Daily Archives: July 25, 2013

“Distress Call Over Zeeland”

by marlys good

World War II: Sept. 18, 1944. An American B24 flying from England over the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands on its way to Germany was shot down and the 10 crewmen aboard the plane, that included Staff Sgt. L.E. Ely, a waist gunner, were forced to bail out. One of the crewman did not have a parachute so he jumped onto the back of his friend and they jumped together. However when the ripcord was pulled he could not hold on, and fell to his death. Another 19-year old was afraid to bail out. Sgt. Ely tried to persuade him but to no avail and Ely had jumped to save himself.

Of the eight survivors six were arrested by German soldiers, marched to Germany and placed in a prison camp (all six survived the camp).

Ely and 2nd Lt. Joe Sulkowski ended up with the Dutch Underground. The resistance group  arranged for them to go to a safer place. (After teaching Ely to ride a bicycle) they disguised them as blacksmiths/farmers, got them through several roadblocks, and by a circuitous route took them to a “safe house” where they were hidden away until the province was liberated by the Canadian Army a month later.

Dutch author Mark van den Dries, grandson of a member of the resistance group, has recounted the story of the crash, the crew, his family and the connections in a book newly released in the Netherlands, “Noodsein Boven Zeeland,” which translates as “Distress Call Over Zeeland.”

Mark, his wife Jacqueline, and two of their three daughters were in Greybull this week visiting with Tina and Earl Miller and extended family of Ely.

Mark said, “As a kid I only knew my grandfather helped two Americans; I didn’t know what happened. My oldest daughter asked me if I knew someone she could interview for a school paper about World War II.  I gave her all of my grandfather’s files; there were lots of documents and the police report about the crash. She got a good mark on the paper and that story was at our house so I read it. It was very interesting; I wanted to know who the crew was, what kind of bomber, etc. … so I did research. It took me three and a half years (to complete it). It was a fascinating story. Even now I am learning new things.”

Mark said the book was “not only the story of the plane crash and the rescued airmen but the story of the courageous members of the Dutch underground.

“If American soldiers were captured they were sent to prison camps. Members of the underground who were captured were shot on sight for helping Americans. It was very dangerous.”

In their research Mark and Jacqueline drove to where the plane had gone down, and along with aides from a museum, used metal detectors and “found quite a lot … ammunition, parts of the bomber, a complete gun.

“When I started this ‘journey’ the plot was still alive, in his 90s. I wrote him a letter and he wrote back and encouraged me. He was very important in my research. ”

Mark and Tina first came in contact when the author was attempting to find members of the flight crew families. Two years ago Tina and Earl visited the Netherlands. “It was very special for me,” Tina said.

Mark said he “organized a meeting with Tina and Earl and helpers of her father, people of the resistance, people who actually saw the plane come down. They were children then.”

Tina took the story from there.  “They took us in an old army truck from World War II to the hiding places where they were held; I was in the room where Dad was kept. We went to where the bomber went down … ” Tina said, tearing up as she recalls the emotions the trip induced.

Mark and Jacqueline also took the Millers to a museum where a commemorative plaque, with pictures of the 10 airmen, had been placed and Tina was given the privilege of uncovering it.

The Millers also visited another museum that held pieces of the downed B24, including a propeller.

Tina told Mark, “We are thankful that your grandfather helped save our dad.”

In return Mark told Tina, “We in Holland are very thankful that these your people placed their lives on the line for our freedom. It was a mutual thankfulness.”

Mark’s research put him in touch with other surviving members of the downed plane’s crew “and they have come up with stories – side stories. If I had known them before I could have included them in the book. It is fascinating to meet people connected with this story.”

The crewmen killed in the crash were buried “where it happened,” Mark said. “After the war they were reburied in a large American cemetery in Luxemburg. We visited the two graves. It was so overwhelming. There were thousands and thousands of white crosses and Stars of David; so many of the graves were anonymous. But these two, we knew their stories, they were very well documented and we could walk in a straight line and go right to those two graves.”




School district OKs new budgets

by nathan oster

Big Horn County School District No. 3’s annual budget hearing was a quiet affair, as no one from the public commented on the proposed spending of the school district, recreation district or the new BOCES collaboration between the school district and Northwest College.

As a result, all three budgets were ultimately approved.

The school district is projected to received $4.46 million for its Foundation Guarantee and another $3.75 million in county taxes.  Those are the two largest components of its total projected revenues of $8.457 million bottom line.

For the first time since 2008-09, the district’s cash carry over exceeds $1 million.

On the expenditures side, the district is budgeted to pay $4.7 million in salaries, $400 in benefits, $1.06 million in insurance premiums, and $689,000 in Wyoming retirement benefits.

The line items for elementary instruction ($75,000) and middle school instruction ($68,000) represent increases, while the instructional budget for the high school dropped to $159,000 from $161,000 last year.

When asked about other budget highlights, Bryant said the district will $111,000 for an instructional facilitator, but won’t have an instructional facilitator on staff.  Instead, those monies will be distributed to three different employees — Kerri Thiel at GES, Cheryl Hunt at GMS and Bob Leach at GHS.

In total, the district is projecting $8.44 million in expenditures.

Bryant said the district also plans to up its spending on technology.

As part of the regular agenda, the board approved the terms of a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) agreement with Northwest College.  According to the agreement, the purpose of the BOCES is to provide Big Horn County School District No. 3 students and patrons “with opportunities for educational services including, but not limited to, post-secondary education, vocational-technical education and adult education.”

The BOCES will be funded with a one-half mill levy, which is expected to generate $65,000 annually. The school district won’t receive any of that money before December, so it has some time to refine its budget.

The one that was presented and approved during last week’s meeting earmarked $7,000 for salaries, $1,000 for supplies, $15,000 for dual and concurrent enrollment classes, $15,000 for driver’s education, $15,000 for community education and $12,000 for community arts and theater education.

The school board must appoint four members to serve on the BOCES board.  Trustee Selena Brown has already volunteered to do so.

Specifics of the recreation district’s budget were covered in a story that appeared in last week’s issue.  The budget projects $215,673 in revenues, up from the $197,136 projection for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The rec district shows modest spending increases in multiple line items, including capital outlay, events, community classes, intramurals, office supplies, supplies and roller rink equipment.

In other business:

• The board accepted the resignation of Richard Coons, who had been serving as a bus driver.

With school now less than a month away, the district has just one teaching opening and it’s for a special education teacher at the elementary school

Kimberlee Peebles had accepted the job and signed a contract with the district, but backed out of the commitment in June, leaving the district in a bind.

“We’re still working on it,” said Bryant.

One of the applicants is a local resident, but if hired, that person would need to become certified to teach special education.

“Trying to hire a special education person is hard, but trying to hire a special education person in the summer is almost impossible,” said Bryant.  While he doesn’t want to start the year with the position unstaffed, Bryant said the district won’t settle.

“It’s not just about finding someone…it’s going to have to be the right person,” he said.

• A retreat for school board members and the administrative team has been set for Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the Big Horn County Weed and Pest building near the intersection of U.S. Highway 14-16-20 and U.S. Highway 310.

• The district has received raw data from the 2012-13 round of the Proficiency Assessment of Wyoming Students (PAWS).  “The scores look pretty decent, but I’m a little worried about the elementary school — and the group that didn’t make it last year (Free and Reduced Lunch subgroup).”

Reading scores appear to have suffered, but on the plus side, “math scores look really good.  The third grade tested at 100 percent proficient; several others were at 90 percent or better,” Bryant told the board.

• The board approved an out-of-district request from Michael and Pam Gorski, who reside in Basin.  The Gorskis want to enroll their five children in Greybull schools, and included among them are twins who will be going into kindergarten.

• There was only one administrative report — and it came from Bryant, the superintendent.

He said a walk-through of all the projects revealed good progress at the Buff Gym, where the locker rooms are being upgraded. All the drywall work is done and the lockers are in.  The contractor must still install the flooring in the hallway.

Trustee Mike Meredith called it “a big improvement.”

Added Bryant: “It’s the best tile work I’ve ever seen.”

One summer project that remains on the to-do list is a concrete sidewalk on the ground of the elementary school. When complete, it will run from the back of the building to where the buses park.  The job is expected to cost around $2,600.

A pre-bid meeting was held with the six firms interested in designing the new middle school.  Bids are due July 29.  Bryant said his preference is to get as much of the planning as possible done prior to the 2014 legislative session, so that construction work can begin around July 1.

If things go as planned, the new middle school would open in the fall of 2015.

“That’s what we’re shooting for anyway,” Bryant said.

Turning to the pool, Bryant reported that there have been delays in the asbestos abatement process, but that demolition is still expected to occur sometime this fall.  The parking lots will remain, but the site of the current pool building will be converted to green space for use as a practice field.

On two final facility-related notes, Bryant reported that the GHS track is in line to get resurfaced during the summer of 2014 and that he intends to approach the School Facilities Commission in the coming months to request a modular addition to the elementary school.

The current GES has a capacity of 227 students.

As of the night of meeting, its projected enrollment was 217 — and the district expects to add a few new students in the early days of the new school year.

GHS football camp dates announced

Greybull High School football coach Justin Bernhardt has announced the dates and times for his upcoming summer football camp.

The camp for students going into middle school and high school will run three days, beginning with an afternoon session on Sunday, July 28.  This session starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Assisting Bernhardt for this session only will be coaches from Rocky Mountain College and Dickinson State University.

The camp will then conclude with 7 to 8:30 p.m. sessions on the evenings of Monday, July 29 and Tuesday, July 30.

Bernhardt is also planning a camp for kids in grades three through five who are eligible to play intramural football this fall.  That camp will run two days, with sessions from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 29 and Tuesday, July 30.  That camp will be led by high school coaches and players.

Bernhardt said players should wear shorts and T-shirts, and older kids who have cleats are invited to bring them.  The cost of the camp is $30 per participant. Each participant will get a camp T-shirt and pair of shorts.

For more information, contact Coach Bernhardt, (406) 861-6298.

Santiago Coronado

Funeral services for Santiago Coronado, 84, of Manderson will be held Saturday, July 27 at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Basin. Pastor Don Wood will officiate.  The family asks that people not wear black; please wear cheerful colors, as this is a celebration of Santiago’s life. Mr. Coronado died July 22 in Casper. A full obituary will appear in next week’s issue.

Michael J. Walton

Oct. 7, 1945 – Dec. 20, 2012

A memorial service for Michel J. Walton will be held Friday, July 26, at 11:30 a.m. at Whaley Cemetery.  Michael died Dec. 20, 2012, in Billings.

He was born Oct. 7, 1945, the youngest of five children of Clarence and Anna McKinney Walton of Greybull. He grew up much like an only child until his nephew David joined him in his antics. The two became like brothers and maintained their close relationship through the years. He received his education in Greybull and graduated with the Class of 1963.

Mike attended the University of Wyoming and earned his accounting degree. He served in the ROTC program at UW and completed his military service as a 2nd Lieutenant.

He married Chiquita Pearce of Worland on Aug. 30, 1970; they made their home in Laramie. Whenever his schooling allowed, Mike worked for his brother Robert at Big Horn Redi-Mix and became proficient at whatever he was asked to do.

Mike and “Chiq” returned to Greybull to raise their three sons, Jon, Andy and Brady. When Chiq, his soul mate and mentor, died in 1990, Mike chose to make a new beginning and moved to Billings where he became a realtor.

Mike was very proud of his sons; as their sole parent he participated in their lives to the fullest.

His fun-loving spirit and hearty laugh were a delight to those in his company.

His parents, his wife Chiquita, two brothers, Robert and Anthony, and a nephew, Shaun Walton, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his three sons, Jon, Andy and Brady; two sisters, Betty and Julia; his mother-in-law, Darlene Pearce of Manderson, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

Mike loved the Big Horn Mountains and had many fond memories of hiking and hunting with his dad, brothers and sons. Mike’s extended family was important to him as well and in his honor several family members plan a trek to the top of Cloud Peak this weekend.



Kara R. Paxton

!OBIT Paxton, Kara croppedAug. 9, 1974 – July 17, 2013

A celebration of the life of Kara Rachelle Paxton will be held Friday, July 26 at 9 a.m. at Riverton High School. Kara, 38, died July 17 after an inspiring and courageous battle with brain cancer.

She was born Aug. 9, 1974, the daughter of Jerry and Rosalie Clemetson of Shoshoni. She attended Shoshoni High School where she was an honor student and standout athlete in volleyball, basketball and track. She graduated in 1992 and received a scholarship to play volleyball and basketball at Sheridan College.

Kara married Curt Paxton June 11, 1994. The couple started their family in Thermopolis and four years later moved to Riverton.

Kara enjoyed playing volleyball with “the girls,” Zumba and scrapbooking. She also enjoyed her role as “team mom” with her three boys. She cherished every moment and never missed any of her boy’s activities.

Kara was a beautiful, unconditional loving Christian woman who devoted her life to faith, family, friends and community. Her courageous battle with cancer and her testimony of faith had a positive impact on thousands of lives.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, James Heggen, and her paternal grandparents, Myrtle and Eddie Clemetson.

She is survived by her husband Curt and three sons, Easton, Treyton and Parker, all of Riverton; her parents, Jerry and Rosalie Clemetson; her grandmother, Estelle Heggen; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Cory and Kim Clemetson and Brian and Renee Clemetson; two aunts and seven nieces and nephews.

Inurnment of the ashes will be at Mountain View Cemetery following the service. In lieu of flowers memorials, may be made to Help for Health Hospice.

Marjory Foote Grabbert

!OBIT GrabbertMarjAug. 8, 1919 – July 19, 2013

Funeral services for Marjory Foote Grabbert will be Saturday, July 27 at 10 a.m. at the Burlington Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Marjory, 93, died July 19 at Spirit Mountain Hospice House in Cody after suffering a severe stroke a week ago.

She was born Aug. 8, 1919, at Manderson, the daughter of William Arthur and Eliza Lavina Leithead Foote. She was raised in Lovell, graduated from Lovell High School, and attended business school in Salt Lake City.

She married Harry “Smokey” Grabbert in Lovell on Jan. 21, 1945.

Marjory worked in the Big Horn County Clerk’s office before her marriage and was elected to one term as Big Horn County Clerk, serving from 1943-1946.

Marjory worked hard all of her life and took on any project handed to her. She was a gracious woman with a wonderful smile who loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and enjoyed being with her friends.

She was a member of the Burlington LDS Church and served in the Relief Society. She was also a member of the Emblem Community Club.

Her parents, infant son Jay, son Joel in 1985 and her husband “Smokey” in 1986 preceded Marjory in death.

She is survived by her daughter, Kay (David) Neves of Emblem, her son Dave (Ellen) Grabbert of Cody; one sister, Anneta Ryan of Mesa, Ariz.; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Burial will be in the Emblem Cemetery. A luncheon for family and friends will be held at the Burlington LDS Church following the grave dedication.


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