News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Sep 17, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck
September in the rain
We're only halfway through the month, but anyone want to bet we've already had one of the half-dozen wettest Septembers in Fremont County history?
September is a month when it can snow, so any record-setting would have to contend with a winter-like storm from history, but the week we just went through was astonishing, record or not. It just rained and rained.
By the way, it's still summer out there for the rest of the week. Fall arrives on Sunday.
One good thing about a week like the one we just had is that it virtually shut down any forest fire activity still lingering.
When that fire roared to life last month, it had the makings of something big. Through a combination of quick detection, rapid response, devotion of significant firefighting resources, and a fair quantity of luck, the Burroughs stayed a lot smaller than it might have.
Now Mother Nature can do her autumnal bit and douse the thing for good.
Two weeks ago it seemed a dead-solid certainty that the United States was going to unleash part of its unequalled military power in Syria to punish the dictatorial president's regime for using chemical weapons against its own people.
Today, it looks as if diplomacy might have carried the day over the fighter planes and missiles.
That's assuming Syrian President Bashar Assad can be trusted to do what he says he'll do and turn over his chemical weapons to international control. Confidence, understandably, is not all that high.
We offer up not just one, but two special editions this week -- and on the same day, no less.
The day is Wednesday, and the editions are the annual Lander One Shot Antelope Hunt preview and the once-in-a-lifetime section tied to this Friday's dedication of the new Central Wyoming College Health and Science Center.
We plan daily coverage of the new health/science facility every day this week leading up to Friday's festivities, in addition to the 12 pages of added content coming in Wednesday's special edition.
Look for both sections in Wednesday's paper, and please do your best to do business with the many advertisers who support your local newspaper.
We're not saying escaped Casper prisoner Kenneth Ward wasn't really spotted in the Riverton area last week, but it does seem odd that he would be hanging around a casino which has big crowds of people and security cameras -- or that he would introduce himself to strangers in the midst of an all-points-bulletin.
But that's what one witness claims happened -- and, come to think of it, blending into a crowd in a place where you might stand to make a few bucks, or meet someone who would help you, might not be the dumbest thing to do if you were on the run. "Hide in plain sight" might apply here.
Whatever discomforts or inconveniences we in Fremont County experienced in recent days tied to our uncharacteristically wet weather, it essentially is nothing compared to the ordeal being endured in Colorado. The area inundated by flooding following record-setting rain is familiar to many in Fremont County who travel to Fort Collins and Denver, but people who have been there over the past few days say the state is virtually unrecognizable due to the surges of water and mud.
Keep a good thought for our southern neighbor, and lend a hand if the opportunity presents itself.
Another mass shooting
If you see flags at half staff over the next few days, the reason is explained in this notice from the governor's office:
"As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence at the Washington Navy Yard, Gov. Matt Mead, pursuant to President Barack Obama's proclamation, has ordered both the U.S. flag and the State of Wyoming flag be flown at half-staff statewide until sunset Sept. 20."
Let it be a reminder to all of us that we, as the civilized species on the planet, have an obligation to one another. This week we can help fulfill it by lowering the flag. It's not much, but it's a vastly preferable form of behavior to what the man with the gun did in Washington.
We maintain our civility piece by piece, day by day, person by person.
Here's to a good week.
-- Steven R. Peck