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Tuesday notes

Oct 29, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Four out of five

Five weeks of autumn, four snowstorms. That is the updated tally for the strange fall of 2013 in the Wind River Basin of Wyoming.

Because so many leaves were interrupted in their normal seasonal change by the earlier storms, on many trees the leaves still are essentially frozen on the tree in a brownish-gray condition. Normally they would have fallen by now, so there remains a danger of branch damage. A good windstorm probably will bring most of the remaining leaves down, which, for the sake of the trees, would be a good thing.

Really?

Quick -- guess how much snow fell in Riverton in Monday's storm.

Chances are most residents would estimate something in the range of 2-3 inches, but the official calculation from the National Weather Service office in Riverton was 7.8 inches.

Money from tourism

The Wind River Visitors Council has shared some pretty spectacular numbers about the financial effect of tourism in Fremont County. This is a huge part of the economy, bringing tens of millions of dollars into our communities every year.

In case you still have doubts as to whether we in Fremont County ought to try to attract school tournaments, school festivals, trade shows and state conventions, please read staff writer Eric Blom's front-page story Sunday.

Five in the 500

Tuesday is the anniversary of the great stock market crash of 1929 called "Black Tuesday" in the history books. The spectacular plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and related stocks generally is recognized as the triggering event of the Great Depression.

Oct. 29, 1929, actually was the pinnacle of a series of wild days on the stock market. But on Monday the 28th and Tuesday the 29th, the Dow Jones fell a combined 25 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 did not exist in 1929. Today, however, it is viewed by many market experts as a more accurate representation of the overall American economy than the famous Dow Jones Industrials. Earlier this year, we invited readers to follow along with us in an imaginary investment of $500 in the S&P 500 -- or "Five in the 500." No stock index rises every day, but the performance of the S&P 500 in 2013 has been spectacular. It stands at a record high, one of several it has hit in recent weeks.

Our hypothetical investment began on Jan. 21, the day of President Barack Obama's second inauguration. Had you invested $500 in the S&P 500 on that day, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $629.46.

Fall Classic

A week ago, the editorial writer predicted the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in "six or seven games." Well, it's going to have to be seven games, because the Red Sox led the series 3-2 after Monday night's victory in St. Louis. This World Series will be remembered best, no doubt, by the two oddball endings of games three and four. In game three, the winning run was called safe at home after the baserunner was obstructed by the opposing team's third baseman. The Cardinals won that one.

And in game four, the final out was made when a pinch runner was picked off first base on a perfect throw from the pitcher. Boston won that one.

It's likely we'll never see two World Series games end in consecutive days in such strange ways.

One other thing worth noting: Boston first baseman/designated hitter David Ortiz in the World Series is putting up one of the great hitting performances in the history of baseball. Why the Cardinals continue to pitch to him at all is a mystery.

Under review

Last week considerable publicity was generated by the news that University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg had appointed an outside consulting group to evaluate the university's football and men's basketball programs. This came after the Cowboy football team had experienced two embarrassing losses -- 42-21 at Texas State University and 52-22 in Laramie to archrival Colorado State.

Imagine how the new UW chief must be feeling this week, after the Cowboys led San Jose State 16-0, 23-7 and 30-14 in the second half -- and still lost 52-44?

Wyoming is not having a disastrous season, and Sternberg probably would have blown a gasket over the inept teams fielded by the Cowboys in fairly recent years. But he has made a better performance on the field for our major sports teams -- which are funded pretty lavishly by taxpayer dollars -- a public priority for his administration at Old Main. There must be lots to talk about there this week.

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 at 3 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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