News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Oct 8, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck
No records could be kept on this sort of thing, but we venture to say on this Tuesday that rarely, perhaps never, in the history of Fremont County has so much time been spent in late September and early October talking about and reacting to ... the weather.
Ask any long-timer in Fremont County if she or he has ever seen such a period of wet, cool weather at the end of summer and beginning of fall. This just doesn't happen here -- except this year.
Ups and downs
There are upsides and downsides to having winter arrive immediately after summer ends. One unfortunate downside is that because of the hard freeze after the second of the two winter snowstorms a few days ago, many of the leaves on the fully-green trees froze.
That means we won't get much of a fall color show this year. A few hardy deciduous souls weathered the storm and emerged green, but most already have the dull gray/brown look of an unexpected freeze. Too bad.
A very good upside, however, is that we will head into the winter season with an advantageous soil moisture content, which is so important for the health of prairies and pastures, to say nothing of lawns and gardens.
And we have a beautiful and invaluable blanket of snow on the high mountains already. It is here to stay until next spring. Let's hope there's plenty more where that came from in the months ahead.
Five in the 500
There is no question that the federal government operating crisis is having a negative effect on stock markets, which includes our hypothetical "Five in the 500" investment, which began in January. Had you invested $500 in a Standard and Poors index fund, which grows or shrinks based on the closing figure each day of the S&P 500, there was a time late in the summer when that investment would have topped $600.
But it is taking a bit of a beating this month so far and has been down about 2.5 percent in the past couple of weeks. Honestly, that's still not all that bad. Had you invested $500 on presidential inauguration day and left it untouched, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $590.43.
Our October seasons
October is a stimulating month for human beings. There is the excitement of the summer to autumn transition, (particularly exciting this year), accentuated for many people by the arrival of hunting season. Football season is in full swing, with spirited and entertaining competition from the high school level locally up to and including professional football, and, if we're lucky, a competitive season from the Wyoming Cowboys. The major-league baseball playoffs have begun as well, with this year's divisional series more exciting than most.
The U.S. Supreme Court has convened, and its contemplation of important and far-reaching topics rarely fails to provide mind-bending fodder for the rest of us. And it's also Nobel Prize "season," if that is a fair word for it. The first of the grand awards for human intellectual achievement, mostly in the sciences, came out today. Pay attention to the people who win and the reasons they are being honored. It almost always is fascinating stuff.
Liz Cheney, running for U.S. Senate against Mike Enzi, was in Riverton for a talk to Fremont County Republican Women on Monday. Among numerous topics discussed over lunch was the fact that the presidential retreat at Camp David has remained open during the partial government shutdown even as most other federal government facilities are closed.
Camp David, unbeknownst to many, actually is a military installation operated largely by the U.S. Navy, and no doubt it is being kept open under the general order requiring that military operations not be subject to the federal shutdown.
We have better things to do than condemn the President of the United States at every opportunity, as so many people seem eager to do, but there is something untoward about Camp David remaining open for presidential relaxation and recreation when federal employees across the nation have been furloughed, and when popular, inspirational, and educational facilities in the federal system have been locked up.
President Obama uses Camp David less frequently than most of his recent predecessors, so apparently it is not all that important to him personally anyway. For the sake of morale and appearances, Camp David ought to go under lock and key just as the Lincoln Memorial and Yellowstone Park have.
Here's to a good week.
MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Friday's edition of The Ranger failed to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.