Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

Consultants arrive to study levee

by nathan oster

A team of consultants from AMEC arrived in Greybull earlier this week to conduct a site assessment of the levee that runs along the Big Horn River and protects homes and businesses during times of extreme high water.

Alex Colonel, who is heading the effort by AMEC, said Tuesday afternoon that data collection had been completed and that the purpose of the site assessment was simply to identify “areas of concern” in the levee, which was built in 1952 and stretches for approximately three miles.

Colonel said his team planned to leave town the next day, Wednesday, and that the push when they got back in their offices would be to “document everything we found and begin the analysis phase.”

Asked about his initial impressions, Colonel said, “The levee seems to be in good shape, but there are some areas of concern —  and I think the ‘oxbow’ (on the south end of town) is at the forefront of everybody’s mind right now.”

AMEC officials were joined on the walk-through by Mayor Bob Graham, Town Foreman Dalen Davis, Emergency Management Coordinator Ernie Smith and Brett Smith, who represents Engineering Associates.

The town is paying AMEC $225,000 for its help in getting the dike recertified.

In the past, the town has dealt primarily with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — and the levee has always been “provisionally accepted.”  But since Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has taken a greater role nationwide, Graham said. In fact, it is FEMA, and not the Corps, that the town must deal with moving forward.

The inspection of the levee involves checking all the places where it is penetrated, zeroing in primarily on soil compaction and stabilization.   When AMEC is done, the town will have a full report on any deficiencies that were found in the dike, recommended procedures to address those deficiencies and suggested funding sources to pay for the work.

Graham reiterated that the town proceeded with the recertification of the levee because it didn’t want local residents to be required to take out flood insurance when borrowing government money to purchase a home.

“Until now if you had government money in a mortgage, lending institutions didn’t require you to have flood insurance,” Graham said. “But now that FEMA’s involved, it’s going to be a requirement. If we didn’t have the levee certified, and you went to a lending agency wanting to purchase a house, that lending agency would require you to have flood insurance.”

Until now, flood insurance for a home or business in Greybull has ranged between $80 and $100 a year.  Without a certified levee, that annual premium would rise to between $1,200 and $1,500.

“You’re talking about a huge difference for someone like a first-time homebuyer making $12 to $15 an hour,” he said. “Instead of a house payment of between $450 and $500 … you’d be talking closer to $600 or $700, just because of the flood insurance requirement.”

Flitner is Stampede’s Lady-in-Waiting

by marlys good

Morgan Flitner was crowned the 2013 Cody Stampede Lady-in-Waiting at the Irma Hotel in Cody March 16 at the conclusion of a day-long contest that included horsemanship, public speaking and questions, modeling and judges’ interviews. The eight contestants were also scored on a 100-question rodeo test that included everything from livestock diseases and Wyoming current events to PR history and awards.

Flitner, this year’s Stampede Lady-in-Waiting, will become the 2014 Cody Stampede Queen in January and compete for Miss Rodeo Wyoming in August 2014.

Miss Rodeo Wyoming 2014 is Flitner‘s “ultimate goal,” she said. “It would be awesome.” But the articulate young “lady-in-waiting” admits she just “enjoys queening. I enjoy the people, and I enjoy promoting the sport of rodeo. With my ranch background, I feel I can do a good job promoting it. I have the opportunity of talking to different people, explaining what rodeo really is, what kind of sport it is and how the animals are handled.” The animals and the people (involved) are professionals, she explained.

Flitner said, “Our western heritage is under a lot more pressure now than it was 20-30 years ago and it is something that needs to be preserved and represented well.” Her interest in “queening” and rodeo puts her in a position to help do this.

Flitner has been “cowboying,” or “cowgirling,” to be politically correct, since she was big enough to sit the saddle. She rode in her first rodeo at the age of 4 and has competed ever since. She has held the title of 2010 Days of ’49 Queen, 2011 Cody Stampede Princess and 2012 Big Horn County Queen.

In high school Morgan was active in school and community activities, 4-H, FFA and competed in high school rodeos.

As a freshman at Northwest College majoring in ag business, Morgan competes on both the Northwest livestock and horse judging teams, is the secretary of the Block and Bridle Club, and spends her free time outdoors. She loves riding and enjoys people and photography.

In addition to representing the Cody Stampede Rodeo at the events July 1-4, the royalty will spend the summer traveling to major rodeos throughout the state of Wyoming to promote the Stampede. They will also host a Queen Clinic in June for girls interested in learning more about this competition.

Morgan is the daughter of Pam and Greg Flitner of Shell.

Longtime GHS/GMS art teacher resigns

by nathan oster

Personnel issues were front and center during a special meeting Thursday of the Big Horn County School District No. 3 board of trustees.

The board accepted four resignations, made four new hires and agreed to create another teaching position at the elementary school, where the student-to-teacher ratio of 20 to 1 currently exceeds the state’s recommended 16 to 1.

Topping the list of resignations was Karyne Dunbar, the art teacher at GHS and GMS.  She has been with the district since 1981 — and even though she was not in attendance to hear it, she drew a round of applause from the board and audience for her years of dedicated service to the district.

“She’s been one excellent art teacher,” said Chairman Mike Meredith.

The board moved swiftly to fill the position, approving a motion later in the meeting to offer the GHS/GMS art teacher position to Teresa Boyer, whose husband, Nathan, is a teacher at the elementary school.

The board also accepted the resignations of Joe Forcella, who is stepping down from his duties as an assistant middle school football coach, and Camie Miller, whose resignation as the elementary custodian will be effective April 9.

Lastly on the outgoing side, the board made special accommodations for Kerri Thiel, who last year served as the head middle school volleyball and as an assistant girls basketball coach for the Lady Buff program.

Thiel, who is expecting, will likely miss much of the 2013 volleyball season and asked the board to consider allowing her to step down for one year.  She stated that she would like to return to the bench in those positions for the 2014-15 school year.

The board agreed — but instead of taking action on her resignation, members granted her a one-year leave of absence from her coaching positions.  The task now will be finding someone to fill the positions on a one-year basis, Supt. Barry Bryant said.

On the hiring side, the board accepted the recommendation of its middle school principal, Scott McBride, to hire a Colorado woman, Laura Hodgson, to replace Lindsey Hazen in the GMS counselor’s office for the 2013-14 school year.

The Life Skills position was also filled, as the board agreed to hire Dawn (Crist) Thur to fill the position being vacated by the retiring Cathy Kunkel. A Greybull native, Thur has spent the past year at GES advocating for children with learning disabilities and other children who struggle with reading, writing and math.

Joe Forcella was hired as a fourth coach for the GMS track team, which currently has a roster of 58 athletes and a head coach, Renae Waddell, who is expecting the birth of her child within the next several weeks.  Forcella’s appointment applies only to the current GMS track season.

Lastly, the board authorized Bryant to hire another K-3 teacher at GES, which has gained 20 students since the first day of school. The move was immediately applauded by a group of five elementary teachers which included Lisa Michelena and “Timmy” Anderson, who teach third grade.

This year’s second-grade class — and the one that will be moving into the classrooms of Michelena and Anderson in 2013-14 — has swelled in recent weeks to 47 kids.  As Bryant explained, the plan with the addition hire is to create three third-grade classrooms — one with 15 kids, the other two with 16.  By doing so, the district would be in line with the state mandate of one teacher for every 16 students.  The third teaching position is “dependent upon enrollment,” however, meaning that if the class size drops, the position may be eliminated.


Eleanor Emeline Thatcher

!OBIT Thatcher, EleanorJune 14, 1919 – March 27, 2013

Graveside services for Eleanor Emeline Thatcher of Basin will be held April 5 in Bushnell Gardens in Florida. Memorial services at the Wyoming Retirement Center will be held at a later date. Eleanor, 93, died March 27 at the Wyoming Retirement Center.

She was born June 14, 1919, in Elsie, Mich., the daughter of Delbert and Hattie Emerson Scofield. She married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Walker Thatcher, when she was 17 years old.

Eleanor and Joe were avid rock hounds; they enjoyed hunting and finding agates. She was very adept at crafts and crocheted baby clothes that she sold all over the United States and in five other countries, including Russia. She worked in flower shops and created beautiful floral designs.

Eleanor moved to Worland in April 2004 to be near her daughter. She relocated to the Wyoming Retirement Center in January 2005.

Her parents, her husband Joseph Walker Thatcher, two grandsons, Donald LaBrenz and Joseph Thatcher, and her brother Harris Scofield preceded her in death.

She is survived by her five children and their spouses, Bill and Kathy Thatcher of Waterford, Mich., Gayla and John Lalonde of Worland, Gwen and Joel Wesson of Noble, Okla., Lewis and Bonnie Thatcher of Port Richy, Fla., and Sandy and Mike Gould of Mason, Mich.; two sisters, Audry Irish and Gwen Packard; Pat Ottersbach, whom Eleanor adopted as her daughter in her heart; 15 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and 22 great-great-grandchildren.

Memorials in Eleanor’s name can be made to the Wyoming Retirement Center in care of Bryant Funeral Home, Box 524, Worland, WY 82401

GHS relay team pushes qualifying standard

by nathan oster

There were no automatic qualifiers, but aside from that, the opening meet of the season went about as well as could be expected for the Greybull Buffs, who finished third in the boys division and fourth in the girls division at Friday afternoon’s Riverside Invitational in Basin.

“We needed that,” said Coach Jeff Sukut of the meet, which, after the cancellation of the Bill Gerrard Invitational, became his team’s season opener.  With kids out on spring break this week, it was crucial, Sukut said, that his kids get at least one meet under their belts.

Several GHS athletes who competed in Basin turned in either personal records or near misses of state qualifying marks.

Logan Jensen, a junior, won the discus with a heave of 118 feet, 4 inches, which Sukut called “the best throw of his career.”  Calder Forcella, a sophomore, placed second with a throw of 114-8.  “In the case of both of those kids,” Sukut said, “I think it’s a matter of them being a year older and a year stronger.”

Wyatt Good, a senior, placed fifth in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles — but it was his times that caught the attention of his coach. According to Sukut, Good ran a PR 18.18 in the 110s, and a PR 45.5 in the 300s.  His best prior to this season in the 300s was a 48.4, Sukut said, adding, “He’s taller, stronger … he should be in the thick of things in the 300 this year,” he said.

Kyler Flock enjoyed a nice debut in a Greybull uniform, finishing fourth in the 200 meters and fifth in the 100.

Flock also ran a leg on Greybull’s 400-meter relay team, which of all the Buff entries on Friday probably came the closest to qualifying for the state track meet.  That squad, which also consisted of Forcella, Dylan Brenner and Alex Hebb, ran a very solid 47.5 in Basin, just a few ticks off the state-qualifying standard of 47.1 seconds.

The foursome is looking good considering the early stage of the season, but Sukut noted that competition in this event should be “lean and mean,” noting that both Big Piney and Wind River have already posted qualifying times in the event.

The Buffs’ 1,600-meter relay team of Brenner, Payton Gonzalez, Ryan Sylvester and Flock placed third.

On the girls side, Sukut offered high praise to a freshman team member, Florina Villegas, who placed in three individual events. She was third in the shot put, sixth in the high jump and seventh in the long jump.

McKenna Powers, the team’s only returning state qualifier, debuted with a second-place finish in the 800 meters.   She also claimed a fifth in the long jump

“Not knowing where some of our new kids fell, we ended up doing a lot of experimenting,” said Sukut.  “I have a better idea from here on out what events each of the kids are going to do.”

Sukut said the third- and fourth-place finishes in the team scores “were a good indication, for the young squad we have.  The competition down the road will be good … but I’m happy with where we’re at.  We have to train and get in better shape.”

As this week began, the Buffs were planning to practice Tuesday and Wednesday in advance of a meet today (Thursday, April 4) in Worland.


BOYS DIVISION — Big Horn 117, Meeteetse 88.5, Greybull 84, Thermopolis 78.5, Burlington 71, Tongue River 71, Riverside 37, Arvada-Clearmont 5.

100 METERS — 5, Kyler Flock, 11.84.  7, Calder Forcella, 11.94.  8, Dylan Brenner, 12.02.

400 METERS — 4, Flock, 57.58.  8, Ryan Sylvester, 1:00.25.

800 METERS — 6, Jarrod Johnson, 2:27.08.

1,600 METERS — 3, Johnson, 5:32.99.

110 HURDLES — 5, Wyatt Good, 18.12.

300 HURDLES — 5, Good, 54.59.

TRIPLE JUMP — 3, Sylvester, 34-10.  7, Cesar Sosa, 29-8 ¾.  8, Keegan Jenness, 28-11 ¼.

HIGH JUMP — 8, Alex Hebb, 5-2.

SHOT PUT — 7, Logan Jensen, 34-4.

DISCUS — 1, Jensen, 118-4.  2, Forcella, 114-08.

400-METER RELAY — 2, Greybull (Forcella, Brenner, Flock, Hebb), 47.5.

1,600 METER RELAY — 3, Greybull (Brenner, Payton Gonzalez, Sylvester, Flock), 4:00.72.


GIRLS DIVISION — Thermopolis 139, Big Horn 125, Tongue River 81, Greybull 64, Riverside 49, Burlington 49, Meeteetse 39, Arvada-Clearmont 16.

100 METERS — 7, Aftin DeRosa, 14.43.

200 METERS — 5, Mackenzie Bollig, 31.3.  8, Sydney Eckman, 31.43.

800 METERS — 2, McKenna Powers, 1:07.32.  6, Lynae McBride, 1:23.38.  Alex Preis, 1:34.34.

100 HURDLES— 8, Jessica Dowling, 32.16.

300 HURDLES — 4, Chai Durfee, 1:09.9.  5, Jessica Dowling, 1:03.19.

LONG JUMP — 5, Powers, 14-6 ½.  7, Florina Villegas, 13-11 ¾.

TRIPLE JUMP — 4, Bollig, 27-0.  5, Durfee, 24-8 ¾.  6, Dowling, 24-8.

HIGH JUMP — 6, Villegas, 4-4.

SHOT PUT — 3, Villegas, 31-0.








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