Newspaper Archive of
Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
January 15, 2015     Lovell Chronicle
PAGE 1     (1 of 18 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 1     (1 of 18 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
January 15, 2015

Newspaper Archive of Lovell Chronicle produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2023. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

LOVELL .... !!iii00 -,,, -- What's Inside ... Aavah update 2 Lovell resident killed 6 Gas prices fall 6 Held Your Whole Life 3_3 LOVELL, WYOMING VOLUME 109, NUMBER 31 THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 2015 75 Lewis still in place; council votes to advertise for chief BY DAVID PECK Nick Lewis remains the chief of police in Lovell - for now. After rescinding the chiefs firing last week and in doing so announcing that he did not intend to reappoint Chief Lewis, Mayor Angel Montanez presented his list of appointments for his four-year mayor- al term Tuesday before a packed house at Lovell Town Hall. The list did not include Lewis as chief of police, but neither did it include the name of a replacement. Instead, the council vot- ed 3-2 to advertise for a new chief. Sup- porting the mayor in advertising for a chief were councilmen Brian Dickson and Scott Allred, who made the motion to advertise. Councilmen Bruce Wolsey and Kevin Jones voted against the motion. Under the Lovell Town Code, Lewis remains as chief of police until a new ap- pointment is made and the council ratifies that appointment, Town Attorney Sandra Kitchen said Tuesday night. After being sworn in as mayor at noon on Friday, Jan. 2, Mayor Montanez fired Lewis as chief at 7 a.m. the next day, Jan. 3. He then rescinded the termination on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 7, writ- ing to Lewis, "Nick, the purpose of this let- ter is to advise you that you are not ter- minated from your employment with the Town of Lovell. Although I do not intend to reappoint you, you are still employed with the Town of Lovell." Lewis started working regular shifts again on Monday, Jan. 12, after taking his daughter back to the University of Wyo- ming in Laramie over the weekend. He re- mains as the chief until a replacement is named by the mayor and the council rati- fies the selection. DAVID PECK Ken Ferbrache addresses the Lovell Town Council during the public comments portion of the council meeting Tuesday night, which largely addressed Mayor Angel Montanez's decision to not reappoint Chief of Police Nick Lewis. APPOINTMENTS MADE At the start of the appointment process Tuesday, Mayor Montanez noted that may- ors have long had the authority to appoint certain department heads in Lovell (and in other towns under 4,000 in population). He called it the "mayor's prerogative." "These appointments are made by the mayor with the town council's approval," Montanez said, noting the positions of town administrator, chief of police, clerk-trea- surer, town attorney, municipal judge and building inspector. "These are mayor's pre- rogative. It's been done in the past. A new mayor comes in and wants to appoint some- one new, and our code has not changed." Montanez did not propose an admin- istrator Tuesday and said the town would advertise for the position. The council vot- ed to OK the advertising. He then reap- pointed Valerie Beal as clerk-treasurer, which the council voted to accept, then an- nounced that he will not reappoint Chief Lewis and said the town will advertise for the position. Allred moved to authorize the town to advertise for a new chief, and it passed 3-2. Attorney Kitchen pointed out that Lewis will remain as chief for the time be- ing since a replacement was not appointed Tuesday. "No appointment is going to be made tonight," the mayor said. "Like Sandee said, he'll stay in that position until we find a new chief with council approval." Montanez appointed Kitchen as town attorney and Sylvia Gams as municipal judge, and the council approved both ap- pointments. He said councilmen Allred and Jones will research a new emergency man- agement coordinator and come back with a recommendation. Keri Wilske recently re- signed from the post. The mayor re-appointed John Schnei- der as building inspector and Tom Dillon as assistant, and the council approved. Montanez then issued council assign- ments with Wolsey as parks and recreation dept. liaison, Jones as streets, alleys and garbage dept. liaison, Allred police dept. and Dickson sewer and water. Montanez said he will be in charge of special projects. PUBLIC COMMENTS Montanez then opened the floor to pub- lic comments, and nine citizens weighed in on the mayor's decision to not reappoint Chief Lewis. Jay Brinkerhoff opened the comment period by asking what would happen if the town advertises and the council "re- fuses to accept" any of the mayor's choic- es for a new chief. Allred replied, "I would hope that would not happen. My interest being up here as a councilman, and I'm SEE 'CITIZENS SPEAK OUT,' page 3 Hospital Association hosts healthcare forum in Powell BY PATTI CARPENTER Hospital CEOs, admin- istrators, trustees and oth- er stakeholders put their heads together on Thurs- day, Jan. 8, to review bills that will be heard during the eight-week session of the Wyoming Legislature that convened on Tues- day. The special meeting was hosted by the Wyo- ming Hospital Association (WHA) and held at North- west College. The Wyoming Legisla- ture will vote on a number of key pieces of legislation that could potentially im- pact rural hospitals. Sen. Ray Peterson of Cowley and Rep. Elaine Harvey of Lovell were among the leg- islators on hand to listen to the concerns of those at- tending the special meeting and to answer questions. Major issues discussed included Medicaid expan- sion, Title 25, the tobacco tax, a bill that Would allow surgical centers to build convalescent care centers and extension of a loan re- payment program to nurs- ing students. MEDICAID EXPANSION WHA members and leg- islators were encouraged by WHA president Eric Bo- ley to support Medicaid ex- pansion. He explained two potential pieces of legisla- tion that will most likely be heard by legislators in- cluding the "share plan," supported by Gov. Matt Mead and the State Dept. of Health and the "Medic- aid Expansion Alternative Plan," supported by the Joint Labor, Health and So- cial Services Committee of the Wyoming Legislature. Boley indicated that the WHA had no prefer- ence regardifig which bill is passed, but that it is crucial for hospitals in the state that some sort of expansion takes place to help shore up the tremendous losses hos- pitals are experiencing in Wyoming as a result of the estimated 17,000 individu- als who remain uninsured in the state. "WHA has no pref- erence on which one is passed," said North Big Horn Hospital CEO Rick Schroeder, who is also the current chairman of WHA Board of Directors. "The important matter at hand for us is that we have com- munity members across Wyoming who have no in- surance or are underin- sured and have little or no ability to pay for medical care. Whichever version is passed will help the unin- sured, underinsured and health care facilities across the state. Schroeder said any form of Medicaid expansion could potentially help non- profit hospitals like NBHH, which for the most part are just trying to break even. "In 2014, NBHH provid- ed over $1,000,000 worth of uncompensated care health care services," said Schro- eder. "A significant amount of that would be covered by Medicaid expansion (if the state would have allowed Medicaid expansion)." TITLE 25 Title 25 allows law en- forcement and medical pro- viders to evaluate, detain, and hospitalize persons with acute mentally illness for a 72-hour period of time. This includes individuals who may be contemplating suicide. It is a program that is not profitable for most hospital providers. NBHH currently works with local law enforcement agencies to SEE "TITLE 25 NOT PROFITABLE,' page 3 County looks to change annex agreement with Town of Lovell BY KARLA POMEROY Big Horn County will be looking to renegotiate the terms of the agreement they have with the Town of Lovell for use of the county annex in Lovell. County Maintenance Supervisor Fred Werner told the commissioners Jan. 6 that the contract was up in February and he would like to see the town of Lovell assisting with util- ities. He said regular oper- ations for the annex costs the county about $21,000 annually, $18,000 of that in utilities. He said on a normal month the county uses the facility about 25 percent of the time. The town uses the facility to house its dis- patch center and municipal court office, as well as us- ing the courtroom for mu- nicipal court. The county uses the fa- cility for circuit court of- fice and use of the court- room, a small office space twice a month for the clerk and treasurer, C.A.R.E.S. office and an office for the deputies. Werner said there is the possibility that more of the newly remodeled emer- gency management build- ing could be remodeled to accommodate office space for the clerk, treasurer and deputies if needed. Commissioner John Hyde said, "First and fore- most the county needs to maintain a presence in Lovell. That building is about our only presence. I understand the issues with the maintenance. I guess Lovell should be asked to rent at a rate that is SEE 'MAINTENANCE AN ISSUE AT ANNEX,' page 3 PATT CARPENTER The Big Horn County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees announced Lovell Elementary School Principal Cheri Hoffman's plan to retire at the end of the school year at its regularly scheduled meeting held at the district's administrative offices on Monday night. Hoffman announces retirement BY PATI'I CARPENTER Principal Cheri Hoffman announced her plan to retire at the end of the current school year, on June 12, 2015. Hoffman has served most of her educational career at Lovell Elementary School, including seven years as a teacher and most recently as the school's principal for 13 years. Her resignation was announced on Monday night at the Big Horn County School District No. 2 board meeting, where the board reluctantly accepted her resigna- tion and thanked her for her many years of service. Supt. Rick Woodford said though he hasn't worked with her long, he is very im- pressed with her work. "One thing that's been really evident to me since I've been here is that Mrs. Hoff- man has put her heart and soul into her job," said Woodford, who became the dis- trict's superintendent only last summer. "She loves the kids and I think she's done a fantastic job. 'You walk through the school and there's a culture there. Some schools lack that culture and you're just not sure what that school is all about, but when you go to Lovell Elementary School you see a posi- tive culture there. It's all about teaching and learning. The love for kids resonates through that building. And it is her leader- ship which has caused that circumstance. It's been a pleasure for me to work with her, even though it's been for only a short time." Hoffman said she is retiring to spend more time with her husband, John, who has already been retired for five years, her grown children and especially her 16 grandchildren. "I love my grandchildren and just want to be a part of their lives," she said. "This will allow me to travel to be with them. I feel like I've missed a lot already." Hoffman said she has several grand- children who live in other parts of the country, including six in the Washing- ton, D.C. area. She said she also loves to collect antiques and spend time with her horses on the farm she and her husband own just outside of Lovell. "We are planning to stay here, this is our home and we love this communi- ty," she said. "I want to contribute to the community in some way, especially to the schools. I'm not sure yet exactly what I will do." She said it was a difficult decision to retire because she will miss working with the children and her staff, which she said are like "family" to her. "I will miss the children, of course. They are so delightful and funny and hon- est and just good," she said. "They make me laugh every day. "I will also miss my staff. They are the most dedicated people I've ever met in my life. They work tirelessly. You can drive by the school any time and see their cars still here because they are working on their own time." IIl[ll!l!l!lJlll!l![l[l[lllll The Lovel Chronicle, 234 E. Main, Lovell, WY 82431, Contact us at: 548-2217, www.lovellchronicle.com