Tuesday notesDec 3, 2013 By Steven R. Peck
Our mild November let us off easy. Early December is turning the tables. Experiencing the sudden turn in the weather at about 1 a.m. reminded us again that for all our power, intelligence and technology, we couldn't stop a winter storm's arrival with all the tools and ingenuity we have, or ever have had.
And, not liking to be the bearer of bad news, it's going to get worse, steadily, through Wednesday.
In the window
We've hung our "Yes, Virginia" Christmas window display this year for the first time in awhile. Walking east from The Advertiser to the corner of Fifth and Main streets, you can see the story of the famous editorial in a New York City newspaper more than 100 years ago in response to a letter from a little girl.
We'll tell more about it in this Friday's "Riding With the Rangers" column. In the meantime, enjoy the display while you're downtown.
Here is one first-hand testimonial to the improvements of the infamous HealthCare.gov website. A Ranger executive logged on Monday morning to consider offers for group health insurance, and the site worked slick as a whistle. That was hardly the case five weeks ago when it was attempted the first time, a site visit which led to the endless appearance of the spinning beachball icon which a certain Ranger news staffer has nicknamed the SWOD, for "spinning wheel of death."
There will still be some problems for some people (it's a website, after all), to say nothing of the political battle surrounding it, but from our end, the HealthCare.gov site gave no problems on Monday.
Find the football
Wouldn't you know the weather would chill to the bone just as we are launching our second annual Find the Football Contest? Snow or shine, it's here.
A specially decorated NFL football is hidden somewhere in Fremont County. We'll publish up to seven clues, starting today, guiding searchers closer and closer to the hiding place. If you find it, you'll get $250 and an original-style Denver Broncos helmet showing the helmet design the team wore in its old American Football League days 50 years ago.
See the first clues today on page 10, and we urge readers to support the advertisers that make Find the Football possible.
Full, not supplemental
In an editorial discussion last week about the state budget, The Ranger made reference to the governor's "supplemental" budget request. The coming 2014 legislative session is the biennial budget session, where the state's two-year budget will be set. The supplemental budget is the term used for the off-year tweaking that happens during odd-numbered legislative years. This was not a significant issue for the purposes of our coverage, but it is an important general distinction in an important process.
The first letter to Santa Claus of the 2013 Christmas season has arrived at The Ranger office. It came before Thanksgiving, as a matter of fact. We have the Christmas mailbox set up in the lobby at 421 E. Main St., so keep them coming.
Wetter and welcome
The drought-free designation bestowed upon Fremont County last week by the National Weather Service is good news, and not surprising given the highly unusual string of snowstorms in September and October. But it doesn't mean a whole lot over the next few months, when there really isn't any demand for water other than household and limited farm and ranch use. Spring will tell the tale -- and things can change quickly. Remember, we had a series of wet spring snowstorms in April, but by summertime we were in full drought mode across most of Fremont County.
Santa? Bring us more snow.
In case anyone plans ahead for editorial reading, December is a month in which several old favorites are repeated as part of our own newspaper holiday tradition. In the coming days, look for our annual Santa letter instructions, our advice for dealing with the holiday blues, comments on the return of the light following the winter solstice, a presidential Christmas proclamation from the past, perhaps the "Yes, Virginia" letter mentioned above, and the annual recollection of our own inspiring Christmas letter to Santa from many years ago that never fails to sparkle on upon reprinting. Finally, we'll use Christmas Eve's editorial again to print lyrics from a favorite Christmas carol. We hope these old favorites can do their part in making spirits bright.
Here's to a good week.
MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Friday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office by 3:30 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.