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Fremont County's Daily Newspaper

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

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Tuesday notes

Oct 15, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Weather robbery

As each chilly day passes, it seems more likely that we won't be the recipients of an extended period of fine fall weather in Fremont County. Monday's newest cold snap didn't bring the threatened snow the way two previous storms already have, but it did interrupt -- again -- what typically is a six- to eight-week period of steady sun, calm winds and mild temperatures. To many, early to mid-fall is the finest slice of weather the Wind River Basin sees all year -- and this year we just aren't getting it.

Does it portend a fierce winter? We haven't had one of those in awhile, either. There is a nagging suspicion that this could be the one.

An hour of sun

One other weather note: Friday definitely was not one of those golden, sunny autumn days we all love, but it did produce an hour of nice weather in mid-afternoon -- coinciding directly with the Riverton High School Homecoming Parade on Main Street downtown. Whoever was responsible, thanks.

Federal foul-up

We're publishing staff writer Katie Roenigk's story today about some of the local effects of the continuing shutdown of most federal government operations. Fremont County isn't a particularly big "federal county," but the shutdown isn't without its influence here as it relates to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Reclamation. We'll keep following this story as long as we have to -- which, we hope, isn't all that much longer.

Remember me?

On that note, one sign that there could be some movement, positively, on the shutdown is that the two top leaders of the U.S. Senate actually are talking.

Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader, and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, sat across from each other in the same room over the weekend and again Monday, trying to work something out.

Two senators having a meeting does not, on the surface, seem to be a breakthrough moment, but in this case it probably is. Congress watchers say this is thought to be the first time the two leaders have even spoken to each other since last spring.

Five in the 500

People who say the federal shutdown and down-to-the-wire debt crisis doesn't really affect them much must not have a mutual fund, a 401(k) account or a retirement plan at work, because those accounts have suffered in recent weeks as Congress chases its tail.

Our "Five in the 500" investment exercise reflected that trend. We asked readers to imagine a $500 investment in the Standard and Poor's 500 Index -- not buying shares of stock, but simply betting on whether the index would rise or fall each day (yes, such funds do exist and are increasingly popular).

We began tracking the imaginary nest egg on President Barack Obama's second Inauguration Day in January, and it had gone very well until last month, when the shutdown and looming debt crisis sent it tumbling.

Well, that changed last week, when the S&P rebounded nicely, up 2.3 percent for the week. So, had you written that $500 check on Jan. 21, placed it in an S&P index fund, and left it alone since then, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $604.03. That is a return of 20.8 percent in nine months.

Using Tonkin

Photographer Wayne Nicholls got a kick -- in more ways than one -- from covering last week's annual Punt, Pass and Kick competition at Tonkin Stadium in Riverton. The grass was in great shape, and voices echoed around the historic venue in cheerful tones.

It was good to see the old bowl, host field for four Riverton Wolverines state football championships, in use again. No long-term plan has been agreed upon for Tonkin, but the more uses it can be put to -- both sports-related and otherwise -- the better it will be for the preservation and maintenance of the facility.

Here's to a good week.

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MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Friday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office by 3:30 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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