The News Editorial: Facts and opinions on the ambulance station
September 1, 2022
Monday afternoon I listened to a nearly hour-long hearing regarding the proposed ambulance station at 603 North Road 11.
The hearing was for the sole purpose of the judge listening to arguments regarding the motion to dismiss the petition for review of administrative action filed. What does that mean? Richard Kroger, a resident at 609 North Road 11 has been vocal about his opposition to the proposed ambulance station since the purchase agreement was first reported in May. Following a ruling by the Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission (BAPC) to grant a special exemption, Kroger filed the petition for review and Washakie County, who sought the exemption, filed a motion to dismiss, which brought all parties into the Fifth Judicial District Court courtroom at the Washakie County courthouse on Monday.
In arguing for the motion, Washakie County Attorney John Worrall stated for the most part it should be granted because Kroger did not follow proper procedure in filing the petition.
Kroger has opted not to seek assistance from an attorney in the process, but as Worrall argued, is still bound by the procedures outlined in state statute.
Regardless of opinions on where an ambulance station should be in Washakie County there are some, that I feel, are undisputed facts about the ambulance service.
•Despite not being legally defined as such, ambulances are an essential service, especially in rural areas and small communities where public transportation is not readily available. There are people who live alone who if injured or in need of medical assistance would be unable to drive to the hospital. There are people who do not drive or do not have cars. There are couples who if one is injured the other may be unable to carry the person to the vehicle to drive them to the hospital.
Ambulances are necessary.
•While I give kudos to the many volunteer emergency medical technicians who have served our community over many years, I believe having the advanced level of service we have with Cody Regional Health is beneficial and better for our community. Having a higher level of care means you need to pay for it in some fashion.
I believe Worland and Washakie County deserve this level of service and should not consider going back.
•Finding volunteers of any kind, but especially in areas that take considerable training at personal financial cost are getting harder and harder to find.
•With an advanced level of service and a paid service, an ambulance station, no matter the location, is needed. It is important that the ambulance crews can be housed in the same area as the ambulances and equipment. This is not occurring at the present time.
•Here at the newspaper office, our staff occasionally hears the ambulance siren during the day as we are just a half block away (when they are able to keep an ambulance at their rental home) and the calls do not come often. We may not have the traffic on our block as North Road 11 does but I have heard no complaints from anyone in the area about the ambulance or the crews.
Now, a few of my own opinions. I understand Mr. Kroger being upset that his neighborhood may change if the station moves forward on North Road 11. I don’t know whether property value will change or not. While he spoke with a broker from Teton County, I spoke to one broker and one associate broker from Worland, and two appraisers from outside of Worland who all said without doing a full market analysis it is impossible to know for certain.
Regarding concern on response times, living outside of the city limits if I need an ambulance at home, it will not matter if the station is on the east or west side of the community.
And, while I appreciate Mr. Kroger’s map of the population that does not mean all the calls are on the west side of the city. In fact one week there were at least two calls on North Road 11.
At the June 6 BAPC hearing, the ambulance staff said response time would likely be improved since crews would be stationed where the ambulance would be and they would not have to go to the station and get the ambulance as they do now.
And one final thought, Mr. Kroger said Cody Regional Health emergency services director Phillip Franklin said at the BAPC hearing that they did not want to be somewhere they were not wanted. He noted this to the judge as an argument against having the station on North Road 11.
My hope is that Cody Regional Health does not feel so unwanted in this community that they fail to renew their contract with the county in a year. I believe if given the chance the ambulance crews can be good neighbors no matter where they are stationed, if given the chance.
I believe they have been good for Worland and Washakie County and I hope they are here to serve our residents for a long time.
Happy Birthday Dee
On a different note we would be remiss if we did not wish Dolores “Dee” Arps a happy 105th birthday on Tuesday, Sept. 6
In an interview last year prior to her 104th birthday she passed along some wisdom including, “I learned the hard way you didn’t buy anything you didn’t need and you didn’t spend anything that you couldn’t afford.”
She attributes her long life to hard work and loving life.