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February 2, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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February 2, 2012
 

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CHRONICLE HIOHS 4 J The Lovell Chronicle I February 2, 2012 Redistricting process worked for the Basin The process of political redistricting, required every 10 years by a Wyoming Supreme Court decision, is a difficult task prone to frustration and hurt feelings. The court decision based on the concept of "one person, one vote" requires legislative district to be based on popula- tion, rather than geographic lines, and requires said districts to be balanced in regard to population, with two house dis- tricts nested within each senate district. : As the state population changes, new district lines must be redrawn to maintain the district population balance, with up to a 5 percent deviation allowed within each dis- trict. Since population growth does not occur evenly, shifting population requires shifting districts, and sometimes the dis- trict boundaries don't fit traditional geographic bounds, like the Big Horn Basin. Hoping to keep nine legislators in the Big Horn Basin and not lose a district to, say, Fremont County, the Basin nine legislators met last fall to formulate a redistricting plan that would allow the Basin to maintain its legislative power, while also being fair. There was some horse trading during the process, as the lawmakers worked with district boundary lines to make ev- erything work. Solons realized not everyone was going to be happy, but in the end, the desire for a greater "commu- nity of interest" outweighed a local "community of interest." Community of interest is one of the considerations the Supreme Court allowed in the redistricting process, as es- tablished by the legislature, and in the case of the Big Horn Basin, it became the focal point of the debate. In order to make "the math" work, legislators came up with a plan to spread House District 28 north to encom- pass the Meeteetse area. With Cody and Powell growing, their districts would actually shrink - geographically - under the plan, and with Hot Springs County losing population, House District 28 had to expand south into the Shoshonil Lysite area and north to the Meeteetse area. This didn't sit well with Meeteetse folks, who have been represented by lawmakers from Cody for many years. Cody is their community of interest, they argued. They shop in Cody, their newspaper is in Cody and their legislators have always been relatively close by, Meeteetse being only about 24 miles from Cody. Thermop is 54 miles from Meeteetse, and with Rep. Lor- raine Quarberg of Thermopolis currently holding the seat, that a long ways for a representative to travel, Meeteetse folks said, not to mention the fact that it would be difficult for a person from Meeteetse to ever be elected to the legis- lature. But the legislators, after tweaking the plan to make sure all three Meeteetse voting districts would fall in one house district, held their ground, arguing that it is more important to keep the Basin together with nine legislators. Quarberg already represents a portion of south Big Horn County, and Basin is about 66 miles from Thermop. Rep. Elaine Harvey of Lovell helped turn the tide, mak- ing a persuasive argument that, in the Basin, lawmakers are ready and willing to help any or all communities because they share a common interest and are, in fact, a greater community of interest. She also explained how the late Sen. Carroll Miller suc- cessfully represented the Powell area while living more than 70 miles from Powell near tiny Shell. He didn't have any trouble being elected, though one might argue that he, at least, had Big Horn County folks from Greybull, Lovell and north Big Horn County in his corner, where as Meeteetse is much more isolated. Harvey, Sen. Ray Peterson, Sen. Hank Coe, Rep. Dave Bonner and others are happy to advocate for a bill or a project that affects any other town in the Basin, and have done so many times. It is good to see the Big Horn Basin able to stay together through the redistricting process. We urge the Wyoming Legislature to approve the plan OK'd two weeks ago by the Corporations Committee. -David Peck Guest column Child labor rule a 00roblem I have concerns about the proposed than the government what Child Labor Rule as it relates to youth working on farms and ranches, which has gone through public review. The De- partment of Labor is currently accessing those comments. I agree that farming and ranching have inherent risks associated with ma- chinery and livestock handling. I do disagree with making laws to prohibit youth from working in these situations. Many times youth that are cousins and other relatives would be eliminated from doing certain tasks on farms and ranches if they are not 18. I firmly be- lieve that what is needed is proper edu- cation and training of youth so that they are prepared to safely operate machin- ery and be able to move livestock in a safe manner. I plan to do my part in this training by offer- ing a farm safety course to the youth in our county, which will be a Friday evening and a full Satur- day workshop teaching youth how to safely operate tractors and teach them what machines are inher- ently dangerous. I helped with two of these work- shops in Utah and they were well received by the youth there. Safely operating all-terrain vehicles will also be part of the program. There are many youth operating four wheelers and mules. I believe that a person needs to learn some time and when we raise the age of when they learn we will see the accidents transferring to an older age. I know parents need to use common sense in what they will allow their children to do and parents Dallen R. Smith BHC Extension Agent stage their child is at. One thing farmers and ranchers can do for training workers and youth on equipment safety is to require oper- ators to read operators manuals before operating equipment. When my older brother managed a ranch he required my cousin who grew up in a city to read the operator manual for the tractor and round baler he was to operate and I was required to read the operator manual of the swather that I ran. A manager could go around a machine and teach them the inherent dangers about the machines. For instance, PTO's are very dan- gerous and no one should be near them when they are spinning. New equipment has safer shields than older equipment. With all the training there will still be accidents but these accidents, will be greatly re- duced. No one wants to be part of statistics. I worked on a ranch with a gentleman that lost his hand in a round baler, he was trying to get the feed un- plugged with the machine running. I have done the same thing, but never again. I knew a person in Smithfield, Utah, who was building a fence at his new house and was digging post holes with a rear PTO-driven post-hole auger. He got off the tractor to put weight on the auger and the bolt that held the auger on was too long and wrapped him up and killed him. He left a fine wife and several young children. So let's all take the needed time and do things the safe way. Letters to the editor Government runs amok Dear Editor, Many polls show approxi- mately 80 plus percent of the peo- ple think the country is headed in the wrong direction. I am one of that group and believe our gov- ernment has run amok and is out of control. There are far too many so-called czars and unelected bu- reaucrats with too much power to make regulations and issue fines without even a hearing or trial. Whatever happened to due pro- cess? The EPA planned to fine an Idaho couple for starting to build a house on their private property. The EPA called the land a wetland and the fine would be $37,000 per day until the property was re- stored. All this with no hearing or trial. Now the Supreme Court will decide. The EPA plans to fine oil refineries for not using a certain kind of ethanol in their blend. Problem is, that kind of ethanol is not even manufactured yet. I also heard the EPA is planning to fine farmers for raising dust as they plant their crops. Next, will it be fining people for breathing and putting carbon dioxide into the air and causing global warming? I am all for protecting the en- vironment, clean air and clean water, but I believe the EPA has run amok. Meanwhile, the Justice De- partment is suing states want- ing voters to show photo identifi- cation to vote. South Carolina is one of those states and in the re- cent primary election it was just reported that several hundred dead persons voted. Photo ID is just a fact of life these days on ev- erything from cashing a check to boarding an airplane. I recently had to show a photo ID to enter a federal building in Billings. I was told no photo ID, no entry. If I had been a homeless person with no photo ID, no home address, no cell phone, I would not have been allowed to enter and conduct my personal business. Then we have the depart- ment of Homeland Security and the Justice Department and the Fast and Furious gun smuggling sham that no one knows anything about. The former speaker of the House says we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it. To me, that is like buying a grab bag at a farm sale and discovering I had just bought a bag of horse manure and cow dung. I agree with a bumper sticker I recently saw that said, "Diapers and politicians need to be changed for the same reason." Government run amok? I think so. Jim Szlemko Stop the second payroll tax 'holiday' Dear Editor, All who are concerned about finding solutions to America's fi- nancial problems should contact Congress at once. Congress is again debating thet prospect of declaring a pay- roll tax holiday for 2012, as was done in 2011. In 2011, 160 million workers were said to have been exempted from paying $1,000 each of the pay- roll tax on Social Security "pay as you go to retire when you do" plan. 160 billion workers times $1,000 equals $160 billion with- held from Social Security in 2011. The Bowles/Simpson Commis- sion's recommendation of this "Hol- iday" specified that a way must be found to pay for this "Holiday." The U.S. government is sup- posed to be issuing $160 billion in treasury notes to cover this "raid," meaning that the Social Securi- ty's "pay as you go" plan (a highly successful program to date) is pre- empted by a welfare IOU. Contact Congress now to stop a second payroll tax "holiday" in 2012. It has nothing to do with be- ing a "cut" - it was an exemption. Action by citizens NOW (not whining) must prevent another payroll tax holiday or $160 billion more from Social Security's "pay as you go to retire when you do" in 2012. Nora Marie Lewis, Basin Letters to the editor The Lovell Chronicle welcomes letters from its readers and will make every effort to print them. Letters longer than 400 words may not be printed. Letters must be signed and include the address and telephone number of the writer. Unsigned letters will be discarded. Writers are limited to two letters in any 30 day period. All letters must conform to the law of li- bel and be in good taste. They may be mailed to The Lovell Chronicle, Box 787, Lovell, WY 82431, or delivered to our office at 234 E. Main St., Lovell. A strict 1:00 p.m. Tuesday deadline will be enforced. UPSP321.060 234 E. Main, Lovell, Wyoming 82431 307.548.22170 FAX 307.548-2218 Email: lcnews@tctwest.net David Peck, Editor and Publisher Editor ................................................................................. David Peck Reporter ........................................................................ Patti Carpenter Office Manager .............................. : ............................ Gladys McNeil Production Manager ........................................................... Pat Parmer Advertising Manager ................................................ Stormy Jameson Staff ................................................. 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