News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Mar 11, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck
Always thinking ahead, the stalwart editorial writer produced the following words Monday afternoon: "Spring doesn't arrive until the end of next week, but lately it's been feeling like the season has changed already."
Check that. As Tuesday morning proves, winter was just taking a long weekend off.
March and April can be very snowy in the Wind River Basin. We found that out last year, and this year might have the same thing in store for us. White Easter, anyone?
Continuing for a moment on the theme of Monday's premature comments, the March 10 high in Riverton is reported as 64, a record-breaker for the "new" weather station near Riverton Regional Airport.
As for the historical record, which dates to 1906 at the old site in the valley below the current airport recording station, the record for March 10 was 70 in 1989. It still stands.
That forward spring
Tuesday's wintry blast aside, no doubt some of the spring-like seasonal sensation is due to the return of daylight saving time over the weekend. In recent years it has taken effect about a month sooner than it used to, and the difference seems especially sudden in the early March morning, when 6:45 a.m. is dark again. Back when the time change used to come in April, sunrise already had advanced enough that the spring forward didn't seem so jarring in the morning.
Anyway, we've got DST now. We'll keep it until November.
Speaking of November, the general election on the fourth day of that month won't have a familiar name on the ballot. Patrick Goggles, for 10 years the representative from Wyoming House District 33, is not seeking a sixth term.
The House representative from that district has been seen as "untouchable" for decades, first when the seat was held by Dr. Harry Tipton of Lander and then, following Tipton's death, by Goggles, an enrolled tribal member elected largely from the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Goggles's announcement that he would step down creates an instant race for a seat that he probably could have kept for as long as he wanted it. As one of the few Democrats to hold a legislative seat in Wyoming, his departure adds an extra measure of interest to this election season.
Could a non-Indian Republican win that seat? Will a strong tribal candidate emerge? Can the Democrats hold the seat? Will reapportionment, combined with the departure of Goggles, change the expectations in the district?
Expect a hot one this year in HD33.
A good development
Progress for the new children's museum in Riverton is a positive development for the community. After years of dreaming, thinking, talking and planning, news that a site has been found for the center that could open this spring is most welcome.
Youth-oriented recreation and entertainment facilities have been tried indoors before in Riverton, without a lot of success. Planners of the new project recognize that, and they have taken a decidedly different approach that focuses on younger kids while emphasizing education-oriented activities rather than rows of video games and pinball machines.
This project's emphasis on younger children makes it distinctive, as do the planned activities and offerings. Above all, what gives it the look of a success story in the making is the list of names involved in the organization at the planning stages. This is an impressive group with a cumulative record of accomplishment. Very good luck to all involved. We'll cover the new children's center with great interest.
We have a state high school basketball champion in Fremont County again. The Wyoming Indian Chiefs took the Class 2-A boys title Saturday in Casper. This makes nine championships for the Chiefs in the past 30 years or so, with several more runner-up finishes as well.
The Chiefs are known for the their light-'em-up style on offense, but it's the defense that often has made the difference through the championship years. This was one of the better defensive teams they've ever had -- and that's saying something,
Not buckled up
How troubling it was to learn last week that both fatalities in the gruesome two-vehicle collision near the summit of Togwotee Pass were not wearing seatbelts. One of them, a small child, was ejected from the vehicle along the roadway. Her grandmother, also beltless, died as well.
If you think that's mere coincidence, think again. Proper passenger restraints save countless lives and prevent serious injures every year, every month, every week and every day. Especially with children, there simply is no excuse, no justification and no defense for zooming down the road without proper restraints in place.
Let last week's horrible accident be a lesson to all of us.
Here's to a good week.