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Bill Sniffin: Travel During The Time Of COVID And Fall Foliage

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Travel times can be nervous times in the time of COVID.

We were anxious about going to a wedding and then going farther, but what about the booster shot?

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the Pfizer vaccine’s long-term protection against COVID was not quite as potent, over the long run, as the Moderna shot.

As recipients of the Pfizer vaccine back in January, both my wife Nancy and I were eligible for the booster shot.

We were headed to our grandson’s wedding in Grand Junction and this seemed a good time to get the booster. We loaded up our old motorhome (nicknamed Follow My Nose) and headed south. Our ultimate destination on this trip was Las Vegas, where we store the coach during the winter months.

But before we left, we were concerned about COVID.

Three elderly Lander friends, all of whom were vaccinated, recently had gotten sick from COVID.  Although none died or were even hospitalized, this got our attention. They reported severe headaches and the need to sleep for about five days.  One friend says he is still very tired after two weeks.

A story in the New York Times reported on this:

“Roughly 221 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been dispensed thus far in the United States, compared with about 150 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. In a half-dozen studies published over the past few weeks, Moderna’s vaccine appeared to be more protective than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the months after immunization.

The latest such study, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, evaluated the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing symptomatic illness in about 5,000 health care workers in 25 states. The study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had an effectiveness of 88.8 percent, compared with Moderna’s 96.3 percent.”

Ryan Hedges, the CEO of the Lander Medical Clinic, set up procedures for those wishing to obtain the booster shot and we were able to get ours before we left on the first leg of our trip to Grand Junction. We experienced no side effects at all.

Weather guru Don Day said that if we left on Sept. 23, the conditions should be perfect for driving a 13-foot high rig across a stretch famous for brutal westerly winds. He was right. Outside of incredible construction between Baggs and Craig, Colorado, the trip was uneventful.

Aspen trees in Carbon County were just starting to turn. That excellent paved highway from Saratoga to Baggs features perhaps the best Gold Aspen viewing in the state. I have never seen so many Aspen trees as on Battle Mountain. 

The famous Aspen Alley is located in that area. Cowboy State Daily recently published the best photo ever taken of Aspen Alley by noted Cheyenne photographer Randy Wagner. It is a spectacular photo of a brilliant site.

The entire state is showing great color.  The Wyoming Black Hills up by Newcastle and Sundance are amazing.

Mountain ranges from one end of Wyoming to the other are showing off this time of year. If you can, get out and drive the Big Horn, Wind River, Wyoming, Teton, Owl Creek, Sierra Madre, and many other mountain ranges.  The canyons are wonderful, too.

After Baggs we drove down the Yampa River Valley in Colorado through Meeker and Rifle.  Color was just coming out there, too.

As I write this, we are still feeling fine and we got through the wedding ceremony, reception, and various other gatherings in excellent shape.

From Grand Junction, we again checked with Don Day and he said weather should cooperate. He was right until we reached that long stretch from Mesquite to Vegas. It was windy but we managed.

We are spending a few days in Sin City before putting our rig in storage for a few months. We hope to go back in February for some time. More than $1 billion was wagered in Vegas in August, and while that total is below pre-pandemic levels, it still shows that business is coming back.

When it comes to COVID, Nevada is California Junior with everybody ordered to wear masks just about everywhere.  It was common to see folks wearing masks outside and even while driving. It was frankly a little shocking after enjoying Wyoming’s pretty much mask-free environment.

We are looking forward to our trip home, especially through some of our favorite towns like Evanston, Kemmerer, and Fort Bridger. I am pondering taking a route which would feature a stop at Flaming Gorge. The road from Fort Bridger to the Flaming Gorge dam is a scenic gem that few Wyoming people have traveled. If they do, they are in for a gorgeous trip.

Fall is my favorite time of year in Wyoming. In recent years it stretched to the end of October before winter snows.  We can only hope.

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Jim Hicks: After Some Maritial Trouble, His Wife Still Missed Him . . .

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By Jim Hicks, columnist

Didn’t think we’d ever say this . . . but it’s good to see the weather cool down a little. Last Monday it was pushing 90 degrees, and those thin-blooded Bench Sitters were actually complaining about the heat.  Most of them are on blood-thinners and have darn little meat on their bones to help keep warm.

Last week old “Back When” told us a story about buying a load of hay from Curley Galusha back in 1949, and darned it that didn’t trigger another memory worth repeating.

It was about the Prom decorating committee of the high school Junior Class in the spring of 1953.  It was tradition for the Junior Class to handle the job, and that particular class was loaded with “over-achievers”. 

Their theme was “under the sea” — complete with a false ceiling of crepe paper in the old gymnasium and a huge coral reef in the middle. 

Of course, coral was hard to come by in these parts, so the decorating committee decided spray-painted tumble weeds would work just fine.

They gathered up a truck load (not a big job in Wyoming), and took them out to a barn near town to do the paint job.  That barn belonged to the Howard Watt family (Camilla was on the decorating committee).

But the kids didn’t realize spray painting where a lot of hay was stored might not be a good idea. 

Shortly after the Junior Senior Prom the Watt’s herd of dairy cows started getting sick. The Veterinarian was called and all the milk had to be dumped for fear it would be contaminated. It didn’t take long to discover milk cows don’t do well on hay soaked with spray paint. 

Mr. Watt was a gentle soul. He understood it was not intentional, and forgave the decorating committee. 

Meanwhile back down at the Bench Sitter’s coffee club we picked up on a good conversation between two of those old boys.  It went something like this . . .

“I hear your wife finally got tired of some of your bad habits and moved in with her sister over in Powell last week.”

“Yup, I guess tracking grease in on the new carpet was the final straw.”

“Well, now the story around town is that she missed you, and we’re glad to hear that. Is she going to move back over?

“Nope . . . I think she’s re-loading.”

For those of you with short memories, it was the second week of September in 2014 that the mercury slid below 20 degrees and we were blessed with about 14 inches of heavy wet snow  . . . bringing down some trees and loads of branches.

The city allowed people to pile all those limbs in the parking area at Prosinski Park and the County pitched into move all that to a spot near the sewage plant to be burned later.

And in 2016 the area got about three inches of rain at the end of September.  Had it been colder, it would have been a repeat of the “tree disaster” two years earlier.

That year one of the locals said, “That was a great rain . . . I had almost three inches in my rain gauge.”

“Well, up where we live northwest of town we measured three and a half.”

“I can top that!  We had almost four inches at our place.”

And then a retired rancher from Powder River spoke up. 

“I left one of those five gallon buckets outside near the garage and used yard-stick to measure it.”

The coffee group was quiet and waited for his report.

“How much was in the bucket?” one of them asked.

“Just a trace,” he said. “The bottom of the bucket was cracked.”

Not much hope for moisture like that for the fall of 2021, and we are seeing a few livestock trucks hauling cattle. That’s a sure sign winter grass in short supply and hay has reached the “tipping” price where selling the cows makes economic sense.

Old Bad News says this is all a being caused by the same people who put stuff in the Covid vaccine that caused his cousin’s left testicle to swell up and turn purple.

Most of the other Bench Sitters believe senility will be a smooth transition for old Bad News.

Stay healthy, remember to get your flu shots and we’ll write again next week.

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Jimmy Orr: We Love Your Wyoming Sunrises

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By Jimmy Orr, editor

Anyone who is from Wyoming or has lived here for awhile has heard the state described as a small town with long roads.

We use that saying a lot.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Mark Gordon said it when he answered a question about the 20th anniversary of the tragic accident that killed eight Wyoming athletes on Highway 287.

His point was the accident affected all of us in every part of the state.  We could all feel that pain together.

We can all feed good together too though.

And one of the things that makes being the editor of Cowboy State Daily so enjoyable is hearing from citizens all across the cowboy state.

We do when we publish the Wyoming sunrise of the day. 

Not a day has gone by when we haven’t had a new one. 

Just this past week, we’ve had photos of sunrises sent to us from Jay Em, LaBarge, and Vedauwoo.  That covers a lot of ground in southern Wyoming (although Jay Em is more central but who’s counting). We haven’t published the LaBarge one yet but look at these beauties from Jay Em and Vedauwoo.

When the email comes in with the town in the subject line, it’s fun to open up. Because you picture the town before you see the photo. So you’re looking forward to see their perspective.

It’s also fun to see a location that you can’t put a finger on.  

Savery, Wyoming. I immediately think of Baggs and Dixon. I know where it is. I’ve been there. 

But I didn’t have a picture in my head. 

Savery, Wyoming

But now I do and it’s spectacular. Look at the greens and the different shades of yellow. The grass in the foreground. The cows in the pasture and the mountains in the background. 

Don’t know what happened to the bottom part of the sun but that imperfection makes the photo better somehow.

It’s one of our favorites.

Powell, Wyoming

This one from Powell is pretty striking too. The gradient oranges. The deep greens. And the synchronized horses.  Thanks to Shawnee Moon for this one.

I had to Google “Auburn, Wyoming” before I recalled where this town is located and I was bothered by that because I think I’m infallible on knowing every town and location in the state. How could I forget Auburn?

It’s not incorporated and I’m not sure I have traveled on Highway 238 before. Highway 89, of course. Ton of times.

Auburn, Wyoming

But it was great to get a photo from Auburn and now I’ve got to make the trip.

We’ve received photos from every county. That was an easy achievement. Johnson County and Park County may have the most active photographers.

We have not received photos from every community. We have yet to receive a photo from Lost Cabin, Lysite, Sussex, Manville, Hartville, Beulah, Arvada, Spotted Horse, Bill, Van Tassel, and Point of Rocks. For that matter, we are still waiting for photos from Bairoil and Lamont too. And then there’s gotta be a great sunrise photo from Jeffrey City out there.

Those are a few off the top of my head. 

Here’s the deal: you keep sending them and we’ll keep publishing them.

As a matter of fact, we’re going to ask Dave Bell, who is one of the most talented photographers in the country and Pinedale is lucky enough to call him a citizen, to give some tips on how to take the best sunrise photo with a phone.

We’re glad you enjoy the feature and we sure like doing it.

And while I’m at it, I will make my continued appeal to all photographers: Shoot horizontally, not vertically. Thanks

Come on Bairoil, let’s get it together. Send a photo!

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Bill Sniffin: Yellowstone’s Favorite Haunts Just As Special Today As Over Past 150 Years

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

(part 2 of 2)

“Like No Place on Earth” was the official slogan for Wyoming’s tourism division a few years ago.  I liked the slogan but thought it referred more to Yellowstone National Park than anywhere else in the state.

That was reaffirmed to us recently when we made our annual trek to the world’s first national park.

Our initial part of our trip out of Lander was interesting. For example, Wind River Canyon between Shoshoni and Thermopolis was slow going because of workers cleaning up a rock fall.

In Cody, we broke one of our windshield wipers while fueling up. We made it to NAPA as they were closing and Tall Joe was wonderful in fixing us up. It was funny as I chased him down the street trying to give him some money. 

One of the best deals in Wyoming is the prime rib dinner buffet at the Irma Hotel and the Dan Miller Revue show afterward.  Just $40. Amazing. Miller has done more than 2,000 shows playing with Wendy Corr and his daughter Hannah.  The show was top notch and very professional.  If you get to Cody, please go. You will not regret it.

We spent a lot of quality time at the most heavily-visited part of the park – the lower loop.  We skipped Old Faithful because of time constraints but were looking forward to some hot water elsewhere.

Norris Geyser Basin is the greatest hot spot in earth. It covers a huge area and can be incredibly dangerous.  Once a season you will hear about someone getting burned in Yellowstone and most often, it happens here.

During our 11-hour trip we were anxious to get to Norris. We have made many trips to Yellowstone in September and October over the past 51 years and for most of that time, the tourists were “local” – from Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. On this trip, I finally spotted cars with Montana and an Idaho license plates parked together. Finally, some locals.  Then we noticed they were penned in between cars from Hawaii, California, and Florida. Oh well.

Norris did not disappoint.  It was a windy day, which meant big blasts of sulfur every so often. If you like geysers like I do, the smell of rotten eggs warms your heart.

Traffic was light from Norris to Canyon as we headed for Artist’s Point. It was crowded but we found a parking space.  

At the Point, two guys talking in a foreign language were beside us, so I asked them where they were from.  They said Venezuela originally, but they had lived in Miami for many years now. They bemoaned what had happened to their country but were loving their first visit to YNP.

The road south through Hayden Valley was blocked by a big herd of buffalo. The big bulls were right in front of us and snorting at us. I took a photo through my windshield showing the big bull and the park gal in the distance with her bullhorn. I want to point that out because if you saw the photo, you might think I was being one of those idiots who walk right up to bison. Nope. Not now. Not ever.

Our favorite place is the Lake Hotel and specifically, the big sun room. On this day, it was packed with folks all enjoying drinks and watching whitecaps on the inland sea called Yellowstone Lake. Everybody was required to wear a mask to get in but they all had them off as they sat, drank their drinks, and enjoyed both the view and the company.  The line to the bar was more than 12 people.  We chose to move on.

The morning we left Lander, banker Bill Von Holtum had just come from Yellowstone and said his family had seen three grizzly bears, all in the Fishing Bridge area on the East Entrance road.

We looked but did not see any on this day.  As we left the park headed back to Cody, we entered a surreal world called Wapiti Valley.  This is such a strange place with huge mountains, deep valleys, and a beautiful river.  The HooDoos were amazing, as was a giant rock formation, which I call the Bear’s Ears looming over the whole area.

Sleeping Giant Ski Area has expanded and looked impressive.  The Buffalo Bill Reservoir was drawn down somewhat as we approached the famous Buffalo Bill Dam. When it was built in 1912, it was the tallest in the world.

The Smith Mansion is a six-story relic that looms over part of the valley as you head toward Cody.

When we passed the Cody Rodeo Grounds, we had been gone for 11 hours and had travelled over 300 miles. 

Wow, what a day!  Certainly, one of the best days ever.

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Dave Simpson: Pay Like Everyone Else Does, Joe!

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By Dave Simpson, columnist

“Let’s not talk about the numbers,” (wide eyes, wild hand gestures) “and dollars. Let’s talk about the values.”

That was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, talking to reporters last week.

Old Russian saying: “The circus left. The clowns remain.”

Seems kind of appropriate, these days in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was in a snit last week (he does snits better than anyone), fulminating at Republicans who were refusing to go along with Democrats in the latest installment of the raising-the-debt-ceiling clown-car show. Schumer said Republicans are “playing with fire” if they don’t vote to raise the debt ceiling to avoid another government semi-kind-of-you-know-shutdown.

Schumer’s nemesis, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said last week that “Americans know a train wreck when they see one.” We’re left to wonder WHICH train wreck. There are so many.

So, let’s get this straight, for the benefit of those of us out here in Flyover Country, where you can only raise the limit on your credit cards so many times, and max out so many cards before someone figures out what you’re up to, and you suddenly have to live under the horrible burden of paying some of that money back. (The HORROR!)

Apparently, spending over $1 trillion and change on the much ballyhooed “bipartisan” infrastructure bill that is still in the works doesn’t strike Chuck as “playing with fire.” (These infrastructure fans apparently haven’t been out for a ride lately, and seen the construction tying things up already. No, we need an additional trillion in flag persons, orange cones and dozers.)

Neither, apparently, does the prospect of an additional $3.5 trillion – but maybe as much as $6 trillion, depending on who does the math – for the nutty additional cyclone of spending that is on the way, strike Chuck as “playing with fire.”

Abandoning our $800 million embassy in Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base, and billions of dollars worth of weapons, vehicles and aircraft apparently doesn’t strike Chuck as “playing with fire” either.

Same goes for opening our southern border to just about anyone, sick or not. That’s not “playing with fire” either.

Or accumulated debt to the tune of $28 trillion already. That’s not “playing with fire” either.

No, the only thing that amounts to playing with fire is not going along with the regular federal government charade of raising the debt ceiling. Now THAT, according to Chuck, is playing with fire. And who among us, living on a budget, doesn’t get a good laugh every time these spendthrifts utter the words “full faith and credit of the United States government?”

Meanwhile (and I watched so many Saturday morning westerns on TV as a kid that I’m always tempted to follow the word “meanwhile” with “back at the ranch”) President Build Back Broker says that $3.5 trillion he wants to spend, which you recall could be as high as $6 trillion, is completely “paid for,” as if Daddy Warbucks has promised to pick up the tab. Oh yeah, we’re dumb enough to believe that. Keep mumbling, Joe. That’s what you’re good at.

(Anyone else noticed that Vice President Giggles looks a lot like Nurse Ratched, standing behind Joe, keeping an eye on a potentially difficult patient? That’s why she can’t spend time at the border. She’s tending to Joe.)

The icing on the cake last week was the news that the Bidens may have underpaid their “fair share” of federal income taxes by a whopping (wordsmith Edwin Newman always asked when a number begins to whop) $500,000, through the use of one of those icky (but maybe legal) loopholes dreamed up by, you guessed it, Joe’s longtime pals in Congress.

(It takes a special kind of hypocrisy to spend a career screwing up the tax code, then attacking anyone who uses the Rube Goldberg system you created to pay as little in taxes, legally, as possible. That is the syrup of ipecac of hypocrisy.)

If Joe actually owes a half million in taxes, he needs to heed the words of, well, himself:

“Step up! Step up and pay like everyone else does!”

You can see why Pelosi and her pals don’t want to talk numbers.

And, “The clowns remain.”

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Dennis Sun: Despite Hype, It Might Be Awhile Before We Are Driving Electric Vehicles Out Here

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By Dennis Sun, Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Over the last couple of years, some in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere have been preaching to us about the benefits of electric vehicles. It has gotten to the point many are thinking, “Maybe there is something to them.” Then again, after visiting with people who have them and have driven into Wyoming, it becomes a “Well, maybe not.”

Let’s face it, some day we’ll all be driving vehicles that are not powered by an internal combustion engine fueled by diesel or gasoline. We’ve had the big push to run our vehicles fueled by natural gas, but this push didn’t go far.

During the last election, we had a big push from politicians for electronic vehicles from manufacturers. It all sounded good in advertising and sound bites, but these days we’re not hearing a lot.

Reality has told us our region’s infrastructure is just not ready for electronic vehicles, and we had to learn the hard way. It looks like our infrastructure will not be ready for these vehicles for some time.

Those living in a big city or other highly populated areas are going to be OK. But, in reading a story about someone who drove from New York City to Boston – a 200-mile trip – panic set in when their battery dropped below 20 percent charged. The driver said he was “assured this might be one of the country’s easiest electronic vehicles routes, those assurances were misplaced.”

It does take a lot of electricity to charge an electric vehicle’s battery in a decent amount of time.  Standard home outlets generally deliver 120 volts – level one, and electric cooking stoves and clothes dryers take 240 volts – level two. Tesla has a “supercharger” which can fully charge the car in a little over an hour and runs on 480 volts – level three.

They say in a standard neighborhood, with the current electric infrastructure, only a couple of homes would be able to charge cars at the same time with 480 volts. In both Wyoming and throughout the region, a few hotels have electronic vehicle chargers, along with a number of truck stops.

In California, according to a study, roughly 20 percent of current owners have replaced their electronic vehicles with gasoline vehicles. The main reason the drivers made the switch was the inconvenience of charging the car. Of those who switched back, over 70 percent lacked access to level two connections at home and fewer than 70 percent lacked level two connections at work. One person noted, even with faster charging, a Chevy Bolt electronic vehicle he tested still needed nearly six hours of charging to go 300 miles from almost empty.

Looking at the list of electronic vehicles, it looks like the average miles before recharging ranges from 218 miles to 305 miles. This doesn’t cover a lot of distance in our region. 

General Motors has set a target of an all-electric fleet by 2030, while Ford Motors recently unveiled its Lightning F-150 electric pickup and is prioritizing production of electric Mustangs over traditional gas Mustangs. 

The issue is not the cars themselves, but rather, getting the correct amount of electricity to the charging units. This is going to hold up the sales of electronic vehicles, especially in low-population areas. But, also in areas of high-population, it is going to take a lot of new infrastructure to meet the demands of numerous charging units.

If we stay with electronic vehicles, it is going to take some time to get to a majority of them on the road, but in time, we’ll get there. What we don’t know is, at what cost?

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is a weekly agriculture newspaper available in print and online. To subscribe, visit wylr.net or call 1-800-967-1647.

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Eating Wyoming: Jackson’s “Gather” Offers Well-Curated Menu

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

There’s a tiny little town in Wyoming that some of you might have heard of —Jackson, or Jackson Hole to some. For those who haven’t though, let me tell you a little about it.

Jackson is on the western border of the state, right next to the majestic Teton Mountains. 

With a population of just over 10,000, you would think there’s not much going on here, but you would be wrong. It seems there’s quite a lot awaiting the odd visitor who wanders in by mistake.

Jackson is in the Jackson Hole Valley, and is home to some of the best skiing in the state. There are three resorts to choose from and miles of ski runs to master. 

If it’s art you’re looking for, there’s the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Inside you’ll find works by artists ranging from Georgia O’Keeffe to Andy Warhol.

In the summer, you’ll find more outdoor activities than you can shake a stick at. Hiking, camping, fishing, and, my personal favorite, sitting. 

There truly is something for everyone in this little town. But other places in Wyoming have all this, too, So what makes Jackson so special? 

Celebrities!

With daily flights into Jackson from major cities including Atlanta, Chicago and New York, it seems celebrities from all over the country flock to the area to get away from the hard life of celebrity-ing. A few have even made Jackson their home, like Han Solo from the “Star Wars” movies, although he prefers being called Harrison Ford. It’s all about being “low key.”

With all the celebrity visitors, not to mention the few thousand tourists who visit the town every year, come a few perks. The town is loaded with great restaurants! 

While I was in Togwotee recently for a stay at a cabin, my stomach got to rumbling after a long day at Yellowstone National Park. Realizing I’d have to drive an hour to Jackson to eat, I quickly hopped in the car and headed south. 

It was already about 7:45 PM and a quick search on Google yielded a place called Gather that was open until 9:30 PM. Awesome, I’d have just enough time.

I had never been to Jackson before, so driving into town, I had to go slow and soak in a little local color before getting to the restaurant. Hey look! There’s the park with all the elk antlers! 

Not wasting any more time, I found a place to park and walked up to what looked like a pretty happening little place. There were outdoor tables with blazing patio heaters to keep diners cozy and warm. Through the window, I could see this was an upscale but casual looking establishment.

Now I should tell you, there are a couple of things I judge a restaurant on besides the food. One thing is atmosphere, and Gather seems to have that.

The other is how well restaurant staff treat a diner who shows up shortly before closing without a reservation. 

Even though I showed up at 9 p.m. without a reservation, they didn’t hesitate to seat me. As I took my seat, I noticed there were a couple of other night owls placing their orders as well, so I didn’t feel too bad.

Perusing the menu, the first thing I discovered is Gather’s finely curated selection. There’s pan-roasted salmon, elk bolognese and even Wagyu beef for those wanting the best beef there is. I see in the menu that all the ingredients are locally sourced as well. 

After a bit of review, I see something that strikes my eye. 

I ordered the slow-braised ribs, the crispy Brussels sprouts and house-cut fries. I also considered, but ultimately passed on, the pork belly bao buns, which are fresh-made bao buns and crispy braised pork belly with kimchi and Fresno chiles.

After ordering, I asked general manager Ali Gul about the restaurant. 

Gul, formerly of Turkey, tells me Gather has been open for six years and he’s been the general manager for the last two. 

“Our most popular dish is the pork belly bao buns, and the crispy Brussels sprouts.” Gul said. “Our menu is quite seasonal, with year-round favorites.”

Gather’s standout dish at the moment is its Wagyu bone marrow fried rice, Gul said.

I asked Gul about the restaurant’s locally sourced ingredients, and where in Wyoming it gets its beef and pork. 

“Snake River Farms supplies our meats and we try to source other ingredients locally whenever we can,” he said. “We are transitioning to our fall menu, and even our mushrooms will be locally sourced.”

Gather has a sister restaurant, Gul said, called Plates and located in the National Museum of Wildlife Art. I’ll have to check that out on my next visit, but for now, my dinner is here.

WOW! The first thing to strike me is the presentation of the ribs. After all, we eat as much with our eyes as we do with our mouth. 

Arranged on a long plate, topped with pickled onions, apple and cilantro, these braised ribs look like art. When a restaurant cares about how good the food looks on a plate, you know it takes the time to make the food taste good too.

Before spoiling the presentation of the ribs, I head for the Brussels sprouts. I’m a sprout head and these crispy jewels are the perfect first bite. 

The ribs are next. 

There are two kinds of ribs in this world. The first is the kind where they drag out a whole slab and bib you up so you don’t slop sauce everywhere. 

And then there’s what’s in front of me now. Four beautifully meaty pieces, each on its own bone, with not too much sauce, but enough to flavor the ribs.

As I bite into the ribs, they give ever so slightly and then come away cleanly from the bone. These are not typical overcooked BBQ joint ribs. They are in a word, perfect! 

The sauce is not too heavily spiced and lets the flavor of the meat carry everything. I think I ordered the winner here. 

The pickled onion on top wasn’t just garnish. It added a cool compliment to the spice of the dish. The hand-cut fries round out the meal and were better than any fries you’ll get in a paper sack!

I was a little sad when the meal was over, but only because I was full and didn’t have room for dessert. Maybe next time I’ll start with dessert? I’m an adult, I can do that, right? Maybe I’ll try the huckleberry cheesecake or Jackson doughnut holes?

No matter what time you choose to visit Gather, I’m sure you’ll be as pleased as I was. 

Gather is located at 72 S. Glenwood Street in Jackson. It is open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. nightly. For reservations, call 307-264-1820. On the web at www.gatherjh.com

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George W. Bush To Hold Fundraiser for Cheney; 2022 Election Is Showdown For Opposing Wings Of Wyoming GOP

in Jimmy Orr
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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

If you get the feeling that Wyoming’s congressional race will be the center of the political universe in 2022, you’re probably on to something.

It looks like it might become a showdown for the opposing wings of Wyoming’s Republican Party, in fact.

Is the ideology of the GOP more in line with former President Donald Trump or does the party line-up with former President George W. Bush?

Whatever the answer is, both former presidents have chosen sides in Wyoming. 

Trump is going with Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman and Bush, as it was revealed today, is lining up with incumbent U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Bush’s first campaign event for the 2022 midterm elections will be to support Cheney at a fundraiser in his home state of Texas.

None of this should come as any surprise to anyone who knows about the connection of the Bush and Cheney families and the acrimony between Bush and Trump.

No one knows how active Bush will be on Cheney’s behalf in the coming year — whether he will continue his work in her support until the August primary or whether the fundraiser will be merely a one-off.

If it’s the latter, it’s still significant and the news was welcomed by former Natrona County GOP Chair Dr. Joe McGinley.

“It is great to see former President Bush lead by example and support a long time conservative such as Representative Cheney,” McGinley told Cowboy State Daily. “The Republican Party is an organization based on conservative values and principles, not hate, anger, vendettas, misleading statements and conspiracy theories.”

McGinley’s views have made him a target of the current state Republican Party leadership.

In a harshly worded letter sent last April, the Wyoming Republican Party called McGinley a “loser,” “dishonest” and prone to “public tantrums.” Hageman signed that letter alongside current state Republican Party Chair Frank Eathorne.

But McGinley does not stand alone. Former Wyoming legislator and former state GOP Chair Diemer True, arguably the most influential Republican in party politics for decades, isn’t a fan of the current direction of the Republican Party.

“The anger that is currently being exhibited within the structure of Wyoming Republican Party is not who the Wyoming Republican Party really is,” True told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

“It is a very small group of zealots and it is hard to exaggerate the damage they are doing to civil discourse and the opportunity to truly investigate different ideas which is what representative Democracy supposed to be,” he said.

In that vein, True called the obscene and violent email sent by a Park County GOP official to state Sen. Tara Nethercott “disgusting” and representative of the current state of affairs within the State Party.

“The way Republican politics should work in Wyoming is people have every right to express an opinion and they can express it with great eagerness and passion and then we shake hands and go have lunch together. But that’s not the way it is now,” he said.

“That email is sort of representative of what the [current Wyoming] Republican leadership is doing,” True said.

True said the 2022 election shouldn’t be about Trump and Bush, but should be about Wyoming people and Wyoming politics.

Bush’s fundraising event is scheduled for Oct. 18 and will be co-hosted by many of the Bush administration’s alumni including Karl Rove, former Bush White House Counsel Harriett Miers and former White House counselor Karen Hughes. Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is listed as a co-sponsor as well.

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Scott Meier: Wyoming Families’ Personal Wealth is Under Attack by Biden Plan

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By Scott W. Meier, Wyoming Bankers Association (WBA)

Few things are more private than your household finances.  In his American Families Plan, President Biden unveiled a tax compliance initiative aimed at closing the gap between taxes that are owed and what are paid.  

Most of the anticipated revenue, which the Administration estimated at $460 billion over 10 years, would come from requiring financial institutions to report account information that Treasury says would be similar to W-2 reporting for wages and other income reporting.

The proposal, if enacted, would require banks and other financial institutions to report to the IRS detailed information on the inflows and outflows of every customer account above $600. 

Under the guise of closing the “tax gap,” the Biden administration and congressional allies are trying to push through a new, partisan reporting scheme in which financial institutions report customer transactions to the Internal Revenue Service. 

This proposal would turn every American’s local bank, credit union and payment provider into an IRS agent, monitoring and reporting on deposits and withdrawals made in private accounts — at a threshold of as little as $600.

This surveillance dragnet will capture every single American — from all income levels — with a bank, credit union, brokerage or financial account. 

This includes both individual and business accounts, including Main Street businesses of all types.  This indiscriminate data collection would subject law-abiding Americans to further IRS scrutiny and exacerbate privacy concerns. 

The IRS already holds troves of private data on Americans, including taxable income, charitable contributions, retirement savings, health care expenses, addresses, personal contact information and more.

Not only is this proposal a huge violation of privacy, but it is also an egregious abuse of Americans’ right to due process by inferring that all U.S. taxpayers are guilty of evading taxes until proven otherwise. 

Suppose you transfer $15,000 from your savings to your checking account to make a large purchase you have spent years saving for, like a wedding, car or home down payment.  

Your financial institution would be required to report the withdrawal and deposit to the IRS, possibly triggering an audit — despite the fact you have done nothing improper or illegal.  Any ensuing IRS activity would presume you guilty until proven innocent.

Beyond privacy concerns or the dangerous practice of assuming all Americans are rich tax cheats until proven otherwise, the IRS has a history of violating constitutional due process rights.  

According to a report by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division for years regularly violated, skirted or ignored taxpayers’ legal and due process rights when investigating taxpayers’ currency transaction reporting compliance.  

Fewer than 10% of investigations uncovered legal violations.  Every American should be wary of giving the IRS more power and more tentacles into private financial transactions.

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Jimmy Orr: Bear Obliterates Truck. I Mean REALLY Obliterates Truck

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Jimmy Orr on bear destruction
Jimmy Orr writes: If there was a bear Hall of Fame, this one should get inducted.
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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Locking the car doors may seem like a simple task to many of us, but to others it’s an insurmountable burden. A Sisyphean job so onerous that it can’t be done.

That’s why there are so many reminders from the police that hitting that daunting button after exiting a vehicle is a good strategy.

Wildlife officials issue that same call endlessly.

But some dopes individuals don’t get it.

Vehicles are stolen, goods inside vehicles are stolen and bears sometimes turn into Tasmanian Devils and destroy cars.

Happened again on Monday.

A bear opened up a door of a truck in South Park, Colorado, and absolutely obliterated the truck’s interior.

If there was a Hall of Fame for destruction caused by bears, this is a sure-fire nominee.

Now, the animal looked quite content with its surroundings in the first photo shared by Colorado Park & Wildlife (below).

Sure, the rear view mirror was dangling from the ceiling. But outside of that, it looked like he was in the driver’s seat just hanging out. Perhaps smoking a doobie (it is Colorado) and listening to Classic Vinyl on Sirius-XM.

Maybe “Wooden Ships” by Crosby, Stills, & Nash is just fading and that’s when he realizes he can’t get out. Or there’s no beer in the vehicle. Making it much less desirable than the truck in Larkspur, Colorado, that was broken into in June by a bear that drank the beer inside it before stumbling away.

Regardless, bears seem to break in just fine. Exiting? That’s a struggle.

So what to do?

Rip the crap out of the car.

And it did.

In the second photo, the truck isn’t even recognizable.

It looks like a living room on the TV show Hoarders.

Door panel ruined. Cushions ripped to shreds. Things dangling which aren’t meant to dangle. Absolute annihilation.

Holy cow! We want video.

But there is good news. The bear was released and happily bounded away (photo below).

And the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department was left to issue that same old warning:

  1. Remove anything with a scent from your vehicle.
  2. Make sure to always keep your car doors locked.

See you next time.

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