Monthly Archives: June 2013
When the Wyoming Library Endowment Challenge was established in 2008, it required each county to secure $10,000 after which it would be entitled to 3-to-1 matching funds. The “challenge” was for Big Horn County to raise $100,000 (by June 30, 2013) all of which would be eligible for the match.
The Big Horn County Library Foundation did it.
Thanks to the support and generosity of businesses, individuals, organizations, alumni, and friends and users of the libraries in its communities, the Foundation has raised the $100,000 and attained 10 matches from the state by the deadline.
According to Foundation officer Carolyn Walton, this “is a cause for celebration in that the Big Horn County library system has an endowment in place administered by the BHCL Foundation. With the cutbacks set by the county commissioners this year the endowment proceeds will be of even greater importance to the libraries of the county.” It is to be noted that Challenge funds do not affect the funding provided by the Big Horn County mill levy.
The 2013 state Legislature voted to extend the matching fund program until 2017, but Walton said “The Foundation Board will step back from the aggressive campaign utilized over the past four years,” but will continue to work with library patrons who want to see the Endowment grow.
Since their inception, the matching funds have provided audio and classic book collections, new circulation desks, technology equipment and upgrades and computers.
“The library staff and Foundation board cannot thank everyone enough for the interest and support given throughout the Endowment Matching Fund Challenge,” Walton said.
Foundation officers include Walton, Judy Morris and John Koller.
by nathan oster
With a generous $50,000 donation last week, the nonprofit Antelope Butte Foundation has begun climbing toward its goal of raising the estimated $3.1 needed to rehabilitate and reopen the ski area that sits along U.S. Highway 14 in the Big Horn Mountains.
Mark Weitz, president of the foundation, offered an update on the foundation’s efforts during an interview Monday. He said the ski area won’t be ready to open by the winter of 2013-14, as the foundation had hoped.
“That was never anything that we scheduled … but we do have our ambitions, and that was one of them,” said Weitz. “What we’ve found over the last year since we dug into this and started to figure things out is that it’s a sizable project, both in terms of dollars and process.”
The government process alone is very involved, he said, noting that the ski area is actually owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
Weitz said the foundation has made progress defining the project — and what will be needed to reopen the ski area. “We have been able to get the whole proposal tightened up, to the point where it’s something we’d be willing to take in front of potential investors and large donors.
“We didn’t want to talk with them before we had all the answers.”
Now that they do, they have quietly launched their fundraising campaign.
The $50,000 donation was “a nice little kickoff” for that campaign, Weitz said.
The foundation believes it needs $3.1 million to open “sustainably,” with $1.6 million of that going to refurbish the lodge and garage, another $275,000 to refurbish the chair lifts. “In other words, about 60 percent of the total is needed just to bring it back to where it was” before it was closed, Weitz said.
The rest of the money would be needed to pay for groomers — the foundation will look first for good used ones, Weitz said — as well as the cost of a beginner-style chair lift, trucks, snowmobiles and plows. The foundation also wants to set aside some operating capital.
As of now, the foundation is not planning to purchase a snow-making machine. Instead, it will follow the lead of former owner Emerson Scott, who according to Weitz, believed in purchasing high-quality grooming machines.
While acknowledging the cyclical nature of winter snowfall, Weitz said he’s been encouraged in recent years.
“Snow conditions have been fantastic (around Antelope Butte),” he said.
Weitz said the foundation doesn’t planto proceed until it has the full $3.1 million.
“If we go out and try to piecemeal it, we may never get there,” he said. “What we have wanted to do is get it set up to be sustainable so we don’t have to ask donors for money again.”
Federal legislation that allows traditional winter use areas, such as Antelope Butte, to be open in the summer will help immensely, Weitz said. “The previous owner always said, ‘If I could just be open during the summer … Well, now we can.”
Weitz promised that the ski area would be used in some capacity in the summer months.
“The simplest thing to do is to run the chair lifts, sell sandwiches, host weddings, that sort of thing,” he said. “We’ve talked about ziplines. It’s a favorable area for mountain biking. Even something like Frisbee golf could work.
“None of those things would require much capital investment” beyond what is already planned. Making the ski area even more attractive is its location, less than a mile off of U.S. Highway 14.
“There’s a huge number of people traveling between the Black Hills and Yellowstone and right now, they drive right by,” Weizt said. “Maybe they’d want to take a chairlift ride … or grab a sandwich.”
Weitz said he’s also been in touch with Northwest and Sheridan colleges about Antelope Butte being the site of some of their programming.
The foundation’s goal is now to be refurbishing the ski area in the summer of 2014.
Between now and then, the focus will be squarely on fundraising.
“That’ll allow every other thing to happen,” Weitz said. “We’ve established relationships and gained credibility with the counties, towns and cities, the Forest Service, the Wyoming Business Council. Now that we’ve got a tight business case, we’re taking it before the community.”
To learn more about the project, visit antelopebuttefoundation.com, or visit the foundation’s Facebook page.
by nathan oster
Three months after it rolled the dice, the Big Horn County School District No. 3 board of trustees has apparently come up a big winner in its bid for a new Greybull Middle School building.
Supt. Barry Bryant announced during a special meeting Monday night that the School Facilities Commission had approved the project, doing so on the recommendation of the School Facilities Department staff and the architectural firm, MOA, which earlier this year conducted a capacity study of the GMS/GHS campus.
MOA, the SFD, and ultimately, the SFC itself, all supported the plan pitched by Greybull staff and school board members, which calls for the construction of a 14,710-square-foot addition onto the Greybull Middle School Gym, the remodeling of 5,017 square feet on the opposite side of the GMS Gym, and the conversion of the current GMS into an administrative central office.
“One thing that helped us,” Supt. Bryant said, “is that we added some kids in the second semester, and when that happened, we were able to show them that their recommendation (to remodel the current GMS facility) wouldn’t work.”
In addition to that, the SFD and SFC both recognized the limitations of the current building, Bryant said, citing not only overcrowding but also ADA-compliance issues, inadequate lighting, inadequate hall space and inadequate lighting.
In March, the school board faced a crucial decision.
MOA Architecture, the consulting firm hired by the state to do the capacity study, was recommending a plan that called for limited renovations to GMS and the Quigg Building, with the biggest change being a relocation of the GMS computer labs to the Quigg Building, into a classroom now used by industrial arts teacher Ralph Wensky. The SFD was also backing that plan as the best and most cost-effective option to address the issues plaguing GMS.
The school board never bought it, however. Rather than accepting it, the board took a different course, agreeing to throw their full support behind a plan to build a new GMS which, the believed, would solve all the issues of concern — and for far less than the $10 million projection put forth by the SFD and MOA.
During that March discussion, school board members expressed concern about pumping $1.5 to $2 million into an already 30-year-old building. Trustees were also troubled by the impact of the proposed renovation on the Quigg Building, where Wensky currently uses the classroom identified as the landing spot for the GMS computer lab for CAD instruction.
MOA’s recommended option, Option 1, also called for upgrades to the Quigg Building’s HVAC system (to better filter dust) and the other industrial arts classroom used by Wensky at the present time.
While initially supportive of the MOA and SFD recommendation to renovate, Bryant told the school board that night, “Whatever you choose, we’re going to fight for it like it’s the only drink of water in town and we’re thirsty.”
Late last week, that drink was served.
Bryant said the SFC approved the construction of a new middle school — but did so with a condition. The school’s increasing enrollment drove the decision — and it’ll have to remain steady at least until October, when the SFD plans to take another look at the numbers.
GMS ended the year with 132 students, Bryant said that as long its within “plus or minus 10 percent” in October, the plan will proceed. “I don’t expect there to be any holdups,” he said.
The current conceptual plan calls for the 14,710 square foot wing to be situated between what is currently the front entrance to the GMS Gym and the south wall of the Greybull High School building.
It would house nine classrooms. Six would have windows to the outside and ambient light. The three that would not have windows to the outside would instead have vaulted ceilings to let the ambient light in. Bryant said the plan is current to make one of those three rooms the science room, the other two special education classrooms.
The school district’s plan also calls for the west wing of the current GMS Gym to be renovated. Currently it houses Special Services, including the offices of Curriculum and Grants Coordinator Sara Schlattmann and Special Services Director Lee Clucas, as well as office space for technology coordinator Bob Leach and a computer lab.
Under the new plan, all of that space would become the school’s new computer lab — and those offices which are current there, as well as those of the district’s maintenance personnel and administrative team now headquartered at the central office would be moved into the current GMS building, which would require renovations of its own to accommodate the changes.
Unlike the current GMS, the new building would not have a library. Instead, students would need to use the Greybull High School library.
The current middle school building is 13,454 square feet.
“We’re going to gain 4,300 square feet (as a result),” Bryant said. “But really, it’s going to be more because we won’t have a library in there and plus, we’ll gain the back office space (in the GMS Gym).”
Bryant said the tentative budget for the project is $4.7 million, although at this point, “The SFC has approved the project, but not necessarily the money.” When completed, the building will need to be large enough to house up to 158 students.
Bryant said he met with SFD staff Tuesday morning and that the plan is to begin advertising for bids for design professional the first week in July. The district has already been allotted $100,000 for planning purposes, but Bryant said that’ll fall far short of coving the design costs associated with the design, ple-planning, bidding and management of the project. He estimated that those costs typically come to around 10 percent of the total project costs. In this case, that would mean upwards of $400,000.
“The plan is to get through this ($100,000) … and then get on their agenda for sometime in September,” Bryant said.
The project will be up for legislative approval in early 2014, and Bryant said that if it’s green-lighted, the district would like to be in a position to award construction bids by the early as July of 2014.
“Best case would probably be for construction to begin sometime when the weather permits in March or April of 2015.” Given that timeline, a new building could be ready for students by as early as the fall of 2015 or winter of 2016.
“The numbers are there to support this project,” Bryant said. “We grew by enough kids, but some of the other issues were concerns as well of the SFD, like the overcrowding, the suitability of the current building, the fact that kids were spread out over four buildings,
Memorial services for Worland resident Lorene C. Bear are today (Thursday, June 27) at 1 p.m. at the Worland Middle School auditorium with Pastor Kent Dempsey of First Baptist Church in Basin officiating. Lori, 52, died June 23 at the Washakie Medical Center.
She was born June 2, 1961, in Rochester, N.Y., the daughter of Keith Stothard and Beatrice Shirley Geedy Hibbard. She grew up in Rochester, N.Y. When she was 13 years old, the family moved to Shell (in 1973). She married Michael Charles Bear in Shell on Nov. 23, 1979. The couple moved to Worland in 1980.
Lori groomed dogs for over 25 years. She loved being outside, working in her yard, painting her house, four-wheeling, boating, and shoveling snow. An accomplished seamstress, Lori was always making something for family and friends. Spending time with her family was a special occasion for her.
Lori was not afraid of tackling any kind of job and was dubbed “Mrs. Fixit.”
Her parents and brother Chuck preceded her in death.
She is survived by her husband Mike of Worland, sons and daughters-in-law, Joshua and Amber Bear of Worland, Craig and Amber Kiser Bear of Gillette, and Daylan and Joshua Bear of Worland; one daughter, Amber Marie of Casper; brother Wayne Hibbard; three sisters, Kathy Dabin of Avon, N.Y., Susan Matson of Laurel, Mont. and Stephanie Bower of Worland.
A private family inurnment will take place at a later date.
Memorial donations in Lori’s name for an education fund established for Daylan and Joshua can be made to Bryant Funeral Home, Box 524, Worland, WY 82401.
April 21, 1923 – June 13, 2013
Funeral services for Hazel Irene Buchmeier were held June 18 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Lander. Hazel, 90, died June 13 at her home in Lander surrounded by her family.
She was born April 21, 1923, in Fraser Township, Martin County, Minn., the third of nine children of Herman and Rellda Behrens. She grew up on the family farm and received her primary education at a parochial school at their church. She graduated from Fairmont High School in 1940. She obtained her teaching degree at Concordia Teacher’s College in River Forest, Ill. Hazel’s first teaching job was teaching 40 students from first to eighth grades at the parochial school where she received her early education.
Hazel married Roy H. Buchmeier on May 22, 1945, at Zion Lutheran Church at Fraser Township.
She was a homemaker and a constant support to Roy. From San Antonio, Texas, while Roy was still in the service, to Worthington, Minn., to Missoula, Mont., where he finished his education at the University of Montana, Hazel was there to encourage and help accomplish their goals.
Roy’s job with the Department of Agriculture took the family to Laramie, Douglas, Jackson, Greybull and Lander. In Lander Hazel worked for Lander Dental Group for 25 years.
She enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, trips to the mountains and rock hunting, and spent countless hours in her rose garden. She especially enjoyed attending the many school functions of her children, and later of her grandchildren.
Hazel spent many hours working with youth through the Sunday school at her church, and also with the 4-H program for which she was a leader for over 30 years.
Her husband Roy, her parents, brothers Lloyd, Verne and Dennis, and sisters Mabel and Bonnie preceded her in death.
She is survived by her three children, Melanie Edeler (Mark) of Central Point, Ore., Linda (Jay) Perkins of Phoeniz, and Roger (Ingrid) Buchmeier of Lander; three grandsons, Vern and Tate Edeler and Ryan Buchmeier and five great-grandchildren.
Memorials can be made to Cornerstone Christian School, 80 Mortimer Lane, Lander, WY 82520.
A Memorial Mass for Bonnie Jeanne Sullenberger Kelly was held June 20 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Greybull. Bonnie, 89, died June 13 at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings.
She was born March 8, 1924, in Dutch Flat, Calif., the daughter of Charles Dayton and Hazel Marie King Sullenberger. She grew up in Chadron, Neb., and graduated from high school in Torrington.
Bonnie married Ambrose John Kelly Jan. 9, 1941, at the Pine Bluffs Catholic Church. While A.J. served as a dentist in the United State Air Force, the couple lived on base in Oklahoma City, Okla. After her husband’s discharge they settled in Cheyenne where A.J. practiced dentistry until Dr. E.E. Myers urged him to come to Greybull and take over his practice here. The family moved to Greybull in the early 1950s.
Bonnie assisted her husband in his dental practice until his death in 1977. She then worked for the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher, sheriff’s assistant and then as chief dispatcher. She retired at the age of 70.
She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Chapter F PEO, BPOE Does, VFW Auxiliary; served on the Greybull School Board and the Northwest Wyoming BOCES Home Board (services for youth mental health) in Thermopolis and supported the Wounded Warriors project.
She also performed as a member of Georgia Coyne’s “Can-Can” girls for Days of ’49 and other parades.
Bonnie was an elegant lady, full of grace. She would help anyone in need and made a positive impact on everyone she met. She had a strong faith and loved the Greybull community. She never let adversity get her down.
Her parents; her husband; one son, Christopher John; one daughter, Denise Jeanne; two sisters; a brother and a grandson, Patrick Sean Kelly, preceded her in death.
She is survived by three daughters, RaeLene Kelly of Greybull, Theresa L. Ray of Joplin, Mo., and Anne W. Johnson of Cody; her son and daughter-n-law, Sean and Patti Kelly of Santa Clarita, Calif.; her sister-in-law, Sue Sullenberger of Casper; 11 grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren.
A graveside service will be held at a later date.
Donations in Bonnie’s memory can be made to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Wyoming, in care of, Big Horn Federal, 33 N. Sixth St., Greybull, WY 82426,
by nathan oster
With no Babe Ruth or Legion teams in Greybull this summer, local boys who have wanted to play baseball have had to load up their gear and join teams from other communities to get their fixes of America’s pastime.
The Forcella boys — Calder and Dawson — and Justin Bacus are playing American Legion ball with the Lovell Mustangs, Bryce Wright is in his second season with the Powell Pioneers, and Brock Hill and Morgan Dowling are playing with the Worland Indians, a Babe Ruth squad.
For each, the pros of simply playing ball outweigh the cons of travel and time spent on the road, in unfamiliar surroundings and with unfamiliar teammates.
“You don’t feel the same closeness that you do when you’re playing with kids you go to school with, but it’s been good so far,” said Calder Forcella. “I like the kids (on the Lovell team); they’re funny and we have a good time.
“I think they’ve tried really hard to make us feel welcome.”
Steven Durtsche played for the Mustangs and is in his first year as the team’s manager.
In an interview this week, Durtsche raved about the Greybull trio and their contributions, saying that their absence was definitely noticed last week while they were out of the lineup and away at football camp.
“Without those three, we’d be sitting at nine guys, maybe eight,” Durtsche said. “We’d be hurting for sure. One of the first things I said when I heard they’d be join us is, ‘I’m sorry Greybull doesn’t have a team,’ but at the same time, it really helps us.”
The Mustangs are about halfway through their approximately 50-game schedule, and Durtsche said Calder Forcella has been used in a variety of roles, including outfield, shortstop and pitcher, while his brother Dawson has played catcher and Bacus has been a first baseman and right fielder.
“Calder’s is just a great all-around athlete — probably the best athlete on the team,” Durtsche. “I can put him anywhere and count on him to make a play for us.”
Calder has been used throughout the batting order. He started in the No. 2 hole. Before long, he was in the cleanup spot. Of late, he’s been in a bit of a slump and has been dropped to the No. 6 spot. Durtsche is confident, though, that he’ll snap out of it, saying even the best hitters go through droughts where hits are hard to come by.
Dawson generally hits down in the order, as well, but a lot of that is due to his age. A freshman to be at GHS, he’s at an age where others would be playing Babe Ruth ball. Instead he is playing full time for a Legion team.
And contributing. Before he injured his wrist, Dawson played every game at catcher, where he “stops everything” and is able to neutralize the running game of opponents with his strong throwing arm.
“He’s a vacuum back there,” Durtsche said. “Offensively, he’s patient. He needs to develop a little bit, but that will come with age. He’s a good hitter.”
Bacus has been a big contributor as well. Durtsche said Bacus was quick to volunteer to catch after Dawson Forcella went down with his injury. Bacus struggled the first couple of games, but has made immense gains since, to the point where he, too, drew “vacuum” comparisons from Durtsche.
In fact, as of Monday, Bacus had caught nine straight games for the Mustangs, including all five games at a recent tournament in Green River.
“All three kids seem to be doing very well,” said Durtsche. “They get along and fit right in with the rest of the kids on the team. It’s kind of goofy bunch we have; they like to have a good time, that’s for sure.”
Calder said that while wins have been hard to come by to this point in the season, he feels the Mustangs have the potential to be one of the better teams in the area heading into the postseason. “We just need to get it all together.”
An ankle injury has kept Bryce Wright out of the Powell Pioneers lineup for the last couple of weeks, but the team’s manager, Jason Borders, said he’s hopeful to have Wright back on the field by this weekend.
The Pioneers are 13-9 overall and trending upward after posting a 4-0 record and winning last weekend’s eight-team Heavy Metal Classic in Powell. “We’re only about a third of the way through the season,” said Borders, who is in his first year as head coach but has five total years of coaching experience with the Pioneers, who like the Mustangs play American Legion ball (16- to 18-year-olds).
Bryce joined the team in 2012.
“He came in from Billings with a good background, good structure … he definitely knew what he was doing on the baseball diamond,” said Borders. “You could tell he had been well coached along the way.”
Bryce, a lefty, has primarily played first base and right field in his two seasons with the Pioneers. Wright got off to slow start at the plate. Through nine games, he was hitting .179, but had a respectable .324 on-base percentage, helped by six walks. He also had six RBIs in those nine games.
He’s also done some pitching. So far this year, he’s appeared in four games. He’s 2-0 with a 5.63 ERA and has worked 13.2 innings, surrendering 9 hits while walking 20 and striking out 10.
“He’s a solid kid, he hits the ball well and is a left-handed stick, which is always nice to have in a lineup of mostly right-handed hitters,” said Borders. “Defensively, he’s sound, whether at first base or in right field.”
So why is Wright playing in Powell while the Forcellas and Bacus are with the Mustangs?
Greybull actually falls within the Lovell American Legion post’s boundaries, which explains why the Forcellas and Bacus are there. Wright got a waiver from that rule, however, because Wright has grandparents who live in Powell and put him up during busy stretches of the season to cut down on his travel.
“We appreciate Bryce and the commitment he’s made to our program,” said Borders. “He came from a strong program (in Billings) and he played on some good teams before he arrived here. It’s a bonus for us that we can pencil him into our lineup.”
Like the Mustangs, the Indians have struggled with numbers this season. Dusty Hill, who is an assistant coach, called the Indians a young Babe Ruth team. There are just two 15-year-olds on the roster. The typical ages for Babe Ruth are 13 to 15. Just to field a team, the Indians need to use two 12-year-olds, Hill said.
Brock Hill, 12, and Morgan Dowling, 14, “are among the better players on the team,” Hill said.
The team has been “hit and miss” thus far, Hill said, noting that they put together a couple of nice wins over Powell and Thermopolis — but then within days of that turned around and lost to them by lopsided scores.
“It’s been a pretty tough year,” Hill said. “We have 16 kids on the team, but there for few weeks early on, we only had nine or 10 showing up. This past week, we’re back up to 14-15, which has been good.”
Brock Hill has been playing third base and pitching.
Dowling has been manning the outfield and playing some shortstop.
Statistics were unavailable at press time.
The Indians will be hosting the state tournament this year and with that comes an automatic bid.
Hill said the two Greybull boys are showing “a lot of commitment” to the sport by playing with the Warriors. “When you factor in practices and games, they’re on the road five or six days a week” said Hill. “It’s been a tough year for the team. For them, they got to see what the comeraderie was on the Babe Ruth team here last year. It’s not really like that this year. One day the kids show up and 10-run Powell. Three days later, they play them and get 10 runned. We are trying to get their mental focus up, and prevent kids from getting down on themselves.”
by nathan oster
Ryan Baumeister and Carl Olson emerged as the champions of the Big Horn Redi-Mix Match Play tournament after two solid days of golf last weekend at Midway Golf Club.
Thirty-four golfers competed in the tournament, which featured five rounds of nine-hole golf followed by a championship derby.
Three flights of golfers made up the tournament and each flight was very competitive.
The winners and second-place teams then faced off in the championship derby.
Tom Zierolf and Phil Caines won Flight 3, with Eddie Craft and John Caldwell finishing second.
Dave Walton and Frank Kelly won Flight 2, beating Ryan Baumeister and Carl Olson.
Scott McColloch and his son Michael McColloch teamed up to win Flight 1, finishing ahead of the teams of Gary Pangburn-Wayne Rea and Dave Williamson-Jonathan Baker, who tied for second place.
The top seven teams advanced to the championship derby. In it, all seven teams started on the first hole. One was eliminated on each hole, until only one was left. The last team standing was the Baumeister-Olson team. Finishing in second was the Zierolf-Caines pairing, followed in third by the Pangburn-Rea team.
“We had golfers representing Midway and Green Hills golf courses and Douglas and Casper,” said Eddie Johnson of Midway Golf Club. “Overall, we had a pretty good tournament. Will and his crew did a great job on getting the course ready and we had a few volunteers that worked hard making our golf course very playable and spruced up. Tesa and her crew did a great job in the clubhouse making the golfers feel welcome and managing those things that are not seen. The pork rib dinner prepared by Carmen and Dixie was well received by the golfers and very much appreciated.”
July will be another busy month at Midway. First up is the annual Linda Madden Memorial tourney on July 4. Every year, the tournament sponsors scholarships for local students, and according to Johnson, the format is fun and the golfing great.
“Everyone is welcome to come out for a great time and also for a good cause,” he said.
From there, the spotlight shifts to the Security State Bank Invitational over the weekend of July 12-14.
“We are looking forward to these two events as they are great for our communities and for the golf course,” said Johnson.
by karla pomeroy
The Big Horn County commissioners denied funding for Lovell Inc. for the 2014 fiscal year.
In an official letter to Lovell Inc. President David Peck, the commissioners wrote, “The commission is pleased that Lovell Inc. was able to secure the Wyoming Business Council funding for the economic development planning project. We are very supportive of the work of this project and recognize the strong need for countywide economic development. We also understand the valuable role that a well-developed plan has in guiding economic development. We also understand the valuable role that a well-developed plan has in guiding economic development and increasing the opportunity for greater success of all efforts toward improving the economy of our county.
“Unfortunately, Big Horn County will not be able to contract for or fund the work you proposed in your contract at this time. Big Horn County has received substantial cuts in our funding over the past few years and future revenue projections don’t provide any indications that things will improve in the near future.”
The commissioners continued, “We appreciate the partnership we currently have with Lovell Inc. and the goals of your entity to improve the economy of this county. Despite the fact that we are not able to contribute to this effort financially at this time, please be aware we support your work and will help in any way possible.”
Lovell Inc. had also made a similar request and provided a scope of work to the town of Basin. Basin’s budget, approved last week, has $10,000 for economic development efforts. In a summary budget statement, Mayor Amy Kania said the town is considering a proposal from Lovell Inc. but the council has expressed hesitation for the entire funding going to the group. Kania wrote in her message that the town “is also considering the chamber of commerce to fulfill a specific role. Funding has been earmarked in this budget with spending to await a final agreement or specific development effort.”
As for the grant, the commissioners signed the contract with the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board for the economic development planning grant.
Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor said they have a few of the towns who have appointed representatives to the master plan committee to select the consultant and to work with the consultant on developing a countywide economic development master plan.
She said Lovell Inc. has added two websites — growbighorncounty and growbighornbasin to provide more information countywide.
By marlys good
Tuesday, June 11 was a red-letter day for Marisela Castro. Not only did she become a United States citizen, so did her 17-year-old daughter Jarely.
Explains Marisela, “I was very happy because my daughter Jarely would automatically become a U.S. citizen since she was under 18. I knew that this step was essential because more opportunities would open for her in this country.”
The Naturalization Service held at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center in Powell was the end of a dream that began about 14 years ago when Ramon and Marisela and 3-year-old Jarely came to Wyoming from Chihuahua, Mexico.
“At first life was hard here,” said Marisela, “missing my family, different customs and language. Even though I had studied English during my high school years and in a Science Communication Academy during a short period in Mexico, my English was a little blurry after all those years.”
The Castros returned to Mexico several times, but when Marisela was expecting her second child, that no longer happened. “We preferred that he should be born here,” she explained. Brayan was born in Powell, as was the Castro’s son, Irving, four years later.
By working every day the young family got involved with both life in America and the English language and when Irving arrived the Castros were “seeing Greybull as a home.”
Marisela received her residency and began the arduous task of obtaining her citizenship. “I worked on my English and 100 civic questions for the U.S. Naturalization test, and my reading and writing as well,” she explained. The studying was just part of the process. There was paperwork, numerous applications, fingerprinting … and when all this was completed there was an interview with immigration “of the questions I studied for — as well as reading and writing. The whole process took months.”
Jarely said the long process was difficult for her mother. “The naturalization questions for the interview were very difficult and it was said in her ceremony that about 70 percent of Americans fail most of the questions on American history, so this was quite a struggle for her since her country is Mexico. But at the end she did it and finally reached her goal of answering all 100 questions without any problem. I was very proud of her for accomplishing the task and finally passing her test. She worked very hard and was very positive and confident about everything.”
It was worth it all when she was administered the oath of citizenship at Heart Mountain. “The day was very joyful and special to me because it was filled with promises of better opportunities and the ability to vote.”
When it was her turn to step to the microphone to address the audience and speak about the her new citizenship, Marisela admitted, “The moment I stood up and went straight to the microphone, I felt vey emotional and I had a knot in my throat
“I am very proud and very thankful with this country for offering me many great things. I have always been surrounded by wonderful people in this country and have been blessed with their support. I worked very hard and I finally made it. If you are a good citizen anything is possible to obtain.”
Jarely said the day her mother passed the test she was not only very happy “but thankful with her because without her I wouldn’t be a citizen. My mom to me is a great example that anything is possible no matter what, even if you don’t speak perfect English; all that counts is the effort you put into your purposes and the inspiration to become a person with more privileges and better opportunities.”
The close knit family now shares another common bond. All five, Ramon, Marisela, Jarely, Brayon and Irving are officially citizens of the United States of America.