Daily Archives: July 26, 2012

Stage set for HATS IV

by marlys good

Hands Across the Saddle IV will take center stage at the Herb Asp Community Center Saturday night.

Organizers hope it will be as successful as the past three events so those in need can continue to have an entity to rely on when they fall on hard times or face a crisis with no resources to handle it.

Bear Creek Ranch has donated two oil paintings by the late Frank Cortez, one of an elderly woman and the second of an old house that Frank’s daughters believe is where their father grew up, and two antique mission-style oak chairs that will be placed in either the silent auction or the raffle.

Great Lakes Airlines has donated four round-trip airline tickets from Worland to Denver that will be paired with either one or two of the sports packages (Denver Bronco/Colorado Rockies) up for bid in the live auction.

To keep things running smoothly, and to change things up a bit, the number of silent auction items has been pared from last year’s 100+ to about 50. Another 50 items (roughly) will be included in the raffle (tickets sold at the door) with 30 big-ticket items up for bid under the auctioneering expertise of Lloyd Franks.

Adding to the fun is the “heads or tails” game that debuted last year, and the guaranteed-to-win 12 limited edition Hands Across the Saddle custom made hats. Buy/win a hat and you automatically are entered in a second drawing that guarantees you a prize.

Doors open at 4 p.m. Walk in, buy a raffle ticket, browse through and make a bid on a silent auction item that catches your eye, eat the tasty meal prepared by Chris Dalin and Robb Howe of Lisa’s served to you by the Lady Rebel Volleyball team from Basin, listen to dinner music provided by of Bill Brimley and the High Water band from Billings.

The live auction follows the dinner. Be prepared to bid on an original oil painting (one by our own Ann Hanson), two original sketches/one Printer’s Proof drawings by Shoofly; finely crafted furniture donated by Wyoming Woodworks, Terry Wood, Dave Mattis, beautiful quilt, or a sports package that could include some travel money. And much more.

Cap the evening off by sitting back and enjoying the music of Riders in the Sky then dancing to music provided by High Water.

All money raised goes directly to Hands Across the Saddle.

C-17 lands at Greybull airport

by nathan oster

According to the official website of the U.S. Air Force, the C-17 Globemaster III is “the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force, capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in deployment areas.”

By the end of the day Monday, it had earned another distinction: largest plane to ever land at an airport in Big Horn County.

The C-17 touched down on the Greybull airport’s new runway shortly before 3 p.m. to pick up equipment from B&G Industries. It left for its final destination, an Air Force base in New York, at around 4:15 p.m.

“Everything went very well,” said Carl Meyer, who manages the airports in Big Horn County. “They had been working with the county for the past week on runway loading capabilities and the structural integrity of the taxiway … they required a surface that would hold up to 400,000 pounds. So it’s a pretty big airplane. And there aren’t many places in Wyoming where a plane that size could land.

“This is a testament to the vision that the county’s elected officials and Airport Board had when they were developing plans for the improvement of the Greybull airport. Five years ago the military may have had to pick this cargo up with a flatbed truck. Today they fly a C-17 in.”

B&G Industries, which operates out of the Don Russell Hangar at the South Big Horn County Airport, was the prime contractor on a 12-month government contract to provide cargo-handling systems for C-130 aircrafts.

B&G initially expected 24 aircrafts to be flown into the airport to receive the retrofit, but that didn’t happen. “We did 16 of the 24,” said Karl Bertagnole, who owns B&G.  “From our standpoint, the contract went very well,” he added. “We completed work on the last aircraft the day before Christmas in 2011. It was supposed to go through March of 2012, but we didn’t end up doing the last eight because they ran into delivery problems and couldn’t make the aircraft available.

“By all indications, they decided, for whatever reason, not to complete the project.  But they bought the rail sets. They paid for them. We have eight sets here worth $2 million.”

Bertagnole said the C-17 that stopped at the airport Monday picked up the two sets that go to an Air Force base in New York. B&G will be shipping the others, with four going to a base in Alaska, the remaining two to a base in California.

The contract provided a big boost for B&G. Bertagnole said the company was able to add employees, and as he spoke on Monday, he was optimistic that B&G would get another defense contract sometime after the first of next year.  With this contract, however, no planes would be brought here; B&G employees would need to do the traveling, making modifications to planes all around the world.

Of course, the future of B&G is linked with that of the airport it calls home.

For Meyer, Monday’s C-17 landing was “a significant milestone” for the county.

“One needs to keep in mind, though, that it’s just a single event.  We just keep building on these single events, though,” Meyer said. “We now have a runway capable of a C-17 landing and departure … a staging area for a glider club at the Cowley airport … and shortly, we’ll have the base in place for a single-engine airtanker to land here for retardant to go fight a fire.

“These important single events build our airports in Big Horn County, they make them more popular and they take the hesitation away from potential business that wants to come here. They make our airports stronger, more viable and usable, and that’s important.”

PAWS scores suggest district improvement

by nathan oster

Big Horn County School District No. 3 officials won’t know until early August whether the district and its three buildings made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), but the release of the 2012 Proficiency Assessment of Wyoming Students (PAWS) results on Monday at least confirmed that the district is making progress.

“We aren’t where we want to be yet, but we showed growth,” said Barry Bryant, Greybull’s superintendent of schools.

That seems to have been the trend statewide as well.

According to the Wyoming Department of Education, the PAWS outcomes that were released on Monday “continue a two-year upward achievement trend.  According to historical PAWS data, the percentages of students testing proficient or advanced in each of the tested subject areas — math, reading and science — are the best performances recorded by Wyoming students.”

The department highlighted that 90.3 percent of third graders statewide were measured at proficient or above proficient.

“When you see statewide improvement like we are seeing here, you know that it is not just one person or group making results like this happen,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. “You know students, teachers and parents are working hard—also know that bus drivers, our cafeteria staff, secretaries, support staff, our administrators, are all working together. When you see this kind of improvement you know communities are coming together around education.”

Statewide the overall average for students testing at proficient or above in math increased from 77 to 78 percent on the 2012 PAWS.  Overall reading scores rose from 75 to 76 percent of students testing at least proficient.  In science, general proficiency rates increased from 52 to 55 percent.

 

Greybull results

While the trend is positive, Bryant said he is concerned that GHS may have missed its AYP target.

“The bar got raised by 11 percent this year,” he said.  “For high school reading, 82 percent had to be at proficient or advanced — at least as far as No Child Left Behind is concerned.  We may have missed it … by one kid.”

GHS saw 80.65 percent of its students achieve scores of proficient or advanced in reading.

Statewide, just 77 percent of high school juniors scored at proficient or advanced in reading.

If GHS did, in fact, fail to make AYP, it would be placed on warning status, Bryant said. “Nothing would happen, other than internally, where we’d have to ask what we need to do to meet this,”

If GHS fails to hit the AYP target in 2013, it would go into the school improvement status.

GHS students also topped the state average for proficiency in mathematics, with 77 testing at proficient or above, and in science, with 58 percent achieving proficiency standards.  Statewide the averages were 66 and 51 percent, respectively.

GHS’s graduation rate was also good enough to make AYP, according to Bryant.

In addition to GHS juniors, the PAWS exam was also administered to students in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.  In the 14 different exams that were given, GHS students topped the state average in the “proficient and above” category in nine.

In the third grade, greater than 95 percent tested proficient or advanced in math, 82 percent in reading.

In the fourth grade, 73 percent were proficient or advanced in math, 70 percent in reading and 61 percent in science.

In the fifth grade, 76 percent were proficient or advanced in math, 80 percent in reading.

In the sixth grade, 88 percent were proficient or advanced in math, 94 percent in reading.

In the seventh grade, 81 percent were proficient or advanced in both math and reading.

In the eighth grade, proficient or advanced scores were posted by 78 percent in math, 76 percent in reading and 51 percent in science.  Bryant said the scores posted by the eighth graders were among the most concerning to him.

“Reading scores, at that level, are not where we want them to be,” he said. “The goal was 90 percent in math, 90 percent in reading.  We didn’t get there.”

But on the plus side, Bryant said his preliminary review of the scores suggests that progress has been made.  While the 78 percent of eighth graders who hit the proficiency standard in math fell short of the goal, it still represented an increase of 17 percent compared to 2011, when as seventh graders just 61 percent of the same group tested at proficient or above.

Bryant said interventions that have been put in place at the elementary school, particularly in the area of reading, are also bearing fruit. The better a student is able to read, the more likely he or she is to succeed on the test, said Bryant. “As you see reading scores improve, you will also see science scores improve,” he said.

Overall, Bryant said the goal in the coming year will be on “improving teacher practices in the classroom,” adding, “I think the systems we have in place are working…we just need to get better at them.  Our teachers have done a very good job.  We are making growth.  We just need to make sure that we continue along that path.”

Cynthia Diane Davis Christensen

Memorial services for Cynthia “Cindy” Diane Davis Christensen of Belgrade, Mont., will be held Saturday, July 28 at 10:30 a.m. at Atwood Family Chapel in Greybull. Cynthia, 56, died at her home in Belgrade July 23.

Cindy was the daughter of Shirley Jean Unterzuber Davis and the late Glenn William “Bill” Davis of Basin.

A luncheon for family and friends will be held at Greybull Elks Lodge 1431 following the services.

A complete obituary will be printed in next week’s newspaper.

Early Harlon “Babs” DeWitt

June 9, 1930 – July 3, 2012

Memorial services for former Greybull resident Early Harlon “Babs” DeWitt of Cody will be held Saturday, Aug. 4 at 11 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Greybull. Babs, 82, died July 3.

He was born June 9, 1930, in a cabin near Hulett, the son of Early and Rosa Record DeWitt. While growing up he lived in several places until he met Marlene Jan Baldwin of Pioche, Nev., in 1950. The couple married June 17, 1950, in Ely, Nev.

Babs was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952 and served until 1954. After his discharge he worked as an electrician. The couple moved to Greybull in 1966 where he began working for Dresser Minerals. He retired from Dresser in May 1994.

Babs also owned and operated DW Electric in Greybull.

The couple eventually settled in Cody.

Babs was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters and four brothers.

He is survived by his wife Marlene of Cody; four sons and daughters-in-law, Brent and Sheila DeWitt of Spanaway, Wash., Brad and Kathy DeWitt of Huntington, Texas, Brett and Theresa DeWitt of Basin and Bart and Laurie DeWitt of Laurel, Mont.; a daughter, Lisa Johnson and her fiance Aaron of Afton; 16 grandchildren and 18 great-gradchildren

John Logan “Jack” Marcus

July 10, 1941 – July 18, 2012

No services are planned for John Logan “Jack” Marcus, 71, who died July 18 at his home in Basin.

Jack was born July 10, 1941, in Greybull, the son of Albert and Dorothy Marcus. He grew up and received his education in Basin and graduated from Basin High School in 1961. In high school he was very involved in Future Farmers of America and received the State Farmer Degree.

He attended Casper College.

After college he moved back to Basin to work.

He married Catherine Beeson Feb. 18, 1966. The couple lived in Shirley Basin for four years before they returned to Basin to raise their children. Jack worked for the Wyoming Highway Department; he retired in 2007.

Jack enjoyed his work, camping in the mountains, welding, reading and spending time with his family.

He will be remembered for the love he showed for his family and his friends and his keen sense of humor.

His mother and father preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife Catherine of Basin; son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Pattie Marcus of Edgerton; his foster son and his wife, John and Barb Neves of Gillette; three daughters and two sons-in-law, Michelle and Darrold Killmer of Centennial, Colo., Tammie Brewer of Basin and Tracy and Ted Skovgard of Buffalo; three brothers, Marvin Marcus, Ron Marcus and Steve Marcus; two sisters, Janet Gonzales and Patsy Arndt; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be sent to Security State Bank, Box 531, Basin, WY 82410. The donations will be given to the Shriners Children Hospital.

Geckos lose to Cody in Babe Ruth finale

by nathan oster

Greybull did not disappoint in its first appearance in 31 years at the State Babe Ruth Tournament, winning two of three in pool play and knocking off a quality Rawlins team before losing to Cody in the championship game last week in Gillette.

The Geckos, who finished with a 17-9 record, were among the younger teams entered in the tournament. Their state roster included seven 15-year-olds, two 14-year-olds, three 13-year-olds and a 12-year old.

That didn’t seem to limit them in Gillette, however.  The team opened with a bang, defeating a Powell team that had their number during the regular season — but that Coach Joe Forcella knew they could beat.

In Gillette, they rode the right arm of Calder Forcella to a 6-3 win.  Forcella went the distance, scattering three hits and striking eight in seven innings to pick up the win.

Calder Forcella also led the Gecko offense with a pair of hits, although his brother Dawson was credited with Greybull’s only two runs batted in.

“Our kids kept their composure,” said Forcella. “We had a few errors, but kids didn’t hang their heads. They just turned around and made up for it on the next play.

“Between Calder pitching and Dawson catching, baserunners were held tight.  We threw kids out at every base as they tried to steal.”

After that big win, the Geckos suffered a letdown in their second pool game against Torrington, losing 14-4 after surrendering 10 runs in the first two innings.

Kade Osborne was tagged for the loss, surrendering all eight of Torrington’s runs in the first and second innings.

The Greybull offense didn’t mount a serious threat after that, although Dawson Forcella again carried the heavy lumber with two RBIs.

“I had told the other coaches I was going to really work on staying cam, but that didn’t last long,” Forcella said. “I knew we were the better team, and to watch them throw a slow pitcher at us and see our kids pop up because we were trying too hard just about killed me.”

Dusty Hill, an assistant coach, was credited with righting the team’s emotional ship after the game — and setting the stage for a do-or-die clash with Gillette on Friday night.

The Geckos went with Forcella, who again rose to meet the challenge, giving up just four hits and striking out nine in the 5-4 Greybull victory.

Osborne got the Geckos on the board with a long home run to right field, but the game wasn’t decided until the seventh inning.

The game was tied 4-4 at the time.

“I told Skylar Thomas he was going to win this game for us,” said Forcella.  “He got a good hit up the middle.  Our young kids then stepped up with confidence as Riley moved him around with a hit and then Cade Dooley advanced him to third on a walk.

“With the bases loaded, no outs and Justin Bacus up, we waited for the perfect pitch, and when one went in the dirt, we didn’t mess around.  We played to win it, and gambled on the steal of home with Skylar.  Skylar later told me it was the most intense moment of his life.”

With the win, the Geckos advanced to a semifinal matchup against Rawlins.  After winning the coin toss, the Geckos chose to be the visitors, hoping that they would be able to push a couple of runs across to put pressure on their opponents.

In perhaps the biggest start of his career, Zack Zeller shined, going the full seven innings, striking out six and surrendering just two runs, both unearned, in the 4-2 Greybull win.

It took some late heroics to seal the deal, however. Rawlins, a team with a reputation for coming from behind, immediately put two runners aboard in the bottom of the seventh — and had the winning run at the plate when Cade Dooley turned in the play of the game.

The 13-year-old, who was playing right field, made a diving catch, jumped up to show the umpire that he caught it and proceeded to fire it to first to double off the runner, who had strayed too far from the bag. Zeller capped off the improbable finish by picking off the Rawlins runner at second, ending the game.

Dawson Forcella had three hits, Calder Forcella had two hits and two RBIs and Thomas produced two hits of his own to lead the Greybull attack.

“It was something to look at those kids (after the game) and realize we had just made the championship game.”

In it, the Geckos ran into an old rival in Cody, a team they had not beaten all season.  That trend continued, as Cody posted the 4-1 win to advance to the next round of the tournament in Washington.

Calder Forcella took the loss, despite giving up just four runs in seven innings of work.  Greybull was credited with only three hits, with Zeller, Calder Forcella and Bacus having those.

Forcella tipped his hat to the victors.

“We had the utmost respect for Cody,” he said. “They are a good team and were good sports.  They cheered for us during the tournament and losing to them was not a shame.”

Greybull actually led 1-0 early before Cody’s bats awoke.

Of the tournament, Forcella said it was “a team achievement. Riley Hill made some great stops and throws at third. Treston Tracy stepped his game up and caught some crucial foul balls from first.  Wyatt Nielson came up with some big plays in the outfield.  Dante Sylvester was ready at the drop of a hat to help us anywhere and in anyway — from playing second to jumping in as a pinch runner.  Justin Bacus played well all-round regardless of the position he was assigned. Chad Cross (Worland) helped us out at second before sustaining an injury against Gillette.

“We won as a team and we lost as a team and I am so proud with what we accomplished. We made a little history this weekend.  Hopefully this experience will carry over into high school sports and teach our kids that they can accomplish anything if they believe in the system.”