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News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

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Tuesday notes

Feb 7, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Mild West Winter Carnival

The benign winter sure has made the outdoor side of the Wild West Winter Carnival a lot easier for everyone. Saturday's ice sculptures in downtown Riverton and the fun and games at City Park didn't have to contend with any weather-related concerns at all.

A couple of the ice artworks did topple over the weekend, but witnesses say it happened because of weather and or too-delicate construction, not vandalism. The ice dolphin in front of The Ranger was one of those casualties.

As always, business people, slide the ice over to the base of the Main Street trees once the sculptures are no longer viable. It will keep the sidewalks safer while giving the trees a gradual drink as spring approaches.

Mead, Pavillion and water

Gov. Matt Mead has paid another visit to hear the concerns of Pavillion-area residents worried about contaminated water that the federal government says might be related to natural gas drilling.

This time, however, the governor also heard from residents who said the contamination does not constitute the high-alarm problem portrayed by some residents, elected officials and news media (we think The Ranger has played it pretty straight, by the way).

Reporter Martin Reed sat in on the discussions. Read his report on today's front page.

Your Valentine story

We're still gladly accepting reader submissions for reporter Emily Etheredge's Valentine's Day project on how Ranger readers met and fell in love. We have some in hand, but we could and would use more.

Kindly submit your recollection of how you met the one "who made your heart skip a beat" (about 250 words, please) to "Emily Love," c/o The Ranger, P.O. Box 993 Riverton, WY 82591, or via e-mail to fremontnews@wyoming.com.

We'd like to have them in hand by Feb. 13.

Biggest bowl

Here's a headline NFL football fans wouldn't have been surprised to read in recent years: "Manning wins second Super Bowl."

Chances are, however, most of those fans would have assumed the headline referred to Peyton Manning, the multiple MVP-winning QB of the Indianapolis Colts who has won one Super Bowl, lost another, and generally is grouped among the handful of best quarterbacks in the history of the game.

But it's little brother Eli Manning who is the double Super Bowl champ, not Peyton. Eli's New York Giants downed the New England Patriots (their QB has three Super Bowl rings) Sunday in an entertaining game that produced oddities (the intentional grounding safety, the Giants' running back trying to stop short of the goal line), records (Manning started the game 9-9 passing, and New England's Tom Brady later completed 14 passes in a row), and a worthy champion in the Giants.

And, yes, always ready for full disclosure, we confirm cheerfully that the editorial writer predicted a New England victory.

Lawmakers preparing

The beginning of the Wyoming Legislature is just a week away. We'll work on some legislative previews between now and then.

Overriding this year's budget session is the indication of a sharp downturn in state government revenues over the next two years tied to the decline in natural gas prices.

Yes, much of the U.S. is enjoying a mild winter, but it would be better for our state's economy if it were colder nationwide, so more Wyoming gas was being consumed at a higher price.

Thou in the Dow

Among the encouraging signals on the U.S. economy so far in the new year has been the performance of the stock market, where so many Americans have 401(k) accounts, college saving plans, pension funds and retirement accounts.

It's now been six months since we began our "Thou in the Dow" exercise that imaged a $1,000 investment in the up-or-down performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. We began after a dismal week on the market that cast real doubt on whether it could recover, or how quickly.

In fact, it has done that and more. At Friday's close, the Dow was higher than it was before August's crash, and that $1,000 buy-in today would be worth $1,119.73. If you have other investments that have returned 11.9 percent in the past six months, bully for you.

Here's to a good week.

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