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Nov 12, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

A matter of definition

After being short-changed out of our normally fine weather thanks to the wintry conditions that pervaded the season change in late September and October, we now are being treated to what many people would call "Indian summer."

Its simplest definition is simply as a period of mild weather in the middle of fall.

Other definitions get more specific, preferring to use the name Indian summer for a period of mild, warm weather that occurs after the season's killing frost.

Still other descriptions of Indian summer specify atmospheric conditions of golden, hazy light. And one reference from the National Weather Service even describes a specific temperature of 70 degrees or warmer to qualify as Indian summer.

What has happened in the Wind River Basin over the past couple of weeks doesn't meet every one of those criteria, but it does come close. However we want to define it, our bit of Indian summer is beautiful -- and most welcome after the ominous weather around the autumnal equinox.

Typhoon terror

The human toll wrought by the weekend's monstrous typhoon that struck the Philippines is unlike anything seen since the Indian Ocean tsunami about a decade ago. The property damage, injuries and deaths are staggering, and the latter category, unfortunately, is going to get worse.

Disasters such as this require a huge and well-coordinated relief campaign involving government-level resources from many nations. As usual, the United States will play a lead role.

The scale of the crisis overwhelms the average person's ability to comprehend it, much less solve it. Thankfully, there are relief agencies and government responders that can handle that part of it. What we as individuals can do is contribute, and contributions are sorely needed.

Here are three ways to start, made easier by the convenience of the Internet:

1. The well-established international relief agency known as CARE has an easy way to contribute. Find it at care.org.

2. Doctors Without Borders has responded on site in the Philippines, confronted by an overwhelming medical emergency. Learn more about how you can contribute through both money and service at www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

3. No international relief effort is more well-known and effective than the American Red Cross and Red Cross international. Visit redcross.org to learn how to contribute as a volunteer or financial donor.

There are many other charitable organizations at the local, national and international level to whom concerned citizens of Fremont County can offer assistance. Remember, being a volunteer for typhoon relief doesn't mean you have to go to the Philippines.

Lake bottom

Suppose you had decided to take on the task of recovering three human bodies from the bottom of a lake at a depth of more than 450 feet. The lake is at high altitude, not all that convenient to get to, dark and very cold, even in mid-summer.

Oh, and one other thing. The human bodies you are trying to recover are inside steel barrels and have been at the bottom of the lake for more than 30 years.

This is the job that the Fremont County Sheriff's Office has committed itself to accomplishing, or at least trying to.

It will provide another chapter in the bizarre and unprecedented story involving the murders of Virginia Uden and her two boys in 1980 that only recently has come into full focus.

We join every conscientious person in Fremont and Sublette counties in wishing the sheriff's office effort the best of luck. It is a heroic undertaking, and it will be followed with interest.

Amanda Fisher

Today The Ranger welcomes a new face to our advertising department. Joining the sales staff is Amanda Fisher. She is more or less a lifelong Riverton resident, although she did spend a short stint of her life in Nevada as well. She brings a variety of retail sales and customer service experience to our staff from her previous work over the past decade with Wind River Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Walmart, Big Wyoming Trucking, Riverview Veterinary Hospital and Hallmark. We welcome Mandy, as her friends know her, to our advertising group and encourage the business community to do the same as she begins her important job of helping local businesses, individuals, governments and service organizations present their messages to our thousands of daily newspaper readers.

All in a row

2013 doesn't have nearly so many fun calendar eccentricities as earlier years in the decade -- last year's 12/12/12, for example -- but today is a good one. It's the 12th day of the 11th month of 2013, or 11/12/13 for short. It's one the last of its type for years to come.

Happy sequential day, and 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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