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Lovell , Wyoming
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December 2, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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December 2, 2010
 

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Lovell, Wyoming 82431 Price 75 Rocky Mountain Pow- er has requested the Wyo- ming Public Service Com- mission's permission to increase its electricity prices in the state by an overall average of about 17.3 percent. According to a RMP press release issued Nov. 23, the pro- posed price increase is necessary to serve Wyo- ming customers' growing electricity needs and to comply with environmen- tal requirements. If approved as re- quested, price changes to customers would take ef- fect 10 months from now, on Sept. 22, 2011. The size of a customer's price increase would vary based on their customer class and electricity use. For a typical household that uses 825 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, the requested residential price change would amount to an average increase of about 50 cents per day, ac- cording to RMP. "We've been provid- ing electricity for nearly a century and our prices in Wyoming continue to be among the lowest in the nation and in the world," said Rocky Mountain Power president Richard Walje. "Despite our best efforts to control expens- es, the energy landscape is changing and the cost of providing electricity is increasing. "We are investing bil- lions of dollars in our sys- See 'POWER,' page 6 ~o BY DAVID PECK Local school choirs and bands have been prac- ticing hard in preparation for winter concerts that will be presented over the next three weeks. The concert season begins tonight (Thurs- day) with a Lovell High School Choir and Swing Choir concert and con- cludes with a Lovell mid- dle school band concert on Monday, Dec. 20. The con- cert was moved from its original date of Tuesday, Nov. 30, due to a conflict with other activities. Here's the concert schedule for the month of December: Thursday, Dec. 2 - LHS choirs, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7 - RMMS band and choir and LMS choirs, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9 - LMS musical, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10- LHS bands, 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13 - RMHS band and choir, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14- RMES music, 6:30 p.m. and Lovell K-3 concert at the Hyart Theatre, 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20 - LMS bands, 7 p.m. BOB RODRIGUEZ Esther and Sam Alexander of Deaver celebrated their 65 anniversary last week. Here, the couple is pictured after enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lovell Senior Center Thursday, Nov. 25. |m BY BRAD DEVEREAUX Friends of Bighorn Lake member Bob Croft said many Wyoming peo- ple have felt like they've been getting the short end of the stick lately when it comes to water in the Big- horn River System. The system was oper- ating smoothly until Sep- tember, Croft said, when the Bureau of Reclamation let out more water than intended and lowered Big Horn Lake about five feet in one day. The September drop plus pressure from Montana special inter- est groups for more water flowing through the Big Horn River have caused changes to current man- agement practices and could have a disastrous impact on the lake this summer, Croft said. Current lake eleva- tion is at about 3,614 feet, six feet below the Nation- al Park Service's mandat- ed low lake level of 3,620. Croft said ideal lake lev- el for this time of year is 3,634 feet. With no water for storage currently in the lake, Croft said sum- Bos CROFT Ice is beginning to form at Horseshoe Bend, but winter park visitors are urged to use caution and make sure the ice is safe before venturing out. mer elevation depends largely on snowpack. Croft said Horseshoe Bend would be filled with mud instead of water in the summer if the lake is at 3,610 feet. Full pool is 3,640 feet, Croft said. The Montana special interest groups insist that the fishery needs 2,500 cu- bic feet per second of wa- ter to function properly, and as the BOR increas- es releases to come clos- er to Montana's desired amount, Big Horn Lake is dwindling. Croft said there hasn't been much water beyond the south narrows of the lake in the past couple months because of the low elevation. Less water also hurt the waterfowl hunt- ing season this year, Croft See 'WATER,' page 6 Changing seasons at Big Horn Lake BY BRAD DEVEREAUX As the cold weath- er rolls in and freezes the summer fun in Big Horn County, there is a differ- ent set of activities that local residents are begin- ning to pick up again. Hik- ing, snowshoeing, wild- life watching, sightseeing, cross country skiing and ice fishing are some of the pop- ular winter activities at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area outside of Lovell. With a few inches of ice beginning to form on the surface of Big Horn Lake, a few people have tested the surface by walking a few feet away from the shore, but the National Park Ser- vice advises people to wait and make sure the ice is thick and strong enough to support their weight. NPS Ranger Pete Saw- tell said people should use common sense when going out on the ice and go with someone who is experi- enced to determine a safe thickness. The ice at Horseshoe Bend is currently around 4 inches thick near the shore, Sawtell said, and added that he would not consider that a safe thickness yet. No vehicles are allowed to drive on frozen bodies of water in Big Horn County, he said. While enjoying the park this winter, Sawtell said people should always tell someone where they're going and how long they plan on being gone. He said it is also not a bad idea to carry emergency gear like a rope throw or ice rescue picks that can help a per- son crawl out from a col- lapsed ice sheet. While walking on the ice, people should wear ice cleats and check the thick- ness with an ice auger or other device every 100 feet or so to be safe, Sawtell said. Staying hydrated and avoiding alcoholic bever- ages also greatly reduces cold-weather related inju- ries, Sawtell said. Though the park may seem cold to us humans, the low elevations are warmer than the high al- titude areas animals like wild horses and Big Horn Sheep are used to, so the winter can be a great time to view wildlife in the park as they come down to seek out warmer areas. Wild- life tracks in the snow can also help give the locations of animals away, Sawtell said. Restrooms throughout the park will be kept open and heated throughout the winter. During the winter months, it is not guaran- teed that roads will be plowed in the park, Saw- tell said. He urges motor- ists to drive carefully and be prepared for unplowed roads. The National Park Service Website will be up- dated with ice conditions at Big Horn Lake as the win- ter season progresses. Thursday, December 2, 2010 Volume 105, Number 25 BY DAVID PECK The Town of Lovell is considering a number of staged improvements at Constitution Park, including the pos- sible upgrade and expansion of the skate park and a va- riety of future projects. Lovell Administrative Assistant Scott Campbell pre- sented a number of ideas to the Lovell Town Council dur- ing a special noon hour meeting Monday at Town Hall. Campbell led the council through a PowerPoint pre- sentation Monday that included a number of ideas for im- proving the park, and he gave the council some prelimi- nary cost estimates. As of right now, the park is but partially developed, Campbell said, with recent additions including horseshoe pits, basketball courts, the skate park and sand volley- ball courts. Campbell's ideas include landscaping the area in the northeast corner of the park near the skate park with grass and trees, expanding and rehabilitating the skate park, beginning a walking path around the park, putting in new playground equipment next to the skate park, up- grading lighting at the softball park, putting in a new storage and mechanical building, building a concessions station, finishing and enhancing the basketball and vol- leyball courts with court markings and landscaping, building new restrooms, putting in electrical hookups for vendors, adding parking and constructing a band shell. Obviously, not everything can be done all at once, Campbell said, but through partnerships with Lovell Recreation and others, and by seeking additional grant money, several of the items on2 the list could be accom- plished in the relatively near future. Campbell said the town saved money that would have been spent on badly needed playground equipment at Great Western Park when Lovell Rec elected to fund the equipment. He proposed putting that money into playground equipment in the northeast corner of Consti- tution Park, but he said some of the council members ex- pressed other priorities. It was a chance to get a deal on some playground eqmpment that led Campbell to include the park on Monday's special meeting a~genda, but the council w~mt- ed to prioritize the various projects and didn't consider playground equipment to be high on the list, Campbell said. One of the benefits of landscaping the southeast portion of the park would be a chance to install soccer fields, and Campbell's plan includes marking out a field for 6-7-year-olds, a field for 8-year-olds and a field for 9-year-olds. Fully developing the park would provide economic development for the community, Campbell said, by at- tracting more community gatherings, softball tourna- ments, horseshoe tournaments, three-on-three basket- ball tournaments, band shell performances and more. As for funding, Campbell said the town already has $7,500 in the budget dedicated to the skate park, plus another $620 raised by skateboarders, and he said he is looking into Daniels Fund grant money for the skate park and soccer field development. Campbell said the town might have to move the town's water service system in the southeast corner of the park because it doesn't fit the recreational mandate spelled out in a prior Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. The land housing the water station could be swapped for land in another part of town to be added to recreation land. The council agreed to discuss the park and develop- ment priorities at the Dec. 13 council meeting. PROJECT CLOSEOUTS In other action Monday, the council voted to autho- rize Mayor Bruce Morrison to sign documents necessary to close out the Southwest/Transmission Line water and sewer project and the Safe Routes to School project, which were both completed this fall and are in the final stages of inspection. Councilman Brian Dickson said a recent tour of the projects went very well and an official inspection and walkthrough involving the USDA Rural Utilities Service and the Wyoming Water Development Commission will take place on the afternoon of Dec. 7. Wilson Brothers Construction is working its way through the punch list. Councilman-elect Kevin Jones asked about asphalt on part of the project that appears to be too high on one side of the street, but project engineer Frank Page of DOWL/HKM Engineering said overlapping asphalt typ- ically breaks off and can be cleaned off next spring. Mor- rison made the point that the paving is under warranty for a year, also. The council voted to authorize Morrison to sign the tentative certificate of substantial completion for the water and sewer project phase, the final/definitive cer- tificate of completion after the punch list is completed and the certificate of completion and acceptance when the project is ready for final payment and to publish the notice of final payment in the Lovell Chronicle. The same motion was made for the Safe Routes to School project on Seventh Street. The December meeting of the council has been moved to Monday, Dec. 13, due to the Lovell Elementa- ry School K-3 Christmas concert on the regular council night - Tuesday, Dec. 14. is L , IIl[ll!l!,lJlll[l![l[l[lllll The Lovell Chronicle, 234 E. Main, Lovell, WY 82431. Contact us at: 548-2217. www.lovellchronicle.com