Monthly Archives: August 2014
by nathan oster
Sixty-five percent of Big Horn County’s registered voters cast ballots in the Aug. 19 primary election.
While that percentage tops the statewide turnout — set at 46 percent by Secretary of State Max Maxfield — and the 59 percent turnout for the 2012 primary, it lags behind the last two primaries in which county department heads and the state’s top five elected officials appeared on the ballot.
In 2006, turnout was 71 percent.
In 2010, it was 72 percent.
The 65-percent turnout this year is a reflection of numbers provided this week by the Big Horn County Clerk’s Office. The total does not include new voters who registered on Election Day.
Countywide, the 5,548 registered voters cast 3,628 ballots.
The county continues to see an increase in absentee ballots. Annette Dillon, the deputy elections clerk, said the county clerk’s office mailed out 599 absentee ballots and that 559 of those were returned.
In the 2012 primary, the one county post that appeared on the ballot was a single seat on the commission. This year all the department heads were up for re-election. Most ran unopposed. In the GOP races that were contested, Kim Adams topped incumbent Michelle Burns for county attorney, Serena Lipp won a four-way race for clerk of the district court and Felix Carrizales and John Hyde outpolled Keith Grant to be the Republican nominees for two seats on the commission.
With 73 percent of its registered voters (44 out of 60) going to the polls, Emblem finished with the highest voter turnout in last week’s primary. Other precincts that topped the 70-percent mark included Greybull at 71 percent (811 out of 1138), Shell at 70 percent (199 of 284) and Basin at 70 percent (572 out of 808).
Frannie and Deaver had the lowest turnouts, each coming in at 53 percent. In Deaver, 58 of 108 cast ballots. In Deaver it was 54 out of 101.
Statewide numbers were lower, according to a release from the office of Secretary of State Max Maxfield.
“Based on unofficial results from the county clerks, voter turnout for the primary election was 46 percent of those who are registered to vote,” said Maxfield.
According to State Election Director Peggy Nighswonger, that percentage is comparable to turnout for the primary elections in 2010 and 2006 when the five state elected officials were on the ballot. Voter turnout in the 2010 primary was 51 percent and 46 percent in the 2006 primary.
“Turnout is generally much higher for the general election,” Nighswonger explained. “So if history repeats itself, we’ll likely see a lot more people at the polls on Nov. 4.”
by nathan oster
Scott Mattis and Rod Collingwood received the most write-in votes for the two expiring seats on the Greybull Town Council and will be challenging Richard “Pappy” Capen and Les Lowe in the November general election.
Two-hundred seventy write-in votes were cast in the Aug. 19 primary election.
Scott Mattis, with 80, received the most votes, followed by Collingwood with 78.
The Big Horn County Clerk’s Office on Friday informed both men that they were eligible to join the race for the two council seats now held by Bob McGuire and Ross Jorgensen, neither of whom sought re-election.
Annette Dillon, who works in the clerk’s office, indicated that Mattis and Collingwood have accepted the write-in nominations.
The other write-in candidates who would have qualified to join the race, had either Mattis or Collingwood declined their nominations, were Brian Terry with 23 write-ins, followed by David Bernard with 18, Dave Havener with 11, Leah Herren with 10, John King with eight, Nate Kreider with seven, Alan Bentley with three and Bob McGuire with three.
Capen received the most votes in last week’s election, receiving 240. Les Lowe was next in line with 224. Jennifer Lowe, who within days of filing earlier this summer dropped out of the race, received 106 votes. The official election return also shows 294 over votes and 18 under votes.
In the race for Greybull mayor, Myles Foley was officially credited with 304 votes, or 53 percent, and Bob Graham with 258 votes, or 45 percent. There were four write-in votes, no under votes and 10 over votes.
The Wyoming Lottery Corporation on Monday reported $1,000 in sales per minute for the first hour of ticket sales on Sunday, Aug. 24.
Between noon, when lottery sales opened, and midnight, there was $198,612 in sales the first day. ALF’s Pub and Package Liquors in Cheyenne and KIKS Chevron in Evanston tied for top retailer sales at $2,050 each, followed by $1,079 in sales at the Holiday Station in Sheridan where the first lottery ticket was sold.
Total Powerball® sales were $130,578 with Powerball sales being $108,910 and Power Play sales being $21,668. Powerball tickets cost $2 for each play plus $1 for each Power Play chosen. Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 8:59 p.m. Ticket sales close at 8 p.m.
Total Mega Millions® sales were $68,034 with Mega Million sales being $49,979 with Megaplier sales being $18,055. A Mega Millions ticket costs $1 for each play plus $1 for each Megaplier chosen. Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 8:59 p.m. Ticket sales close at 8 p.m.
“We had a very good grand opening day, showing the tremendous support that Wyoming residents have for the lottery,” said Wyoming Lottery CEO, Jon Clontz. “The credit also goes to the dedicated retailers, many of whom held their own launch parties.”
On Sunday, Mary Ogg, a 67-year-old grandmother from Sheridan, made Wyoming history when she bought the first two lottery tickets at the Holiday Station, located on the corner of Brundage and Coffeen in Sheridan. She was chosen randomly from among the more than 27,000 entrants in a giveaway the Lottery created to promote the launch of the lottery. In addition to purchasing the first lottery ticket sold in Wyoming, Ogg also won a 2014 Jeep Wrangler and free Mega Millions tickets for a year.
When asked what she thought about being the central figure in a historic day for the Wyoming Lottery, Ogg responded, “I really did not believe that this was happening to this old lady.”
At the busy Holiday Station, WyoLotto officials held a ceremonial ribbon cutting attended by the Wyoming Lottery Board, legislators, local elected officials, the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and the general public. After Ogg bought the first ticket, a line of people wrapped around the counter and trailed outside as they waited for their chance to buy first-day tickets. The Lottery also hosted a small community celebration with games, barbecue and live music to mark this historic occasion.
The most lottery tickets were sold in Natrona County, which reported sales of $36,450. Sweetwater ranked second with $24,855, followed by Laramie with $22,028, Uinta with $17,378 and Campbell with $17,693. Big Horn County reported sales of $2,793.
For more information about where Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are sold in Wyoming, visit www.wyolotto.com.
by marlys good
The Capitol, Congress, White House, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Arlington National Cemetery. The American History, Natural History and Air & Space museums. The Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt memorials. Memorials dedicated to the Korean Conflict, World War II, Iwo Jima, and Martin Luther King Jr.
For 25 consecutive summers Ken Jensen has given dozens of Greybull students the opportunity to see all of the above and far more as he chaperoned tours of Washington D.C.
The tour this summer was the “swan song” for Jensen, who retired in May after 41 years of teaching at Greybull Middle School.
“Another wonderful group of Greybull students (nine) and adults,” summed it up for Jensen. Students in the “tour group” were Ralph Petty, Kyla Hutchins, Braeden Tracy, Bayley Burns, Tatem Edeler, Gage Hunt, Austyn Sheets, Emily Bottom and Morgan Haley. Chaperones we Kathy Jensen, Debbie Bottom, Melanie Edeler, Scott McColloch and Nolan Tracy.
“We missed out on some things due to circumstances beyond our control,” Jensen said, “such as meeting with our congressional delegation. But we were able to do some things we haven’t done much of in the past, such as getting into the Supreme Court chamber, the Senate chamber, visiting the Air & Space Museum at Dulles Airport. This year’s group made our first visit to the Newseum,” which Jensen explained is “an interactive museum focused on the history of news coverage in our country, by newspaper, radio and television.”
The annual tours have included visits to Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Jensen’s personal favorite spot, Charlottesville, Va., and a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello.
The 24 hours spent either in an airport or on an airplane on their way home are something the group will remember for at least as long as they remember the trip itself.
The travelers arrived at Dulles Airport at 3:30 p.m. to check in for their 6 p.m. flight. Mother Nature intervened and the flight was cancelled; they finally took off at midnight, which meant they had missed their connecting flight in Denver.
The students claimed sleeping spots on an empty concourse at DIA, making sure they were near power poles with outlets so they could charge all of their electronics while the adults took turns staying awake to keep an eye on the weary teenagers.
They finally caught a flight to Billings and landed at Logan International at 2:30 p.m.
“The adults and students were great throughout the entire ordeal; it gave us some great stories to tell our families and friends,” Jensen said.
Summing up this and the prior trips, Jensen said, “It is a huge commitment in time and money for all of the families involved. I can’t thank these families enough for both providing this opportunity to their children, and allowing me the privilege of accompanying them on tours of our nation’s capitol and sharing my love of American history with them. You have given your children and me memories that will never be forgotten.”
by marlys good
The last two weeks have been hectic on the GHS volleyball court. With 34 girls vying for starting positions and playing time at both the varsity and junior varsity levels, Coach Sara Schlattmann said, “It can be a bit crazy at times. All of the girls have been working very hard. I will be hard to narrow it down.”
Among the talented seniors vying for starting positions is Brett Stephens, a “floor leader,” named to the 2013 all-conference team. “She will have an even bigger role this year,” predicted Schlattmann.
The coaches have been focusing on the basics of passing and serving because “this early in the season we have many areas that need improvement.”
The varsity opens action at the North Big Horn Invitational in Lovell Friday. “I anticipate taking about 10 varsity players but I haven’t determined that quite yet,” she said.
The Buffs join Kemmerer, Lovell and Meeteetse in Pool A with Cody, Burlington, Rocky Mountain and Wind River sharing Pool B. Teams will be seeded into Saturday’s bracketed tournament from scores in pool play.
“The Lovell tournament is good because it kind of gives us a sense of our strengths and weaknesses,” Schlattmann said.
“Our biggest strengths right now are effort and attitude. It has been exciting to watch the girls really play for each other and yet remain competitive. Many of the drills we do are competitive so it gives the girls a little extra incentive to focus and finish strong.”
Schlattmann has three weeks to fine-tune the team for the conference opener versus Shoshoni Sept. 19. The Lady Blues have moved from “south” to “north” in the 2A West, taking the place vacated by Lovell when the Bulldogs moved up to 3A.
“I think Shoshoni will certainly be tough,” said the coach. “They return a lot of starters from last year’s team that nearly won a state title, so I look for them to be a team to beat. I don’t think you can count any one of the teams in the conference out. Each has some strong talented returning players, including Greybull. It will be interesting to see how teams, and players, have grown since last season.”
Schlattmann’s assistant coach is Michaela Williams, “a great addition to the program and she comes from a strong volleyball background out of Bridger, Mont.,” Schlattmann explained. “She was a member of three state championship teams and certainly knows the game. I enjoy having her provide sound advice.”
Williams will be on the sidelines for the JV Buffs at Rocky Mountain High School.
Greybull opens versus Wind River at 3 p.m., followed by a match with Cody at 5 p.m.
Saturday it’s Lovell and Rocky Mountain for the Buffs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.
Funeral services for George David Michaels of Burlington were held Aug. 16 at the LDS Church in Burlington. George, 89, died Aug. 12 at the Spirit Mountain Hospice House in Cody.
He was born Dec. 2, 1924, the son of John and Elnora Nicholson Michaels, the youngest of five boys. He attended a little one-room schoolhouse south of the river called Saint Joe through his elementary years. He started high school in Basin, but then attended school in Burlington where he graduated with the Class of 1943. George attended the University of Wyoming for one quarter, but then returned home to farm.
He married Delila Salmela in Almy, Wyo., in 1955. They lived on a farm south of the river in Burlington where their four children, Gordon, Roger, Carol and Larry, were born.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his four brothers and sisters-in-law and his oldest son, Gordon, who died at the age of 3 1/2 years.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Delila; two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert and Marianne Michaels and Larry and Cathy Michaels; one daughter and son-in-law, Rex and Carol Michaels Williams; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
He was laid to rest beside his son Gordon in the Burlington Cemetery.
Oct. 5, 1921 – July 23, 2014
Graveside services for former Greybull resident Frances Ruth Blumenshine of Thermopolis were held July 29 at Mountain View Cemetery in Riverton. Frances, 92, died July 23 in the Wyoming Pioneer Home.
She was born Oct. 5, 1921, in Rawlins, the daughter of James and Jenesena Pedersen Lamont. She was raised on the family’s sheep ranch in Lamont that included a general store and post office. She graduated from Rawlins High School in 1938.
She married Daniel Blumenshine Feb. 18, 1940, in Riverton. She and Dan farmed at Arapaho for 31 years.
The Blumenshines lived in Greybull for 25 years where they managed the Shoe Shoppe until 1984.
In 1999 she moved to Lander. She was a bookkeeper at Girard and Company for 12 1/2 years.
Frances was a member of BPO Does and the Rebekahs.
Her husband Dan, daughter Coleen Wimpenney, her parents, a great grandson and her foster sister, Christine Johnson, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Ron and Kathy Cunningham of Lander; son-in-la William K. Wimpenney of Eugene, Ore.; two brothers, James Lamont of Denver and Albert Lamont of Norwalk, Calif.; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Memorials can be mailed directly to Fremont County Youth Camp, Box 470, Lander, WY 82520.
by nathan oster
Mabry Anders may be gone, but he hasn’t been forgotten.
Earlier this month, a group of motorcyclists on a 2,000-mile trek that stretched from the West Coast to Mount Rushmore made a stop in Greybull to honor Mabry’s ultimate sacrifice and the family that he left behind, including his father, Dan Anders, who still resides here.
Wednesday — Aug. 27 — will mark the two-year anniversary of Mabry’s death, and while much more is known today about how Mabry died in the line of duty in Afghanistan, it hasn’t eased the pain of his father. On his wrist, Dan wears a bracelet bearing his son’s name, an ever-present reminder of who he was and what he did for the country that he loved.
“It means something, the way he died,” said Dan. “Not everybody has that with a dead child. But at least there was some meaning to it. Even if you don’t believe in the war, Mabry was doing what America wanted him to do. He died a hero.”
Mabry grew up in Big Horn County, attending school in Basin and Greybull between 1993 and 2004. He started high school in Greybull, but three quarters of the way through his freshman year, he moved to Baker City, Ore. In 2009, he graduated.
Mabry was determined to follow in his family’s footsteps.
Dan, his father, had been in the U.S. Marines from 1985-90, serving as a mechanic, and with the Army working as a civilian before returning to his roots in Big Horn County. His service continues, as for the past 16 years, he’s been on the south-end search-and-rescue team.
Mabry’s mother Genevieve, was in the Army.
Both his grandfathers served — Gary Anders was in the Navy, Ken Loecker the Army.
Interestingly, Ken, Dan and Mabry all spent time on the same base in Korea.
Mabry landed in Afghanistan in March of 2012. His primary role was as a mechanic and recovery wrecker operator.
Through Facebook and other forms of messaging, Mabry and his father remained close.
“With the time difference, he’d be going to bed when I was getting up,” said Dan.
Dan said he treasured those interactions with his son halfway around the globe.
But almost from the start, he sensed that things weren’t going well.
“He was worried,” Dan recalls. “They would get hit with mortar attacks. There were Afghans on the base — and the mortars would never hit where the Afghans were on the base.”
Dan said several attacks on the base never made the news. In one, a base was burned to the ground and Mabry lost all of his possessions — clothing, computer, everything. That happened about two months after he arrived. In another, a suicide bomber killed one of his brigade’s most revered leaders.
As the calendar turned to August, Mabry found himself going out on route clearance missions, looking for IEDs left by the terrorists. A Reuters story that was published in September of 2012 described how, on Aug. 27, 2014, young Mabry lost his life.
According to that story — which can be read in its entirety online — Anders and Christopher Birdwell of Windsor, Colo. “were part of an early morning clearance mission near the Afghan town of Kalagush when the lead vehicle in their convoy hit a bomb.
“Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are hardly a novelty … and troops know how to respond. Soldiers in the convoy quickly secured the area and Anders went to help load the damaged vehicle for transport.
“The American patrol had the road blocked to ensure security. But the Afghan soldiers approaching in another convoy were not seen as a potential threat, and were allowed to pass. On board that convoy was Welayat Khan.”
Anders and Birdwell had been trained to trust Afghan soldiers.
The story continued: “Khan was sitting in his gun turret mounted on a vehicle in the Afghan convoy. At 8:10 in the morning, as his vehicle passed Anders and Birdwell, Khan took aim at the Americans and fired.”
Khan jumped out of the Afghan vehicle and started to run. He didn’t make it very far. An American helicopter arrived in minutes and shot Khan dead less than a kilometer away, according to a U.S. Army spokesman.
Unaware of what had happened, Dan said he awoke one morning to read that two soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan. The initial story from the Karzai government was that an Afghan solder had dropped his gun and that it had discharged, killing two Americans.
It was about midday when Anders got the call. His ex-wife in Oregon was on the line, informing him of his son’s death. Through news accounts and first-hand accounts from people who were serving with his son, Dan has been able to piece it all together.
Khan was raised in a deeply religious family in the mountain range of Shor Khil, a collection of about 100 mud-built houses near the Tora Bora mountains not far from the Pakistan border. In that same Reuters story, family members described Khan as unstable and prone to fits of rage.
After his death, the Taliban made claims that Khan was embedded, working for them the entire time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Khan’s family members offered a different account. While celebrating him as a martyr, they placed blame on the Americans for an incident at the border a short time earlier that may have incited him to shoot.
Two years later, the struggle continues.
According to a U.S. Today article from late June, the U.S. still has more than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. The force is scheduled to be trimmed to less than 10,000 next year — that is, if the Afgan government signs a security agreement with the United States.
As of late June, 14 U.S. soldiers had died in combat in Afghanistan in 2014.
The peak came in 2010, when 439 American troops died in combat there.
The conditions, however, remain tense. “Soldiers are allowed to do less…they’re just hunkered down, staying on their bases and not doing much,” said Anders. Two days before he sat down for an interview, two soldiers from Fort Carson lost their lives in combat. “I wish they’d be more aggressive and try to root them out a little bit more instead of just playing around.”
Dan said he would never forget the tribute that was paid to his son when he returned home.
It was held in Oregon, where Mabry’s mother resides. Two to three thousand people turned out for it. Waving flags, they welcomed Mabry home, forming a line from the airport all the way to the funeral home. The Patriot Guard Riders turned out in force. Dan, himself a Rider, has done the same for other families since his son’s passing. “It’s a way of paying them back,” he said.
When the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers motorcycles roared into downtown one morning earlier this month, more than 100 flag-waving local residents were lining Greybull Avenue to greet them.
Among the items presented to the Anders family was a plaque. It read: “In remembrance of his everlasting call to bravery, honor and sacrifice in the name of country and duty. We as everyday Americans will always be grateful for your fallen hero’s dedication to country and family. With this plaque it is our solemn promise to never forget your fallen soldier and what he has given in the name of honor, duty and freedom.”
With his wife Gretchen at his side, Dan rang a bell inside the Elks in his son’s honor.
“He was an outgoing kid, into motorcycles, dirt bikes, that sort of thing,” said Dan. “There’s a memorial page on Facebook, “Pray for Mabry Anders,” and a lot of his friends have posted on there.”
Dan has no doubt that if Mabry had made it back to the United States, that he’d be in Oregon, flying helicopters and living life to the fullest. “He was training to be a helicopter pilot,” he said. “And he would have been a good one.”
by nathan oster
Serena Lipp spent the night of the primary election at her mother’s house, surrounded by her family. Fitting, she says, because her victory in the four-person race for clerk of the district court wouldn’t have been possible without them.
“You don’t do this kind of thing alone,” said Lipp, of Shell. “I think of all the family and friends … we all worked so hard this summer. We put in a lot of effort. We worked as a team. I’m so thankful for all of them. What an amazing journey it has been.”
Lipp finished 1,281 votes to earn the Republican nomination for the offices. With no Democrat in the race, she’s got a clear path to a four-year term in the November general election, where she will be unopposed.
Diane Nuttall, currently the chief clerk in the circuit court, finished second with 806 votes, followed by Deb LaBudda with 792 and Angela Cook with 227.
Lipp was the top vote-getter in seven of the county’s 13 voting precincts. Her margin of victory was largest on her home turf of Greybull and Shell, where she received a combined 522 votes compared to 198 for Nuttall and 138 for LaBudda. Lipp also won in Lovell, although the margin was just nine votes over Nuttall.
The rest of the county was every bit as evenly split, as LaBudda — the only one of the three candidates with experience in district court — was the top vote-getter in Basin, with 198 votes compared to 157 for Lipp and 135 for Nuttall, as well as in the precincts of Otto, Hyattville, Manderson and Deaver.
Nuttall carried one precinct, Byron, where she finished with 53 votes to Lipp’s 45 and LaBudda’s 30.
Lipp said she was excited to get to work.
“This is something I’ve dreamed about, something I’ve wanted to do for the past eight years,” she said. “I’m ready to serve. I’m excited about it, and graciously thankful to the voters of Big Horn County for their support and for all of the people who helped along the way.”
Lipp said her first priority upon taking office will be to make sure it’s running efficiently and has the respect of judges and attorneys. She has every intention to keep LaBudda on staff, calling her “a real asset to the office,” and said that she’d spoken earlier in the evening with Nuttall, who congratulated her and wished her well.
“Our campaign was a positive one,” she said. “All of us went in with nothing to lose, knowing that only one of us would come away with something to gain. I think that made our campaign very cordial. We were there for each other at all the forums and parades, which was great — considering we were all going for this office.
“We all knew that only one of us would get it … it was almost like we were supporting each other along the way.”
Lipp said she believes her 32 years of office experience will serve her well, noting “I have a background in everything I’m going to need to run that office and I’m going to do my best for the people of this county.”
by karla pomeroy
After 16 years, there will be a new commissioner for Big Horn County with longtime commissioner Keith Grant losing out to Felix Carrizales and John Hyde in his bid for a fifth term during Tuesday’s primary election.
Carrizales topped the ticket for the Republican nomination for two commissioner seats with 1,985 votes. John Hyde, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the late Scotty Hinman, received 1,789 to advance.
Independent candidate Linda Harp of Basin and Otto resident Stanley Jones, Constitution Party candidate, will challenge Carrizales and Hyde in the general election.
Carrizales said, “I’m not sure how to feel right now. It’s pretty exciting but the general election is coming up. I’m grateful for all the people who voted for me and was surprised about the support. I will continue to work a little harder and keep going. I will stay true to what I said and hopefully I’ll be able to serve like I want to and serve the people.”
Carrizales won six of the 13 precincts in the county — winning Basin with 363 votes, hometown Burlington with 123, Emblem 33, Manderson 55, Greybull 504 and Shell 150. He and Hyde tied for the most votes in Otto with 39 each.
Hyde said, “Keith has been the best commissioner the county’s ever had. It’s extremely sad to see he was defeated; on the other hand I congratulate Felix. He ran a good campaign and there’s no animosity.
“I’m happy to have won my portion. I’ve enjoyed the process. It was a positive thing for me and absolutely I want to thank everyone who supported me.”
Hyde won five precincts — Hyattville with 30 votes, Lovell with 605, Cowley with 182, Byron with 110 and Deaver with 35.
Grant said, “It’s been a good ride. I made one political promise all the way through and that’s to make a difference and I believe I have. I will be leaving Big Horn County better than I found it. It’s kind of hard but all good things must come to an end.”
He added, “I appreciate the support the citizens of Big Horn County has given me over the years. It’s been an honor and a great learning experience.
“Of course, it’s a let down, but there’s time and season for everything.”
Grant said he wishes the new commissioners the best of luck.
“I just feel I’ve done my best and done a good job. I’m sure I’m leaving Big Horn County in a better position than I found it.”
Grant won one precinct with 28 votes in Frannie.
All results are unofficial until the canvassing board meets Friday at 8:30 a.m.