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December 27, 2012     Lovell Chronicle
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December 27, 2012
 

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8 I The Lovell Chronicle I December 27, 2012 WARD RESCUE area used the McCain as a "lily pad" to refuel, Ward said, "and Ward piloted as a coxswain a sev- en-meter rib to look for survivors, teaming with a search and rescue diver. %Ve searched boats, cars, houses, metal containers and anything else that was float- ing," Ward said. "We would mark something with spray paint if no- body was on board so it wouldn't be searched again. "There was a massive amount of stuff, and it was snowing like crazy. It was really cold. There was debris everywhere. We couldn't move very fast. There were a lot of boats that washed out to sea. There were the tops of houses, buses - a lot of stuff." One of the things U.S. Navy ships hadn't anticipated was the partial meltdown of the Fukushi- ma Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which exposed the ships and sail- ors to radiation. As a precaution, the ship and sailors were tested for radiation, but no serious expo- sure was found, Ward said. The McCain followed a grid search pattern, but the ship's area was further out to sea than other search grids, so the ship found no survivors, not even any people at all, in the cold water, Ward said. Still, the search made an imPres- sion on the young sailor.- "I was really happy to help them out," Ward said of the Japa- nese people. "The country was in a panic. I think Japan appreciat- ed America a lot more after that. They had been protesting our nu- clear vessels, but after that when we would walk around town peo- ple would say hello and smile at me. It was a good experience to bring the United States and Ja- pan closer together." After Operation Tomodachi wrapped up, the USS McCain worked a joint operation with Ja- pan and South Korea, then this fall participated in Operation Keen Sword, allied with the Jap- continued from page one PHOTO After six years of sea duty, 2006 Rocky Mountain High School graduate Cody Ward, right, pictured here receiving an award, is being transferred to Jacksonville, Fla., for three years of shore duty. anese Navy in an exercise with other American ships to train for ballistic missile defense, ana- lyzing and tracking missiles and tracking submarines in defense of Japan. Ward recently received two Navy-Marine Corps commen- dation medals - one for opera- tions in January and February of 2012 and the other for work he performed getting the McCain ready for a detailed inspection that takes place every five years, a process that required him to work 14-hour days for six days a week. He also recently received the Junior Sailor of the Quarter award for October-December for the McCain. After six years at sea (the normal time period is five years, he said), Ward, now an E5 Boat- swain's Mate Second Class, is in the process of transferring to Jacksonville, Fla., for three years of shore duty, where he will work in the personnel transfer unit and corrections facility at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. That transfer allowed him to come home to visit family for Christmas. He arrived Dec. 12 and will be home until heading to Florida on Jan. 10. He has been enjoying spending time with his family, who spent Christmas at sister Calli Alvarado's home in Douglas. Helping in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake may have been an adventure for Ward and his fellow sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain, but their service surely illustrated the Navy's un- official motto: Honor, Courage, Commitment. REACTION TO DECISION cont. from page one citizens to pay fines by phone or on line, the decision to close three satellite courts was made and ap- proved by the Wyoming Board of Judicial Policy and Administra- tion in September of 2012, accord- ing to the Supreme Court release. "While local government(s) have expressed a desire to provide financial support in keeping satel- lite offices open, the Board (of Ju- dicial Policy and Administration) concluded that to do so would be 'taking several steps backward for the state court system, which be- came unified over 12 years ago," the Supreme Court said. "Satel- lite circuit court offices have been closed in many Wyoming com- munities in the past, and it is al- ways a difficult decision to make, but one made necessary by budget concerns." COMMISSIONER COMMENTS County Commissioner Grant is not pleased with the decision, which comes on the heels of an effort by the commission and the Lovell Town Council to meet the costs of maintaining the circuit court office in Lovell. "We're going to have to lobby our legislators to do something about it in the next session," Grant said when contacted Wednesday morning. "I don't know if we'll be successful, but we'll give it a lot of effort. It's ridiculous for them to close it when there's no savings. It's an arbitrary and capricious ac- tion on their part, especially when we've offered to pick up the costs. "It's just a political action to force the legislature to give them more money." Big Horn County once oper- ated a justice court system using county funds, and the state later instituted the circuit court system in the county. 'WChen we went to a circuit court, I believe they promised to keep our court the same and not change it," Grant said. "At the time we did that there was con- cern about losing local control, and we were assured that that wasn't the case. They make prom- ises and hang out the carrot and then the carrot goes away. "I was really happy and im- pressed town had decided to help the county fund it and keep the court here. And I believe Powell was offering the same thing. It's apparent that everybody in the area feels the need for it. Take the people from Frannie and the miles to Basin. It's going to be a huge impact on them." Keeping the satellite office open in Lovell has had the sup- port of Circuit Court Judge Thom- as Harrington, who expressed his concerns to the commissioners recently. "When Judge Harrington was talking to us he told us the work- load is heavier in Lovell than in Basin, and he is against closing the office," Grant said. "It's more work for him to come to Lovell, but he's willing to put in the extra effort to serve the citizens. He mentioned that this hurts the most vulnera- ble who don't have the ways and means to get to Basin." Grant said legislators from all four Big Horn Basin counties ex- pressed support for keeping the Lovell satellite office open during a recent meeting involving legis- lators and commissioners ahead of the upcoming legislative session. "All four counties in the Basin were in support of keeping these courts in Lovell and Powell," he said. "I think we'll have a lot of support in the legislature to put something together. "This makes no sense at all. They come right out and say they're doing it for cost saving, and when there's no cost savings, why do it? They already took away the em- ployee that was costing the state money - 20-some thousand dol- lars. That left the judge with three staff members. Judge Harrington told us two of the staffhave agreed to go to work part time, so it still would have worked out all right." VEZAIN WINS bareback, saddle bronc and bulls for 12 years, took a spe- cial interest in his nephew, teaching him about horses, rodeos and saddlemaking. "In the summer, I would stay with him and we would break 50 or 60 head of hors- es," said Vezain. "Since I was a little itty bitty kid I want- ed to be just like my Uncle Duncan. He's a true-to-the- flesh cowboy. The way he lived is how I wanted to live. Everything he did was what I wanted to do." Vezain recalls how his uncle had to wear his pants unbuttoned because they rubbed against a scar on his abdominal area. "He unbuttoned his pants, so I unbuttoned my pants," chuckled Vezain. "As a little kid, I would copy ev- erything he did because I wanted to be just like that CHASE HAWKS continued from page one guy. For one, he rodeod and that's all I ever wanted to do. And two, he trained colts and that's another thing I re- ally wanted to do. And three, he built saddles." At age 14, Vezain rode bareback for the first time at the local rodeo held during Cowley Pioneer Days. Since he was too old to ride steers, it was suggested that he try bareback. Vezain said he was happy to ride anything and he practiced a little on an old saddle horse using homemade rigging from the 1960s right before the com- petition took place. "My very first rodeo, I placed something like third or fourth at Cowley Days," said Vezain. "Then I rode something like 12 or 13 high school rodeos and then Dun- can gave me a real rigging and showed me what he knew and told me 'good luck' and sent me on my way." At age 15, Vezain met his father for the first time. "I always wondered how does a kid who grew up in a town like Cowley end up wanting to rodeo," said Vezaln. "When I met my dad I understood why, because I discovered for the first time that I had a whole family in rodeo. It's in my blood. That whole side of my family is ro- deo oriented." Vezain said the first time he got on a bucl ing bronc it scared him but he said it was an "excited scared.: "I wasn't crying because I wanted to get off, it was more like 'come on turn him loose," he said. "That was that day at Cowley Days when I placed third. It was the first time I'd ever rode a bronc." As a teen, Vezaln took advantage of every opportu- nity he could to get on the back of a bucking horse. In the summer, he participated in the Cody Night Rodeo just about every night and didn't think twice about asking ev- ery pro he could for advice. Now he mainly works on staying strong through a combination of weight lifting and CrossFit training, which is a core strength and condi- tioning program. He also use a "spur board" to strengthen he spurring ability and rare- ly finds it necessary to use actual bucking horses for practice anymore. "My goal is to, of course, break every record, but also to use this rodeo career to set myself up with a place where I can raise and de- velop a well known perfor- mance herd, sell perfor- mance horses and cows and be out of debt by time I'm 30 or 35," said Vezain. "I've always set goals and I al- ways reach them. I love to work hard and I love to win. If you can believe it you can achieve it. That's one of my favorite sayings." Vezain rode in 75 rode- os this year: He won close to $200,000 in the PRCA and another $68,000 from his winnings in Canada and added another $5,000 from his Chase Hawks win. "That's not bad for a 20-year-old punk kid who doesn't know what to do with all that money," chuck- led Vezain, who )m cests all of his winnings with an eye to- ward his dream ranch. $45,000 s45,000 40,000 35,000 s40,000 000 000 000 -$-25,000 v20,O00 ,000 , 15,000 10,000 *-15,000 -10,000 rs,ooo Digital onversion Fundraiser