A year of progress


David Peck
David Peck

This is the issue where we sum up the year gone by with our annual year in review and our list of top 10 stories of the year.

It’s rewarding to look back on the past 12 months and the many events we have chronicled in the pages of this newspaper. There were trying times in 2013 to be sure, a few tragic fires, for instance, but the triumphs certainly outweigh the trials, it seems, and it is great to see the progress our community has made over the last 12 months.

We think of the remarkable effort to bring our movie palace, the Hyart Theatre, into the digital age through the “Go Digital or Go Dark” fundraising effort that raised an astonishing $126,000 locally toward the $175,000 project in about three months. With the bright, new screen, 7.1 surround sound and cutting edge NEC 4K resolution projector, combined with the rich history and grandeur of the Hyart itself, we now have as fine a movie theater as there is in the West.

What a triumph of community generosity and foresight.

We also have a dazzling remodeling project well under way as the year ends at Lovell High School. This project is a rare win-win in that it allows the school to maintain its square footage while modernizing with state-of-the-art technology, design and educational tools. And it’s paid for by the state.

Coming up is the final phase of the multi-year Lovell water and sewer infrastructure project, which is being combined next summer with the Wyoming Dept. of Transportation’s Main Street repair project. Main will be torn up in two-block stretches next summer, and we hope shoppers will remain dedicated and loyal to their Main Street businesses, even when they are a bit more difficult to reach.

North Big Horn Hospital is planning a grand remodeling and expansion project, and the local museum board is making great progress toward their dream – a museum and historical center that will preserve and exhibit artifacts from our rich cultural heritage. The formation of a museum district will be on the primary election ballot in August, and we hope voters will favor spending a few dollars a year to operate the museum in the years ahead.

Cowley is as progressive a small town as you’ll find in Wyoming, with the school district completing the school campus, more and more houses being built and the community celebrating the restoration of the log gym. The gym is breathtaking, and even though the Town of Cowley had to work around the state fire marshal’s office shutting the facility down for a few weeks for lack of a fire suppression system, the town has worked out a deal with the state to install a system in the future, and the gym has been allowed to open for public use again.

We also love the energy of Byron, with numerous activities and programs constantly being offered, many at the old school building, to bring the community together and bring people to town.

We enjoy top-notch school systems, from Lovell High School’s Blue Ribbon School Award to our many dedicated and innovative educators in both Districts One and Two. We spend a lot of time covering our schools and are constantly amazed by the work our educators do.

There are certainly challenges ahead for our community, but we believe our leaders and citizens are up to the task.

Through it all, we are proud to be your newspaper and to bring you the details of events that shape our lives. In many ways, we are the caretaker of history for our area.

We did a few quick calculations on what our staff brings to our readers every week, and it was eye-opening. We counted the stories and photos in three different, random months, January, June and July, and found that this newspaper printed 420 stories and 316 photos during the three months, and those photos showed 685 local faces (we didn’t count the opposing player in a sports photo, for instance).

Granted, the 685 faces included a month when we ran two pages of baseball team photos, but there were other months not counted with team photos, too. That means the Lovell Chronicle probably brought to our readers in 2013 more than 1,600 stories, from small wedding announcements to large issue stories, and more than 1,200 photos showing more than 2,700 faces. Perhaps we’re the real “face book.”

We love the work we do and are glad to bring the best – and sometimes the worst – of our community to you. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014.

–David Peck