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July 21, 2008 2:03 pm

Darralee L. Ellis

Darralee L. Ellis died July 15 in Spokane, Wash. She was born in Ropesville, Texas on April 21, 1927. She lived most of her life in Wyoming and was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Robert J. Ellis.

She was a legal secretary for Husky Oil for many years and an avid amateur archeologist. She enjoyed bird watching, writing poetry, spending time in the mountains, as well as years of “snow birding” with Bob. She is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Sharon L. and Bary J. Struempf, and Debra J. Ellis-McBride and Fred W. McBride, all of Spokane Valley, Wash. Her son, Robert J. Ellis of Powell also survives her. Her three sisters and step-granddaughter, Bonnie McBride, also survive her.

The graveside service will be held at Riverside Cemetery on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2 p.m.

Harris becomes 10th NWC national champion on the mat

Northwest College wrestling coach Jim Zeigler brought home seven All-Americans from the NJCAA national wrestling championships in Des Moines, Iowa, including its latest national champion in sophomore heavyweight Landon Harris, as the team rolled to a fourth-place finish. The seven All-Americans are the second-most ever recorded by the Trappers.

“Only the 2004 team had more kids crowned All-American,” noted Zeigler, who has now coached 78 All-Americans and 10 national champions during his 17-year tenure with the Trappers.

The latest of those national champions was crowned on Saturday as Harris posted a 5-0 decision over North Idaho's Roger McCovey in the 285-pound championship match. The win avenged a one-point loss Harris suffered to McCovey in NWC's Apodaca Duals earlier this year.

“I knew it was going to come down to McCovey,” said Harris. “I don't know how much of an advantage it is to go against someone you've faced before, but I knew what I had to do in order to beat him.”

Harris reached the finals for the second year in a row, improving on last year's runner-up finish. After pinning his way into the semifinals, Harris endured his closest match — at least in terms of the score — in a 3-2 semifinal win over Lincoln College's Corey Anderson.

“Landon was in control that whole match, he just wasn't able to break it wide open,” said Zeigler.

In the championship match, Harris scored a second-period escape to tally the first point of the match. Nursing his 1-0 lead, he was able to get McCovey to the ground with 30 seconds remaining in the third period and added a late two-point nearfall for insurance to cap a stellar wrestling career.

“It feels great,” Harris said. “It's how I wanted to end it, to go out on top.”

While Harris' title run was the highlight of the Trappers' 2010 national tournament, it was by no means the only story. Six other Trapper wrestlers came home with All-American honors as Northwest College placed fourth overall in the final standings.

“This is the highest number of All-Americans we've had since winning the national title,” said Zeigler. “It's the second most ever for Northwest College. In terms of overall accomplishments, I couldn't be more proud of these kids. A lot of the losses we had were close matches. These kids went in there with a purpose and they kept competing and kept battling.”

When it comes to competing and battling, nobody fills the description more than 197-pounder Mak Jones. Jones won five of his six matches in Des Moines to finish in third place overall. None of Jones' matches featured a scoreboard spread of more than six points, including his narrow 4-3 loss in the semifinals and back-to-back 5-2 wins on the consolation bracket to earn the third-place finish.

“I just tried to keep wrestling and keep my head up,” said Jones, who missed out on the medal podium as a freshman. “You just try to take your matches one at a time. Last year I lost my first match and really got down on myself. This year, I lost a close one in the semifinals and I just tried to put that one away and get ready for the next one.”

Sophomores McCade Ford (141) and Saul Guerrero (133) each finished in fifth place. Ford got there after a dominating display of wrestling that included two major-decision victories and a win by fall.

“Friday, I felt really, really good,” Ford said of his hot start. “I really thought — I knew — that I was going to win. I was rolling.”

That roll ended abruptly on Saturday when Ford lost by fall in the semifinals and also couldn't find the magic in a decision loss to relegate him to the fifth-place match.

“We were on a high on Friday night,” said Zeigler. “I really think if we'd wrestled that next round on Friday night that we would have had three or four guys in the finals. It's just so hard to maintain those highs overnight, plus the break gives other guys a chance to recover who might not have that momentum coming in. A national tournament is really an emotional roller coaster, especially on a tight-knit team like ours.”

The Trappers also crowned three freshmen All-Americans in Jesse Hillhouse (sixth at 125), Nick Petersen (seventh at 174) and Jarrett Baker (eighth at 184). Sophomore Briston Brenton (157) fell one victory shy of reaching the medal podium.

“To take eight guys and to have them all reach that top 12 is really special,” said Zeigler, whose team led the scholarship division heading into Saturday's rounds.

“There's not any question that our kids went to Des Moines with a goal of winning championships. We didn't go to make an appearance. We went with a purpose to fight and battle and they proved that on the mats.”

The Trappers were in a position to bring home a lot more on Saturday. Heading into the overnight, Northwest College led the team standings for scholarship-division schools. The team wound up tied with St. Louis-Meramec for fourth place in the final team standings.

“I wasn't at all surprised (by the team's position),” Zeigler said. “I knew they were capable of it. Friday is mostly a battle for positioning though. The tournament is won and lost on Saturday. It all comes down to how high and how many you place. Obviously, when you are in that position, you want to win it. It hurts not to get it when you're in that place, but it hurts more at the moment than it does the day after. This was our highest finish since 2004 and this is a great team.”

The fourth-place finish is the Trappers' highest since the 2004 national championship season.

March 02, 2010 3:25 am

More miles, less cancer

Family traveling globe for cancer awareness
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By the time the Jessin family RV reached Powell Tuesday night, it had about 6,500 miles under its radiator belt.
That leaves roughly 78,500 to go.
The Jessin's are driving their motor home around the world raising money for cancer awareness and treatment.
They stopped in Powell on their way to Yellowstone and all points beyond.
Stefan, Lydie and their four sons — Axel, Jeremy, Liam, and Julian — left their Texas home two months ago. Since then, their travels have taken them from Lousiana to Florida to Quebec.
By the end of August, the Jessin's plan to be in Mexico.
By next June, they hope to be leaving Chile and heading across the Pacific Ocean to Australia.
Of course, that leg of the journey won't be driven — the Jessin's will fly, and the RV will join them later after being shipped.
Ultimately, the Jessin's hope to visit Africa, Europe, Asia — you name it.
Along the way, they'll be visiting hospitals and trying to figure out where they need help in combatting cancer.
“One of the reasons [for the trip] is to bring awareness to these countries where they don't know the symptoms,” Lydie said.
July 16, 2008 8:00 pm

Jim Black

Jim Black of Powell died June 29, 2008, outside of Lovell, Wyo., while riding his motorcycle. Services were held at Bennett Creek Church in Clark, Wyo., on July 3.
Jim was born to Criss and Harold Black on July 5, 1947, in Missouri. He grew up with his brother and sister, Harold and Karen, in Linch, Wyo. He graduated from Midwest High School in 1965.
Jim joined the United States Marine Corp in 1967 and served in Vietnam. In 1971 he married Sonja Eckerman of Clark, Wyo.
Jim worked for Inexco oilfield and raised two children, Lexy and Aaron, outside of Gillette, Wyo., until 1986 when he and his family moved to Powell.
Jim owned and operated Northwest Trading Post in Powell for 22 years. His family says he became close friends with many of his customers, and he prided himself on hard work and honesty. Jim enjoyed riding 4-wheelers and motorcycles with his friends, most notably Jim Rambo, in his free time. He also enjoyed telling stories, endlessly tinkering with vehicles and things around the house, and spending time in the mountains. But mostly Jim enjoyed spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, who affectionately called him “Papa.”
He is survived by his brother and sister, wife, children, and grandchildren.
Those wishing to donate a memorial may do so to: Care Package for Soldiers, c/o Bonnie Rouse, 1054 Road 9, Powell, Wyo. 82435
Stefanek shares extensive Taekwondo knowledge

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Dr. Kevin Stefanek (right) leads a series of drills conducted during a two-day summer mini camp last week. Among those attending the event were students from Lone Wolf Taekwondo in Powell. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Students from Lone Wolf and other Taekwondo academies enjoyed an opportunity to learn from an accomplished and highly-regarded instructor with more than 20 years of experience during a recent mini summer camp.
Dr. Kevin Stefanek of the University of Minnesota, Morris, served as one of the lead instructors for the two-day camp, which took place in Powell and at an outdoor setting in the Shoshone National Forest July 11-12.
According to Lone Wolf Master Chris Ivanoff, Stefanek has accomplished a great deal during his career in Taekwondo. He is a three-time Senior National quarterfinalist and a two-time collegiate All-American. Stefanek also has trained at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in Korea with two of the 1988 Korean Olympic coaches. He also brought with him a vast amount of Olympic-style sparring skills acquired while attending the University of California, Berkeley.
Those credentials, along with his experience and expertise in sports psychology, made his short instructional stint for area Taekwondo students the perfect opportunity to learn and improve.
“We're very fortunate to have Dr. Stefanek here to work with us,” Ivanoff said during day one of the event. “I've known him for more than 20 years, and this is a great opportunity for students to learn more and get that added mental edge which is so important in Taekwondo.”
Cascading into the canyon

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Visitors to the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center are witness to a show of water power from the walk-way above the dam. The releases from a nearly-full reservoir fill the canyon with mist, creating a rainbow in the afternoon sunlight as swallows glide between the canyon walls. Tribune photo by Dave Bonner

It's been a good water year for the Shoshone River Basin.
A good snowpack in the mountains this spring, and wet weather in late May and June, resulted in a spring runoff well above average and a nearly-full reservoir behind Buffalo Bill Dam.
As of Tuesday, the reservoir was more than 95.4 percent full, less than four feet from its capacity.
John Lawson, Bureau of Reclamation area manager for Wyoming, said the spring runoff in the basin has exceeded predictions. On May 1, the bureau had forecast a total runoff during the April through July period of 720,000 acre feet.
“But then it caught us by surprise. All of a sudden we got a lot of snow in May,” Lawson said. “I think (the runoff) will probably end up around 950,000 acre feet.”
City officials have a big decision to make regarding the aquatic center.
Designer/architect Burbach Aquatics' recommendation that the city reject all aquatic center construction bids didn't come as a surprise.
Burbach expressed disappointment in receiving only four bids, despite the company's efforts to drum up interest.
The lowest-cost base bid was 15 percent higher than what Burbach budgeted in January.
Burbach concedes that much of the increased cost correlates directly to rapidly-escalating energy costs.
But, at this stage, and with public support dwindling, the city would make a mistake to follow Burbach's recommendation. It's unrealistic to think that energy and materials costs will begin a downward trend. In fact, many entities are budgeting for huge increases in construction costs in the next fiscal year.
A re-bid of the project would not be a guarantee that bids would be lower. What if even fewer contractors bid?
Burbach's proposed schedule for re-bidding the project shows a mid-September bid opening.
At this point, time is money.
The city would be better served to accept the low bid from Sletten Construction — a local company — and work with it to determine what adjustments can bring the project closer to budget.
Sletten is ready to begin work, and the public is running out of patience.
It's time to get this ball rolling.
July 16, 2008 3:00 pm

Burbach: Reject all bids

City council will make final decision on pool bids

Burbach Aquatics, Inc., the firm hired to design Powell's new aquatic center, recommended the city reject all pool construction bids received at the July 10 bid opening. The recommendation was made in a letter to City Administrator Zane Logan, dated July 11.
David Burbach said, in the letter, “The results...were a disappointment as the base bid amount is approximately 15 percent higher than the budget, as established for this project.”
The company had, in another letter dated January 7, 2008, estimated a base bid of $6,867,000.
Sletten Construction of Wyoming, the low bidder, submitted a combination bid for all three project contracts of $7,970,040. The Sletten bid included a base figure of $1,125,000 for the pool construction phase; $885,040 for the pool mechanical construction; and $5,960,000 for the general construction contract.
Three additional companies each bid on a single phase of the project. Ricchio Inc., of Illinois, bid $1,749,000 as the base cost for pool construction. Mechanical Inc., also from Illinois, bid on the mechanical phase, with a base of $851,000. L.M. Olson Inc., of Rawlins, submitted a base bid of $6,040,000 for general construction.
Each bid contract also contained alternates which could raise or lower costs, based on certain additions or modifications.
Skies and slopes of Sleeping Giant are literally buzzing with activity as vigorous efforts continue in an effort to get the ski area ready when the snow flies.
“We are working toward a Thanksgiving opening,” said Kerry Strike, spokeswoman for Yellowstone Recreations Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at getting Sleeping Giant opened again.
The old T-bar lift is gone, as is an old chair lift that sat in the parking lot for 15 years. A triple lift, purchased from Mammoth Mountain, Calif., is on the way. The used lift is in excellent condition and has complete maintenance records, Strike said.
“It is, in essence, exactly what we needed,” Strike said.
The existing double lift has been inspected and will be refurbished, Strike said.
The old rope tow, about halfway up the hill, also is gone. A “Mighty Might” lift for children will be installed in its place. Strike said a “Magic Carpet” lift may be installed in the future, a sort of escalator lift that kids love.
Snow-making equipment is on the way as well.
July 16, 2008 2:57 pm


Panthers enjoy success at BHSU football camp

Rejuvenated. That word alone describes the Powell High School football team following what head coach Jim Stringer labeled a solid showing at the Black Hills State University summer team camp July 6-9.
Overall, 31 Panthers took part in the event, and Stringer said the squad left Spearfish, S.D., with a great deal of optimism about the upcoming 2008 slate after finishing second in both the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 competitions. PHS earned spots in the championship game of both events, and each of the title matchups were decided in double-overtime.
Stringer believes the confidence gained during the camp will go a long way in helping the Panthers put to rest the memory of last season's 3-6 record during a campaign that saw PHS lose a number of hard-fought, close contests.
“Our entire coaching staff came out of there feeling rejuvenated,” Stringer said. “As for the players, they came away from the camp feeling energized and ready to go.
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