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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 19, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Humming along

The Wyoming Legislature has been efficiency in action this session (although no one who goes through the legislative process probably would put it quite that way). From the outside, however, the lawmakers have been ahead of the game on some big legislative issues, finishing up the supplemental budget and work on the new gasoline tax far more quickly than would have been expected had previous sessions been the standard of comparison.

The biennial general session, which is allotted twice the time given to the off-year budget session, typically is scheduled to run into the first week of March, but there is talk this year that the legislators might complete their work a day or two earlier, perhaps even adjourning while it's still February. Most unusual.

Winter Fair time

We hope readers took note of our preview story on the Wyoming State Winter Fair, along with the advertised schedule of events in Lander.

This is a unique and enjoyable group of festivities with long strong ties to Fremont County. It is a community-based effort to enliven the cold season here, and it offers wholesome, family-oriented activities that complement our way of life.

If you haven't visited the Wyoming State Winter Fair, or if it's been awhile, look over the schedule this week. You'll find something you'll like in late February and early March to make winter seem just a little shorter.

Five in the 500

We're a month into our new investment exercise intended to track what would happen to $500 had it been invested in the so-called "index fund" based entirely on the rise and fall of the Standard & Poors 500 average, which is a cousin to the better-known Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Had that investment taken place on the day of President Obama's second inauguration last month, as of Tuesday morning it would have grown to $508.59, a little less than 2 percent return in a month's time.

Changed outcomes

Two Riverton High School sports teams found out that they had lost on Saturday after they thought they had won. The first realization came just seconds later, while the second one took hours. The RHS girls basketball team heard the final buzzer sound Saturday in Casper when they had a one-point lead. But a whistle that no one heard on a foul that no one saw (except the official), sent a Kelly Walsh High School player to the free-throw line after time had expired. To her credit, she sank both free throws, and Riverton lost by one point.

Anyone who watches video footage of that game and actually sees where a foul took place, let us know. You have better eyesight than we do.

The next morning came word that the jubilation of the Riverton High School wrestling team over winning its first Class 4-A West regional championship in a decade was misplaced as well. A standard audit of the meet scoring after the fact revealed that mighty Casper Natrona, heavily favored to win the regional, had not been awarded the proper points in two different matches.

Regional tournament scoring follows a different formula from the system used in a regular two-team dual meet, and the errors meant that instead of beating Natrona 199-198, as reported Saturday night, officials determined that Natrona had won 202-199.

Two changed outcomes, both tough to swallow.

Tournament week

Speaking of tournaments, this is the weekend when Riverton hosts the annual Class 2-A west regional boys and girls basketball tournament. This event has become a fixture on the late-winter calendar in Riverton, and it is embraced by teams, fans and the local business community for good reason.

A modest estimate has 1,500 players, coaches, managers, drivers, family members and other fans coming into town. They stay a couple of nights, they eat a half-dozen meals, they shop, they entertain themselves, and they support their kids. When they head back home, they leave at least $250,000 behind in our restaurants, our motels, our gas stations, our stores and our theaters.

Plus, they combine to make the 2-A West regional one of the best sports experiences in Wyoming each year. Lander hosts a concurrent event, the Class 1-A West regional.

Ranger sports writer Craig Blumenshine, voted Wyoming's No 1. daily newspaper sports columnist in Wyoming last year, writes more about the 2-A West regional and its value to the community in today's issue. See his regular Tuesday column, "Sports Week," on page 6, and take note of what he says.

When you see the buses and the kids showing up Wednesday and Thursday, with a caravan of cars behind, you'll know why. They are coming here to have fun, to cheer, and to make memories.

As always, let's make them feel welcome.

Here's to a good week.

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Legislature, Wyoming