Daily Archives: November 16, 2013

Chamber seeks input, new members

by nathan oster

Representatives of the Greybull Area Chamber of Commerce have been pounding the pavement perhaps like never before, trying to solicit input about past, present and future chamber efforts and sell memberships for the new year.

It’s all part of an effort to “build a great new chamber,” said Sue Anderson, the chamber’s executive director and a member of its membership committee, along with Julie Bilbrey, Sherri Emmett, Selena Brown and Donette Prows.

In the last couple of weeks, the chamber has distributed comprehensive surveys to all 79 of its members, and Anderson said in an e-mail to chamber members that many of them have already been returned.

The input has been “uplifting,” she said. “It’s been great, as far as the new ideas that are coming through that process.”

The membership committee is also going to be making a better attempt this year to reach businesses who have left chamber or who have never been members of the chamber.

“We’re also letting folks know that there are many changes in the works within the chamber, and lately it has become an exciting idea factory (which almost all of us are giddy about, but also slightly overwhelmed),” said Bilbrey. “One change already implemented is that we have modified the bylaws to allow the membership to elect board members. We are inviting nominations to the board on the first page of the survey, so please write in few names that you believe would be positive additions to the board – and watch for a ballot headed your way around Dec. 1.”

Anderson said that with 79 active members, a little more than half of local business are chamber members.  When she started, there were just 42.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good support,” she said.

But even more is needed if the chamber is going to continue to evolve.  Anderson said membership fees make up more than half of the chamber’s annual revenue.  They range in price from a low of $40 per year, which is the fee for individuals and nonprofit organizations, to a high of $255, which is the going rate for a business with more than 16 employees.

For those interested in joining, a membership form can be found on the chamber’s website, www.greybull.com.

So what has the chamber been doing?  And how, specifically, has it been promoting the town?

According to the chamber, some of its more significant recent accomplishments include:

• Joined GoExplore Wyoming

• Co-sponsored the Greybull Community Assessment with the Greybull Economic Development Board

• Welcomed chamber volunteer Selena Brown

• Modified bylaws transferring election of board members to membership

• Teamed up with the town on the 2013 Holidazzle planning

• Developed the “Rally Round the Fire Pit” holiday shopping promotion

• Distributed 79 surveys to active chamber members

• Hosted a hospitality meeting for area lodging businesses

Among its “in progress” projects are distributing 41 surveys to inactive chamber members in the hopes of winning them back, distributing 200-plus surveys to potential chamber members, developing “welcome bags” for new utility customers, and implementing a comprehensive and long overdue “facelift” for all things chamber (while not changing things that are working well).

On the horizon are the release of the community assessment results and the chamber survey results, development of area activities and events and participation in the Main Street program.

 

Want to serve on board?

If you would like to serve on the chamber board, there will likely be two openings for 2014.

The seven-member board currently consists of Julie Owens, Barbara Anne Greene, Jade Smith, Ernie Smith, Bilbrey, Prows and Emmett.

Smith and Greene have announced that they will leave the board at the end of the year.

Board mulls changes to salary schedule

by nathan oster

Teachers in Big Horn County School District No. 3 may soon have a higher bar to overcome if they want to earn more through advancement on the district’s salary schedule.

The board of trustees on Tuesday night discussed, and in the end tabled, a proposal from their superintendent, Barry Bryant, that would have frozen the BA46 and BA 60 lanes on the schedule, effective Oct. 20, 2014.

The board will pick up the discussion in November.

Bryant, clearly, supports the change.  He noted that while the base for teacher pay in the school district ranks in the bottom half of all district’s statewide, teachers in Greybull make up for it over time.

Teachers are paid on a schedule that takes into account their years of service (vertical) and their education/training (horizontal). Bryant’s proposal dealt with the horizontal “lanes” — and in particular, the BA45 and BA60 lanes which sit between the BA30 and MA 15 lanes.

BA, it should be noted, denotes bachelor’s degree, while MA denotes master’s degrees.

Bryant said that when it comes to both the horizontal lanes and the vertical steps, the district pays its teachers well, in comparison to the rest of the state.  In fact, he said almost all districts have frozen or done away with the BA45 and BA60 lanes as a way of encouraging teachers to obtain master’s degrees in order to move past BA30 on the pay scale.

Bryant admitted that his proposal isn’t universally loved by the district’s teachers, noting that it’s probably 50/50.  One teacher who spoke against it was Ralph Wensky, who teaches industrial arts at the high school.

Wensky, who is coming up on the BA 45 lane, said he’d be negatively impacted. In his case, credits haven’t been awarded for a lot of the classes that he has taken, and for that reason, the BA 45 has seemed like “the carrot on the end of the stick.” With young children still at home, pursuing a master’s degree isn’t feasible at this time, he said, adding it would leave him stuck in a lane for the foreseeable future.

Trustee Jean Petty said she isn’t sold on the recommendation, noting that she has received some negative feedback from teachers.

Bryant said during the discussion that teachers would have until Oct. 20, 2014 to apply for horizontal movement on the pay scale for the BA45 and BA60 lanes.  After that time, those lanes would be frozen indefinitely.  The lanes would be removed from the pay scale altogether once the last person who had achieved them leaves the district.

“It definitely will make it harder for them to move horizontally,” he said.

Trustee Eddie Johnson raised the possibility of negotiating the matter with teachers at contract time, rather than simply approving it as a board action.  Bryant said he’d do that, if it was the board’s wish — but emphasized that it wouldn’t be his recommendation.

He emphasized that, “If we are expecting more rigor out of our kids, we should also expect more rigor out of our teachers.”

 

Personnel

The board signed off on two personnel moves, accepting the resignation of Justin Bernhardt, head football coach and summer weight room supervisor at GHS and hiring Marisela Castro to work in food service.

Bernhardt coached the GHS football team for two seasons, compiling a 3-5 record this fall.  His resignation was effective Nov. 4.

A timeline for filling the vacant position was discussed. Supt. Barry Bryant said he and GHS Principal Ty Flock have heard from some who think the position should opened, advertised and filled immediately. But Bryant said they would rather wait, since neither knows at this time which teachers might be leaving or who might be replacing them.  It’s possible, Bryant said, that a teacher the district hires might be qualified to coach football.

The timeline they propose calls for the position to be opened from Feb. 1-28, interviews to occur March 4 and for them to make a hiring recommendation to the board on March 11.

Trustee Steve Hoblit asked about what becomes of the current assistant coaches, wondering aloud if the new coach will want to have a say about who his assistant coaches are.  Trustee Dale Nuttall said he believes the head coach should have a say.

Flock suggested that the prudent course at this point would be to sit down with the current assistant coaches get their thoughts, something he plans to do in the coming days.

As for the food service position, Bryant said he was recommending Castro to replace Melanie Craft, but that he wanted her to be hired for 25 hours per week (five hours a day, five days a week) and on a temporary basis, ending when the current school year ends in May.

The board approved his recommendation.

In addition, it will be a non-benefited position, meaning no insurance benefits.  The district will be required, however, to pay her retirement benefits.

Bryant said recent changes like the addition of a-la-carte and lunches-to-go and a planned launch of a breakfast-to-go program after the first of the year are efforts to lure students back to the lunchroom.

“We’re trying to have a restaurant mentality,” he said.  “Like today, for example. Lunch wasn’t well attended.  Maybe we need to say when that happens, ‘It’s time to take that off the menu.’  Replace it with something else.”

Bryant said the job of a cook isn’t an easy one, especially when it comes to working within the nutritional guidelines established by the United State Department of Agriculture.

That said, if the changes don’t work, Bryant said he’d have no choice but to take action at the end of the year.  Last year, the district finished the year with a shortfall of around $132,000 in its food service budget.

It’s a problem throughout the county — just to a lesser degree.  Bryant said Big Horn County School District is running about $100,000 in the hole, District 2 slightly less than $100,000 and District 4 about $60,000.

One thing working against the district is the fact that it runs two kitchens. The elementary kitchen serves around 200 students each day, the secondary kitchen around 150.

 

In other business Tuesday night:

• The board honored Justin Howe and Mike Blissett as the district’s stakeholders of the month.  Howe was not present, but Blissett was.  Bryant praised Blissett, who is in his third year as a math teacher at the high school, for his work with Worland swimming program.

• Hanson Jordan was officially recognized as the district’s teacher of the year.  The award was worth $1,000 to Jordan, a math teacher at the middle school.

• Trustee Selena Brown announced plans for the Holidazzle celebration on Dec. 14 and encouraged the school district to participate in some way in the day’s festivities.

• Chairman Mike Meredith offered a salute to all of the teachers in the district. “Teachers are professionals, licensed by the state and they earn salaries,” he said. “They don’t get paid for all of the hours they put in.  Walk into a school any day.  You’ll find teachers there at 7 a.m., leaving at 5 p.m.  They are doing their darndest to educate the youth of this school district.”

• The board approved the home-school registration of two students, ages 8 and 6.

• In an attempt to get a jump on the hiring process, the board agreed to offer a stipend of $500 to any certified staff who notify the district in writing of their intent to resign or retire by Feb. 15 of each year.

Bryant, who made the recommendation, said it’s $500 well spend, in the sense that knowing early in the process gives the district a chance to quickly find a replacement.  When employees wait until April or May to announce, the district typically has a tougher time filling the position with a qualified applicant, Bryant said.

The stipend program will be implemented on a one-year trial basis

•The board approved multiple requests from certified staff to donate leave/vacation days to Diana Stephens, a classified employee in the district.

• The board gave first readings to several policy changes, including one related to personnel records and files that was recommended by the district’s attorney.  The change deals with the filing of medical records.

Another change closed a loophole that allowed both professional and support staff personnel to leave before the end of the year and take all of their leave for the same year before earning it.

One of the policies is a new one, dealing with blood-borne pathogens. It stemmed from the discovery that the district had a regulation, but no policy backing it up.

The final two policies dealt with wellness and homeless children, both of which were based on recommendations from the district’s attorney.

• In administrative reports, all three buildings reported dips in attendance at the recent parent-teacher conferences.  All three principals are also sifting through results of MAP testing, which were a mixed bag of positive and negative feedback for the district’s schools.

GMS Principal Scott McBride said his building ran conferences from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. — and discovered that the big rush occurred around 7 a.m., before most people headed to work.  Next time, conferences will likely be set between 11 and 7 p.m.  McBride added that the school fell short of its “Caught Being Good” goal, but is off to a good start in the second quarter.

Director of Special Services Lee Clucas said there are 85 students in the district presently receiving special services and that staff members have been brushing up on their training, particularly in the area of autism.

Bryant reported that progress is being made toward the installation of the modular classrooms, which are intended to ease the overcrowding at the elementary school.  On a town-related topic, he said the School Facilities Commission, while saying it’s possible, stopped short of actually recommending that the district sell land near the elementary school to the town, which was eyeing the area between the K-2 playground the tennis courts as a site for its swimming pool and/or splash pad.  Bryant said he was also encouraged by the district’s attorney to oppose a plan by Doug Youngerman, the town’s animal control officer, to develop a dog park in the same area between the playground and the tennis courts.

Armstrong leaves GPD after seven years

by nathan oster

Sgt. Shannon Armstrong has left the Greybull Police Department.

Chief Bill Brenner said Armstrong’s last day with the department was Nov. 5.  He would not go into specifics about why Armstrong resigned, saying only that it was a personnel matter and could not comment.

Armstrong spent seven years with the GPD.

In fact, Brenner noted that Armstrong was the last holdover from his original group of hirings, which occurred after the department was re-established.

Brenner said Armstrong was “a very valued employee” who whose contributions went far beyond the time he spent patrolling the street.

“He donated a lot of time to this town,” said Brenner.

Armstrong had risen to the rank of sergeant, a notch below Brenner on the department’s organizational chart.  Brenner will now handle those responsibilities, in addition to his own, until another sergeant is promoted.

As of Monday, the department hadn’t received a written letter of resignation from Armstrong, and for that reason, it was holding off on advertising for his replacement.  It will begin shortly, Brenner said.

The GPD now has four officers, counting Brenner. The others are Greg Hess, Sean Alquist and Brent Casey.

Armstrong had also been serving as the department’s K-9 handler. With Santana getting up in age, the council decided two years ago to transfer ownership of the dog to Armstrong, so he will get to keep his four-legged friend.

Brenner said he plans to push for the town to get another drug dog.  “A dog is a valuable tool that we use to combat illegal drugs in our community,” he said. “I don’t feel like we can do without one.”

Daniel Roy Herrin

July 13, 1918 – Nov. 7, 2013

A Mass of Christian Burial for Daniel Roy Herrin was held Monday, Nov. 11 at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Greybull. Daniel, 95, died at his home in Greybull Nov. 7.

He was born July 13, 1918, in St. Paul, Minn., the son of Charles and Catherine Conolly Herrin. He grew up and received his schooling in St. Paul.

He married Marcella Ann Johnson in St. Paul on Oct. 12, 1940. They were married for 73 years and received a plaque for being the longest married couple in the state of Wyoming.

Daniel served in the United States Marine Corp from 1944-1946, stationed in Okinawa, the South Pacific and China.

He was a meat inspector for the United States Department of Agriculture until he retired.

Daniel enjoyed shooting, hunting, reading Civil War history and watching old movies. He was very active up to the age of 90; he jogged and rode his bicycle every day. He loved having coffee with “the guys” at Uptown Café.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Church of the Sacred Heart and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

His parents, son Charles Herrin, sister Molly, granddaughter Kathryn, and great-grandson Logan preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife Marcella of Greybull; two daughters and a son-in-law, Julie and Leroy Nollette of Sherwood, Ore. and Ellen Herrin of Casper; son and daughter-in-law, Daniel and Becky Herrin of Basin; 15 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Burial was in the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial cemetery in Greybull.

Janice Helen Budd

June 18, 1932 – Nov. 1, 2013

Funeral services for former Greybull resident Janice Helen Budd of Cheyenne were held Nov. 5 in Cheyenne. Janice, 81, died Nov. 1 at Davis Hospice in Cheyenne.

She was born June 18, 1932, in St. Cloud, Minn., the daughter of Leslie Taylor Brinkman and Olga Sophie Jacobson Brinkman.

She married Bertel “Bert” Budd on July 19, 1952, in St. Paul, Minn. The couple moved from Minnesota to Wyoming in 1955. Her husband taught and coached at Greybull Junior High School during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

They moved to Cheyenne in 1964.

Janice served as an administrative assistant for Dildine Elementary School for many years. She served as the “temporary” choir director at her church for 27 years and sang with the Mother Singers.

In her younger years she enjoyed square dancing. A talented seamstress, she sewed dresses to match Bert’s square dancing shirts.

Janice was a member of the Laramie County Retired Education Personnel and the Gideon’s Auxiliary. She was a dedicated member of Sun Valley Community Church (formerly Calvary Baptist).

Her parents, and a son, Glenn Allen, preceded her in death.

She is survived by her husband Bert; one son, Brian; six daughters Becky Casey, Kim Reisner, Pam Goodwin, Vicky Kmetz, Dawn Rimby and Kristi Beyer; one sister, Joyce Brinkman; 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Hill, Cheatham advance in PPK

by nathan oster

Denver, here we come!

Two Greybull teens, Brock Hill and Shayla Cheatham, are heading to the Mile High City next month to compete in the next round of the Punt, Pass and Kick competition and be guests of the Broncos when they face the Tennessee Titans.

Brock and Shayla qualified for the “team championship” round of PPK by posting distances at the recent sectional competition that ranked among the top four in Bronco territory, which encompasses several states.

Both won their respective age groups at the sectional competition held Oct. 20 in Riverton.

Shayla, the daughter of Jason and Shalene Cheatham, won the local competition with a combined distance on her punt, pass and kick of 131 feet. Her mom, Shalene, didn’t know for certain what her total distance was at sectionals — she thought it was around 221 feet — just that “she did really well compared to what she did here.”

Shayla, who had never participated in PPK before this year, is now one of four qualifiers listed in the 10- and 11-year-old age on the official PPK website.  The others are Lauren Law, Remy Minton and Mackenzie Rask.

Shalene said she doesn’t expect her daughter to go overboard practicing for the next round, outside of her usual activities, which include getting pointers Jeff Hunt, a fifth-grade teacher and assistant football coach.  “She’s just doing it for fun,” she said, “and not treating it like it’s some big deal.”

Shayla enjoys all sports, particularly volleyball and basketball.  But she’s also a big football fan — and her favorite team, as luck would have it, is the Broncos.  Ditto for Shalene, who said she has wanted to see a Broncos game in person since she was a kid.

“It was just never one of those expenses that took priority” over the other financial needs of the family,” she said. “Funny how things work out.  I take care of my kid — and now she’s taking me to a Broncos game.”

For the Hills, Dusty and Missy, it’s a case of been there, done that, although they are every bit as excited now as they were when their oldest son, Riley, went on a PPK run that carried him all the way to the national competition.

This time, it’s Brock’s turn. A seventh grader, he’s listed as one of four qualifiers in the 12- and 13-year-old age group, along with Elias Espinoza, Tyson Madson and Luke Martin.  Like Shayla, he’ll be competing Dec. 8 at the Bronco’s Dove Valley training complex.

Brock turned in a big effort at sectionals, finishing with a total combined distance of 341 feet, 2 inches.  He was consistent across the board, with a pass that sailed 113-8, a punt of 115-10 and a kick of 111-8.

Missy said Brock was Riley’s “biggest practice partner” in the two years when he was gearing up for the team competition in Denver — so in that way, it’s rewarding to see him now get his own chance on the big stage.

“I think he’s pretty excited,” Missy said. “Brock is a little more reserved than Riley, but he’s into this competition. He didn’t practice much before sectionals, but he still improved by something like 50 feet.”

Missy said both of her boys said before the sectional round that didn’t care if they made it to nationals — they just wanted to make it to Denver “so to they could watch Peyton play,” a reference to the Denver quarterback.

Mission accomplished.  Missy said PPK provides two game tickets for each qualifier — and they are now trying to find three more seats so that the entire family can see the game.  With the Broncos sitting at 8-1 and playing well, tickets are a lot harder to come by now than they were when Riley went.

The top four high scorers in each of the 10 age divisions from all 32 team championship events advance to the PPK national championships, which will take place at a January NFL playoff game.

As a postscript to the story, Shalene Cheatham asked that Sara Schlattmann and Big Horn Federal be recognized for providing trophies for the local competition.  Had they not done so, the top finishers would have simply received a certificate from PPK.

“It was very generous on their part,” she said.

One-point losses spoil otherwise perfect week

by nathan oster

With a little better free-throw shooting, Greybull Middle School’s top eighth-grade team might have gone undefeated last week.  Instead, it had to settle for a still very solid 2-1, posting wins over Lovell and Rocky Mountain after a narrow one-point loss to Cody earlier in the week.

Coach Jared Collingwood was out of town for the Nov. 5 game against Cody, and his team played well in his absence.  Jim Prather, the high school coach, manned the bench for GMS and nearly led his troops to the win.

Free-throw shooting was the difference in the one-point, 27-26 loss. Greybull was 1 of 13 from the stripe.  It was the team’s first loss of the season.

Miguel Gomez led with 10, followed by Braeden Tracy with six, Max Mills and Riley Hill with four apiece and Brayan Castro with two.

Greybull won the B game 21-12, getting eight from Mason Werbelow, four from Eduardo Burgos and Morgan Dowling, three from Jovani Garay and two from Brayan Castro.

GMS bounced back well on Saturday, beating Lovell 38-29 and Rocky Mountain 29-22.

Collingwood, back on the bench, said his team didn’t play particularly well against a Lovell team it should have dominated. “We did not execute offensively and allowed a lot of easy baskets that they should have contested and done a better job against,” he said. “We did not box out, either, and gave up multiple second-shot opportunities.”

Tracy paced GMS with 12, followed by Mills and Gomez with nine apiece, Castro with three, Hill two and Korbin Adams one.

The team played better against Rocky Mountain — “but still far from our potential,” said Collingwood.  The coach didn’t like his team’s mental lapses and inconsistent play, but said he saw some good things, as well.  The young Buffs handled the half-court trap, running their press breaker very well, and they adjusted well to the Rocky Mountain zone, which gave them fits in the first 1 1/2 quarters.

Hill led GMS with eight, followed by Tracy with seven, Gomez four, Adams and Mills three apiece and Werbelow and Burgos two apiece.

“We must have missed 10-plus layups during each game, so we plan on spending a lot of time (this week in practice) working on layups, bunnies and shots around the basket … finish with contact!”

 

Younger teams

The younger GMS teams won two of three, defeating Cody 34-23 and Lovell 36-20 before losing a 41-40 overtime heartbreaker to Rocky Mountain.

Coach Ken Jensen said of the Cody game, “We played very well in this game and showed improvement in several areas that we have been concentrating on.”

The team followed that up with “a pretty solid game” against Lovell, beating the Bulldog for the second time this season.  Jensen said the team got good contributions from two players in particular: Abe Mendez and Gage Hunt.

Jensen called Rocky Mountain “the best seventh-grade team we’ve seen so far,” but quickly noted that it was a difficult game to lose. “I tell the kids, ‘I don’t mind getting beat, but I hate to lose,’ and this was one of those games,” he said. “We played hard, but not well.  We had way too many turnovers and shot a miserable percentage on layups.”

In spite of all that, Rocky Mountain still needed a “desperation three at the buzzer” to send the game into overtime.  “We gave the game away,” he said. “But it was a good experience to be in a close game for a change, and learn that every missed shot, or missed rebound, or turnover, or loss of man — no matter if it’s in the first or last quarter — could end up costing us the game, and that’s exactly what happened. Hopefully we’ll react better next time.”

GMS hosts a quadrangular with Ten Sleep and Meeteetse on Saturday.