Monthly Archives: April 2013
by karla pomeroy
Thomas S. “Scotty” Hinman announced his resignation late last week in a public letter to the citizens of Big Horn County.
His letter states, “Regrettably I must resign from my position as county commissioner due to health issues. I greatly appreciate the opportunity that you have given me to serve you as commissioner for the past six years. It has been an honor and privilege that few get to experience, and for that I thank you.”
Hinman is in the midst of his second term as a commissioner, having first been elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.
He said the one thing he is most proud of in his six-plus years as a commissioner is when a few years ago they could not give raises to the county employees he did not feel it was appropriate for the commissioners to take a raise that had been approved previously by resolution. He said the commissioners spoke to the other elected officials “and they agreed with me, that it wasn’t right.” The commissioners then passed a resolution to freeze elected salaries for four years.
Hinman said he would like to see someone from Hyattville or Burlington apply and be appointed to have those areas represented on the commission.
“Whoever does get appointed, I hope the Republican Central Committee will come back with a person who will be honest and work for the county,” Hinman said.
He added, as in his letter to the citizens, that he appreciates the opportunity he had to serve the county and “I regret I am not going to finish my term.”
The process of replacing Hinman will be the same as the vacancies filled for county clerk and clerk of district court last year, except that a slightly longer timeframe is made available for filling a vacancy for a county commissioner.
Per statute, the commissioners have 20 days after the seat becomes vacant to declare a vacancy and notify the Big Horn County Republican Central Committee, since Hinman was elected on the Republican ticket.
The chairman of the county central committee, within 20 days after receipt of the notice, must call a meeting of the county central committee. At the meeting the committee shall select three persons qualified to fill the vacancy and transmit the names to the board of county commissioners. The board of county commissioners shall fill the vacancy within 20 days after receiving the list from the county central committee.
During the selections for a new clerk and new clerk of court, the central committee accepted letters of interest and then conducted interviews at the meeting.
The central committee is advertising this week for letters of interest from registered Republicans to be sent to Chairman Dave Mattis by 5 p.m., May 7. Send or drop off written applications to 432 Sixth Avenue North, Greybull. The committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 9 at the Big Horn County Weed and Pest meeting room on Highway 310, to hear from the applicants, ask questions and select three candidates to forward to the commissioners for appointment.
Commission Chairman Jerry Ewen said he received the same letter from Hinman on Thursday and as chairman he declared a vacancy on Thursday, April 18.
“We’re not going to take 20 days. We’d like to get it done as quickly as possible. I’d like to have the new commissioner on board for the budget process,” he said.
He added, “Regrettably it has to be done but our thoughts and prayers are with Scotty and his family. He’s been a faithful county commissioner and a good friend and is really going to be missed.”
Ewen said while the top three candidates will be up to the central committee, “I would like to have someone with a vested interest in the county; someone who is a team player and will take the time to do the job right. It’s basically a full-time job.”
He said applicants need to be willing to commit to the job and realize there are additional duties outside the two meetings a month.
by marlys good
Thirty-two years ago Karyne Dunbar packed up all her possessions and her horse and with her pre-teen sons, left Cripple Creek, Colo., where she had been operating a campground and livery stable, and headed north to Wyoming and her new position as the art instructor for Big Horn County School District No. 3.
She recalls “rolling into Shell (with a flat tire) and discovering there was no service of any kind for miles. A glance at the little shack of a post office (in 1981) showed us the painted cow skull above the door had lost a letter. It read “-hell Wyo. Good start,” she laughed.
With the help Fran Paton Childers, who was teaching physical education for the district, the young family found temporary housing in a cabin at the Iowa State Geology Camp and lived there until December, when a rental opened in Shell.
The cabin had no heat or running water but “my boys and I actually loved it. It was wild and solitary and we fished every day.”
The art department was housed in the old high school but was being moved into the new middle school. A good move, Dunbar said, “since an electrical fire from the kiln had burned a big hole in the wall of the old art room.”
She recalls her first years in the district were “peppered with students in western wear, with a yes ma’am, no ma’am approach to our conversations. A boy removing a cowboy hat in order to speak to me today would almost be shocking,” she said.
While in Greybull for her interview, Karyne met the former art teacher who was “packing her things in a hurried way and cussing the town and the school. I was intrigued. What could I accomplish here?” she wondered.
What hasn’t she accomplished, is the better question. Through the ensuing years the art department has had a great working relationship with the 3-M company (duct tape art); partners with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the McCracken Research Library, Wyo-Ben has funded a partnering experience for the department with the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, and Northwest College recruits GHS art students “with high praise for their performance there.” The community has opened its arms to the Art in the Dark shows and the popularity of the shows, Dunbar believes, “is the great ambiance of the Historical Greybull Hotel opened to us by Myles Foley.”
In her 32 years with the district Dunbar has seen many deserving students win scholarships and awards, and some continue on in art-related fields.
In addition to her teaching duties, Dunbar is an accomplished artist. She is also the owner and guiding light of the Art Shelter gallery east of Shell where two or three times each summer, artists from multiple disciplines and their works are showcased at a public show and reception.
Dunbar said, “My studio calls me to give more attention to my own artistic creations. Perhaps the Art Shelter’s role will be flexing a bit. I love to travel, there are friends I haven’t seen in years, I have a great-granddaughter and great-grandson I would like to know better; there are three acres at home to enjoy. What will I do next? The answer is I hope to have enough time to do all that I want to do.”
Dunbar said, “All kinds of good things happened for me here. I owe my home in Shell and most of my material possessions to Big Horn County School District No. 3.” An added bonus is both of her sons decided to make their homes in this area.
Don’t ask Karyne about retiring. She’ll tell you in a flash that she’s “just getting to graduate. I will be continuing with my work of creating and showing my own work. So I am no retiring — just transitioning.”
by nathan oster
Big Horn County School District No. 3 has received a $100,000 commitment from the School Facilities Commission to proceed with the planning of a renovation to the high school that would address capacity concerns at the middle school.
One problem with that, however: The board is on record as favoring a different option, one calling for the construction of a new GMS building and a relocation of administrative offices into the existing GMS.
Supt. Barry Bryant made a pitch to that effect during an April 18 telephone meeting with the SFC, and while the SFC leans toward supporting the renovations recommended by MOA Architecture and its own School Facilities Department, Bryant saw it as a positive step nonetheless.
The SFC ultimately awarded $10 million in funding for planning and design of 19 projects intended to aid school districts running out of classroom space. The money, which was earmarked by state lawmakers, was divided among 18 school districts.
GMS ranked 10th on the chart of 19 projects that got green-lighted by the SFC.
“It’s a huge step forward,” said Bryant. “It tells us, ‘Yes, we agree with the use of the loading factor. Yes, we agree that the alternate methodology should be used. And yes, we are going to fix it for you.’
“Now it’s just going to come down to how we’re all going to fix it.”
Bryant said he plans to continue lobbying the SFC that the new school building is the best option. If he hasn’t convinced them by May 1, he plans to try to get on the agenda for the next SFC meeting.
The SFD’s recommendation calls for renovations to the Quigg Building and GMS. In particular, it would relocate the GMS computer lab to the Quigg Building and one of the classrooms now used by industrial arts teacher Ralph Wensky.
By moving the computer lab out of GMS, the SFD believes that the existing GMS building could be reconfigured in such a way to create wider hallways, larger classrooms and additional natural lighting.
The estimated cost of this remedy is slightly under $1.5 million.
While not totally rejecting that proposed solution, the school board favors a new building. The trustees agreed to pursue Option 3, which called for the construction of a new wing onto the current GHS to support the new GMS facility. The wing would be located between the current GHS and the GMS Gym.
The SFD and the school district differ greatly on the cost of a new building.
The SFD estimated it at $10 million.
Supt. Barry Bryant told the SFC in a letter that the district’s architectural firm ran the numbers and came up with an estimate of around $4.3 million, which includes renovations to the GMS Gym and alterations to the existing GMS to convert it to administrative office space.
“Based on projected enrollment increases, I think we’ve got good legs to stand on for a new middle school,” Bryant said. “It solves a multitude of problems for us.
He spelled those out in his letter to the SFC which are highlighted below:
“A new MS wing wing connected to the high school utilizes existing space. The GHS library would serve both GMS and GHS. The admin rooms and computer lap in the GMS Gym area woulud be refurbished into one large computer lab.
“We plan to possibly add an agriculture teacher in the Quigg Building space that was allocated in Option 1 to be a middle school computer lab. We currently bus 17 students to the neighboring district for agriculture classes.
“A new middle school wing would be smaller than 34,481 square feet suggested by MOA since we would use the current GMS library and computer lab space remodeled in the GMS Gym.
“None of us believe (including our own architect) that the remodel can be accomplished over the summer. Thus we will have additional costs of modular classrooms not to mention the disruption to the education process temporary classrooms cause.
“Issues with the current building foundation moving. It may cost a lot more to remodel once they start and find other issues with weight loading on current foundation.
“Previous SFC and select committee members have stated that for remodels and new buildings they expect a 50-year life for their investment. Options 1 and 2 are not 50-year fixes.
“Spending $1.5 million to remodel a 32-year-old facility and still have other issues is unacceptable, especially when for approximately $4 million the middle school capacity is solved and the old building can be used as a central office, since no central office building currently exists.
“With the planned demolition of the (pool), open space is increased in the current district footprint on the secondary campus.
“Option 3 addresses the issue that the district does not have a central office.
“Option 3 allows for the reuse of the current GMS as a central office with very little remodel needed – estimated at $100,000 to $200,000.
“We have already exceeded the student enrollment growth model this year (the grow we have already had is not shown on the model until 2018.”
by nathan oster
What started 10 years ago as a “Mardi Gras-type party” has grown and evolved into one of the most anticipated events of the spring in Greybull under the direction of Kevin and Brenda Peterson and their legions of cooks and support people.
More than 150 people filed into the Greybull Elks Lodge on Saturday night, drawn by the lure of fresh shrimp and crawdads and another round of “championship goldfish races” featuring racers with names like “Jamaican Me Crazy,” “Fish-N-Chicks,” and “Knotty Tonight.”
The event began at 6 p.m. and stretched late into the night.
Brenda Peterson estimates that 148 people were fed and that another 15 to 20 paid to watch the racing, which drew to a conclusion when Ryan Howe and his fish, “Oliver Clothesoff,” crossed the finish line ahead of a fish directed by Kelle Saldana (who in addition to being a racer doubled as the “attending fish physician,” thanks to her connection to Saam Vet Clinic.
Peterson credited her team of cooks, which included Ryan Howe, Lonney Howe, Jake Craft, Dallas Cervantes and Nate Lowe, for churning out 80 pounds of shrimp and 45 pounds of crawdads (flown in live from Louisiana). The trio of Janelle Craft, Theresa Howe and Skye Cervantes prepped all the rest of the food and made sure things ran smoothly along the serving line.
While this year’s turnout was down slightly, Peterson said it was still an undisputed success, adding that the primary beneficiary of the money raised this year will be the Greybull Elks Lodge’s scholarship fund.
Sept. 16, 1936 – April 18, 2013
Donna Mae Bonney, 76, of Basin, passed away at her home in Basin on Thursday, April 18.
Per Donna’s wishes cremation has taken place and no services are planned.
Atwood Family Funeral Directors, Inc., is in charge of arrangements.
Funeral services for Virginia “Jinny” Gebhart will be on Friday, April 26 at 10 a.m. the First Presbyterian Church in Greybull. Jinny passed away peacefully April 21 at Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home where she had resided for the past 3 ½ years.
Viewings will be Thursday evening from 4-7 at Atwood Family Chapel in Greybull and Friday morning from 9:30 – 10 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church.
She was born Jan. 19, 1919, in Halifax County, Va., the daughter of John Lovelace Cole and Elizabeth Lovelace Cole. The youngest of seven children, she was raised in Virginia and was a true “Southern Belle.”
She married Earl “Eddie” Gebhart on Feb. 22, 1947. This brought her out west to Wyoming. Her “Mamma” thought there was no indoor plumbing and hesitated for her “baby” to come west, but once she was living here, her family all showed up and loved Wyoming as much as Jinny did.
Jinny and Eddie moved to Greybull in 1959. She provided many a meal at the Greybull Bowling Alley lunch counter before she went to work in the principal’s office at Greybull High School. She worked at the high school for 25 years and truly loved all of the high school kids.
An avid Greybull Buff fan, she spent hours and hours sitting on the bleachers at sporting events. She wouldn’t have had it any other way; it was the love of her life.
Jinny is survived by two daughters and a son-in-law, Jinny Lynn Downing of Centennial, Colo., and Jeff and Janet Johnson of Greybull; one son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Linda Gebhart of Wheatland; her sister, Mable Barnes in Virginia; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and several nephews and nieces.
Burial will be in the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery. Following the burial, a luncheon for family and friends will be held at the Greybull Elks Lodge.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Big Horn Federal, Box 471, Greybull, WY 82426. Proceeds will go to the First Presbyterian Church.
Graveside services for Francis Lorain Waterworth were held April 20 at Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery in Greybull. Francis, 85, of Greybull died April 16 at South Big Horn Hospital.
She was born July 22, 1927, at Fort Smith, Ark., the daughter of Joeseph and Rosie Lacy Smith. She received her schooling in Arkansas and Bell, Calif.
Francis married Doyal I. Waterworth April 8, 1950. She was a secretary/clerk at doctors’ offices and hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. The Waterworths moved to Greybull in 1984.
Her family always came first. She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed hunting for Indian beads, was an avid reader and enjoyed antiquing.
Her parents preceded her in death.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Doyal I. Waterworth of Greybull; her daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Gary Patrick of Greybull; her son and daughter-in-law, Doyal D. and Cari Waterworth of Worland; six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and a grandchild due to arrive in May.
Memorials can be sent to Alzheimer Association/Great Plains Chapter, 1500 South 70th St., Suite 201, Lincoln, NE 68506.
by nathan oster
Braeden Tracy, McKenzie Mazur, Miguel Gomez and Kendall Wright have set new records during the first three weeks of the Greybull Middle School track and field season.
Ken Jensen, who keeps on top of the records, reported that Tracy has set new records in three sixth-grade events, including the 100 meters (12.99), high jump (5-0) and long jump (15-1 1/2).
In the sixth grade girls division, McKenzie Mazur is the new record holder in the high jump. Her clearance of 4 feet, 1 inch topped a record that was previously held by four other GMS athletes, including her sister Shayne.
Wright, in the sixth-grade girls triple jump (24-11), and Gomez, in the seventh-grade boys triple jump (35-10 1/2) set their records at Saturday’s Cody Middle School Invitational.
Teams from Powell, Worland, Cody, Lovell, Ten Sleep and Thermopolis joined GMS at the invitational.
GMS turned in its best effort in the sixth-grade girls division, winning with 164 points.
SEVENTH GRADE GIRLS – Powell 158.5, Cody 115, Worland 112, GMS 49.5, Lovell 14, Ten Sleep 10, Worland 7, Thermopolis 2.
1600 METERS – 3, Kristen Collingwood, 7:06.48. 4, Paige Flock, 7:13.67.
75 HURDLES – 5, Megan Mikus, 14.98.
400 MEDLEY RELAY – 5, GMS (Daniela Davila, Skyler Wrage, Brittany Ogg, Jazmyne Collingwood), 1:02.47.
1600 RELAY – 3, GMS (Serenity Kinswoman, K. Collingwood, Flock, Hailee Nielson), 5:42.09.
HIGH JUMP – 4, Nielson, 3-8. 5, Jazmyne Collingwood, 3-8.
LONG JUMP – 1, Mikus, 13-6 1/2.
DISCUS – 2, K. Collingwood, 59-1. 3, Mikus, 59-0.
EIGHTH GRADE GIRLS – Worland 151, Powell 86, Thermopolis 75, Cody 61, Lovell 46, GMS 24.
100 METERS – 6, Jordan Flitner, 15.11.
75 HURDLES – 3, Flitner, 14.42.
200 HURDLES – 4, Hannah Good, 43.32.
LONG JUMP – 5, Flitner, 11-9.
TRIPLE JUMP – 6, Flitner, 27-5 1/2.
SHOT PUT – 1, Good, 23-9.
SIXTH GRADE GIRLS – GMS 164, Worland 73, Lovell 72, Cody 70, Thermopolis 50.
100 METERS – 1, Sydney Tschiffely, 15-5. 6, Shaya Wamhoff, 16.58.
200 METERS – 1, Wamhoff, 33.43. 3, Brea Terry, 34.10.
400 METERS – 3, Lindsey Mills, 1:16.36. 4, Kendall Wright, 1:19.86.
800 METERS – 1, Terry, 2:50.49. 2, McKenzie Mazur, 2:51.72. 6, Aspen Cross, 3:28.12.
75 HURDLES – 2, Tschiffely, 15.68,
400 RELAY – 1, GMS (Tatem Edeler, Flitner, Kiana Sjostrom, Tschiffely), 1:04.49.
800 RELAY – 1, GMS, 2:17.79.
HIGH JUMP – 1, Edeler, 4-0.
LONG JUMP – 1, Tschiffely, 11-3 1/4. 4, Mills, 10-6.
TRIPLE JUMP – 1, Wright, 24-11. 2, McKenzie Mazur, 24-4. 3, Wamhoff, 23-11 1/2. 4, Terry, 23-0.
SHOT PUT – 1, Morgan Haley, 19-5 1/2.
DISCUS – 1, Scotlyn Flitner, 53-4. 2, Haley, 47-9.
SEVENTH GRADE BOYS – Worland 147.5, Cody 109, Powell 76, GMS 55.5, Lovell 48, Thermopolis 43.
100 METERS – 3, Max Mills, 13.33. 5, Miguel Gomez, 13.59.
200 METERS – 3, Mills, 27.37.
800 METERS – 4, Jose Araiza, 2:56.09.
400 RELAY – 2, GMS (Mills, Riley Hill, Gomez, Jovani Garay), 54.41.
800 RELAY – 4, GMS (Araiza, Eduardo Burgos, Korbin Adams, Hill), 2:12.77.
LONG JUMP – 1, Gomez, 15-10 1/2. 4, Mills, 14-9.
TRIPLE JUMP – 1, Gomez, 35-10 1/2. 6, Burgos, 29-4.
DISCUS – 6, Adams, 66-2 1/2.
EIGHTH GRADE BOYS – Worland 162, Powell 117, Lovell 71, GMS 60, Cody 41, Thermopolis 7.
100 METERS – 3, Dustin Fox, 12.95. 6, Mason Stebner, 13.93.
800 METERS – 1, Jake Harrold, 2:37.23.
400 RELAY – 2, GMS (Dawson McEwan, Harrold, Fox, Stebner), 53.49.
HIGH JUMP – 3, Stebner, 4-6.
LONG JUMP – 1, Fox, 16-3. 3, McEwan, 14-0.
SHOT PUT – 3, Dawson Forcella, 34-5.
DISCUS – 2, Forcella, 119-9.
SIXTH GRADE BOYS – Worland 160, Thermopolis 112, GMS 75, Lovell 52, Cody 37.
100 METERS – 1, Braeden Tracy, 13-0.
200 METERS – 6, Layton Pickens, 31.15.
75 HURDLES – 5, Jaden Bilbrey, 15.35.
200 HURDLES – 2, Bilbrey, 36.22.
400 RELAY – 4, GMS, 1:12.99.
HIGH JUMP – 1, Tracy, 5-0.
LONG JUMP – 1, Tracy, 13-9 1/2.
TRIPLE JUMP – 3, Bilbrey, 23-11 3/4.
SHOT PUT – 3, Farrow, 18-11.
DISCUS – 1, Brock Hill, 64-9. 3, Bilbrey, 60-9. 5, Farrow, 48-5 1/2.
by nathan oster
Greybull High School had a breakout meet Saturday in Lovell, recording 25 personal-best performances en route to a seventh-place finish in the boys division and a ninth-place finish in the girls division.
The big news of the day was the effort of the boys 400-meter relay team, which became the team’s first automatic state qualifier. The foursome of Dylan Brenner, Calder Forcella, Kyler Flock and Alex Hebb ran a 46.68, which was good for first place.
Coach Jeff Sukut said a combination of factors contributed to the team’s success.
“It was a nice day, no wind, so conditions were ideal,” he said. “And their handoffs were really good. It’s hard to get splits on the 4×1, but I assume all their times were a little quicker due to the fact that everyone seemed to have a good day for us.”
The Buffs didn’t score a lot of team points in either division. Aside from the winning relay, the Buffs got a fourth from Wyatt Good in the 300-meter hurdles; a sixth from Calder Forcella in the 200 meters, a fourth by Forcella and a sixth by Logan Jensen in the discus, and a sixth from Kyler Flock in the 100 meters.
Lovell, with 127 points, won the boys division.
McKenna Powers accounted for all 11 of Greybull’s points in the girls division, earning eight with a second-place finish in the 800 meters and single points for sixth-place finishes in her other three events, the triple jump, long jump and 400 meters.
Thermopolis took the girls crown with 110 points.
Sukut said that because track is such an individual sport, the 25 personal bests were something to celebrate. One by one, he listed them:
* Kyler Flock cut time in the 100 meters.
* Wyatt Nielson shaved one-half second off his time in the 110 hurdles, running a 20.3.
* Jarrod Johnson shaved five seconds off his best time in the 1,600 and also ran a personal best in the 800.
* Forcella cut one-tenth of a second off his best time in the 200. Also in that event, Gerald Fulkerson cut 1.5 seconds.
* Good, Jordan Nielson and Cesar Sosa all ran personal-bests in the 300-meter hurdles.
* Flock, Keegan Jenness and Ryan Sylvester all set personal records in the 400 meters.
* In the throwing events, Calder Forcella notched his best throw of the season in the discus, while Nicholas Murdoch did the same in the shotput. Murdoch topped his previous best by about 1 1/2 feet.
* In the long jump, Cesar Sosa went 1 1/2 feet further than ever before.
Switching to the girls, Sukut noted:
* McKenzie Bollig, Sydney Eckman and Brittney Fink all improved by about a second in the 200 meters.
* Powers didn’t set a personal record, but cut a full second with her best time of the season in the 400 meters. She is also closing in on her all-time best in the 800 meters, having trimmed 12 seconds from her previous season best in a second-place effort in Lovell.
* Eckman “cut a full second off her best open 400 time,” said Sukut, noting she ran a 68.42.
* Annie McBride improved by 4 feet, 6 inches in the discus, throwing 54-6. She also PR’d in the shot put, throwing 20-4, which was a full 2 feet further than her previous record.
* In the jumping events, Eckman set a PR in the long jump and Mackenzie Bollig did the same in the triple jump. In both cases, they improved by about a foot.
“It was a great meet for us,” said Sukut. “The weather was good. Wasn’t hot or cold; it was just right. I think we’re just getting into better conditioning, maybe starting to peak a little bit.”
So far, the weather has been anything but conducive to track. The only silver lining is that every school in the state must deal with it. “It seems winter has stretched into spring, and it is tough to train,” Sukut said. “In the past, we’ve been able to use the pool (on bad weather days) and that’s been nice. But with that being gone, I don’t like to take the kids out on bad days because if you do, you risk injuries. And there’s only so much you can do indoors.”
The Buffs will compete Friday in Thermopolis, with action starting at 1 p.m.
“Historically we’ve had good performances on that track,” said Sukut. “Hopefully we can build on what we did in Lovell.”
BOYS – Lovell 127, Powell 111, Shoshoni 57, Burlington 49, Thermopolis 42, Meeteetse 25, Greybull 21, Riverside 21, Rocky Mt. 16, Ten Sleep 11.
DISCUS – 4, Calder Forcella, 130-8. 6, Logan Jensen, 125-6.
400 RELAY – 1, Greybull, 46.68.
300 HURDLES – 4, Wyatt Good, 45.55.
200 METERS – 6, Forcella, 25.4.
100 METERS – 6, Kyler Flock, 11.81.
GIRLS – Thermopolis 110, Lovell 97, Powell 94, Shoshoni 69, Western Heritage 28, Burlington 24, Ten Sleep 20, Meeteetse 16, Greybull 11, Rocky Mt. 5, Riverside 3.
TRIPLE JUMP – 6, McKenna Powers, 30-7 1/2.
LONG JUMP – 6, Powers, 14-1 1/4.
400 METERS – 6, Powers, 1:05.08.
800 METERS – 2, Powers, 2:37.52.
by nathan oster
The Greybull Recreation District has begun its search for a new director after Chris Waite announced late last week that he was resigning in order to accept a position as the volunteer coordinator for the Billings Recreation District.
Waite will remain on the job through the end of this month, at which time he will turn over the reigns to Heather Howe and Trista Williams, who during Monday’s meeting of the Greybull Recreation Board were appointed interim director and interim assistant director, respectively.
Howe has been serving as the assistant director and Williams as the roller rink supervisor.
“It has been such a pleasure to work here in this fine community,” Waite said, adding during the meeting that he appreciates the support given to him and his programs by members of the rec board over the years.
Waite has spent nearly eight years in the position, and told the board that he and his family — wife Audra and their three children — have wanted to move closer to their families in Oregon, where they lived prior to coming to Greybull.
While the Billings won’t trim all that much time off their trips back home, Waite said the Billings Recreation Department sold the position to him and that he’s looking forward to having a more set 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, as opposed to the one here which required considerable evening and weekend work.
Waite’s resignation and its aftermath dominated Monday’s meeting of the rec board. During the course of business, the board promoted Howe and Williams, hiring both to fill in on an interim basis and at the salaries recommended by the current director.
The board also tweaked the job description of the director and agreed to advertise the position for two weeks. Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 26 to be considered for the vacancy.
The board hopes to conduct interviews and hire a new director in May.
A hiring committee is in the process of being formed. At Monday’s meeting, rec board members Barry Bryant, Greybull’s superintendent of schools, Mike Carlson and Sherri Wilkinson agreed to serve on the hiring committee.
Waite suggested that “a parent or two” with children who are active participants in rec district programming might fill out the committee nicely. Board members agreed and in the days ahead those people will be contacted and asked if they’re interested in serving.
The new director won’t have to worry about the swimming pool. In recent years, while the pool has been under the management of the recreation district, it’s been Waite’s responsibility to prepare and oversee the budget.
But with the pool now closed, the only question is how much money is going to be left in the pool budget and returned to the school district and town, which have been splitting operation and maintenance costs in recent years.
Waite said he and his office “have been processing a lot of refunds” for people who purchased passes and that the push now is to get the equipment out of the building. A surplus sale has tentatively been set for Saturday, April 27.
Some of the pool equipment will be going to the pools in Basin and Lovell, Waite said. Both are making bids on the items they’d like to claim, Waite said. Lovell is the likely destination of the pool covers. Basin wants “just about everything else that’s pool-related,” Waite said.
Jamie Flitner, a member of the rec board, relayed a question she’d received from a constituent.
“Tell me again why we can’t just take the top off and use it as an outdoor pool?” she asked.
Joe Forcella, the district’s maintenance director, said the pool “was never designed to be an outdoor pool” and that it “would never hold up to the weather.” In addition to that, the pool has already been drained — and given the amount of time that has passed since that draining occurred, the walls of the pool are no longer any good, Forcella said. A new liner could be put in, but at considerable expense, Forcella said. Even if that were to occur, he said there are multiple other code violations that would also need to be addressed before the pool could reopen.
Bryant said that with it being a state building, it wouldn’t be as easy as just removing the roof. He said the process of altering a state building is a complicated one and would require input from an architect as well as the fire marshal.
Bryant added that short of complete demolition, the School Facilities Commission would not pay for any of the building alterations.
The recreation board agreed to deposit any proceeds from the salvage sale into the regular pool account. When all the bills have been paid, that money will be returned to the school district and the town.
In other business on Monday night:
• Waite presented a preliminary budget for the 2013-14 year.
• The town was supportive of the recreation district’s plan to pursue grant money for improvements to the Herb Asp Community Center, Waite said. But the one caveat is that the town would like recreation district staff to assist with some of the paperwork.
• The recreation district won’t be holding its Old Fashioned Fourth of July Picnic this year. Waite asked for and received the board’s blessing to pull the plug on the event due to declining attendance. He said last year’s low turnout revealed that the success of the event is tied to the fireworks show. Without one last year due to fire restrictions, attendance dropped sharply.
Waite said his thought, prior to resigning, was to add an event in the fall to make up for it.
• Lastly, Waite used his final discussion with the board to plant a seed about the intramural football program. He said that given its growth and the fact that athletes are traveling out of town for games, the sport no longer fits the guidelines of an intramural program. For that reason, he suggested that the sport might be a better fit for a separately-run parent association, similar to the one now in place with the Greybull-Basin Athletic Club for youth wrestling.