Daily Archives: August 1, 2013

Variety of music styles on fair’s free stage

by barbara anne greene

Acts from around the Big Horn Basin will be on the free stage this week at the Big Horn County Fair in Basin.

Sister act The Whitlocks from Cody are a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Sister’s Cammy and Abbey have been singing together since they were 3 and 4. They sing their own style of current county pop, oldies and original compositions. They perform Thursday at noon and 3:45 p.m.

From Lovell, Macy and Miranda May will bring their unique sister harmony playing a lot of good ole county music with some classic rock thrown in. The sisters have been playing together all their lives. They perform Thursday at 1:45 p.m.

Mason Werbelow, 13, of Emblem and Olivia Frost, 11, of Cowley,  are another local group that will be featured on the free stage at 1 p.m. Thursday. Werbelow is a young master on the guitar and typically plays backup while partner Olivia Frost provides the vocals for the duo. For this performance he will also sing while Frost plays background for him.

Real cowboy music fans will enjoy Leslie Keltner of Cody, who is on the stage at 2:45 p.m. Thursday. Keltner said that cowboy music is rooted in the West, cattle, horses, family, land and good old values. “You won’t find any drunks, fights, loosing your dog or your mama going to prison in this music,” she said. For good measure you’ll hear a little bit of honky-tonk. She will also be performing some original music.

Audiences will once again enjoy the bluegrass sounds of Prairie Grass out of Thermopolis featuring  Karen Hitchens, lead vocals; Jed Jacobsen, mandolin; Zieb Stetler, banjo and dobro; Joan Stetler, bass and harmony; Tori Anderson, vocals and mandolin; and Glenda Ramsey, lead guitar and vocals.  Prairie Grass performs at noon and 3 p.m. on Friday and 1:15 and 4:30 p.m.. on Saturday.

The Blues Trio of Solider Springs features a drum, bass and guitar. Lucas Kurbeck said their music is comparable to The Black Keys band but with rock and roll influence. They are a ministry of sound, saying “If you don’t like it, we can’t play it.”   They perform at 1 and 4 p.m. Friday.

The band Heaven Bound plays just the kind of music the name implies — gospel. Keyboards, violin, mandolin and guitars backup these heavenly voices.  Heaven Bound performs at 2 p.m. Friday and 2:15 p.m. Saturday.

Ed Capen will be “hosting” an acoustical jam session at 11 a.m. Saturday. Everyone is invited to join in as they play bluegrass and country music. String instruments, harmonicas, jugs and combs are welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

GPD budget scrutinized

by nathan oster

Cutting an officer from the police force could save the town more than $10,000 annually, but it would hardly be a good tradeoff if it resulted in a decrease in services, including the end of 24-hour police coverage.

That, as much as anything else, seemed to be the consensus that emerged from a town council work session that was held Monday night at Town Hall and attended by approximately 25 community residents, most of them vocal supporters of the GPD.

Councilman Ross Jorgensen, who serves as the police commissioner, announced at the outset that the scope of the work session would be limited to a proposal to switch from a five-man police department to a four-man department.

Discussion about recent events in Greybull — and in particular, the arrest of Councilman Myles Foley and his girlfriend/business partner Lori Davis by members of the GPD, who were carrying out an arrest warrant — was ruled off limits.

With the exception of only a few vague references, council members and other attendees stuck to those ground rules throughout the 90-minute session, which began with presentations by Greybull Police Chief Bill Brenner and Administrator/Finance Director Paul Thur.

Citing information gleaned from citydata.com, Brenner pointed out that while the town’s population has grown by 1.8 percent since 2000, its crime rate has actually dropped.  The U.S. average is 319.1.  In 2001 and 2002, it was 225 and 261.1. In 2008, it was 125.5.  It surged to 190.7 in 2009 before dropping again in 2010 to 161.7.

Brenner also noted that with five officers, the town is right in line with a 2010 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, which was based on 2007 data and which showed an average of 2.7 officer per 1,000 in towns with populations between 1,000 and 2,499.

The U.S. average, according to citydata.com, is 3.0 officers per 1,000 people.

Brenner then transitioned to providing historical background, reminding the council that the GPD was “facing lack of administration, turnover and corruption” before the policing of the town was turned over to the sheriff’s department in 2004.

Since it was re-established in 2007, the GPD has become, in Brenner’s words, “a strong law enforcement agency with good leadership, well-trained officers and more resources than it has ever had.”

The town’s budget for the current fiscal year is $545,500, which includes $23,000 for animal control, something which in the past fell under the umbrella of the public works.  Even at $545,500, the GPD’s budget is “comparable to towns our size,” Brenner said, adding that it has only “fluctuated minimally” in the last six years.

Brenner said it would be unwise to trim an officer because the town would still need 24-hour coverage, his position would become non-exempt (meaning he’d no longer be salaried, but rather on an hourly wage).

In addition, he noted that administration would suffer due to the increased workload, citizens would get inadequate service, the GPD would become reactive instead of proactive in terms of dealing with crime, officers would burn out and liability issues would result if officers are asked to work too many hours.

Brenner cited among his department’s accomplishments a good reputation, high standards and a track record of “ridding the community of gangs, drugs, domestic violence, drunk drivers and pedophiles.”

He said most people in town probably didn’t realize that at one time, 14 members of the street gang, Fresno Bulldogs, lived in Greybull.  The majority of them, including a couple of locals, are now behind bars. Brenner said fewer people are driving drunk, too. In 2008, the first year back for the GPD, there were “between 32 and 37 drunk driving arrests.”  Last year, there were only nine.

After noting changes in law enforcement, Brenner moved into legal guidelines, and in particular, the Fair Labor Standards Act.  One of the key provisions is that officers cannot be “on call” and restricted in their personal lives without being paid.

“You have to pay them their hourly wage…you can’t get around that,” he said.

The GPD is also legally required to pay and reimburse officers for continued training.

Brenner ended his presentation by emphasizing the importance of 24-hour coverage, which he believes is a deterrent to crime.  He said the overnight clerks at the Maverik Country Store, which is open 24/7, are “comforted” by the sight of a police cruiser driving through the parking lot in the middle of the night.

He said response time would impacted if there wasn’t a GPD officer on duty 24/7.  If an officer is asleep, his response time would probably be in the eight- to 15-minute range.  But if he’s awake and on duty, it would be closer to one to three minutes.

“Can Greybull operate on a four-man police department?  Yes.  Can it operate on a one-man department? Yes.  But in both cases, you have to ask, what kind of services are you going to get for that?”

 

The numbers

Thur’s presentation focused entirely on the five-man vs. four-man question and was based on consultations he’d had with Jorgensen, the police commissioner, and Brenner, the police chief.

A four-man department would look much different than the current five-man department.

For one thing, officers would be required to work 10-hour shifts.  Currently, shifts last eight hours. In addition, there would be four hours each day when no officer was on duty, and the police chief would see his “administrative” time cut from the present 32 hours per week to eight. In the 33 weeks when the GPD is fully staffed at four officers, each officer as well as the chief would get 2.5 hours of overtime per week.

But those overtime numbers would shoot up dramatically during the other 19 weeks of the year when the GPD is shorthanded either because an officer is on vacation, away at training or down with an illness. During those weeks, the three remaining officers would be required to put in 12-hour shifts, the number of “no patrol” hours would climb, as would weekly overtime hours (four hours each week for the chief, 10.5 hours for each of the other officers).

When taken together, the annual total would be 1,836 hours of standby time, 646.5 overtime officers for the officers and 158.5 hours of overtime for the chief.  As an administrative and overtime-exempt employee, the chief currently does not get paid for any of his time beyond 40 hours per week.

Thur’s presentation also included a look at how switching to a four-man department would impact the compensation for the department’s full-time employees.  Currently there are six, including the clerk, whose total salary is $35,172.

The chief, who currently doesn’t get overtime or standby/on-call pay, makes a total salary of $52,643.  The sergeant, who does, earns a salary of $46,244.  The three remaining officers, who also get paid for overtime and standby/on-call hours logged, earn salaries ranging from $40,934 to $41,983.

Their total compensation packages, however, are much higher when benefits are considered.  For the current fiscal year, the chief’s package is $79,326, the sergeants is $64,427, the three officers come in at $63,187, $62,846 and $57,832, and the clerk’s is $50,680.

The bottom line figure for the GPD, as it’s currently constituted, is $388,400 for FY 14.

According to Thur’s presentation, the town would save only about $5,000 in salaries and benefits if one officer would be trimmed from the force. That’s because the remaining officers would make considerably more due to overtime and standby/on-call pay.

Over the course of a year as a four-man department, the chief would be required to log 150 hours of overtime, the officers 645 hours of overtime and everyone 1,836 hours of standby time, for a grand total of 2,631 hours.

The result would be significant boosts in pay for all the officers.  The chief’s total compensation package would climb to $100,770, the sergeant’s to $77,333, and the officers to $74,988 and $69,339. The clerk’s would remain the same, at $50,680.

Looking at the big picture, the town would pay out more in salaries and wages but less in benefits if the GPD was cut from five officers to four.  The difference between the two would be around $5,200 to the “savings” side.  The town could also expect other line items in its budget to fall as well, if one officer would be trimmed. When things were factored in, the total savings came to $10,660.

 

Discussion

When the floor was turned over to the public, no one voiced support for the four-man force.

Rod Collingwood, who filed for town council last year and applied to fill the vacancy left by Bob Graham, said the town might save $10,000, but that it would lose money overall if the officer whose position is cut moves away, taking with him money that would be spent in the community.

“When you’re talking about losing a household, it’s something like 48 percent of their income (which would be spent in the local economy) that goes too,” he said.  “I fail to see how this would pan out money-wise for the city.”

Some in attendance stated that requiring officers to work additional overtime hours would eventually lead to burnout and a higher turnover rate, which in turn would require the town to hire and train additional officers.

Brenner estimated that four officers have left the GPD since 2007.  One was terminated, three resigned.  In all four cases, the GPD had to pay for their replacements to go through the police academy.

Jan Johnson, who left the council in December, admitted that she was “one of the culprits” who created the five-man force. “When we had a four-man department, I was on Bill all the time about overtime … and that was because the town was on me all the time about overtime.

“Trust me, you wouldn’t be saving money going to a four.  Overtime would eat you alive.”

Brenner said he and the other officers would personally make more if a position was cut, but that it “its not about me, it’s about what’s best for the community.”

Councilman Bob McGuire said he has been, and will continue to be a proponent of the five-man department.  Now a sheriff’s deputy, he was once a member of a four-man GPD in the early 1980s.

The police chief at that time, around 1984, “was working to get a five-man department” he said. “So I’ve worked on both sides of the equation and the five-man department does make a huge difference.  I know what it’s like when there are only three of you, and what it’s like when there are only two of you.”

McGuire said he’s always be a proponent of the five-man department.

Kay Fleek, like Johnson a former member of the council, said in visiting with people on the street and who come into her salon, she has found universal support for the idea of keeping a five-man department.

“I visited with EMTs who talked about how much they appreciate having officers get (to the scene) first,” she said. Her older clientele doesn’t care as much about the $8,000 to $10,000 in savings. “They want to know an officer is out there in case they  need to go to the hospital.  For their own safety and how they feel about life, they very much want to have officers on duty 24 hours.”

Mike Laird, a member of the Greybull EMT team, and Mike Cowan, of the Atwood service, echoed those sentiments.

“I tell you there are some houses in this town we (as EMTs) don’t want to go into unless there is law enforcement present,” said Laird. “We don’t even want to attempt it.”

Laird said police officers also help ambulance workers at the scene, noting there are times when the EMTs wouldn’t have been able to help overweight people back to his or her feet by themselves.

Added Cowan, “The officer is there to protect us.  Several times we’ve had people come at us, saying they don’t want us to take their loved ones away. … Often times, the only thing standing between us and being hurt is having the officers there.”

Other members of the audience who expressed similar sentiments in support of the current five-man force included Officer Greg Hess, Animal Control Officer Doug Youngerman, Ron Fiene, Lori Collingwood, Lindsay Casey and former Mayor Frank Houk, who said, “Five is a little expensive, but it isn’t worth the difference” if the force is trimmed to four.

Several in the audience also questioned why the GPD’s budget was being so closely scrutinized, when those of other departments were not.  Jorgensen said the workshop was “just the start,” and that each department’s budget would be reviewed in the months ahead. Next up is administration.

Bev Jacobs, who works in the town’s central office, said, “This is the best group of officers we’ve every had,” and that, “Some things in life are not worth $10,000.”   She emphasized their integrity and said that when tragedies have occurred in other parts of the country, people never came away complaining about having too many police officers or firefighters.

 

Council members

Councilmen Myles Foley and Clay Collingwood, who had called for the study of a four-man department, were tight-lipped throughout the discussion.

Foley said the workshop was a good exercise. “I’m glad we’re doing this,” he said. “It provided me with a lot of information, and gave me clarity on some things.”

When approached after the meeting, Collingwood said he planned to spend time digesting what he learned.   “But if all we can save is $10,000, it’s probably not a very good value,” he said.

 

Santiago Coronado

Feb. 20, 1929 – July 22, 2013

A memorial service for Santiago Coronado was held July 27 at First Baptist Church in Basin. Santiago, 84, died July 22 in Casper.

He was born Feb. 20, 1929, in Hondo, Texas, the son of Aruellio and Adelina Coronado. In August 1950, Santiago married the love of his life, Consuelo “Connie” Molina, in Odem, Texas.

Santiago was a hard-working farmer. In his spare time, not that a farmer and father of eight really has much, he loved to play and watch baseball. He was a member of the Eagles Club and the National Rifle Association.

Santiago was a true family man who dearly loved his wife and family.

His mother and father, Aruellio and Adelina Coronado; two grandsons, Travis Owen Coronado of Powell and Jeffrey Leroy Coronado of Basin; one granddaughter, Tara Rose of Temecula, Calif.; two sons-in-law, Cliff Miller of Basin and Wayne Turner of Avon Park, Fla., and six sisters preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife, Consuelo of Manderson; three sons and two daughters-in-law, John and Leona Coronado of Casper, David and Debbie Coronado of Worland and Santiago Coronado Jr. of Texas; five daughters and four sons–in-law, Yolanda “Yoly” of Avon Park, Fla., Sali and Kevin Hall of Basin, Rebecca and Kent Miller of Worland, Sandy and Corey Sanders of Temecula, Calif., and Virginia and Scott Mattis of Greybull; one sister, Maria Salazar of McAllen, Texas; 28-plus grandchildren and 21-plus great-grandchildren.

A private family service to scatter Santiago’s ashes will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions can be made to Connie Coronado at Security State Bank in Basin.

 

Barbara Pauline Clucas

!OBIT ClucasObit001Dec. 23, 1934 – July 27, 2013

Funeral services for Barbara Clucas will be held Friday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. at the Greybull Alliance Church. A viewing will be held at the church from 10-10:45 a.m. Barbara, 78, died peacefully in her sleep July 27.

She was born Dec. 23, 1934, in Powell, the daughter of Ralph and Pauline Gillett. The family moved to Greybull prior to her sophomore year and she graduated as salutatorian of the Class of ’52. She earned her bachelor degree in English education at the University of Wyoming and taught school in Manderson, Basin and Greybull. She will be most remembered as the longtime school librarian who served in the Greybull grade, middle and high schools.

Barbara married her high school sweetheart, Don T. Clucas, Sept. 4, 1955. After graduating from college, they returned to Greybull (in 1956) where they raised their four sons and two foster sons.

Barbara was a familiar face at the baseball fields where she kept official score for countless games. She also worked behind the scenes managing brackets for wrestling tournaments.

She was an active member of the Alliance Church where she was involved in both the Sunday school and AWANA programs for years.

Barbara will be remembered as a kind, patient, thoughtful and loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

Her parents, Ralph and Pauline Gillett, foster son Cliff Foe, brother Robert and sister Dorothy preceded Barbara in death.

She is survived her husband Don of Greybull; her sons and daughters-in-law, John and Stacy Clucas of Casper, Tom and Judy Clucas of Missoula, Mont., Lee and Kathy Clucas of Greybull, Mike and Ginger Clucas of Chandler, Ariz., Jeff and Pam Foe of Enterprise, Ala., and Dan and Debbie Foe of Rio Rancho, N.M. (the natural brother of Cliff and Jeff); her sister Retta Frank in Florida and eight grandchildren.

A memorial fund in Barbara’s name has been established at Bank of Greybull, 601 Greybull Ave., Greybull, WY 82426. Proceeds will go to the AWANA program.

A luncheon for family and friends will be held at the Alliance Church following the service.

 

 

Wright, Pioneers off to state tourney

by nathan oster

Now that the Lovell Mustangs have been eliminated, there is just one local boy still playing baseball this summer.

Bryce Wright, the son of Ken and Tami Wright, is a member of the Powell Pioneers, who will be the No. 1 seeds from the North when the State A American Legion Tournament commences this week in Gillette.

Wright, who will be a senior this fall at Greybull High School, has been a big part of the team, according to Jason Borders, who manages the Pioneers.

Wright missed a couple weeks early in the season due to an ankle injury, but has been coming on offensively in recent weeks.  Last week the Pioneers took two of three from Douglas to earn a top seed for the state tournament.

“I think the ankle injury took a little out of him,” said Borders.  “And statistically I think he had a better year last year.  It just took him a little while to get into the swing of things this year.  He’s really starting to come around now.”

Wright is hitting .226 and has driving in 19 runs in 31 games.  He ranks among the team leaders in walks drawn, 21, and has only struck out four times in 116 plate appearances.

In the field, he’s played mostly first base, along with some right field, and has the fourth-highest fielding percentage on the team, .929.

Wright is 2-1 on the mound with one save.  His ERA is 8.45, giving up 33 earned runs in 27.1 innings.

The Pioneers were scheduled to open state tournament play on Wednesday with a game against the Rawlins Generals.  They are scheduled to face either Green River or Cody (their top rivals from the Northwest Conference) in second-round action today.

All eight teams in attendance are vying for not only the state title, but also a trip to the A-League Northwest Regional Tournament, which will be held in Wheatland.

Powell has a strong baseball tradition, having won back-to-back state championships as recently as three years ago. So by its own lofty standards, the 27-22 record posted by this year’s club was somewhat disappointing, Borders said.

“It’s been an up and down year,” he said. “But compared to previous years when we’ve had a lot of kids come back from college and play with us, we’re an awfully young team.  In fact, we are only going to lose one kid off this team, so we should be even stronger next year.”

 

Lovell Mustangs

The Lovell Mustangs dropped two in a row and were eliminated from further contention at their district tournament.  The 7-3 loss to Gillette and 25-6 drubbing at the hands of Casper left the Mustangs with a final record of 14-23.

Steven Durtsche, the team’s on-field manager, said the Mustangs let one slip away against Gillette, the No. 1 seed from the Northeast. “We were up 3-1 until the seventh inning,” he said. With two in the seventh, Gillette tied it up, then went ahead to stay with a single run in the eight and two more in the ninth.

“It was still a good season for us, though,” he said. “That’s the most wins we’ve had since the program has restarted — and we’ve been going for 10 years now.

“We were competitive.  I don’t think there was one game when our opponents weren’t nervous about playing us.  They had to play us tough in order to beat us.”

While Durtsche could point to good moments in the field, on the mound and in the batter’s box, the problem, he said, was inconsistency. “We’d have good games, then turn around and just play horribly,” he said. “I think we lacked some mental toughness.”

He had nothing but good things to say, however, about his team’s three Greybull players, Calder Forcella, Dawson Forcella and Justin Bacus.

Durtsche was unable to produce final season statistics on the Greybull trio, but he credited Dawson Forcelle for his work at catcher.  “He was our main catcher this year and he did a great job,” he said. “He doesn’t let a ball get past him and has a good arm, on throws to second.

Dawson’s brother Calder “played everywhere — pitcher, shortstop, second base, center field,” said Durtsche.  “He’s a good enough athlete, you can put him just about anywhere and he’d produce,” Dursche said. “He usually batted third or fifth for us and got on base quite a bit.”

Bacus was another player who showed great versatility. He played some outfield, some infield, pitched and even stepped in to catch when Dawson Forcella went down with an injury at about midseason. “Justin really stepped it up this year,” said Durtsche.

“Overall, we relied a lot on those Greybull boys.  In fact, if Greybull doesn’t have a team next year again, we’d love to have them back.  Maybe we could even pick up a few more players from down there.”