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Tuesday notes

Jul 31, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

New department head

The Ranger welcomes an important new staff member today. Jim Hart takes the reins as our director of advertising.

Most recently from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Jim has previous newspaper experience in Illinois and Kansas. He's an Illinois native who, once upon a time, was a member of the Professional Bowlers Association.

He'll be running the day-to-day operations of The Ranger's advertising department, which also involves several affiliated publications, the Lander Journal, Wind River News, EXTRA! and the Advertiser.

We're pleased to have a man of Jim's knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with us, and we urge Ranger readers to make him feel welcome in the community.

Fair week

The Fremont County Fair is running full speed ahead through this weekend at the county fairgrounds in south Riverton. Our newspaper staff had fun judging the ice cream contest Saturday a few hours before the big fair parade in downtown Riverton.

The parade itself was big and interesting, which is just what it ought be. We were happy to have "Daily," our walking newspaper mascot, in the parade again. Thanks this year to Dallin Cooper, an incoming Riverton High School senior who did a heck of a job meeting and greeting parade-goers along the 15-block parade route.

People love to hug Daily, and if the foam rubber tube had ribs, they would be aching after all the love.

Chop chop

If you like helicopters, then you approve of the first few days of the Fremont County Fair. We don't remember any previous parade entry like the air ambulance helicopter that buzzed Main Street at low altitude near the end of Saturday's procession. It brought some added excitement to the parade, and spectators on the ground loved it.

Then, on Monday, a big military helicopter thundered in for a fair-related exhibit at Central Wyoming College. The chopper's crew couldn't have been more agreeable, letting kids in the crowd climb all over the aircraft. Come to think of it, the Black Hawk helicopter is rated for far tougher stuff than a gang of enthusiastic kids. Good fun.

Thou in the Dow

This is the last full week of our yearlong "Thou in the Dow" experiment. When the U.S. stock market hit the skids in August following the downgrading of the nation's credit rating, we imagined an investment of $1,000 in a stock fund tied to the daily rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

At the moment, that investment is near its highest point of the year. Had you invested a thousand bucks in the Dow on Aug. 7, 2011, it would have grown to $1,154.83 as of Tuesday.

The London games

Movie director Danny Boyle produced a striking, memorable opening ceremony for the 2012 summer Olympics in London. The spoof involving Queen Elizabeth II in a scene with James Bond and then appearing to parachute into the stadium in her pink dress and holding her purse was uncharacteristically good-humored for the Olympics, which usually are treated as pretty serious stuff.

An odd note, however, involved bringing the aged, doddering Muhammad Ali out for the torch ceremony. It went entirely against the all-British theme of the ceremonies in a way that seemed out of place.

The former heavyweight champ's deeply moving appearance as the torch lighter for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta will stand forever in the memory of all who saw it. This encore seemed awkward and unnecessary -- and it was tough to see The Greatest in such bad condition.

For the gold

Speaking of the Olympics, followers of Riverton Olympian Brett Newlin got just the news they were hoping for early on. His eight-man boat qualified easily for the finals in Olympic rowing in London.

Better yet, the U.S. eight had an easier heat than its chief medal rivals did, meaning the Americans could be just a tad fresher for the big race Wednesday.

He didn't have to do it, but Brett was very quick and gracious in responding to Ranger requests for comments after the preliminary race Saturday night. Now he'll go for the gold, with a nation behind him on every pull of the oar.

Here's to a good week.

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