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Lovell , Wyoming
August 13, 2015     Lovell Chronicle
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August 13, 2015

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8 I The Lovell Chronicle I August 13, 2015 BABYSITtiNG SAFETY "It teaches them how to keep themselves safe," said instructor Nick Lew- is. "It teaches them things like how to interview the family beforehand and to have a plan in advance to deal with potentially dan- gerous situations, like if someone wants to drive them home who has been drinking." Lewis, who has exten- sive experience in law en- forcement, said, though he hadn't heard of the pro- gram before, he is very im- pressed with the depth of knowledge it imparts to the young participants. Lewis and Renae Mill- er will team-teach the class. Though it is the first time Lewis has taught the course, Miller has taught it in past years. The program has grown in popularity and the course filled quick- ly once it was announced. Miller said they have al- ready started a waiting list for a second class and there are already four names on that list. A second session has already been tenta- tively scheduled for Aug. 20 to be held at Big Horn Federal Bank, if there is enough interest. The pro- gram is open to teens and pre-teens who are at least 11 years old. Miller said she was really pleased to see so many boys sign up for the class this session and encourages more boys to sign ttp. Students were giv- en a workbook filled with valuable information upon completion of the course. The book is designed to be a quick reference in actual babysitting situations. "We give them the workbook and encourage them to take it with them continued from page one PAT~ CARPENTER Ashlynn Fink receives her official Safe Sitter certificate from program instructor Renae Miller at the conclusion of a workshop held on Tuesday in the Multipurpose room at the New Horizons Care Center. PATH CARPENTER North Big Horn Hospital graduated a new group of Safe Sitters on Tuesday including (back row, l-r) Grace Shumway, Sariah Martin, Kailei Fink, John Walker and Brian Walker (middle row, l-r) Rylie Kannard, Taylin Boettcher, Alexis Layne, Riley Dodd, Shaylee Bowers and Chevelle Jolley and (front row, l-r) Alana Sorenson, Colette Sanders, Kane Ferguson, Carysyn Weber and Ashlynn Fink. when they are babysit- ting," said Miller. "It gives them something to refer to as a resource, while they are babysitting." For more information about the Safe Sitter pro- gram visit www.safesit- ter.org or call Lewis at 548-5284. BY KYNLI SMITH Thousands attended the Big Horn County Fair last week. According to Big Horn County Fair Manager, Van- gi Hackney, the most at- tended event at the fair was the rodeo followed by the demolition derby and the pig wrestling. "We had a great turn- out," Hackney said. "We had about 3,603 entrees this year." The biggest addition to the fair this year was the new multi-purpose build- ing. The new building opened its doors to different 4-H shows, as well as the livestock sale and a dance. Hackney said they were originally worried about the dust in the new build- ing but there were no issues with the building. "Everything went on schedule and according to plan," said Jim Werner, who is in charge of main- tenance at the fairgrounds. "We had no issues with the new building. It was a real- ly nice addition and well re- ceived by everyone." Lea Sorenson turns to 'new chapter' after retiring as library aide in School District #1 BY BOB RODRIGUEZ Lea Sorenson's 20-year career as a library parapro- fessional in Big Horn County School District No. 1 speaks volumes. The Lovell resident, who retired in May, feels that she's "started the next chap- ter" of her life and is enthu- siastic about it. Sorenson especially noted that she will miss "the phenomenal teachers" at Rocky Moun- tain High School/Middle School and "even-keeled" Principal Tim Winland, but "especially the kids them- selves." She describes them as outstanding people with great intelligence and a will- ingness to learn, adding that "watching their progress" as they accept responsibilities and grow into adulthood is spectacular. Besides her work as li- brary aide at the high school she served as the student council adviser. "Rocky Mountain High is a great place to end my career," she said. She especially empha- sized that a highlight of her time in education is that, "The class that graduated this yealZ' is one with which she was involved "for all but three of the 13 years they were in school, so it was just a great place to finish." She began working for the dis- trict as a paraprofessional in the special ed room at the former Frannie-Deaver El- ementary School and then was hired as the library paraprofessional for the three elementary schools then in the district. She went to Rocky Mountain High seven years ago. Sorenson, who is from Red Lodge, and her husband, David, a building contractor whose family has SE Inc. in Deaver, raised their four LEA SORENSON children in Deaver, moving there from Red Lodge when the three oldest were in school and the youngest was 1 year old. Then some three years ago the couple relocat- ed to Lovell. Recalling her entry into library work two decades ago she said, "Books have always been a love of mine and because I had the time I decided to get a job," first substituting as a teach- er in Deaver. At RMHS/MS she enjoyed "little kids be- cause they think you walk on water," but she also thor- oughly enjoyed the older students even though "they want you to sink in the wa- ter," she said jokingly. She stated that she has always been a passionate reader who enjoys non-fic- tion, but biographies, as well. However, she ex- plained, "I read all genres and, of course, in my work I read and reviewed a lot of children and young adult literature." This is her first summer in 20 years, she said, that she is not search- ing for books for her stu- dents for the coming school year. She added that among her joys was talking about books with the pupils. The couple's four offspring are all avid readers, she said, and in fact their son, Lucas, a banker in Denver, works part time at the famous Denver area book store, the Tattered Cover. Their youngest, Caitlyn, is a senior at the University of Wyoming and plans to be- come a teacher. Their twins are Heather, who earned a humanities degree with an emphasis in outdoor educa- tion at UW and is working in Lander, and Haley, who works at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell and is continuing her education to earn a degree in health education through MSU Billings. "The Rocky Mountain staff is part of my family," said Sorenson, "and I miss them terribly. They are won- derful." For 15 years during her time in the stacks she worked with John Bernhis- el and said that he "is abso- lutely one of my favorite peo- ple." As well, she stated that he "will do a great job" tak- ing over her duties now that she's retired. Sorenson will be a busy retiree, as she plans to con- tinue her reading avocation plus growing flowers ("my husband gardens for food") and she "loves to cook plus work on stained glass proj- ects." She also plans to keep busy with family, as her hus- band David's are in Deaver and hers all live relatively nearby. There are sisters in nearby Warren and Great Falls, Idaho, a brother m Billings and her mother, a retired judge in Joliet, Mont. Regarding her "school family," she said, "I will miss them all, but look forward to the holiday visits when some come to our house. It'll be different now, but in retire- ment I'm looking foward to my next adventure." BY PATI'I CARPENTER Whitney Dodd has been promoted to the position of victim witness coordinator for the CARES organization in Big Horn County. Dodd began working for the orga- nization as a victims advo- cate in May of 2014. Dodd is taking over the position for Vicki Collingwood, who pre- viously held the position. In her new position, Dodd will follow cases in both district and circuit court and occasionally in municipal court. She offers support throughout the le- gal process. Sometimes that support will include going over options, at other times, it could literally mean sit- ting next to the victim in tho courtroom or speaking their behalf. "We try to make ,suro our victims are updated their cases and know whero they need to be and when, said Dodd. "Sometimes with the court system, that can bo a long process, depending oil what the crime is. If it's aggravated assault, or some.- thing like that, it can be year and a half from start to finish. So we try to help with any services our clients need during that process." Dodd is part of a four-member team at CARES that includes Dodd, two advocates and direc- tor Leslie Hoffman. The non-profit organization is funded almost entirely by grants. Though it mostly serves victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, it does serve victims of other crimes, as well. "We show people what their options are and help them navigate through the system to get services," said Dobb. "We don't tell our cli- ents what to do. They make their own decisions and we're there to support those decisions." Dodd started her new position on July 1. She said, so far, she has spent most of her time in the courtroom. She said she attends liter- ally all court arraignments, oftentimes notifying vic- tims afterward of the ser- vices that are available to them. She also coordinates information with the courts, county attorney, the victim and other advocates. Dodd worked previous- ly as a social services aid for the Department of Fam- ily Services for around five years. She has an associ- ate's degree in criminal jus- tice from Northwest College and is eight classes away from completing the require- ments for a bachelor's de- gree in criminal justice from the University of Wyoming. She also worked recently as a part-time and relief dis- patcher for the Lovell Police Department for about years. As an advocate for CARES for the past year, Dodd helped connect victims with services they need- ed like the local food bank, low-income housing, legal and counseling referrals and other services. "Whitney has worked for WHITNEY DODD Cares for more than a year and has come along very well as an advocate," said Director Leslie Hoffman. "She is a huge team player, and I appreciate the way she takes initiative when help- ing our clients and she is just a great advocate all the way around. "When this came open she was ready for the promo- tion and I'm so glad we could place her in this important position. We are very fortu- nate to have had her with us already. It would have been much more difficult to train someone from the outside." Dodd said she was also pleased with the promotion because she felt it allows her to continue to do work that makes a difference in peo- ple's lives. "I like what I do, I like the people I work with and I feel like I can make a differ- ence," said Dodd. Dodd said many of the people she works with are dealing with a traumatic situation like domestic vi- olence, sexual assault or stalking. Oftentimes they are in a position of having to make decisions that will have a big impact on their lives. "We're here to help victims survive whatev- er they're dealing with and to get back on their feet again," said Dodd. "That might mean going to court with them and walking with them through the process, getting counseling or what- ever help they need." She added, at times that might include making re- ally difficult decisions, like whether or not to report a crime. "The big thing victims need to know is that they don't need to report a crime in order to come in and get services from us," said Dodd. "The service is free and con- fidential, and we can help them with whatever their decision is. For example, if it's a sexual assault and the person is not ready to report it, we can help them by tak- ing them up to the hospi- tal for a rape kit, so, if they choose to report it later, they have that evidence. "Right now one of the most important things is to let victims know that we're out there and that CARES is a safe place to talk about their situation without be- ing judged. I think it's im- portant for people to have someone they know is on their side, who will work with them." Dodd said she finds it very rewarding to help peo- ple and to do work that ben- efits the community. In ad- dition to the satisfying work she does helping her clients, she said she hopes, through the organization, to raise community awareness about the prevalence of crimes like sexual assault and domestic violence. "I think sexual assault and domestic violence is one of those topics our society has trouble dealing with," said Dodd. "It's ugly and no one wants to deal with it and people who are victims are afraid to report it because they are worried about what other people will think. "Whether our communi- ty decides to stick their head in the sand or not, this type of violence is out there and it is out there in Big Horn County. The reality is we do have problems with domes- tic violence and we do have problems with sexual as- saults here. It's important for victims to know we are here to help, if they need it." Dodd said some clients come to CARES through re- ferrals, some come into the office, which is located at the Lovell Police Department. She said many are notified of the services available to them through the victim witness coordinator's work in court. Dodd noted that it some- times takes a victim of do- mestic violence several times before they are actu- ally able to leave a bad situ- ation. She said, though that can be frustrating at times, the advocates at CARES un- derstand that big life-chang- ing decisions don't come easily. "Sometimes they're not ready and that's OK," said Dodd. "We just want them to know we are here if they need our help. We're here to help them figure out their options. It's up to them to make their own decisions. We don't make decisions for people or even encourage them to make decisions one way or another. If a domestic violence victim chooses to go back, we leave them alone. We leave it up to them to contact us again if they need our help down the road." Though CARES advo- cates mostly work with vic- tims of domestic and sexu- al assault, their services are available to all victims of crime. CARES has worked closely with law enforcement to help victims of domes- tic, sexual and other forms of violence for more than 25 years. In the fiscal year 2014, CARES helped 240 victims of crimes. Of those victims, 151 were female and 88 were male. One gender was listed as unknown. One hundred forty-one of those victims were in the 25-59 year-old age group, 39 were under the age of 17, 26 were ages 18- 24, and 34 were 60 years of age or older. CARES provides help with everything from obtain- ing legal protection orders to emergency financial as- sistance to the many victims they serve. For more information call 307-548-2330. All your 8ack2School needs are here! Pilot getter Pens ........... 3 pack: ..................... t.50 I = , Standard Size Bed Pillow. ....................... 2PI0 D^P BlueStick Putty ....... . ............. . .......... 70ct Spiral Notebook 2-p0cket Portfolio .......... : ..................... s/+l 9 E:Main, Lovell,