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May 10, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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14 I The Lovell Chronicle I May 10, 2012 COURTESY PHOTO Students attending the Skills USA leadership conference in Casper April 25-27 were (back row, l-r) Brigham Hopkin, Jacob Asay, Eston Croft, McKay Mayes, Derek Phelps, Alex Sawaya, Tyler Tillett, (front) Ashlee McIntosh, Tiana Orremba, AJ Dickson, Ashley Steenbakkers, Maddie Baxendale and Justin Mickelson. At the right is advisor Bret George. LHS students earn awards at Skills USA Thirteen students from Lovell High School attended the Skills USA Wyo- ming State Leadership Conference in Casper April 25-27, and four students brought home medals. The Lovell chapter was also the 1A- 2A champion for earning the most points at the conference. Lovell attended the conference un- der the guidance of advisor Bret George. The students competed in a num- ber of different areas, including Tyler Tillett in auto service technology, Tia- na O'Tremba, Ashley Steenbakkers and Ashlee McIntosh in cosmetology, McK- ay Mayes, Maddie Baxendale and Es- ton Croft in photography, Jacob Asay, AJ Dickson, Justin Mickelson and Alex Sawaya in technical related math, Derek Phelps in culinary arts, O'Tremba in job interview and Brigham Hopkin and Asay in firefighting. SldllsUS-00 O'Tremba brought home a gold medal (first place) in cosmetology, and Steenbakkers claimed the silver for sec- ond place. Mayes earned a silver medal in photography and Hopkin garnered a bronze (third) in firefighting. O'Tremba also made the top nine out of 50 competitors in job interview. "It was a good week," George said. "We represented really, really well. It's a good group of kids." From our Files United Party sweeps town election 100 YEARS AGO The Cowley Weekly Progress, May 11, 1912 There is an ordinance requiring peo- ple to bridge their sidewalk crossings with a good substantial bridge about five feet wide. Mayor Tippets has placed one over the ditch at his place, which is a good sam- ple to pattern copy after. All the little mat- ters should receive attention at the prop- er time as to make for civic improvement which any live town should make. 75 YEARS AGO The Lovell Chronicle, May 13, 1937 Grant Taggart, president of the Million Dollar Round Table, organization of insur- ance underwriters selling more than a mil- lion dollars of insurance a year for three years, left Tuesday for Ann Arbor, Mich., where he will address a state sales con- gress. He expects to return about the 20th. 50 YEARS AGO The Lovell Chronicle, May 10, 1962 Max Jones topped all candidates in Tuesday's election as the United Party made a sweep of the town election. Jane Clark and Gerald Doerr, both elected in 1960, are the other members of the coun- cil. The newly elected mayor stated that his party would do all in its power to warrant the support given them at the polls. 25 YEARS AGO The Lovell Chronicle, May 14, 1987 Amy Jo Tippetts of Lovell was award- ed a Bronze Congressional Award Medal on May 3 at the State Capitol Building in Cheyenne by Rep. Dick Cheney based on voluntary public service, personal dev-elop- ment and physical fitness and expeditions. Amy was one of four young persons cho- sen from Big Horn County to receive this award. S&R works to be added to state retirement BY KARLA POMEROY The Big Horn County commissioners have signed a letter of support for the Big Horn County Search and Rescue to be in- cluded in the state firefighter retirement program. Captain Dan Anders said hav- ing the retirement would help with recruit- ment and retention. Sheriff Ken Blackburn said the south search and rescue qualifies because it han- dles extrication at crashes. He said it is uncertain if the north unit would qualify because they don't currently handle ex- trication. Another element is that south search and rescue also responds to wild- land fires. "We're working to qualify the south unit," Blackburn said, adding that he is continuing to do research on the north unit. Anders added that they also have a Cascade system to allow them to fill air tanks for firefighters. Anders also talked to the commission- ers about a new facility. He said they need about $20,000 to fix the current facility. He provided plans that search and rescue orig- inally submitted in 2008. The property used for the new facility would be the lot across from Atwood Fam- ily Funeral Directors. Anders said the plans are for a similar facility to Greybull's new fire hall, which was built for $400,000. "I just wanted to get this on your minds," Anders said. He added that he would like the com- missioners' approval to have the coun- ty grants department assist with finding grant funding. Grant said he would like to authorize Maria Eastman to work on grant funding and suggested the county could use some of the county consensus block grant funding. The commissioners agreed by consensus to allow the county grants department to as- sist S&R. No final decision on post office closings BY KARLA POMEROY Editor, Basin Republican-Rustler The passage of the 21st Century Postal Reform Act by the U.S. Senate two weeks ago (see related story) will not impact the timing of the closing of fivd 0t offices in Big Horn County. According to U.S. Postal Service spokes- person David G. Rupert, the Postal Service is still in its agreed moratorium with Con- gress until May 15. In late November, the Postal Service sought written comments for four of the five post offices closing in Big Horn County -- Hyattville, Otto, Emblem and Deaver. The comment period for Byron was earlier as it was on the original clos- ing list. Sen. Mike Enzi's press secretary Daniel Head said in an interview Tuesday, "May 15 is the end of the USPS moratorium on post office closures. The Senate, through a "Sense of the Senate" (a vote expressing an opinion on a topic), asked that scheduled closures be postponed until the postal re- form bill becomes law." The Postal Service was in the midst of the comment period when, on Dec. 13, it agreed to delay the closing or consolida- tion of any Post Office or mail processing facility until May 15, per request of several Congressmen. According to its release, the Postal Ser- vice was to continue all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings. It was seeking comment on the proposed closings as well as seeking in- terested persons or businesses to establish Village Post Offices in those communities. While the Postal Service posted offi- cial proposals to close all five post offices in December no formal decisions have been made. Rupert said at a minimum it would be 60 days from the time a decision is made before any post office closed its door. "We will continue to deliver mail there so we would have to set up boxes, and make sure all residents are notified. There is nothing imminent," he said. "We have 3,700 post offices to review. In the meantime we are hopeful for a long-term solution to our fi- nancial situation." "We're losing $25 million a day. We don't want a buyout or a handout or the taxpayers to rescue us. We have a plan," Rupert said. The Postal Service receives no tax dol- lars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. In a press release in September 2011, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told a Senate committee that without enactment of legislation by the end of that month, the Postal Service faces default, as funds will be insufficient to make a congressionally man- dated $5.5 billion payment to pre-fund retir- ee health benefits." According to the release, Donahoe in his testimony before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, 'Whe Postal Service is in a crisis today because it operates within a restrictive business mod- el and has limited flexibility to respond to a changing marketplace. We need the ability to operate more as a business does. This applies mmm "We're losing s25 million a day. We don't want a buyout or a handout or the taxpayers to rescue us. We have a plan," - David G, Rupert,. U.S. Postal Service spokesperson to the way we provide products and services, allocate resources, configure our retail, deliv- ery and mail processing networks and man- age our workforce." The combination of weak economic con- ditions and diversion to electronic forms of communications continues to result in significant declines in the use of first-class mail and weakness in the use of standard mail. Future mail volume projections show this trend continuing, requiring even great- er efforts to reduce costs. In the past four fiscal years, the Postal Service has reduced costs by more than $12 billion and reduced its career workforce by 110,000 employees. "As impressive as these reductions have been, we must sig- nificantly accelerate the pace of cost reduc- tion in the next four years," said Donahoe. Based on current revenue and cost trends, the Postal Service must reduce its annual costs by $20 billion by 2015 to return to profitability. "We do not currently have the flexibil- ity in our business model to achieve all of these cost reductions. To do so, the Postal Service requires the enactment of compre- hensive, long-term legislation to provide it with needed flexibility," Donahoe added. LEGISLATION NEEDED Specifically, the Postal Service has re- quested legislation to: Resolve a unique law requiring the Postal Service to make $5.5 billion annu- al payments to prefund retirement health benefits. Return $6.9 billion in Federal Em- ployees Retirement System overpayments. Grant the Postal Service the author- ity to determine delivery frequency. Allow the Postal Service to restruc- ture its healthcare system to make it inde- pendent of federal programs. Grant the Postal Service the author- ity to provide a defined contribution retire- ment plan for new hires, rather than to- day's defined benefit plan. Streamline the process forproductde- velopment and pricing. Donahoe also said the size of the Post- al Service workforce needs to be addressed. In order to return to profitability, the Post- al Service needs to reduce its career work- force by approximately 220,000 by 2015, but cannot do so under the terms of exist- ing collective bargain agreements. To accel- erate workforce reductions, the Postal Ser- vice is asking Congress to allow it to utilize the Reduction-in-Force (RIF) provisions currently applicable to federal competitive service employees for positions held by bar- gaining unit employees. Rupert reiterated that no definitive de- cisions have been made for the post offices in Big Horn County. "The earliest anything could happen is still several months away." Wyoming's Congressional delegation (Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis) has been working on supporting rural post offices in Wyoming, issuing a letter to Donahoe last November stating, "In July, the USPS released a list of 3,700 post offices nationwide being stud- ied for closure in an attempt to reduce its staggering operating losses. Forty-four of these post offices are in our home state of Wyoming, representing approximately one- third of all post offices in the state. As these communities are studies it is important to yet recognize the unique needs and challenges of Wyoming's rural towns, and specifically the role that post offices play. gust more than simply a place to transact business, post offices in these rural areas, are often the hub of the cOmmuhit; : .. "The USPS has als'Omentioned the availability of online services. While (it) may provide a viable alternative for other areas of the country, it is not an effective- enough alternative for rural communities that have limited Internet access. "The 3,700 post offices currently under review are estimated to achieve only $200 million in cost savings. This is just a frac- tion of the USPS's debt. Greater savings would be achieved from closing post offices in urban locations, where many post offices exist within close proximity." Postal Reform BY KARLA POMEROY Editor, Basin Republican-Rustler The 21st Century Postal Reform Act (S. 1789) passed by the U.S. Senate two weeks ago is a short-term solution according to the Postal Service. The act, if granted approval by the en- tire Congress, would among other things put on hold until 2014 any decision on eliminating Saturday delivery. In addressing the Senate action, the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors is- sued the following statement, "The Board, in working with management, has spent the past two years preparing a comprehen- sive business plan to make the Postal Ser- vice viable so it would not become a liabil- ity to the American people. This plan was validated by outside experts. We stand be- hind this plan, and we are convinced it is the right approach. "Unfortunately, action by the Sen- ate today falls far short of the Postal Ser- vice's plan. We are disappointed that the Senate's bill would not enable the Postal Service to return to financial viability. A strong Postal Service is important to the health of the entire mailing industry and the Postal Service's ability to finance uni- versal service for the American public. Given volume losses we have experienced over the past five years along with expect- ed future trends, it is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open. There is simply not enough mail in our system today. It is also inappro- priate to delay the implementation of five- day delivery when the vast majority of the American people support this change. Fail- ure to act on these changes will ensure that the Postal Service's losses will continue to mount." Postmaster General & Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service Patrick R. Donahoe said, "Today the Post- al Service incurs a daily loss of $25 million and has a debt of more than $13 billion. Based on our initial analysis of the legis- lation passed today, losses would contin- ue in both the short and long term. If this bill were to become law, the Postal Service would be back before the Congress within a few years requesting additional legisla- Act only a short-term solution tive reform. "The Postal Service does not seek to be a burden to the American taxpayer, and we believe such an outcome is entirely avoid- able. The Postal Service has advanced a comprehensive five-year plan that would enable revenue generation and achieve cost reductions of $20 billion by 2015 -- restoring the Postal Service to long-term profitability. "The plan we have advanced is a fair and responsible approach for our custom- ers, our employees and the communities we serve. We are hopeful that the legisla- tive process will continue and that enacted legislation will put the Postal Service on a sustainable path to the future." In an interview last week, USPS Spokesperson Dave Partenheimer said, "We have not announced any new plans for after May 15. It's important to remem- ber that the Senate action this week is only one step in the legislative process and until the House acts on their bill and a final bill emerges and is passed and signed into law by the President, the current laws and reg- ulations we operate under continue." U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Bar- rasso voted against the act but did support some provisions and amendments. Accord- ing to Daniel Head, head press secretary for Sen. Enzi, "Senator Enzi voted for amendments to the ,postal reform bill (S. 1789) that would protect access to post of- rices and prohibit rural post office closures. He did not support the final version of the bill because it would add $34 billion to the deficit." Head said some of the provisions in the bill that Enzi supported were keeping six- day delivery for at least two more years, keeping door delivery service, incentivize retirement for USPS employees, expand business opportunities and allow post of- rices to share commercial or government building locations to save money. Barrasso's Press Secretary Laura Men- glekamp said the senator voted for amend- ments that "included solutions to challeng- es that Wyoming's rural post offices and communities face. He did not support the final version of S. 1789 since it adds a sig- nificant amount to our nation's debt and deficit."