County moving toward own coroner facility


Big Horn County Coroner Del Atwood approached the county commissioners a few months ago about the county building a facility for the coroner. His request took a step forward at the Nov. 21 commission meeting.

Atwood told the commission at earlier meetings that Big Horn was one of the few counties that didn’t have its own facility and that the county was using a private business. He suggested the empty lot west of the county road and bridge building as an ideal location.

At this meeting the commissioners authorized county engineer Willie Bridges to researchutility locations in and

near courthouse square. Then Atwood and he would discuss the options. Bridges will draft a request for proposal (RFP) for architectural work necessary.

Atwood has provided the county with a rendering and architectural plan for the proposed building.

When the RFP is approved, the county will go to bid for the final design and building specs. Once that is done, an RFP will be issued for a contractor to conduct the construction.

Per county clerk Lori Smallwood, “This planwas agreed to by consensus that a motion will be made once cost estimates are available. Likely funds will come from reserve;

there was discussion about financing part of the cost as well.”


County Public Health Nurse Manager Bobbie Jenks provided the commissioners with a written report. She verbally gave the highlights, which included that the numbers for public health are continuing to grow. These numbers include development screenings, immunizations and flu clinics.

She also shared that over 60 women came to the Breast Cancer Awareness event held in October at Blair’s Market. Public Health Nurse Trudy Craft partnered with South Big Horn County Hospital, which donated a free mammogram. Other businesses donated items as well to give away. Jenks listed a slew of community partnership events public health was a part of in October, including Tai Chi, monthly blood pressure checkups, lunch and learn sessions.

Jenks asked the commission for a letter of support r egarding the National Diabetes Pre Prevention program. She and a staff member attended classes to become certified in the program. “This is an evidence-based programin which we can educate our community members on the prevention of type w diabetes. This is also a fee-based program,which will allow us to bill Medicare and possibly private insurance. This will assist us in meeting one of the eight essential services, namely prevention of chronic disease.” said Jenks. The commission agreed to provide the letter.

Other items discussed with the commission by Jenks were the renewal of the MOU with the fire district in Lovell for the office rental. Commissioner Deb Craft said she is very appreciative of what Jenks is doing at public health.


Land Planner Joy Hill presented her report to the commissioners. She indicated that she is working with a Boy Scout to develop a proposal to complete the southend cabin-addressing project. The Boy Scout hopes to make it his Eagle Scout project. He has been provided preliminary maps and information. The next step for her is to arrange a meeting with the scout, the sheriff, search and rescue and herself.

Hill said she is still working with Bridges on the Road and Address

Management Policy. “We have some revisions to make related to permits and are still working to incorporate the address policy into the last chapter of the document.”

Other land planning business included a discussion about septic tanks and the next steps on the Natural Resource Management Plan. An executive session was held for personnel and potential litigation.


•Fair operations manager Shiela Paumer gave a department report. The next fair advisory meeting is Dec. 4.

•Fred Werner gave a maintenance report. A portion of his report discussed the annex in Lovell and the CARES office within it.

•Kristen Schlatttmann requested public defender office space in the courthouse.


  1. Why do we need a coroner’s office when we don’t have a medical examiner? Doesn’t the coroner duty rotate thru the sheriff’s department?

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