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April 24, 2014 7:19 am

EDITORIAL: Commission right to provide money for WWI memorial

Written by Tom Lawrence

Thumbs up to the Park County Commission’s decision to give $10,000 to assist in building a World War I memorial in Cody.

That first “war to end all wars” — a title that sadly went unfulfilled — claimed 9 million lives, including 60 Wyoming residents. Two of them, William Francis Pittinger and Gay W. Hughes, had ties to Powell, and the American Legion post here is named in their honor.

World War I began a century ago and lasted until 1918, with the United States taking part in the victorious effort with the Allies — Great Britain, France and Russia — in the final year. There are no living survivors and the memory of the service of millions of brave men and women is fading.

The Park County memorial, which has a $45,000 price tag, has been supported by the community, according to Buck Wilkerson of Cody, who is leading the effort. The commission is to be commended for helping honor the people who served in that long-ago conflict.

Thumbs down to the problems with a water pipeline project in the area.

Western Municipal Construction of Meeteetse’s work was found wanting, and after enough complaints and concerns were registered, Park County threatened to shut the job down.

The list of problems is long and troubling — leaving a road north of Powell in shoddy condition, irrigation lines severed, no flaggers, barrels or signs to warn motorists, and not cleaning the mess as it moved along. The sloppiness is irritating; the safety concerns are unacceptable.

We are told Western is addressing the problems and meeting deadlines set by the county. We understand the wet conditions that have been a hassle for so many people and businesses were a factor.

But we also know the company must meet its obligations and do a good, safe and proper job.

Thumbs up to the proposals we’re hearing from the city of Powell Planning and Zoning Commission.

It’s proposing adding up to three new zoning districts to better serve Powell’s evolving realities and growth. Last week, the commission met with the City Council and several city officials to examine progress on a new plan.

We’re especially interested in a proposed residential retail district, dubbed the Neighborhood Business Zone. It would allow new developments to set aside areas for shops and stores.

We think a lot of people like the idea of properly placed and defined businesses like flower shops, barbershops, cafes or other stores within walking distance. In fact, this might prove so popular that some existing residential areas may ask for their addition.

The zoning discussion has been going on since last year and no final decisions have been made. Attend a commission or a council meeting or chat with someone on one of the boards to learn more or offer your input.

Thumbs down for a wrong-headed state requirement imposed last week on people who toured the Yellowstone Building now under construction on the Northwest College Campus.

Wyoming’s Construction Management Department ordered that anyone who took photos during the May 14 tour of the building, attended by the Northwest College board and other community members, must have those photos approved by the state prior to any use of the photos.

That rule applied to the general public as well as to members of the media and to Northwest College’s staff photographer, who, as of Tuesday — more than a week after the tour — still was waiting for state approval of the photos he took.

We realize the building is funded in large part by state dollars, and we understand that means the state has the authority to oversee plans and construction. But we don’t see how that gives the state license to impose such an unreasonable limitation on the public.

No similar demands were made during tours of local K-12 school buildings while they were being constructed, and those buildings also are state funded.

We all know how the Wyoming Legislature feels about heavy-handed federal mandates and red tape, so why is the state taking such a similarly hardline approach to something so simple as photos taken on an organized tour?

That’s not the way we do things in Wyoming — at least, it didn’t use to be.

Thumbs up to the city’s Arbor Day celebration.

The annual program was held on April 17-18 and according to folks who attended it and picked up free trees, as well as city officials, it was highly successful.

Powell values its trees for the shelter and beauty they give our community. The Arbor Day event, which includes local schoolchildren as well as community members who volunteer their time, shows when it comes to trees, we’re willing to go out on a limb and say we just can’t leaf them alone.

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