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This Week in Star Valley: March 26-April 1 »


The Star Valley Independent has been covering the multiple and rural communities of Star Valley for 113 years without missing a weekly edition.

The Independent is there for local government meetings, outdoor events, community discussions, tragic circumstances and celebrations.

In that time the news which has made the pages of the newspaper has been both shocking and typical.  Take a look at what made the news 25, 50 and 75 years ago during this calendar week in Star Valley.

This week’s inset picture is one of friendly conflict as the spring brings about little league wrestling like this shot from the Independent during this week in 2009.

The main picture below also says that it’s time for soccer season as Kelsey Diedrich battles a Rock Springs opponent during this calendar week in 2009. Read the rest

Medical center moving forward with first phase of expansion »


Tuesday, March 25 the Star Valley Medical Center hosted a groundbreaking celebration on its expansion project.

“The project will be done in three phases with the building of the new ER coming first, and the OR expansion and remodel will come in two subsequent phases,” said Mike Hunsaker, vice president of support services at Star Valley Medical Center. “It is anticipated that the construction will be completed before Oct. 1, 2015.”

According to Hunsaker, the project includes constructing a new Emergency Department, and a new and remodeled Surgery Department. When completed, the hospital expansion will feature an additional 18,000 square feet of “new and remodeled space,” he said. Read the rest

Area entrepreneurs reach finals at UW competition »

photo courtesy University of Wyoming

Five University of Wyoming student teams will present a wide range of business plans Friday, April 4, during the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition at the College of Business Building.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. in Room 123. Awards will be presented at 1:45 p.m.

One of the finalists includes three students with Star Valley ties as they promote their idea referred to as BusMark. According to a release from UW, “BusMark is a student management system that provides bus transportation information in real time for parents. The market for school bus fleet and student management systems is new, and parents will be able to determine where the school bus and their child is when traveling, say team members. With GPS information becoming more appealing to parents as technology advances and safety issues loom, BusMark provides a student management system that will fulfill a market need and solve current and future problems faced by school administrators, they say.”

Team members are Conner Chas Hunsaker, a UW accounting junior from Afton; Brad Kovach, a UW computer science senior from Auburn; and Zane Erickson, a UW business administration junior, also from Auburn.

“Conner and Zane approched me with the idea because I’m a computer programmer,” Kovach said.  Conner and Zane are both bus drivers with the Albany County School District and they saw and identified some issues with institutional transportation with students and we thought this would be a good way to use mobile technology to keep track of students.”

The group has been working on the concept since early November with the payoff coming this weekend. If they are successful, there will be an award of $12,500 to help develop and implement BusMark as well as a year’s worth of free rent at the UW Business Center. Read the rest

Nurse shortage prompts SVMC incentives »

Star Valley Medical Center

Star Valley Medical Center is partnering with community members to find and hire nurses.

“We are trying to get our ICU up and running and we need additional nursing staff to make that happen,” said Trevor Merritt, human resources director at Star Valley Medical Center. “We have eight open nursing positions at the medical center, four in ICU, one in OR and three in med/surg. Right now we have three traveling nurses in place and are looking to hire a fourth. A shortage of nurses is the biggest hold up in our ICU. We don’t have the nurses to staff it.”

According to Merritt, the region and nation are both experiencing a nursing shortage.
“The American population is aging,” said Merritt. “As that happens there is a greater need for health care professionals and less people to fill those roles.” Read the rest

Three from LCSD#2 receive Daniels Fund Scholarship »

Brock TeichertThree students from LCSD2 have received notification of being Daniels Fund Scholarship winners. Brock Teichert from Cokeville, Wyatt Greenwald and Paige Andersen from Star Valley High School will all be awarded educational funding.

“Brock is the second person in his immediate family to obtain this prestigious scholarship,” said Dolores Willis, Daniels Fund Advisor. “His sister, Savanna, took home the honors five years ago.  Brock is planning on attending a college out of state and will obtain a Bachelor of Science degree.”

He is the son of Sally and David Teichert. Read the rest

More musicians needed for Salt River Symphony Chorus »


The Salt River Symphony Chorus (SRSC) just held its fourth rehearsal Sunday evening.
“Despite good turnouts and enthusiastic support for this community effort, more vocalists and musicians are needed,” said Stephanie Henderson, member of SRSC. “The goal is to triple the current size of the choir and fill in all sections of the orchestra — strings, winds, brass and percussion.”

Particularly, the SRSC is in need of more bass and tenor vocalists.

“We are looking for vocalists and musicians that are young and old, polished and beginners and those who haven’t performed for a long time,” said Henderson. “The SRSC is a great way for you to get back into performing or to experience it for the first time! Student vocalists and musicians are encouraged to join the SRSC.  We are fortunate to have some Wyoming All-State band and orchestra members joining us and will gladly welcome any other student musicians that are fully committed to the rehearsal schedule.”   Read the rest

WYDOT snow removal costs exceeding budget »

Drivers for WYDOT have had to start early and stay late this winter. (Independent File Photo)

WYDOT’s snow control costs during the current fiscal year have exceeded the $22.6 million budgeted, largely due to heavier-than-usual snow during February.

At the end of January snow control spending stood at 69 percent of the budgeted amount, but spending during February was double the usual amount.

As of Feb. 28, WYDOT had spent $21.9 million for snow control. Although the March figures are not in yet, the costs of dealing with snowstorms so far this month are expected to have exceeded the $674,000 that remained in the budget.

With the rest of March, all of April and the May and June reopening of three alpine passes still to come, WYDOT expects the budget overrun to be significant.
In addition, because WYDOT operates on the federal fiscal year of Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, the current budget also must cover any snow control needed next September. Read the rest

Funding approved for new LCSD #2 admin building; Thayne Elementary addition »

school busses at Afton Elementary

The new Lincoln County School District No. 2 administrative building and a six classroom addition with additional parking at Thayne Elementary School have gone through final review and been approved at the state level.

According to Superintendent Jon Abrams, the plans are now being reviewed by the Fire Marshal.

“Once that review is completed we plan to go to bid on the district office project,” said Abrams. “We plan to open bids on that project in May.”

The new district office is 8,000 square feet and will include administrative offices and a school board meeting room. The state has awarded $3.1 million for the project.
According to Abrams, the district plans to move into the building in January. Swift Creek High School will be in the existing school district office building, he said.

The new administration building will be located behind the current Swift Creek High School building, formerly Afton Elementary School.

According to Abrams, funding for the addition of Thayne Elementary School will be released on July 1. The bid and construction process will begin after that time.
The project is 6,000 square feet with a budget yet to be determined, he said.

“We anticipate moving into the additional classrooms at the Thayne Elementary School for the 2015-2016 School Year,” he said.

Development will be key for 2014 tracksters »


Opportunities for team titles just dont come around all that often.

The Lady Braves collected their first in 2010 and finished as the runner-up last season while the Braves brought home a regional championship but fizzled in the state meet in a slate of missed opportunities. This year? Some strong individual performances will be on tap, but there is certainly not the proven returning times and marks that have coaches and parents crunching numbers at the end of April. At least not yet.

The Braves and Lady Braves track team will be led by a very strong group of distance runners. Outside of an occasional event or two, everything else will need to be home grown after putting together some memorable performances a year ago. But just how fast those skills grow is anybody’s guess. Read the rest

Afton considers pros and cons of keeping police department »

A workshop discussion on the Afton Police Department took place on Wednesday, March 26. The purpose of the workshop was to consider the pros and cons of Afton keeping its police department.

The Town of Afton will discuss the option of merging law enforcement services with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at its April 15 council meeting.

If the town decides to move forward with the process of merging the two departments, a public hearing on the topic will be held in May.