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Tribune Staff

(Sept. 29, 1918 - July 26, 2010)

Marjorie “Marge” Irene (Eichelkraut) Diehl died Sunday, July 26, 2010, at Powell Valley Care Center.


The Park County Fair began with the Miniature Horse Show Monday. Above, Aspen Aguire leads her acrobatic horse to the finish. Tribune photo by Kevin Kinzley

Country star Jo Dee Messina performs Wednesday night

Prized pigs are prepped. Exhibit halls are plumb full of colorful needlework, homegrown produce and handcrafted artwork. Cotton candy, fresh lemonade and a smorgasbord of fair food await hungry crowds.

It can all mean only one thing: the annual Park County Fair is here.

Pick six

In the future, snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park could be eliminated entirely, kept at similar levels to recent years or be expanded to previous limits.

Park Service officials on Thursday unveiled the six alternatives they plan to study in coming months as they draft an environmental impact statement for Yellowstone's winter use plan. The alternatives range from phasing out all snowmobiles to allowing up to 720 per day and include an option to plow the park's western roads and close the East Entrance to all over-snow vehicles.

The Beach Fire, seven miles southwest of Bridge Bay, is 72 percent contained. It is completely surrounded, providing crews the task of extinguishing hot spots on the line to render the blaze fully contained.

The National Park Service reported the fire at 150 acres July 19. As of July 26, the fire had grown to 520 acres.


With teammates looking on from the dugout, Marshall McArthur awaits a pitch in the batter's box during Saturday's state championship game between Powell and Rock Springs. Tribune photos by Randal Horobik

Powell Babe Ruth repeats as state champs

Leading by just one run going into the bottom of the sixth inning against Rock Springs, Powell Babe Ruth closer Justin Lynn made a deal with his teammates in the dugout.

“I told them if they got me some runs, that I'd make it hold up,” said Lynn.

Powell unchallenged in build-up to title game

Powell's Babe Ruth All-Stars jumped on Green River early, then finished the District 3 champs off with a late flurry on Saturday morning to reach the championship game. Powell advanced with a 14-3 victory in six innings.

The local All-Stars removed the drama early in the semifinal game. Powell sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning and scored nine runs as a result. Hayden Cragoe's triple, Corey Elton's double and Frankie Vogt's single each drove in two Powell runs in the early onslaught.

Team opens state against Torrington

A bevy of early errors and struggles in the batter's box conspired with a quality Gillette squad to deny the Powell Pioneers a second consecutive North Division title. Powell finished district tournament play with a 2-1 record. The team carries the No. 2 seed into state tournament play in Sheridan this week.

“We didn't make the plays we needed to and we didn't swing the bats as well as we can,” said Pioneer coach Mike Jameson. “Those are things you can't have happen at this time of the year.”

Not even Pioneer starting pitcher Scotty Jameson's nine early punch-outs of Gillette batters was enough to overcome Powell's miscues in the field. Powell was charged with four defensive errors in the first four innings. The result was an early four-run lead for the Roughriders.

The Pioneers finally scored their first hit and their first run of the contest in the fourth inning. Jameson provided Powell with its first hit of the night with a one-out single. Catcher Auston Carter followed two batters later with a solid two-out double to the right-center gap to score the run.

The momentum never carried over. Two innings later, the Roughriders connected off Jameson for a two-run home run, chasing the Pioneers longtime ace from the hill.

Josh Cragoe came aboard in the seventh and retired Gillette in order, but encountered troubles in the eighth. With one out and Powell still trailing by a 6-1 margin on the scoreboard, Gillette had six of its next seven batters reach base safely. The result was six additional Gillette runs.

Powell attempted to avert being run-ruled in the bottom of the eighth as Jameson drove in Josh Cragoe as the pair delivered Powell's only back-to-back hits of the night. A pair of infield ground balls followed, denying the Pioneers an opportunity to record their 40th win of the season.

To reach the finals, the Pioneers had to overcome an early scare against Sheridan, then rolled to their second win in as many years against Class AA Casper.

Powell's district tournament got off to a less than auspicious beginning as the Sheridan Troopers teed off early for a 6-0 lead. The Troopers added a run in the second inning and carried the 7-0 advantage into the fourth inning before Powell recorded so much as a hit.

Once the Pioneers dusted their bats off, it didn't take the team long to climb back into the contest. Powell batted around the order in the fourth inning to plate four runs. The team added three more in the fifth to tie the game up.

Powell's first lead of the game came in the sixth as Grant Geiser singled home Cragoe, who had reached base on a triple earlier.

The team added three more runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth, eventually winning by a 13-11 final score.

Jake Beuster took the win for Powell after coming in early to relieve Carter, who began the game for Powell. Beuster worked 7.1 innings, giving Powell time to mount a comeback by holding Sheridan scoreless from the third through the sixth inning.

Dallas Robirds was 3-for-5 in the game. Carter made up for his struggles on the mound with a 2-for-4 showing at bat, including two RBIs.

Powell's slow starts continued in the semifinals against Casper as the two teams played to a 1-1 tie after the first three innings.

Powell finally broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning as Colt Nix drew a bases-loaded walk and Tyler England, who would finish the game 4-for-5 at the plate, followed with a two-run single. Jameson also doubled in a run in the inning to put Powell in front 5-1.

The Pioneers would add two more runs in the sixth inning as Jameson again drove in a run. The offense was more than enough for Powell starting pitcher Colter Bostick, who threw seven strong innings in which he struck out nine Casper batters. Geiser worked the final six outs in relief and also connected for a two-run single in the eighth as part of the Pioneers' final four runs of the game.

Powell, now 39-13-2 for the summer, opens state tournament play at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in Sheridan. The Pioneers play in the first game of the tournament against Torrington, a team they have faced twice previously this year. Also on Powell's side of the state bracket are AA squads Cheyenne and Casper.

Playing on the opposite side of the bracket in the first round are Gillette and Rock Springs, while tournament host Sheridan opens against Laramie. The state tournament is a full double-elimination bracket.

The tournament champion advances as Wyoming's representative to Northwest Regional play in Spokane, Wash., while the top-ranking Class A team moves on to regional play at Bozeman, Mont.

Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette are the only AA Legion programs in Wyoming this summer.

It just wouldn't be fair to miss the fair again with all its fare. It's almost a sin to miss out on the nostalgic delights the Park County Fair offers. It's a smorgasbord of sensory pleasures — the sights, sounds and smells. Who isn't taken back to a simpler time by the teasing smell of cotton candy, chili dogs and goat dung wafting from the 4-H pens?

Fairs, carnivals and Las Vegas are our brief flights from monotonous reality. Only on certain pre-destined occasions can one indulge to gross excess with none of the normal repercussions.

God in his mercy decreed Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, Labor Day and county fairs shall be exempt from caloric concerns. “And God said, ‘Let there be Corn Dogs.' And He saw that it was good.” (Genesis 50:27).

County fairs are also quite safe, but the fair's dysfunctional nephew, the carnival … now that's a greased pig of a different color.

Remember the movie “The Jerk,” where a naïve Navin Johnson suddenly realizes in his early 20s he's not black and his sharecropper family had adopted him? He hitchhikes to the city and lands a job as a carnival weight guesser. After a rough start, he nearly perfects his sales pitch, “Step right up folks; let the weight guesser guess your weight. Fool the guesser and win some crap.”

But the dark carnival underbelly snarls when Patty, the psycho, motorcycle stuntwoman, leads Navin back to her trailer and unconventionally guesses his weight. His innocence was lost that day; that trailer was a rockin' and his child-like squeal of, “Wow, this is just like a carnival ride!” reverberated throughout the grounds.

That classic movie, called by some “The greatest story ever told,” is one for another day. But I know from personal experience the shady side of carnivals. I went to my first one during my first summer in Cody at 16. My brother Jess and wife Marti were between homes, so lived in a big house on Alger Avenue with church friends, Larry and Lucille Moerike.

The Moerikes often took troubled youth into their home, and a wild young teen named Dave also resided there that summer. Dave and I had little in common, except we were both young and were made to go to church with the Moerikes. One Sunday afternoon, Dave invited me to walk to the carnival with him.

After quaffing a couple snow cones, we found ourselves sitting in a caged cubicle to be spun by hard-boiled carnies before rotating skyward like a ferris wheel. Noticing our brake was non-functional, Dave says to the operator with an air of arrogance, “Hey man, don't spin our cage; it's broke!” “Oh, you no want spin cage, huh? O-o-ookay…” this heavily-tattooed Spanish fellow said sarcastically as he spun the cage so long and hard, he probably has rotator cuff problems to this day.

During our third, torturous go-around — while dangling upside down at the top of the arc — Dave prepared me for battle. “You ready to fight when we get out of here?”

Fight? Me? Heck, I was just a sweet Pennsylvania boy that wanted to play baseball, drink A&W Root Beer, and maybe sneak a Playboy into Moerikes' house occasionally. I had never drank, smoked, or even had my weight guessed. I was a wiry rassler, but the closest thing to a real punch fight I'd been in was a slap-fight with my older sister, which I lost. And now I'm gonna stagger off this ride, probably vomit violently, and throw hands with hairy, sweaty older men, the likes of which I'd previously only seen in prison movies?

“Fight? Ummm; yeah … I guess …” I meekly replied to my new, hardened friend fresh from reform school. As predicted, I nearly fell on my face on the ramp, and finally steadied long enough to notice Dave and this spinner thug were nose-to-nose. I staggered towards them and two other irritable carnie goons stopped me. One jerked off his glasses, stared only inches from my eyes, and asked, “Is this the **!!* giving you all the !!**?” (a few more expletives I wasn't familiar with.)

Thankfully, the wrath was directed back at Dave, who was now threatening to round up “some of our buddies” to meet in City Park for a rumble. The carnies must have been on break, 'cause they enthusiastically agreed. Next thing I knew, I'm lagging behind a group of about 10 big Cody boys Dave had probably met “at camp,” walking towards about a dozen Hispanic fellows. It was West Side Story, but there was to be no dancing.

I was never so happy for a police presence in my life when they intervened and sent everyone packing. As I told Dave later, “Them cats was lucky. I was on the wrestling team in junior high.”

So this week, I'm fairly sure I'll make it to the fair. It's so much safer than the amusement parks of yesteryear. Heck, I might even get wild and have me some funnel cake.

Reconsider the I-80 toll

Earlier this month, a Wyoming roadway was closed partially after its pavement deteriorated so quickly that it necessitated emergency repairs.

Though the deteriorating pavement — on a section of Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Laramie — is far removed from Powell's road system, highways in our area may soon face similar plights.

With worsening highway conditions statewide, Wyoming Department of Transportation crews are struggling to keep up.

“The bottom line is that state roadways are deteriorating at a faster rate than we have the ability to fix based on current revenue,” said WYDOT District Engineer Jay Gould, in a recent press release.

He cautioned that Wyoming residents will see more situations where roads are closed for emergency repairs, especially on heavily-traveled interstates.

More than 6,800 miles of roadways wind through Wyoming. Each stretch requires regular maintenance, but funding for upkeep is scarce. In the last budget session, the Legislature reduced the department's money for highway construction by $150 million from the previous biennium.

Those funding woes are compounded by the expiration of the Federal Aid Highway Program in September 2009. Federal highway funding currently is being distributed under continuing resolutions, which limit the department's ability to do long-term planning.

Wyoming's current situation — dwindling budgets and deteriorating roadways — signals the need for a new approach to fund highway maintenance.

State leaders should reconsider a toll for I-80.

The frequented interstate sees around 13,000 vehicles daily, with heavy trucks accounting for half of that traffic. The wear and tear of a single heavy truck is equivalent to that of 400 cars, according to WYDOT.

Over the next 30 years, maintenance for Wyoming's 400 mile-stretch of I-80 is estimated to cost $6.4 billion. Yes, that's a staggering figure — in fact, it exceeds the total of revenue projected to be available for maintaining Wyoming's entire highway system, according to an I-80 tolling study.

Though the recent tolling study conveyed the steep costs Wyoming faces in maintaining I-80, state legislators voted against the tolling concept earlier this year. The tolling issue may remain dormant for now, but the cost of fixing deteriorating highways certainly is not.

State legislators, and Wyoming's next governor, must consider how to keep the state's roadways safe and well maintained — even if it means imposing a toll for I-80.

(Feb. 26, 1955 - July 17, 2010)

Duane Allen Taylor, 55, died Saturday, July 17, at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Page 497 of 528


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