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Jan 21, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

Winter's soft hand

January is going pretty easy on us, winter-wise. True, New Year's week brought the coldest piece of weather in a couple of years to the Wind River Basin, but that didn't last long. Since then, there hasn't been much to complain about. Even the big snowfall that arrived around the first has dissipated, thanks mainly to the blow-dryer effect of last week's windy weather.

Now we're in the final third of January, and the forecasts tell us that January 2014 probably will go down as considerably warmer than average. That's quite a switch from the way things looked when the New Year's bells were ringing.

Flag-waving Monday

Thanks to the joined forces of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion for organizing and implementing the Avenue of Flags on Monday. The occasion was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Combined with the winter-season decorations that are still up through the Wild West Winter Carnival, downtown Riverton looked especially sharp Monday.

Find the Medallion

Speaking of Wild West Winter Carnival, The Ranger's contribution to it begins today in the form of the annual WWWC Medallion Treasure Hunt. The bronze medallion is hidden somewhere out there -- in a public place, with no climbing, crawling, digging, lifting or anything else required besides keeping a sharp eye.

Read more about the medallion hunt on today's front page, and see the first of 10 possible clues on the back page. If you find the medallion, you'll win $500, just in time for a Super Bowl party.

One more thing about the medallion hunt. We understand the curiosity among readers, and we're thankful for it. But you won't accomplish anything by calling our Ranger telephone number and asking questions such as "Has the medallion been found?" or "Can you read yesterday's clue to me?" or our annual favorite "Can you tell me where the medallion is?"

The only answers you'll get to those questions is "I don't know," "no," and "no."

Read the clues and good luck.

Enzi's war chest

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi didn't really have to do a ton of election fundraising in his earlier campaigns. He's been elected comfortably for all three of his terms and only had one tough primary election battle back in 1996.

This year was different, or at least it started out that way. When Liz Cheney announced almost a year and a half before the election that she would challenge Enzi, he had to start raising money quickly in anticipation of a long, expensive primary campaign.

It worked, and the three-term senator swept in nearly $2 million for the contest against Cheney.

Then she quit, and now Enzi has a mountain of money he doesn't really have much use for in terms of a political campaign. The Wyoming Democratic Party says it will field a credible candidate for the general election (no names yet), but unless that opponent is Dave Freudenthal, Mike Sullivan or the ghost of Ed Herschler, Enzi will breeze to a fourth term in November.

It won't take $1.8 million to accomplish that. But if the good senator has a hankering to stimulate the local economy, might we suggest a series of full-page newspaper ads, with color?

On the rise

Riverton High School's basketball teams are enjoying a nice start to the new year. Both are playing much better than they were when the season started (that's the idea), with several nice victories since the calendar turned.

For the Wolverine girls, this is unfamiliar territory. Riverton has won four games in a row. In very recent memory, it took three seasons -- combined -- for the team to win that many games. Now they are on a hot streak that hasn't been seen in a decade.

It's been about that long since the RHS girls have 1) had a winning season and 2) made the state tournament. Both are distinct possibilities this season. Good luck, girls. Your community is behind you.

'We ain't what we was'

Martin Luther King Jr., whose legacy was honored in Monday's national holiday, is best known for his "I have a dream" speech in 1963 and his "I have seen the promised land" remarks on the evening of his assassination in 1968. But on Monday, national news reports told of a new King recording from 1963, a few months before his now-legendary speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Noting that progress in civil rights and race relations had been made in the preceding months, King urged his audience not to be complacent, saying there was still a long way to go, then repeated remarks attributed to a slave preacher from a hundred years before:

"Lord, we ain't what we want to be; we ain't what we ought to be; we ain't what we gonna be; but thank God we ain't what we was."

Here's to a good week.

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