 1970s.He spent six years in the National Guard.

Fred loved driving truck, four wheeling, being in the mountains and, most importantly, spending time with his granddaughters.His whole life was devoted to raising his family.

He is survived by his son, Walter “Toby” Riddle (Andrea) of Gillette; his daughter, Lori Riddle of Billings; two granddaughters, Haley and Cadance Riddle; and one sister, Mona Lisa Jacobson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Walter Riddle.

Those wishing to sign the online register book or leave a message of condolence may do so at www.bismarckfuneralhome.com.

July 22, 2010 3:14 am

Rosario Rosie' V. Bustos

Rosario “Rosie” V. Bustos, 94, died at St. John's Care Center in Billings on Tuesday, July 20, 2010.

A rosary will be held at Thompson Funeral Home on Sunday, July 25, at 6 p.m., and a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Barbara's Catholic Church on Monday, July 26, at 10 a.m., followed immediately by interment at Crown Hill Cemetery.

A full obituary will follow. Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.