Daily Archives: June 6, 2013

Board approves bid for beer gardens

by karla pomeroy

The Big Horn County Fair Board received two bids to operate the beer gardens this year and approved a combined bid from Roger Williams of Stockman’s in Basin and Doug and Denny Freier of the Smokehouse in Greybull.

The other bid was from the Silver Spur.

Doug Freier said the bid was to operate the regular beer gardens near the arena plus a small roped off area near the horseshoe pits during the tournament on Saturday.

He said when they bought the Stockman’s in 2004 they provided the alcohol for the beer gardens. After a few years he wanted more control since it was his license being used but the fair board opted to take over at that time. He said they have operated beer gardens for other events on the fairgrounds including ranch rodeos and the bull bash.

He said they run it just like they do their bar. Freier said Williams, who is leasing the Stockman’s from the Freiers, and them agreed to make a combined bid so they could share the employees and expenses. The businesses would handle purchase of the beer, obtaining the proper town permits including four catering permits and a vendor license. They would provide the glasses, security and employees but would like the fair to provide a heavy canopy to provide shade, as well as tables and chairs.

Initially the Freiers and Williams offered 10 percent of sale profits to the fair board. “This is new for us. If it turns out well we’d share the wealth but I’ve gotten burned before when events get rained out,” Freier said.

Board member Tim Flitner said that Treasurer Casey Sorenson, who was not in attendance, had recommended a flat fee of between $3,500 to $5,000. He said he would love a flat fee but doesn’t want the business to get hurt and not return to the fair.

He added, “I’d love to get out from under this and let the professionals handle it. I like the revenue and don’t want to give that up but on the other hand we’re in the business of putting on a fair not a bar.”

The Freiers and Williams then adjusted their bid to 15 percent below $10,000 and 25 percent above $10,000. The motion to approve that proposal was approved unanimously.

Carrizales said the board is setting the policy of only those over the age of 21 will be allowed in the beer garden area. During grandstand events, beer will be allowed in the roped off area in the grandstands where those under 21 can also be. Beer will not be allowed to be taken from the beer gardens once the grandstand event is over and will not be allowed anywhere else on the grounds.

Prior to the regular meeting the board met with the Basin Police Department and Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office to discuss security and enforcement at the upcoming Big Horn County Fair in August.

A four-man police department?

by nathan oster

With a bottom-line figure of $545,500, law enforcement would consume more than a third of the town of Greybull’s general fund spending for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2014.

Two members of the town council, Clay Collingwood and Myles Foley, think that’s too much, and during a special meeting on May 28, they asked Police Chief Bill Brenner to prepare an alternate budget that would cut one position from the department and leave him with a force of four officers.

The council is expected to resume the discussion when it meets Monday night at Town Hall.  Among the items on the agenda that night is the third and final reading of the budget, which overall calls for $1.39 million in general fund spending and $5.45 million in total expenditures.

For fiscal year 2009, which was the first year after it was re-established, the GPD budget came in at $492,000.  In the five years since, it’s hovered between a low $521,718 (Fiscal Year 2010) and a high of $549,900 (FY 2011).

Last year, considered FY 2013, the budget for law enforcement was set at $542,700.

Brenner’s proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1 represents an increase of $2,800, with all but $100 of that tied to cost-of-living adjustments that are similar to the ones the council is proposing for all town employees.  Brenner has noted in the past, as well, that his budget total for FY 2014 is skewed by a $20,000 line item for any grant money received and expended.

Collingwood initiated last week’s discussion, saying, “I’d like to see a budget option for us that included a four-policeman (department).” He also asked for numbers showing what it would cost, as a four-man department, to continue to provide 24/7 coverage as well as what it would cost if four hours were trimmed from each patrol day.

Brenner said it wouldn’t make fiscal sense, or be legal, to trim the department by one officer.  The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, he said, mandates that officers must be paid for the time they are consider “on call” or on “standby.”

“So you’d still have to pay for 24-hour coverage,” he said.

When asked by Collingwood how other towns, such as Basin, can pull it off, Brenner stated that towns around the state, including Basin are setting themselves up for a lawsuit by not paying officers for their “on call” time.

Brenner elaborated in a follow-up interview that that point was the foundation of a lawsuit filed against the county several years ago by a group of deputies.  Brenner himself was one of those deputies. They sought $4.2 million in damages and eventually settled for $170,000. But it was the principal that they were fighting for, Brenner said, and in the end, he feels they were vindicated.

At the May 28 discussion, Brenner asked why Collingwood wanted to cut his budget.

“Cost savings, Bill,” said Collingwood.

“Cost savings?” Brenner countered. “You’ve been talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in (overall town) spending all night long … this is a service to the community that you would be cutting.”

Foley supported Collingwood’s request. “I don’t think we’d be hurting our community if we cut back on our budget a little bit,” he said. “I think our budget is awful steep in terms of our police department.”

Brenner initially stated that he “didn’t think he could” prepare a budget for a four-man department, saying it would be, in his opinion, a “huge mistake.”  But he later agreed to do so, largely at the urging of Councilor Bob McGuire.

“The problem Bill, is that it’s not up to you,” said McGuire. “If the council asks you for a budget, whether you agree with it or not, you need to do your best to provide that information to the council.”

After Brenner agreed to the request, the topic shifted to timing — and whether it could be accomplished in time for the council to consider it when the budget comes up for third reading on Monday, June 10.

Councilor Ross Jorgensen, who is the town’s police commissioner, said he’s willing to look at the different options. “But I don’t want to make a kneejerk reaction to anything because things tend to go when that way,” he said.

McGuire said he wants to hear from the people of Greybull about whether they would support a reduction in police services.  He cited the swimming pool as an example, saying that even though he was solidly against building a new pool, he supported measures to put the pool tax questions on the ballot.  Spending on law enforcement — and in particular, the idea of cutting back on coverage — is an equally big issue that the whole community needs to decide.

Foley also questioned the $3,000 line item in the police budget for a new paint job on the reserve police car.  He said he’d like the current car, which is white, touched up and not painted black, like the other five cars used by officers.

Shifting gears again, Jorgensen said he appreciated of the police budget’s proposed bottom line being only $2,800 more than last year.  After the cost-of-living adjustments are factored in, the increase actually comes closer to $100.

“To basically hold the line, compared to what all the other departments are looking at … I just want you to know I did take notice of that,” Jorgensen told Brenner.

Mayor Bob Graham said he, too, is willing to look at the different options, but added, “I’m not wanting to cut 24-hour service.  I think the emergency, first responders need 24-hour service from our police.”

Graham also pointed out that the town is currently spending a lot of money to put its current fifth police officer, Sean Alquist, through the police academy.

McGuire, who is a sheriff’s deputy, said he, like Brenner, recognizes that “a lot of things are taking place that are setting the parameters for law enforcement” with respect to the way that they are paid and perform their jobs.

“Hot Springs County has been sued twice and lost both times,” he said, adding that the nature of the job requires that law enforcement personnel be treated differently than typically 9-to-5 employees who can call it a day at the end of their shift.  Police officers cannot always do that, he said.



Buff Gym getting upgrades this summer

by nathan oster

Renovations to the locker rooms at Buff Gym represent the largest portion of the nearly $400,000 in capital improvements being undertaken this summer by Big Horn County School District No. 3.

Joe Forcella, the district’s maintenance supervisor, said both the boys and girls locker rooms are being modernized with the installation of new flooring, lockers and fixtures. Also being addressed are the shower areas, including the two privacy stalls and community showers in the girls locker room. The boys locker room will continue to have community showers — but a privacy wall is being added to separate the shower and dressing areas.

“It’s a complete remodel,” Forcella said. While the configuration of the locker rooms isn’t changing, they will initially appear different to GHS athletes, he said, because benches will be closer to lockers, there will be more open space and lighting will be better.

He added that a rubberized flooring that is made for locker rooms is being installed.

While the gym project is the major one, there are a plethora of smaller ones as well.

The district got a jump on one project over spring break, installing new exterior doors at the Quigg Building.  The old ones were given a “2” on a condition survey done by the state, so that project got pushed up to the top of the priority list. “Anything that scores a 1 or a 2 has to be corrected first,” said Forcella. “We don’t have many things that fall into that (1 or 2) category.”

Forcella said the middle and elementary schools are getting the new electronic doors, similar to the ones that are already in place at the high school and in the gymnasiums.

At GHS, more carpeting is being replaced this summer.  The office, library and commons area were completed in phase one.  Phase two, which is up this summer, addresses the classrooms in the “A” wing.  Next year the wing that’s home to the band and choir rooms will get the new carpeting.

Forcella said the district is also planning to repair concrete in the parking lot areas, paint the exterior of the central office to match the color of the paint on its new vestibule, complete minor electrical work at the middle school and on the drapes at the elementary.

Funding for all of these projects will come from the major maintenance money that the town receives every year from the state.

One project that falls outside that major maintenance scope, however, is one that is being done with grant money to renovate the science room at GMS.  The plan is to reconfigure the room so that it is set up as “a more teachable environment.”

Boys enjoy strong start in summer league

by nathan oster

Summer league is underway for members of the Greybull High School basketball program.

The team led by Coach Jim Prather went 6-1 at the Montana State University-Billings Tournament held May 24-26, losing only to Lustre Christian in the championship game.  The Buffs won their pool, going 3-0, then racked up three straight wins in the single-elimination tournament to advance to the championship game.

Sixteen teams were in Greybull’s bracket.

The Buffs used a roster of 14 players and all of them played in every game.

The roster included Payton Gonzalez, Logan Jensen, Kason Clutter, Calder Forcella, Colten Flitner, Wyatt Nielson, Keegan Jenness, Ryan Sylvester, Zack Zeller, Treston Tracy, Dawson Forcella, Cade Dooley, Clancy Stoffers, and Dante Sylvester.

The Greybull boys then notched a split on their home floor May 28, beating Tongue River by 20 but losing to Cody by nine.  They are currently on their “barnstorming” tour of Washington state, which runs through June 7.

The remaining summer league schedule of games is as follows:

June 11 (at Riverside)

6 p.m.: Greybull vs. Riverside.

7 p.m.: Greybull vs. Worland

June 14-15 (at Lusk Tourney)

June 18 (at Burlington)

7 p.m.: Riverside vs Greybull.

8 p.m.: Greybull vs. Burlington

June 19 (at Tongue River)

June 25 (at Greybull)

6 p.m.: Burlington at Greybull

8 p.m.: Rocky Mt. at Greybull

Majors, Minors gain experience

by nathan oster

The sun was shining and fans were lined up around the field on Saturday morning for the home opener of the Greybull Minors.

Coached by Ken Wright, the team of 9- and 10-year-olds with a few 6- and 7-year-olds thrown in, were matched against Basin.  Wright said no scorebook was kept and that it was just an opportunity for his team to gain experience and have fun.

The Minors were scheduled to play at Basin on Monday and at Otto on Tuesday.

The Majors were on their home diamond Thursday night, battling both Otto and a chilly, brisk wind that kept fans of both teams in their vehicles and out of the unprotected bleachers.  Otto won the five-inning game, 15-3.

Scott McBride, who coaches the Majors, said Dade Greene worked the first three innings on the mound and that Gerardo Corral worked the final two.  Corral also produced the biggest hit of the night for the Majors, belting a legitimate two-run homer that sailed over the outfield and rolled all the way to the fence in his team’s final at bat.

The Majors were scheduled to play in Otto Tuesday and will be on their home diamond today (June 6) for a 7 p.m. game against Basin.  McBride said Greybull and Basin are scheduled to meet one more time on June 26, but there’s a chance that game gets cancelled and that the season ends sometime next week.


Steve Walter Harris

Sept. 28, 1964 – May 24, 2013

Funeral services for Steve Walter “Harry” Harris were held June 1 at Bustard’s Funeral Home in Casper. Harry, 48, died May 24 at his home in Casper of a heart attack.

He was born Sept. 28, 1964, the son of Walter J. and Rosemary Harris. After completing his education he worked in the oilfields.

He was a man of strength, wisdom and love and worked hard to ensure his family had everything they needed. He took great interest in his children’s and grandchildren’s activities. He cheered at football and basketball games, coached T-ball and Little League baseball, watched Karate tournaments and bowling events and could hardly wait to help coach his grandchildren in T-ball.

He was an avid fan of the Oakland Raiders, enjoyed hunting and fishing, and had recently acquired a passion for riding his motorcycle.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Walter J. Harris, Sr., and his father, Walter J. Harris, Jr.

He is survived by his wife Malinda; five children, Art, Matt, Kim, Steven and Chantel; his mother and stepfather, Ken and Rosemary Bair; his sister, Marguerite Harris; a brother David Harris, and six grandchildren.

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