News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Feb 26, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck
Winter, it appears, isn't going anywhere. More snow Saturday, with some very nasty roads to accompany it, more cold weather to start the week and more snow expected in the days ahead. It looks as if we'll head into March with the season nicknamed Old Man still very much in evidence.
We've said it before, but it's worth saying again -- for the 17th straight year, as a matter of fact: What the Lander Valley High School Tiger boys have done in the swimming pool is remarkable. The team's model for success -- consistency and versatility based on strength in numbers -- essentially has insulated it against the inevitable peaks and valleys of individual talent.
No single swimmer has ever "carried" Lander to a state swim title, although the Tigers have had many great individual champions. Rather, what does the trick, and has done it every year since 1996, is the team commitment which permits it to pile up points by saturating every event with reliable point scorers who might not win, but are certain to place second, fourth and fifth, or third, fifth and sixth across the board.
When you have so many kids who are willing to do the work just to be part of the team by contributing a fourth-place finish while two other teammates get third and seventh, you don't have to worry nearly so much about that spectacular event champion. If you have to, you can win without him. And when you do get him, the margins of victory are even bigger.
Congratulations, again, to the Tiger swimmers. We'll go out on a limb and establish you as the favorite, here and now, for the 2014 title.
Sunday's Academy Awards produced a Best Picture winner that was both expected and an upset, if that can be possible.
The excellence and gravity of the two early favorites, "Lincoln" and "Zero Dark Thirty" made all the experts predict a two-movie race initially. But when the well-liked, mainstream "Argo" got just one nomination in an acting category, and when director Ben Affleck, also an actor, wasn't nominated in either category, the insiders say voters compensated for those slights by voting for "Argo" as Best Picture.
It's a bit discomfiting to realize that political back-biting of this sort can play so heavily into a decision based supposedly on artistic merit. Then again, this is Hollywood, where the art of the deal equals or trumps the art of the film.
Luckily, "Argo" is a perfectly good winner of the award, no matter how it won.
Five in the 500
Stock markets have been roughed up over the past few days, and that development has affected our imaginary "Five in the 500" experiment. We wondered what would happen if $500 were placed in a fund based on the rise and fall of the Standard and Poors 500 stock index, using President Obama's second inauguration day in January as the starting point for a one-year test.
For the first time in the month-plus that the calculation has been in effect, the original $500 is showing a loss. As of Tuesday morning, your $500 would have shrunk to $497.91. We'll keep the experiment going through Jan. 20, 2014.
Hear ye, hear ye
Some effective legislating by State Sen. Eli Bebout of Riverton spared the Dubois satellite court of the 9th Judicial District from the budget chopping block.
When the session began, the Dubois court looked dead. The Chief Justice of Wyoming was recommending its closure to help meet budget-cutting benchmarks recommended by the governor.
It took some negotiating, some number-crunching, and some old-fashioned influencing by an experienced legislator to spare the court, but Bebout did it.
We doubt the state will be sorry. Our opinion was that the Wyoming judicial system would miss the Dubois court once it was gone, given its obvious geographical convenience in a huge judicial district encompassing Jackson to the north and Lander to the south. Now it appears we won't have to find out. Court in Dubois will remain in session.
Our big tournament
The anticipation, the enthusiasm, the crowds, the entertainment and the competition made for another memorable Class 2-A West regional basketball tournament in Riverton over the weekend. The tournament was established here in the mid-1990s for some very good reasons, and now there are even more of them to keep it right where it is, compared with very few reasons to tamper with the successful formula by letting it get away from us.
Let's preserve and protect the 2-A West regional in Riverton. Some concerns about budget and staffing have been raised. If they are legitimate, then let's tackle them internally and find solutions.
We can do it, and we ought to.
Here's to a good week.