Daily Archives: October 24, 2013

Rec district calls on GHS students

by nathan oster

A group of students from one of Ralph Wensky’s industrial arts classes at Greybull High School is helping to develop a vision for future improvements to the Herb Asp Community Center.

Heather Howe, director of the Greybull Recreation District, told the recreation district’s board of directors Monday night that she’d reached out to Wensky to see if he and his students could help create some drawings for a grant she is pursuing.

She said she gave Wensky’s class “a wish list of things we’d like to do” and that students have visited the community hall twice to get measurements.

Wensky, in an email, said he hadn’t taught any architectural drafting in a few years, but is doing so this year through this project.  So far, it’s been well received. “The kids seem very excited to do architecture instead of the regular mechanical drafting we normally do,” he wrote.

“We are going to help out by coming up with some floor plan ideas that incorporate some of the changes the board would like to make,” wrote Wensky. “It’s pretty open ended, so my students will take their ideas and see what they can change/remodel in the building.”

The first priority is to make a floor plan of the building as it currently exists. Three of his more experienced (second-, third- or fourth-year) students in Cody Strauch, Jordan Nielson and Mariah Mills, are tackling that aspect of the project while Wensky brings the beginners up to speed.

Eventually they will team up and start talking changes to the existing floor plan.

“I hope to take it far enough that they actually meet with Heather and the rec board to present their ideas and get feedback,” wrote Wensky.

Howe said the grant she’s pursuing, a Community Facilities Grant, has a December deadline for applications.

In other rec district news discussed Monday night:

• Howe said the washer and dryer have been installed, though an electrician needed to come in and change a plug for the dryer, at a cost to the district of around $300.  She added that the doors to the storage area are broken and that a solution is needed.

On the subject of improvements, Howe said the rec district received its bill from the town for the installation of air conditioning at the community hall.  The rec district’s share came to around $3,700.

• Supt. Barry Bryant offered the only update on the swimming pool project, saying demolition is currently being held up by the abatement process.  The state will be paying for the demolition — a good thing, consider the price of demolishing the pool has climbed from an estimated to $141,000 to closer to $300,000, Bryant said.  But by the time the abatement is done, all of the leftover pool chemicals will have been dealt with.  Bryant said his best guess on when the pool might be ready for demolition is either winter or spring.

• Howe reported that the storm on Sept. 17 caused both vents on the south side of the building to leak again.  She’s been in contact with Dalen Davis, the town foreman, as well as Everett Bond of E&M Heating and Air Conditioning.  She was told to continue to try working with Bond to fix the problem.

• Howe covered all the programming hits and misses in her monthly director’s report.

The district held a “teen dance” on Oct. 12, with 22 students attending.  Howe said she and Trysta Williams recently met with the GMS Student Council to discuss what programs they’d be interested in.  “Most of them are things we’ve done before,” she said, adding that it’s a challenge to get news about rec district programs to middle school students.  Most of them expressed a desire to get text messages — Howe said she’d be looking into ways of doing that — or to get program information through the mail.

Roller skating numbers have been very good, with the early skate averaging 15-20 students and the late skate 20-40 students. The district will be running a food drive for Community Outreach in November, offering $1 off admission in exchange for a non-perishable food item.  She said the district has also been giving older skaters a chance to skate for free by serving as a “roller rink monitor” during the early skate.

Intramural boys basketball starts Tuesday, Oct. 29.

EdZooCate, where a representative of Zoo Montana brought animal ambassadors to Greybull on Sept. 20, drew around 80 attendees.

Messy Me wrapped up Tuesday. Nine kids were involved in that class, which offered a variety of messy activities and crafts.

The Get Up and Glow 5K went off with 41 participants.  There were three stations along the route where different glow-in-the-dark/LED items could be picked up, according to Howe.

Lindsay Casey has seven students in her creative movement class and 11 in her performance dance class.

Cathy Thomson is coming down from Lovell to teach gymnastics again this year.  Thirty-two children are participating in three difference classes.

The rec district’s “How to Be a Zombie” event wasn’t very successful, with just two attending. But the Haunted Hall, also held last week, was deemed a success, with 80 people going through the hall, which was decorated in scary movie themes.

Among the upcoming classes and programs are Lil Hoopers, an after school skate, a self defense course taught by members of the Greybull Police Department, a send out cards class and the harvest party.

Buffs top Big Piney in home finale

by nathan oster

The Greybull Buffs made their final home game of the season a night to remember, beating a pesky Big Piney team 33-20 to even their record in the Class 2A West Conference at 3-3 and keep their playoff hopes alive.

“It was a huge win for our team,” said Coach Justin Bernhardt, whose team sits at 3-4 overall heading into the final weekend of the regular season. “We’ve been saying, every game is like a playoff game. We still have a ways to go.  But it’s nice to get back to .500 (in the conference).”

Bernhardt said the game resembled the Kemmerer game, in the sense that the Buffs again started slowly (they trailed 8-0 early) before they hit their stride.  “We just seemed to be going through the motions in the first quarter,” said the coach. “But after that, even though it was 20-20 at the half, I felt like we had the momentum, and like we outplayed them in the second, third and fourth quarters.”

Big Piney came to play, though. “They’re much improved from last year; I don’t know where they found them, but they got some big linemen, their tailback is fast and their quarterback is a good one. But it was still a game, like Kemmerer, where I thought we should have probably won by 20 or more points.”

Quarterback Calder Forcella certainly did his part. He had a hand in all five Greybull touchdowns, rushing for two scores and connecting with Dustin Fox, Fabian Davila and Justin Nielson on the other three. Forcella was 23 of 39 passing for 222 yards and also led the Greybull rushing attack with 85 yards on 16 carries, a healthy 5.3 yards per attempt.

Forcella was every bit as important on the defensive side.  In recent weeks, he’s been on the sidelines while the defense was on the field, working with the young receivers who are being pressed into duty and scripting plays for the next drive.

But Bernhardt sent him out there to play safety against Big Piney, and with him out there in the second half, “We were able to add some complicated calls at safety.  He helped us roll our safety, disguise our blitzes.  It really shut Big Piney down.”

Forcella didn’t do it alone, though.  According to Bernhardt, it was a team effort, and the young kids needed to step up due to injuries to starters seem to be gaining in experience and confidence each week.

Kason Clutter, returning from an injury, was a force for the Buffs, catching 11 passes for 101 yards, both team highs.  Often times, his catches extended drives. That was the theme of the night, said Bernhardt, noting that the Buffs didn’t get many big plays, but strung several long, time-consuming drives together to pull out the win.

 

This week

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Lovell, at 6-0 in league play, has wrapped up the conference title. Six teams have won at least two games, and while a couple would require a miracle, all six remain alive in the hunt for the conference’s four playoff berths.

Mountain View and Lyman, both 4-2 in conference play, have the inside track for two of those spots.  Greybull and Thermopolis sit a game back at 3-3, while Big Piney and Pinedale sport 2-4 records.

The playoff picture is a murky one in the 2A West. But for the Buffs, it’s pretty simple heading into Friday afternoon’s game at Lyman.

“We have to win, period,” said Bernhardt.

It won’t be easy.  Lyman is better than its 4-3 record suggests.  Two of those losses were to highly-ranked 2A teams in Wheatland (32-28) and Lovell (32-26).  The third was a 30-22 loss to Mountain View in Week 6.

“They should have beaten Lovell,” said Bernhardt. “They rushed for over 300 years that game, but threw two pick-sixes and lost by a touchdown.  Like Lovell, they lost a lot of kids. But also like Lovell, they got a lot of kids out, they’ve got tradition, and they expect to win every time they step on the field.”

The key for the Buffs will be “stopping or at the very least disrupting their running game,” said Bernhardt. Lyman is pretty one-dimensional on offense, but “they do it well. We’ve got to stop their power.  When they try to kick it outside, we have to turn it back in.

“Offensively, if they have a weakness on defense, it’s probably their secondary.  We have to hit some big plays, and we have to eliminate some of our dropped balls.”

 

Big Piney   8 12 0 0 — 20

Greybull 14   6 7 6 — 33

G — Calder Forcella 2 yard run (Jesus Burgos kick).

G — Forcella 8 yard run (Burgos kick).

G — Dustin Fox 10 yard pass from Forcella.

G — Fabian Davila 16 yard pass from Forcella (Burgos kick).

G — Wyatt Nielson 30 yard pass from Forcella.

(Big Piney scoring plays were unavailable)

RUSHING — Big Piney 46-235; Greybull 40-134 (Forcella 16-85, Paul Stewart 13-28).

PASSING — Big Piney 12 of 23 for 58 yards; Greybull (Forcella) 23 of 39 for 222 yards.

RECEIVING — Greybull: Kason Clutter 11-101, Fabian Davila 3-18, Wyatt Nielson 5-55, Paul Stewart 1-16, Dustin Fox 3-31).

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Several Buffs had big games on the defensive side and finished with 20 or more points.  Davila led the way with 28, coming on 2 assisted tackles, 5 solo stops, 4 pass break-ups and an interception.  Stewart was next in line with 23 (5 assisted, 5 solo, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery), followed by Logan Jensen with 22 (7 assisted, 2 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup) and Matt Brown with 21 (6 assisted, 1 solo, 1 tackle for loss, 2 fumble recoveries.

FFA team tops in livestock judging

by karla pomeroy

The Paintrock FFA team of Spencer Redland, Payton Gonzalez, Bree Dooley and Colten Flitner won the FFA livestock judging contest as well as the overall team at the NILE (Northern International Livestock Exposition) in Billings last week.

Advisor Jared Boardman said, “They beat a total of 72 teams from seven states and even Canada in the FFA division.” To win the overall team they beat a total of 95 teams.

He added, “The win really surprised me. Going into the contest I thought we had the ability to win it, but after we saw our scores I didn’t think we had pulled it off. When they announced that we had won I was really excited for all of them. They have worked hard over the last several years to get to this point. Hopefully, this win will propel us into a great year of competition.”

He said this is the team’s second win in three years at the competition for FFA but last time one senior 4-H team beat the Paintrock FFA team for the overall champion. Bringing home the bronze boot was a first for the chapter.

Individually, Flitner was sixth high overall out of more than 260 FFA students; Dooley was 13th overall and Gonzales 15th overall.

Redland was fifth overall in oral reasons

Redland said, “The team really pulled together. We all seemed to rotate having good days throughout the year at different contests. It makes the team strong having four high quality members. Hopefully,m we can put it all together for our future competitions and keep on winning.”

Dooley said, “To beat so many teams from so many different states and even countries was really exciting. We have won contests before but this is the biggest and most talented field we have competed against.”

Also at the NILE, Jordan Flitner competed in her first FFA contest as an individual and placed in the top half of the contest.

 

No positive brucellosis tests yet

by nathan oster

The first full week of the big-game hunting season didn’t produce any big surprises — and that’s a good thing when it comes to brucellosis testing.

Throughout the fall, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been encouraging Big Horn Mountain elk hunters to assist in the surveillance effort by taking blood samples and either sending them in or leaving them at collection sites.

“As of Saturday, I was hearing that (the state lab) had tested 80 samples already and that there had been no positives at all in the areas we’re most concerned about (areas 38, 39 and 40),” said Tom Easterly, a wildlife biologist for Game and Fish. “Unfortunately, a lot of hunters have been saying that they forgot their kit or didn’t take it with them.  Brucellosis is not a big concern for them. But for ranchers, it definitely is.

“Our vet has said that if we get over 200 samples, it’ll be a good sample size.  So it’s definitely a positive sign, having 80 something samples by the 19th of October. I’m betting we’ll be able to make the 200-sample goal.”

Easterly said the first week of the season has gone pretty well overall, but that there seem to be fewer non-resident deer hunters in the area. “I don’t know if they went further north or further south, but I suspect our deer harvest will be down a little this year,” he said.  “The ones I’ve talked to are enjoying themselves.  But unfortunately, (nonresidents) are also the folks who typically take the first deer they see.  So most of the ones that have been taken have been pretty small.  A couple of locals did nice some nice bucks, though.”

The buck season ends today (Thursday, Oct. 24), but does can still be taken in most hunting areas through at least the end of October.  Some seasons run through the end of November.  Up around Lovell, some stretch all the way into December.

Game Warden Bill Robertson said the big-game season, “started like molasses.  The first two days were pretty miserable, to the point where I wondered what was going on.  But then I started getting reports of a good deer harvest.  Not a lot of big deer, but of people finding bucks to kill on the forest, which was encouraging.”

Robertson said he talked to a group of hunters from Wisconsin who had filled five of their six tags.  “They thought hunting was as great as could be,” Robertson said. “So it depends who you talk to.  Some locals may grumble about deer numbers being down — and they may be right to do that because I do think numbers are down.”

Easterly agreed, saying he anticipates that the G&F will consider changes to some seasons in future years.

Easterly said some nice bull elk have been taken. “Folks are having to work for the bulls, but they are getting into them.”  Robertson, though, said he’s heard a lot of frustration from people hunting elk. The weather has impacted the hunt, he said. In Area 40, the snow has hampered road access. “People haven’t been able to get to their spots due to poor conditions, particularly around Horse Creek Mesa and Sunlight Mesa,” said Robertson.

“In Area 41, a large number of elk have already moved onto private land, where they aren’t accessible to anyone except for outfitted clients.  In other areas, elk have moved into remote canyons.”

One hunter killed an elk from long distance in one of those canyons, but had exhausted himself packing the animal out, piece by piece.  “Hunters need to assess their ability to retrieve the carcass before they choose to go after one in those remote locations,” said Robertson.

Robertson said he’s written a few citations, mostly for trespassing.

“It seems a lot of folks get frustrated with not being able to find deer where they are hunting, so when they see deer on people’s properties, for some reason, they feel like they should be able to take them without permission.  That’s trespassing.”

Shooting from the road is another big one, he said.

“Again, people get frustrated by not being able to find them where they went, and they get tired easily.  So when an opportunity presents itself, they choose, poorly, to shoot from a public road.”

Robertson said he’s also cited hunters for taking an animal of the wrong sex — i.e., for shooting a small buck when they had a doe tag. He encourages hunters who have yet to fill their tags to take the extra time to make a positive ID before firing a shot at their target.

 

 

 

 

Council talks pit bulls, cat licenses

Ordinance amendments would address pit bull concerns, require cat licensing

by nathan oster

The Greybull Town Council on Monday approved on first reading an ordinance amendment that would require cat owners to license their pets and another one that would address concerns about the pit bull population in Greybull.

Doug Youngerman, the town’s animal control officer, introduced both ordinance amendments during Monday meeting, as well as a “Trap, Spay, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return to the Streets” cat-management plan that he wants to implement in cooperation with local veterinarians.

The first ordinance amendment, to Chapter 6.04, would make licenses a requirement for cats, just as they have been for dogs.  The proposed ordinance would read as follows in Chapter 6.04.030:  “It is unlawful for any person to own or keep a dog or cat within the Town of Greybull without first obtaining from the town clerk of the Town of Greybull license for such dog or cat and paying the fee therefore as provided by this chapter.”

The town clerk would provide a metal plate or tag with each license, bearing the number of the license and the year for which it was issued, and that plate or tag would need to be attached to the cat at all times.

Youngerman said most Wyoming cities require cat licenses, and that the licensing requirement “will help me know which cat belongs where.”  He will also push for microchips to be implanted in cats, saying that with a reader in his truck, he could immediately determine the owner of any cat that he picks up.

Youngerman said the ordinance amendment also gives him “more teeth to go after dogs that are being badly abused in town,” by allowing him to go onto private property to conduct animal welfare investigations.

The new ordinance would also make it illegal for anyone to “willfully allow any animal to fight, worry or injure another animals.” He said he recently took a call involving three pit bulls that were fighting.  There was nothing he could do about it because they were “on the wrong property.”  The amendment “gives me another way to get in there and do something about it.”

The amended ordinance would also give the animal control office the right to chemically immobilize to humanely capture animals. Youngerman called it “a last resort,” saying the only time he could imagine using it would be to retrieve a vicious dog on the loose.

The part of the amended ordinance that drew the most discussion pertained to kennel licenses.

Youngerman said some people in town have 15 to 18 cats, others seven to 11 dogs.  If the amended ordinance is ultimately approved, those people would be grandfathered in and not have to purchase a kennel license. But as their dogs die, they would not be able to replace them without purchasing a kennel license.

The license or annual renewal inspection fee for kennels would be $2 per year.

The council devoted considerable time to defining a kennel.  The ordinance amendment that was proposed by Youngerman defined a kennel as “composed of three or more animals of any one species.” The council instead opted to set “four or more of any animal species” in its definition.

Councilman Myles Foley spoke in support of the ordinance amendment, calling it “a good way to control people from getting carried away,” while Councilman Bob McGuire said he supports making people more accountable for their pets.  Often times, he said, the problems aren’t the pets themselves; it’s their owners, who don’t take good care of them and are inconsiderate of others.

 

Pit bull ordinance

The section of the town code falling under the header of noisy, vicious and prowling cats and dogs would be radically re-written under a proposed amendment that would more tightly regulate ownership of pit bulls.

The current ordinance defines a vicious dog as any dog that “attacks, rushes or bites, snaps or snarls or in any manner menaces any person, vehicle or other animal outside the premises of its owner or keeper, or shows any plausible tendency to do so, without provocation.”

To Youngerman, that doesn’t go far enough. His proposal is for the creation of an ordinance, 6.08.070, that deals with pit bull breed dogs and other vicious dogs.

The ordinance would set as a definition for pit bull “any American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or any dog which as the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly in any one or more of the aforementioned breeds.”

Youngerman said this community has been fortunate that no one has been injured in a pit bull attack.  “We have some very scary pit bulls out there,” he said, adding that five have had to be euthanized since Aug. 31.  During that same time frame, 14 new ones have been registered by the town.

Youngerman said there is justification for pursuing a ban on pit bulls, saying that many other communities have already done so.  But he stopped short of making that his recommendation, instead favoring a plan to more tightly control pit bull ownerships.

The new ordinance would put an end to the days when owners left their pit bulls tied to a chain in their yard. If approved, owners would be required to keep their pit bulls “indoors, in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel approved by the town’s animal control officer or in a fenced area approved by the animal control officer, except when leashed.”

If the pit bill is out its confined area, it would have to be on a leash no longer than 4 feet and it would have to be muzzled at all times, states the ordinance. A pit bull owner would also be required to provide the animal control officer with two color photographs of the pit bull.

“I’m afraid of what could happen” if we don’t take action, said Youngerman. “We’re going to have a child or another human being killed. I’m trying to get a handle on this before we have an attack.”

A pit bull owner would also be required to post signs on his or her property, warning passers-by that there is a pit bull on the property, and provide the town with proof of public liability insurance in a single amount of $250,000 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons.

Youngerman said the new ordinance wouldn’t restrict anyone’s choice to own a pit bull, but it does say that if they are going to own them, they must take full responsibility for their pet.

At one point in the discussion, Police Chief Bill Brenner was asked if he’s received any reports of dog-fighting rings in Greybull. “We have had our suspicions,” he said, “but we haven’t gathered enough evidence to warrant it.”

Youngerman said he doesn’t believe there are dog fighting rings in Greybull, but he didn’t rule out the possibility that pit bulls were being trained to fight here and taken to other parts of the country for competitions.

Councilman Clay Collingwood said he doesn’t feel like the ordinance goes far enough, encouraging the town to expand the list from just pit bulls to other dogs known to be vicious, using the American Kennel Club’s definition.

Youngerman said pit bulls belong in a class by themselves, noting that he’s used spray effectively on other breeds.  But with the pit bull, it doesn’t even slow them down.

Councilman Bob McGuire, who ultimately cast the only dissenting vote on first reading, said he’s been chewed on by all breeds in his 30 years in law enforcement and that he felt the ordinance was a kneejerk reaction.

He said it boils down to personal responsibility. He said a vicious animal is a vicious animal. “If the meter reader can’t walk into your yard with the expectation of safety, that is a vicious animal,” he said. “As the owner, you have to take responsibility, either by building a kennel or providing for safety.”

McGuire said the town already has an ordinance on the books and that the new one isn’t needed.  People just need to be responsible for their pets, he said.

Collingwood said he, as much as any other councilman, he opposes unnecessary ordinances, but that he supports this one.  Having a 2-year-old son is one reason, he said, adding that kids, in particular, might not always know to be afraid of pit bulls that they encounter. “I may be more nervous because I have young children, but I’d rather take care of it now than take care of it later,” he said.

Brenner added, “There’s a reason they are banning them all around the United States. Towns and cities aren’t banning other breeds; they’re only banning pit bulls.”

Councilman Ross Jorgensen said he would approve the ordinance on first reading, but wants additional information about what other municipalities in Wyoming have pit bull ordinances on the books before he gives it a second reading.

 

New program

In its other pet-related action on Monday, the council scheduled a budget amendment hearing for Nov. 12 on the “Trap, Spay, Neuter, Vaccinate and Return to the Streets” plan that was pitched by Youngerman.

The plan is to transfer $1,500 from allocated capital sales tax in the highway lighting project to general fund expenditures for trap/spay/neuter/return program.

In a report to the council, Youngerman said feral cats are “running rampant” in the town.  Since taking over as animal control officer, Youngerman said he’s trapped 296 cats and kittens, and in just about all cases, he’s found local farmers to take them.

But with those cats having multiplied and the same farmers begging for mercy, Youngerman has been left with no choice other than euthanization.  So far, 23 have met their demise in that fashion, depleting his veterinary budget in the process.

In describing the new program, Youngerman said he’d trap the feral cats, take them to a local vet for a spay/neuter (Dr. Gotfredson said he’d charge $10 for males, $12 for females) and then return them to the location where they were originally trapped.

 

 

 

 

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