News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
May 27, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck
The offices of The Ranger and Ranger Printers were closed Monday for Memorial Day, and your daily newspaper staff is appreciative of the day off. We hadn't had one since New Year's Day (both Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day are work days for us), so it's a long haul from Jan 1. to Memorial Day.
Our next scheduled holiday is Friday, July 4 -- which, unlike Memorial Day, actually is an interruption in our regular publication schedule.
Memorial Day 2014 might have been earlier on the calendar than usual, but the weather in the Wind River Basin couldn't have been better. Monday was how we expect Memorial Day to be -- and how it hasn't been several times in recent years. Memorably, we had snow a couple of years back, canceling ceremonies at Mountain View Cemetery. There was no hint of such problems this year, when the ruffling flags never looked better against the perfect sky. When May does it right, there's no better month to live in Wyoming.
The apparent end of winter weather this week has a touch of worry to it. We now appear headed for exactly the kind of conditions that concern flood forecasters the most -- several consecutive days of temperatures in the 80s at lower elevations, meaning temperatures in the 60s up high and the likelihood of snowmelt 24 hours a day.
Put another way, if widespread flooding is going to happen along the Wind River near Riverton, then this is the week it could begin. We can take some reassurance from experts who predicted last week that the worst of this year's flood fears wouldn't bear out.
We hope readers noticed the big Student of the Year page in Sunday's edition. We changed our presentation this year, straying from the single group picture and caption in favor of a small feature story on each recipient that paints a fuller picture of who these students are and why they earned the honor from their schools.
We plan a bit more comment on these outstanding kids in the days ahead. Meanwhile, congratulations to the 2014 Ranger Students of the Year and to the school coordinators and supporting advertisers who continue to make the program succeed.
Very fond farewell
The announcement that Riverton High School boys soccer coach Erly Cornejo is leaving both his coaching position and Riverton is unwelcome to fans of the team and the man.
Cornejo was an unconventional choice seven years ago, but the risk RHS took paid off well for the program and the community. Now he has a chance to coach at the collegiate level, and he it taking it. We're sorry to see him go but wish him success.
Speaking somewhat selfishly, we note here and now that Cornejo ranks at or near the top of the list of cooperative and accessible coaches when it comes to working with the local newspaper. We say "somewhat selfishly" because working at a paper that covers local sports is about more than just our sports page. It provides positive attention for young people in the community and helps the public understand how its tax dollars are being used for the benefit of everyone.
Cornejo made that easy for us, and we appreciate it. Staff writer Craig Blumenshine noted that Cornejo was the youngest head coach in RHS history in any sport. He ranks among the best in school history as well.
It seems to defy all probability and logic that another major traffic accident would have occurred at the notorious Honor Farm Road intersection, but that's exactly what happened Saturday.
In recent years, many steps have been taken to reduce the likelihood of an accident there. While no one can be sure, these measures may well have prevented even more accidents. What we do know is that the intersection continues to be a more-frequent site for collisions than anyone would like, and Saturday's wreck added to a most unpleasant data base.
What other steps are possible? The two mentioned most frequently are a full-blown red-yellow-green traffic light and a lower speed limit. Rest assured, both have been considered by the powers that be, and both will continue to be on the table as analysis of this curiously hazardous piece of roadway continues.
Above all, no amount of engineering, signage, lighting and signaling can do as much to ensure safer driving than each of us when we are behind the wheel of a vehicle. When you approach the intersection, please -- please -- do so at the highest level of awareness possible.
Here's to a good week.