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News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

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Tuesday notes

Aug 20, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Still the season

No, last week's day or two of cooler, damper weather didn't mean summer was over. This week's hot, dry, smoky weather proves it's still with us, and still going strong. Expect a general cooling trend over the next six months or so, however.

Hot and smoky

Wyoming only has one major wildfire going at the moment, but it happens to be on Fremont County's doorstep. It took just a couple of days this weekend for the Hardluck Fire over the mountains from Dubois to grow from 15,000 acres to more than 21,000, and the smoke is a sky-altering experience.

The continent's mechanism for moving air from one place to another is huge and powerful, and it's likely that most of the smoke we're seeing is coming from across the border in Idaho, where the Beaver Creek Fire now tops 105,000 acres in the touristy Sun Valley area. Farmers have long known about pollen and fungus spores blowing into the Wind River Basin from Idaho's fields, so it's no stretch to determine that smoke from the big fire could be reaching us as well.

Special editions

We have two special editions in the works. First, the Fremont County Fair Scrapbook Edition has been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 11. That's about when it ran last year, and it gives everyone who wants to advertise after the county fair -- or, on occasion, the state fair -- time to contact and/or be contacted.

In particular, if you sold a market animal or animals at the junior livestock sales, a thank-you ad in the Scrapbook is an effective and well-established way to say "thanks" -- and at a low price.

Our big hunting and fall outdoors edition is on the drawing board as well. It's planned for a bit later in September.

And, while we're at it, look for the return of Student of the Week -- our 30th year of the program -- in mid- to late September as well.

Five in the 500

The past couple of weeks in our Five in the 500 investment experiment demonstrate why a longer view always is better than trying to make a quick killing. Ever since Jan. 21, when we began following what an imaginary $500 would do if invested in a fund based on the daily rise or fall of the Standard & Poors 500 Index, the trend has been almost relentlessly upward.

Almost.

The past two weeks have been rocky ones for the S&P after its record-setting gains earlier in the summer. From a high point of $594.80 two weeks ago, that $500 would now be worth $571.40 as of Tuesday morning.

That's still a heck of a showing over seven months, but had you sunk the $500 into the index Aug. 1, you'd be disappointed. Slow and steady wins the race.

Hill and the high court

This week the Wyoming Supreme Court hears arguments on the lawsuit filed by Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill against the Wyoming Legislature on her objection to Senate File 104, the legislation from earlier this year that stripped her of virtually all of her authority and administrative duties at the Wyoming Department of Education. An appointed director since has been hired.

This is just part of the ongoing struggle between the elected superintendent and her foes elsewhere in state government, a struggle that could well play out in the primary election season next year, when Hill has vowed to run for governor.

As for this week's arguments before Wyoming's highest court, it is hard to see a scenario under which the court would rule in Hill's favor. It simply will be too simple to cite the language in the Wyoming Constitution that says the Legislature has the power to determine the duties of the state superintendent.

Odds are that Hill will lose this skirmish -- but the war will go on.

'Twenty Million People'

Staff writer Katie Roenigk's feature story on former Central Wyoming College theater student Devin Sanchez's taste of success in the movie business was an enjoyable peek inside a world most of us have dreamed of but know little about.

One thing Sanchez mentioned was that she would like to have a screening in Riverton of her prize-winning movie "Twenty Million People," which is not in theatrical release.

That sounds like a great idea from this chair. If The Ranger can assist in that effort through sponsorship or publicity, then we're ready to do it.

Here's to a good week.

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