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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
January 7, 2021     Lovell Chronicle
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January 7, 2021

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33* 18 The Lovell Chronicle 1 January 7, 2021 They did it! The Lovell Lady Bulldog golf team made histor as the first LHS, girls go f team to win a state title as they won the Class 3A State Golf Tour- nament Friday and Satur— day in Evanston. October Big Horn County saw an increase in COVID-19 cases and a second death due to the virus last week. Still, county officials continue to remain optimistic about the overall outlook within the county. “Gone But Not Forgot- ten" has been the rally- ing cry of local residents interested in preserving the memory of Kane, the small town east of Lovell near the Big Horn River that ceased to exist in 1965 with the creation of the Bighorn Canyon Nation— al Recreation Area. And for the dozens who attended Friday’s dedication of the Kane Historic Trail at the town site, an important step toward preserving the Kane legacy was taken. Tom Newman is the new mayor of Lovell, at least for now. The four- year town councilman and local business own- er was named mayor pro tem by his fellow council members during a special meeting Tuesday evening at town hall, fulfilling the request of outgoing mayor Kevin Jones, who resigned as mayor effective today (Thursday) due to a family move to Utah. What started out as a heating and ventilation project has turned into a nearly complete interior renovation at the North Big Horn Senior Center build- ing, and with the project nearing completion, it is more important than ever for local citizens to sup- port the mill levy that pro- vides local funding to sup- port transportation, meal programs and more at the center, Director Julie Durham said. Mark Governor Gordon expressed great concern in a press conference Monday as COVlD-19 cases continue to increase statewide. Big Horn County has been no exception. Total confirmed cases rose to 74 this week, up from 53 cumulative cases last week. Active cases stood at eight last week. This week has seen an increase to 28 active cases. With about a month to go until the general elec- tion, more than 500 Big Horn County voters have already made their choic— es and submitted absentee ballots to the clerk’s office, mirroring the trend that emerged in the run—up to the August primary. While coronavirus cas- es in Wyoming appeared fairly steady throughout the summer, the state is now seeing a spike across the board. , The state’s 14-day COVID-19 cases, now at 98 per day, is the highest level since the pandemic began. Dama e from a wi dfire near, Barry’s Landing that took off after an unattended campfire spread to a camper trailer and into adjacent average for new vegetation was limited Saturday night due to the quick and effective work of the Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept., National Park Service officials said. Tom Newman is now the mayor of Lovell. The fourth—year councilman on Tuesday night was official— ly appointed mayor by his fellow council members af— ter serving two weeks as mayor pro tem following the resignation of outgoing mayor Kevin Jones. Big Horn County has been named one of the most prominent areas of COVID-19 infection With— in Wyoming by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Big Horn School Dis— trict No. 1 Superintendent Ben Smith has turned in his resignation to the board of trustees, announcing that he will step down later this year. According to Smith, he plans to enter retire— ment. His resignation is ef— fective June 30 of 2021. The towns of Byron and Cowley are beginning the process to organize their own teams of volun— teer first responders to give immediate care un- til emergency services are able to arrive. New Several Horizons Care Center residents and em loyees tested positive or COVID— 19 during the past week, as the senior living facility responds to an outbreak after months of extensive and careful precautions. North Big Horn Hospital CEO Rick Schroeder reported that one resident had died related to the outbreak as of Monday. Marketing director Janet Koritnik confirmed that four additional residents have died as of Wednesday morning. Big Horn County of— ficials are urging COVID— 19—weary residents who might have relaxed in re— cent months to recommit to their surface-cleaning, hand—washing and so— cial-distancing ways of the spring after a significant surge of positive cases in the county last weekend. The Lovell Volun— teer Fire Department re- sponded to Bentonite Per— formance Minerals early Monday morning after a large fire broke out at the factory. The annual Lovell Downtown Trick or Treat event will go on as planned this Friday, despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the county. The New Horizons Care Center reported five new positive cases of COVID—19 and two more deaths after an outbreak of 21 residents was reported last week. A total of seven residents have died in the care center within the past two weeks. With 87% of the area sugar beet crop delivered, freezing temperatures and snow called a halt Friday, Oct. 23, to the 2020 West- ern Sugar Cooperative harvest. North Big Horn Hospital is at capacity with COVID-19 patients in critical condition as the facility continues to fight throu the recent wave of t e virus. A three—generation family grocery store in Lovell has been sold, but the new owners promise the same kind of home- town quality customers are used to. The Red Ap- ple Supermarket was sold this week to Darin and Val- erie Hill of Ridgway, Colo., owners of 11 grocery stores and three Ace Hardware stores in the Rocky Moun- tain region. Republican dominated Big Horn County joined the rest of Wyoming in favor— ing Donald Trump for pres— ident and Cynthia Lummis and Liz Cheney for the US. Senate and House of Rep— resentatives, respectively. The annual Lovell Main Street Mingle Christmas kickoff celebration will retain the fun, new character of the 2019 event but will ‘be pared down a bit due to COVID—19 restrictions, Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce manager Linda Morrison said this week. The Big Horn County Clerk’s office is still pro— cessing new registrations that are needed to deter- mine a turnout percent— age, but it’s clear by look- ing at the numbers that a record number of county voters went to the polls in the Nov. 3 general election. A family in Cowley tragically lost their home 'in Cowley Monday night when a fire engulfed their two— story house. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the blaze, which destroyed the home of Joel and Lori Peterson, who were out of town. Joel Peterson is the mayor of Cowley. Matt Davidson has been selected by the Big Horn County School Dis— trict No. 1 Board of Trust— ees to replace Ben Smith as the superintendent of the district. While a statewide or— der could still come from the governor’s desk, mem- bers of Big Horn County’s COVID—19 incident man- agement team say they have no intention of re— questing a local order that would require people in the county to wear masks. There are current- ly' zero COVID—19 patients being cared for at North Big Horn Hospital, hospi— tal staff revealed in Tues— day’s re ular board meet- ing, but our New Horizons Care Center residents re— main active and four more- nurses remain positive. Lovell citizens will have a chance to present ideas, make comments and ask questions about Phase II .of the Constitution Park development project at a public meeting to be held next Monday night at the Lovell Community Center. It wasn’t as big a turn— out as in recent years, but all things considered, the 2020 Main Street Mingle in downtown Lovell Saturday was a success. There will be a new look and feel to seasonal concerts at local schools held annually just before the Christmas to be going holiday with many recorded and/or ' DAVID PECK A massive fire consumes the Joel and Lori Peterson home in Cowley Monday night, Nov. 16, after burning inside and then exploding out to engulf the two-story house. Virtual due to COVID—19 restrictions. Strong support was shown for Phase II of the Constitution Park develop- ment project during a pub- lic meeting at the commu- nity center Monday night. A small but interested crowd discussed various aspects of the proposed project, which, if funded, would follow on the heels of Phase I, which is to be done next summer. The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office will not enforce Gov. Mark Gordon’s statewide mask mandate. Still, county officials are hopeful the order will help mitigate the spread of COVID—19. Monday’s updated public health orders include a statewide mask mandate, tighter restrictions on gathering sizes and fewer hours for certain businesses. Fan attendance at Lovell High School home basketball and wrestling events this weekend will be extremely limited due to COVID-19 gathering rules recently issued by the state health officer. At— tendance is limited to 100 spectators in any venue, Lovell Athletic Director Joe Koritnik said Tuesday, and LHS has chosen to limit at- tendance to two attendees per student athlete, dancer or cheerleader. Color—cod— ed tickets will be issued to players. There are no more ac— tive cases of COVID—19 among New Horizons Care Center residents, North Big Horn Hospital reported this week. Byron The Town Council u n a n i m o u sly voted to approve a $15 million Private Activity Bond Tuesday, Dec. 8, which will allow Inductance Energy a_Wyoming based energy COmpany that says it has created a magnetic energy generator that is a major breakthrough in science - to build a facility within the City limits. The board of trustees for Big Horn School Dis— trict No. 2 approved more than $1.5 million in stim— ulus spending to update software and technolog- ical tools throughout the district. Bighorn Canyon Na- tional Recreation Area Supt. Mike Tranel has re- ceived a promotion to be— come deputy superin— tendent of Yellowstone National Park, but he’s not leaving the cupboard bare with a strong team in place at the park near Lovell, he said in an interview this week. Public health de- partments in Casper and Cheyenne each received shipments of the Pfizer—Bi— oNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday. Three addition— al shipments of the same number of doses were ex— pected to arrive Tuesday at hospitals in Cody, Jack- son and Gillette. As of Tuesday afternoon, the two hospitals in Big Horn County were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Big Horn County’s first shipment of COVID—19 vaccine, which is being hailed as a turning point in the worldwide pandemic. A Lovell man remains in critical condition after being shot multiple times within a Nevada Avenue apartment complex. Lovell resident Brennan Hodg- es, 27, has been arraigned on one count of first-de- gree attempted murder, two counts of aggravat- ed assault and battery and one count of possession of a deadly weapon with un— lawful intent. There is some good news in 2020, Western Sugar Factory Manag- er Shannon Ellis told the Lovell Chamber of Com— merce during their month— ly luncheon Monday. The sugar beet crop this year is looking very good. It’s full steam ahead for Phase II of the Constitution Park Development Project as the Lovell Town Council voted last week to allocate matching money toward a grant from the federal Land and Water Conser— vation Fund through the State of Wyoming. A pair of athletes who competed generations apart will be inducted into the Lovell High School Athletic Hall of Fame next month. Karen Koritnik Wagner, a 2011 LHS grad- uate, and Winfield Scott Croft from the long ago Class of 1927 are this year’s inductees. They will be honored during the Cody at Lovell basketball games on Saturday, Jan. 9. 3 1 A bill advanced by state lawmakers Tuesday, Dec. 22, to renew the funding model for Wyoming’s K—12 education includes a $100 million cut that could be a hard blow to local education, according to educators. North Big Horn Hos— pital is preparing to vacci- nate its staff and residents after the turn of the new year. The preparations are being made as COVID—19 continues to make its pres— ence known in Big Horn County. According to Mar— keting Coordinator Jan— et Koritnik, the hospital is currently treating four pa- tients with COVID-19. The hospital has the capacity to treat up to five patients at a time. CEO Rick Schroeder stepped down last week af- ter leading North Big Horn Hospital for 12 years.