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Lovell , Wyoming
September 26, 2013     Lovell Chronicle
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September 26, 2013

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4lThe Lovell Chronicle I September 26, 2013 CHRONICLE nlons Stop the bubble team bouncing Goodbye Rocky, Greybull, Riverside and Thermopolis and hello Powell, Cody Worland, Jackson and Star Valley. That the effect of the latest reclassification process by the Wyoming High School Activities Association that will move Lovell High School back to Class 3A starting in the fall of 2014. The change will affect all sports except football, namely basketball, volleyball, cross country, golf, wrestling, indoor track and spring track and field. Lovell is in the middle of the pack as a member of Class 2A in football, so a couple of position changes won't affect the school in that sport. Lovell spent two years in 3A in 2008-09 and 2009-I 0 and competed quite well in certain sports, and certainly no- body in Class 2A is going to feel sorry for the Bulldogs given the school recent success in multiple sports. But it still baffles many observers how the WHSAA re- mains locked into its current system of 12 4A schools, 16 3A schools and 20 2A schools without regard to enrollment or natural breaks that would enhance both competition and rivalries. If ever there was an organization set in its ways, it is the WHSAA. All proposals to change the system have been vot- ed down at one level or another. That means Lovell will be in Class 3A - a school with a projected average daily mem- bership of about 214 - and compete against Star Valley, which has a projected ADM of 717, while Thermopolis, with an ADM of 209, remains in 2A. A difference of five students decides who will move up and who will stay down. Athletic directors have studied the issue and have come up with a variety of proposals to find natural breaks in en- rollment. A few closely follow the football alignment, break- ing the state into five classes rather than four. This out- of-the-box thinking apparently doesn't wash with some schools and the WHSAA, so the same old system remains. If the football breaks were followed, Lovell would com- i pete against schools.of like size - from Pinedale (ADM 303) to perhaps Wyoming Indian (138) or even down to, say, Lusk (115). Depending on how far the class extends, Rocky Moun- tain could either remain in LovellLs class with an ADM of 124 or move to the next division below with Tongue River, Lusk, Shoshoni and others. 3A would include schools from Buffalo (328) to Green River (816). There are many possibilities, and some have put a lot of work into finding natural breaks, but itLs a difficult process given Wyoming:s small number of schools and great distanc- es. It is far from a matter of simply making a list and check- ing it twice. Conference alignments have to be considered as well as travel and culminating events. Perhaps the greatest indicator of the illogical nature of the WHSAA traditional stance is the fact that someone from the Big Horn Basin always has to be a member of the 3A East to give the WHSAA its preferred "eight teams in the east and eight teams in the west" conference alignment. Worland is currently a member of the 3A East, traveling to Torrington, Newcastle, Wheatland and Rawlins for confer- ence games. That simply ridiculous, but Lovell could well find its way in the same situation. Again, no one is going to feel sorry for Lovell, which has won many state titles in recent years as the largest school in Class 2A, and some would even argue that competition against larger schools enhances the skill level and competi- tive edge of a smaller school. Certainly Lovell competed well in team sports - boys and girls basketball and volleyball - when in 3A a few years ago. But the Bulldogs struggled in other sports where numbers really matter. It simply makes sense to find natural breaks in enrollment where David won't have to meet Goliath, even though Da- vid sometimes slays the giant. We urge the WHSAA to keep trying, and nice round numbers be damned. And maybe, just maybe, more stability will be the result, too. Endless bouncing around for the bubble teams does no one any good. -David Peck Letters to the editor Is Lovell becoming the Weed City? Dear Editor, I am writing this letter to ex- press my disappointment I expe- rienced when visiting Lovell this past weekend. I was born and raised in Lovell, then moved away at age 18 to attend college. I have always been proud to be from a town of goodhearted people, simple living and neighbors who took pride in having beautiful yards and main- tained properties. People cared about their yards and kept up with mowing and spraying for weeds and picking up clutter. I was pleased to be from a town called "The Rose City." While visiting Lovell this past weekend I made some tours through the residential area and neighborhoods I hadn't seen in years. It felt good to reminisce and remember all the wonder- ful childhood memories. Unfortu- nately, my thoughts were blocked by the massive weed epidemic in many neighborhoods. I could not believe how many properties were overrun with weeds or the lawn needed mowed, or viewing an eye- sore of furniture and junk stacked out in the front yard. How sad. Is my hometown called the "Rose City" or the "Weed City?" Jamie S. Hafner Say 'no' to the beer tax hike Editor: Senator Ray Peterson, I drink beer. I believe I pay enough taxes. If you raise the beer tax I will buy all my beer in Montana. Montana beer is cheaper anyway. I am sick of hearing how much cheaper taxes are in Wyo- ming. Many people do not have to drive 40-90 miles to buy needed items. Senator, you could simplify taxes this way. How much did you make? Send it in! Cheyenne is a small black hole, Washington is a super mas- sive black hole, and no matter how much they suck in, it is never enough. Has anyone bought a new truck? The last truck I bought tax- es and license cost more than my first four vehicles. We pay enough taxes, case closed. Jim Szlemko, we might be looking at this wrong. Cheyenne should not be deprived of one cent. You and I should be made to sacrifice. No matter about you and me, Cheyenne is the greater good. Just kidding! Senator, the last vote on in- creasing the sales tax in Big Horn County went down in flames. This should be a clue. We pay enough in taxes. Maybe the increased cost of beer is just due to transportation. Heard that one before? By the way, my friend Mike says we don't need Democrats in Wyoming. We have Republicans doing the job. Owen C. Wantulok Parent disappointed in FFA survey, process Dear Editor: I was writing in response to the article last week regarding the survey for interest in adding an FFA program to the Burling- ton High School. I was very disappointed in the way the survey was put to- gether and the rumors regarding an FFA program filtered down to the students at school prior to the informational meeting. It seemed to me that the school superin- tendent and others do not really want an ag program and as such haven't given real effort to inves- tigating how a program could be incorporated into the high school. In the two days prior to the infor- mational meeting, both::of my chil- dren in high school came home be- lieving that if FFA were added to the available curriculum, a popu- lar teacher would lose their job. I know rumors and misinfor- mation can abound in small com- munities, but the 7 to 3 student votes against having an FFA pro- gram (as reported in this news- paper last week) were really a vote by the students to keep current teachers. That certain- ly speaks well to the quality of teachers Burlington has but does little to answer the real question of whether there is enough inter- est to support an FFA program. While the school seems to pres- ent the survey results as a "No", I feel that 50 percent wanting a program is a fairly good indica- tion that such a program does warrant further thought. What percentage of returns on a sur- vey would be needed for it to be interpreted as a 'Yes"? The sur- vey itself was designe to en- couragn0 vos. .i, !1:3 !.:k There was  place to:indicat a "No" ol:'lres " as to intere't in an FFA program and if you voted 'Yes," a list of electives and the question of which electives would you like to see eliminated to make room for an FFA program. This by itself implies there are no other options than current teachers being replaced. Other options do exist and should be given the opportunity to be ex- plored. Some that come to mind are share a teacher with another school or district, see if a current teacher would like to pursue get- ting the required endorsement needed to teach an FFA program, look for or recruit a teacher who has the needed endorsement when filling future vacancies, look for grant funding, offer an ag science class that counts to- wards Hathaway requirements, etc. I am sure other options exist, as well. I would feel much better i:b.out th':iho district's ?sur- vey results"':if they approached the topic in airair way with an open mind to the possibility that this could work. Should Burling- ton offer FFA? That is an answer I feel the school district has yet to determine. Christine Bullinger FFA program should be fully investigated Dear Editor, I attended the Sept. 12 meet- ing at the school library. First off, the ag/ed/FFA teach- ers (also FFA advisors) and sev- en state student FFA officers pre- sented a very good, overall concept of the program. Unfortunately, it did not involve financials or how this program was first introduced or integrated into their school curriculum, which could be very vital information for future parts of this study. Next, the school superinten- dent presented the school per- spective, which primarily focused on financial indications, combined with the declining projected Burl- ington High School student atten- dance over the next 20 years or more, and, to hand out a hard pa- per "vote" to all of the attendees in the room. One section of this "vote" in- volved our participation in cir- cling current high school elec- tive classes, from a list below, for elimination. Questions were raised as to how, who and what criteria en- ables or requires these electives to be part of the curriculum and how many students are current- ly or historically, enrolled in each class. This information was not available to the attendees at this meeting, but the request to make this "vote" was clear. I thought the school board wanted to first inform and then conduct surveys of all the Burl- ington school parents. Not to say that whoever was in attendance would represent the entire paren- tal body of the school and that this would be our ONLY opportunity to voice our opinion? It seemed like an open and shut case with only one option. Was this what the school board intended? We have generations of chil- dren at our school that need rep- resentation. If we are a proud community and state of primarily agriculture and livestock, and we know that our student attendance will be steadfastly declining over the next 20-plus years, and there are programs out there that are specifically engineered for all as- pects and subcategories of "farm- ing" and livestock aptitudes, then we are doing our children a great injustice, while other communi- ties will be welcoming back their young, college-graduated stu- dents who want to start up or fur- ther enhance their current family farm operations, and raise their children here, and improve their overall community and school en- rollments, we will be losing these new families to those neighbor- ing schools that provide such pro- grams and applied opportunities. We need to give our future genera- tions a reason to be and live in the Burlington area; otherwise, our school may not even survive. I interpreted the teacher re- sponse to the parental inquiry to be extremely defensive, as if some are concerned for the welfare of their jobs. I also quickly interpreted that our students, who love their school and teachers and who are dedicated to them, would also vote negatively to support their con- cern. The assumption that teach- ers could or would be eliminated must have been concluded from the "vote" category to eliminate an elective, as a solution to providing the FFA program. I do not feel the school board should request an answer from the public without the full knowl- edge of elective information and/or the full details of ALL the options available in order to make the program possible, without losing any electives or teachers. Hence, a feasibility study and cost analy- sis, for example, should have been provided. What do we have to lose by do- ing a full investigation of this pro- gram, to involve everyone in our community including, but not lim- ited to, an unbiased survey with options of feasibility and funding or shared access. We need one FFA class to get a chapter started. Over the period of five years that could make a very positive improvement in our overall student body. I believe this first meeting was not presented fairly, nor given the opportunities that it was suppos- edly intended by the District #1 School Board members. Nancy Serfass, Burlington USPS 321-060 234 E. Main, Lovell, Wyoming 82431 307-548-2217 o FAX 307-548-2218 Emaih Icnews@tctwest.net David Peck, Editor and Publisher Editor ................................................................................. David Peck Reporter ........................................................................ Patti Carpenter Office Manager ........................................................... 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