News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
May 8, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck
Did any spring plants get nipped by frost over the weekend? If they avoided it, then it was by the skin of their stems. A month ago a day like Sunday was considered wonderfully mild. Now, though, it is downright chilly, and the plants that were in such a hurry to emerge would be feeling a little nervous if only they had brains. Then again, if they had brains, they wouldn't have started sprouting, greening, leafing and blooming in the middle of April.
Among the oddities of the early growing season forced upon us by Mother Nature is the behavior of the many Chinese elm trees in the area. Some appear to have been browned when their early-emerging leaves got a visit from Jack Frost.
But the "elmists" among us say what we're seeing actually are seed pods that the Chinese elms put on in times of stress, almost as if they know they are in trouble due to the lingering risk of frost now that they have leafed out too early.
From the looks of the Wind River range, there was more snow over the weekend on the mountaintops. That, plus the cooler weather, should bolster the dwindling snowpack a little bit. Dry, extra warm late winter and spring has a led to an earlier irrigation season than most farmers, gardeners and yard tenders are used to, and there are unavoidable worries about water supply.
But the reservoirs are starting the season full, and this is why they were created - to hold water for when we need it.
Au revoir, Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy, the diminutive and glamorously controversial president of France, is finished after one term, ousted by Francois Hollande over the weekend in a decisive election defeat.
Hollande had better be ready to go. Unlike in the U.S, where there is a post-election transition period consuming parts of three months from November to January, the French presidency changes hands just 10 days after the election. Hollande will be in office a week from today.
Sunday morning trivia fans, have you noticed how much harder the weekly "Answer Man" quiz has become? Earlier in the year it featured questions along the lines of "In network television, what do the initials 'NBC' stand for?" Just a few weeks later we're asked to identify the Latin species names of exotic animals or know the history of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.
Close watchers of the feature can guess why. While still identified as "The Answer Man" by Andy Seamans, weekly production of the quiz was taken over by his daughter a few months ago. And the younger quizmaster, Dawn Seamans-Shook, obviously doesn't believe in "gimmes." We all better brush up.
Speaking of noticing the smaller details, our new weather forecast illustrations might have caught your eye. These are the small illustrations in the upper right of each day's front page intended to give an immediate, graphic representation of the next day's weather forecast.
They've changed over the past week or so, the handiwork of Ranger copy editor Jamie Drendel. We like the look of them. Jamie's new weather logos replace the original set, which had been in use since the 1990s. Their creator shall remain nameless, but let's just say Jamie got permission from the top of the masthead to change them - for the better.
Thou in the Dow
One day last week, the imaginary $1,000 invested in an imaginary stock market fund based solely on the rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its highest point yet in the nine months since the experiment began after the Dow had his its post-recession doldrums.
It has retreated a bit since, but just because it's fun to see the numbers, let the record show that the "Thou in the Dow" would have been worth $1,152,68 last Wednesday.
As it is, our typical check-in day each week is Tuesday morning and, as of this particular Tuesday morning, the fund would be worth $1,134.73 (last Friday's toe-stubber of a session erased the whole week's gains).
Students of the Year
This Sunday brings the final installment of the weekly Student of the Week program until September. This one will be the biggie, the full-page ad featuring the 10 Fremont County Students of the Year. We honored them, their family members, their participating schools and our supportive advertisers Monday at the annual Student of the Year luncheon at Central Wyoming College.
This is an advance invitation to pay special attention to Sunday's ad, which completes the 30th year of the rewarding Student of the Year program.
Here's to a good week.