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This is Homecoming week at Powell High School. Did you enjoy high school?



Tribune Staff

Lady Panthers first again; boys team second at Lander

High elevations and a nine-team field greeted Powell High School's boys and girls cross country squads last Thursday at the Lander Invitational, and both the Panthers and Lady Panthers enjoyed strong showings.

The Lady Panthers, who were led by senior Lauren Dunleavy, notched their second straight first-place team finish. Their other first-place effort came less than a week earlier at the Cody Invitational at Don Little Park.

The Lady Panthers, during last Thursday's event, finished ahead of runner-up Lander and third-place Thermopolis. As for the individual standings, Dunleavy was the top runner with a time of 24:28. PHS freshman Desiree Murray, with an effort of 24:59, claimed the runner-up spot in the race. Jordan Bigelow (6th, 26:13), Skye Albert (8th, 27:07) and Kristi Mingus (9th, 27:09) rounded out the scoring efforts for PHS and gave the team five runners in the top nine.

Emily Schwahn added a 12th-place finish with her time of 27:39. Alyssa Rodriguez, after a pair of strong efforts at the Billings and Cody invitationals, was unable to finish the race after suffering pain in her side early in the race.

According to PHS coach Cliff Boos, the course at Beaver Creek Ski Area south of Lander, presented its fair share of challenges, including a hill that runners had to tackle at the start of the event. Elevations higher than 8,200 feet made it that much harder, and he said that, plus too fast of a start, might have been what hampered Rodriguez's efforts.

“We were originally scheduled to run at the golf course in Lander, but they were having a tournament there,” Boos said. “On Monday, they let us know the meet had been moved to the Beaver Creek Ski Area, which is about 22 miles south of Lander. It was a beautiful course, especially at this time of year with the leaves changing colors.

“The girls did really well, and it was great to see five of our runners finish in the top nine. Lauren got an early lead, and she ran extremely well again. It was a tough day for Alyssa, but she's fine now. She tried to get through it, but it was just too painful for her.”

In the competition for the boys, the Panthers recorded a second-place finish behind Lander. Lyman's team settled for third place. In the individual standings, Rawlins' Joe Mead took the top spot with a time of 20:23.

The pace-setter for PHS was sophomore Patrick Voss, who finished fourth overall in 21:48. Patrick Sullivan was the Panthers' second-fastest runner with a 21:56, and sophomore Danny McKearney enjoyed another solid performance, finishing ninth in 22:22.

Powell's scoring efforts were rounded out by Alex Speiser (14th, 23:34) and Devin Lynn (18th, 23:58). Colton Smith (21st, 25:18) and Jake Firnekas (22nd, 26:01) were Powell's sixth- and seventh-fastest runners.

“I'm so pleased with how well both teams are performing,” Boos said. “Once again the atmosphere we have is one where the kids really get along well and are very supportive of each other.”

• Up next: The boys and girls cross country squads will be in action again Thursday at the Rocky Mountain Invitational. That event has a scheduled 4 p.m. start time and will be conducted at Foster Gulch Golf Course in Lovell.

The county-wide 1-percent capital facilities tax is predicted to be in effect for another year, give or take a month.

The proceeds from that tax, a total of $13.2 million, are funding much-needed projects in Cody, Meeteetse and Powell.

In just a few weeks, the new Cody branch of the Park County Library will open. Pool construction and remodeling in Meeteetse is nearing completion, and construction of the family aquatic center in Powell will begin sometime this fall.

While few of us like the idea of higher taxes, the capital facilities tax is a way to pay for facilities like these that make the communities of Park County better places to live.

And most would agree that the tax is relatively painless. For every $100 spent, just $1 in extra tax is paid. That's the price of a bottle of pop.

Also consider the fact that a 2007 economic impact study on tourism in Wyoming determined that, in Park County, tourist spending accounted for more than 26 percent of the total sales tax collected.

That's right — people who don't even live here are paying for more than one fourth of these projects. That's a pretty good deal for us.

People are already throwing out ideas as to what our communities' needs will be in the future, and grumblings about “no more taxes” already can be heard.

We live in a state with some of the lowest taxes in the nation — 1-percent sales taxes pay for large-scale projects in our towns, without overburdening county residents.

Capital facilities taxes give us a big bang for our buck. If a worthy project is presented, we'd be wise to consider another tax in 2010.

September 23, 2008 3:00 am

Shorb flies to fame

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Justin Shorb, in the red wingsuit on the left, flies over Puerto Rico with other skydivers. Shorb has traveled around the world organizing wingsuit jumps and training skydivers. In November, Shorb will participate in a world record 71-way wingsuit formation at Skydive Elsinore in Southern California. Courtesy photo by Scotty Burns, www.Sky2Productions.com

PHS grad to be featured on History Channel Friday

By nature, humans do not fly — but that doesn't stop Justin Shorb.

Shorb first went skydiving 10 years ago as a Powell High School senior, and today is often airborne in a wingsuit.

In fact, it's his day job.

“I don't do anything else but skydiving for a living,” Shorb said.

Shorb founded Flock University in Pepperell, Ma., in September 2006, and the skydiving training school has grown to become one of the biggest wingsuit schools in the world, he said.

Shorb, who lives in Salem, N.H., said the school has trained hundreds of people.

Shorb first tried out a wingsuit in 2006, and since then has done more than 1,500 wingsuit skydives.

September 18, 2008 3:02 am

Powell bankers say don't panic

The nationwide financial crisis, which, according to analysts may be comparable to the Great Depression, continues to worsen.

What began with a national slump in housing prices has evolved into a financial nightmare for many. Following on the heels of a federal bailout of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the weekend news of Merrill Lynch's sale to Bank of America and a bankrupt Lehman Bros. dealt consumers another blow. And on Monday, the Federal Reserve announced that it would come to the rescue of insurance behemoth AIG — to the tune of $85 billion — to prevent what could be a catastrophic, world-wide domino effect if the company failed.

The turmoil has people in Powell asking, “What does this mean for me?”

Local bankers said people should not panic.

Larry Larsen, president of the Powell branch of Shoshone First Bank, said local customers are aware of the problems and have approached him with “concerns about FDIC insurance and the amount available for their money.”

September 18, 2008 3:01 am

Radioactive Man' dies uncompensated

They called the Powell native the Radioactive Man.

After all, Michael (Duffy) Olveda was believed to have inhaled more radiation than anyone in the history of U.S. nuclear facilities. It happened in the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 1971, when a small explosion rocked a laboratory in the plutonium-recovery building of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility near Denver.

Olveda, then 37, found himself soaking up radiation in the midst of a “hot fire,” ignited spontaneously in a container of plutonium shavings and light oil. He may have been exposed for 10-15 seconds before donning his respirator. Smoke quickly filled the room, and he estimated he was in the fire for some two minutes before finding his way out.

Olveda had worked as a technician for eight years for Dow Chemical, which leased the facility from the Atomic Energy Commission. After scrubbing surface plutonium dust in the decontamination unit, he was sent to the infirmary to check for inhaled plutonium. The results revealed he had inhaled more radiation — almost 28 times the maximum allowable level — than any person in the recorded history of operating nuclear facilities in the United States.

September 18, 2008 3:01 am

Asay rides again

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Powell bull rider Kanin Asay has overcome injuries sustained during a rodeo in Oregon in early July and is riding again after a two-month absence from the sport. Above, Asay competes in the Pendleton Round-Up Friday, Sept. 12. Courtesy photo/Hubbell Photography

Powell cowboy continues to chase second WNFR berth

Kanin Asay, Powell's well-known bull riding personality who was severely injured during a competition in Oregon in early July, is back and making headlines after an almost two-month absence from the sport he loves.

Asay, during the time of year known as Cowboy Christmas, was riding Corey-Horst Rodeo Company's 301 Cry Baby when he suffered multiple injuries, including a damaged spleen, facial fractures and concussion. The life-threatening incident sidelined the rider for the remainder of July and most of August. Those injuries also left him with plenty of downtime to simply think and get himself mentally and physically ready to ride again.

“You don't realize how much you miss something until you can't do something you love,” Asay said. “I had plenty of time to think about things, and I was determined to get back and ride again.”

The first ride for Asay took place Aug. 29 on a practice bull at the Cody Nite Rodeo. He said the bull started slow but quickly picked up momentum and gained an advantage as the ride continued.

September 18, 2008 3:01 am

Rebirth of a homecoming tradition

Toland organizes powder puff game

The lineup of homecoming activities at Powell High School got a boost this week thanks to the efforts of Hannah Toland.

Toland, a senior student-athlete at PHS, approached PHS activities director Jeff Jones with the idea of conducting a powder puff football game as part of the 2008 homecoming lineup. Upon hearing Toland's proposal, Jones gave her the green light to move ahead with her plan.

“She came to me early on and asked about the possibility of a powder puff football game. I told her I didn't see it being a problem as long as it was well organized. I've seen it done at other schools, and powder puff games are a lot of fun if they are done the right way.”

Toland, who incorporated a fund-raising twist to the event and used it as her senior project, took Jones' approval and ran with the idea. With the help of family, friends and several school officials, Toland turned the project into what proved to be a smashing hit with those involved. In the process, the game raised money for families in need in the Powell area.

“I had a lot of help,” Toland said shortly after the game's conclusion Monday night. “It's something I've always wanted us to have, and I think it went over really well. I've had people tell me they had powder puff games here at one point in time, but it's been a long time.”

Because the event was so successful, Jones said he hopes to add the event to the annual list of homecoming activities.

“It will (become a tradition) if I have anything to say about it,” Jones said. “Hannah did a great job organizing it, and that helped make it a success. She met with me twice a week, and I was very impressed with her initiative and ability to follow through. She took it seriously, contacted churches in order to locate families who needed help and showed a lot of professionalism.”

As an added bonus for Toland, her Pink team, which was composed of seniors and sophomores, emerged victorious in the contest. They won the game 22-14 in overtime. When asked if the outcome was ever in doubt, Toland answered with an emphatic, “No!”

“We knew we were going to win from the very start,” she said. “We just wanted to make it interesting at the end so people would remember how exciting it was.”

Leslie Thronburg opened the scoring with a touchdown for the Pink team, but the ensuing conversion run failed.

The Purple squad, which was filled with freshmen and juniors, answered the score with a touchdown by Mikala Starcevich. The Purple squad also got the two-point conversion to go ahead 8-6.

In the second half, sophomore Stephanie Paul put her track skills to use by scoring the Pink's second touchdown of the game. Laura Morse added the conversion run for a 14-8 lead.

The score remained in the favor of the Pink team until an interception by the Purple squad's EmiLee Bapst with less than 25 seconds to play.

Bapst returned the interception about 75 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14 with three seconds remaining in the game. Time ran out on the failed conversion attempt.

Senior Galen Mills, who coached the Pink team along with his twin brother, Gavin Mills, served as the offensive coordinator, and he defended his decision to have his quarterback throw a pass with time winding down and his team holding a six-point lead.

“They wanted to throw the ball,” Galen Mills said, stating that all of the players in the huddle were adamant about going for more yardage and another possible touchdown. “There was no way I was telling them ‘no.'”

Fortunately for the Pink coaching staff, Paul bailed them out during the overtime period with another touchdown run and the two-point conversion attempt.

The Purple squad, during its one overtime possession, nearly scored on a long run by Katie Kipp, but she was stopped when her flag was pulled at the Pink team's one-yard line. The Purple team was stopped for no gain on its next play thanks to a first-rate defensive play by McKenzie Danforth. On the following play, the Purple squad fumbled the ball and the senior-sophomore team recovered it to seal the victory.

Two drivers score multiple Victories

Last Saturday marked the second-to-last evening of racing for the Park County Kart Club's 2008 season, and 14 different drivers posted victories in their respective divisions. Of those drivers, two scored multiple wins — Cory Heny and Landon Greer.

Drivers notching one victory each last Saturday at the Park County Fairgrounds in Powell were Brooklyn Sweet, Emily Sande, Matt Sweet, Jane Faulkner, Jennifer Triplett, JJ Faulkner, Wayne McClaflin, Sam Gernhart, Tracy Sweet, Scott Heny, Curtis Sande and Ken Strausheim.

The final races of the PCKC's season will be Saturday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. Races will be conducted at the Park County Fairgrounds.

The following is a recap of last week's racing action:

• Kids (5-8): Brooklyn Sweet finished ahead of Samantha Sande for the win. For Brooklyn Sweet, the victory was her fifth of the season in the kids division and helped her maintain her lead in the season's points standings. She has 118 points and is 16 points ahead of Samantha Sande.

• Junior I (ages 9-13): As has been the case much of the season, Cory Heny and Matt Sweet found themselves in a battle for the top spot. Heny prevailed and claimed the checkered flag, and Sweet settled for the runner-up spot. Positions three through six were rounded out by Taylor Rentschler, Emily Sande, Marisa Sanders and Taylor Daniels.

As for the standings in the Junior I division, Matt Sweet holds the top spot with 129 points. Cory Heny is the closest challenger with 112 points with just one race date left on this season's schedule.

• Junior I girls: Emily Sande claimed the top spot and was followed by Brooklyn Sweet, Mallory Triplett and Marissa Sanders.
With her victory, Emily Sande pushed her season-leading point total in the division to 108. She currently is 10 points ahead of Brooklyn Sweet, who is ranked second.

• Junior I boys: In this division, Cory Heny scored the victory, and Matt Sweet took the runner-up spot. Grady Sanders, Taylor Rentschler and Taylor Daniels rounded out spots three through five.

The victory was Cory Heny's fourth in this division for the year. However, he still trails Matt Sweet for the points lead by a 112-98 margin. Taylor Rentschler is third with 88 points.

• Junior pro-am (ages 9-18): Matt Sweet earned the victory, and Cory Heny, Savannah Triplett, Taylor Rentschler, Emily Sande and Grady Sanders took spots two through six.

With his victory, Matt Sweet tightened his grip on the points lead. He has 125 points, and Cory Heny is second with 112. Savannah Triplett, third, has 90 points.

• Junior II: Jake Mennell was the top driver in this division Saturday. With 78 points for the season, he is ahead of Alex Zellman, who is second with 56 points.

• Ladies 6.5 hp heat race: Jane Faulkner crossed the finish line first and was followed by Nancy Knight, Jill Sande, Jennifer Triplett and Pokey Heny.

• Ladies 6.5hp class race: In this event, Jennifer Triplett took the top spot ahead of Jane Faulkner, Pokey Heny, Nancy Knight, Jill Sande and Jaci Heny.

This division is up for grabs entering the final week of racing. Jennifer Triplett has the lead in the standings with 109 points, but Jane Faulkner is one point behind in second. Jill Sande sits third with 102 points, and Nicole Timmons is fourth with 96. Fifth place currently belongs to Pokey Heny, who has 87 points.

• Men's 6.5hp (300-350 pounds, kart and driver): Curtis Sande won this race, finishing ahead of Sam Gernhart and Dan DeLeon.
Curtis Sande also the points lead in the division with 116 points. Sam Gernhart is the closest competitor to that total with 76 points. DeLeon is third with 48.

• Men's 6.5hp (350-400 pounds, kart and driver): JJ Faulkner claimed the checkered flag and retained his No. 1 ranking in the season standings. He has 106 points while Justin Sims is second with 78. Aaron Lotten is third with 56.

• Men's 6.5hp (400-450 pounds, kart and driver): Wayne McClaflin scored the victory Saturday and easily maintained his lead in the division with 80 points for the season.

• Animal (300-350 pounds, kart and driver): This race was won by Landon Greer. He also has the points lead for the season.

• Animal (350-400 pounds, kart and driver): Tracy Sweet claimed the top spot and finished ahead of Bill Rentschler, Ken Strausheim and Larry Chouinard.

Entering the final race date, this division boasts a close points race. Tracy Sweet is the leader with 74 points, but Bill Rentschler is close behind with 68. Strausheim is third with 65 points, and Larry Chouinard is fourth with 62.

• Animal (400-450 pounds, kart and driver): Scott Heny was the winner in this race and he also holds the top spot in the point standings with 58. Shawn Chouinard is second with 40 points.

• Modified 210cc and below (300-350 pounds, kart and driver): Curtis Sande outdrove Landon Greer, Sam Gernhart and Dan DeLeon for the top spot. He also leads the standings with 76 points.

Mike Apanashk is second with 58 points, and Landon Greer and Sam Gernhart are tied for third with 32 points each.

• Modified 210cc and below (350-400 pounds, kart and driver): Ken Strausheim crossed the finish line first and ahead of Bill Rentschler, Wayne McClaflin, Tracy Sweet and Larry Chouinard.

Strausheim also has the points lead with 74. Wayne McClaflin is second with 64 points, and Tracy Sweet is third with 62. Bill Rentschler, with 56 points, is fourth, and Larry Chouinard and Mark Rentschler are fifth and sixth with 47 and 46 points, respectively.

• Modified 210cc and below (400-450 pounds, kart and driver): Scott Heny was the winner, but Delbert Reder, with 58 points for the season, is the division leader. Scotty Heny and Shawn Chouinard are tied for the runner-up spot with 38 points.

• Feature, heat one: Sam Gernhart finished first. Spots two through seven went to Tracy Sweet, Wayne McClaflin, Ken Strausheim, Jake Mennell, Bill Rentschler and JJ Faulkner.

• Feature, heat two: Landon Greer prevailed in a race featuring six drivers. Spots two through six went to Jane Faulkner, Trevin Allen, Jaci Heny, Larry Chouinard and Mike Apanashk.

• Outlaw divisions: In the 211-250cc (330-350 pounds, kart and driver) division, Curtis Sande holds the top spot. In the 350-400 pound division, Tracy Sweet is the division leader.

September 18, 2008 3:01 am

John Hartung

Graveside funeral services for Johnny (John) Wayne Hartung, 61, will be conducted Friday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. at Crown Hill Cemetery.

A native of Powell, he died Thursday, Sept. 11 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Menlo Park, Calif. John was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps with service in Vietnam.

His sister, Rev. Gina Hartung, will officiate at services and burial. For those who can, please bring chairs to the graveside service.

Until a few years ago, The Powell Tribune building housed a separate room where employees could smoke. The area has since been renovated, and employees smoke outdoors now.

The Tribune chose to close its smoking area. Some Wyoming businesses may not have a choice in the future.

A proposal for a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars was discussed Monday by the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee. A similar bill did not advance in last year's budget session of the Legislature, and Cowboy State citizens now have another chance to make their concerns known.

Americans realize that smoking is deadly — that's not a news flash by any means. Proponents of smoking bans cite health risks as reason enough to put the kibosh on smoking in restaurants and bars statewide.

After all, smoking-related illnesses continue to be the No. 1 cause of death and disease in the nation.

Smoking bans already exist in some Wyoming communities, including Laramie and Cheyenne. Many cities and states in the United States have banned smoking, based on valid second-hand smoking concerns.

Powell has a history of leading the way in smoking bans. In November 1987, Powell's Southside Elementary became the first school in Wyoming to enforce a smoking ban.

Some Wyoming business owners worry about the economic effect, saying that a smoking ban could seriously impact restaurant and bar profits.

According to an Associated Press article, Rep. Jack Landon, R-Sheridan, said state officials understand the health risks of smoking, but he doesn't know if the state should intervene. He said people have the freedom to choose not to visit businesses that permit smoking.

What will state lawmakers choose?

Smoking or non?

It has yet to be decided.

As lawmakers open up public discussion, this is a chance for Wyoming residents — on either side of the issue — to voice their opinions.