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Tribune Staff

For the third time this year, a Powell landmark is going down.

This time it's the old swimming pool and auditorium which is, as they used to say in old Westerns, biting the dust. Its destruction follows close on the heels of the Westside Elementary, a much newer facility than the natatorium/auditorium, and the disappearance of the old Powell High School gym earlier this summer.

These last two demolition projects don't seem to have raised as much of an emotional response among Powellites as the old gym's death did. I suspect that's because, once the old gym's fate became inevitable, people simply resigned themselves to the fact that time goes on.

I suspect, though, that there were more than a few twinges of sadness felt around town by people who had experienced moments of success, even glory, in the pool or on the stage that are rapidly becoming history.

One former Panther swimmer voiced some of that sadness last week when I talked to him at the new pool. Even my daughter, who, as a swimmer for another school often expressed intense dislike — well, actually, hatred — for the old Powell pool, looked at the picture I had e-mailed her and remarked that it was “kind of sad” to see it go.

I have to admit that, even though I'm a relative newcomer to Powell, I have been sad to see the gym and now the pool and auditorium go. My son won a couple of wrestling victories that were significant to him in the old gym, and I'll never forget watching the pure joy exhibited by the Lady Panther volleyball players when they won the regional championship in that gym a couple of years ago.

As for the pool, despite my daughter's lack of success in the water in Powell, I enjoyed watching her compete there, and I've had a lot of fun watching Powell's swimmers since writing about them became my responsibility a few years ago.

Personally, I was never in the water in the old pool, nor did I ever compete in the old gym. Aside from being a spectator, my only participation in any athletic contests in Powell was as a member of officiating crews at a few football games, when we dressed in the old gym building.

The auditorium is a bit different though, because I actually did appear on that stage once, acting in a one-act play during what used to be called the District Speech Festival back about 50 years ago.

I don't remember the name of the play, but I played the part of a stuffy preacher, and at the play's climax, recited some lines from Tennyson. What stands out most in my mind is that I had the experience of wearing a clerical collar for the role, which I found very uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, I always enjoyed performing, so I have good memories of that day.

Those personal connections to the old buildings, minor though they may be, are enough to cause a little regret when I see the auditorium being turned into rubble.

But I've had those feelings before. All three of the school buildings I attended in Worland are gone, and just a few years ago, the old Greybull High School building — where I spent three decades of my life working — was torn down. I was sorry to see all of them disappear.

Despite those feelings of regret, though, I am well aware of the shortcomings of those old buildings, and realize that they did have to be replaced. Buildings have a useful lifespan, and changes in our expectations of schools, educational practices and technology require changes in the way buildings are constructed and used.

Those changes have come gradually over the years, and sometimes we aren't even aware that they are taking place. The demolition of a building is a dramatic and obvious change, but, in fact, the changes that brought its destruction have already happened, some of them years in the past.

But change is also beneficial, and the new pool is no exception. I am looking forward to the Lady Panthers' first meet with Buffalo, because, for a photographer, the light in the new pool is much better, and, more importantly, more predictable. As a result, I'm hoping I can finally get a really good picture of a diver in action, something I never could do in the old pool.

It's sad to see the past disappear, but looking forward to the new is pretty exciting.

On Tuesday, local voters verified what has been said around the community for the past eight months: Powell doesn't want to pay for Cody's hospital.

West Park Hospital's proposed $14.2 million tax failed to garner Powell's support, with voters casting ballots decidedly against the measure.

Overall, voters countywide, including a majority of Cody voters, nixed the proposal with just 2,872 (32.3 percent) in favor of the specific purpose tax and 6,026 (67.7 percent) against it, according to unofficial results.

The tax measure's defeat does not mean the project is unnecessary. We believe West Park Hospital's needs are genuine and that its emergency room must be renovated to bring it to code and ensure patient privacy.

However, Tuesday's results do indicate that a countywide 1-cent, specific purpose tax is not the best way to address those renovation needs.

For starters, the project did not get off on the best foot. In January, West Park leaders first approached the Cody City Council with the proposal — and a $38.7 million price tag.

Though that amount was later reduced to $14.2 million, the initial shock of a nearly $40 million tax proposal lingered in many voters' minds, tainting some residents' perception of the overall modernization project.

Original proposals also combined the hospital tax proposal with $10 million for a landfill tax proposal already on the table, further muddling early impressions.

An ongoing qualm for many Powell voters was the fact that West Park Hospital has a tax district in place and could raise the funding through property taxes. If West Park leaders successfully pursued that route, only residents in the hospital's tax district would pay for it.

That appears to be the best Plan B now that the 1-cent tax has failed, but there may be other ways to fund the necessary renovations.

We hope that West Park finds a way to fund its modernization project and encourage its board to find creative ways to engage community members in a future funding proposal.

{gallery}08_17_10/pooldemo{/gallery}

Debris fills the shallow end of the old Powell High School swimming pool last week as demolition of the natatorium/auditorium began. The project is being carried out by Wyoming Demolition of Sheridan, which has 90 days to complete the project, according to Randy Warnke, foreman of the project. The Powell Lady Panthers began practice Monday in the new Powell Aquatic Center, which will host its first PHS home swim meet when Buffalo visits Powell on Aug. 28. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Don't let anyone tell you the primary election isn't important.

Many key 2010 races will shaped — if not determined — by today's (Tuesday's) primary election.

Sugar beet council vows to find way to continue to produce genetically modified crop

A federal judge has revoked the government's approval of genetically altered sugar beets until regulators complete a more thorough review of how the scientifically engineered crops affect other food.

The ruling issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White means sugar beet growers won't be able to use the modified seeds after harvesting the Roundup Ready beets already planted on more than 1 million acres spanning 10 states from Michigan to Oregon, including Wyoming and Montana. All the seed comes from Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Facilitator to visit campus this week

Efforts to resolve conflicts at Northwest College are under way, with mediator Pam Fisher making her first visit to the campus on Wednesday and Thursday.

Fisher held a teleconference with a mediation task force on May 27, and contacts, interaction and preparation have continued since then, said NWC President Paul Prestwich.

{gallery}08_17_10/football{/gallery}

Vince Sleep wraps up the football as the Powell High School football team simulates an offensive play during a Monday morning practice session. All Powell High School fall athletic programs held their first practices of the school year on Monday. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Powell High officially starts 2010-2011 sports season

The practice fields and gymnasiums of Powell High School jumped to life on Monday morning as student-athletes reported to their first day of practice for the new academic year.

For many coaches, the day began with a brief explanation of expectations for the fall season. Other coaches had a simpler task.

Jameson, Geiser conclude careers as first-teamers

Four members of the Powell Pioneers American Legion baseball team that successfully defended its Class A state title and finished as runner-up at the Northwest Regional tournament earned all-state honors for their efforts this season.

Three other Region IX teams also ranked

The Northwest College women's volleyball team will begin the year ranked No. 25 nationally after the NJCAA released its pre-season Division I volleyball poll. The Trappers are coming off a 27-10 season a year ago that culminated in a Region IX North title and an appearance at the national championships.

Northwest College head coach Flavia Siqueira returns eight sophomores from her 2009 team that finished with a 1-2 record at the national tournament.

Despite Northwest's returning core of players and success in the 2009 season, the nation's pollsters predict a challenge in the Trappers' road to a title defense. Longtime Region IX North powerhouse Casper College (32-10 in ‘09) opens the year ranked No. 18. Laramie County (28-9) begins its fall calendar holding the No. 21 ranking in the nation.

Perennial national title contender Western Nebraska (42-4), which plays in the southern division of Region IX, is No. 5 to open the year.

The College of Southern Idaho (32-6) holds the No. 1 ranking to begin college volleyball season. They'll be followed by Missouri State-West Plains (27-9), Salt Lake (29-9), Miami-Dade (32-5) and Western Nebraska. Rounding out the top 10 are Iowa Western (42-6), Blinn (29-4), San Jacinto-Central (32-9), Hillsborough (30-10 and Temple (23-22).
Northwest's lone national tournament victory came against Temple last season.

The next 10 starts with North Idaho (28-5) at No. 11, followed by Frank Phillips (29-13), Eastern Arizona (21-2), Pratt (19-14) and Seminole State (26-15). Nos. 16-20 show Panola (28-9), Seward County (26-11), Casper, Wallace State-Hanceville (34-6) and Florida State-Jacksonville (32-6). The last five spots in the poll are held by Laramie County, Spartanburg Methodist (10-19), Midland (23-14), Yavapai (26-15) and Northwest.

Also receiving votes in the first poll of 2010 were Barton (22-12), Lee (17-13) and Palm Beach State (26-12).

The Northwest College Trappers open the 2010 volleyball season on a challenging note. Northwest College travels to Twin Falls, Idaho, on Aug. 27-28 to participate in the College of Southern Idaho tournament. Southern Idaho and Salt Lake are among the teams slated to appear in that tournament field.

Primary election is even more important than usual

Today is primary day in Wyoming.

By the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats will have chosen their candidates for the major offices at the state and county levels, and we all will know what our choices will be, come November.

Every election day is accompanied by editorials of the importance of voting, and the Tribune certainly isn't going to break that tradition, especially this year in light of the crowded fields in a couple of races.

Statewide, most of the attention is on the Republican race for governor. With seven candidates running, the eventual nominee is certain to win the votes of a minority of Republican voters. While only four of the candidates seem to have a reasonable chance of winning, votes won by the other three may play a critical role in deciding who wins, because the final tally probably will be close.

Closer to home, 11 Republicans are contending for three nominations to the Park County Commission. As with the governor's race, the three nominees are likely to have won the support of a minority of the voters, and the margin of victory is likely to be thin.

Finally, there's the proposed 1-cent specific purpose tax to finance upgrading of West Park Hospital in Cody. That tax may pass or fail on the basis of how much support it receives in Powell.

In short, it's the kind of election where every vote truly will count, and yours might be the vote that makes the difference.

We urge everyone to cast their vote today.

Page 183 of 221

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