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Bill Sniffin

Bill Sniffin: One More Column About COVID-19. Are We Sick Of Talking About It, Or What?

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

What a slog the last six months have been, as we have had to deal with a mysterious worldwide viral pandemic called COVID-19. 

Do I really want to write about COVID-19? Is everybody out there as tired about talking about the coronavirus epidemic as I am?

Now, let me be clear. I am not saying this is not a big story.  And for sure, it is a gigantic international health emergency.  When it started, I thought this might be the biggest news story of my career. Across the country, the number of deaths approaches 200,000. But covering the story has become somewhat wearisome. 

In my day job as publisher of the Cowboy State Daily digital news service platform, we counted 550 stories about coronavirus that we produced so far in 2020.  What an extraordinary number! 

And how people react to the virus is so political.  There has been many a dispute across the Cowboy State in the past six months where mask wearers have been upset with their non-mask wearing brethren. By the way, at my age, I try to always wear my mask.

The country is torn apart.  Most recently there has been rioting in the streets.  These protests have crossed over to the pro football, basketball, and baseball leagues.  

A whole bunch of ornery sorts have given up watching pro sports because of it.  In that group of coffee drinkers that I call the Fox News All-Stars here in Lander, nine out of 11 guys recently told me they gave up watching professional sports.  

I am still watching. Hard to give up pro sports. But these formerly dedicated sports watchers have given it up because of all the distractions. They do not watch pro sports anymore – except hockey and golf, I guess.

Apparently, the disease is rampant across the country. There is one prominent Wyomingite in his 50s who got really sick and is still reeling from the consequences. Based on what he went through, yikes. This is not something to sneeze at, literally.

But then again, a few years ago a good friend of ours died of flu complications and she was in her early 50s and in good health. There are lots of bad bugs out there.

Our state statistics are amazing. Wyoming’s coronavirus numbers just blow my mind. As I write this on Sept. 17, 2020, here are some numbers to ponder:

Wyoming population – 551,000.
Folks tested – 42,402.
Tested positive – 3,866.
Probable cases – 700.
Deaths – 49.
Persons sick now – 603.
Recovered – 4,000.

The statistics show 7.6% of the Wyoming population has been tested, with the percentage of people of Wyoming dying from COVID-19 being so small it almost does not register. Just one out of 11,700 people in the state have died from the virus.  In comparison, there have been 79 traffic deaths so far in 2020.

Outside of Alaska, Wyoming appears to be the safest place in the USA if you do not want to die from COVID-19.  Alaska has 44 deaths.  Wyoming is sitting at 49.

I now fear we are living in a time of great over-reaction.  As I wrote in an earlier column, when we watched those scenes of emergency rooms in Italy and New York City last spring, well, it just scared us to death. Most everyone wanted to shut things down to protect folks.

Original estimates of deaths for Wyoming were over 150.  Did our social distancing really save us from that outcome? There are a lot of doubters here.

The Cowboy State has now passed its biggest test with flying colors.  We hosted 6 million tourists this summer and lived through it with very few infections from such a big influx of out of staters.

I asked in a column several months ago how does the virus fare in Wyoming’s windy and hot wide-open spaces that tend to be very, very dry? It appears that the virus definitely did not thrive. And that is good news.  Also, maybe Wyoming people really are healthier. 

Plus, folks here have been practicing social distancing since 1890. At first, it was easy to stay put, especially during wintry March and April days. Despite the smoke, we then enjoyed a fabulous summer. Our Wyoming economy probably did not need to be shut down to the extent that it was, but who knew? Maybe it was better to be safe than sorry.

I am glad the economy is continuing to open up and I can see much better days ahead.  Two years from now, we will look back at these times in amazement and wonder. 

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Bill Sniffin: Wyoming Mountains Jammed Over Labor Day Weekend

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

All across Wyoming, folks fled the valley heat to head to the mountains over this Labor Day weekend.

Just about every public camping spot and everyone’s secret mountain spot is occupied as a Cowboy State tradition continued this weekend.

With snow predicted Monday night and Tuesday in many parts of the state, this truly signaled the end of the summer in many people’s minds. 

We all know that a nice Indian Summer will be coming after that bad weather but superstition prevents us from not taking advantage of the cool weather high above us this weekend.

There are more bow hunters than ever and they were in abundance in the mountains, too. 

In my case, it could not have been more beautiful in the Wind River Mountains above Lander on Labor Day weekend than it was Saturday.

With near-record temperatures of 97 in Lander Valley, the lure of the mountains was almost intoxicating.

We started by attending a dedication of a plaque for a modern Wyoming back country hero, Jimmy Smail, at Grannier Meadows. A wonderful memorial was placed on a big rock there in front of a crowd of 200 friends and family.

In the tradition of old-timer explorers like Jim Bridger and John Fremont and more modern-day Finis Mitchell, Smail was a pioneer in snowmobiles, trail bikes, jeeps, and just about any all-around exploring.

He once estimated he had driven over a million miles in lonely Wyoming places astride back country vehicles.

Jim was a good friend of mine for 50 years. He died from complications of Alzheimer’s in February.

My wife Nancy and I love the Loop Road above Lander. It is one of the few nice roads that allow folks into the towering Wind River Mountains.

On this day we started from the Louis Lake turnoff from Highway 28 and drove the almost 30 miles to Sinks Canyon State Park outside of Lander.

We followed a caravan of three side-by-side ATVs that were jammed with young folks and old folks having a fun time. They looked happy but, frankly, it looked dusty and pretty uncomfortable. Good for them.

The beach at Louis Lake was jammed and lots of boats were on the lake. It was a wonderful day with little wind, which is not normal in the afternoon in a place called the Wind River Mountains.

A family was swimming in the Little Popo Agie River.  That water was melted snow not that long ago. It was a hot sunny day and that river water must have been really refreshing.

 Kudos to the U. S. Forest Service for the wonderful work they have done to the Loop Road in recent years. 

We were driving our venerable 2004 “Big Blue,” a diesel Ford Excursion 4WD but we could have driven our Lincoln on that road.

Few places had the traditional washboard effect and overall, the trip was very pleasant.

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Bill Sniffin: Code Of The West Author Shows How To Age Gracefully, On PBS

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Jim Owen is one of the best-known, least-known people in Wyoming. 

The author of both Cowboy Ethics and The Code of the West, Owen had a huge influence on the state in the last decade by helping Wyoming adopt these codes, which seem to make more sense here in the Cowboy State than anywhere else in America. 

I talked with Jim Saturday about his latest project, which has a lot of interest to me. 

His three-stage career as a successful investor, then a proponent of Cowboy Ethics, has now turned to “aging well.”  He has produced a documentary with Jim Havey called The Art of Aging Well which follows his journey as he tried to re-invent his physical self at the age of 70.

Now, ten years later, he says he is in the best shape of his life and he wants to share his journey. The program will be on Wyoming PBS Friday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and at noon on Sept. 6. 

Owen traveled the world giving talks about Cowboy Ethics to places like West Point, the FBI Academy, Navy Seals, and onward.  He was flying around giving 35 speeches a year and found himself in the worst physical condition of his life.  He weighed 205, his knees creaked, and his lower back was killing him. Through a number of changes in his life, which he is anxious to share, he now weighs 150 and feels no pain. Earlier he wrote a book called Just Move! published by National Geographic.

I am looking forward to seeing his documentary but his history with Wyoming really piqued my interest. 

It all started with the ubiquitous late Mick McMurry of Casper. McMurry wanted to start his Jonah Banks and had seen a copy of Owen’s book Cowboy Ethics.  McMurry thought his bank needed an ethic guide and with his bank president Mark Zaback, they met with Owen about incorporating it into the bank’s system of operation. 

The late McMurry, who died in 2015, was probably Wyoming’s biggest booster, with his wife Susie, during this last decade and pretty soon, the idea of Cowboy Ethics was speeding all across the state.  Ultimately, it was even adopted by the Wyoming Legislature as a code of conduct. Wyoming is the only state in America that has such a code. 

During his visits to Wyoming, he recalled one dinner with former U. S. Sen. Al Simpson in Cody. “I never met a man more interesting,” he said.

Owen, who now lives in San Diego, has a special affinity with Wyoming that goes back a long way.  In the early 1980s, Jim and his wife of 52 years adopted two children.  Their son was born in Sheridan and his wife had to be a Wyoming resident in order to complete the adoption, so she lived in a ranch outside of Sheridan for six months. 

From that date years ago, they came full circle ten years ago when Mick McMurry made that fateful phone call. 

“Wyoming is a great place,” he says. “Cowboy Ethics really matter here. They just do not anymore in Texas, Colorado, or Montana.”  He paused. “But, Wyoming, is the real home of the cowboy. And it is the home of the mythology of the West.”

He recalled being on a panel at the University of Wyoming and being nervous that he might be stumped by the professors on the panel with him. But when he started talking about the mythology of the West and how all great systems in mythology have to have heroes – well, in Wyoming, the cowboy is the hero. “When I was growing up, cowboys were always my heroes,” he says. “We need heroes in our lives today more than ever.”

“Heroes always live by a code of honor, loyalty, honesty, bravery . . . think of the Knights of the Round Table or the Samurai, for example. In every culture, there are noble heroes.   They all have ethics they follow,” he says,” and it is the same for Cowboys.”  

But now he has moved on from cowboys. 

“I am trying to inspire.  I guess I am in the inspiration business. I want people to reach for the best in themselves,” he said. “to do that it means taking care of yourself and taking on a healthy lifestyle.”

He doesn’t like the word exercise but believes the first step is to just move.  “My wife and I call our workouts training, which seems to fit us better. We like to do our exercises together.”

So like Jim, it appears the best thing we can do is just move!  

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Bill Sniffin: What Is Wyoming’s Worst Tourist Attraction? Well, Think Again!

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

Cowboy State Daily just published a list of the worst tourist attractions in America and here in Wyoming, the Intergalactic Spaceport in Green River topped the list

Really?

I have actually landed my airplane at the spaceport.  Yeah, it was a bumpy gravel strip but it sure was handy when visiting the Green River Star, a newspaper where I was the publisher. 

Now this was back in 1976.  I am not sure it was even considered a spaceport then.  Living in Lander, it was a 2.5-hour drive to Green River and a 40-minute flight.  The then-new Rock Springs airport is about five miles east of Rock Springs, which made flying in to it and then lining up a car to drive to Green River was almost more difficult than just driving the entire way.  

And let’s be honest, driving over South Pass can be thrilling just about any time of year because of wind, rain, fog, snow, and wild animals. But I digress.

Sometime after 1976, the clever folks in Green River decided they wanted to create a more interesting name for their lowly, pretty much abandoned airport and came up with the idea of it being Wyoming’s “only” intergalactic spaceport.  Very clever.

The site is largely abandoned except for the signs. The views, though, from the strip on top of South Hill, about four miles from Green River, are spectacular.  And a neat road into Firehole Canyon is not far. I like the place very much. 

Instagram recently did a survey and then published a map of the 50 states which listed the worst tourist attractions in each state. 

Heck, I have been to 14 of them including Hollywood, Route 66, Grand Canyon, Mormon Temple, Casa Bonita, Corn Palace, Carhenge, Field of Dreams, Bourbon St., Wisconsin Dells, Disneyworld, Myrtle Beach, Times Square, and Alamo. Check out the story on Cowboy State Daily and see how many you have been to. 

So, if the spaceport isn’t the worst attraction in Wyoming, what is?

For some reason I was always suspicious of going to the Vore Buffalo Jump near Sundance.  But it is the real deal.  Really an amazing site. You can learn a lot there, so count that one out. 

To folks who don’t get it, getting to the Medicine Wheel high in the Big Horn Mountains between Lovell and Buffalo-Sheridan would seem to be way too much work for not enough satisfaction.  Again, not true. It is a truly spiritual place.  At 10,000 feet in elevation it literally takes your breath way in more ways than one. So, scratch that off the list. 

Maybe a third over-rated site would be Ayres Natural Bridge. It is a little county park along Interstate 25 between Glenrock and Casper. Again, wrong.  It is a wonderful place. On a hot summer day, it is very cool.  Don’t miss it. 

Well, later on I might add some other names to this list. 

Maybe the Spaceport really is the worst tourist attraction in Wyoming. Heck, it isn’t even the only spaceport.  Everybody knows that Devils Tower is the main spaceport on the entire planet.  Back in 1977, Stephen Spielberg arranged for a huge craft full of aliens to make the first official contact with humans there. Right on that spot. Right here in Wyoming!

So, that leaves the spaceport with the “worst” designation. Sorry Green River folks. 

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Bill Sniffin: Four Women In The Headlines After Wyoming Primary Elections

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

National history concerning women was made in Wyoming last Tuesday – and it occurred on the 100th anniversary of national suffrage for women. You just cannot make this up.

The four major party candidates for U. S. Senator and U. S. Representative will all be women come the general election on Nov. 3. 

This is simply amazing.

And one of the women brings another amazing statistic to the table – Lynnette Grey Bull of the Wind River Indian Reservation, is the first native American woman to run for a major national race in Wyoming.

The two best known winners Tuesday are Liz Cheney and Cynthia Lummis. Cheney is the incumbent Republican U. S. Representative, who won her primary and will be a heavy favorite in the general against Grey Bull. 

Lummis was a four-term U. S. Representative and will be a heavy favorite to defeat Democrat Merav Ben-David from Laramie.

Cheney and Lummis are both Republicans in a state that is overwhelmingly Republican.

Reporter Tom Coulter did an excellent article on this and quoted Ben-David: “This is an unprecedented time, and (this election) will be unprecedented in so many ways. I will be the first female Wyoming senator, the first scientist in the Senate since 1982 and the first climate scientist ever elected to the Senate,” Ben-David said. “I think there will be so many firsts if I win, and I intend to win,” she added.

Coulter’s story also reported: In a historic step for Native American representation in Wyoming, Lynnette Grey Bull secured the Democratic nomination to run in the November general election, making her the first Native American person to secure the federal nomination of a major political party in Wyoming.

Grey Bull, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe and vice president of the Global Indigenous Council. Grey Bull won a vast majority of the vote, with roughly 12,328 ballots cast for her.

After her victory Tuesday night, Grey Bull said she looked forward to continuing her campaign’s momentum into the general election. As a woman and as the first Native American person to secure a major-party nomination in Wyoming, Grey Bull said the experience has been emotional.

“I know the suffering that my people have gone through,” Grey Bull said. “I know the long history that we have here, not only in Wyoming, but in the Northern Plains region.”

“Something like today, out of all the ‘no’s’ I’ve received in life, this ‘yes’ really means a lot, not only for myself, but for my people,” she continued.

The general election will be held Nov. 3.

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Cowboy State Daily Is Expanding! Will You Help us Grow?

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By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily

Dear reader and friend,

Cowboy State Daily has been really hitting it out of the park lately.

Just 20 months ago, when we launched Wyoming’s newest statewide digital daily news service, we didn’t expect to grow this rapidly. But we have.

In the last three months alone, our readership has more than quadrupled. We’re seeing a big increase in readers who come directly to our site, who visit us from Facebook, and those who come to us from the daily newsletter.

It’s been particularly fun to watch the engagement on Facebook.  Just last week, one of our posts had nearly 5,000 shares and that resulted in 300,000 readers!

Daily subscribers to our FREE newsletter have grown tremendously as well.  We’ve tripled our subscribers in the last few months. Here’s how you can sign-up.  It’s easy and it’s FREE.

People are coming to us because we provide lively news and commentary from Wyoming journalists and columnists. We never close down. We’re always up.

On the coronavirus story alone, we’ve published over 550 stories! Nobody has covered it like we have.

The feedback we are getting from our dedicated readers has been fantastic. Let us know how we are doing, please.

But you haven’t seen anything yet. We are ambitious. We want to greatly increase our coverage from all across Wyoming. This will require money to hire new employees and to provide the technological know-how to get it all done.

With all this success in the future, would you be able to give us a hand today in the present?

We are a 501 C 3 non-profit corporation and depend on donations to pay our outstanding staff, compile a fantastic daily newsletter, and maintain our exciting web page.

In the past six months, we have had donations ranging from $25 to $20,000. 

We did a small practice fund drive over Memorial Day which generated a nice sum that has kept us going up to now. We also have sold some wonderful advertising packages to outstanding companies like Black Hills Energy and Timberline Hospitalities plus created and ran promotions for Carbon, Goshen, and Sweetwater Counties.

Cowboy State Daily is working well on so many levels but between the COVID-19 crisis and the Wyoming economy crashing, we sure would appreciate it if our loyal readers would consider giving us some financial support?  

You can donate by credit card through our web site or our free daily newsletter or send a check to Cowboy State Daily, Box 900, Lander, WY 82520.  Feel free to call me at (307) 349 2211 if you have fund-raising ideas or if you want to sponsor a certain type of story or column.

We are an excellent advertising medium. Please consider us for your next ad buy. Just contact me. 

 Also, if you are involved in a charitable foundation or family foundation, please let me know. We would very much appreciate being considered for a grant. Thanks in advance.

 Don’t just watch us grow, join us!

 Thanks again for your support.

 Bill Sniffin, Publisher

Wyoming Election Recap: Tuesday Was Big Day For Conservatives; GOP Shifts To The Right

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

After the primary election Tuesday, it sure looks like the conservatives won the soul of Wyoming’s Republican Party.

During the primary campaign, it was obvious the Cowboy State seemed to be moving toward a three-party system, with Democrats, far-right conservative Republicans, and Republicans, who are labeled moderate or RINO (Republican in Name Only) by their opponents.

If you are keeping score, it sure appeared to be a wonderful night for the conservative Republicans.  The primary election battlefield was littered with the carcasses of stalwart candidates who had been labeled moderate.

In Wyoming, what the heck does moderate mean?  After Tuesday, it appears that if you show that you might consider raising any kind of tax, then you are a moderate.  Based on these results, it also appears that if you do not sign a pledge for Wyoming gun owners, you could face stiff opposition.

And based on these results, it would appear that the next session of the Legislature could be a truly cantankerous battle between pragmatic moderates who might consider anything to balance the budget versus staunch conservatives who prefer cutting government programs as their way to balance the state budget.  And based on Tuesday’s results, it would appear many of Wyoming’s voters support that position.

Let’s look at some of the results:

Wyoming’s State Senate became more conservative as a result of contested elections in Tuesday’s Wyoming primary election.

State senate races in Cheyenne, Gillette, Riverton, and Cody generated much of the excitement,      

In Campbell County, Incumbent Sen. Michael Von Flatern lost big to Troy McKeown, 1,507 to 626.  Von Flatern had literally been in the sights of the Wyoming Gun Owners, who campaigned vigorously against him. Von Flatern was viewed as a moderate.  A last-minute endorsement by retiring U. S. Sen. Mike Enzi could not save him.

In Laramie County, Sen. Anthony Bouchard held on to his seat, despite heavy opposition from Erin Johnson.  Bouchard’s margin of victory of 2,064 to 1,903 was typically close, as have been almost all of Bouchard’s races.   This result was a surprise to many observers as moderate Wyoming politicians like Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower) openly campaigned against Bouchard.

In Fremont County, State Rep. Tim Salazar moved up to win retiring State Sen. Eli Bebout’s seat with a 2,882 to 1,738 win over businessman Mike Bailey.  Bebout had been in the legislature for decades and was a former Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.

In Park County, Hank Coe was retiring after 31 years in the legislature.  County Commissioner Tim French defeated Rep. David Northrup, 2,174 to 1,442. Stefanie Bell got 1,205 votes. A lot of outside money went into this race.  French was considered by many to be the most conservative of the candidates.

In the House, the biggest upset occurred in District One in Crook and Weston Counties where Chip Neiman defeated Majority Whip Tyler Lindholm, 1,812 to 1,593. Neiman was considered the conservative in this race.  

In Park County, a mud-slinging campaign saw incumbent Sandy Newsome defeat Nina Webber, 1,237 to 868.  It was a hard-fought battle. Webber was considered the conservative with Newsome seen as a moderate.

In somewhat of an upset, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr finished third in the primary and will not compete in the general election for a second term. Patrick Collins 8,451 and Rick Coppinger, 2,959, finished first and second.

In another upset of a kind, a one-half cent sales tax to support economic development won in Fremont County by a vote of 5,132 to 5,001. With the state economy in the toilet, observers thought this tax would never pass.  The funds would be used for job development, airport funding, and local shuttle buses.

The two biggest guns running were former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis easily winning the primary for U, S. Senate to replace retiring Mike Enzi and Incumbent U. S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who easily won her primary election.

When the smoke cleared, it clearly was a good night for the most conservative of Wyoming’s Republicans.  Earlier this year they dominated the GOP state convention and pretty much controlled the state platform, too.

As for the moderates, it might be back to the drawing board for them. They took a pretty good licking Tuesday, Aug. 18.

Editor’s note: Anthony Bouchard’s votes were updated to include the numbers for Goshen County at 11:15 a.m. on Aug. 19.

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Bill Sniffin: Recalling 15 Brave Firefighters Who Died In A Wyoming Fire 83 Years Ago

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher Cowboy State Daily, (Photos and illustrations from WyoHistory.org.)

It was the worst of the worst. Good young men. Running for their lives. Nowhere to hide. The fire was relentless.

This month marks the 83rd memorial anniversary of the worst forest fire disaster in Wyoming history when it comes to loss of firefighter lives.

In an obscure and difficult place to reach called Blackwater, a group of forest rangers and Civilian Conservation Corps firefighters lost their lives on Aug. 21, 1937.

Lightning started the fire that burned some 1,700 acres in the Shoshone National Forest west of Cody.

Although the fire began on Aug. 18, it slept and was not detected until two days later. Some 58 men were deployed in the area.

A weather event called a “dry cold front” was instrumental in the fire blowing up and engulfing the crew that died.  Nine men perished immediately and another six died later of their horrific burns.  Another 38 men suffered injuries as almost the entire crew was injured or killed in the conflagration.

Cause was later specified as an undiscovered “hot spot” that was rapidly expanded by this weather condition that can move into an area so fast. Back in 1937 before satellites, technology was not in place in helping to predict weather.

Lander’s Karl Brauneis is a national expert on forest fires and cites several changes to firefighting brought about by tragedies like the Blackwater.

 “The development of a fixed lookout detection system coupled with aerial detection and the ‘Ten Standard Fire Orders’ all helped keep fires smaller and safer for the men who fought them,” he said. “The 1939 Smokejumper program of fast aerial initial attack by parachute was in direct response to the Blackwater tragedy.  Soon a very aggressive system of prevention, detection and control was in place nationwide.”

Karl laments the loss of so many fire lookout towers in recent years and believes that many should be rebuilt to help provide for early detection.

But the key to better firefighting management, according to Karl, has been the loss of our federal timber sale program. Federal timber not only provided for American jobs and reduced fuel loads but also paid for school districts, county roads and bridges and most importantly the large Forest Service crews that planted trees, piled brush and built trails. Those crews were all financed by the timber sold and were not linked to the appropriated federal budget.

The recollection of this horrible Cody-area fire was also on my mind seven years ago as more than 200 firefighters dealt with a fast-moving fire that ripped through Sinks Canyon State Park and the southern end of the Shoshone National Forest just outside of Lander.

Smoke covered our town and we could watch the flames from our deck. 

A development called Homestead Park with about 30 homes and cabins came within 50 yards of being burned.  A huge DC10 jet tanker that was based in Casper that year dropped about 11,000 gallons of slurry on the fire during each pass and appeared to be the decisive factor in saving the subdivision.

To me, the power of that fire was relentless.  I was worried it might follow the river bottom all the way to Lander.  The fire was limited to about 2,000 acres.

Such losses by fire have been detailed in two of the best books that I have read.  They are just amazing works.

Young Men and Fire is a book by Montanan Norman Maclean, who also wrote A River Runs Through It. 

Maclean is an amazingly conservative writer who labors on each word.  It takes him over 10 years to produce a book. His book is the story about a fire in the Gates of the Mountain area of Montana in 1949 that killed 13 smokejumpers.

Author Timothy Egan wrote The Big Burn, which detailed a massive fire that covered the state of Idaho in 1909-1910 and killed more than 100 brave but ill-equipped firefighters.

Those fires and the politics behind its non-suppression helped preserve the fledgling U. S. Forest Service, which was being attacked and decimated by powerful members of the Congress working for the big lumber companies. It took a mighty effort by President Teddy Roosevelt and USFS head Gifford Pinchot to keep the service in place.

In 2020, we are primed for a horrible fire season in Wyoming. Pray for rain and if you live in the trees, you may want to create a nice clearing around your property.

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Bill Sniffin: Lummis Will Excel; I Thought Michelle Obama Would Be Veep Pick

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher, Cowboy State Daily

Former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis should be celebrating on Tuesday, Aug. 18, as she easily wins the Republican primary to run for the U. S. Senate seat left open by the retirement by Sen. Mike Enzi.

I think Lummis will be a good senator who will represent Wyoming’s conservative interests well.  She had the misfortune of serving as one of 435 Representatives during the eight years of Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency.  It was not a position where you could get much done and Lummis has been criticized for that. Nobody was more frustrated than Lummis, herself, during that time.

But the Senate is a totally different place.  If President Trump wins and if the Republicans hold the Senate, she will instantly become a player.  Her knowledge of energy and other interests close to the hearts of Wyomingites will serve us well.

Sen. Mike Enzi cannot be replaced. History will show that he was one of the most effective U. S. Senators of all time.  Well done, Mike.  You and Diana deserve a rest!

 I sure thought Michelle Obama would be Joe Biden’s pick for his vice-presidential running mate.  That decision could have propelled him to the presidency.  

Meanwhile, what does a Biden-Kamala Harris ticket look like against a Trump-Pence ticket?

With all the recent riots and the uproar over Black Lives Matter, there is a huge silent majority that might just tilt toward reelecting President Donald Trump when he uses “law and order” as his main theme.  

It is easy to predict that thousands of folks who might not vote for Trump but may just not vote for president, at all, as a protest against the bad behavior being seen in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, and other places with Democrat mayors and governors.  This helps Trump.

The 2016 election was very close.  A few changed votes in key states would have given the election to Clinton.  This time around, the election will be just as close. 

Among my Facebook friends, other friends, and family who favor Biden (and there are a lot of them), the fever against Trump is like nothing I have ever seen before. They literally hate him.

I thought my hard-nosed Republican friends really seriously hated Obama, but this hatred toward Trump is off the charts.  

On a more local note, I think a Biden election could do more economic damage to Wyoming than 2020’s COVID-19 or falling energy prices. This conclusion has nothing to do about favoring Republicans over Democrats. It just reflects the facts of what Biden is saying through his progressive consultants like AOC.

We could see good middle-class jobs disappear and an entire generation of folks move out of the state.  It could be total devastation to the fossil fuel industry, which drives the economy of the Cowboy State. It could be predicted that the state would lose 50,000 to 100,000 people as middle-class jobless families move out and are replaced by retirees or young couples. 

We would not have a housing glut but rather see over and over a situation where a home with dad, mom, three kids, and a dog are replaced by dad and mom and a dog. Do the math.

I thought the 2016 was the most interesting election in my lifetime.  Now, it looks 2020 will top that for drama.  And nasty and mean – this one will be a drag’em through the gutter race from now until Nov. 3.

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Bill Sniffin: Lummis Will Excel; Watch Out For Michelle Obama

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Former U. S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis should be celebrating on Tuesday, Aug. 18, when she will easily win the Republican primary to run for the U. S. Senate seat left open by the retirement by Sen. Mike Enzi.

I think Lummis will be a good senator who will represent Wyoming’s conservative interests well.  She had the misfortune of serving as one of 435 Representatives during the eight years of Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency.  It was not a position where you could get much done and Lummis has been criticized for that. Nobody was more frustrated than Lummis herself, during that time. 

But the Senate is a totally different place.  If President Trump wins and if the Republicans hold the Senate, she will instantly become a player.  Her knowledge of energy and other interests close to the hearts of Wyomingites will serve us well. 

Sen. Mike Enzi cannot be replaced. History will show that he was one of the most effective U. S. Senators of all time.  Well done, Mike.  You and Diana deserve a rest!

Drum roll please!  I think Michelle Obama will be Joe Biden’s pick for his vice-presidential running mate.  That decision could propel him to the presidency.  

That could be the only reason he earlier announced he was picking a Black woman as his running mate.  I am not the only one making this prediction but I wanted to get it on the record before Biden announces his pick later this week. 

Meanwhile, Biden painted himself in a corner by narrowing his choice to a Black woman – unless this was his way for the country to get used to the idea of Black woman vice president. 

Michelle Obama is the best of all possible picks for Biden.  It is no-brainer. 

Across the country, a lot of Republicans helped make Michelle’s husband Barack a two-term president. Plus, we know that having her on the ticket will galvanize millions of Black voters who voted for Obama twice but, for some reason, stayed home when they had the chance to vote for Hillary Clinton four years ago.

A Biden-Obama ticket makes sense for the Democrats despite a recent series of events that will hurt the Democrat cause mightily.

With all the recent riots and the uproar over Black Lives Matter, there is a huge silent majority that might just tilt toward reelecting President Donald Trump when he uses “law and order” as his main theme.  

It is easy to predict that thousands of folks who might not vote for Trump but may just not vote for president, at all, as a protest against the bad behavior being seen in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, and other places with Democrat mayors and governors.  This helps Trump. 

The 2016 election was very close.  A few changed votes in key states would have given the election to Clinton.  This time around, the election will be just as close. 

Among my Facebook friends, other friends, and family who favor Biden (and there are a lot of them), the fever against Trump is like nothing I have ever seen before. They literally hate him. 

I thought my hard-nosed Republican friends really seriously hated Obama, but this hatred toward Trump is off the charts.  

This brings me back to my original premise.  Michelle Obama will be Biden’s ideal vice-presidential pick. She will be a strong campaigner.  She is the most admired woman in America. Her recent book sold zillions of copies and made her a boatload of money.  

So why would she do it?  Like so many anti-Trumpers, she and her husband have had a bellyful of seeing the programs passed by President Obama over eight years being trashed.  

Plus, the Obama kids are pretty much grown.  And yet Michelle is still a young woman at 56.  Compared to Biden, 77, Trump, 74, and white-haired Vice President Mike Pence, 61, she would look like a single-person youth movement. All the Gen Xers and Millennials will gravitate toward her as she drags Biden along with her. 

On a more local note, I think a Biden election could do more economic damage to Wyoming than 2020’s COVID-19 or falling energy prices. This conclusion has nothing to do about favoring Republicans over Democrats. It just reflects the facts of what Biden is saying through his progressive consultants like AOC.

We could see good middle-class jobs disappear and an entire generation of folks move out of the state.  It could be total devastation to the fossil fuel industry, which drives the economy of the Cowboy State. It could be predicted that the state would lose 50,000 to 100,000 people as middle-class jobless families move out and are replaced by retirees or young couples.  

We would not have a housing glut but rather see over and over a situation where a home with dad, mom, three kids, and a dog are replaced by dad and mom and a dog. Do the math. 

The names Biden and Obama have a familiar ring to it when it comes to a presidential ticket.  A ticket of those names won two national elections and very recently ran the country’s executive branch for eight years. 

Biden’s pick is the most important vice-presidential pick since Harry Truman was selected to be FDR’s running mate in 1944.  It is easy to predict he will not squander it on anyone except a sure winner — Michelle Obama. 

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