In the category of newspaper housekeeping, this note: The offices of The Ranger, Ranger Printers and The Advertiser will be closedthisMonday, September 4, in observance of Labor Day. No interruption in our normal publication schedule will occur because of the holiday.
We now are on the precipice of September, with autumn due to arrive in less than 30 days. One of our seasonal occasions at the newspaper office is the annual hunting and fall outdoors edition. We finished it up Mondaynight, and the press turned out thousands of copieson Tuesdaymorning. Look for it in Wednesay's paper.
A highlight of the edition is a feature story by Randy Tucker about Ken Metzler. He is a familiar face in Fremont County fire safety training, but half a lifetime ago his job was to be a "government hunter," responsible for thinning out undesirable predators on the landscape.
A versions of that job is getting some extra attention these days thanks to the new movie "Wind River," whose fictional story is set in our part of Wyoming. One of the lead characters has the job of government predator control, and such jobs do exist. Ken Metzler had one of them, and his story makes for fun reading.
We haven't had a searingly hot summer, but this week looks to be a reminder that we are still in August, not October. BothSunday'sandMonday'sweather forecasts included the three-word addendum "areas of smoke" which turned out to be right on the button. Tuesday brought more of the same.
Normally we think of the effects of wildfire smoke in their daytime context, but so far this week there's a striking night time oddity as well. The moon, waxing slowly day by day, has been as orange as a Halloween jack-o'-lantern as it sinks nightlyin the southwestern sky. Have a look if you haven't yet.
More often than not, projections of damage and disruption from a looming natural disaster turn out not to be quite so harsh as predicted. No one complains when that happens.
At other times, however, circumstances exceed the worst expectations. Such is the case in southeastern Texas in the nearby Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Harvey has been an absolute monster.
One FEMA official working in Texas gave a vivid illustration of the affected area. He invited followers of the news to imagine Lake Michigan being plopped down over Houston and the huge surrounding area. That's how invasive the inland water surge and accompanying rain have been. Lake Michigan, in case you're interested, is 300 miles long and 100 miles wide.
So far the rainfall in the affected area has been 40 inches, with unending rain still a certainty for two or three days to come. It's a storm to rival or, in some ways, exceed Hurricane Katrina from 2005 - except that Houston is a city six times larger than New Orleans, which bore Katrina's biggest blows.
Living as we do in a part of America where we marvel at a quarter-inch rainstorm for its intensity and moisture, the concept of 4 feet of rain over the course of just a few days is scarcely imaginable.
We are keeping our ears and eyes open for Fremont County connections to people in the hurricane zone. During the terrible days of Hurricane Katrina more than a decade ago, we were astonished at how many people here had ties to people there. We have a few leads already. If you know of any Fremont County residents with family ties to the hurricane-stricken area, please let us know. Some local news coverage would be highly interesting, and it could do some good.
Helping with Harvey
Speaking of doing some good, citizens from around the nation rally in times of trouble wondering how they might be of assistance to the people whose lives are upended by a natural disaster. In the case of Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross is a reliable and effective source of aid, marshaling money and redistributing it quickly and knowledgeably through many channels at the scene of the disaster. Go online and visit redcross.orgto find out about donations or other assistance. If you simply want to donate $10, it can be done by texting HARVEY to 90999.
Another area of concern coming to light during the storm has been a shortage of diapers. News accounts informed us that tens of thousands of packaged diapers in stores have been destroyed. Imagine your family in such circumstances.
There is an organization called the Texas Diaper Bank which can use all the help it can get right now. Here's the information if you are able to ship a package of diapers and wipes:The Texas Diaper Bank5415 Bandera Road, Suite 504, San Antonio, TX, 78238.
We are a long way from southeast Texas, but modern-day communications and shipping make it easier to help than ever before. Consider lending a hand.
Here's to a good week.