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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
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September 10, 2015     Lovell Chronicle
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September 10, 2015
 

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BY BOB RODRIGUEZ With Mayor Heidi Bright- ly voting against the motion, By- ron council members took a step Tuesday night, Sept: 8, to curb any mayor's one sided authori- ty so that appointments and dis- missals of department heads and various commissions and commit- tees must be approved by a ma- jority vote of the council. On a motion by Council- or Alan Bair with a second by Councilor Sydney Hessenthaler to amend a portion of Ordinance 5.05.030 the vote was 3-1 (Coun- cilor Walter Roman had an ex- cused absence) to approve chang- es on first reading although there will be two more readings before final adoption. Public comments, noted Bair, can thus be made about the proposed changes and there likely will be further revi- sions. The council's action in the Town Hall before a full house of nearly 40 citizens is linked to a controversy regarding the town's Recreation Department (see re- lated story). Brightly expressed unhappi- ness with the proposed revision, saying, "As mayor I'm having a hard time with this." She said that she feels the current word- ing "is sufficient; it works" and then added, "I am the problem as voiced to me by the council, so this is a move to limit my power." Bair said that he would check with Joey Darrah, the town's attorney, "to see that we're not in violation" of related state statutes. On first reading the proposed ordinance changes read in part: " ... The clerk, treasurer, attorney, municipal judge and the depart- ment heads of the Police Depart- ment and Recreation Department shall be nominated by the mayor or a councilman and shall be ap- pointed by a majority vote of the governing body (the council). The removal of an officer of the Town of Byron or a department head shall be upon the recommenda- tion of the mayor or a councilman followed by a majority vote of the governing body in support of the recommendation." In support of Brightly sever- al persons in the audience ques- tioned the revisions, stating that they don't see the need. Bair, Hes- senthaler and Councilor Gary Pet- rich expressed their reasoning. "We've had issues," said the lat- ter, adding that there has been "a division" and that "majority vote has been kiboshed. There needs to be a vote by the whole council; not one person." Bair commented, "I do not think the mayor ought to be the sole determining nom- inator for positions and the sole terminator." As a two-term for- mer mayor he observed, 'We've always used consensus" for ap- pointments or dismissals. Brightly .supporters wanted to speak further on the ordinance, but Bair said, "I don't want to talk about this any more." Deb- ra Wilder took issue with that and Bair explained that, "It's a process" and that there will be two more readings and that Citi- zens can comment in person or by mail. He then caged for the ques- tion, thereby ending further com- ment. After thewote, the mayor stated, "I think that the public has the right'to talk as long as they want to and we have the ob- ligation to listen." Also taking is- sue with discussion being cut off was Todd Wilder, who remarked SEE 'BYRON POWER' page 3 PATTI CARPENTER The sugar beet harvest began a few days earlier than usual on Sept. 4 and the first beet pile is already growing in size at the west end of property adjacent to the Western Sugar plant in Lovell. BY PATTI CARPENTER Fully loaded beet trucks rolling into town and the famil- iar sight of steam billowing from the chimneys at the sugar plant on the edge of town marked the beginning of this year's sugar beet campaign at the Western Sugar plant in Lovell. Trucks be- gan rolling through the gate a few days earlier than normal at the Lovell operation on Friday, Sept. 4. According to Western Sug- ar Cooperative's senior agricul- turalist Randall Jobman, har- vest conditions are excellent right now and the entire process from digging in the fields, trans- porting the bountiful harvest to the factory and the 24/7 process- ing operation is going well in the first week of the campaign. He added that it is much too early to report on the tonnage per acre or the sugar content of the beets that are currently being dug from local fields. He said farmers located throughout the Big Horn Ba- sin are harvesting on a rotating schedule, with plant operations allowing for only three or four days of storage behind processing time until cooler temperatures prevail. Jobman said he expects the full-blown sugar campaign to began on Oct. 2, when cooler temperatures allow for longer storage. Safe storage of the beets is highly dependent on weather conditions, with extreme heat be- ing the largest threat. Though too early to predict, he said farmers are optimistic expecting another record beet harvest, along with sweet profits for their efforts. The first beet pile is already growing in size at the west end of property adjacent to the plant and the 24/7 operation of process- ing them into sugar is in motion. As always, the operation con- tinues to recruit workers for the campaign, which provides sea- sonal employment for up to five months. The plant employs up to 125 local workers during the pro- cessing season. The sugar beet crop is a primary source of income for many farmers in the area. Ac- cording to information provid- ed by Western Sugar Cooper- ative, one acre will normally produce 25.7 tons of sugar beets. Some farmers hope to yield as much as 30 tons per acre this year. A ton of beets yields about 285 pounds of sugar or 2.8 tons of sugar. That is 1,150 five-pound bags of sugar that would make a line of bags 810 feet long if laid end to end. The bags are loaded on to railroad cars throughout the campaign and transported to destinations across the country. BY PATTI CARPENTER Following several months of turmoil the Lovell Police Depart- ment has a new chief of police. Jason Beal, a lifetime Lovell res- ident, was appointed to the posi- tion by Mayor Angel Montanez, with the unanimous approval of the town council at their regular meeting of the Lovell Town Coun- cil on Tuesday night. The ap- pointment was made with little or no discussion during the meeting. Montanez and the town council interviewed Beal during a previ- ous closed-door session on Mon- day, Aug. 24. The LPD has been without a chief since the departure of Nick Lewis as of June 1. Lewis was fired, then unfired and then not reappointed when the mayor took office at the beginning of the year. Montanez said in a previous in- terview with the Chronicle that he wanted to take his time find- ing the right candidate for the position. Beal has been a deputy with the Big Horn County Sheriffs De- partment since 2008. He is cur- rently Emergency Management Coordinator for Big Horn County, a position he has held since June of 2013. Beal has lived in Lovell most of his life and is well known to most of the current LPD staff and the community. He said he hopes that this will contribute to an easy transition in his new position. Beal has a master's degree in pubiic administration from II a mystery to BY PATrl CARPENTER A report of three gunshots and a voice calling for help on Saturday evening prompted Big Horn County Sheriffs Deputies and Search and Rescue teams from the north and south ends of the county to search a rugged area of the Big Horn Mountains to no avail. According to Big Horn Coun- ty Sheriff Ken Blackburn, a call came in to dispatch at around 7 p.m. reporting a possible life-threatening emergency in a remote mountain area located between the Porcupine Ranger Station and Bucking Mule Falls. The caller reported hearing what is commonly known as an inter- national distress signal of three gunshots and a male voice call- ing for help, following what ap- peared to be a fairly brief but se- vere weather event in the area that took place between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Two sheriffs deputies were the first to arrive at the scene an hour or so later. According to Blackburn, the deputies heard re- ports from eyewitnesses of a pos- sible microburst in the area, tak- ing place shortly before the shots were heard. The witnesses said sudden and extremely high winds and a downpour of rain and hail typical of a microburst toppled trees and sent them running for cover. Deputies observed at least one camper surrounded by downed trees. More than one wit- ness reported hearing the gun- shots, but only the reporting par- ty heard the voice crying for help. SAR incident commander Dennis Woodward said his crew received a call from the sheriffs department at around 8:30 p.m. He said a crew of six responders from the north end of the coun- ty, 10 from the south and two additional deputies on horse- back searched the area for sever- al hours until weather conditions put responders at risk. He said two responders spent the night at the site and the remaining crew returned at about 9:30 a.m., con- tinuing their search until early afternoon. ::::!: : :: i : : ii:i : i ~i~ :ii~ iii iii iiiii ~ :i i~ ii~ ~ i ~(~i iii~i JASON BEAL the University of Wyoming and a Bachelor's degree from Montana State University in secondary education. He taught school in Lovell for three years and grad- uated from Lovell High School with the class of 1998. He is the son of Tracy and Valerie Beal of Lovell. Beal said he plans to give for- mal notice to his current employ- er immediately and hopes to tran- sition into his new position over the next few weeks. a cry responders He said numerous archery hunters and others recreating in the area were found safe during the search. "Once we felt we had searched the area completely, we could only assume that the individu- al got out of the area OK," said Woodward, who called off the search at about 1:30 p.m. Meteorologist Chris Jones of the National Weather Service in Riverton said he could not con- firm that the storm experienced was a microburst but added that type of weather event is fair- ly common in that area. He said tracking stations in the area de- tected severe weather conditions in the general area starting at 6:05 p.m. and ending at around 6:20 p.m. He said nearby weather stations keep track of wind speed and precipitation on an hourly basis, which makes it very diffi- cult to establish the speed of the winds and the amount of rain during such a brief time period. Woodward said though the aftermath of the event appeared to have the classic signs of a mi- croburst, it was not nearly the magnitude of the microburst that took place in a nearby area on July 28. He said though a bit rat- tled, no injuries were reported as a result of the weather event. He said since the individual making the distress call was not found, it may forever remain a mys- tery as to what prompted his cry for help. "We can only assume he was able to get out safe," said Woodward. "There were quite a few people in the area look- ing and we came up pretty much empty-handed." Jones noted that the weath- er can be changeable and very unpredictable in the Big Horn Mountains, oftentimes creating life-threatening situations for those who are unprepared. "There are always inherent risks whenever we are outdoors in Wyoming," said Jones. "All it takes is a strong wind combined with other factors to create dan- gerous conditions for anyone rec- reating in the mountains." III IIIIIIIIIlUlIIIIIIIII 2 U. 892.5581111 The Lovell Chronicle, 234 E. Main, Lovell, WY 82431. Contact us at: 548-2217. www.lovellchronicle.com