Daily Archives: August 20, 2014

George David Michaels

OBIT George David MichaelsDec. 2, 1924 – Aug. 12, 2014

Funeral services for George David Michaels of Burlington were held Aug. 16 at the LDS Church in Burlington. George, 89, died Aug. 12 at the Spirit Mountain Hospice House in Cody.

He was born Dec. 2, 1924, the son of John and Elnora Nicholson Michaels, the youngest of five boys. He attended a little one-room schoolhouse south of the river called Saint Joe through his elementary years. He started high school in Basin, but then attended school in Burlington where he graduated with the Class of 1943. George attended the University of Wyoming for one quarter, but then returned home to farm.

He married Delila Salmela in Almy, Wyo., in 1955. They lived on a farm south of the river in Burlington where their four children, Gordon, Roger, Carol and Larry, were born.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his four brothers and sisters-in-law and his oldest son, Gordon, who died at the age of 3 1/2 years.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 59 years, Delila; two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert and Marianne Michaels and Larry and Cathy Michaels; one daughter and son-in-law, Rex and Carol Michaels Williams; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He was laid to rest beside his son Gordon in the Burlington Cemetery.


Frances Ruth Blumenshine

Oct. 5, 1921 – July 23, 2014

Graveside services for former Greybull resident Frances Ruth Blumenshine of Thermopolis were held July 29 at Mountain View Cemetery in Riverton. Frances, 92, died July 23 in the Wyoming Pioneer Home.

She was born Oct. 5, 1921, in Rawlins, the daughter of James and Jenesena Pedersen Lamont. She was raised on the family’s sheep ranch in Lamont that included a general store and post office. She graduated from Rawlins High School in 1938.

She married Daniel Blumenshine Feb. 18, 1940, in Riverton. She and Dan farmed at Arapaho for 31 years.

The Blumenshines lived in Greybull for 25 years where they managed the Shoe Shoppe until 1984.

In 1999 she moved to Lander. She was a bookkeeper at Girard and Company for 12 1/2 years.

Frances was a member of BPO Does and the Rebekahs.

Her husband Dan, daughter Coleen Wimpenney, her parents, a great grandson and her foster sister, Christine Johnson, preceded her in death.

She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Ron and Kathy Cunningham of Lander; son-in-la William K. Wimpenney of Eugene, Ore.; two brothers, James Lamont of Denver and Albert Lamont of Norwalk, Calif.; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Memorials can be mailed directly to Fremont County Youth Camp, Box 470, Lander, WY 82520.


Anders sacrifice won’t be forgotten

by nathan oster

Mabry Anders may be gone, but he hasn’t been forgotten.

Earlier this month, a group of motorcyclists on a 2,000-mile trek that stretched from the West Coast to Mount Rushmore made a stop in Greybull to honor Mabry’s ultimate sacrifice and the family that he left behind, including his father, Dan Anders, who still resides here.

Wednesday — Aug. 27 — will mark the two-year anniversary of Mabry’s death, and while much more is known today about how Mabry died in the line of duty in Afghanistan, it hasn’t eased the pain of his father. On his wrist, Dan wears a bracelet bearing his son’s name, an ever-present reminder of who he was and what he did for the country that he loved.

“It means something, the way he died,” said Dan. “Not everybody has that with a dead child. But at least there was some meaning to it. Even if you don’t believe in the war, Mabry was doing what America wanted him to do. He died a hero.”

Mabry grew up in Big Horn County, attending school in Basin and Greybull between 1993 and 2004. He started high school in Greybull, but three quarters of the way through his freshman year, he moved to Baker City, Ore. In 2009, he graduated.

Mabry was determined to follow in his family’s footsteps.

Dan, his father, had been in the U.S. Marines from 1985-90, serving as a mechanic, and with the Army working as a civilian before returning to his roots in Big Horn County. His service continues, as for the past 16 years, he’s been on the south-end search-and-rescue team.

Mabry’s mother Genevieve, was in the Army.

Both his grandfathers served — Gary Anders was in the Navy, Ken Loecker the Army.

Interestingly, Ken, Dan and Mabry all spent time on the same base in Korea.

Mabry landed in Afghanistan in March of 2012. His primary role was as a mechanic and recovery wrecker operator.

Through Facebook and other forms of messaging, Mabry and his father remained close.

“With the time difference, he’d be going to bed when I was getting up,” said Dan.

Dan said he treasured those interactions with his son halfway around the globe.

But almost from the start, he sensed that things weren’t going well.

“He was worried,” Dan recalls. “They would get hit with mortar attacks. There were Afghans on the base — and the mortars would never hit where the Afghans were on the base.”

Dan said several attacks on the base never made the news. In one, a base was burned to the ground and Mabry lost all of his possessions — clothing, computer, everything. That happened about two months after he arrived. In another, a suicide bomber killed one of his brigade’s most revered leaders.

As the calendar turned to August, Mabry found himself going out on route clearance missions, looking for IEDs left by the terrorists.   A Reuters story that was published in September of 2012 described how, on Aug. 27, 2014, young Mabry lost his life.

According to that story — which can be read in its entirety online — Anders and Christopher Birdwell of Windsor, Colo. “were part of an early morning clearance mission near the Afghan town of Kalagush when the lead vehicle in their convoy hit a bomb.

“Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are hardly a novelty … and troops know how to respond. Soldiers in the convoy quickly secured the area and Anders went to help load the damaged vehicle for transport.

“The American patrol had the road blocked to ensure security. But the Afghan soldiers approaching in another convoy were not seen as a potential threat, and were allowed to pass. On board that convoy was Welayat Khan.”

Anders and Birdwell had been trained to trust Afghan soldiers.

The story continued: “Khan was sitting in his gun turret mounted on a vehicle in the Afghan convoy. At 8:10 in the morning, as his vehicle passed Anders and Birdwell, Khan took aim at the Americans and fired.”

Khan jumped out of the Afghan vehicle and started to run. He didn’t make it very far. An American helicopter arrived in minutes and shot Khan dead less than a kilometer away, according to a U.S. Army spokesman.

Unaware of what had happened, Dan said he awoke one morning to read that two soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan. The initial story from the Karzai government was that an Afghan solder had dropped his gun and that it had discharged, killing two Americans.

It was about midday when Anders got the call. His ex-wife in Oregon was on the line, informing him of his son’s death. Through news accounts and first-hand accounts from people who were serving with his son, Dan has been able to piece it all together.

Khan was raised in a deeply religious family in the mountain range of Shor Khil, a collection of about 100 mud-built houses near the Tora Bora mountains not far from the Pakistan border. In that same Reuters story, family members described Khan as unstable and prone to fits of rage.

After his death, the Taliban made claims that Khan was embedded, working for them the entire time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Khan’s family members offered a different account. While celebrating him as a martyr, they placed blame on the Americans for an incident at the border a short time earlier that may have incited him to shoot.

Two years later, the struggle continues.

According to a U.S. Today article from late June, the U.S. still has more than 30,000 troops in Afghanistan. The force is scheduled to be trimmed to less than 10,000 next year — that is, if the Afgan government signs a security agreement with the United States.

As of late June, 14 U.S. soldiers had died in combat in Afghanistan in 2014.

The peak came in 2010, when 439 American troops died in combat there.

The conditions, however, remain tense. “Soldiers are allowed to do less…they’re just hunkered down, staying on their bases and not doing much,” said Anders. Two days before he sat down for an interview, two soldiers from Fort Carson lost their lives in combat. “I wish they’d be more aggressive and try to root them out a little bit more instead of just playing around.”

Dan said he would never forget the tribute that was paid to his son when he returned home.

It was held in Oregon, where Mabry’s mother resides. Two to three thousand people turned out for it. Waving flags, they welcomed Mabry home, forming a line from the airport all the way to the funeral home. The Patriot Guard Riders turned out in force. Dan, himself a Rider, has done the same for other families since his son’s passing. “It’s a way of paying them back,” he said.

When the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers motorcycles roared into downtown one morning earlier this month, more than 100 flag-waving local residents were lining Greybull Avenue to greet them.

Among the items presented to the Anders family was a plaque. It read: “In remembrance of his everlasting call to bravery, honor and sacrifice in the name of country and duty. We as everyday Americans will always be grateful for your fallen hero’s dedication to country and family. With this plaque it is our solemn promise to never forget your fallen soldier and what he has given in the name of honor, duty and freedom.”

With his wife Gretchen at his side, Dan rang a bell inside the Elks in his son’s honor.

“He was an outgoing kid, into motorcycles, dirt bikes, that sort of thing,” said Dan. “There’s a memorial page on Facebook, “Pray for Mabry Anders,” and a lot of his friends have posted on there.”

Dan has no doubt that if Mabry had made it back to the United States, that he’d be in Oregon, flying helicopters and living life to the fullest. “He was training to be a helicopter pilot,” he said. “And he would have been a good one.”


Lipp wins 4-way race for district court clerk

by nathan oster

Serena Lipp spent the night of the primary election at her mother’s house, surrounded by her family. Fitting, she says, because her victory in the four-person race for clerk of the district court wouldn’t have been possible without them.

“You don’t do this kind of thing alone,” said Lipp, of Shell. “I think of all the family and friends … we all worked so hard this summer. We put in a lot of effort. We worked as a team. I’m so thankful for all of them. What an amazing journey it has been.”

Lipp finished 1,281 votes to earn the Republican nomination for the offices. With no Democrat in the race, she’s got a clear path to a four-year term in the November general election, where she will be unopposed.

Diane Nuttall, currently the chief clerk in the circuit court, finished second with 806 votes, followed by Deb LaBudda with 792 and Angela Cook with 227.

Lipp was the top vote-getter in seven of the county’s 13 voting precincts. Her margin of victory was largest on her home turf of Greybull and Shell, where she received a combined 522 votes compared to 198 for Nuttall and 138 for LaBudda. Lipp also won in Lovell, although the margin was just nine votes over Nuttall.

The rest of the county was every bit as evenly split, as LaBudda — the only one of the three candidates with experience in district court — was the top vote-getter in Basin, with 198 votes compared to 157 for Lipp and 135 for Nuttall, as well as in the precincts of Otto, Hyattville, Manderson and Deaver.

Nuttall carried one precinct, Byron, where she finished with 53 votes to Lipp’s 45 and LaBudda’s 30.

Lipp said she was excited to get to work.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about, something I’ve wanted to do for the past eight years,” she said. “I’m ready to serve. I’m excited about it, and graciously thankful to the voters of Big Horn County for their support and for all of the people who helped along the way.”

Lipp said her first priority upon taking office will be to make sure it’s running efficiently and has the respect of judges and attorneys. She has every intention to keep LaBudda on staff, calling her “a real asset to the office,” and said that she’d spoken earlier in the evening with Nuttall, who congratulated her and wished her well.

“Our campaign was a positive one,” she said. “All of us went in with nothing to lose, knowing that only one of us would come away with something to gain. I think that made our campaign very cordial. We were there for each other at all the forums and parades, which was great — considering we were all going for this office.

“We all knew that only one of us would get it … it was almost like we were supporting each other along the way.”

Lipp said she believes her 32 years of office experience will serve her well, noting “I have a background in everything I’m going to need to run that office and I’m going to do my best for the people of this county.”

Carrizalez, Hyde end Grant’s run on commission

by karla pomeroy

After 16 years, there will be a new commissioner for Big Horn County with longtime commissioner Keith Grant losing out to Felix Carrizales and John Hyde in his bid for a fifth term during Tuesday’s primary election.

Carrizales topped the ticket for the Republican nomination for two commissioner seats with 1,985 votes. John Hyde, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the late Scotty Hinman, received 1,789 to advance.

Independent candidate Linda Harp of Basin and Otto resident Stanley Jones, Constitution Party candidate, will challenge Carrizales and Hyde in the general election.

Carrizales said, “I’m not sure how to feel right now. It’s pretty exciting but the general election is coming up. I’m grateful for all the people who voted for me and was surprised about the support. I will continue to work a little harder and keep going. I will stay true to what I said and hopefully I’ll be able to serve like I want to and serve the people.”

Carrizales won six of the 13 precincts in the county — winning Basin with 363 votes, hometown Burlington with 123, Emblem 33, Manderson 55, Greybull 504 and Shell 150. He and Hyde tied for the most votes in Otto with 39 each.

Hyde said, “Keith has been the best commissioner the county’s ever had. It’s extremely sad to see he was defeated; on the other hand I congratulate Felix. He ran a good campaign and there’s no animosity.

“I’m happy to have won my portion. I’ve enjoyed the process. It was a positive thing for me and absolutely I want to thank everyone who supported me.”

Hyde won five precincts — Hyattville with 30 votes, Lovell with 605, Cowley with 182, Byron with 110 and Deaver with 35.

Grant said, “It’s been a good ride. I made one political promise all the way through and that’s to make a difference and I believe I have. I will be leaving Big Horn County better than I found it. It’s kind of hard but all good things must come to an end.”

He added, “I appreciate the support the citizens of Big Horn County has given me over the years. It’s been an honor and a great learning experience.

“Of course, it’s a let down, but there’s time and season for everything.”

Grant said he wishes the new commissioners the best of luck.

“I just feel I’ve done my best and done a good job. I’m sure I’m leaving Big Horn County in a better position than I found it.”

Grant won one precinct with 28 votes in Frannie.

All results are unofficial until the canvassing board meets Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Foley tops Graham by 46 votes

by nathan oster

Myles Foley established himself as the frontrunner in the race for Greybull mayor, outpolling Bob Graham by 46 votes in Tuesday’s general election.

Foley, owner of the Historic Hotel Greybull, received 304 votes, or 54 percent.

Graham, the town’s current mayor, checked in with 258 votes, or 46 percent.

Both men will advance to a winner-take-all contest in the November general election.

The top vote getter will win a four-year term in office.

For Greybull Town Council, Harry “Pappy” Capen was credited with 240 votes and Les Lowe with 224.

The Big Horn County Clerk’s Office reported Wednesday that 270 write-in votes were cast for town council. The clerk’s office will count those votes and provide a list to the town of the candidates who received the minimum three votes required to appear on the ballot.

In descending order, the town will then start notifying write-in candidates and asking them whether they wish to accept the nomination and appear on the November ballot. When either two accept or the list of qualifiers is exhausted, that process will draw to a close.

The top two vote getters in November will replace Bob McGuire and Ross Jorgensen, whose terms expire at the end of the year.

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