Felix Carrizales new chairman of Big Horn County Commission

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BY BARBARA ANNE GREENE

The second official act as a Big Horn County Commissioner for Deb Craft was to nominate Felix Carrizales as the chairman of the commission. Craft’s first act was to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Craft made the motion at the January 3 meeting, prefacing it that she believes both Carrizales and commissioner John Hyde are both qualified and that she has known Carrizales for a lot of years. The final vote was two to one. Hyde voted no.

The first item of discussion was a gravel pit at Eagle Pass. The county currently uses a community pit at this location. They have approached BLM for a new permit for an additional pit at the same location. The permit is a joint request from Big Horn County and Park County. The new location was previously used by WYDOT. It has been reclaimed and now according to the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and Game and Fish Departments is a habitat for sage grouse.

The gravel available at Eagle Pass is made of limestone and is better for surfacing, according to engineer Willie Bridges. The county has another gravel bid  named Table Mountain. The gravel in that pit is made from granite rock and is not as good a product to use for surfacing.

South Big Horn County Road and Bridge Foreman Shannon Hovey stated that he and Carrizales met with the BLM about the pit.

“I know that Mr. Hyde and Mr. Grant were talking to the BLM about it, too,” Hovey said. “They told us basically we couldn’t get it. We could do all the paperwork, but it would pretty much be a no go.”

“We didn’t like that answer and we went back and got a different answer,” Hyde said. “It’s not a done deal yet, Shannon, but we have the workings going that I think we can accomplish it.  It’s going to come down to what the Game and Fish thinks, but we presented them with some material. It’s back on the table.”

Carrizales expressed some concern to Hyde that comments had been made to the BLM that the Table Mountain pit was not as important to the county as the Eagle Pass pit. Hovey expressed that he was surprised that the comment had been made. He went on to discuss how he had been told that the habitat was a general population sage grouse area, not primary, also that BLM said that if they give the county 35 acres the county would then have to buy shares in 70 acres.

Bridges said it would be up to Game and Fish to determine and that the BLM will go along with that determination. He also said that Eagle Pass was more important because it is a surfacing pit. There are other places besides Table Mountain that have pit run. Eagle Pass is the only place to get the surfacing pit.

Hyde agreed with Bridges that it would be up to the Game and Fish but said there is a provision in the BLM rules and regulations that says anything started before the Wyoming governor’s order on sage grouse could be grandfathered in. He was told that information on that would be sent to him and he would pass it along to Bridges.

“There is no reason why that area has any sage grouse bearing material,” he said. 

Other business discussed was the railroad crossing on Road 3, runoff on the bentonite plant haul roads in the Crooked Creek area, change of flood maps in Greybull for the town’s dike certification and the cattle guard at Odessa Cemetery.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

•Fair manager Sheila Paumer discussed that the heating of the new building was still an issue. She passed on information and bids that she had received from local businesses. Another issue was that people were taking advantage of the rental rate. The rate is hourly per person. She has observed that often individuals who have paid for one person are bringing additional people in during their time. She will be looking into getting cameras for inside the building to help keep track of the rentals.

•Carl Meyer presented the airports reports. The report included information on the repainting of runway 7/25, airport zoning and a business that was interested in relocating to the south airport. He will be working with the Wyoming Business Council on a possible Business Committed Grant.

•County Attorney Kim Adams brought a special prosecutor resolution.

•Sheriff Ken Blackburn discussed a State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) grant for the County Security Funding Resolution.

•Land Planner Joy Hill’s report included flood plain developments west of the Scharen subdivision and for BNSF repair; a draft MOU for address and road information sharing between the county and towns; septic permitting/DEQ delegation agreement; permit non-compliance fees for retroactive permits for development, floodplain development and septic systems. After the commissioners agreed that an additional $100 fee for retroactive permits was reasonable, Hyde said that the county needs to do significant public outreach to educate the public about this proposed fee change and give them an opportunity to weigh in on the decision before a resolution is made.

OTHER BUSINESS

•Weed and Pest Control District Board appointments were made.

•Commissioner representatives for various boards were determined.

•An issue with the holiday schedule was discussed. The commissioners had voted to give the county employees Jan. 2, 2017. This was an additional day to the approved holiday schedule.

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Community responds after plane crash near Otto

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BY KYNLI SMITH

A small aircraft carrying two people crashed near Otto on Wednesday, Dec. 7, leaving one dead and one injured.

The crash occurred in a remote area southwest of the Wardell Reservoir, according to the Big Horn County Sheriff’s office. On late Friday, authorities identified the deceased as Grant Ewing Belden, 34, of Thermopolis. The injured was identified as Miles Hausner, 56, of Worland.

The pilot in command, Belden was a biological science technician with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The passenger, Hausner, is also a certified pilot and a biological science technician for the USDA Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service.

According to the USDA, the two were conducting predator control after a request from a local rancher who had lost sheep due to coyote deprivation. Both air and ground personnel were working that day in the area.

The rescue

According to the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department the initial call was received around 11:22 a.m. on Wednesday. South Big Horn County Search and Rescue was activated immediately and REACH Air Medical Services was in the air looking for the downed plane within 20 minutes. Park County Search and Rescue and Sky Aviation of Worland also provided air services during the search. The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, Big Horn County Search and Rescue, Big Horn County Emergency Management, Big Horn County Coroner and Big Horn County Sheriff’s personnel also responded to the call.

REACH located the plane just before 1 p.m. and extrication tools and emergency responders were on site at around 1:30 p.m.

“Bob Hawkins with Sky Aviation was the hero of the day,” said Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn. “He was able to touch down in a field outside Basin and get extrication tools and emergency personnel to the scene in rapid time.”

According to Sheriff’s Department Captain Brent Godfrey, the search and rescue crew had both an ATV team and a foot team in the area.

“It would have been a very different turnout if it was back in the older days,” said Godfrey. “It’s remarkable that they were found and receiving aid within the hour of getting the call.”

Hausner was transported by medical helicopter to Billings around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, where he remains hospitalized. Belden died at the scene.

The Big Horn County Coroner Del Atwood also responded to the scene and was able to get a lift on his way out there from Hawkins.

“It was getting dark and cold and Bob knew he could get us in and out before dark,” said Atwood. “The community really pulled together and gave their all. They walked out of the jobs and went out into the zero degree weather to help. This was a horrific event. The man who lost his life had a wonderful family.”

The National Travel and Safety board started their investigation of the crash on Thursday and Friday at the scene. According to investigator Jennifer Redi, the NTSB removed the wreckage from the scene and transferred it to a secure location in Colorado.

As of Tuesday, the NTSB investigators were looking into the plane’s engine. According to Redi, they have not found anything that would suggest engine failure or a mechanical anomaly at this time. She added that they plan to submit a preliminary report to their website on Dec. 14 and it will take months before they conclude their investigation.

The NTSB will be conducting interviews with the ground crew and other witnesses and will be looking into other factors like the weather conditions at the time of the crash.

“Our investigations are never closed,” said Redi. “We want to thank the local law enforcement and other agencies for providing us with support on scene.”

‘He was a giant of a man’

A local family has set up a GoFundMe account for Belden’s family this past week. The page states: “The true measure of a man is his honesty, integrity and character; in this regard, Grant Belden was a giant of a man. Grant was tragically killed December 7, 2016, on his 34th birthday, while performing work duties and doing one of the things he enjoyed the most, flying. Grant was an amazing father, husband, brother, son and friend. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons. All donations will go to the young family.”

A coworker of Belden, Michael Burrell and his wife Emily set up an account for people to help.

Burrell who was on the ground the day of the crash was a coworker and close friend of Belden.

“Grant was an amazing person and pilot Miles is also. You wouldn’t think something like this would happen to good people,” said Burrell. “We are a family in the wildlife services community. We are a federal organization but we are very close here in Wyoming and in the western region.”

Burrell added that people from all over the community and the country including coworkers on the east coast now have a way to help the Belden family.

“He was a coworker but he was also a good friend,” said Burrell.

As of press time, only two days since the account was posted more than $12,000 was raised for the Belden family. The goal for the account is set at $40,000. To donate or for more information, go to https://www.gofundme.com/grant-belden-family-fund.

 

 

 

 

 

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From Basin girl to World War II spy for the Allies

BY KYNLI SMITH
Doris Bohrer was one of the many baby girls born in Basin over the years. Doris Arlene Sharrar was born on Feb. 5, 1923, in Basin to father, Frank, who was a teacher, and mother, Dora, who was a homemaker. But Bohrer went on to become more than just a Basin girl; she became a spy for the Allies during World War II.
Bohrer has western roots. Her father, Frank, travelled with his family to settle in Nebraska in a covered wagon. He then became a teacher and taught and was a coach at Basin High School for nine years. After that the family moved to Reliance, Wyo., where he was a principal and coach for seven years.
Bohrer spent the first 15 years of her life growing up in Wyoming before her family relocated to Sliver Spring, Md., so her father could take a job with the Veterans Administration (now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs).
Bohrer graduated high school from Montgomery Blair High School in 1940 and in 1942 she took the Civil Service exam and was soon offered a position with the O.S.S., a wartime intelligence agency created to run spy operations behind enemy lines.
Like most women first hired, she was assigned clerical work but she quickly advanced. After a year of typing and clerical work, she was posted to Egypt for photoreconnaissance school.
“Everybody else was ‘Lieutenant So-and-So,’ or ‘Captain This,’” said Bohrer to Ann Curry of NBC News in 2013. “We were ‘The Girls.’ … I was doing the exact same thing as majors and lieu-tenant colonels, but I was ‘The Girls.’”
The O.S.S “Bunny”
As part of her work for the O.S.S., Bohrer created balsa-wood relief maps of Sicily as the Allies prepared to invade Italy. After being posted in Egypt, Bohrer went on to be posted in Bari, on the Adriatic coast, and worked jointly with the 15th Air Force studying aerial photographs to select sites for dropping and rescuing O.S.S agents behind enemy lines.
Former O.S.S agent Edward Hymoff wrote about the Noah’s Ark list of O.S.S agents and wrote in the preface of his book, “The O.S.S in World War II,” a quote from Radio Berlin as “50 professors, 20 monkeys, 10 goats, 12 guinea pigs and staff of Jewish scribblers.”
One person that could be added to the list of animals used to describe the O.S.S could be the O.S.S “bunny” which was Bohrer who helped in the efforts to an allied victory and extraction of POWs.
“It was like looking at the world with a magnifying glass,” Bohrer told Curry in a 2013 NBC interview. “It was a little challenging trying to figure out what the Germans were doing, where they were sending the railroad cars, what they were picking up, what they were manufacturing in the factories, how many airplanes were on the airfields.”
Doris noted that the aircrews took photos of their missions and when they returned to base her intelligence unit evaluated the photos.
She said in an interview with the Washington Post in 2011: “That’s how we knew where the concentration camps were located but we were too late. We kept wondering where the trains were going.”
With the Bari being busy with the O.S.S. and the 15th US Air Force in the same location, uni-forms were available except for Bohrer, whose buddies made one for her.
According to the 2014 American ExPOW Bulletin, “Everyone also had a distinctive shoulder patch but Doris had none. (Disney Studios had been rendering specialized patches for various military units containing one or another of the Disney animated characters.) On the other hand, Doris had her beloved stuffed, long, orange-eared bunny, who wore a small letter-bead ID brace-let saying “Bohrer Jr.” An impromptu artist in the Bari OSS/15AF HQ crowd picked up one of the working aerial photos and on the back, penciled then penned a jaunty, completely individualized “Buzz Bunny,” complete with cigarette, a 15th AF white star on a white neck scarf, and renderings of a beloved aircraft with its dual fuselages. A local Italian seamstress used this as a pattern to make a one-of-a-kind shoulder patch which Doris wore for the duration.”
Cracking the glass ceiling
According to the National Women’s History Museums website, there were about 13,000 O.S.S workers during the agency’s peak in 1944 and about 4,500 of those workers were female. Of those 4,500 females, roughly one-third (1,500) were assigned overseas.
Bohrer had to find her place in a world that was still dominated by the men surrounding her.
“When my grandmother was first stationed overseas in North Africa with the O.S.S she was not issued a weapon for personal protection. She was one of the girls and girls didn’t carry guns,” wrote her grandson Jason Bohrer Jr.
Bohrer said that because women could not carry guns, O.S.S male agents insisted on escorting her around everywhere she went. She finally demanded to be armed and was issued a Browning and a shoulder holster which gave her more freedom.
She soon asked to be able to carry a hand grenade like the Yugoslav partisan she was working with, but her request was denied. After that Bohrer came up with a plan to dupe her fellow male O.S.S. agents.
“I had an engineer friend make me a disabled grenade,” Bohrer said to NBC.
The O.S.S officer who denied Bohrer her request for a grenade, saw her with it at lunch and said, “Honey, I’m going to reach over now and take it from you before anyone gets killed.”
She slammed the grenade on the table.
“When I reached for the handle, the boys went out the windows. They just disappeared. And I sat there and ate my salad.”
Bohrer’s son Jason said that as a kid he didn’t fully understand and realize what his mom did during the war.
“I’m very proud,” said Jason. “Looking back it is incredible what she did and accomplished.”
In 2013, Bohrer and another former O.S.S female spy traveled back to the CIA headquarters where they both ended up working after the war ended.
The two women spoke to current female CIA agents. In the NBC article the two said they were blown away with how far women could come since they were just “girls.”
Bohrer said at the time she was looking forward to seeing the first female CIA director.
“I’m sure she’ll be extra, extra, extra capable, because they always have to be better than the male for the job,” said Bohrer. “I don’t know who, but it’ll have to be a special woman who can handle it.”
After the war
After the war, Bohrer married her husband, Charles and continued working for the O.S.S until the successor organization, the C.I.A. was formed in 1947. She was posted in Frankfurt where she wrote intelligence reports on German scientists who were held by the Soviet Union. She then returned to Washington and served as deputy chief of counterintelligence.
Bohrer’s husband also worked for the C.I.A. as a doctor.
“I really didn’t know what my parents did,” said Bohrer’s son Jason. “I knew she went to an office. In my late high school or early college years I learned what they did and I even got to work with them one summer.”
She retired from the C.I.A and entered civilian life in 1979. Bohrer soon started to get into real estate and enjoyed gardening and spending time with her poodles.
“She was a hard worker and had high expectations,” said Jason. “She also liked to follow world events and was troubled about what was going on in the world now.
Bohrer passed away at the age of 93 in Greensboro, N.C. on Aug. 8.
After her death her son commented how amazing his mother’s accomplishments were and how far she came in her life. She went from being born in small town in Wyoming, to World War II spy, to wife, mother, CIA agent to grandmother and dog lover.
He added that young boys and girls from small towns like Basin could go far in their lives.
“(Look) how far a young woman went back then from Basin, Wyoming…think about what they could do now.”

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Doris 1

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