Monthly Archives: November 2012

Council backs plan from Lovell, Inc.

by nathan oster

After much debate, the Greybull Town Council voted Nov. 13 to support a grant application that would pay for the development of a strategic plan for economic development efforts in Big Horn County.

Sue Taylor, director of Lovell, Inc., made the pitch to the council, saying her nonprofit organization, which has been operating in north Big Horn County for several years, has already generated $846,000 in benefits, most of it in the form of grants, for Lovell.

“Now we would like to come and work for you, to look at what your needs are and what you would like to accomplish,” said Taylor.

Taylor told the council that Lovell, Inc., is pursuing the grant for the strategic plan, but in order to proceed it needed firm commitments from the county’s three major towns (Lovell, Basin and Greybull) as well as from Big Horn County (which it hopes will pick up the tab for the remaining municipalities).

Heading into her meeting in Greybull, Taylor had already received commitments for cash matches from Basin ($1,935) and Lovell ($3,488).  She had yet to meet with the Big Horn County Commissioners, whose share would come to $3,977.

Taylor was successful in getting Greybull’s council to commit to $2,660 — but it wasn’t an easy sell.  Timing was a concern voiced by several members of the council, as Taylor brought the proposal forward while telling them she needed a decision that night in order to meet a Dec. 1 deadline to file the grant application.

“It’s very quick timing … but we haven’t know about this program very long either,” she said.  The proposal, she said, would be to develop a “countywide economic development strategic plan.  To the best our knowledge, there has never been one created for Big Horn County.”

“With our rural  population, there are major challenges in being nine incorporated communities,” said Taylor, adding that the plan would focus on current needs and realities, job creation and retention and sources of funding for the implementation of the strategic plan.

Lovell, Inc., would write the grant application, seeking a total of $60,000 from the Wyoming Business Council.  Of that total, $15,000 would need to come from the county and its largest municipalities to fulfill the required 25 percent local match.

“The town could see large benefits from doing this,” said Taylor. “It would give you some goals, it would identify how you should be proceeding, it would look at what you have, in terms of skills and resources within the current population that would help us build a better economy.”

Councilor Bob Graham called it “a great idea,” but expressed concern about the lack of south Big Horn County voices on the Lovell, Inc., board.  At the present time, only Tom Newman, a State Farm agent in Basin, represents the south. Taylor said she’d be making bimonthly visits to south Big Horn County, and pointed out that the president of the board, David Peck, owns newspapers in Basin and Greybull.

Graham said he feared entering into a situation like the landfill board, on which the town has no representative. “Personally, I don’t want to get into that situation again,” he said.  Taylor said she didn’t think the board would have an issue with that request.

Taylor was then asked whether the name of the organization, Lovell, Inc., could be changed to better reflect the entire county.  She said the current board prefers retaining the Lovell, Inc., name, citing the town of Lovell’s commitment of more than $420,000 to date.

Mayor Frank Houk added that he thought it was “a good idea, at least something that we have been lacking, that would help grow the county for our own children who would have some opportunities to stay closer to home.”

Councilor Bob McGuire offered only tepid support for the plan and the expenditure of $2,660.

“I have a lot of confidence in the business people I know,” he said. “Most of these people are looking at ways to improve their profits, their floor traffic. I’d have to do more talking to these people to see if there’s a value (to this program).”

Taylor was asked if the town could expect to see the same level of return from Lovell, Inc., as it did from the Big Horn County Economic Development Committee, which is no longer in existence.

“You could expect to see a great deal more success,” said Taylor.

She referred back to Lovell, where the town pledged $300,00 in startup costs and has committed $60,000 in each of the past two fiscal years. “They have seen the results, they have seen the difference in the business climate, the dollars coming in, the activities we are doing.”

Council members continued to express a reluctance to commit, however.  Taylor ultimately swayed them by saying that the application could be pulled “if things fall apart” after the deadline passes, noting that it isn’t schedule to go in front of the Wyoming Business Council until March and the State Loan and Investment Board until April.

Clay Collingwood, a council member elect, was seated in the audience.  He asked Taylor how it would work if a business was eyeing both Greybull and Lovell, suggesting that that the group would likely pull it toward Lovell.

Taylor disagreed, saying Lovell, Inc., would look at things like each town’s available housing and existing work force. “It would be a very democratic process,” she said.

Most of the “economic development” that the council could expect to see in the coming years will likely come from existing business expansions and entrepreneurs, not necessarily new businesses.

Councilor Kay Fleek said economic development is a concern. “Looking at our main street, the things I’m hearing, it’s pretty scary,” she said. “Nothing is more depressing that going down main street and seeing no businesses.”

After McGuire reiterated his confidence in local business owners to come up with a solution, Graham said Lovell, Inc., could help them by providing a new perspective.  Added Taylor, “Their primary concern is growing their business, not necessarily other businesses.”

Dalen Davis, the town’s public works director, said Greybull would benefit from economic development anywhere in close proximity.  “If (a business) doesn’t land in Greybull, it’s likely still going to employ people in this community.”

Before approving the cash-match request, the council made a request of Taylor that she and the group invite Ron Fiene, owner of Ron’s Food Farm, to be a part of the process, citing his past efforts to bring businesses to south Big Horn County.


Donald Gene Sabbe

Feb. 2, 1934 – May 5, 2012

Funeral services for Donald Gene Sabbe were held in Vero Beach, Fla., and in California. Don, 78, died May 5 in Vero Beach after a battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

He was born Feb. 16, 1934, in Miles City, Mont., the son of Alfred and Katherine Sabbe. He grew up and received his education in Greybull and graduated from Greybull High School in 1952. Don attended the University of Wyoming, Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and graduated from St. Louis University Dental School.

He served in the United States Navy and was stationed in Okinawa and the Pacific attached to the Marine Corps.

He married Mary Beth Voight of St. Louis. He opened a dental practice in Fremont, Calif., that lasted for 36 years. Don was an active Rotarian and a member of numerous community organizations.

After he retired, he and Mary Beth moved to Vero Beach, Fla. He loved fishing, archeology, reading, bridge, tennis, dancing, travel, tinkering, telling stories, helping others and socializing with the countless friends he made wherever he went.

He attended Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Beth, and his oldest son, Michael Sabbe of St. Louis.

He is survived by two sons, John Sabbe and Eric Sabbe and one daughter, Dana Sabbe, all of California; his sister, LuAn Sabbe Lorenson, and his companion Suzanne Wagner of Vero Beach.


Edna May Knickerbocker

Aug. 29, 1926 – Nov. 14, 2012

Funeral arrangements are pending for former Greybull resident Edna May Knickerbocker of Salem, Ore.  Edna, 86, died Nov. 14 in Salem.

She was born Aug. 29, 1926, on her parents’ farm near Drain, Ore., the daughter of Phillip and Minnie Vinyard Snell. She was one of six children.

The family moved to Eugene, and eventually to Santa Rosa, Calif., where Edna graduated from Santa Rosa High School.

Edna worked at the Los Angeles International Airport as an office manager for United Airlines for many years. While working for United Airlines, Edna met James Solon Knickerbocker, whom she married Sept. 5, 1964. The couple lived in Newport Beach, Calif.

The Knickerbockers retired in 1990 and moved to Greybull. They were active members of the First Baptist Church in Basin.

In 2010 Jim and Edna moved to Salem to be nearer to family.

Edna loved the Lord; she loved people of all ages and backgrounds. She was a gracious and gentle woman with a generous heart who always had a smile on her face and a warm hello for those around her.

Edna is survived by her sister, Ruth Shoush of Victorville, Calif.; two nieces and three nephews.

Burial will be at her husband’s gravesite at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland.

Cards of remembrance can be sent to the family via Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service, 605 Commercial St. SE, Salem, OR, 97301.


Tillman L. “Tim” Graham

June 25, 1929 – Nov. 16, 2012

Funeral services for Tillman Leon “Tim” Graham of Basin will be held Friday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Basin. Tim, 83, died Nov. 16 at Tenderheart Assisted Living in Evanston where he had resided since April.

Tim was born June 25, 1929, near Custer’s Battlefield in Montana, the son of Peter Warren and Letha Fyrn Sands Graham.

He married Pearl Deveraux of Hyattville March 12, 1950, in Hyattville. Tim and Pearl settled and raised their family in south Big Horn County.

Tm worked at various jobs in Wyoming and Montana until March of 1952 when John Snyder hired him to operate a Caterpillar for the Soil Conservation Service.

He continued to work for the SCS until 1958 when he purchased his first Caterpillar, “Old Yeller,” with the help of Bert Olsen of Otto, and established T.L. Graham and Sons Earthmoving.

Tim developed thousands of acres of agricultural and irrigation projects, leveled the land and built ditches and reservoirs to supply agricultural water, and prepared the sites for the Basin Recreation Park and ball fields.

He retired from dirt moving in 1994 and spent his winters in Yuma, Ariz., and his summers in Basin.

Tim enjoyed hunting, fishing, ATVs and snowmobiles. He inherited his love of music from his mother and was an accomplished fiddler. He was a member of the Wyoming Fiddlers Association and played for George H.W. Bush; the performance was recorded for the Smithsonian. He also played the piano, guitar, harmonica and spoons, even though he could not read music.

Tim was very proud of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and took great satisfaction in their education and success.

His wife Pearl in 1993, his parents, and his brother Boyd preceded him in death.

He is survived by his children, Tim and Sherry Graham of Basin, Patty and Bill Comeau of Evanston, Barbara and Robert Raynor of San Tan Valley, Ariz., Dennis and Debbie Graham of Riverton and Jody Graham and Anne Thompson of Cave Creek, Ariz.; one brother Charles Graham of Washington; sister, Birdie Job of Frenchtown, Mont.; his companion of 18 years, Mary Ransom; 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Burial will be in Mount View Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the First Baptist Church.

Memorials in Tim’s name are being received at Security State Bank, Box 531, Basin, WY 82410. Proceeds will go to the Basin Eagles Memorial Fund.

Frank Gruber

April 2, 1921 – Nov. 10, 2012

Longtime Greybull, Wyo. resident Frank Gruber, age 91, passed away at South Big Horn County Hospital between Greybull and Basin, Wyo., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012

Frank was born April 2, 1921 in Acme, Wyo., the son of Joseph and Susanna (Sperl) Gruber. Frank attended Acme Grade School, grades 1-8, and grade 9 at Sheridan High School.

Frank served in the United States Navy as a machinist’s mate (2C) and served on the auxiliary repair ships, the USS Copahee and the USS Avocet in the Aleutian Islands. He received the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

After his honorable discharge from the United States Navy, Frank worked at the Monarch Coal Mine as an underground coal miner for the next four years.

Frank moved to Greybull, Wyo., in 1950. He was hired by the CB&Q Railroad and Burlington Northern in 1950 and worked his way up to being a conductor at his retirement in 1981 at Greybull. Frank was always very appreciative of his employment opportunity with the railroad and made many friendships with his fellow railroad employees.

Frank belonged to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 186 in Sheridan, Wyo., since 1940 and had received his official “Golden Age” membership for his 72 years. Frank also was a life member of the Greybull Elks BPOE Lodge 1431 and had maintained his membership for the past 53 years. He also had 46 years continuous membership since July 1966 with the United Transportation Union, Local #1279.

One of Frank’s personal passions was to purchase new automobiles about every three or four years when he was younger and he would always make every effort to maintain their mechanical efficiency and special outside appearance by solving the weather problems through the use of a garage.

The Gruber family would like to personally thank Dr. Fitzsimmons and Dr. Demar Hill along with the nursing staff at South Big Horn County Hospital for their compassion and efforts to make Frank as comfortable as possible during the past month with his medical problems.

Frank was a person who was not shy about his personal opinions, both positive and negative on current political issues and concerns related to the national and state affairs. Frank was an avid reader and kept well informed by reading recent newspapers and current magazines.

His Polish polka songs and professional bull rider’s programs were a required and pleasurable action taken during the week.

Frank had made many personal friends in Greybull and loved living in his Sunset Apartment. Harry and Janet Evans were very supportive and helpful, especially this past month, and he felt blessed to have received their efforts and many others to make his personal health problems seem minor with their help.

He will always be remembered and loved by his immediate Gruber family members. He was a special person that loved the town of Greybull and its people.

Frank was preceded in death by his brother Siegfried; sister Theresa; father Joseph Gruber and mother Susanna Gruber.

Frank is survived by his brothers Edward Gruber of Sacramento, Calif., and Richard Gruber of Billings, Mont.; his sister Josephine Benz of Lincoln City, Ore., and his nieces and nephews.

Per Frank’s wishes, no services are planned. His ashes will be interred beside his parents and brother in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery plot a later date.

Memorials in Frank’s name can be sent to Bank of Greybull, 601 Greybull Ave., Greybull, WY 82426. Proceeds will go to the Senior Citizens Center at 417 South Second Street in Greybull, Wyo.

Atwood Family Funeral Directors, Inc. was in charge of arrangements.

(Paid obituary)


Fanetta Lee Wilson Bayert

May 28, 1955 – Nov. 15, 2012

Cremation has taken place and memorial services for Fanetta Lee Wilson Bayert of Basin will be held Friday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings, Mont. Fanetta Lee “Peanut” died Nov. 15 in Billings of cancer.

She was born May 28, 1955, in Billings, the daughter of Adrian and Joyce Wilson.

She served in the Army Reserves in Billings for 12 years before she married her husband Barry Bayert in 1993.

Peanut gave wholeheartedly to her family, friends and strangers and always put their needs before her own.

Her parents, her brother Rocky Wilson and her father-in-law, Bud Burton, preceded her in death.

She is survived by her husband Barry of Basin; her children, Sam, Ty, Leann, Sunshine and Danielle; siblings, Sherry Wilson, Veona Wyman and Rusty Wilson, and nine grandchildren.

Donations in Peanut’s memory may be made to Child Evangelism Fellowship, Box 1866, Glenrock, WY 82637.

Buffs put three on all-conference team

by nathan oster

Senior Jesse Chestnut and sophomores Calder Forcella and Fabian Davila represented the Greybull Buffs on the Class 2A West all-conference team which was released on Friday.

Greybull finished sixth in the conference, but ended the season on a high note, winning two of its final three games.   The second-half surge was fueled in large part by the trio, as Chestnut and Forcella returned from injuries to join Davila in the starting lineup.

Coach Justin Bernhardt said he was proud of his team’s three selections.  Of all the all-conference selections in 2A, just four were sophomores.  Two played for the Buffs.

Bernhardt said Forcella made it for his play at quarterback.  He missed the first two games with a thumb injury, but was a force in his final six.

Forcella finished with 614 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Through the air, he generated another 803 yards as well as seven touchdowns.

Forcella also contributed on defense, moving around to help wherever needed in the linebacker and secondary corps.

Davila didn’t miss a game, and while he gave the offense and special teams big-play ability with his speed, it was his work on defense that most caught the attention of other coaches in the conference.

“They saw him as a lockdown cornerback … and teams didn’t throw it to his side very much,” said Bernhardt, adding that Davila finished the year with six interceptions, most on the team.

“It’s an all-around honor, too,” Bernhardt said. “He picked up some good receiving yards, had five touchdowns and was big for us on special teams.”

Chestnut also missed several games in the middle of the season due to a deep thigh bruise.  But when he was on the field, he was a force, often times leading the team in defensive points from his linebacker position.

“It was nice to see Jesse get recognition,” said Bernhardt. “(The all-conference team) honor isn’t given on potential, but on what you did. So a lot of times, injured kids get left out.

“The fact that Jesse got it, in spite of missing that many games, shows how well he stood out to other coaches.”

Bernhardt said several other Buffs were mentioned during the all-conference deliberations, but came up a little short of being named to the team.  The good news, he said, is that most of them return next year.

Lyman, which won the conference title, led the way with nine selections and had the defensive player of the year in Dustin Rollins, the lineman of the year in Nic Reis and the coach of the year in Dale Anderson.

Lovell, the runners-up in the conference race, put eight players on the team, including offensive player of the year Dino Collins.


The full all-conference team is as follows:

Lyman: Bransen Bradshaw, Cisco Taylor, Dustin Rollins, Nic Reis, Bobby Wingeleth, Kyle Stokes, Marty Rollins, Dalton Schofield, Forrest Rockhill.

Lovell: Nathan Grant, Cody Savage, Dylan Hultgren, Ryan Clark, Dino Collins, Jacob Beck, Nathan Ballard, Tanner Rohrer.

Mountain View: Austin Houskeeper, Cade Covington, Trystin Walker, Caleb Flake, Levi Harmon, Brennan Walk, Jake Orca.

Kemmerer: Trevor Simpson, Matt Archibald, Garrett Julian, Kyle Corbridge, Sidney Chaulk, Justin Westwood.

Pinedale: Clay Cheatham, Ethan Egle, Ryan Reed, Devon Richie, Doug Morse.

Thermopolis: Christian Syverson, Lane Schmidt, Kaden Haun, Zack Larson.

Greybull: Calder Forcella, Jesse Chestnut, Fabian Davila.

Big Piney: Luke Barron, Jordan Sims.


County clerk reports big jump in voter registrations

by nathan oster

The general election may be over, but plenty of work remains for Big Horn County Clerk Lori Smallwood and the employees in her office, who this week are keying in the registrations of new voters who went to the polls on Nov. 6.

“We have a stack about 18 to 24 inches tall of registrations,” said Smallwood, whose office has until early December to get them all entered into the system.   Until they are, it’ll be difficult if not impossible to provide an accurate representation of voter turnout.

Smallwood said one of the most experienced members of her staff, Annette Dillon, told her that she could not remember a year with more new voter registration. “In the north end, we had a lot of older people, folks who had never before registered to vote, who registered — either here or in town halls.

“And very late, just before the election, we had a big rush of Democrats who registered.”

The fact that new voter registrations are not yet entered into the system is just one of the challenges that makes it difficult to get an accurate sense of voter turnout.  The other, Smallwood said, is a change that took effect approximately three general election cycles ago.

According to Smallwood, counties around the state are making a greater effort to maintain the accuracy of their registered voter county. After each general election, anyone who didn’t cast a ballot now received a card in the mail, asking them if they’d like to remain registered.  Those who don’t return the card or call the clerk’s office are purged from the county’s list, Smallwood said.

As a result of the “purging” of two years ago, Big Horn County went into this year’s general election with far fewer registered voters than were on the books four years ago.  With all the new registrations coming in, a couple of precincts saw more ballots cast than they had registered voters on Election Day.

In Big Horn County, 5,362 ballots were cast in this general election, with 4,320 being entered on Election Day, the remaining 1,042 on absentee ballots.  The number of registered voters on Election Day was 5,414, which puts the county voter turnout at 99 percent.

Greybull’s turnout came to 98 percent, with 1,089 votes cast and 1,104 registered voters.

Shell, with 293 registered voters on Election Day, cast 267 votes, for a turnout of 91 percent.

Emblem, with 65 registered voters, cast 58 ballots, for a turnout of 89 percent.

Elsewhere in south Big Horn County, Basin came in at 94 percent (769 votes, 817 registered voters); Burlington at 97 percent (277 votes, 284 registered voters); Otto at 96 percent (117 votes, 122 registered voters); Hyattville 98 percent (87 votes, 88 registered voters), and Manderson 97 percent (170 votes, 175 registered voters).

All of the anomalies occurred in North Big Horn County.  In four of the five precincts, there were more votes cast on Election Day than there were registered voters on the books.  In Cowley, 457 votes were cast, but there were just 424 registered voters when the day began.  In Lovell, 1,531 votes were cast, compared to a voter count of 1,480.  In Deaver, 104 votes were cast, but just 102 were on the books when the day began.  And in Frannie, there were 96 registered voters when the day began — yet 97 votes were cast.  Only in Byron did the number of votes cast, 339, not exceed the total number of registered voters on Election Day.

The other big story coming out of this election, Smallwood said, was the number of absentee ballots that were cast, 1,042.  Neither Smallwood nor Dillon could remember a year in which more than 1,000 absentee ballots were cast.  In fact, Dillon said the high, prior to this year, was around 900.

Smallwood had no explanation for the increase. “My guess is, a lot of people knew they wanted to vote but didn’t know if they wanted to go to the polls and do it,” she said. “It’s easier to call and get an absentee ballot.  Plus I think they see people in other states voting early — and want to do it too.

Statewide, more than 240,000 Wyoming residents cast ballots in this year’s general election.

Rec district, school move on with pool

by nathan oster

Greybull won’t be getting a new swimming pool anytime soon.

That much was clear after last week’s general election, when voters rejected not only a bond issue to build a new aquatic center but also a sixth-cent tax proposal that would have funded its operations and maintenance for up to 20 years.

So the question now becomes, how much longer will the existing pool last?  And how much longer will the town and school district, both of which have been providing up to $30,000 annually to the pool, continue to make those commitments?

Barry Bryant, superintendent of schools, said the future “will be up to the board and the town,” but that he “sees it going as is” spelled out in a memorandum of understanding between the town, school district and recreation district, which actually runs the pool.

“With the next big catastrophe over there, it will be shut down,” said Bryant.

That could happen at any time, he said, citing a report done in June by the School Facilities Department.  The report scored the building using a rating system of 1 to 5.  Scores of 4 and 5 were given for things in “good” condition, 3s for things that need attention and 2s and 1s for things that need to be replaced.

The report rated the condition of the building in the following categories: substructure, structures and shell, interiors, services, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, equipment and furnishings, special construction and demolition and site systems.

The pool scored a “2” in 12 of the 28 categories, including the roof structural system, exterior windows and doors, roof coverings, interior doors and interior specialties, floors, ceilings, sanitary waste, HVAC controls, electrical service and distribution and aquatic facilities.

Bryant summed it up by noting that the building is simply showing its age.

The pool was built in 1971, and the life expectancy at the time was 30 years, meaning, “It’s already 10 years past its useful life,” Bryant said.

The Greybull Recreation District manages the pool, and through the first four months of the fiscal year, Director Chris Waite said things are still going well.  “We are funded through June 30 and we haven’t gone over our projections, spent more than we did last year, or anything like that.  Functionally, there is always something here or there, but overall, it’s working out.”

Waite said the pool is ahead of last year’s pace in terms of revenue generated, citing the success of programs like AquaZumba as well as the water workouts, which “continue to have pretty consistent attendance.” Waite said more lap swimmers are using the pool than at this time one year ago, but that open swim attendance remains flat.

Bryant said Waite and his team have done “an excellent job” managing the pool.  “The problem is, they are working with a nearly 42-year-old pool,” he said.

When the pool fails, it’ll trigger another conversation.  The School Facilities Commission has allocated $141,000 for the demolition of the pool.  With the pool operational at this time, that project is on hold for the moment, Bryant said.

Glenn Mowell

June 17, 1932 – Oct. 22, 2012

Glenn Mowell, 80, of Lafayette, La., died Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, at Lafayette General Hospital, after a yearlong fight against multiple myeloma.

He was a man of few words, profoundly intelligent, a loving husband, father and grandfather and a good friend to a lucky few. He made his mark on the world with his hard work, his wisdom and quiet presence.

Glenn was born on June 17, 1932, in Greybull, Wyo., the son of Rex Mowell and Rose Peterson Mowell. He proudly joined the United States Marine Corps in 1950, serving honorably in Korea. On his return he began his lifelong career in the oil field, which led him to Bolivia where he met and married his beloved wife, Flora Alinda Chiarella Mowell. Together with their children they lived all over the world, but he always called Wyoming home.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Mowell; daughters Carla Mowell and Cindy Cormier; son John Mowell; and grandchildren Hannah Weir, Sofia Weir, Hunter Mowell, Ethan Mowell and Jason Cormier.

He was preceded in death by his mother Rose Mowell; brothers Dale Mowell and Vernon Mowell; sisters Nancy Mowell and Shirley Lassiter.

In accordance with his wishes, his remains will be scattered on the Big Horn Mountains.

The family is planning a memorial gathering this summer in Shell.

(Paid obituary)