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Lovell Chronicle
Lovell , Wyoming
December 30, 2010     Lovell Chronicle
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December 30, 2010

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41The Lovell ChronicleI December 30, 2010 www.LovellChronicle.com i was a n our comm prog unity ress 2010 was a bounce-back year for north Big Horn County. It was also a year of transition and progress. One year ago, our community was reeling with the effects of the national recession on our local plants and the effects of Mother Nature on our sugar beet crop. Today, our plants are busy and we are in the midst of a successful sugar campaign at the Western Sugar factory. We have completed myriad local projects that have kept construc- tion crews busy throughout the year, from the streetscape and facade project and the new middle/high school in Cowley to the ongoing wa- ter and sewer infrastructure project in Lovell, with more to come. One year ago we were nervous but optimistic. This year we are confident and more bullish about the future. One of the things that define our north Big Horn County commu- nities is that people enjoy living here. Our quality of life is excellent, and even when times are tough, folks will fight to make a life here. This well-engrained "stick-to-itiveness" helps us to recover from tough crops and a tough economy. Early freeze harms what was a bumper beet crop? Well, it hurt, but we'll plant again, and this year the weather will be fair well into the fall and the crop excellent. That was the attitude a year ago, and now our fa ory is running at full steam after an excellent growing season and a mild fall. Only some uncertainty about the future of Roundup Ready beets prevents this year from being a nearly perfect rebound for local agriculture. Our plants have rebounded, and while we're not entirely out of the woods, production of bentonite is running strong and Wallboard pro- duction is steady. Times have been tough for local government, but now the State of Wyoming is showing a billion-dollar surplus as the 2011 Legislature convenes, and the early budget calls for some $52 million to flow to local government across the state. Our progressive communities continue to move forward with proj- ects. School District No. One opened a brand new, state-of-the-art middle and high school, and the American Legion/Babe Ruth baseball field is beautiful and functional within the fence even as work contin- ues on the outside. The blooming of Main Street is complete with the streetscape and facade project. Byron is working hard to make use of the former Byron and Rocky Mountain High School building, aggressively seeking businesses to move in during 2011. Watch for some announcements in the coming weeks. In Lovell, dozens have been employed due to the ongoing water and sewer project, and a new phase is in the works for 2011 - the South Project. Lovell has a beautiful new East Little League Baseball complex, and there are p!ans to upgrade Constitution Park and begin a walking path project t the Foster: Gulch Golf Course. North Big Horn Hospital and School Distri No. 2 are both planning for the future, as well, even as they take care of the needs of today through a variety of infrastructure projects. We see several new stores on Main Street, and new events like the Hyart Film Festival, the Earth Day Festival and the Big Horn Canyon Triathlon dot our calendars. We must strive to support our businesses and our local events. One of the most exciting local projects is the project to demolish the old, decaying hospital building in Lovell and construct senior hous- ing. What a great project that will be for seniors looking for a more manageable place to live and for the south part of town. Housing is the key to our community's future. It is a major empha- sis of the Town of Lovell and Lovell Inc. New housing frees up afford- able housing for young families, injecting new energy and vitality into our community and giving young workers the ability to take root in our community rather than moving to Powell or other places. It is vital that our community step up to support Lovell Inc which will need a fresh injection of funding as the initial seed money provid- ed by the Town of Lovell runs out later this year. The projects fostered by Lovell Inc. are too numerous to list, the clients helped too numer- ous to count. It is an organization we cannot do without, it is that vi- tal. We have seen a transition in leadership at the state and local lev- els including a new governor, Matt Mead, who should be able to pick up where Gov. Dave Freudenthal left off, and new mayors in Byron, Cowley, Deaver and Frannie who promise to continue the work of their predecessors. Mayor Bruce Morrison is a strong, steady, progressive leader for Lovell, despite some political hits he took during this elec- tion year. We are fortunate to have an outstanding workforce, strong banks, excellent schools, strong services like our hospital and clinic, fire de- partment, search and rescue squad, senior center, police and sheriff's departments and much more. So many good people do so many great things. Tourism and recreation will continue to grow, in part, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of Bighorn Lake and their efforts to keep the lake full, the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, all of which are establishing good working rela- tionships with federal land managers. At this newspaper, we benefit from a strong, veteran staff that works hard to bring you the best product we can each and every week. We are grateful to our readers and to our advertisers who sup- port us and make us a part of your lives. Remember, this is your com- munity newspaper. We are just the caretakers for a few years. We urge our readers to continue to work with us to provide news tips, keep our editorial page lively, send us a photo from time to time, give us feedback and cooperate with us as we gather the news. We are grateful for the working relationship we have with our news sourc- es, and we urge our readers to support the advertisers who make this newspaper possible. When we can do something better, let us know about it. We truly appreciate our advertisers, our readers and our regular contacts. We could not do it without you. We are excited about the future of our community and optimistic about the new year ahead. We hope you are, too. Happy New Year! --David Peck There is a special joy that ac- companies the celebration of Christmas, and it seems to me that a major aspect of that joy is giving without the expectation of receiv- ing an item or action in return. A gift is given unconditionally. That's what makes it unique, resulting in an inner joy of matchless happi- ness. From my boyhood though, hap- piness came simply from having plenty of presents with my name on them under the family Christmas tree. Learning about what many call the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ, and free- ly making sacrifices for others) takes time. At least, it did for me. But as we mature, sometimes that under- standing begins to take root. As for those long ago mornings of Dec. 25, my younger brother, Steve, and I al- ways awoke just a bit earlier than usual. Say around 4:30 a.m. We would leap from bed, dash into the living room and check to see how many gifts had been added to the pile from the night before. Our parents always told us to go to sleep early on Christmas Eve, advising that if you saw Santa unloading his bag, you would be out of luck. See Santa: No presents! So we would adjourn to our bedroom early, thus giv- ing our parents time to wrap gifts. Of course, we didn't know that. OK, maybe we did, but we played along. The big hurdle come the morn was get- ting our parents to arise from their slumbers. Steve and I were aware that if we pushed too hard or too early, there would be dire conse- quences. So we would plug in the tree lights and stare at the decorations, while ponder- ing what was inside the packages with our Bob names on them. Patience was not our virtue. We would remind our parents about every 12 minutes that "It's time!" to open the gifts. Eventual- ly they would grumble out of bed, and we would assemble around the tree. First, though, our parents had various tasks to perform be- fore they were ready. They didn't take too long, maybe only seven or eight hours it seemed. Finally we all would be ready to check the haul. Actually, our dad already knew what he was get- ting because he had a habit of pok- ing holes in the bottom of his pack- ages. He could never wait, although we were sworn to not do what he did. Mom would keep notes on who gave what to whom so that we could write "thank you" notes later. And she and our dad both were of the era where wrapping paper, bows and the like were saved for another use. When Jan and I had our own children, I found that Christmas mornings had a whole new meaning. There's nothing like watch- ing youngsters (especially your own) dig into their gifts, then grin hugely, and give happy thanks. During my working time as a newspaper- man, I saw many instances of people freely giving to help make others happy. They ex- pected nothing in return. I saw U.S. military personnel returning from active duty tours just in time to observe Christmas with friends and family. I saw community programs in which food, clothing and toys were provided to people in need. I saw the power of uncondi- tional giving. Maybe that's why the never-ending story of a birth in Bethlehem provides special joy at Christmas. That's my view. t And so this is Christmas. Yep, Christmas - politically incorrect and unashamed, Christmas. What is going on in America, and how did Christmas get so lost? Communities no longer have Christmas parades. In order to ac- commodate "every American," they now call them "holiday parades." That's just plain silly. Floats with traditional Christmas decorations, participants dressed as elves, and a Dianne Badget jolly old dude in red guiding a card- View from the board reindeer scream Christmas. soap box A holiday parade? The word holi- day is generic but it's inoffensive. It's, well;safe. The definition of holiday depends On the time of year. If it's in the middle of summer with American Flags, bands and tributes to our forefathers, it's a Fourth of July holiday. During the early days of summer a holiday is simply time off work and family vacations. Thanksgiving is, well, Thanksgiving, even though it seems to be focused now on who sells the juiciest turkey rather than being thankful for just having a turkey. Veteran's Day is a hol- iday, and its sole purpose is to honor those who have worn the uniform of the United States military and their families. And New Year's Day needs no explanation. Labor Day. Another holiday. Our calendars are full of holidays. There's Memorial Day, Fa- ther's Day, Mother's Day, Eat another Dill Pickle Day if they are going to call our tra- ditional parades "holiday parades" then they need to be as generic as the name implies. So the question becomes, which holidays are the generically named holiday parades cel- ebrating? One of them? All of them? Is this sup- posed to be the great awakening of tolerance? I don't see it when it's my Christmas being de- nied. In the new world of political correctness, a true holiday parade would have Santa sitting in front of a picnic basket waving a sparkler, changing a baby, holding a flag, and eating a Turkey leg. Whoa, shake off that vision! It's sad that the only holidays to have had their names changed are Christmas and Easter. They are now called winter or spring break. Winter and spring are not holidays, they are seasons. Christmas and Easter are the two main holidays, which reflect and cel- ebrate our core Christian beliefs. Why did we let this happen? Kwanza is Kwanza. Ramadan is always Ramadan. Hanukkah started out as Hanukkah and thousands of years later it still is. Those names haven't been changed to avoid offending Christians. I guess we don't whine loudly enough. Picture a wondrous tapestry. No one thread in the overall design is more important than the other. Each thread, each color, is part of the whole and it doesn't matter what the thread is called. If one thread breaks the entire tapestry begins to unravel. It will either fall apart quick- ly or fray slowly, but it will unravel. Faith is like that. What we each call our Su- preme Being doesn't matter. Those of us who believe strongly in some- thing more powerful than ourselves are united. At least, that's how it used to be - how it should be. Those who choose not to believe certainly have that right. Christians are not banging on the Supreme Court's door to stop them the way that they are constantly stopping us This discussion is not about the commercialization of Christmas. Frankly, that theme has been beat- en to death. We are adult and intel- ligent enough to recognize that this month is fun for you g nd !d. We giving and receiving the surprzses to be found under the tree. We certainly can enjoy the com- mercial and the religious side of Christmas at the same time. We've been doing it for years. No, my lament is the notion that just us- ing the word "Christmas" is offensive. I've heard nasty words while standing in line at Wal-Mart but nobody squawks about the sepa- ration of smut and store. I will not spend one penny on cards that say, "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." I'm sending Christmas cards to those I care about because I want to wish their families a Merry Christmas. This is the time of year for Christmas and any card I send will reflect the joy I feel in that. I refuse to submit to any false, forced criminalization of Christianity. If you are an atheist, fine. I don't under- stand your choice, but I respect it. If you are Jewish, your God and mine are exactly the same and I admire your deep and moving tra- ditions. True followers of Islam can take pride in their devotion to their Koran and spiritual strength. I just want to be accorded the same respect when I celebrate my Christian faith. I'm not trying to force Christianity down any- one's throat. I just believe that at this time of year a city park makes a beautiful place to display a Nativity and that there is nothing sweeter than little voices singing "Away in a Manger" at a school Christmas concert. If the aim here is to eliminate Christianity or force it underground, well that's been tried before by better men than the ones who are trying it now and it failed. If a few people don't want to see the symbols of our faith and celebration, that's no problem. The God they refuse to ac- knowledge gave them eyelids. They can close them. Give me back Christmas. Give me back Easter. Give me the right to practice my re- ligion openly as promised in the Constitution and which the Supreme Court, not Congress, muddied and took away from me years ago. when that happens, I will throw a holiday parade to end all "Holiday Parades". and I mean that quite literally. Until then, Merry Christmas! May the blessings of God and the promise of peace from the Blessed Christ Child shine in the hearts of believers everywhere. I 20t0 MJEMBER 2009 AWARD-WINNING NEWSPAPER Postmaster: Send address changes to: The Lovell Chronicle, USPS 321-060 234 E. Main, Lovell, Wyoming 82431 (307) 548-2217 Published every Thursday Periodical postage paid at Lovell, Wyoming Editor and Publisher: David Peck