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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
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January 29, 2009     Lovell Chronicle
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January 29, 2009
 

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Lovell, Wyoming 82431 Price 75 I I Thursday, January 29, 2009 Volume 103, Number 34 Students seek skate park improvements BY DAVID PECK In a good example of a private-public partnership, several young skateboard enthusiasts are working with Lovell Chief of Police Nick Lewis and the Town of Lovell to plan some im- provements on the Lovell Skate Park. Although the skate park is less than two years old, having been installed in May of 2007, local board- ers believe there are some improvements that could be made, and they'd like to help. More than a dozen stu- dents and a handful of par- ents and supporters, includ- ing Chief Lewis, came before the Lovell Town Council at the council's regular meet- ing on Jan. 13. Using projected bud- get notes, photographs and a large project plan, group spokesmen Nathan Grant and Ryan Bartling, both eighth-graders at Lovell Middle School, presented a detailed proposal to the council for needed repairs, improvements and an ex- pansion. BACKGROUND Chief Lewis explained that the upgrade and ex- pansion project came about after police officers had nu- merous contacts with skate- boarders who were using various places in town to skateboard including the fire hall, banks and the post office, even though the skate park was in place. Police were-having to shoo skateboarders away from businesses, and kids thought police officers were picking on them, Lewis said, noting, "Real resent- ment was building." So rather than contin- ue in a negative vein, Lewis decided to sit down with a few of the students and talk to them about why they weren't using the skate park as much and how he could help make it better. Lovell Middle School social work- er Tina Billman has been working with Lewis and the students on the project. '~e've been plotting and planning ever since," Lewis said, "how to make it more enjoyable and how to reach that goal. Now we're neck deep in a civics lesson about how to change things properly. "We (adults) didn't do anything except put their ideas on paper (including cost estimates). They really want to not only improve it but also to keep it nice. They have a buy-in. It has turned into a very good project." THE PROJECT Grant and Bartling presented a multi-pronged project Jan. 13 that includes repairing the existing facil- ity, modifying and opening up the existing design, ex- panding the park and add- ing landscaping so the park is more inviting for specta- tors. The key component to the project is expanding the skate park concrete by 15 feet to the north and remov- ing the existing chain-link fence. "It's so crammed togeth- er," Lewis said. "They can't get the inertia to utilize some of the equipment the way they'd like. If we ex- pand it and take the fence out it would definitely be more user friendly. "The equipment is top notch. It just needs to have more openness to it so it can be used properly." .... ~ Lewis and the students estimate it will take 18 yards of concrete at $120 a yard to expand the park to the north. With additional materials, including a grav- el base and concrete forms, and if donated labor can be found, that phase of the project is estimated to cost $3,000. Other components of the project include: See 'SKATE' page 6 DAvm Pecx Lovell fourth.grader Jaret Collins shovels away snow from a West Main Street sidewalk Sunday afternoon after more than six inches of the white stuff fell early Sunday morning. Bitter cold then struck the area Monday and Tuesday. Wallboard plant cuts 20 jobs BY BRAD DEVEREAUX Signs of an economic recession are becoming ev- ident in many industries worldwide and a Lovell area employer has cut jobs, re- sulting in about 20 displaced workers since late 2008. The Georgia-Pacific Lovell gypsum wallboard plant has cut about 20 jobs, according to GP spokesper- son Melodi Ruse at the com- pany's headquarters in At- lanta. The jobs lost include 14 hourly plant workers and five salaried positions and means the plant will run three shifts instead of four. "Like most businesses across the country, many of our customers and consum- ers have been directly af- fected by the current condi- tions and uncertainty in the economy," Ruse said in an e-mail message last week. "Unfortunately, we have had to adjust our produc- tion schedules to fit these changing needs," Ruse said G~P plants across the country are be- ing evaluated and changes are being made based on production neodj and cus- tomer demands. She said GP has closed "relatively few" plants and is instead cutting back operations company wide. "Georgia-Pacific is very attuned to the economic sit- uation. We are focused on our customers and meet- ing their changing needs, thinking long-term and re- ducing costs where possi- ble/profitable," Ruse said Georgia-Pacific in the e-mail. "We are con- fident that we can weather the challenges ahead and emerge stronger and more competitive." All construction related products are being affected, Ruse said. "The building in- dustry is in bad shape, like other industries. There's relatively nothing being built." The slowdown in de- mand has taken longer to hit the wallboard industry possibly because wallboard is usually used toward the end of construction for fin- ish work, Ruse said, add- ing that places like lumber and plywood mills were hit first. DECEMBER 2008 UNEMPLOYMENT RATES Lowest: ~Wyoming .................. 3.4 % North Dakota ............ 3.5 % South Dakota ........... 3.9 % Nebraska ..................... 4 % Utah ......................... 4.3 % Highest: Michigan ................. 10.6 % Rhode Island ............. 10 % S. Carolina. .............. 9.5 % California .................. 9.3 % Nevada ..................... 9.1% Nationwide ............... 7.2 % Do we really need. another restaurant? Part 2 BY BRAD DEVEREAUX Many Lovell residents want a place to get a steak, a sit-down full-service res- taurant with an atmo- sphere and full-time hours and a nice place to take vis- iting family members and celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas par- ties and other events. These are some of the views voiced at the Lovell restaurant meeting, held at Big Horn Federal Tuesday, Jan. 20, conducted by Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor. The second meeting in a series of meetings meant to discover the specific needs for a restaurant in Lovell, those in attendance gave opinions on everything from entertainment to menu items and alcohol to equip- ment needs. The I0 people there agreed that the restau- rant should have later hours than what is current- ly available in town, but also be able to justify the hours with' enough busi- ness when it is open. Gary Emmett suggested being open until 9 p:m. and said a choice would have to be made about whether or not to serve breakfast. The group discussed what type of atmosphere they would like in the res- taurant. Alvin Emmett com- mented that many travel- ers like to get out of a motel and relax while eating out. That relaxation requires a certain ambience, he said. Gary Emmett added that outdoor dining adds an am- bience of its own. As for menu items, the group said they want steaks, seafood and salads. Some said they would like the option of having a glass of wine or beer with dinner. Entertainment was discussed. Some people said they don't like loud and distracting music dur- ing dinner and others said some music can be nice and wanted to leave the option open for different occasions. Most agreed that the facili- ty should be large enough to accommodate banquets and other small gatherings. Some commented that the people of Lovell have to be sure to support the local restaurant industry; com- munity members have to go out to eat in Lovell and staffers working at restau- rants have to take pride and a sense of ownership in the place they work. Tay- lor mentioned the possibil- ity of selling public shares to fund the project, which is how the Powell Merc. got off the ground. VIABLE EXISTING RESTAURANTS Because a goal of the planning process is to cre- ate ways to help existing restaurants in town, a por- BRAD Dm~REA~ Gary Emmett (left), Alvin Emmett (middle) and Jim Minchow talk about the state of the restaurant industry in Lovell at the second restaurant meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 20, at Big Horn Federal. tion of the meeting was any extra effort after receiv- spent talking about difficul- ing the raise. He said some ties in dealing with employ-" ~ emp,oyees that apply to ees and other factors lim- iting the success of Lovell restaurants. Jim Minchow, the own- er of Minchow's Food Court, said the rise in minimum wage has hurt his business because the wage raise is given to all employees, and many of them don't put in work at the food court don't have a great work ethic, and it is tough to keep the good workers they have on staff for an extended period of time. Minchow said higher paying government jobs of- ten steal their best employ- ees for summer work. On the other hand, Min- chow said many current food court employees are great workers, but those quality employees are hard to find. Lori Scheffier add- ed that the food court has been getting more applica- tions recently, and there is a pretty good crew now. Taylor talked about the possibility of organizing training for employees and working with Northwest College for some opportuni- ties. She said people-man- agement training for shift managers might also help. At the end of the meet- ing, Taylor brought up a few other options including purchasing and adding on to Lange's Kitchen (grant funding would come eas- ier starting from scratch, though). The group discussed the importance of recommend- ing :places to eat in Lovell. Gas station clerks, motel clerks and people working at retail establishments can help restaurants Simply by letting travelers know they exist. "Short of putting those spikey things in the road, we need to do a better job of stopping those people going through town," Taylor said. The restaurant meet- ings aren't being well re- ceived by everyone in town, however, and Taylor read a few e-mails Tuesday from patrons concerned that Lovell can't support an- other restaurant or that a new establishment would push existing eateries out of business. Taylor said another meeting would be held in four to six weeks and ad- dress specific solutions and the costs of different options being considered. Contact Taylor at 548-6707 for more information. ~The Lovell Chronicle 234 E. Main, Lovell, WY Contact us at: 548-2217 www.lovellchronicle.com Icnews@tctwest.net