Chuck Yardas recognized for nearly six decades of volunteer service to Lander by City Council Tuesday night

Chuck Yardas Sr., left, was recognized by Parks and Recreation Director Sara Felix and the City Council Tuesday night for his nearly six decades of service to Lander. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor,

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Lander City Council Tuesday night acknowledged the long-time volunteerism of a city commission member at its regular second Tuesday meeting. Chuck Yardas Sr. was recognized for his more than 55 years of service to the community’s parklands and recreational pursuits.

Parks and Recreation Director Sara Felix noted that Yardas had been involved with the city’s parks since before 1956, the earliest official minutes she could find of the then all-volunteer and non-city Parks Board. “Volunteers did all the work then, it was a huge undertaking for them, but they cared for the parks and raised all the funds,” she said. “When the Parks and Recreation Department came under the city’s jurisdiction in 1978, the volunteer board became a city commission under the city council and a separate Lander Recreation District was formed, and Chuck was a member of both.”

Felix said that as far as she could determine, Yardas rarely missed a meeting over that 55+ year span. She also noted that in addition to managing the city parks, “back then the board oversaw the operation of the Sinks Canyon Ski Area, plus the ice rink in the winter and the outdoor swimming pool in the summer and all of the programs.” Felix said that Yardas received a plaque back in 1962 thanking him for his service, “but I think it is time to recognize him again.”

Yardas received two gifts from the city, an attractive desk model combination clock and plaque and, noting that he always looked forward to a bag of popcorn at the commission meetings, Felix presented him with a “Free popcorn for life” certificate from the department’s popcorn machine.

The council and audience gave Yardas an extended standing ovation as he was presented the honors. Present for the ceremony was former Parks and Recreation Director Don Reynolds and members of Yardas’ family.

Discussion items

Most of the time at Tuesday’s meeting was spent on the Oral Comments section of the agenda.

During the Mayor and Council’s personal privilege, Councilor John Boulette suggested creation of an ordinance that would require the city to notify all city residents within 300 feet of a planned project. “We should know when residents are impacted by our actions and be proactive about it and not just reactive,” Boulette said. His comments came not only in reference to one item that was pulled from Tuesday’s agenda, but also something he personally experienced, he said. “This is not just about the Maverick Motel and Bar, but I was shocked to discover that the alley behind the new Gannett Peak Elementary School construction site had been blocked off,” he said.

Two residents had petitioned the city to talk about the council’s approval of allowing the Maverick Motel a serving area along the sidewalk on Eighth Street. “They said they didn’t know anything about it, even though it was publicized in the media,” Boulette said. “It’s just a matter of letting people know when we’re going to do something that might impact them.”

Mayor Mick Wolfe did not disagree with Boulette’s idea, but he said city residents also have a responsibility to know what’s going on in their neighborhood. “When you buy a home in a commercial zone next to a bar and then complain of the noise, well, people need to do their own due diligence,” he said. The mayor said the complaint about the new serving area would be taken up at it’s next regular meeting.

Lander Downtown Merchants Association's Tammy Olsen, left at podium, addressed the council Tuesday.

City Treasurer Charri Lara read into the record the preliminary city budget. The budget includes General Fund $4.795 million; Enterprise Fund $2.821 million; Homeland Security $15,000; Safe Routes to School $200,000; Airport Special Revenue $1,705 million; Parks and Recreation Special Projects $108,000; Fremont County Association of Governments Project $39,000; Water line replacement $6.136 million; Lagoon upgrade $1.5 million and Lander Senior Endowment $55,000.

Lander Golf Course Board member Dave Moody presented a report to the council on activities at the golf course, including the addition of a new course superintendent and a new golf pro there, and numerous improvements made at the city’s 18-hole course since last  year.

The Lander Downtown Merchants Association (LDMA), represented by Tammy Olsen of Chisolm’s Jewelry, requested city funding in the amount of $1,500 to help with start up costs for the Association’s planned downtown street event the Saturday before the 4th of July. “We’re proposing to close Main between 2nd and 4th that day,” she said. Olsen said the LDMA had reserved several “bouncy” houses, a climbing wall, and had obtained the local band Fluffy Buffalo to entertain at the event. “It will be a great family event for the whole town of Lander, but we need some funds to get started.” The request was taken under advisement.

Proclamations for National Kids to Parks Day and for the 10th annual Ride to Silence were also read.

Action Items

The council adopted, on third reading, Ordinance 1170 putting into force the latest version of the National Electrical Code, and they approved on second reading, with minimal discussion, Ordinance 1171 pertaining to the riding of bicycles, scooters and skateboards on sidewalks. Councilor Buddy Spriggs had a question about defining what a scooter was, stating that he didn’t want people with disabilities who use battery operated mobility devices, also called scooters, to be prohibited from the sidewalks. The ordinance, however, does reference State Statutes, which contain the definitions Spriggs was seeking. Satisfied, the council voted and moved on.

Other items approved included:

• Authorization for the mayor to sign a project agreement with the Wyoming Water Development Commission,

• Authorization for the mayor to sign a SubGrantee Award Agreement for the proposed Lander Center for the Arts,

• Approval of a malt beverage permit for the Lander Brewfest on June 8-9 sponsored by the Lander Area Chamber of Commerce,

• Approval of a wage increases for five city employees, including a two step boost for the City Clerk, a three step increase for the Community Resource Coordinator, a two step increase for the Water Treatment Plant Supervisor, and one step increases for a Water Meter Technician and the Cemetery Sexton.

• Authorization of an audit agreement with McKee, Marburger & Fagnant, P.C. of Lander,

• Approval of a lease agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for an equipment location at Hunt Field Airport, and

• Approval of Resolution 1000, adopting the Fremont  County/Municipal Mulit-Hazard Mitigation Action Plan.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:39 p.m.