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Tribune Staff

As of Tuesday, I have become a bachelor.

This is a temporary situation, I hasten to say, not the result of catastrophic changes in my marital status or anything like that.

I'm not about to hit the singles scene looking for dates.

This situation is due to the redeployment of my wife to grandma duty. Our daughter-in-law's employer has sent her off to collect soil samples at some environmental cleanup site, so my permanent dance partner is helping our son manage two pre-school kids, three dogs and a cat. As a result, for the next 10 days or so, I'm a single guy, with only two cats for companionship.

I'm facing the next few days with a bit of uneasiness. After 43 years, a guy gets used to having a wife around reminding him to do stuff like comb his hair. Some of those functions are fulfilled by the cats, but they are mostly concerned with making sure I get up in the morning and feed them, and don't much care if I'm presentable when I go out in public. I don't ever remember a cat reminding me to comb my hair.

For that matter, I've never had a cat remind me to feed myself, but then, I've never needed anybody to remind me of that. I do, however, require my wife's guidance and her knowledge of kitchen lore to make sure I eat the right stuff.

Back in the old days, like 2008, I never worried that much about my diet while the good woman was off visiting. I had an action plan for such occasions and implemented it as soon as the taillights disappeared around the corner.

First, I ordered a large pepperoni pizza. On the way to pick it up, I stopped off to buy a package of Lorna Doone cookies (those were for breakfast), a box of fudge-covered Oreos (formerly known as Mystic Mints), and some ice cream. That generally comprised my diet for the weekend, although if I was feeling ambitious or ran out of Lorna Doones, I'd bake up a batch of oatmeal cookies to boost my diet with some whole grains.

If I was alone beyond the weekend, I'd survive on what was in the refrigerator or take advantage of the supermarket deli or whatever fast food was available.

Unfortunately, this regimen won't work any more. Age has caught up with my digestive system and nutrition has become more critical. I am now obligated to eat my breakfast oatmeal from a bowl, not in the form of cookies. Lorna Doones are definitely out, and fudge-covered Oreos are unthinkable. Moreover, the recommended ration of ice cream, if one is to remain healthy, appears to be one teaspoon every six weeks or so, not half a gallon every three days.

Then there's that pizza thing, which involves a number of negatives, namely, too much cheese and too many carbohydrates.

In addition, I've been told that nobody should ever eat pepperoni. In nutrition circles, the stuff is considered lethal, suitable only for poisoning in your enemies. That alone eliminates pizza because frankly, a pizza without pepperoni isn't really a pizza, so why bother.

Besides, this time I have pledged, both to my wife and my image in the bathroom mirror, to eat healthy stuff while she is with the grandkids.

This does present a problem. My culinary skills are limited, and my ambition to actually perform them is even more limited.

During my real bachelorhood, I survived pretty much on frying stuff, opening cans and boiling stuff in boxes, all of which raise nutritional issues, like grease and salt content.

But, as I said, this stretch of single living is different from those in the past, and I'm approaching it fearlessly. There's a lot vegetables in the refrigerator and some really healthy leftovers in the freezer that will stave off starvation, and recently we acquired a George Foreman Grill, which, at least theoretically, is supposed to be a healthier way to cook a pork chop than frying it.

The main difference though, is that I've become somewhat obsessed with healthy eating over the past few months, so I think I can make it through my temporary bachelorhood without gaining 10 pounds and raising my cholesterol levels to Himalayan heights.

Sometime during the next 10 days, though, I'll no doubt be making that pizza call, and the word pepperoni will definitely be part of the discussion.

A bachelor, after all, has to assuage his loneliness somehow.

As autumn approaches, major changes await Powell Valley Healthcare.

In the coming months, the organization must replace its chief executive officer as well as its chief financial officer. In addition, five seats of seven on the Powell Hospital District Board of Trustees are up for election in November.

This week has served as a telling indicator of the changes that are to come.

On Monday night, it was announced that Steve Ramsey, chief financial officer, will retire after 25-plus years in the position. On Tuesday night, the community gathered to bid farewell to Rod Barton, chief executive officer, who is leaving PVHC early next month to take a position in Idaho.

Barton has said the timing of his resignation and Ramsey's retirement is coincidental.

Also on Monday, the filing period for election to seats on the board closed. One candidate, Larry Parker, filed for a two-year term. Only three other candidates filed for the other four, four-year seats — meaning the fourth seat hinges on a successful write-in campaign or a board appointment following November's general election.

With only three candidates running for four seats, it appears that those who filed by Monday will be elected to the board automatically. Yet come November, voters still need to carefully consider each candidate's experience and qualifications before aimlessly casting a vote.

Those who serve on the hospital board must be ready to help steer the organization through difficult financial, administrative and personnel decisions.

We encourage qualified individuals with the desire to serve the hospital and community to consider running as write-in candidates.

Amid impending turnover and changes, strong leadership for Powell Valley Healthcare's future is vital.


Northwest College music students, freshman Keller Paulsen of Casper (left) and sophomore Drew Brown of Hamilton, Mont., jump together at the velcro wall as Residence Life Specialist Jennifer Skinner gives them instructions during Kick-Off Weekend at NWC on Saturday. Classes began at NWC and Powell's high school, middle school and elementary schools Monday morning. Tribune photo by Kara Bacon

Although the Arthur 2 Fire in eastern Yellowstone National Park kicked-up recently, precipitation Sunday hampered the fire's growth, leaving fire managers guardedly optimistic it will not spread.

The fire is one and one-half miles southwest of the East Entrance and on the south side of the Middle Fork of the Shoshone River. The fire has caused no closures.

A suspected illegal immigrant has been sentenced to 15 to 18 years in the Wyoming prison system for raping a woman in Powell nearly two years ago.

Fabian Ruiz-Estrada, 27, had been tied to the rape through DNA evidence more than a year after it occurred.

On Wednesday, District Court Judge Steven Cranfill accepted a plea agreement and found Ruiz-Estrada guilty of two counts of first-degree sexual assault — one count for making the victim submit by the use of force and another for threatening her with a deadly weapon.

With a tall, floor-to-ceiling wall of windows showcasing Yellowstone National Park's most famous geyser, the park's newest visitor center will open at Old Faithful on Wednesday, Aug. 25. A public grand opening dedication ceremony marks the event at 11 a.m.

The opening celebrates the completion of a 10-year-plus effort to fund and build the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, which replaces a smaller, obsolete visitor center built in 1972.


Powell's Alyssa Hildebrand follows her tee shot through the air during the Panthers' opening golf tournament of the season. Hildebrand was the lone female golfer to compete in the meet for PHS. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Prestwich second after two-hole playoff

The Powell High School golf team opened the 2010 fall sports calendar with a third-place finish at home. The Panthers finished with two of the meet's top four golfers to place behind Gillette and Cody.

“I was pleased with our showing for the first tournament, but we definitely have some room to grow,” said Panther golf coach Troy Hildebrand. “The season got off to a great start with two perfect days of weather and our course in superb shape for the nine schools that were able to come.”

Connecticut man pedals cross-country for MS

With the start of classes at Northwest College steadily swelling the ranks of Powell's young adult population, Brookfield, Conn., native Ryan Prizio could easily have passed through town without drawing attention. Another face, another cyclist out for a summer ride.

In reality, there's hardly anything ordinary about the 23-year-old Prizio. On July 1, he departed Brookfield, leaving behind his information technology job at a local hospital, to pedal cross-country to Portland, Ore., then south to San Diego to raise awareness of and money for multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Panthers' season could hinge on what takes place in the trenches

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times, and for Powell High School head football coach Jim Stringer, it was a season unlike any other. The Powell Panthers won their first four games a year ago before injuries, player dismissals and a full-scale mugging at the hands of the swine flu conspired to cause the team to fade to a 4-4 finish and a missed playoff opportunity.

“That last week, I've never seen anything like it,” Stringer said, recalling how sickness kept him from coaching his team during the season's final week and decimated the Panthers to the point where Powell was unable to field a scout team in the buildup to its final game.

That was a year ago. With the start of the 2010 football season slated to begin this Saturday, when the Panthers travel to Miles City, Mont., for their annual scrimmage game (the contest plays as a regular season game for Miles City, but won't appear in the Panthers' season record), Stringer will have a team of about 60 players ready to go.

According to the media and coaches' preseason poll, the Panthers kick off the season ranked fifth in Class 3A.

Thanks to the mishaps of last season, Powell returns “six or seven” players with “significant varsity playing time” to each side of the football, according to Stringer. The Panthers have several proven playmakers and a wealth of athleticism in the offensive backfield. Many of the holes that need filled by the program will come along the offensive and defensive lines.

“It's going to take some time for the kids to grow into those positions,” Stringer said of the Panthers' developing 2010 line. “The kids on our line of scrimmage need to think. They need to perform as a unit. I'm excited with the kids we have. I think we've got some good, young talent. We've made a few personnel moves to bolster our line of scrimmage, but it will take time and repetition to get them working together as a unit.”

Getting that unit operating together is a key, because behind the offensive line sits junior Keithen Schwahn, who accounted for nearly 1,500 yards of offense last year, including 1,131 yards through the air. Schwahn's most productive target in ‘09, senior Kyle Sullivan, is also back, looking to build upon a campaign that saw him average better than 19 yards per reception.

“We're not going to be the biggest team out there, but we're used to that,” said Stringer. “That's why our system emphasizes misdirection and combination blocks to give us a chance to use our athletic ability.”

Defensively, the Panthers will make a slight change this season, shying away from the 3-5 scheme in favor of a return to a more-traditional 4-3 alignment. Despite it not being their primary defense in 2009, injuries forced the team to adapt and run some 4-3 as well.

“We don't have the same type of dominating down linemen that we had last season, and you need that in the 3-5,” said Stringer. “The 4-3 matches up better with what we have this season in terms of personnel. We've got an athletic group of linebackers and our secondary has the most experience of any area of the field. I expect we'll have another solid defense.”

After Saturday's trip to Miles City, the Panthers open the 2010 season with non-conference home games against Riverton and Wheatland. Star Valley and Lander will also make trips to Powell for varsity football this season while the Panthers' road slate takes them to Buffalo, Worland, Jackson and Cody.

“If we come together, especially the younger kids on the line, I think we can stack up with anyone in the 3A West,” said Stringer. “We'll have to use our speed to win games. Our schemes should feature our athleticism and quickness. As long as we stay healthy and come together as a team, we'll be competitive.”

School opened in Powell Monday, and as always, the new year was greeted with a variety of emotions as the kids reported.

Some new kindergartners arrived with grins on their faces while others reflected apprehension. A few tears were shed by moms as they entrusted their youngsters to a teacher for the first time. Among the kids returning to school, there were shouts and squeals of delight as friends who hadn't seen each other all summer reconnected. Dashes across the playground into group hugs were common sights.

Soon the kids were back in their classrooms, ready to take on the next challenges.

Wyoming's school kids are fortunate. In many states, schools have had to cut budgets, reducing faculty and even shutting down schools. More crowded class sizes and fewer opportunities are the result for the kids in those states.

In Wyoming, there haven't been many cutbacks, but that doesn't mean there won't be some in the future. The state is just beginning the process of recalibrating its school funding model, and that will determine funding levels for the next five years.

Funding isn't the only factor in the success of a school, though. Just as important is the level of support a school receives from parents and the community at large, and it is in that area that Powell's students are particularly fortunate.

Parental support of the Powell schools, especially the elementary schools, has been exceptional over the years, and community groups such as the Powell School Foundation and the Powell Athletic Roundtable provide tremendous support as well.

Powell businesses provide job experiences for high school students, and community members are frequently in the classroom to pass their knowledge and wisdom along or simply to help out.

Those contributions are a big reason why Powell schools are some of the best in Wyoming.

Take advantage of those good schools, and have a good year, kids.

Page 474 of 514


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