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News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

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Tuesday notes

Feb 5, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Here comes the sun

This week -- the first full week of February -- is when winter begins to look a bit less like winter and a bit more like spring.

The sun finally is up before 7:30 a.m. and finally sets after 5:30 p.m. There is a certain quality to the light in both the morning and the afternoon that hints at the new season.

Take notice this week and see if you agree.

Happy hunters

Friday brought a very nice conclusion to this year's hunt for the Wild West Winter Carnival Medallion. The members of the extended Avery/Saltsgaver family who made searching for the medallion a fun family affair clearly had a ball looking for the valuable disk -- a pleasure enhanced, no doubt, by the $500 prize they got when they showed up with the medallion late Friday.

From the newspaper's point of view, this was one of the better WWWC hunts in recent years because it lasted until the ninth of 10 possible clues. That doesn't happen often, and it added to a feeling of excitement and anticipation.

Finally, all anyone has to do to appreciate the enjoyment this simple event can bring is look at the face of 5-year-old Hunter Saltsgaver on the front page of Sunday's Ranger as he clutches the medallion in his small hands. It is priceless and wonderful.

Ice artistry

Speaking of the winter carnival, Monday wasn't the best day to be an ice sculpture created during the carnival's annual carving contest.The breezy, mild afternoon had all of Saturday's frozen masterpieces dripping.

But most of them held their form pretty well against the meteorological onslaught, so there is still an opportunity to enjoy them.

This was a good year for the contest, with a large number of contestants and some first-rate results. If you haven't seen them, take the three block stroll on the shady side of the street in downtown Riverton from Fifth East to Third East streets and enjoy these temporary works of art.

No cops required

We are happy to put the brakes on earlier reports from Cheyenne that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill was going to be escorted from her office at the Wyoming Department of Education by a squad of police officers following the passage of Senate File 104, which removed most of her powers of office.

The police escort did not happen, nor was it specified in the final version of the bill.

There is enough controversy attached to this law -- which we and many others in Wyoming see as a gross and unnecessary move against a popularly elected state official who has done nothing wrong other than ruffle feathers -- without adding fuel to the fire through this police escort angle. It was overstated and did not come to pass.

As the superintendent herself put it, some officers did come to the building where the WDE office is located, but they made no attempt to remover her from her suite -- and never would have had to do so because Hill did not plan to resist the vacate order.

This week, however, the law will face plenty of resistance, beginning with a court action intended to impose an injunction on further action. A full-blown lawsuit is likely to follow. Police escort or no police escort, this issue is going to be with us in Wyoming for some time to come.

Five in the 500

On the day of President Obama's second inauguration, we began a new investment experiment that echoes the "Thou in the Dow" exercise that readers said they enjoyed.

Imagine if you had $500 to invest, and you put it all in an index fund based solely on the rise and fall of the S&P 500 index, which many market professionals rate as the truest barometer of the economy as reflected in the stock market.

The imaginary $500 grew nicely in the days immediately following the inauguration, but the S&P 500 took a hit Monday, falling 1.15 percent, which is a substantial one-day change for any stock fund.

As of Tuesday morning, our fictional $500 would have been worth $504.29.

The black birds of Baltimore

This year's Super Bowl turned out to be one of the very good games in a pro football championship history that often has produced lopsided routs.

Beyond the excitement of the competition itself, Sunday's game always will be remembered for the 35-minute power failure in the third quarter that clearly appeared to change the momentum of the game away from Baltimore and toward San Francisco -- just not enough for the Niners to win. Ravens 34, 49ers 31.

As for a certain editorial writer's prediction of San Francisco 30, Baltimore 20 ... well, at least we were close on the Niners' score.

Here's to a good week.

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