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Jun 25, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Lunar looker

Did everyone see the "super moon" over the weekend? Celestial conditions dictated that the moon was at its closest point to Earth in several years on Saturday and Sunday nights during its "full" phase.

Saturday brought better sky conditions in the Wind River Basin for most people than Sunday did, but it was a gorgeous show no matter which night you saw it.

Particularly observant skywatchers might have been able to notice a clear difference between this moon and a normal full moon, but the best part of the "super moon" hype in the past few days was that it probably got more people to notice the full moon in more than a passing way. It's worth seeing -- really seeing -- every time.

In the mood

Speaking of wonderful shows, that is precisely what audience members got if they attended last week's performance at the Robert A. Peck Arts Center by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. More than 65 years after the great bandleader himself was killed in World War II, the band that continues to tour the country under his name can still bring it and swing it.

Better yet, the show raised thousands of dollars for the war memorial plan for Sgt. Kevin Griffin, the Riverton serviceman killed in combat last year in Afghanistan. It was a good night all around.

Decision season

Forget the first Monday in October. The real action on the Supreme Court comes this time of year. Typically during the last week of June and the first week of July there is a big decision at least every day and sometimes two or even three.

Monday's ruling on affirmative action at colleges and universities grabbed headlines, but two decisions tilting the scale on worker discrimination lawsuits slightly in favor of the employer also will be of significance in every day American life.

Stay tuned for more. It's decision season at the High Court.

Hockey in summer

Yes, it finally happened. An insignificant but still interesting sports calendar sidelight came to pass when the National Basketball Association playoffs ended before the National Hockey League Stanley Cup playoffs did. It's the first time in the modern playoff system that has taken place.

The Chicago Blackhawks wrapped up the cup Monday. Interestingly, had the Stanley Cup series gone its full allotted seven games, it would have extended the season for hockey -- the epitome of winter sports -- into the month of July.

There was a work stoppage in pro hockey that meant the season started later than usual, and that is the reason, most likely, the hockey playoffs went beyond the stopping point of the NBA playoffs, but still ...

Five in the 500

"These are the times that try men's souls," wrote Thomas Paine, one of America's great founding fathers, in 1776. Had he been keeping track of our "Five in the 500" exercise, he might have repeated the words.

Since President Obama's second inauguration day in January, we've been tracking an imaginary $500 investment in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

It had been five months of almost uninterrupted progress through June 17, when that $500 would have grown to nearly $548 if you had simply put in into an S&P 500 "index fund" and left it alone.

But last week, as you might have heard from the screaming voices of panic on Wall Street, wasn't a good one for stock investments. The 500 dropped 4 percent for the week, including a couple of real dive bomb losses Wednesday and Thursday -- and this week didn't start much better.

Major market correction or simply a gigantic pothole? We'll start finding out this week. In the meantime, the news isn't all bad for Five in the 500 watchers. Even with last week's tumble, had you invested $500 in the index on Jan. 21, the market has been so strong overall that the investment still would have been worth $525.85 as of Tuesday morning.

Money for justice

Fremont County leaders who were hoping for a big grant from state government to build the so-called Riverton justice center got a spoonful of disappointment when the State Loan and Investment Board said no. There are a few other ways to skin that cat, and the county will look into them.

The situation was not a total loss, however. It gave to the current crop of county leadership an updated experience in dealing with the SLIB process. One interesting note was how little money, relatively speaking, the SLIB had at its disposal. The Riverton justice center request of $2.6 million would have consumed more than half the current pool of money in the SLIB's pocket.

We'll all know more next time, whether it is a revisitation of the justice center plan or something different. Experience has value in and of itself.

Here's to a good week.

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