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Lovell , Wyoming
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January 20, 2011     Lovell Chronicle
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January 20, 2011
 

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6 I The Lovell Chronicle January 20, 2011 www. LovellChronicle.com BOB ROGRIGUEZ The Big Horn County School District No. 1 Superintendent Shon Hocker (left) chairman Dave Monk and board member Bret Crosby took a tour of the remodeled industrial arts area led by instructor Rick Wheeler Tuesday, Jan. 11. NEW BUS ago, and then Cowley High School, subsequently was owned by Roland Simmons for some 10 years. The dis- trict acquired it approxi- mately a year ago, the su- perintendent said. In other matters Jan. 11 trustees: • Gave the OK with a 6-0 vote to purchase a new 30-passenger handi- cap-equipped bus using a $96,550 state grant; and to spend $6,000 of district mon- ey to add air conditioning. The latter is a reimbursable expense during a five-year period, Hocker said. • Met as the District Recreation Board with Trustee Ed Riding, rec board vice chairman, conducting in the absence of Sponsel, rec board chairman. The current membership was retained as Continued from page 1 it stands. • Heard a report from Richard Parker, district busi- ness manager. The financial picture remains in focus, he said, with various categories on target. • Received a large "thank you" card from district em- ployees for their Christmas bonus. After the meeting, Hocker explained that last year, instead of a turkey or a ham, each employee received a check representing 3.78 percent of their salary. The district is healthy enough financially, including some federal grant funds, to allow the bonuses, the superinten- dent said. • Adopted several op- erational policies including a modified Substance Abuse Testing Policy for middle and high school students. A change was needed to add illegal drugs not previously listed, Hocker said after the meeting. • Agreed 6-0 to accept the resignation of Steve Cole- man, assistant football coach at RMMHS for the past two years. A sheriffs deputy, Coleman, who also is the school's first resource officer, has a schedule conflict. • Voted 6-0 approval to hire Anne Brumwell as part- time custodian, and Susan Doughty as full-time custo- dian, both at RMMHS; and Hans Hawley as an English teacher at the Burlington School. The board adjourned at 9:24 p.m. and will meet again Thursday, Feb. 10 (in- stead of on the second Tues- day) at Rocky Mountain El- ementary School. WALKING PATH Continued from page l the path be built inside thi ent thBigH0rn County ed ore.a: recent orientation town limits. He noted that every decision the council makes costs the town some- thing. "The viewpoint we have is that the only money you'll have to spend is a small amount of money to admin- ister the loan," Bridges said, "tracking the money and paying contractors." The grant would re- quire a 20 percent match, but Bridges said the match could be of an in-kind na- ture, from the value of the easements to the garbage cans provided by American Colloid. Allred said he under- stands the concerns of citi- zens but added, "I'm in favor of going ahead with apply- ing for the grant." Added Dickson, "We've been discussing this a long time, and I've not heard any opposition to it. I don't expect 100 percent in favor of it, but I'd like for people to call me if they think we shouldn't go forward with this." Councilman Bruce Wol- sey made the motion to pre- pare and submit the grant application, and the motion passed unanimously. In other action Tues- day: • The council reviewed a possible new lease agree- 'r usee county annex building in Lovell. • The council worked on three companion ordinances dealing with dangerous and vicious animals, first tabling Ordinance 908 - definitions of vicious animals, which had been passed on first reading in December, then passing on first reading Or- dinances 909 -- repealing sections of the Lovell code -- and 910 - dangerous and vicious animals. The three ordinances will now move ahead at the same speed. • The council passed an ordinance banning synthetic marijuana in the town lim- its on second reading, even though Kitchen noted that the Wyoming Legislature is considering a similar ban statewide. The council said they would like to pass the ordinance on second reading and see what the legislature does before third reading. • Emergency Man- agement Coordinator Keri Wilske presented the pro- posed Storm Ready Plan to the council. If adopted, the plan would allow the town to be designated as a Storm Ready Community, she said. The council will examine the plan in more detail at a work meeting. • Administrative Assis- tant Scott Campbell report- meeting 'regarding Phase II of the Lovell Community _As- sessment. Lovell Inc. Direc- tor Sue Taylor has agreed to work with the assessment team to develop the project for Lovell. • Campbell said he has been working on a com- prehensive snow removal plan that the council had requested last month and asked the council to discuss the "pertinent issues" such as policies and procedures at the next work meeting. How clean the streets are to be kept would be function of money, he said, noting that the town crew can meet any goal if it is clearly stated. • Mayor Morrison said he would like to hold a re- treat to work on goals and standards for the council and town administrative assistant Campbell to fol- low. • The council scheduled a work meeting for Monday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. • Members of the coun- cil welcomed newly-elected councilman Kevin Jones to his first meeting. • Following a closed ses- sion, the council reconvened and voted to authorize the town hiring attorney Chris Edwards of Cody as a hear- ing examiner for a person- nel issue. an the campus of North Y 0 M I N G , JW in mind. $1nzared by NWC's Ag Department and Center for Training and DevelepmenL 'T " " ' " PLUS, DUN MISS on evening with the cattlemen s choice for western entertainment ... REO STEALLi Z 7500.606.2 PETERSON budget. Peterson has been co-chairing the Legislative State Employee Compensa- tion Commission along with Rep. Mike Madden (R-Buf- falo). The Commission has been using the Hayes Study to compare Wyoming's rate of com- pensation for state em- ployees to other states and the private sector, and the commission initially recommended raises that would in- crease salaries to 97 per- cent of the market aver- age. Gov. Freudenthal lowered that benchmark to 94 percent, and Gov. Mead reduced it further to 90 per- cent and removed the Uni- versity of Wyoming and Wy- oming's community colleges from the equation on the ba- sis that the colleges and the university need to provide their own study and justifi- cations due to their unique job descriptions as educa- tors and staff members. That change in the em- ployee compensation recom- mendation freed up about $75 million for the legisla- ture to work with, Peterson said. If the JAC and the leg- islature agree with the gov- ernor's changes, raises for the colleges and the univer- sity would have to wait until the 2012 budget session, he said. "I felt pretty good about the direction we were head- ing, but being a conservative Republican, I agree with the governor that we need to go at this slowly," Peter- son said. "I agree that state employees need to be fairly compensated, and even as a county commissioner I wor- ried about brain drain (as county employees left for higher-paying jobs), but we need to be conservative and take baby steps. "In the State-of-the- State the governor said state employees need to feel ap- preciated, so he recommend- ed one-time bonuses as in- centive pay for department head to compensate employ-  ees for jobs )erformed well." Peterson said the JAC Continued from page 1 would be starting the mark- up on the supplemental bud- get' bill by today (Thursday) and make its recommenda- tions so the legislative staff has time to get the bill pre- "It's been a deep, dark hole that we keep throwing money into. Wyoming's Medicaid program has a $20 million shortfall ..." Sen. Ray Peterson pared by next Monday or Tuesday for introduction. PETERSON BILLS Peterson said he will be sponsoring two bills this ses- sion. One bill, Senate File 114, would establish an ad- vanced teacher evaluation pilot program that would in- clude cameras in classrooms for periodic evaluations of teachers. "The rumblings are starting, but we're going for- ward," Peterson said of reac- tion to the bill. 'There are a lot of teacher incentive bills this year. I was going to hold it back, but Sen. (Hank) Coe (R-Cody) and Rep. (Matt) Teeters (R-Lingle) - (the Senate and House Educa- tion Committee chairmen) - said bring it out and get it on the floor and let's talk about it." Peterson said the bill has been assigned to the Senate Education Commit- tee and could be heard as soon as Monday. The senator said he is also working on a bill re- garding Medicaid fraud modeled after a law in Flor- ida that would provide a cash reward for citizens who know of and report fraudu- lent claims. If the citizen is found to be correct, he or she would receive a reward based on a percentage of the fraudulent claim amount. "In Florida the state has saved 3 to 10 percent in Medicaid fraud because Of the fraud being caught," Peterson said. "Our state participation in Medicaid is $600 million over the bien- nium, so we could save $18- 20 million annually. "The other ramification is a reduction in the number of filings because they know someone is watching and checking them. It's been a deep, dark hole that we keep throwing money into. Wyoming's Medicaid program has a $20 million short- fall after the first year of this biennium. More people are applying and getting accepted, and the state depends a lot on doctors to report sus- pected fraud." Peterson said he would be talking with Christine Cox, a Wyoming Attorney General's Office assistant in charge of the Wyoming AG's Medicaid Fraud Con- trol Unit. "I want to .talk to her about what we need in this bill to strengthen our Medic- aid fraud laws and enforce- ment, including rewards for citizens. If it will save the state $18-20 million a year I'm all for it." SEVERANCE TAX DIVERSION Peterson said he is still making up his mind about Gov. Mead's recommenda- tion to divert one-half of 1 percent of state mineral sev- erance tax revenue and split it three ways: local govern- ments, highway construction and savings. Each third of the diversion would amount to about $52.15 million. "Everyone down here is afraid of earmarking in case there's a downturn in the economy, though this would carry a seven-year sunset," Peterson said. "I know that towns and highways need more continuity of funding, and part of me agrees and part of me is wary about earmarking. "The governor said if someone has a better idea, let's hear it to address the need for a more consis- tent flow of money. I've al- ways agreed that we need to do a better job of getting more funding to cities and towns." Better Th(m Billings Pricing Everyday! We're Online at www.haskellfurniture.net • FREE deliver), Haskell Furniture & Flooring "Better than Billings pricing everyday!" Lovell 548-2269 Cody 527-5990 Worland 347-6548