Jan 2, 2014 - By Steven R. PeckMuch of it will come out of nowhere
Here is the first edition of The Ranger of 2014. With it comes an obvious question, a fascinating question, a tantalizing question -- and an unanswerable one: What will be the big news of the new year?
Will it be the continuation of something from our 2013 top 10 list? Possibly. State superintendent Cindy Hill's battle with the Wyoming Legislature is going to come to a head this year, if for no other reason than her announced intention to run for governor. Air service concerns at Riverton Regional Airport are not likely to go away. Continuing challenges and outright problems in several departments of Fremont County government must be addressed, flavored, no doubt, by a 2014 election that will feature a couple of open county commission seats and races for sheriff and other county elected officials (attorney, treasurer, assessor, etc).
All Fremont County will watch with growing interest as the Wind River Job Corps Center takes shape. Soon we'll publish an interesting aerial photo of the Job Corps site. The view from above shows just how big this project is. Ditto the new CWC Health and Science Center, whose full potential will begin to be realized in 2014.
No one knows yet what the effect will be of the Environmental Protection Agency ruling that went beyond the issue of air quality monitoring when it declared that Riverton is part of the Wind River Indian Reservation. We do know that it will be a news generator all year.
As always, complications in land management, agriculture, industry and residential life are bound to be tied to our demanding weather. Will drought return? Will we have flooding again? Will there be winter-weather emergencies or a big wildfire season? At least one of these things is a good bet for 2014.
In reviewing the top 10 for 2013, much of the list couldn't have been predicted specifically. The county government issues were accumulating gradually, but their full weight didn't become obvious until year-in-review time. We knew the EPA was considering the tribal request but not that it would try to extend its reach so far beyond its normal mission.
We hoped air service wouldn't become such a big news item in 2013. Job Corps had been simmering for years before the 2013 breakthrough. We had some inklings that these things would be significant.
But some stories come out of nowhere, illustrated perfectly by the Gerald Uden murder confession that became our top story of the year. Other news developments are sure to have large and more lasting impact on the lives of Fremont County citizens, but as a one-timer, the Uden case was unbeatable. And nobody saw it coming.
The new year has arrived. We can guess at what's coming in the news, but only one prediction is certain: There will be some news blockbusters in 2014. Bank on it.
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