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Tuesday notes

Feb 14, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Winter's "worst"

As of Wednesday, the worst of winter will be over. Just ask anyone who has lived in the Riverton Valley for a good long while, especially if it's someone accustomed to a routine of farm chores or other regimented outdoor activity. "The worst of winter," they say, "is over by Feb. 15."

But what about a winter in which we haven't really had the "worst"?

Maybe it's better not to ask. In our case, the worst of winter was over around Nov. 15, not Feb. 15. As we march toward March, the month that brings spring, there's nothing remotely like a bitterly cold day expected over the next week or two, if the forecasters are to be trusted.

State of the State

Gov. Matt Mead delivered his State of the State address Monday, signaling the beginning of the budget session of the Wyoming Legislature.

Hold onto your seats, everyone, and don't leave anything hanging loose. The lawmakers, with the governor's blessing in Monday's speech, are going to be swinging the meat cleavers at every spare dollar they can find.

Wyoming isn't Greece, but we're in for some "austerity measures" of our own.

Thou in the Dow

Among the nagging conditions affecting our hypothetical "Thou in the Dow" investment experiment is the ceaseless uncertainty over whether Greece will move to solve its fiscal uncertainty by passing -- and living with -- so-called austerity measures, which is a nice term for strict, staggeringly deep spending cuts, or simply default on all its international obligations. The story never stops. Virtually every week, it seems that Greece's parliament is facing another "key vote" or "crucial decision." One of these days, something has to stick, doesn't it?

At any rate, each time another "crucial vote" approaches in Greece, the U.S. stock sways to and fro. It ended last week with a loss but posted a decent gain Monday after Greece voted to move forward with the austerity program. Six months and one week after the imaginary investment of a thousand dollars into a fund based on the rise or fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, that investment would be worth $1,122.46, near its high point since the experiment began.

Fire assistance

Members of the Snyder family in Lander lost many possessions last week in a fire at their home on Four Seasons Drive, and they could use some help.

Lander fire official Nick Hudson reports that the Snyders "have been able to round up clothing for the girls in their family but are having trouble with the boys."

Here is what's needed: pants for a 13-year-old boy, size 29-30; size medium shirts; pants size 32-32 and size 32-34 and size 14 husky; men's shirts, size large.

The clothes can be dropped off at the Lander Fire Station at Fourth and Garfield. Please help if you can.

Mitt and Maine

Mitt Romney escaped another embarrassment Saturday when he won the Maine Republican caucuses, narrowly defeating U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

The margin of victory was a few hundred votes, or so we are told at the moment. Romney is hoping there won't be any post-caucus surprises from Maine like the one last month in Iowa, when Romney was declared the winner on caucus night, only to learn weeks later that Rick Santorum actually had won.

Paul, of course, is hoping for just the opposite. The maverick Texas congressman is the only one of the remaining four Republican hopefuls who has not yet won a primary or caucus. Maine might have been his best chance -- and, given, the imprecision of the caucus process, it might still be.

Love stories

It's Valentine's Day, and we are happy to feature the results of some reportorial legwork from staff writer Emily Etheredge.

She has amassed a nice collection of 20 or so stories from residents about how they met the people "who made their hearts skip," to paraphrase the the promotional invitation we published. The exercise has led to some charming, entertaining results, and they proved again the old saw known to every community newsroom worth its salt: Everyone has a story to tell. We're glad to be the amplifier for some of those stories today. A little dose of happy stories about loving couples could do us all some good in the middle of winter (or any time, for that matter).

Thanks to all who agreed to participate with Emily as she gathered the information, and thanks as well to the many advertisers who have offered Valentine's Day messages to their own loved ones. The sentiments are important and welcome.

Happy Valentine's Day, and here's to a good week.

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Legislature, Wyoming