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October 01, 2009 3:30 am

Snowmobile issue needs resolution

After 10 long years of legal wrangling, the debate about snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park lumbers on with no end in sight.

It's unlikely that either side engaged in the legal tussle will emerge as a clear-cut victor.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week heard arguments about a temporary rule put in place by Wyoming's U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer in late 2008. Brimmer limited the daily number of snowmobiles in the park to 720 until the National Park Service could put a new, permanent rule in place.

The Park Service tried to do just that in 2007 when its “final” plan set the daily limit at 540 snow machines.

Environmental groups — who want the machines banned in the park altogether — appealed the decision to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, making the argument that 540 machines would have a sizable environmental impact.

The state of Wyoming and Park County followed suit by appealing in the U.S. District Court in Wyoming. Their contention: 540 was too low.

A judge in each court has since issued a decision, but questions of jurisdiction and intent have left the door open for continued legal battles.

The yet-unresolved question of who has the ultimate authority to make a decision regarding snowmobile numbers — the Park Service, the D.C. judge or the court in the state of Wyoming — leaves too many issues hanging in limbo. A reasonable compromise that everyone can live with — somewhere between 0 and 720 — would put an end to the legal bickering. Snowmobile enthusiasts and business owners in gateway communities deserve to know what the future holds in terms of winter recreation in Yellowstone.

U.S. Circuit Judge Wade Brorby asked at least week's hearing, “Does justice require an end to litigation?”

We think the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

October 01, 2009 3:23 am

Paul William Sahli

(Sept. 29, 1924 - Sept. 15, 2009)

Paul William Sahli, 84, died Sept. 15 at Powell Valley Care Center.

Paul was born Sept. 29, 1924 to Wilfred and Vesta Sahli. He grew up in Lawndale, Calif., with four brothers and a sister. He graduated from 12th grade. In his early 20s, he loved to roller skate and almost went pro. He served in the Navy from 1941-43. He was a welder and owned his business, Ornamental Iron Craft, for most of his adult life.

He met the love of his life, Dorothy Muller, at a ballroom dance at the Biltmore Hotel. Paul said he saw a beautiful redhead across the dance floor, and he was going to marry her. On Dec. 28, 1954, Paul and Dorothy were married in St. Albans, New York.

The couple lived in Garden Grove, Calif., where they raised four children, three sons and a daughter. Paul served on the board of trustees at St. Paul's Lutheran Church for 40 years. He and Dorothy both enjoyed bowling and were members of the church league.

Paul and Dorothy moved to Powell in 2004 to be near their daughter when Dorothy's health began to fail. Until the end, Paul stayed by Dorothy's side and helped her in any way he could.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, of Powell; sons Andy Sahli (Joy) and Craig Sahli, both of California; daughter Barbara Meredith (Brad) of Powell; seven grandchildren, Alison, Erica, Lauren, Bryce and Shea of California, and Jessica and Zachary of Powell; brothers Charlie and Jack Sahli of California; and a sister, Elaine Sahli, also of California.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Roger Sahli; and his brothers Bruce and Fred Sahli.

Thompson Funeral Home is handling arrangments, and a funeral service has taken place.

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Tourists pause to snap photographs of the Arnica Fire's colorful smoke during Thursday evening's sunset. The lightning-caused fire, five miles west of Bay Bridge in Yellowstone National Park, grew considerably over the weekend. Tribune photo by Tessa Schweigert

North Fork and Teton blazes grow

The Arnica Fire, southwest of Yellowstone Lake Village, has closed the road from Bridge Bay to West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park. That includes most of the highway from Fishing Bridge Junction south to West Thumb, although travelers can still reach the Lake area.

No facilities are closed at this time, with the exception of Bridge Bay Marina to private boat launching. Private boats can embark at Grant Village.

A three-judge panel on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Friday about Yellowstone's controversial snowmobile limits, but it's unclear what — if any — impact their decision will have on this winter season.

Robert Rosenbaum, an attorney for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), opened oral arguments by stating that the decision, “will significantly affect the upcoming winter season of Yellowstone National Park,” but the court was skeptical.

September 29, 2009 3:58 am

Panthers roll to victory

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Powell's defense swarms over Jackson quarterback Kyle Vinson during a first-half pass attempt on Friday night. The second-ranked Panthers confined the Broncs to their half of the field almost exclusively, allowing just three first downs as the team recorded its first shutout of the year. Tribune photo by John Wetzel

Defense dominates in 36-0 blanking of Jackson

The Powell Panthers, elevated last week to the No. 2 ranking in 3A according to the Wyopreps coaches and media poll, turned in a complete team effort on Friday night, opening conference play with a 36-0 shutout of visiting Jackson. In reality, the game probably wasn't even that close.

Powell's defense kept the Broncs' option attack under wraps throughout the evening, holding the visiting team to negative yardage in the second half. Jackson quarterback Kyle Vinson spent much of the night either bottled up or scrambling for his life.

September 29, 2009 3:48 am

PHS keeps perfect 3-0 record

The Powell Lady Panthers notched two more conference wins on the road last week to run their record to 3-0 in volleyball action.

The Lady Panthers stopped Lander on Friday in four sets and followed up with a 3-set win over Worland on Saturday.

September 29, 2009 3:27 am

Panthers head to state tourney

Boys' No. 3 doubles team takes third at regionals

The Panther tennis teams showed their continued improvement at the regional tournament last weekend.

The Powell High School boys and girls pushed their opponents to split sets in 12 of their 24 matches, which head coach Ray Bieber said, “had to be a record.”

“The (opposing) teams had drilled us earlier,” Bieber said. “It shows a lot of improvement, actually, on our part.”

The Panthers played as host to the state's eight northern conference teams in the tournament, which was double-elimination. The Powell boys' and girls' teams each took seventh place.

Individually, the boys' No. 3 doubles team of Tyler Morgan and Todd Lewis seized third place to claim a coveted seed at this weekend's state tournament.

“That was exciting,” Bieber said.

No. 1 singles player Pablo Garces pushed fourth-place finisher Nathan Trautenberg of Jackson to three sets, but fell 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

He later lost to Kelly Walsh's Mitchell Bradley 6-3, 6-0.

In his opening match, No. 2 singles player Justin Lynn lost 6-1, 6-3 to Gillette's Taylor Holst — the eventual champion. That was a better showing than the runner-up, who won only three games.

Lynn was later eliminated by Natrona's Michael Masterson, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.

“He (Lynn) showed that he can compete with anybody on a given day,” said Bieber.

At No. 1 doubles, Sam Wise and Levi Anderson fell 6-1, 6-1 to Kelly Walsh, rebounded to thump Natrona County (6-2, 6-0), and then narrowly lost to third-place finisher Jackson in three sets, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Robert Speiser and Eric Curtis lost to top finisher Gillette 6-0, 6-2, beat Sheridan 6-0, 5-7, 6-4, and were finally edged out by third-place Jackson, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.

“They showed flashes of brilliance,” BIeber said. “They showed they can play with anybody, too.”

Tyler Morgan and Todd Lewis opened with a convincing 6-1, 6-1 win over Natrona, then suffered a narrow 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 defeat to runner-up Jackson.

In the consolation bracket, Morgan and Lewis turned around and beat Sheridan (6-7, 6-4, 6-4) and finished up with a win against Cody (6-1, 4-6, 7-5) to claim third place.

On the girls' side, No. 1 singles player Lisa Schiermeister ran into a tough draw, losing to third-place finisher Jill Ross of (6-1, 6-2) and fourth-place finisher Beth Ferrier of Gillette (6-4, 6-4).

No. 2 singles player Brittany Feller narrowly lost to Natrona's Emma Gallup, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and Kelly Walsh's Lauren Bradley 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Emily Kath and Lacey Eckherdt began against the eventual No. 1 doubles regional champion of Jackson (6-0, 6-1) and later fell to Cody after a tight first set (6-6, 6-1).

At No. 2 doubles, Shelby Walton and Haylee Humphries fell 6-3, 6-2 to Gillette, but rebounded to beat Riverton, 6-2, 6-2. They then fell 6-3, 6-4 to third-place finisher Cody.

Rounding out the girls' squad, No. 3 doubles duo BreaAnn Hollenbeck and Marquette McArthur lost 6-0, 6-0 to Jackson, and then weren't quite able to beat Natrona, falling 2-6, 7-6, 6-4.

With the new tennis courts at the high school, Bieber said that it was great to be able to host the regional tournament.

“Powell did a good job hosting,” Bieber said, praising the work and contributions of PHS athletic director Tim Wormald, the tennis players' parents, the Chamber of Commerce and the Powell Athletic Roundtable in putting on the event.

PHS tennis teams will next head to Cheyenne for the state tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday.

Bieber said the Panthers generally appear to have favorable match-ups.

“Every team has a good chance of winning a match the first day,” he said.

When Wall Street collapsed last year, Main Streets across America endured the aftershocks. Powell businesses fared better than many in the country, yet the economic challenges and stresses still are very real.

In an uncertain economic climate, the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce plays a crucial role for progress and promotion of the local economy. For Powell to remain viable, chamber leaders must fulfill those duties.

The chamber currently is at a crossroads. Effective this week, five of the nine directors on the board will finish their terms.

The term is ending for three directors, and two decided to leave the board. While it's a concern that five directors are needed at the same time, this also is an opportunity for new blood. New leaders will have an opportunity to build on established successes, learn from past mistakes and bring innovation to economic development.

They also must work together to fill the void created when Dave Reetz left the helm of local economic development. For years, Reetz fostered the local economy's health in a position bankrolled by a private business, First National Bank and Trust. He retired last spring, and the position no longer exists since the acquisition of First National by an out-of-state corporation.

The need still exists, and local efforts are underway to address it.

The Powell Valley Economic Development Alliance is in the process of creating a strategic plan to evaluate the area's assets and potential for economic growth. With the financial help of the city of Powell, the Wyoming Business Council and Northwest College, the alliance invested $20,000 to hire the National Community Development Services, an Atlanta consulting firm. Leaders met last week to discuss the first phase of that plan. Eventually, a full-time director devoted to economic development may be hired.

As new leaders step up to fill five vacancies on the board of directors, they certainly face challenges. Yet with the responsibility comes opportunity to steer the chamber in fresh directions while finding ways to keep Powell economically stable.

September 29, 2009 3:23 am

Elvira Vera' Villareal

(Aug. 18, 1927 - Sept. 25, 2009)

Elvira ‘Vera' Villareal, 82, died Sept. 25 in Sacramento, Calif.

She was born Aug. 18, 1927 in Cody. She spent many years as a Powell resident until she married and moved to Sacramento in March 1956.

In her spare time, she enjoyed making home-made tortillas, tamales and chicken mole. She was heavily involved at Our Lady of Fatima School and as a member of St. Joseph's Church from 1963 to 1973. She served as a lunch lady, field trip driver and was co-chairman of several school festivals. As part of the festivals, she made hundreds of tacos, chicken dinners and other savory foods. She was a den mother to the Cub and Boy Scout Troop 103 in North Sacramento and was an active leader in the Girl Scouts.

She later was a member of St. Philomene Church where she gladly served in the “Sharing His Bounty” ministry to feed the homeless. She worked at A&W Family Restaurant as a cook for seven years, and when her grandchildren arrived, she traveled to the Monterey Bay area on a regular basis. Vera greatly impacted the lives of many people, and her smile was contagious. She believed that God measures the value of our lives by the depth of our love for one another, and so she loved with a deep, profound love. Vera's family was very important to her.

She is survived by her daughters, Gloria Y. Alvarez of Powell and Dolores Levine (Bob) of La Cañada, Calif.; son David Villareal (Anne) of Carmel Valley, Calif. and their children Nicholas, Grace and Emily Villareal; a great-grandson, Riley Edward Villareal; brothers Raymond Alvarez (Julie) of Denver andTony Alvarez (Lola) of Cody; and step-children Dolores and Terry Hudson, Eddie and May Villareal and Marty Villareal. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Vera was preceded in death by her husband, Edward Villareal; and her sisters, Connie Gutierrez, Rosa Alvarez and Sally Cruz.

A rosary will be held on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at St. Philomene Church in Sacramento. A Mass will be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. at St. Philomene, with burial following at Calvary Cemetery. Donations in her memory may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Arrangements are being handled by North Sacramento Funeral Home.

September 29, 2009 3:20 am

Donald E. Ferebee

Donald E. Ferebee, 92, died Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Powell Valley Care Center.

He is survived by daughter Sharon Utter of Powell.

Memorial services are pending, and a complete obituary will follow at a later date.