Jul 16, 2013 - By Steven R. PeckFire watch
We're still dodging the wildfire gremlins in the Wind River Basin as mid-July arrives. Be on high alert, everybody. There have been a few dampening rains this month that have lessened fire danger, but only slightly.
Meanwhile, we hope you saw the story in Sunday's edition about the added flood danger on and around land scarred last summer and fall by the big Alpine Lake Fire. When fire has destroyed trees and other vegetation, water races downhill across the barren land much faster during a rainstorm, increasing flood risk dramatically.
There was a map with the story, and that map is even more effective when seen in color. Check it out at dailyranger.com.
Rendezvous under way
There were nice turnouts Friday night for the Riverton Rendezvous Rails to Trails music performances and Saturday for Rendezvous Day in the Park as the 33rd annual summer festival got going.
Day in the Park needs no help getting established after 33 years -- it's one of the top outdoor fairs in Wyoming each summer -- but this was a nice step forward for the music on the Rails to Trails path. The quality of entertainment was good, supplementary vendors for food and cold drinks were plentiful, and the temperature even relented slightly. This is July, so it was still very warm, but mid-80s certainly beats upper 90s.
Now, bring on the hot cars, the cool bikes, the balloons and the fireworks this weekend. See you at the Rendezvous.
Five in the 500
Another supposedly "major correction" in U.S. stock markets that allowed the gloom and doomers to have a field day earlier in the month has been left behind. The major indexes have recovered from that and are poised to reach record-setting highs again. A couple of good sessions this week ought to do it.
That positive move is reflected as well in our yearlong investment exercise we call "Five in the 500." Since President Obama's second inauguration day in January, we've been following what an imaginary $500 investment in a Standard & Poors 500 index fund would do. The index fund rises or falls solely on the basis of the daily performance of the S&P 500 index.
The early July wobble has passed, and the fake $500 is growing again. Had you invested $500 on Jan. 20, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $562.38. That's a 12.4 percent return for the year.
The Ranger is pleased to introduce a couple of new advertising staff members this week. One is Natasha Kornder, a Riverton native recently returned to the old hometown after a decade in Arizona, where she was employed in retail jewelry sales and customer service.
The other is Nick Esposito, who is serving a summer internship in the advertising department ahead of his junior year at the University of Denver.
They will be calling on Ranger advertising customers. Make them feel welcome and, as always, thanks for supporting your local newspaper.
The only certainty as the murder trail of Robert Zimmerman moved toward its conclusion was that someone was going to be outraged at the verdict. When Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watchdog who followed and then killed a black teenager in his suburban Florida neighborhood last year, was found not guilty of murder, those who viewed him as a ruthless, racial-profiling executioner took to the streets and the airwaves in anger.
Zimmerman won't be going to prison for what he did, but his problems aren't over. Recall the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. The former football star was acquitted on the criminal murder charge, but he later was "convicted" in a civil suit which found him to be responsible for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend -- and ordered to pay a huge sum of money that will handcuff him financially for the rest of his life (he is now imprisoned for an unrelated crime). Zimmerman can look forward to more days in a courtroom in the year ahead.
Two legs, no arms
Ranger reporter Alejandra Silva wrote a feature story recently about Hector Picard, the double-arm amputee who was about 80 percent through a cross-country bike ride when he stopped overnight in Riverton.
He was riding to help raise money for a 1-year-old boy in Spokane, Wash., who was born without hands or forearms.
Today it can be reported that Picard made it to Spokane on Saturday, right on schedule. He pedaled 3,200 miles in 10 states. Local news reports from Spokane say Picard got a hero's welcome there as he came into view astride his custom-made bike.
The money he raised will help the 1-year-old's family purchase prosthetics for the toddler. A nice story, and we're glad to have been a small part of telling it.
Here's to a good week.
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