Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

A year of honors, explorations


File Photo

Ellis Nelson writes down the travel bug he was placing into a geocaching ammunition box.

The year kicked off with a new organization being formed at the Green River High School. The school started a charted group with the National Future Farmers of American Organizations.

In March of 2016, the Green River High School Speech and Debate Team took third at state. It wasn't the outcome the team wanted, since it is used to taking first at state, but the team was happy to come in third. Head coach Carina White said the tournament was going to be tough for the new and inexperienced team. However, the team was able to bring a trophy home for the third year in a row.

The team didn't let its third-place finish stop them from rebounding and take home the District Championship title for the ninth year in a row. The team also qualified eight students to attend nationals. During April, White was named 4A Coach of the Season and received a plaque from the Wyoming High School Forensics Association.

In April, Green River Marine Lt., Col., Pete Bailiff was presented with a plaque by the city of Green River for his 30 years of service. Bailiff traveled throughout the world during his military career. He was deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During his time in the Marines, Bailiff continued to work his way through the ranks and he received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon. He also worked in the Pentagon as the senior aviation ordnance officer for about five years.

In May Green River Chamber of Commerce vice president, Angela Shutran, was given the 2016 Green River Distinguished Citizen Award. The Distinguished Citizen Award is for a Green River resident who is passionate about Green River and has shown this by continually volunteering and supporting by working for the betterment of the community. Some of their work is often behind the scenes. This person has also demonstrated a long history of civic involvement.

In June, Shane Steiss, a GRHS art instructor, was selected as the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 Teacher of the Year. One of Shane's favorite parts of teaching is when he sees one of his students succeeding.

"For me, it's when a kid gets it. They're proud of themselves for achieving something they didn't think they could do. That's what gets me," Shane said.

In July, local gold hunter, Don Jones shared some of his tips on what to look for when searching for gold. Jones purchased claims near South Pass and the Oregon Trail. He would often check his claims to make sure his markers were up and to make sure no one else was searching for gold on his claims.

Also in July, a Green River Democrat, Cathy Denman, represented Wyoming at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Denman, is the current Sweetwater County Democratic Party Committeewoman, and was one of 18 Wyoming delegates at the national convention, which took place in Philadelphia.

Also in July, local fly fishing guide and tying specialist, Dan Parson showed how tying a fly is a type of art. Parson could take foam, feathers, strings, fuzz and spools of various colors of thread and transform them into bait fish can't wait to eat. The key, he said, is to make it look like the real thing.

In August, Golden Hour Senior Center baker Janice Castillon was busy making her famous homemade cinnamon rolls and other goodies for the center's bake sale booth, which was located at Green River's Farmer's Market.

In September, local geocache enthusiast Ellis Nelson, explained geocaching, which is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game, is something the whole family can do together. He said once a person starts geocaching it's hard to stop. He said in Green River alone there are about 200 caches hidden and Rock Springs has about 300.

Also in September, Dan Parson, Green River Speech and Debate coach and Wyoming High School Forensics Association president, was inducted in the the Wyoming Speech and Debate Coaches Hall of Fame. This is the highest honor any Wyoming speech coach can obtain.

In October, the GRHS Theater Department put on the award-winning play "Eat (It's not about food) by Linda Daughtery. This award-winning play brings to light how eating disorders and body image program can become a major problem for people, especially high-school students.

Also in October, Harrison Elementary School students were making sure families who attend their school who need food will receive it. The school has been implementing the Backpack Program. The idea is that the children who need food over the weekends go home on Friday after school with a backpack full of food. Since the backpacks could only hold so much food, the food is now delivered to a family's home in a box.

In November, Green River resident Carmen (Trujillo) Tune received a newspaper clipping from her brother, which brought back memories of how she and her brother Pat Trujillo survived polio, while her other brother Benny, died. She feels fortunate to have survived polio without any apparent post polio effects.

Also in November, more than 15,000 cards were signed and ready to be sent to soldiers serving overseas.

To end the 2016 year, these cards were given to local VFW Post 2321 to ship out with the 177 care packages they prepared and mailed to soldiers before Christmas.


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