Category archive

Column - page 4

46 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming; 116 Recoveries

in Column/Coronavirus/Jim Angell/News

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Editor’s Note: This is a map of the active coronavirus cases in each county across Wyoming. The number of active cases is determined by subtracting the total number of recoveries seen since the illness first reached Wyoming in mid-March from the total number of confirmed and probable cases diagnosed during the same time period and taking into account deaths related to the disease.

The recovery of 116 people sick with the coronavirus has pushed the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming down significantly for the second time in less than one week.

Figures released from the Wyoming Department of Health on Monday showed that the number of active cases dropped by 73 on Monday — almost 14% — to total 463.

The decline follows a drop of 106 in active cases on Friday.

The department’s numbers indicated the total of active cases fell in 15 counties on Monday, with Carbon County showing a decline of 23 and Laramie County showing a fall of 20.

Albany County had 87 active cases; Natrona County had 68; Fremont County had 57; Laramie had 50; Sheridan had 43; Teton had 31; Converse had 22; Campbell had 18; Park had 17; Goshen had 15; Lincoln had 10; Crook had nine; Carbon, Sweetwater, Uinta and Weston had five; Sublette had four; Big Horn, Platte and Washakie had three; Johnson had two, and Hot Springs had one.

The active cases were among 383 patients with laboratory-confirmed cases and 80 patients with probable cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

The decline came despite an increase in confirmed cases of 44 on Monday. The Health Department said 12 counties reported new lab-confirmed cases: Albany, Campbell, Converse, Crook, Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Natrona, Platte, Sheridan, Teton and Uinta. Albany County saw the biggest increase in cases at 16.

The increase brought to 3,723 the number of confirmed cases seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March.

The number of probable cases seen since the pandemic began, those where the patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case but has not been tested, was set at 669 on Monday, an increase of two from Sunday.

Of the 4,392 people with either confirmed or probable cases, 3,883 have recovered, according to the Health Department, an increase of 116 from Sunday. Since Friday, when 171 recoveries were reported, the state has recorded 331 recoveries.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Jimmy Orr: Unknown Medal Of Honor’s Welcome at DIA Proof Americans Still Love America

in Column/Jimmy Orr

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

It is dispiriting to see the rioting, looting, and violence occurring in major cities across America, and that feeling is exacerbated by the relaxed attitudes of the so-called leaders of these communities who allow the destruction to happen with very little effort to stop it or penalize those responsible.

It’s anti-American behavior. And the leaders, by their dismissiveness, are promoting an anti-American sentiment.

That’s what made Saturday’s bold and unexpected display of patriotism at Denver International Airport even more special.

Vietnam War veteran Harvey “Barney” Barnum, a Medal of Honor recipient, was honored by a group of active U.S. military members as he disembarked from a plane.

The Marines weren’t alone. Travelers, their curiosity piqued by the group of Marines lined up in dress blue uniforms, stopped and asked what was going on.

One Marine explained that the group was honoring a Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War.

Because there are so few of these people left, he said, the Marines try to greet them whenever one arrives in Denver.

One of the greatest parts the ceremony was how quiet it got as people neared the gate.

Many stopped. Some placed their hands on their chests. There was a feeling of reverence.

When the 80-year-old Barnum — who had a brisk, authoritative step — walked down the rampway, it got even quieter.

There were those on the moving sidewalk who started walking backwards so they didn’t miss it.

Barnum, accompanied by his wife, left the rampway, entered the airport, and offered a crisp salute, which was was immediately returned.

It was pin-drop quiet. Time froze. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes.

The veteran shook hands with the greeters, thanked them, and began walking away.

The crowd, which had expanded to hundreds now, applauded and cheered as he walked away.

Did the crowd know who they were applauding? Most likely did not.

Did the crowd know why this American hero received the Medal of Honor? Most likely did not. (Everyone should read his story).

The crowd stopped and applauded anyway.

This should give all of us hope that despite the actions by groups of criminals in major cities and the leaders who seem to endorse the lawlessness, most Americans yearn for something better and will stop and applaud that something better — even if they don’t know what or who it is.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Jimmy Orr: “A Plane Just Hit the Pentagon!” – A Wyomingite’s Memories From the White House on 9/11

in Column/Jimmy Orr

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

There was nothing spectacular about the Denver Broncos – New York Giants game on September 10.

Just a Monday Night Football game. The Broncos were trying to stay relevant following the departure of John Elway a few years beforehand. We had steaks and martinis and watched it from my friend Rob Wallace’s house in Northern Virginia.

I remember it because of the next day. The events on September 11, 2001 make everything traceable.  What I was doing the night before, the weekend before, the day of, the next day. It’s not just the memory. I can still feel the dread. I can still smell my smoke-filled apartment. Some images are as clear as if they happened last week.

Working in the White House on September 11 doesn’t change the tragedy of the event but makes it surreal.

Not a replay

Going to Starbucks on 17th street following the communications meeting was a daily ritual. Colleagues Mercy Viana (Schlapp) and Wendy Nipper (Homeyer) and I walked back to our offices talking about the day ahead as we always had.

The image on the TV screen stopped us. The Today Show host said she heard the plane lodged in the World Trade Center was a Cessna. They were speculating it was a fluke.

Because of that when Mercy’s phone rang, she picked it up. We had no idea of the enormity facing us or the country. I stood next to the TV, more perplexed than anything.

With absolute terror, I watched as another plane careened into the second World Trade Center building.

“No, no, no, no, no, no” I said to the screen as the images appeared to happen in slow motion.

I remember gasping and not believing what I had just seen. I feel it now. I can feel that same dread. I walked over to my boss’ office and told him what I saw.

“You saw a replay,” he said, cupping his phone.

“I saw a second plane,” I insisted.

“You saw a replay,” he said, waving me off.

Moments later he came into my office and apologized. “Gather the team, we need to have an emergency meeting.”


We grouped together at the table in his office. We all worked in the Old Executive Office Building — the giant, grey battleship of a structure on the White House Grounds right next to the West Wing.

I had forgotten my pager (remember it was 2001). I got up mid-meeting to grab it and picked up the ringing phone on my desk.

“Dude, a plane just hit the Pentagon,” said my friend Rob Jennings, a fellow Wyoming friend who worked as a fundraiser in DC.

“Are you sure,” I asked him.

“I just saw it. I’m looking at the burning Pentagon now.”

Rushing back to my boss’ office to let him know, the sirens went off. Moments later, the Secret Service began banging on every office door and yelling for us to evacuate.

“A plane is headed for the White House,” screamed one secret service agent.

The sight and sound of dozens of shaken White House staffers running – literally running — toward the north entrance of the White House is crystal.

As is the memory of being among more than 100 staffers standing in Lafayette Park stunned and wondering what we should do next. I wanted to call my family. I couldn’t. My flip phone fell off while running for the gate.

“A bomb just went off at the State Department,” someone said.

That rumor kept circulating throughout the rest of the day.

Scramble for answers

We all went to the Chrysler Building blocks away to regroup. The most senior of the White House staffers were picked off by the secret service and taken to the Situation Room or other locations.

As a White House spokesman and the Digital Director, my only goal was to get the White House website online again.

It was bad enough from a communications perspective that we couldn’t get the president’s statements up on the website. But it paled in comparison to the enormity of the message we sent the country and the world that the White House site was down. Or missing. Or removed.

Optics are important. And the site going back online (thanks to my friend George Lewis) was every bit as important and comforting as the president flying back to DC after stops at Air Force bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.

The next few hours were a blur – not nearly as vivid as the preceding time. We were told to research anything associated with the morning’s events – the date, the time, the locations, etc. Anything that might give us a clue as to why this happened.

When I arrived home that evening, I was struck by how much smoke there was in my apartment. I lived less than a mile away from the Pentagon but my windows and doors were closed. There was no escaping the day.

Haunting images

Like many of my colleagues I didn’t sleep that night and the next few days, weeks, and months were hard as they were for all Americans. But nothing like it was for the families of the victims.

The two images that haunt me the most were not from that day. Instead, the first happened that weekend when we spotted my friend Rob Wallace’s 3-year-old daughter building towers out of wooden blocks and then knocking them down with her toy plane. It was very hard not to cry.

It was impossible not to cry when family members of those lost in Flight 93 came to the White House for a memorial service two weeks later. As all the White House staffers lined up to shake their hands and express our condolences, I still remember that little boy in his little suit who jumped up to me to get a hug. I was told his father was on that plane. I never felt less worthy.

These memories have not faded. As painful as they are, it’s important that they don’t.

Jimmy Orr, a native of Cheyenne, was a White House spokesman and Director of Digital Strategy for President George W. Bush from 2001 – 2005.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Dave Simpson: Great Thoughts, On Our Bumpers

in Column/Dave Simpson

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Let’s touch some bases as campaign season is officially underway:

– “Ted Bundy Was A Republican!” proclaimed the bumper sticker on a car parked next to mine at our local Walmart.

I ducked into the store to do my shopping, thankful that I didn’t run into the driver of that car. While I used to relish political debate, it has become a blood sport, and conservatives like me are commonly, cruelly, labeled “buffoons” spouting “unbridled idiocy.”

One time in a newsroom over which I presided as publisher, I suggested that labor unions were much the same as political action committees. They laughed me out of my own newsroom, hooting in disbelief that their boss could be so incredibly ignorant.

Younger readers might not know that that Ted Bundy was a serial murderer who killed young women in Washington, Colorado and Florida, but who once also dabbled in local Republican politics in Washington state. He was electrocuted in Florida in 1989, and good riddance.

The person with the bumper sticker wants us to know that Ted was a Republican, as if all Republicans  lean toward serial murder, and should be strapped into Old Sparky like Ted.

(Oh yeah? Well serial murderer John Wayne Gacy was a liberal Democrat. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.)

Takes all kinds, I guess, which was confirmed the next day as I drove on Interstate 80. A cattle truck passed me, with a sign on the front that said, “Trump 2020.” And in bold letters across the back of the trailer it said, “No More Bull Schiff. We Stand With Trump!”

Before the last presidential election, a relative sent me a T-shirt proclaiming “Make America Great Again.” It fit great, and reflected my beliefs, but I only wore it once, in the privacy of my basement. Because politics in this country has become so bitter and hateful that wearing a MAGA hat or shirt is tantamount to an act of war. The relative who sent me the shirt was once asked to put a sweatshirt over his MAGA shirt, or to turn it inside out, when he dared wear it into a casino.

It’s come to that.

We’ve seen video of MAGA hats being snatched off the heads of Trump fans, even a child in one instance, and soft drinks dumped on their heads. I wouldn’t wear my MAGA shirt to exercise, because it would be seen as a provocation among the young group that gathers there.

I keep hearing that diversity is a goal we have to reach, but between the guy who owns the cattle truck and the person with the Ted Bundy bumper sticker, I think we’re plenty diverse already.

– A car frequently parked at our library sports a bumper sticker that says “Turn Off Fox News!” (You see a lot of liberals at libraries.) This person no doubt wants to return to the halcyon days when news from liberal anchors on ABC, CBS and NBC was all you could get.

This person apparently can’t tolerate even a single news source that doesn’t lean way left

My late father had a bumper sticker on the wall in his workshop that said, “Caution: I Don’t Brake for Liberals!” He thought it was funny, but didn’t put it on the bumper of his pickup in largely liberal Wisconsin. Smart.

For years I had a bumper sticker that said, “If God’s Not a Bronco Fan, Why Are Sunsets Orange?” That was before pro sports became a soap box for contempt for our country. (No more football, or Broncos, for me.)

I kick myself for not buying a bumper sticker in Wisconsin with this message:

“Eat More Lutefisk!”

(Who could disagree with that?)

– I was proud as punch this week to learn that a Forbes Magazine survey of the highest taxed cities in America showed my current home town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, coming in DEAD LAST. We’re the cheapest.

Woo Hoo! Break out the the party hats and noise makers. Peel me off the ceiling.

Stand by, however, fellow beleaguered fans of frugality (BFFs). Decimated mineral tax income in our state has the war drums for higher taxes beating louder than ever.

Pray for us, friends.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Bill Sniffin: Wyoming Mountains Jammed Over Labor Day Weekend

in Bill Sniffin/Column

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Ray Hunkins: Mountain West Conference Punts On Football Season — Who Called The Play?

in Column/Ray Hunkins

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ray Hunkins, guest columnist

In early August, the Mountain West Conference (“MWC”) announced an adjusted football schedule for the fall of 2020.

Just five days later the conference’s board of directors, citing concerns over health and uncertainties created by the coronavirus, overrode the decision and informed the public there would be no fall sports and no football season, a season that held much promise for our Cowboys.

The repercussions from the MWC decision were immediate and severe.

It is estimated the decision will cost the University of Wyoming $10 million to $15 million in lost revenue; this at a time when Wyoming state government generally — and the university specifically — are reeling from the combined effects of the coronavirus and the collapse of Wyoming’s energy economy.

The announcement dealt a blow to the morale of all concerned.

Sally Ann Schurmur, in her Aug. 16, 2020, column in the Casper Star-Tribune put it this way: “This is not something we will ‘get over.’ We are not being ‘ridiculous,’ ‘small minded’ or ‘selfish.’ This is a tragedy.” Indeed it is a tragedy. Sally’s eloquent eulogy for a lost football season reflects the feeling of many.

This was more than a decision about athletic competition. It was a public policy decision made by unelected higher education administrators, all but one from states other than Wyoming. 

The MWC’s board of directors, comprised of the presidents of the 12 member institutions, made the decision. If it turns out the presidents made the wrong decision, they will not be held accountable to most of the people and many of the institutions they have harmed.

“Where there is a will, there is a way” is an adage for the ages. Six of the 10 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision conferences had the will and found a way to play football. 

The service academies are playing. BYU is playing. Even our Wyoming high schools are playing.  The PAC 12 however, under the firm influence of California, Oregon and Washington and the politicians who run those states, opted not to play.

Are we to believe the schools that are playing football this fall were negligent or uncaring in choosing their courses of action? These schools say they can provide a safe environment. The Mountain West – at least the presidents who made the decision not to play– did not have the will, and therefore didn’t find a way.

There isn’t much transparency as to how or why the presidents’ decision was reached. Many questions are raised by the curious way in which the decision came about. 

For instance, why did the MWC Board cancel all fall sports such a short time after the conference office announced an adjusted football schedule? 

Who moved that the season be canceled? Who seconded the motion? What reports and written materials were given to the presidents? Who were the medical experts consulted and what advice did they give? Were there differences of opinion among the medical experts or among the presidents? 

Were the medical experts from the conferences that are playing consulted or even questioned? Did the presidents consult with the athletic directors, coaches, and governing boards of the institutions before voting on the motion to cancel the entire season?

What was their advice, or in the case of the governing boards, what direction was given? Can the transcript of the MWC board meetings dealing with this subject (and minutes of those meetings) be released and if not, why not? 

The president of San Jose State University, Mary Papazian, is currently the chair of the MWC board of directors.

She answers to a “chancellor” of the California State University system. So do the presidents of the other California universities that are members of the MWC — Fresno State and San Diego State. The Chancellor answers to a board that includes Governor Gavin Newsom and three other California politicians.

Those politicians are also members of the board of regents of the University of California system. Several of the schools in that system are members of the PAC 12 Athletic Conference which opted out of a fall football season. 

It could be argued that President Seidel of the University of Wyoming deserves some slack.

On the job for a month before being called on to cast such a consequential vote, he might not have had all the background and knowledge needed.

Nevertheless, in an interview he gave a lengthy defense of the MWC board’s decision and seemed to place himself in the deliberations from the beginning.

Reporter Davis Potter of the CST, in a room that appeared to be devoid of anyone else, interviewed Wyoming’s new president, dapper in suit and matching COVID-19 mask.

The interview was posted on YouTube. Unfortunately, the President’s words were muffled and garbled by reason of mumbling through the mask.  

From what could be discerned, President Seidel asserted the board’s decision was unanimous and based on the unanimous recommendation of medical experts advising members’ athletic departments.

According to the president, there were warnings of potential heart problems for athletes who might catch the virus. Although he parroted conclusions, no details were given and no evidence was offered. 

However, in an interview posted on the MWC website, Commissioner Craig Thompson seemingly contradicted Seidel by asserting the rationale for cancelling the season wasn’t anything more than “continued unknowns.” 

The commissioner went on to state the obvious regarding health concerns: “Different studies show different things, and it’s amazing that intelligent people can reach different conclusions.” 

It sounded like there was a smorgasbord of opinions available for the MWC board to choose from.

The MWC chose not to rely on the “different conclusions” of other medical experts. Were the conclusions chosen by the MWC board selected because they fit a desired narrative?

In a statement on its website, the MWC revealed, “numerous external factors and unknowns outside our control made the decision necessary.”

The MWC board embraced conclusions that other conferences and schools chose to reject. Why? What are the “external factors” that influenced the MWC board’s decision?

The action of a group (the MWC board) external to Wyoming is causing significant damage to the state, monetarily and in other ways. The lives and possible careers of student-athletes have been disrupted. What discussion took place at the board meeting about these factors?

The people of Wyoming deserve a full explanation for the MWC board’s decision. We need to know what “external factors” influenced the decision and whether another agenda was at work.

We need to know if President Seidel cast his vote at the direction of the board of trustees. We need the truth and we need transparency. Governor Gordon should see to it.

Tag: Ray Hunkins is a former president of the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, a former member of the University of Wyoming Foundation board of directors and was honored as a “Distinguished Alumnus” by the University in 2005.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Dave Simpson: Ready For The Times To Get Better

in Column/Dave Simpson

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Dave Simpson, columnist

“It’s been a too long time with no peace of mind, and I’m ready for the times to get better.”

Written by Allen Reynolds, performed by Crystal Gayle.

It was November of 1994 when I unwrapped a couple 60-minute tape cassettes and recorded my first Saturday night performance of “Prairie Home Companion.”

They were at the Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wis., and they had an excellent band from Milwaukee that lit the place up. “The News from Lake Wobegon” was funny and poignant and charming in the way only Garrison Keillor – the storyteller of our times – could hold an audience in his spell.

I would go on to tape the program most Saturday nights for the next 12 years, storing them in plastic cabinets with drawers.

Over the years I would get out a selection of tapes whenever we were headed out on long car trips, driving from Illinois to Wyoming, or to grandma’s house in Wisconsin. Our kids grew up listening to “The Lives of the Cowboys,” “Guy Noir, Radio Private Eye,” and those wonderful stories from Lake Wobegon, “the town out on the edge of the prairie that time forgot.”

We laughed at a comedy bit in which private eye Guy Noir asks a Canadian Mountie his name. “Wooster, sir,” replies the Mountie, to which Noir responds, “Worcestershire.” “No, Wooster, sir,” the Mountie replies. “That’s what I said, Worcestershire!” It was like “Who’s on first?”

A show at Yellowstone Park from one Fourth of July was particularly memorable, from one of our favorite places. It ended with the eruption of Old Faithful.

We enjoyed the show so much that when it was broadcast from Peoria in May of 1999, my mother, my son and I were in the audience. It was the annual “Talent from Towns Under 2,000” show, won by an incredible young violinist from Idaho, but my favorite was a marimba band from Texas.

Seeing Keillor give the news from Lake Wobegon, standing before the packed house, without notes, and holding the silent crowd in the palm of his hand for 20 minutes, was the highlight of the evening. I can’t think of anyone in my lifetime who could tell a story like Keillor.

Over the years I hauled my stash of Prairie Home Companion tapes along with us – like lugging around heavy boxes of National Geographic Magazines – from one town in Illinois to another, then to Nebraska, and finally to Wyoming.

At one point I tried to donate them to the Veterans Administration hospital in Cheyenne, but they said they couldn’t accept them because who knows what might be on those tapes. Too bad for them.

So I finally just lugged them up to my cabin, where I break one out on summer Saturday nights, at about the same time I used to hear the show on the radio. It was a good decision, now that Keillor has retired, and was later accused of some impropriety with a female staffer. The storyteller of our time became one of the first celebrities “canceled” by the #MeToo movement, and even his reruns quickly disappeared from Public Radio.

The other night, I grabbed a tape from October 23, 1999.

As luck would have it, the musical guest was one of my favorites, Bluegrass legend Doc Watson. One of the songs he performed was written by Allen Reynolds and first performed by Crystal Gayle, and included these words:

“It’s been a too long time, with no peace of mind, and I’m ready for the times to get better.”

Just as timely today, maybe more timely, than in 1999, or 1978 when it was written. And to be sung by Doc Watson – perfection.

The News from Lake Wobegon, about folks retiring from farming and moving into town, featured a story about a kindly aunt – who secretly smoked – starting a fire smoking in an outhouse. It was put out by her nephew, in a manner “men are equipped to do,” keeping her secret.

Keillor ended with these words:

“Empires fall. Great schemes crash. Farms fail. Our lives are adrift. But kindness lasts forever. Kindness goes on forever.”

Prairie Home Companion.

What a loss.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Mark Jenkins: On Sept. 6, Louisa Swain Cast First Ballot By A Woman – In Laramie

in Column/Mark Jenkins

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Mark Jenkins, resident scholar, Wyoming Humanities 

Wyoming is rightfully proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, in which women won the right to vote, as well as the 150th anniversary of the first woman in history to cast a vote, an event that happened right here in Wyoming. 

In 1870 the Wyoming Territorial Legislature passed the Suffrage Act, and on September 6, 1870, in Laramie, wearing shawl and bonnet, Louisa Swain, 69, cast the first ballot by any women in the United States in a general election. 

The women’s movement began a generation earlier when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a fierce abolitionist, boldly organized “The First Convention Ever Called to Discuss the Civil and Political Rights of Women,” in July of 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

As a child, Stanton had been traumatized by fire-and-brimstone preachers, but by adulthood “religious superstitions gave place to rational ideas based on scientific facts.” Stanton subsequently renounced religion, “all religions on the face of the earth degrade women, and so long as a woman accepts the position that they assign her, her emancipation is impossible.” 

Stanton joined forces with Susan B. Anthony in the 1850s and together they fought shoulder-to-shoulder against misogyny and racial discrimination for the next five decades. They founded the Women’s Loyal National League in 1863, the American Equal Rights Association in 1868, and the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. In 1872, Anthony was summarily arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York. 

The following year she wrote “… this oligarchy of sex, which makes men of every household sovereigns, masters; the women subjects, slaves—carrying dissension and rebellion into every home of the Nation—cannot be endured.” Alas, endure it did. 

A decade earlier, in 1863, President Lincoln had ended his Gettysburg Address with … “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that a government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish.”

At that time, perhaps as many as 75% of American citizens were disenfranchised—all blacks, all Native Americans, all Chinese and Japanese Americans, and all women of any heritage. The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, gave men of all colors the right to vote, but women were left behind. 

Both Stanton and Anthony died before the tide finally turned. Immigrant women, black women, working women and educated white women joined forces and demanded change. Suffrage was first won across Western states and, in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment was finally ratified.  

However, it wasn’t until the second wave of the women’s movement, in the 1960’s, with the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that the power of the female electorate began to change politics. The Voting Rights Act, in particular, finally gave black women and Native American women the opportunity to vote, curtailing (but not successfully eliminating) voter suppression tactics such as ID requirements, literacy tests and poll taxes. 

And yet, 50 years later, a woman in Wyoming  makes 70 cents for every dollar that a man makes—Wyoming is ranked 50th in the pay gender gap. Women represent only 12% of the top-paid executives in the S&P 500. Only 23% of the 535 seats in Congress are held by women, and only 15% of the 90 seats in the Wyoming legislature. 

The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment is a landmark in women’s rights, but it represents not the end of the fight, but the beginning.  

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers”—Susan B. Anthony. 

Wyoming Humanities is sponsoring suffrage programs and events throughout the month.  Find more information along with suffrage resources to read, watch, listen and celebrate on our website

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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

in Bill Sniffin/Column

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

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!  

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Opinion: With Fear, We Failed Our Younger Generations

in Column/Rusty Rogers

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Rusty Rogers, guest columnist

Speaking with a friend recently concerning her sons first year of college. It seems he has a fairly high level of anxiety about the COVID-19 virus. Not a surprise when you think on it. Everything the major media has been putting out for the last four months is specifically designed to instill and maintain a fairly high level of fear.

From Dr. Fauci completely reversing everything he has advised for the last 30 years and shutting down the entire nation to refusing to print honest information about treatments to printing and broadcasting total and complete lies concerning medications and the government response.

The left with the help of their media arm has done everything in their power to keep the people of this nation afraid. Especially the young adults.

Fear is a huge controller and motivator. When afraid the human animal, as with most animals, chooses fight or flight. Most, of course, choose flight. It’s the minority that choose to fight that are the most useful to the left. They are told who to blame for the fear and who they should attack.

The 18 to 24 age group has been raised to trust the government, which they associate with the major media, more than their own parents. So, when the media says they should hate every one that disagrees with the chosen ideology, they hate. When told to attack, they attack.

This might explain why although racism is the verbalized reason for the attacks and destruction, that false focus has long since vaporized. Now the rioters, the crowds, attack anything close. They are becoming more random and out of control. This is most likely the desired goal and in fact, the plan.

Of course, there is the school of thought that they are not out of control at all, I’m in that school. I believe they are not only in control but they are well controlled, and paid. The fear they create is useful.

The left has been using the fear factor as a control mechanism for at least two centuries and they keep getting better at it. Fear separates us from our friends, family and support group. It can be used to intensify isolation and the desire for security and guidance.

The followers of Marx are well versed in the methods for guiding people in the midst of such situations. They give you someone and something to follow and believe in. Even if that something is not good for you. In fact, very bad for you and your entire community.

My generation and that of our parents let down not just our children and grandchildren, but the entire world. We failed to pay attention to the people who were educating our children. We failed to hold accountable those who we elected. So bad did it get we began to forgive behavior we should never have.

Adultery, theft, treason, (selling military tech to China). We abdicated our responsibilities to others from teachers to bureaucrats. The cost of that failure is becoming very apparent.

Fear can cause us to make mistakes, to act in ways we might normally not. In Kenosha Wi. a 17-year old defending his neighborhood shoots two protestors.

Looking at the video it could go either way. He was indeed knocked down and attacked. His reaction may have been extreme, we don’t know. One of the attackers appears to have a handgun.

It doesn’t matter, what matters is why. This young man was afraid. Afraid for his life and his families. He sees his country being destroyed all over TV and feels helpless but wants to do something. The result could have been predicted.

Fear can never be allowed to control us, never. It is the most difficult thing you will ever do. Feel fear but not let it rule. When you reach that point it will be the most freeing feeling ever experienced. Freeing and strengthening.

You can achieve that by several means I guess, but I believe without God in your life it could be tough. I’m not a big fan of FDR but he said something truly profound. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” If you give into fear not only will it control you but everyone who comes along will also control you.

The Marxist founders of BLM (Black Lives Matter) should be an eye opener for everyone. Karl Marx could easily be considered the father of communism. The guiding light for Lenin and Stalin. Now his followers are openly advocating the overthrow of America. They have convinced our young adults to forfeit their lives to that end and their number one tool is fear.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Go to Top