Daily Archives: December 13, 2012

Smokehouse takes top float honors

by nathan oster

The weather was frightful, but the holiday cheer on Greybull Avenue was still delightful Saturday evening as bundled-up residents came out for the annual Holidazzle parade and for the open houses and promotions in local businesses.

Holidazzle was a success — and no where was the holiday spirit more evident than on the Smokehouse Saloon’s hay wagon, which was being pulled up Greybull Avenue by a team of mules directed by Jeff McManus.

With Bethany Bame on vocals, singing holiday favorites, and Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard and waving to spectators along the parade route, the Smokehouse float was second to none, at least in the eyes of parade judges, who awarded the bar the $100 first-place prize.

Second place, and $75, went to Big Brother Big Sisters, whose float was decorated in a “Feliz Navidad” theme and featured children in the back with sombreros and maracas.  Finishing in third place and netting a $50 prize was the Midway Clinic entry, which featured a lighted Nativity scene.  Midway also took the $50 prize for having the Best Lighted float.

The Town of Greybull, which had one of the top floats in the parade, withdrew from the judging so that the money and recognition would go to one of the other entries.

The winning entries’ plaques and prize money are available at the chamber office.

A second contest held in conjunction with the Holidazzle celebration benefited the Greybull Elementary School, which is trying to purchase 200 new books for its library.

The kindergarten class, whose decorations can be seen in the front window of the NAPA store, took top honors in that competition. What that means is that $50 will be donated for books on behalf of the kindergarten class. Another $25 was donated to the school in recognition of all the students for their participation in the project.


Town, WYDOT advance encroachment discussions

by nathan oster

While there remains disagreement over the need for a proposed ordinance on sidewalk encroachments, business owners and highway department officials appeared to find common ground Monday on which governing body they want policing downtown sidewalks.

The Town of Greybull, and not the Wyoming Department of Transportation, will be in a better position to deal with business owners, a point conceded even by Ron Huff, who was representing WYDOT at the meeting.

“Yeah, we are big, bad WYDOT … but we want to try to work with the town,” said Huff, toward the end of Monday’s discussion. “We don’t want to have to deal with the businesses in Greybull (on this issue).  We’d prefer to have the town talk with them.  They have  a better rapport, a better feeling.”

WYDOT initiated the sidewalk encroachment conversation late in 2010.  Highway department officials stated at the time that their charge is to effectively and safely manage the sidewalk system along U.S. Highways 14-16-20and that objects placed on the sidewalk — things like sandwich boards, merchandise, the Probst Western Store horse, for examble — were impeding or posing hazards to pedestrians.

Since that time, WYDOT, with help from the town, have been guiding downtown business owners into compliance.  Huff stated Monday night that Greybull business owners have been cooperative. As an example, he said Probst Western Store has since obtained permit to place its horse on the sidewalk, starting in the spring.

Not everyone likes the proposed ordinance, or the memorandum of understanding between WYDOT and the town that would govern sidewalk encroachments. The council passed the ordinance on first reading in November, but members made it clear Monday night that they only did so to open the discussion up to public input.

By the end of Monday night’s conversation, which was attended by approximately one dozen local business owners, the council had agreed to table second reading of the ordinance until the January meeting, when a new council will be seated.

Before that, though, the council heard from not only Huff, but also a couple of business owners.

Julie Owens, owner of Big Horn Quilts and president of the Greybull Area Chamber of Commerce, called the ordinance “totally unnecessary” and said, “No merchant in his right mind will limit accessibility to pedestrians.”

Owens said WYDOT is “vastly exaggerating” the ADA requirements.  Citing information she found online, Owens said the ADA requirement for sidewalks is only a 3-foot continuous path, with a place wide enough for two wheelchairs to meet every 200 feet.

“The highway department wants Greybull to be a stretch of boring concrete bristling with traffic signs,” said Owens. “They want us to be a generic town with a speed limit to annoy the traveling public and nothing remotely interesting to distract drivers.  They want all the businesses that have managed to stay open to look as boring as the many that have closed.”

Owens said things like the Probst horse, the airplanes on top of the hill, the flowers at the Greybull Motel and the Historic Hotel Greybull give Greybull a charm that is appealing to visitors.

She said she couldn’t understand why WYDOT might want to negatively impact businesses such as Dis ‘n Dat, where owner Jay Hightower faithfully displays items on the sidewalk each day, or Edward Mitchell, who does the same at Moonstar Trading Co. on North Sixth Street.

Owens called upon the council to represent “the townspeople,” not WYDOT, to not cave in to WYDOT’s “unreasonable demands,” and to trust merchants to keep the sidewalks clear enough for pedestrians.

Rodney Ross, a former councilmember, also spoke against the proposed ordinance, railed against the signs that WYDOT has installed in the downtown as well as their placement, saying, “Right now, they are the impediment” for pedestrians.

Huff defended WYDOT, saying the intent is not to harm businesses, but rather to better define what is and isn’t allowed on sidewalks running alongside highways.

“What we have been doing is working with the town to allow encroachments,” he said. “Right now, policies don’t allow them. So technically, all of the business owners, if they want to encroach in the right of way, should be coming to WYDOT and applying for a permit for the encroachment.”

Huff said the MOU was developed through as series of negotiating sessions with town officials, and that if approved, it would give businesses the power to encroach within 3 feet of their  building without any paperwork being filed.

“We’re trying to be more business proactive than restrictive,” he said.

Councilor Bob McGuire said it’s essentially “a boundary line issue” and that WYDOT has the right to set the rules, since it owns the sidewalks.  “In this case, the state owns the land in question within the town. And because of that … if we don’t enter into an operating agreement, then (business owners) would have to individually apply to the state to use their land.”

McGuire said the ordinance would provide business owners “a collective OK” to have the encroachments, as long as they are in compliance, and that it would put the responsibility on the town, not WYDOT, to police the streets.

“I’d have the town making decision than WYDOT,” said Myles Foley, owner of the  Historic Hotel Greybull, and a council member-elect.  “WYDOT has taken my signs (in the past). They were rude. Extremely rude.”

Mitchell challenged WYDOT, saying that if they owned the sidewalks, they should be responsible for the maintenance of them.  Mitchell said he maintains the sidewalk in front of his business, and Foley said he does the same at the hotel.

Houk countered, however, that the town receives money from WYDOT to maintain the sidewalks, so in effect, it is the town’s responsibility.  Mitchell said the town hasn’t been doing a very good job, then, noting the rare sight of the street sweeper in front of his business in the summer and fall.

McGuire said the only advantage to the ordinance is that the council, and not WYDOT, would be able to work with business owners who aren’t in compliance or who have questions about the rules.

The discussion also touched on sandwich board that advertise off premises business ventures.  Examples would be signage for the Dollar Store or The Shack, neither of which are on the state highway system.

Huff downplayed the urgency of giving the ordinance a second reading, saying that business owners have done a good job complying with WYDOT’s wishes regarding encroachments.  He said the MOU, and not the ordinance, should be the subject of talks in the coming months.

“What’s going on now has been working,” said Huff. “I think we got the word out in the fall of 2010 … and people have complied with that. So I don’t see this as being a big Issue that needs to be done today.  But I’d rather see the town address the MOU, so we can get an agreement there.”

Council promotes Graham to mayor

by nathan oster

The question of “Who will become Greybull’s next mayor?” was finally decided Monday night when the Greybull Town Council tapped incumbent Councilor Bob Graham to serve the remaining two years of Frank Houk’s term.

“I have enjoyed immensely my time (on the council), but I am ready to go,” said Houk, who in the course of his final meeting at the helm drew thanks and well wishes from staff members, including Town Foreman Dalen Davis and Police Chief Bill Brenner, as well as some members of the audience.

When he opened the floor to nominations for mayor, Kay Fleek and Jan Johnson, who are also leaving the council at month’s end, nominated and seconded the nomination, respectively, of Graham to the office of mayor.

The hands of Fleek, Houk, Johnson and Bob Graham went up when the vote was taken, sealing Graham’s appointment.  He’ll be sworn in, alongside new council members Myles Foley and Clay Collingwood, during a special meeting Jan. 2 at Town Hall.

Graham’s appointment will eventually create a vacancy on the council, but no action on that  is expected until after the new council is seated in January.

Graham said he sent an email to Mayor Houk and the other members of the council after the November meeting, expressing his interest in completing the final two years of Houk’s present term.

He said he knows that he has some big shoes to fill.

“I didn’t realize when I ran for the council how much work our mayor does,” Graham said. “I saw how much time he spent in this office, doing his job.  I just hope I can do one-tenth of what that man has done for this community.”

Graham joined the council in 2006, winning one of the two four-year terms that were up for grabs that year. He did not initially file for re-election in 2010, but accepted a write-in nomination after the primary and then received the most votes in a four-person general election race to win a second four-year term.

Graham has lived in Greybull since 1987, but is actually a Newcastle native.  He graduated from Newcastle High School in 1965 and then spent three years in the U.S. Army, including one (1968-69) in Vietnam.

When he returned to the States, he settled into the oil industry, where he would spend the next 17 years working in North Dakota and Wyoming.  When the bottom fell out of the oil industry in the late 1980s, he returned to Wyoming and to his roots in Newcastle.

From there, the trail led to Greybull. He arrived here in 1987, and after working for an oil company, then stints remodeling houses with Dave Williamson and doing concrete work with Bill Hunt’s crew, he went to work for the town in 1991 as a crew member. During his 15-year tenure with the town, he worked his way up to the role of assistant public works director.

In 2005, he went to work for TCT as a member of its construction crew, but has since retired.

Bob and his wife Jan have two grown children, Jody and Kim.

Lee Elwood Ruark

Aug. 15, 1932 – Dec. 5, 2012

Cremation has been held and no services are planned for Lee Elwood Ruark. Lee, 80, died Dec. 5 at his home in Greybull of multiple myeloma.

He was born Aug. 15, 1932, in Chariton, Iowa, the son of Claude and Eva Wren Elwood Ruark. He graduated from Woodlin High School (near Woodrow, Col.) in 1951. Lee served in the United States Air Force from 1952-1956. After his discharge he attended college in Redding, Calif., for two years and then farmed near Woodrow, Colo., from 1960 to 1976.

He married Marjorie Kyr. They had one daughter, Sheryl Wren, and six sons, Ronald, James, Joseph, Edward, Timothy and Glen. He and Marjorie divorced in 1976.

He married LaVona R. Geist in 1978 and acquired a stepson, Barry, and four stepdaughters, Catherine, Aline, Sue and Diane.

Lee and LaVona managed apartment complexes in Phoenix until 1990.  He worked as a security guard at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., until 1999 at which time they moved to Greybull.

Lee loved yard work and gardening and grew vegetables every summer.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Sheryl Wren Ruark Hellyer; two brothers, Claude Jr. and Gerald, and two sisters, Mary and Esther.

He is survived by his wife, LaVona of Greybull; six sons, one stepson; four stepdaughters; two sisters, Marjorie and Nadine; 24 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations in Lee’s memory can be made to a cause devoted to fighting cancer.


Mary Ann Olsen

Oct. 13, 1952 – Dec. 2, 2012

Mary Ann Olsen, 60-year-old Worland resident, passed away surrounded by family on Dec. 2, 2012, at the Worland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer this past September.

Mary Ann was born on October 13, 1952 to Robert Joe “Bobo” and Lucretia Irene (Hill) Olsen in Basin, Wyo. She grew up in Basin, graduating from Basin High School in 1971.

On Oct. 7, 1972, she married Daniel R. Bourne. To this union two children were born, Amber and Andi. The family moved to Douglas, Wyo., in 1977 where they resided for nine years.

Mary Ann worked as a CNA at the hospital and spent many hours babysitting other children while tending her own. They returned to the Basin/Greybull area where she worked at the Bonnie Blue Jacket Care Facility. In 1988 she moved to Powell to get her nursing degree. She graduated from Northwest Community College in 1989 with a LPN certification. After graduation she moved to Gillette. She worked at the Gillette Hospital in the Psychiatric Care Unit. 1992 brought the family again to the Big Horn Basin, this time to Worland, where she worked for Bethesda Care Center (currently Worland Healthcare) and also for Canyon Hills Manor in Thermopolis. She and Dan divorced in 1994.

She worked briefly for Blair’s Supermarket and also for NOWCAP services, providing care in their residential program. She made some very good friends at both of these jobs, many of whom she kept in contact with via her daily “Facebook Fix.” Most recently Mary Ann referred to herself as a ‘domestic goddess’ as she stayed home to care for her grandchildren. It had been her greatest joy to spend time with her girls and grandchildren and her good friends.

She loved flowers and gardening, always trying to adorn her yard with beautiful flowers. The past two or three years, Mary Ann has especially enjoyed her church family. She exhibited her faith in Christ in her everyday life. Even through her pain and great need, she was more concerned about her family and friends and their well-being and felt blessed to have the opportunity to serve a short mission to Arizona this past June. She looked forward to spending time with the ladies at Zion in Bible Study or other activities.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert “Bobo” Olsen of Greybull and Lucretia Olsen of Basin; one grandson, Cade Jackson, and brothers-in-law, Michael Peterson and David Bourne; father and mother-in-law, Harry and Joan Peterson.

Survivors include her daughters, Amber (Jorge) Sarmiento of Plymouth, Minn., and Andi Bourne of Worland, brothers: Dave (Theresa) Olsen; Dan Olsen (Marianne Moore) all of Basin, Thomas (Laurie) Olsen of Thermopolis, Wyo.; sisters-in-law, Michelle Olsen of Iron River, Mich., Patti (Jim) Conan of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Joelle Peterson of Greybull; grandchildren: Michaela (Adam) Rios; Lorien “Lili” Bush, Zak Black; Alonso, Gabriel, and Jasiel Sarmiento; great grandchildren: Kaden and Bella Mae and numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her ‘daughter by osmosis’, Misty (Matt) Jones and their children of Worland.

Memorial services will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at Zion Lutheran Evangelical Church with Pastor Ralph Partelow officiating.

A memorial fund has been established at the Big Horn Federal in Greybull.

Online condolences may be made at www.bryantfuneralhomeonline.com. Bryant Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

(Paid obituary)


William Elijah Greene

Sept. 29, 1929 – Nov. 28, 2012

William Elijah Greene, 83, died Nov. 28, 2012, in Basin.

Bill was born Sept. 29, 1929, at the old hospital in Greybull. He was the first of four children born to William D. and Zella (Forbes) Greene. He grew up a Shell Creek and attend Greybull schools.

Bill joined the U.S. Navy, Dec. 16, 1946, and was trained as a Hospital Corpsman. He served with the Marines in the Korean War. He also was in Vietnam during that war, where he worked under the State Department at a civilian hospital in the DMZ. Bill was in the Navy for 36 ½ years and retired as a Master Chief.

Bill married Barbara Ellison Jan. 3, 1952. They were married for over 60 years and had three children. Diana Sabos of Powell, W. Thomas Greene of Salt Lake City, and Barbara Anne Greene of Basin.

Bill was a coach for various youth teams at many different duty stations. In Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., he played on a Navy Team and was nicknamed “Roadrunner Greene” for his fast run and ability to steal bases.

He was always community minded and made a difference wherever they were stationed. In Bremerton, Wash., he and his wife, Barbara, organized a group for the military housing park they lived in. This group created a youth center, playgrounds, tennis courts, ball fields and cleaned up a beach for the community. In Washington, D.C., Bill, was appointed to Navy and Presidential think tanks to review, create and implement military policies.

Upon retiring to Basin, Bill continued to get involved. He was a deacon at the First Baptist Church and served as treasurer for 12 years. He belonged to the American Legion. He and Barbara were fixtures at Riverside High School home games until his illness prevented him from attending. Many young men were subject to Bill’s powerful handshake as they entered the gym.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents and one sister. He is survived by his wife, three children, two brothers and granddaughters, Lesa Fellner Blaszczak, Jamie Fellner Keisel, Danielle Fellner Chapman, Janelle Greene, Kristi Greene and numerous great-grandchildren who called him “Waddie.”

Cremation has taken place. A memorial for Bill will be at 11 a.m., Dec. 27, at the First Baptist Church in Basin.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Deacon Benevolent fund at the First Baptist Church in Basin.

(Paid obituary)


Wrestlers square off with some of Montana’s best

by nathan oster

Greybull-Riverside wrestlers held their own last weekend against some of the top wrestlers from Montana, scoring 73 points over the course of the two-day Forsyth Invitational.

Glendive won the tournament with 255 points, followed by host Forsyth with 238 and Choteau with 235.  Cody, with 137, and Sheridan, 89, were the only Wyoming teams that finished ahead of the Buffs.

“It wasn’t quite as big as it was last year … and not as tough either because Belgrade wasn’t there this year,” said Coach Mark Sanford, who saw three of his wrestlers place.

The setup for the tournament did not include any pool wrestling, nor were there separate divisions for varsity and junior varsity competitors.

Instead, it was simply a bracketed tournament — and one that followed the rules of wrestling in Montana, where weight class limits are slightly different.

The Buffs entered 10 wrestlers, and but two of them won matches.

At 112, Luis Burgos went 3-2, finishing fourth.  After an opening-round bye, he dropped his opener. But then he reeled off three straight wins to earn a spot in the fourth-place match, which he lost.

“Luis did a good job, especially considering it was his first time on the mat in high school,” said Sanford. “He’s got some learning to do, but he’s a scrapper and a pretty athletic kid.”

Marshall Gibbs is also coming on strong at 119, as he went 3-2 and bowed out one round out of placing. Sanford said Gibbs is “working well with the tools he’s got,” and that the challenge will be to “keep improving on feel, and on knowing when something is good to use and when it isn’t and he should be going to something else.

“He has a toughness, though, that coaches love to see.”

Jesus Burgos, who has been battling an elbow injury, gave it a go at 145. He won his first match and was up 4-1 when he appeared to aggravate the injury. That was all Sanford needed to see. Burgos wanted to continue, but Sanford scratched him from the rest of the tournament, saying, “We need to get that elbow healed up.”

Anthony Eibert went 2-2 but did not place at 152.  Sanford said Eibert just needs to “do some cleaning up of his moves,” noting that the things he was able to do in middle school won’t work at the high school level.

Cole Hill also competed at 152, and like Eibert, he went 2-2 for the weekend.  Hill was “one round short of placing,” said Sanford, noting that he “should have won his last match.”

Luke Zeller turned in the team’s top finish with a second at 160. His was a 16-team bracket.  Zeller won his first two matches by pin before running into a tough customer, Cole Bilbrey of Glendive, in the final.  “It wasn’t our best match,” said Sanford of the 8-3 defeat, in which Zeller had an early takedown waved off because he didn’t hold it long enough.

The Buffs entered three wrestlers, Matt Brown, Zane Edeler and Spencer Redland, in the 189-pound class. Matt Brown went two-and-out, but both Edeler and Redland picked up wins for the team.

Edeler went 2-2 and finished one win short of the placing round.  While disappointed that Edeler did not place, Sanford said he liked how the Greybull junior performed. “He opened things up and wasn’t as conservative,” said Sanford. “Last week he was kind of tentative.  Now we just need to find a middle ground, knowing when to be explosive, when to be in control.”

Redland went 3-2 for the Buffs, winning each of his first two matches to earn a spot in the semifinals.  In that match, he lost 6-1.  That was followed by another loss, coming by a pin which came with the score tied at 0.

Oscar Gomez went 0-2 at heavyweight.  Effort wasn’t a problem, as Sanford said the Greybull sophomore “came out hard in every match.”  The key for Gomez, Sanford said, will be sticking with it when he falls behind.  “He just needs to keep his mental toughness going from the start of the match to the end.”

So overall, it was a mixed bag for the Buffs.

“The effort was good, but I told the kids on the way home that my expectations for them are higher.  We had a couple who were one round out of place, and a copule who went 0-2.  That’s the kind of stuff we cannot have.  We have to push through some of that, to where we’re getting into that medal round.”

The Buffs will get to see some of the teams from the eastern half of the state this weekend at the Wright Dual Tournament.  Moorcroft, one of the teams to beat in 2A, will be there, as will Wright and Lusk.

The only downside, Sanford said, is that Lingle-Fort Laramie will not attend. “We won’t see them until the state tournament,” he said.



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