News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Apr 23, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck
Winter in spring
There have been four Mondays in April so far, and three of them have brought heavy snowfall. The only one that didn't so far was Monday, April 1. If there is some sort of April Fool's connection here, it seems to have been played out in reverse.
We have a suggestion: Nobody likes Mondays anyway, so why not cancel the next one? Perhaps that would break the winter winning streak -- or losing streak, depending on how you look at it.
Earlier this month, there was widespread concern about soil moisture, fire danger and the coming irrigation season for farmers and ranchers. After a very early warm-up last year, a hot, dry summer, and a largely open winter, drought concerns were very real and very big.
Now, after what seems to be little more than a blink of an eye, those concerns have done an about-face. Looking ahead, there is at least some concern that we might be facing a significant flood season for the third time in four summers.
One look at the Wind River range will tell you why. It's all going to depend on when the weather finally warms, by how much, and for how many days in a row.
Don't mess with the FBI
There are many messages to be taken away from last week's shocking bomb attacks near the finish line at the Boston Marathon. One of them is this: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is pretty darn good at its job. Fewer than 72 hours after the attacks, both of the bombers had been accounted for. One was dead, the other captured. Before it's all over, the surviving suspect may well wish he could change places with his older brother.
If it seems like we're writing a lot about snow this week, it's because there's a lot of snow to write about. A snowy success story occurred in and around Yellowstone National Park a few days ago after the federal budget sequestration had eliminated funding for early plowing out of park entrance roads.
State and local governments, along with private industry, showed the nation how cooperation can be done. The public-private effort to begin plowing under the normal schedule, even without the normal federal funding, proved both an admirable and successful effort.
The park entrances are open in mid-April, which is what the public has come to expect and enjoy from the parks. Had the effort not been undertaken, we might've been waiting a month or more for the park finally to open. Congratulations on a job nicely done.
Five in the 500
It has now been almost exactly three months since presidential inauguration day, which was the day we used as the starting point for our planned yearlong investment experiment based on the Standard & Poor's 500 index. The test was as follows: Imagine investing $500 in an index fund based solely on the daily rise or fall of the S&P 500.
The S&P seesawed all last week but ended on an up note. Had you invested $500 in an S&P 500 index fund as described on presidential inauguration day, that sum would have grown to $520.29 as of Tuesday morning.
Simultaneous notes of amusement and irritation are sure to greet the latest report of a horse tail theft in Fremont County. Human beings commit some strange offenses, and this surely is one of them. Exactly why someone would want to steal a horse's tail is unclear, except for the apparent thrill of being able to snip the long hair and get away with it.
If we had to speculate on how this low-rent crime spree might finally come to an end, it would be when an uncooperative horse delivered a swift kick to the thief's you-know-what. Most decidedly, it would serve him right.
For the planet
One big reason that organizers of the original Earth Day picked late April was that they figured winter weather would mostly be over by that time of year.
Surprise. Monday officially was Earth Day, and it was a snowy one. It didn't exactly bring to mind the lovely springtime spirit of the occasion, but it certainly did show what Earth is capable of, namely, bringing winter in spring.
A few planned Earth Day events had to be called off Monday, but let's all remember the spirit in which they were planned. Try to get in the general swing of Earth Day in one way or another, whether it is walking to work, to school, or to the store once in a while, planting a tree or a plot of vegetables, starting and using a compost heap, being careful not to overwater your lawn, household and garden, or by using the local recycling program -- including dropping this newspaper into a recycling bin.
Every little bit helps. That's an Earth Day message we can all abide by.
Here's to a good week.