Tuesday notes

Jul 9, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Triple digits

We have hot summers in Fremont County, but it's rare that the temperature reaches 100 degrees. If that is going to happen in 2013, the weather outlook says this week could be the best chance so far. Predicted highs from one of our forecasters call for at least 98 on Thursday in the Riverton Valley.

To quote a funny line from the otherwise unremarkable movie "Something Wild" from 1986, "attempt to be cool."

Balloon Block

One of the Ranger's enjoyable activities each year is the return of the Riverton Rendezvous "balloon block." In conjunction with the annual Riverton Rendezvous celebration, the Ranger for about 20 years now has been hiding a unique object we call the Balloon Block. It is made of old-fashioned wooden newspaper lettering blocks joined together to spell the word "balloon," in reference to the annual Riverton Rendezvous hot-air balloon rally.

We hide it, we publish clues as to its whereabouts, and the person who finds it wins a cash prize and a ride in a hot-air balloon at balloon rally time.

Balloon Block time is upon us again. Look for the first of seven possible clues that will be published beginning Thursday.

Hot Notes Cool Nights

Riverton's first installment of the annual Hot Notes Cool Nights summer band concerts got off to a nice start Monday evening at Riverton City Park. A nice crowd was on hand to hear the community band and guest performers (and partake in assorted cool and baked treats from local vendors).

If it has been a while since you've heard live music, since you've been to the park, or both, consider attending one of these free concerts which alternate weekly between Riverton and Lander on Monday evenings through early August.

More jobs

Fremont County just got the news it wanted in the latest unemployment report from the State of Wyoming. Perhaps a better term would be "employment report," because in every statistical category, the news on the county's job market was good.

As most people know, the unemployment rate each month sometimes can fall even when the job market has worsened, because unemployed workers have dropped out of the market and did not seek work during the month. Conversely, the unemployment rate sometimes can rise even when hiring increases because people flood the job market looking for a newly available work and don't always find it.

The ideal situation, then, is for hiring to be up, for the workforce growing to fill the positions available, and for people who look for work being able to find it. All those things occurred in Fremont County in May, which is the newest month for which the state can provide data.

Five in the 500

We are now about six months into our intended yearlong experiment to see how $500 invested in a so-called index fund based on the Standard & Poor's 500 average would perform.

Virtually any investment has its downs as well as its ups. The S&P 500 experienced a few of the former as summer was getting started. But things have been looking pretty good over the past couple of weeks. As of Tuesday morning, had you invested $500 in an S&P 500 index fund on Jan. 21, today it would be worth $548.35.

New man in charge

Interesting words came from University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg upon taking over the job officially.

Sternberg is a man of high educational pedigree, beginning with his undergraduate degree at Yale, his master's at Stanford, and continuing through high-level graduate programs as a student, a professor, a researcher at Tufts, and a university provost at Oklahoma State.

Something he has learned as an administrator, however, is to know not only what an institution is, but what it is not.

UW is an immensely important statewide institution in a way that Harvard is not central to the state of Massachusetts despite its high ideals and stellar accomplishments.

Sternberg knows that Wyoming isn't shooting for the ivory-tower, private-school appeal of his alma mater, and that is a useful realization. Having dispensed with that notion, he and our state's only university can concentrate on what they and they alone can -- and must -- do for a state in which UW is beloved and crucial to success on many levels.

The role of a public, land-grant university in a low-population state can hardly be overstated. It is intertwined with countless aspects of life. UW serves Wyoming as a cornerstone public institution, and Sternberg is off and running as its new leader.

"Wyoming is the state in which my wife, Karin, and I most wanted to live, and the University of Wyoming is where I most wanted to work," Sternberg said on his first day on the job last week. "So I view myself as extremely fortunate to be here."

Now you're talking. Here we go, Wyo, here we go.

Here's to a good week.

Print Story
Read The Ranger...