From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 6 - May 9, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Belveal deposits $1,000
$50 of which came from Johnston
by Cat Urbigkit

Belveal deposits $1,000,

William Belveal submitted his $1,000 certified check to the Sublette County Commission Tuesday, which begins the process of having the commission evaluate the extension of the countyís jurisdiction of the New Fork/Willow Creek Road through John Blattís private land.

The road already exists in this location, but is not a county road and Blatt has notified the Bridger-Teton National Forest that he plans to prohibit public access through his land at the end of the year. The road is currently used by the public, with Blattís permission, to access the Willow Creek Guard Station area of the national forest.

Fifty dollars of the $1,000 was donated by Commissioner Gordon Johnston and his wife Cheryl, according to a list provided to the commission by Belveal.

Belveal told the commission Tuesday that the $1,000 was raised through donations and pledges from about 70 people: "All donated by the public, concerned citizens, and taxpayers."

Belveal said according to his calculations, the county would take about 6.9 acres of Blattís land for the road.

When Belveal submitted his road extension petition two weeks ago, Commissioners Bill Cramer and Betty Fear voted to require a $1,000 deposit before the commission would send a road viewer to assess the situation. The county will now contact Brad Clingman of Albany County to conduct the road review. Once the commission receives its written report, it will publish public meeting notices for three weeks. After hearing public testimony on the issue, the commission will issue its decision.

But Grant Beck came to speak with the commission Tuesday, stating that although he doesnít know Blatt, the issue bothers him.

"The Forest Service has had 40 years ... to do something about this road," Beck said. "I donít think itís the countyís business at all. I think itís the Forest Service."

As for the public criticism of Blatt, "I think itís a hell of a poor deal to condemn somebody because heís successful."

"I donít believe a taxpayer in the county ought to be called a Ďs-of-a-beeí in the newspaper," Beck added, referring to a comment made by Johnston and quoted in the Examiner two weeks ago. That sentence was this: Johnston said he has received two phone calls in opposition to his position supporting making the road through Blattís land a county road, but the majority of the people he meets on the street "say, basically, ĎYouíre doing the right thing, donít let that son of a bitch get away with it (Blatt closing off access),í " Johnston said.

Tuesday Johnston said the Examiner had quoted him correctly, that it wasnít Johnston who was calling Blatt names, but people on the street. Beck said regardless, "I donít think he ought to be condemned for it."

Allen Davis also spoke out on the issue, saying that he agreed with Beck in that the Forest Service should have taken responsibility for resolving the problem. But Davis said since that didnít appear to be happening, the county commission has an "obligation to try to protect an access to the forest wherever they can."

Davis said Blatt should be compensated for his land loss, but providing access through ranch lands to public land "should be a priority of our county commission."

When asked by Belveal if the commissioners would like to see the list of contributors to the $1,000, Johnston said, "Iíd like to see whoís on that list besides me."

According to the information Belveal provided to the commission, a $100 contribution was provided by James and Jaqualine Barnhart.

Contributions of $50 were provided by Gordon and Cheryl Johnston; William and Lucille Belveal; Clark Dyess; Allen and Cathy Davis and two anonymous donors.

Twenty-five dollar contributions were received from Judy Peternell, Carl Peternell and James and Treva Hutchinson.

Twenty dollar contributions were received from John Kauchich; anonymous; Kathy Rebescher; Marilynn and Dennis Sheldon; Bill and Susan Wadsworth; Carolyn Petrie; David Petrie Jr.; Mark Myers; and Mark and Colleen Weber.

Fifteen-dollar contributions were received from both Paul and Bryan Kauchich.

Barry, Rodney, Clay, Royce and Robbie Goldman each kicked in $10, as did Barty Skinner; Paul Bochmann; Floy Bochmann; John Majhanovich; Tiffany Searle; Dorothy Ecord; Fred and Rose Sanchez and Tom Brannan.

Susan Pape contributed $5, as did JoLynn Morgando, Barry Heikes and an anonymous donor. A two-dollar contribution came from 12-year-old Phil Belveal Jr.

One dollar contributions came from: Dave and Kim Taucher; anonymous; Jessica Belveal; Steve Licking; Norma Licking; Mike Aldrich; Alison Aldrich; Jeff Tuttle; James Tuttle; Janice Tuttle; Amy Tuttle; Sunny Thomas; Casey Thomas; Cole Thomas; Lee Thomas; Tory Thomas; Mickel Moser; Cathy Moser; and Jack Brown.

Irv Lozier and Edna Hicks have contributed as well, according to Belveal, but the amount of these contributions is not known.

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