Monthly Archives: September 2012

GES makes AYP list — but it’s not alone

by nathan oster

The Wyoming Department of Education on Tuesday released Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) information, as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and a Greybull school — but not the one you think — was among those that made the list.

Supt. Barry Bryant had hinted this summer after the release of the Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students (PAWS) data that the high school might land on the dreaded AYP list due to a one-year blip in its graduation rate.

But when the district got the final AYP determinations from the state — which was well in advance of Tuesday’s statewide release — the high school was in the clear, but the elementary school, which school officials believed was safe, was listed as needing improvement.

The reason for the confusion, Bryant said, is the state’s adjustment of AYP goals.

“A lot of the targets got adjusted, and where we thought we were hurting we ended up being good and where we thought we were good we ended up hurting,” Bryant told the Big Horn County School District No. 3 board of trustees on Sept. 11.

Greybull Elementary did not make AYP because one of the school’s subgroups, those on free and reduced lunches, did not make AYP in the area of language arts.  From last year to this year, the target rose 9 percent — from 76 percent proficient or advanced to 85 percent proficient or advanced.

Greybull Elementary School didn’t make the 85-percent threshold, but it wasn’t alone in failing to match the new targets.  Every school district in Big Horn County had at least one school that joined GES on the AYP list this year.

The U.S. Department of Education required the state to recalculate its AYP targets in response to the Wyoming Legislature’s decision to remove writing from the 2011-12 PAWS testing.

Sara Schlattmann, the district’s curriculum coordinator, told the board that the AYP finding puts the district “in a warning year only.”  If the school this year fails to make AYP again in language arts, it would end up in year one of school improvement, she said.

“Basically it just says we’re on the radar,” she said. “We know of lots of things we have to do to do our best to keep getting kids over the bar.  This year doesn’t get us into any kind of penalty.  … We’re basically just in a warning year, and we’re going to do everything we can to reverse that.”

Under NCLB, all states are required to make AYP determinations every year for every public school district and school in the state.  Schools and districts are required to continually improve their students’ achievement in reading or language arts and mathematics from year to year to match a federal mandate that all students are achieving at or above grade level by 2014.

Schlattmann said testing data shows that the district’s students are making progress as they move through the system, that teachers are doing good work and know the areas in which they need to improve.

 

Principals takes

GES Principal Brenda Jinks provided more information about her students’ performance on the PAWS.   In 2011-12, 97 students in grades three through five were tested.  Of those 97, 18 belonged to a subgroup, and within that subgroup were other subgroups, including those in the free and reduced lunch category.

“Within these,” Jinks said, “We have a large number of students who are in the free and reduced lunch population.  What we want to do is, say to ourselves, how do all of our students do on the test?”

Kinks said that in reading, 83 percent of third graders tested at proficient or advanced.  Within the free and reduced lunch population, 75 percent hit proficient or advanced.

Among fourth graders, 70 percent of all students and 62 percent of those on free and reduced lunches achieved either proficient or advanced status.

In the fifth grade, 81 percent of all students but just 57 percent of those on free and reduced lunches achieved either proficient or advanced grades.

“We know that it’s this group that we have to work on,” said Jinks.

In math, the results for Greybull students were better.  Ninety-six percent of all third graders 73 percent of fourth graders and 76 percent of fifth graders were proficient or advanced in math.  The percentage to make those standards in the free and reduced lunch subgroup lagged behind in all three of the grade levels, said Jinks.

Jinks emphasized that her teachers have done tremendous work and that her student have made significant growth.  Four years ago, the school’s reading scores ranked in the sixth percentile among all Wyoming school districts; last year the school was in the 89th percentile.

Because they avoided the AYP list, far less was said during the meeting about the high school and middle school.

GMS Principal Scott McBride said there has been “huge growth” at the middle school over the past few years. He cited the work of this year’s freshmen, who were tested as sixth, seventh and eighth graders.  According to McBride, they made incredible gains in math.

GHS Principal Ty Flock said his school is shifting its focus from the PAWS to the ACT, which will be used in future years to make determination on AYP.  Flock said GHS scores have been stable in recent years — not a lot of spikes, not a lot of drops.

“Scores have been good, but obviously, we’d like to see them spiking a little more,” he said.

Flock said it will be interesting to see where the ACT benchmark gets set in the process.

Greybull’s composite score on the ACT has historically been in the range from 19 to 21, which is typically a little higher than the state but a little behind the nation, said Flock.

Bobcats last ones standing in homecoming shootout

by nathan oster

If you showed up late for Friday night’s homecoming game, here’s what you missed:

Offense, offense … and a little more offense.

Greybull and Thermopolis lit up the scoreboard with 35 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense.

And that was just in the first quarter.

By the time all the shootin’ was done, it was Thermopolis that was still standing, as the Bobcats picked up a key 50-21 Class 2A West Conference over a Greybull team that finally found its stride offensively but regressed on the defensive side.

The return of sophomore starting quarterback Calder Forcella ignited the Greybull offense, which had been held in check in back-to-back losses to Big Horn and Mountain View.

Forcella missed the two games with a broken thumb, but you wouldn’t have known it by watching him drive the Buffs up and down the field in the opening quarter.  Greybull scored on its first two possessions, as Forcella ran in from 12 yards to cap the first, then connected with Connor Petty on a 24-yard pass for the second. Unfortunately, Thermopolis drove for touchdowns the first four times it touched the ball — and by halftime, it was 30-14.

“We knew going in that they had a good offense,” said Coach Justin Bernhardt. “We also knew that we were going to have to stop the run.  They had a good passing offense too, but they didn’t need to use it against us.”

Thermopolis finished with 410 rushing yards on 37 carries  — an average of more than 11 yards per attempt.  Through the air, it added another 76, bringing its total to 486.

Bernhardt credited his team’s defenders for their effort, but said because it’s “more of a gap control defense,” it was a real handicap not having the team’s four starting linebackers in Cody Strauch, Jesse Chestnut, Bryce Wright and Rob Nuttall, all of whom are injured.

But at the same time, on many plays, the Buffs were in good position, but didn’t wrap up.

“The bottom line is, we just have to tackle better,” he said. “No matter what defense you run … nothing schematically is going to make up for poor tackling and a lack of pursuit.”

The defense did, however, manage to string together a couple of stops in the third quarter.

And the Greybull offense took advantage.  Forcella connected with Luke Zeller on a 21-yard touchdown pass, which along with the PAT, cut the Thermopolis lead to 30-21.

Needing one more stop, the Buffs got one in the form of a Connor Petty interception.

Trailing by nine, the Buffs were on the march and had it on the Thermopolis 3-yard line, looking to draw closer with about 3 ½ minutes left in the third.  But the drive ended abruptly when a Thermopolis defender, #50, stepped in front of a Calder Forcella pass.

“We wanted to pound it in, because we’d been running it so well,” Bernhardt said. “But Paul (Stewart) was cramping up, and I wanted to take a shot on a slant.  Our guy was there and it was open … for just a second. Calder made the right read, he was just a split second late and their backside linebacker made a great play on it.”

Bernhardt said he “could feel the air go out on the sidelines” after that play.

Thermopolis drove down and scored — then pushed across two more tallies in the fourth to account for the 50-21 final.

Despite the loss, Bernhardt saw a lot of positives in his team’s effort. Forcella played “a great game” in his first varsity game that counted, “moving the team really well and making good reads on the zone running plays.”

Paul Stewart carried a big burden as well, rushing 23 times for 144 yards.

Both averaged more than 6 yards per carry, which Bernhardt added was a credit to the team’s offensive line.

In fact, the Greybull offense was only outgained by Thermopolis 486-437.

“Those two turnovers in the red zone were crucial,” said Bernhardt.

 

This week

The Buffs will try again for their first official win of the season Friday when they travel to Pinedale for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Pinedale is 1-2.  Like Greybull, the Wranglers roughed up Riverside before dropping lopsided decisions to both Lovell and Kemmerer.

“They run a pretty high pressure defense,” said Bernhardt. “Offensively, they spread things out a little bit, their running back runs hard and they have a couple of good pulling guards.

“We saw film of their week one win over Riverside.  I definitely think there are things we can take advantage of against them.  We just have to keep plugging away. Every week, we learn more.  It was hard, having to pick up three new systems.  For the most part, our kids have done pretty well picking them up.”

Thermopolis 50, Greybull 21

T — Thomas 4-yard run (Haun run).

G — Calder Forcella 12-yard run (Connor Petty kick).

T — Haun 78-yard run.

G — Petty 24-yard pass from Forcella (Petty kick).

T — Bridges 53-yard run (Haun run).

T — Bridges 12-yard run (Haun run).

G — Luke Zeller 21-yard pass from Forcella (Petty kick).

T — Bridges 9-yard run.

T — Bridges 3-yard run (Andreen run).

T — Bridges 55-yard run.

RUSHING — Greybull 45-295 (Forcella 22-151, Paul Stewart 23-145); Thermopolis 37-410.

PASSING — Greybull 10-of-26 for 142 yards (Forcella 10-25-2-142, Wyatt Nielsen 0-1-1-0); Thermopolis 9-of-13 for 76 yards.

RECEIVING — Greybull: Fabian Davila 4-44, Luke Zeller 2-35, Nielsen 2-32, Petty 2-31);

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Greybull: Luke Zeller led the team with 11 assisted and five unassisted tackles.  Logan Jensen had five assisted tackles, two unassisted tackles, three tackles for loss and a pass breakup.  Petty rounded out the top three with three assisted tackles, two unassisted tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception.

Pamida set to become Shopko Hometown

by nathan oster

Goodbye, Pamida.

Hello, Shopko Hometown.

That’s the word from Andy Smith, who has managed the Pamida store and will carry the same title during and after the conversion to the Shopko Hometown, which is expected to be completed by the middle of October.

“Saturday afternoon, we will be closing up for good (as a Pamida store),” said Smith. “We’ll clear out the rest of the merchandise that hasn’t sold and it’ll be shipped out. And at that point, we’ll start switching over, network wise, to Shopko.”

The store will be closed on Sunday.

It will reopen Monday — but on a very limited basis, as only the pharmacy will be open.  “We won’t have any merchandise to sell,” Smith said. The first semi-load of merchandise is expected to arrive the middle of next week.

According to a company release, the conversion to Shopko Hometown will include new interior and exterior signage, carpet, paint, updated and supplement fixtures and lighting and a new easy-to-shop store layout.  Each of the store’s three primary departments will be converted one department at a time with each department opening to shoppers as soon as it’s complete.

The first department to be converted will be Consumables, which includes health and beauty, over the counter, candy, beverages and snacks.  The department will open to the public by Sept. 23, followed by the Home department which will open no later than Oct. 7.  The Home department includes sporting goods, electronics, housewares, toys and domestics.  The final department to convert is Apparel which will open by Oct. 14.

“Since our merger with Pamida early this year, we’ve converted 45 Pamida stores to the Shopko Hometown format,” said Paul Jones, Shopko President, Chairman and CEO.  “The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive and we are thrilled to be just weeks away from introducing this retail concept to Greybull.”

Smith predicts that customers will love the new floor plan and the offerings from Shopko.

The clearance sale at Pamida, which concludes on Saturday, has gone “very well,” according to Smith, who estimated that only about “25 to 30 percent” of the store’s inventory remained on the shelves when this week began.

“It’s been a wild but it’s been good,” said Smith, when asked how the transition has been going. “We’ve been extremely busy.  Our team (of 11 mostly full-time employees) has stepped it up a notch.  We’ve got an excellent team anyway.  But they’ve all really done a good job (during this period).”

Those same people will be heavily leaned on in the weeks ahead.  The store is planning a grand opening for the Shopko Hometown store on Oct. 18.

“We’ve got four weeks to reset the whole store,” said Smith.

Davison receives probation in plea deal

By jennifer butler

Former Big Horn County Sheriffs Department employee, Brandi Davison, had a change of plea hearing and was sentenced on Thursday, Sept. 6 in District Court on larceny charges.

After Davison entered a guilty plea on one count each of felonious and misdemeanor larceny charges, Judge Robert E. Skar, accepted the plea agreement that was established between Davison and the Big Horn County Attorney’s Office. The misdemeanor charge was added as a part of the plea agreement.

She was sentence to five years of supervised probation after utilizing the Wyoming Statue 7-13-301. She was also ordered to pay full restitution of $17,569. According to the judge she has repaid around $9,000 already, but will be required to repay the full amount.

The 7-13-301 statute is a prosecution deferment. The felony charges are deferred and then dismissed if the defendant successfully completes supervised probation. The statute can only be utilized once in a lifetime. The misdemeanor will remain on Davison’s record.

While Davison was employed by the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department and Youth Alternatives from January 2006 to June 2010, she admitted to embezzling funds from the county and from the Volunteers of American – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention grant that helped fund her juvenile probation position.

She admitted stealing amounts both under and above $1,000.

On Monday, Sept. 19 of last year, Davidson admitted to law enforcement that she falsified invoices and vouchers. She had submitted request for reimbursement from the grant for purchases for items such as urinalysis kits, mileage, automotive supply and other items.

During Davison’s sentencing, her attorney, Nick Badoon, said that the funds that were embezzled during this time were used to help her family and not to support a lavish lifestyle or to purchase illegal substances.

Skar said there was an opportunity for the court to deny the plea agreement and deny the use of W.S. 7-13-301, but because he believes this is a one-time offense and she is truly remorseful for her actions, he approved it. He said he also considered her willingness to and actively paying her restitution.

Davison said during her hearing that what she did was wrong and she will accept the sentencing the judge sees fit. She added that she would never do it again.

Skar said, a level of trust that was established has now been lost in the community. Some has been restored by repayment of the restitution and her willingness to work with authorities.

Werbelow debuts impressively for WHS

by nathan oster

Students from Greybull and Riverside high schools continue to excel as members of the Worland Warrior swim team.

Coach Kim Wyman reported a number of breakthroughs from Thursday’s home dual against Powell and a seven-team invitatational Saturday in Powell.

On Thursday, Taylor Werbelow, an Emblem teen who attends RHS, was the big story. In her first weekend of competition, she took second in the 500 freestyle, swimming a 29.24, which is just a shade off the state qualifying standard (28.5) in the event.

“We expect as she continues her training this goal is very attainable and exciting as well,” said Wyman.

Werbelow also joined Elizabeth Dietrich, of GHS, and two Worland girls on the 200 medley relay team which took top honors.

In other highlights, Brianna Jolley, fresh off her qualifying performance in the 100 fly, improved her time in the 50 freestyle with a 32.4 and is “showing her strength each week,” while Brittany Butz “improved her breaststroke by taking off several seconds from last week, showing her fortitude and endurance.”

Saturday’s invitational in Powell featured the home team as well as Jackson, Lander, Buffalo, Cody, Riverton and Worland.  Among the highlights of that meet:

• Jolley placed 14th out of 40 swimmers in the 200 free.  In the 100 backstroke, she was 12th, coming within five seconds of a qualifying time.

• Kara Michelena was among a quartet of swimmer who drew praise from the coach for showing “internal courage and mental toughness” for swimming the grueling 500 freestyle (20 laps) — and then following that up with legs on a 200 freestyle relay team.

• Dietrich and Werbelow swam legs on Worland’s top 200 free relay team, which placed seventh out of 25 teams. “Each sprinter covered the length of the pool and back 30 seconds or under,” said Wyman. “What’s fun about that is that it is only going to get better as we near the halfway point of our regular season.”

• Werbelow placed 16th and Dietrich 17th in the 100 breaststroke, with Werbelow coming within two seconds of qualifying.

• In the 400 freestyle relay, a team featuring Werbelow and Dietrich placed fifth out of 22 teams.

The swimmers will be in Buffalo on Friday and in Newcastle Saturday.

Lady Buffs sweep Riverside

by marlys good

The GHS gym was packed and it rocked with the cheers and jeers from the raucous fans, but the Lady Buffs took it all in stride as they beat the Lady Rebels in four sets, 28-26, 20-25, 25-16, 25-15.

With the win, the varsity made it a three-match sweep as both the freshman and varsity squads won their preliminary matches.

“It’s always great to gain wins over Burlington and Riverside,” Coach Brittany Miller said. “I commend every player in our program for their roles in the success of sweeping Riverside. Our girls are working hard and have been extremely coachable. We served and passed the ball extremely well.”

Kudos went to McKenna Powers, who led serving at 21-22 including five aces. “That type of focus is incredible,” Miller said, adding the junior also contributed at the net both offensively and defensively.

“Junior Ceirra Carlson was also listed by Miller for her “key contributions. We set her a ton of balls and she always either put them away or placed them to where Riverside was out of system.”

The Buffs had a tougher go at the Big Horn Tournament Saturday. Without seniors Michaela Denniston and Sarah Bockman, who were taking the ACT test, and Carlson, who had a family commitment, Greybull played with a very young lineup. “It was a huge learning experience for our young squad,“ Miller said.

Greybull lost to Sundance, 19-25, 9-25; Thermopolis, 17-25, 16-25; and twice to Burns, 22-25, 16-25 and 11-21, 11-21; and split with Burlington, 25-11, 16-25.

Greybull will take on the Rocky Mountain Lady Griz today in Cowley. Matches start at 4 p.m.

“We need to have the same intensity and focus when we play Rocky that we had against Riverside,” Miller said.

Friday it will be a homecoming matches versus conference foe Thermopolis at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Saturday the Buffs compete in the Thermopolis Invitational that starts at 9 a.m.

Flags lowered to half-staff for Anders

by nathan oster

By order of Gov. Matt Mead, the U.S. and State of Wyoming flags around the state were flown at half-staff on Wednesday, Sept. 5 in honor of Army Specialist Mabry James Anders, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 27.

Mabry, the son of Gretchen and Dan Anders of Shell and Troy and Gen Woydziak of Baker City, Ore., was laid to rest Wednesday in Baker City.  His body arrived in Baker City on Monday via aircraft — and with a military guardian, according to Mike Laird, who is the casualty assistance officer and with the Anders family in Oregon.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Laird said the people of Baker City had been “amazing” in their show of support for the Anders family, noting that there was a lineup of local emergency vehicles stretching “three miles long” waiting to lead the family and Mabry’s body from the airport to the funeral home.

“It had to be every single emergency vehicle in this town,” Laird said.  “This town (of about 10,000 people) is absolutely amazing.”

The funeral services were scheduled for Wednesday night and the family is expected to arrive back in south Big Horn County sometime on Thursday. In addition to being survived by his parents, Mabry is the grandson of Gary Anders of Shell and Donna Loecker of Basin.  Additional grandparents include Greg and Ellie Woydziak of Baker City, Erik and Diana Saam of Shell and Sue Anders and Howard Sumner of Billings.

With respect to the governor’s order, it is the universal custom to display the flag from sunrise to sunset (unless properly illuminated during the hours of darkness). The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position.

The notice was read at Tuesday’s meeting of the Big Horn County Commission, with Chairman Jerry Ewen stating, “The commissioners add their concern and prayers to the families.

 

More details

Anders was assigned to the 4th Special Troops Batallion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Carson, Colo., when he was killed in action in Kalagush, Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

A release from the Department of Defense issued immediately after Anders’ death stated that he had died of injuries from enemy, small-arms fire.

Laird was able to add that the person who shot and killed both Mabry and Christopher Birdwell of Windsor, Colo., was a person in an Afghan uniform.   That person “is no longer alive, either,” according to Laird, adding that he was killed by forces acting in support of U.S. troops.

While not naming Anders or Birdwell, multiple news reports provided additional details about what happened on Aug. 27 in east Afghanistan.  According to an Associated Press report, two American soldiers (Anders and Birdwell) were shot and killed by one of their Afghan colleagues in the east.  Their deaths brought to 12 the number of American troops to die at the hands of their Afghan allies in August.

That same report states that Afghan officials contended that it was an accidental shooting.    A spokesman for the Afghan army corps in eastern Afghanistan said a group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers came under attack, returned fire and were running to take up fighting positions when the Afghan soldier fell and accidentally discharged his weapon, killing the two American soldiers with the errant rounds.

The spokesman goes on to say that the Afghan soldier threw down his gun and ran after he was questioned about the shooting by the commander of the unit.  According to the same report, the U.S. troops had already called in air support to help with the insurgent attack and the aircraft fired on the escaping Afghan soldier from above, killing him.

GHS gearing up for homecoming week

Greybull High School will go “Back in Time” next week, Sept. 10-15, with the advent of homecoming.

It will all start out Monday morning when students will decorate the halls and participate in “Color Wars” with class members asked to dress in pre-designated colors. You’ll know them by the colors: freshmen will be wearing purple; sophomores will don green, juniors red, and seniors will be decked out in pink.

The tug-of-war will take place on the GHS football field at about 7 p.m. The traditional “Burning of the G” will be held north of the Buff Gym right after the tug-of-war.

Tuesday is “Prehistoric Day.” Plus, a service honoring our servicemen and servicewomen, sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters, will be held on the football field right after football practice.

Wednesday is 1960s day.

Thursday is Future Day. The Lady Buffs play Rocky Mountain in Cowley at 4, 5, 6 p.m.

Friday features the Buff Olympics; a Booster Club-sponsored lunch from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; the homecoming parade at 12:15 p.m., volleyball matches against Thermopolis at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. and the football game against Thermopolis at 7 p.m.

The homecoming royalty will be introduced and the queen and king crowned during halftime of the football game.

Senior king candidates are Dylan Brenner, Kyle McIntosh and Rob Nuttall. Denis Sosa, Biri Gallegos and Hunter Grant are the queen candidates.

Attendants include freshmen  Eric Aguilar and Maria Garay; sophomores Oscar Gomez and Karlina McIntosh and juniors Cache Griffin and Nevin Brown.

Town urges compliance with rules of brush pile

by nathan oster

Grass clippings, leaves and branches.

According to the town, that’s all that should be going on the new brush pile that was recently developed on the industrial hill, not far from the Legion baseball field.

Joe Fischer, the town’s administrator, said construction materials, lumber, tree stumps, trash, appliances and other household items have been dumped in recent weeks at the brush pile.

“The town considers the leaf, grass and brush pit a valuable resource for the town’s residents and would like to continue offering this service,” he said. “We ask that users help us by self-monitoring the site to prevent misuse that may result in closure.”

Ann Simeone

April 13, 1921 – Aug. 28, 2012

Funeral services for Ann “Nannie” Simeone of Lovell will be held Friday, Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Greybull. Ann, 91, died Aug. 28 at New Horizons Care Center in Lovell.

She was born April 13, 1921, in San Francisco, the daughter of Roger and Alice Griffin Blundell. She married her life-long love, John Simeone, at St. Charles Catholic Church in San Francisco on Feb. 19, 1944.

In 1951, Ann and John moved to Casper where they owned and operated Rocky Mountain Tank and Steel for many years.

In 2006 Ann moved to New Horizons Care Center in Lovell.

Ann’s childhood dream was to be a Macy’s Rockette. She and John were ballroom dancers and Ann danced all the way up to her 90th birthday. She also enjoyed spending time and playing cards with her family. She thought of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as her greatest legacy. Ann’s smile and laughter could light up a room.

Her parents; brothers George and Edward Blundell; sisters Gladys Blundell and Agnes St. Clair, and her husband John Simeone on Dec. 16, 2008, preceded her in death.

She is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law, Shirley and John Williams of Greybull and Jackie and Bob Spencer of Casper; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Interment will be in the Holy Cross Cemetery in San Francisco.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to New Horizons Activity Department, New Horizons Care Center, 115 Lane 12, Lovell, WY 82431.