Daily Archives: April 2, 2014

Ice jam leaves area better prepared for runoff

by nathan oster

Three years after the floods of 2011, and just a matter of weeks removed from the ice jams on the Big Horn River that caused flooding between Worland and Greybull, local emergency managers feel like they are better prepared now than they have been in the past for the anticipated spring runoff.

Mountain snow water equivalents (SWEs) are well above average all across Wyoming.

Jim Fahey, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, said the SWEs for the western side of the Big Horn Mountains generally range in the 140 to 145 percent of median. At the Shell Creek site, specifically, it was 134 percent of median on Tuesday.  At Bald Mountain, it was 135 percent of the median.

In terms of the amount of snow up in the Big Horns, Faye said the measurements as of Tuesday morning were 89 inches at Bald Mountain, 77 inches at Bone Spring Divide, 75 inches at the snow measuring machine on Shell Creek and 56 inches at the Powder River Pass location.

Fahey said those totals are comparable to the ones at a similar time in 2011, when there was extensive flooding along Shell Creek, as well as 1997, which was another high flow year in the area.

“The Shell Creek Snowtel is running above 2011 levels, and right on the record years of 1997 and 1999, in terms of flow,” said Fahey.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be flooding this spring.  As Fahey points out, it all depends on how quickly it warms up — and whether the area receives any significant spring rainfall.

“Mother Nature usually gives us a break on runoff, in that we’ll generally see a little warming in April that takes the edge of the pack,” he said. “Then it’s just a matter of seeing what we get through the rest of April. It can be a snowy one, too, as we all know.”

Fahey said Shell Creek “can handle a pretty good pack,” unlike smaller tributaries such as Medicine Lodge Creek, Paintrock Creek, Ten Sleep Creek and the upper parts of the Nowood, which are more susceptible to flooding.

Ernie Smith is the emergency management coordinator for the town of Greybull.

“Based on the SWE and the snowfall in the high country, the spring runoff is a concern, especially if we have several days of hot weather,” he said.

He was asked how this year stacks up against 2011.

“We’ve had a little colder weather, and I think higher-than-usual snowfall, so the SWES are a little higher than they normally are.  But the big thing on that is, this year, with the ice jam situation that we had, we are so much better prepared to do things because of the sense of  urgency that the ice jams put on us.”

For example, there remains a 500-foot stretch of Jersey barriers atop the Greybull levee.

Several Hesco barriers are also in close proximity, having been moved here from a warehouse in the Midwest by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Plus we have several hundreds, if not thousands, more sandbags than we had in 2011,” he said, citing among other things 48 pallets, each of them containing 40 sandbags.

On top of that, Smith said “We have a lot better monitoring system now than we did in 2011 … and even since the ice jams.”

As for local residents, they, too, are likely better prepared, having lived through the recent ice jams, he said.

Shell Fire Chief Mike Nelson said his department has a lot of sandbags — both empty and full — and that preparing for the spring runoff has been a major topic of discussion at recent LEPC meetings.







Ten seek spot on library board


The Big Horn County commissioners will interview all 10 library board candidates.

The commissioners decided Tuesday that interviews will be on April 14, starting at 2:30. Interviews are anticipated to be about 15 minutes each.

They will appoint a three-member board following interviews. The commissioners terminated the previous board earlier this year.

The commissioners also officially appointed Donna Capellen as the interim Big Horn County library director until a new director is hired. Nancy Venable, who resigned and has taken a branch manager position with the Rock Springs library, had her final day on Friday, March 28.

Capellen presented the regular report to the commissioners. She said this time around as the interim director she has a lot more knowledge.

She reported the Wyoming Community Foundation did provide $2,745 for the tech bar at the Big Horn County Library in Basin.

Happy 85th birthday, Ed Rech

by marlys good

The Shell Community Hall was filled to overflowing Saturday as family, friends and neighbors gathered to wish Ed Rech a happy birthday. The party was hosted by the Rechs’ daughter Julie Rech of Denver and son Jake of Taipei, Taiwan.

Banners adorned the walls of the hall, the tables were decorated with “happy birthday” runners of pictures of Ed throughout his life. A slide show of Rech’s life and family gatherings played for the enjoyment of all attending.

Jan Barnett baked and decorated the two cakes, chocolate and white, iced in white and decorated with a western motif, horseshoes, the family’s brand, lassos, sheep, etc.

Ed, the son of Lily and Ralph Rech, was born March 27, 1929, at the family home on Shell Creek, not far from where Ed lives today. He graduated from Greybull High School, and attended Montana State College in Bozeman (now Montana State University) where he met Barbara Schaeffer-Stout. The couple exchanged wedding vows on July 26, 1952.

Ed enlisted in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Korea and Japan. While he was serving his country, Barbara lived in Greybull. Jock, the first of the couple’s three children, was born while Ed was overseas. Jock (who died in a car wreck in July of 1974) was later joined by brother Jake, currently a project manager on a rail project in Taipei, and sister Julie, now an attorney with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Denver.

The Rechs lived in Billings for a short time where Ed worked for a farm implement dealer, but soon returned to Greybull where Ed worked for E.T. Foe & Sons before establishing Rech Trucking.

An estimated 80 people attended the party.

Patricia Doris LaDuke

OBIT Patricia LaDuke1Feb. 26, 1945 – March 23, 2014

No services are planned for Patricia Doris LaDuke, 69, of Basin, who died Sunday, March 23, at her home in Basin.

Patricia was born Feb. 26, 1945, in Detroit, the daughter of Charles Hadley LaDuke and Doris E. Terry. She graduated from Rancho Alamitos High School in 1963.

Patricia lived in Bullhead City, Ariz., for 29 years before she moved to Basin in 2002.

She loved the outdoors and went camping whenever she got the chance. She was a great pool player and even won some trophies.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles Hadley LaDuke, and Doris E. Terry.

Patricia is survived by her longtime companion Lyle Ranta of Basin; one son, Charles Lloyd Juhnke of Bullhead City; two daughters and a son-in-law, Cynthia Patricia and Scott Lane Herrin of Cottonwood, Ariz. and Nancy Elizabeth Martin of Wright, City, Mo.; her brother Charles LaDuke of Phoenix; two sisters, Nancy Dobbins of Wayne, Mich., and Janette Town of Johnstown, N.Y. and three grandchildren.


Mary Lou Norman

Feb. 14, 1929 – March 30, 2014

A memorial service for Mary Lou Norman will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 10 at the Atwood Family Chapel in Greybull. Mary, 85, died March 30 at Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home.

Mary was born Feb. 14, 1929, in Basin, the daughter of Ernest Lee and Inez Mary Baker Tuttle. She received her schooling in Scottsbluff, Neb.

She married Joseph Elmer Norman June 2, 1957, in Greybull.

She was a member of the VFW Auxiliary and past member of Eagles Aerie 3086 Auxiliary.

Mary enjoyed reading, crocheting and going to the Greybull Senior Center.

Her parents, her husband, brother Lee Tuttle and sister Kathleen Delker preceded her in death.

She is survived by two sons and a daughter-in-law, Dave and Pam Norman of Horton, Kan. and Richard Norman of Greybull; three granddaughters and their spouses, Talea and Noah Smith of Owatonna, Minn., Megan Norman George of Hiawatha, Kan., and Dana and Jeremy Lowe of Manhattan, Kan.; one grandson, Travis George of Atchison, Kan.; a great-granddaughter, Jessalynn Smith, and two great-grandsons, Jerick and Brenner Lowe.

Burial will be in the Donald J. Ruhl Memorial Cemetery.

Memorials in Mary’s name are being received at Big Horn Federal Savings Bank, Box 471, Greybull, WY 82426. Proceeds will go to the Greybull Senior Center.



Jonathan George Davis

April 5, 1915 – March 30, 2014

Jonathan Davis died Sunday evening, March 30, 2014, at the Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home south of Greybull, where he had been a resident since last August. He passed away just six days short of his 99th birthday. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Greybull. A memorial service for Jonathan will be held during the summer.

Jonathan was born in the family home on Germania (now Emblem) Bench on April 5, 1915. He was the youngest child of John and Osie Anna Davis. Except for living and working briefly in Greybull during the early 1940s, he was a farmer and rancher who lived at Emblem all his life.

Living next to the main road from Greybull to Cody and Yellowstone for almost a century gave Jonathan a unique perspective on all the changes that took place during those years. He loved to tell stories, and just the stories he told about that road would fill many pages. His earliest memory of that two-track road is waking up on winter mornings to the sound of wagon wheels squealing through the snow as farmers hauled wheat or oats to Greybull. He remembered rushing to the window, which was covered with frost on the inside, and blowing a hole so that he could watch each farmer pass by;  walking beside his wagon with the reins tied around his waist, and swinging his arms to keep from getting too cold.

Jonathan could read some and had a pretty good grasp of “numbers” before he started attending the one-room East Emblem School in 1921.  In 1922 he moved to the new building, a mammoth two-room structure. His mother warned him never to accept rides from strangers as he walked to and from school, but one afternoon he was just starting home from school when a big Lincoln touring car stopped and the driver offered him a ride. The second Jonathan got in the car he said, “My mom told me not to ride with strangers.” The driver looked startled and said, “Oh dear, you don’t know me.” The first grader replied, “Of course I know you. Your license plate is ‘Wyoming 1.’ You’re Jakie Schwoob!” Mr. Schwoob roared with laughter. He was the owner of the Cody Trading Co., and the State Highway Commissioner—before the governor of Wyoming appropriated the number, the highway commissioner always got the “Wyoming 1” plate. For several years, the commissioner would hold the Lincoln’s horn button down each time he passed the Davis farm.

Jonathan attended Basin High School where his sister was teaching school during his freshman year, and graduated from Greybull High School in 1932. He married Melba Turner in Greybull on December 29, 1937. The couple had enjoyed 69 years together before Melba passed away in 2007.

He served on several boards, and especially enjoyed his 20 years as a district supervisor for the Greybull-Shell Valley Soil Conservation District. Always an avid reader, he was very interested in local and regional history; in 1976 he and Melba were part of a group under the auspices of the Wyoming State Historical Society, which published, “Re-Discovering the Big Horns.” In 1987, Jonathan and Melba compiled and published “They Called it Germania – The History of Wyoming’s Emblem Bench – 1893 to 1937,” a book based on interviews with many of Germania’s early settlers. Jonathan served as president of the Big Horn County Historical Society from 1970 until 1979, and resumed the office again for nearly a decade in the 1990s. He always said he resigned as president, but his resignation was ignored and he had to serve three more years.

Jonathan loved photography and won many ribbons, including “Best of Show,” at both the Big Horn County Fair and the Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site photo contest. He loved playing the harmonica, and until very near the end of his life greatly enjoyed playing tunes for people — “Little Brown Jug” and the hymn “Whispering Hope” were his favorites.

Jonathan was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Claude of Basin, and his sister Lucille Doty of Signal Hill, Calif. He is survived by his three children: Philip (Gina) of Oceano, Calif.; Thomas of Emblem; Susan (Chuck) of Chester, Pa., and five grandchildren.

Finally, in Jonathan’s best tradition, there always has to be one more story: Late one cold evening after holding a service at the East Emblem Schoolhouse, Rev. Hopton, a Baptist minister who traveled throughout the Big Horn Basin, pulled into the Davis farmyard in his old Model T; it had a brass radiator, straight fenders and no top. Hoping to keep it as warm as possible, he parked it as close to the house as he could get it — then drained the radiator before spending the night. In the morning, Jonathan’s dad and big brother went out with the preacher to help start the Ford — they jacked up one hind wheel, then one poured hot water into the radiator and on the engine block while the others took turns and cranked and cranked. The Reverend had come inside to warm up when finally the old Ford went “chug.” Dad always remembered the pastor excitedly saying, “She’s a talkin’.”  At last the Ford spluttered to life, and Dad’s eyes would sparkle as he told how the minister said, “Hallelujah — now she’s singing!”  Such stories are the legacy of Jonathan Davis.  His stories and the sounds of his harmonica playing “Whispering Hope” will echo through the minds of his family and friends for a long time.

Atwood Family Funeral Directors, Inc. assisted the family with arrangements.




GBAC claims six titles in annual tourney

by nathan oster

Six members of the Greybull-Basin Athletic Club won their weight classes at the team’s annual tournament held Saturday at Buff Gym in Greybull.

Loomis Alexander, Kyler Winters, Nathaniel Boreen, Colton Farrow, Kody Gotfredson and Tate Clutter were the team’s individual champions.

GBAC had one of the largest teams entered in the tournament, with more than 50 kids competing out of the total field of 171 wresters.  In all, 13 teams attended.

Sara Schlattmann, one of the organizers of the event, offered kudos to the volunteers, donors and coaches. “It was a great tournament and went very smoothly thanks to everyone’s help,” she said. “We have a great group of parents who really have given a lot to make this program successful through fundraising and attending practice and tournaments.

GBAC will compete at the Lovell tournament on Saturday.  It’ll be the final tournament of the year for those wrestlers who aren’t going on to the state competition, which is scheduled for April 17-19.

Schlattmann said this has been one of the largest GBAC teams in recent memory, with 69 members hailing from Burlington, Otto, Emblem, Basin, Manderson, Shell and Greybull.

The placers from Saturday’s tournament in Greybull are as follows:



PEE WEE: Ryne Harder was fifth at 40A; Sy Schlattmann was second at 40B; Elizabeth Holloway was third at 45A; Rex Cooper was third at 50; Bennett Sanford was second at 50; Izak Newman was fifth at 50; Corbyn Godfrey was fifth at 55-60; Derek Nicholson was fourth at 55-60; Taft Winters was second at 55-60.

BANTAM: Gunnar Pease was fourth at 40-45A; Loomis Alexander was first at 50; David McBride was second at 50; James Gormley was fifth at 50; Dariun Nicholson was fifth at 55A; Clifford Winters was second at 55B; Jack Tyler Pharaoh placed sixth at 55B; Kyler Winters was first at 60B; Weston Gotfredson was fifth at 65; Joe Bassett was fourth at 70.

INTERMEDIATE: Logan Saldana was second at 40-50; Nicholas Eckman was fifth at 55; Coby Henderson was second at 60; Connor Hatch was sixth at 60; Aiden Collingwood was fourth at 60; Xavier Valdez was fourth at 70; Nathaniel Boreen was first at 70; Dylan Alexander was third at 75; Porter Duncan was sixth at 75; Jake Schlattmann was fourth at 75; Aidan Farrow was sixth at 80; Grant Winters was fifth at 80; Titus Nicholson was fourth at 87; Caroline Schlattmann was second at 87; Jack Gotfredson was third at 87; James Love was third at 95; Connor Paxton was second at 103; Colton Farrow was first at 112-120; John Haley was second at 112-120.

NOVICE: Tucker Hatch was third at 65-70; Zachary Ridgway was fifth at 75; Avery Swiftney was fifth at 80; Cash Duncan was third at 85; Kody Gotfredson was first at 85; Chase Oster was sixth at 90-100; Dale McBride was fifth at 90-100; David Briscoe was fourth at 90-100; Tate Clutter was first at 112-130.

SCHOOLBOY: Jacob Cook was second at 84-98; Nick Schlattmann was second at 138-145.



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