Tuesday notes

Dec 31, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Our big year-ender

It's New Year's Eve, the last day of 2013, and our last newspaper of the year. Elsewhere you'll find our ranking of the top news stories of 2013 in Fremont County, as voted by The Ranger news staff. We had 11 voters this year, representing a good diversity of opinion.

Check out our list, then ask yourselves a question. What was your top story of the year?

Naturally, there probably is a big difference between what a news staff ranks as the top news of the year in a public sense and what an individual would pick for his life or his family's.

Sometimes, though, the public and the private match up. For example, our No. 1 news story of the year very likely is Gerald Uden's personal No. 1 as well.

Even if your private top 10 and our public one don't have much in common, this is a fun time (usually) to assess the year gone by. That's what today's edition is doing.

The news community

We also present our annual chronology of the year ending today. We do it every year, and have done so for decades. It has proved to be a useful tool many times over for anyone needing a look back --both for our news staff and individual readers who come to the office with a question about what happened, and when. Electronic archiving is helpful these days, but when you need to find out about that certain something in 1967, The Ranger's year-in-review edition is a very good starting place for local research. Many times, it's the only starting place.

So we'll roll out the days, the weeks and the months in one big package today. A glance through it shows again what a lively, diverse and unpredictable news community Fremont County is.

Five in the 500

The end of the year isn't the end of our 12-month investment exercise called "Five in the $500," but it comes pretty close. We'll carry it on into the third week of January before marking a full year since we first imagined investing $500 into a fund based solely on whether the Standard & Poors 500 Index rises or falls each day. We picked the date of President Barack Obama's second inauguration as the starting point.

A headline on one of today's wire service stories puts it pretty simply: "S&P 500 set for best year in 16."

Here's another simple way to put it: Had you invested $500 in an S&P 500 index fund Jan. 21 and done nothing else, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $667.66


The Ranger won't publish Wednesday, Jan. 1, but we did publish 256 times in 2013, plus 52 weeks of EXTRA! and a dozen other special editions.

Our press crew also ran 104 editions of the Lander Journal, 52 of the Wind River News, 52 Shoshoni Pioneers, 52 Dubois Frontiers, 52 Thermopolis Independent-Records, 52 Advertisers --all affiliated with The Ranger --and at least 20 other one-time publications from other customers that kept our big Goss Community press humming almost every day of the year.

We are, among other things, an industrial manufacturer. We make something.

The Ranger has been around for 60 years under that name, 64 years under local family ownership, and for 107 years through our predecessors back to the beginning of Riverton.

Over that time, uncountable business, personnel, equipment, facilities and newsgathering challenges have been met, along with many personal ones.

Through it all, we've never missed a scheduled day of publication.

We are one of nine daily newspapers in Wyoming, and our Sunday edition has the third-largest paid circulation in Wyoming, trailing only the much bigger cities of Casper and Cheyenne. We do it with a staff about one-third the size of one of those operations, one-fourth the size of the other.

We are a significant private employer in Fremont County, with more than 50 staffers on the payroll, along with dozens more newspaper carriers. We take pride and enjoyment in that, just as we always have.

We are the community's newspaper of record, and we have compiled the first draft of local history for more than a century. Some days we do a better job than others. We are not perfect, but we are unique, we try hard, and we know that what we do is important.

And we have had a good year. For that we thank our readers and our advertisers.

Now the calendar is about to change, and we look to 2014 well-equipped with experience, ideas, energy and optimism.

We hope you do as well.

Happy New Year.

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