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Every year the Gillette News Record profiles 10 people who have made a difference in the community that year. We publish a special section in the last issue of the year, complete with a short profile and a portrait of each award recipient. This year we added a video component and produced short videos for each person as well. See the entire piece on our website.
Jonni Belden was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for her work in the transition from Pioneer Manor to the new Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.
Karin Ebertz was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for her work starting a PFLAG chapter in Gillette, and for the groups work to help pass a nondiscrimination ordinance with the city of Gillette.
Mark Englert was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for his work expanding Gillette College.
Mark Ma was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for his work creating and growing the Chinese language programs for Campbell County School District.
Paul Phillips was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for his work leading the Campbell County Adult Treatment Court.
Trish Simonson was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for her work in suicide prevention and awareness.
Kelly Stone was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for his work in the addiction recovery community.
Tonya and Dan Stroup
Tonya and Dan Stroup were named two of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for their work running the Shop with a Cop program.
Dylan Wisroth was named one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in 2016 for his work creating the Men of Tomorrow club at Prairie Wind Elementary.
This weekend a friend and I drove up to the Oceti Sakowin camp to join the water protectors working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. I wish we had more time to spend there but we were limited by work schedules. It's hard to want to come back to work when you see the heart and dedication of the people working there, and the importance of working against the pipeline. I met a Oglala Lakota woman who had been at camp for 90 days, this isn't short term.
The first day we mostly spent getting oriented around camp, learning as much as we could and getting acquainted with the expectations for us as guests. We then went up to Mandan, North Dakota, where there was a prayer vigil for those folks who had been arrested and were still in jail.
I met Jerica Meditz while she was cleaning her horse's corral. She was given her horse Shota while at camp, and will be riding him on the front lines. The amount of work that goes into keeping the camps running is incredible. A film maker I met told me "There are no small jobs" and it's true, everyone plays a part in keeping things going.
Saturday morning we walked down to where the Police had blocked off Highway 1806. This was the site of the confrontation between police and water protectors that happened at the end of October. The police had blocked off the highway to keep anyone from getting near the construction site by parking two military style tricks on the road. Those trucks were eventually burned during the confrontation, and still remain on the highway as a barricade, beyond which the police are constantly present.
I'm so thankful I was able to go out lend a small hand to those doing the real work. Hopefully I will be able to go back again. I want to thank everyone I met for talking to me, and allowing me into their space, and especially those who I had the honor of photographing. Mni Wiconi.
Well, the moment we were all waiting for has come and gone. Ever since my initial interview with the Gillette News Record the NHSFR has dominated the conversation. The week long rodeo, billed as the largest in the world with over 1,600 contestants, comes through Gillette twice every six years. Kids from more than 40 states compete over seven days, in events ranging from roughstock riding to rifle and trap shooting. There's even a rodeo queen pageant. The News Record puts out a whole separate 14-page rodeo paper that's entirely dedicated to rodeo coverage for every day that week. I think I worked more than 75 hours that week, and worked two weeks straight. Luckily that stretch ended on my birthday which was a nice way to cap it all off.
Here are some of my favorite images from the week, as always thanks for looking.
Thanks again for looking, Special thanks to Ed Glazar (check out his rodeo take here,) Chris Detrick and Ashley Detrick for all help and the hard work they put in over the rodeo, as well as everyone at the Cam-plex, NHSRA, and the News Record. Check out all our 2016 National High School Finals Rodeo coverage free online at http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/sports/nhsfr/
April was a fun month, we had a lot going on. It started with a large round of layoffs with more than 450 coal miners losing their jobs. Baseball started up, we had the democratic caucus, and the community began to emerge from its winter hibernation. Take a look!