Daily Archives: October 31, 2013

Town awards contract for tennis courts

by nathan oster

It may still lack a swimming pool, but by the end of 2014, Greybull could very well have both a splash pad where young people could beat the heat in the summer months as well as a resurfaced tennis court facility.

The Greybull Town Council on Oct. 21 agreed to enter into a work contract agreement with Pavement Maintenance, Inc., which for $24,783, will clean and level the cracks, do hot pours and then follow that up with a layer of clear coat and striping for tennis and basketball courts.

The work will commence in the spring and come with a five-year guarantee.

Councilman Myles Foley, who outlined the particulars of the contract, said the playing surface would have a life expectancy of seven to 10 years. After the first five years, he said, a clear coat would need to be applied every couple years, at an anticipated cost of approximately $1,500 per application.

“I think this is the way to go,” Foley said, adding, “This will let us see whether it gets used.  If it does, we can put some more money into it (after it reaches its life expectancy).”

Whereas right now there are only tennis courts within that fenced area, the new surface will provide a court for tennis, with standards that can be raised to accommodate sports like badminton and volleyball, as well as a court alongside it for basketball, with hoops on both ends.

In its budget for the current fiscal year, the town had earmarked $70,000 for the tennis court project, so there will be some money left over in that line item for the proposed splash pad, which appears to have the backing of the council.

Having come up empty in talks with the school district to put the pad between the tennis courts and the elementary school’s K-2 playground, Mayor Bob Graham and Administrator Paul Thur are now in the process of evaluating other locations.

The vacant lot adjacent to the Herb Asp Community Center was one possibility mentioned, while another was the city park, though it would likely require a pretty large chunk of the existing green space.

Funding was a major topic of the Oct. 21 discussion.  Graham explained that grant funds through Land and Water Conservation Funds wouldn’t be available until October of 2014 — too late to do any good before next summer.

Graham asked for and received permission from the council to pursue other grant funding through the Community Facilities Program, which would require a 15-percent local match.  To get that grant funding, the town would have to apply to the Wyoming Business Council by Nov. 15 and to the Office of State Lands by March of 2014.

Thur was directed to contact Leah Bruscino of the WBC for additional details on the grant.

The Sykes Foundation is another potential funding source for the splash pad, and in the end, the council agreed to apply for this funding, which could be used to assist with the conceptual design and engineering of the splash pad, along with the unused money from the tennis court project.

Graham said if things fall into place, a splash pad could be in place and ready for use as early as June 1of next year.  The splash pad, as he envisions it, would be nothing like a pool, but rather an outdoor area built on a concrete slab that could feature fountains, wading ponds and other water features.

“Ten Sleep has one and you’d be amazed how many kids use it,” he said.

A wading pond would also be considerably less expensive than an indoor pool, according to Graham and Thur.

As for the location, Councilman Clay Collingwood cast a vote for putting the wading pool in an area large enough to one day accommodate a swimming pool. “I’d like to see them in the same place,” he said.

In other business discussed Oct. 21:

• In his monthly report, Thur noted that the town had spent just under $4,300 on the community assessment thus far, with “a few costs still hanging out there.”  The town also took in $700 of in-kind donations.

Financially speaking, at the quarter pole of the fiscal year, “everything is looking good,” Thur said. “Several categories are ahead of the year-to-date pace.”

In terms of technology, Thur said the town will soon be in a position to take credit card payments for things such as utility bills, contractor license and court fines.  Collingwood asked if the town would also have the ability to put customers on auto-pay, where their credit or debit accounts are automatically charged every month.  Thur said he’d look into it.

• Town Foreman Dalen Davis was asked about plans to grade the alleys before winter hits.  He said he’s “hoping to get there,” noting that his department has been running pretty lean in recent weeks due to people being sick or on vacation.

The fact that TCT is planning to do a lot of work in the alleys in 2014 was also mentioned as a reason, although Collingwood said that shouldn’t be an issue. “TCT will be obligated to put the alleys back in the condition they found them in,” he said.

Davis said the grader the town uses in the alleys doesn’t work very well on extremely hard surfaces.  Collingwood agreed, calling it “a glorified toy” and saying “We need to work on a different solution.”

• Police Chief Bill Brenner said the radar sign that had been at the east entrance to town is currently off the streets.  The GPD purchased a trailer for the sign, but there have been complications getting the radar equipment installed on that trailer.

• In the economic development report, Mayor Graham stated that a public comment period is now open on a statewide rail plan and that Carl Meyer, who sits on the economic development committee, is working on a public transportation concept that would connect passenger rail transportation through Wyoming. Graham said it could be a boon for Greybull if a depot were to be built here, something that would allow passengers on those trains to patronize businesses here.

Collingwood called it “a great idea,” but said “it’s come up before.”  Graham didn’t deny that, but said that with the tracks on the east side of the Big Horns so congested due to industry, the tracks on the west side “could be more of an express route” for passenger trains.

Responding to a question about the US Forest Service and its search for a new location, Graham said the process of selecting a site has been delayed by the government shutdown.  He said he hopes to have an answer from them by December on whether they’ll be relocating to Greybull.

• Collingwood, who represents the town on the Big Horn Regional Joint Powers Board, said the board was in the process of seeking additional grant money to cover unforeseen project costs.

He also raised a concern about an e-mail that had Mayor Graham had sent to Big Horn Regional, informing them that he (Collingwood) didn’t have the authority to vote on behalf of the town on regional water matters. Collingwood said the board’s charter gives him that right, and that the board’s lawyer concurred, and for that reason, he said he felt “undermined” by the mayor’s email.

Graham, who was the town’s representative to the joint powers board prior to Collingwood, said he never voted to raise rates without first running it by the full council. “Even though I was representing the town, I felt it had to come from this board,” Graham said. “I didn’t feel like I could do that on my own.”

Collingwood said he still plans to run everything by the council.  If he had to run it by the council every time, he would have to abstain when votes were taken, which would essentially leave the decision in the hands of the other six joint powers members. “That would negate our vote, which I don’t feel would be very productive.”

Councilman Ross Jorgensen said on matters concerning regional water, “what I would have to go on is your recommendation, anyway.”  For that reason, he said, “I have no problem with it.”

• In the water hearing part of the meeting, Councilor Bob McGuire raised the possibility of imposing a penalty clause for reoccurring accounts.  The mayor asked Utility Clerk Beverley Jacobs, Thur and Collingwood to come up with a solution.

• The town is in the process of adding a public comment period to its monthly agenda, and with that in the works, Thur presented an outline of the rules that would be set for those comment periods.

An organizational chart was also presented for discussion purposes. Foley raised the idea of developing a parks and recreation department that would exist on its own, rather than under the umbrella of the public works department.

Foley said the change would ease Davis’ workload, both now and in the future, especially if the town ultimately gets a new swimming pool.  But the council took no action on Foley’s proposal to create a separate department.

Councilor Ross Jorgensen said most Wyoming cities, including ones far larger than Greybull, operate their parks and recreation departments under public works.

• The council approved a bill of sale for a brick chlorinator building that is no longer used by the town and is located on private land.

• A flood plain ordinance was presented and approved on first reading.

• Graham pointed out that the alley and street under the current high school were never vacated — and presented for approval resolutions to rectify the problem, which were endorsed by the council.

• The council pushed its November meeting date back a day due to Veterans Day, which falls on the third Monday.  The meeting will now be held Tuesday, Nov. 12.

 

Ruhl monument gets a new apron

by nathan oster

The memorial to Donald J. Ruhl in the cemetery that bears his name moved a step closer to completion on Wednesday afternoon when an apron was installed around the granite monument that stands as a tribute to Greybull’s only winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

“The shape of the base was part of the design from the beginning, and it was always intended to be red,” said Paul Linse, who coordinated last week’s project, just as he has the entire development of the Ruhl monument site. “It became clear very quickly that there was no granite source for a blood-red base.

“A call to a high-performance concrete testing laboratory, Blue Concrete, started things off.  I asked the engineer, Julie, if her product would handle “110 degree heat in the summer, minus 40 degree cold in the winter, wind-blown sand at over 60 miles per hour, and alkaline irrigation water more caustic than lime?”

Her response: “It will still be there after the granite monument has blown away.”

Thomas Designs, located in Salt Lake City, was the determined to be the nearest fabricator.

Blue Concrete developed a red dye just for the concrete and donated it, and other materials, to Tyler Thomas Blaine to fabricate in his shop in Salt Lake City.  Linse said Tyler did the project at a very low price, including delivering and installing the piece, so he dictated the timeline for the installation.  It occurred Wednesday on a swing through the area on his way to Yellowstone National Park to see the changing fall colors.

“The cemetery board is very grateful to Todd Zeller, who volunteered to operate the high-lift loader volunteered by Riverfront Construction,” said Linse, adding that his friends from the coffee group at the Sugar Shack volunteered to lower the base onto its mountings by hand. “My gratitude is extended to all who helped.”

 

Elk hunters assisting with brucellosis surveillance

Elk hunters are helping with a brucellosis surveillance effort in the Bighorn Mountains by collecting blood samples from elk immediately after harvest. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department mailed blood sample kits to some elk hunters holding limited-quota licenses for hunt areas in the Bighorn Mountains. Hunters that did not receive a kit or will be hunting in a general area can obtain a blood sample collection kit at the Sheridan or Cody regional offices.

Game and Fish laboratory supervisor Hank Edwards, says, “The weather has made elk hunting in the Bighorns difficult over the past couple of weeks. As of Oct. 18, only 160 samples have arrived at the lab in Laramie. Of those, 89 are suitable for testing. A big thank-you goes to all hunters that help with these surveys.”

To collect a useable blood sample, hunters should follow these tips:

• Carry your sample kit with you in the field; collect the blood sample as soon as possible.

• Blood should be collected from the neck, heart, or chest cavity.

• The blood sample should never be frozen; it should be kept cool.

• Ship the sample as soon as possible (in one to two days) to prevent spoilage, or deliver it to the Cody or Sheridan regional offices in-person.

A video at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website (wgfd.wyo.gov), demonstrates the proper collection of a good blood sample.

 

Lady Buffs fall short of State bid

by marlys good

When it comes to the regional tournament, teams know going in that the formula for a bid to the state tournament is simple –win two before you lose two.

The Lady Buffs and Lady Cougars of Wind River found themselves in that position Saturday morning when they faced off across the net in Lander, site of the Class 2A West Regional. Unfortunately, the Lady Cougars of Wind River prevailed.

Greybull took the momentum from Friday’s lopsided victory over Rocky Mountain into the match and won the first game in overtime, 26-24. Things went downhill from there and the Cougars won the next three, 25-18, 25-20, 25-15.

“Wind River got warmed up in game two and then we had some defensive errors we didn’t adjust to,” said Coach Sara Schlattmann.  “Wind River has some big hitters that we struggled to defend against.”

Schlattmann said that much of the time when the Buffs lost during the season, it was “errors on our side of the net. But against Wind River we just seemed to get overpowered in games two, three and four. Give credit to Wind River. The Southwest Conference was very strong this year.”

Of the four state qualifiers from this side of the state, Lovell is the only team from the Northwest to advance. They will join Kemmerer (tourney champs), Wind River and Shoshoni in Casper this weekend.

After losing Friday’s opener to the scrappy Lady Blues from Shoshoni 25-15, 23-25, 22-25, 13-25, the Buffs faced a loser-out game with conference foe Rocky Mountain later that evening.

The Grizzlies had upset the Buffs in the final match of regular season and the Buffs were determined to prove that it was an upset and keep their dream of a trip to state alive.

It didn’t take them long to prove their dominance as they routed the Grizzlies in three short games, 25-6, 25-16, 25-8.

They were halfway there; just a single win away from Casper, before they were derailed by Wind River.

Schlattmann said the opening loss to the Lady Blue could be blamed on “a series of small errors over the course of the match; that made the difference.”

She was extremely pleased with the Buffs in the Rocky match. “We played phenomenal and the girls really redeemed themselves for their end-of-season loss. It was so much fun to watch the girls just take control of the match and not look back.”

Summing up her first year as head coach, Schlattmann said she couldn’t be prouder of her team and “how the girls improved over the course of the season. We definitely played some great volleyball; it was so much fun.”

The athletes had set a goal of making it to state and “they were sorely disappointed they did not make it. It is difficult when you don’t quite reach your goal. But we had other goals too. One was to become a true team that worked for each other and not individual gain. I felt like we accomplished that. Our girls worked hard to focus their efforts on believing they could win; they stayed positive, even when things weren’t going their way. Many times we were able to pull through downswings and come back and win games.”

Schlattmann said the Lady Buffs theme for the year was: “And Then Some,” an idea that to be a great team you had to work hard like all teams do; but to be great, you had to do more. It gave us focus for the season.”

The Buffs lose senior leaders Cierra Carlson and McKenna Powers to graduation this year. “I just can’t say enough good things about them,” Schlattmann said.

“They have been hard workers and dedicated athletes ever since I met them. They played significant roles on the team and were integral to our success. I enjoyed them immensely. They set quite a positive example for their teammates. I have appreciated all their hard work this year – and in past years.”

Next year should be another good one for the Buffs who have a solid core of returning players, to go with underclassmen with varsity experience. “It will pay off for us next season,” said the coach.

Schlattmann also praised assistant coach Laura Hodgson. “She was extremely helpful; it was nice to have her perspective when we were making important decisions.”

Christine Farmer, Renae Waddell and Kerri Thiel volunteer their time and that was a big help, Schlattmann said. “Having such a large team, it was nice to have more hands to help with drills.”

 

Buffs miss playoffs, finish 3-5

by nathan oster

The Lyman Eagles dashed the playoff hopes of the Greybull Buffs on Friday, winning 36-26 in a game played in Lyman.

Greybull, which needed not only a win but also help from other teams, got none of it, finishing at 3-4 in Class 2A West Conference play — a game back of Thermopolis, which at 4-3 secured the fourth and final playoff berth from the West.

While disappointed about not making the playoffs, Coach Justin Bernhardt had nothing but good things to say about this year’s squad, noting that they “played really, really well” in their finale and gave Lyman a good test, just as they had virtually every other opponent this season.

The Buffs played five 2A playoff teams in 2013, and in three of them, the margin of victory was eight points or less.  In a fourth game, the one Friday in Lyman, it was 10 points.

“If you ask me, I’d say Lyman has as good a chance as anyone of winning it all in 2A,” he said. “It was great to see our kids respond the way they did.”

The Buffs reversed one important trend in Friday game.  They had been slow starters on the road all season, but at Lyman, they were the ones to draw first blood.  A 62-yard pass from quarterback Calder Forcella to wideout Wyatt Nielson gave the Buffs a 6-0 lead at the 11:28 mark of the opening quarter.

But Lyman seized control in the second quarter. Twice, the Buffs saw drives end deep in Lyman territory — once on a fumble, the other time on an interception.  Lyman capitalized, too.  Just like that, the Buffs found themselves in a big hole.

“We should have gone in at the half at least tied — if not ahead,” said Bernhardt, citing the turnovers. “You can’t turn the ball over against anyone and expect to win — and that’s especially true against a quality team like Lyman.

“If we’d have cashed in those two drives, we’d have been in the game.”

The Buffs drew closer with scores just before half (on a 20-yard pass from Forcella to Kason Clutter) and at the 3:48 mark of the third (on a 5-yard run by Paul Stewart) to pull to within 10 points, at 28-18.

But Lyman scored in the fourth quarter, extending its lead to 36-18, before the Buffs tacked on a touchdown in the game’s final minute to pull to within 36-26 on a 30-yard pass from Forcella to Davila.

The Buffs couldn’t get much going on the ground, finishing with 52 yards on 17 attempts, but they lit it up through the air.  Forcella finished with one of his best games of the season, completing 22 of 37 passes for 324 yards.

“From start to finish, I think we clicked on offense as well as we have all year,” said Bernhardt. “We were able to run at a hurry-up tempo, more than in any other game in the two years I have been here.”

Lyman’s rushing attack was the difference, however.  The Eagles entered the game with two of the top four rushers in 2A, in Tui Magalogo and Landen Bradshaw, and with the top-rated rushing offense in 2A.

“They have the best running back in the state, and their quarterback is basically a running back playing quarterback,” he said. “I liked our defensive game plan, though. We went in there and weren’t intimidated at all. Our kids expected to win and played like it. We just didn’t get the stops we needed, when we needed them.”

The Buffs put all their defenders at the line of scrimmage, daring the Eagles to throw — and it worked. Bernhardt said he could recall only one big pass  play for the Eagles — and it came on a play when a Greybull defender was in a position to make the play but missed the ball by inches.

“The way we were in the game the whole time, as a coach, it was something fun to see,” said Bernhardt.

 

Season recap

The Buffs finished 3-5 overall — or 4-5 if you want to count their Week 0 triumph over Riverside.  But it wasn’t good enough to get them into the playoffs.  Looking back on the season, Bernhardt said the Thermop game is the one that ended up costing his team.

“In all my years of coaching, no game will haunt me like the Thermopolis game,” he said. “We got off the bus and had such a slow start in the first half, but then we came back and shut them out in the second half and played so well.  They are a good team.  They should have beaten Lovell in Lovell.  The way we came back at the end, then having the two, two-point conversions called back. It really felt like we won that game.  But on the plus side, it gave our kids confidence to do what they did the rest of the season.”

The Buffs will lose nine quality seniors (more on them and the season as a whole next week), but will return a solid nucleus, including a number of freshmen who had to step up this season. “With as much playing time as they got — and having so many juniors who have now been in the system for two years — I’m really excited about what we’re going to have next year,” he said.

That can wait, though, Bernhardt said.  Right now, it stings, not making the playoffs.

“If we’d have got in, I think we’d have had as good a short as anyone of making it to Laramie,” he said. “But the most important thing was, in every game, the kids played to the last whistle.

“Especially in this game, when we were on the road and down by a few scores, they played to the last second.  They wanted to be in the playoffs. They felt like they were a playoff team.  Even though they didn’t make it, I couldn’t be prouder of the kids for the way they never quit.  They played as hard in the fourth quarter as they did in the first, which is a real testament to them and their desire to win.”

 

Lyman 36, Greybull 26

G — Wyatt Nielson 62-yard pass from Calder Forcella.

G — Kason Clutter 20-yard pass from Forcella.

G — Paul Stewart 5-yard run.

G — Fabian Davila 30-yard pass from Forcella (Clutter pass from Forcella)

RUSHING — Greybull: 17-52 (Forcella 12-31, Stewart 5-21).

PASSING — Greybull (Forcella:) 22 of 37 for 324 yards.

RECEIVING — Clutter 10-133, Nielson 8-132, Fox 2-18, Davila 1-30, Stewart 1-11.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS — Payton Gonzalez led with 29 defensive points, coming on 14 assisted tackles and 6 solo stops as well as a fumble recovery.  Next in line was Cody Strauch with 25 (16 assisted tackles, 2 solo tackles, 1 fumble recovery), followed by Chris Ogg and Bryce Wright, each with 19 defensive points.

 

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