By Bill Sniffin, publisher
Enough already. Enough about politics. Enough about the deadly virus. Enough about complaining.
Today, folks, this column will be totally devoted to GOOD NEWS. And there is plenty of it.
First of all, the days are getting longer. Our long winter of discontent is over in many ways. And our dawns and sunsets are spectacular with brilliant reds. Stop and take in these wonderful and colorful marvels.
The weather this winter has been relatively mild in most parts of the state. Interstate 80 has not been closed as much as last year. This is great news for all of us.
As I write this on Jan. 21, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have had an amazing run in the National Football League. Boy, is he fun to watch. Dang it, I wish the Broncos could have had him. But keep in mind the only NFL team named after a Wyoming person (Buffalo Bill Cody) has our Wyoming Cowboy at the helm.
Charitable works across the Cowboy State have been at an all-time high. Food banks are working overtime. I sincerely hope it is difficult to find a hungry person in Wyoming. And thanks to First Lady Jennie Gordon for her efforts on this front.
It’s good news that the economy hasn’t cratered in the first days of a Joe Biden presidency. The stock market is actually going up. Now that is good news!
Gasoline prices are low which is great news for folks across the land. Usually that is not good news for Wyomingites since low retail gasoline prices normally translate to sluggish employment in our energy sector. But Wyoming people drive more miles per-capita than any other state – so, on a personal level, we benefit.
And despite predictions to the contrary the Wyoming energy sector, in the form of oil and natural gas production, is steady. Thanks to efforts by Sen. John Barrasso, uranium might be surging again. He got a bill passed to increase the national stockpile of uranium. Wyoming produces more yellowcake (the byproduct of uranium mining) than any other state.
Longtime Powell publisher Dave Bonner loves libraries. I do, too. He says during these COVID-19 times: “I wonder if there is some good news in libraries in the state? I had that thought after we did a story with our new Park County library director who talked about libraries becoming a place where even chatter is in. A gathering place for kids.
‘Libraries aren’t silent any more,’ she said. Have libraries become something of a refuge in this COVID time in our life?” Sounds good to me.
In Sheridan, Kim Love writes about a new business: “We have a new business starting here in Sheridan called Western Heritage Meat. It is a new USDA approved packing plant. As things stood, there wasn’t any USDA approved plant in the area, and the other packing plants had about a 6-month waiting period to get an animal processed. Thanks to Taylor and Cathryn Kerns,” Love said. Good news for folks hungry for local meats.
Mike Jones of Lander says he thinks it is good news that nobody got killed at the inauguration in Washington, D. C. on Jan. 20. He also said sales and use taxes are going up, which he appreciates, since he is a County Commissioner for Fremont County.
This year should be a big one for tourism, the state’s second largest industry. In an industry-wide zoom meeting Wednesday, it appears that the record-busting visitation numbers that struck Wyoming from August through October of 2020 will continue.
Like I wrote back during that surge: “Thanks to the plague, the people of America want out. And out means Wyoming. We are way out west. We are the least populated place in the lower 48 and that has a big appeal to folks after what they have been through.” The most common refrain spoken by Wyoming folks this summer, I predict, will be “who the heck are all these people? And where did they come from!”
It should be pointed out that we probably have fewer troops stationed around the world than in many years and we have no current wars. Boy, does that have a nice sound to it.
We are thankful for the strong housing market. If the value of everyone’s home goes up, it is a huge benefit for all people.
And finally, we have a vaccine for the plague. Thank God.
Yes, folks, it is all good news today.