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Tuesday notes

Sep 5, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Labor Day

Your daily newspaper staff is grateful for the day offMonday. We don't observe most of the other three-day weekend holidays in our office, so Labor Day is a welcome one. In case anyone is planning ahead, we don't intend to take another day away from scheduled operationsuntilThursday, Nov. 23.That's Thanksgiving Day.

Any more 90s?

With September comes the arrival of autumn in about three weeks. With the passage of Labor Day comes our annual question: Will we see another high of 90 degrees this year?

We've invited readers to join in that observation for some years now. A high in the Wind River Basin of 90 degrees after Labor Day is rare, but not unheard of. Records show that Riverton has recorded a high of 90 degrees as late asSept. 24, so it remains a possibility for a while yet.

Interestingly, the hottest day of the entire summer in Riverton apparently occurred just last week. We're checking records to see if the season's hottest day (it was 97 on Aug. 28) ever had occurred so late in the season before. This has been a relatively cool summer, but it's still a surprise to realize we hadn't seen a day hotter than 97 until August was nearly done.

Summer and smoke

One thing that's sure to help keep temperatures down is the new infusion of smoke from wildfires. Weather patterns have beenideal, if that's the right word for it, for the spread of smoke in recent days. Our sun often looks like a giant Sunkist orange in the sky - a typical sight in the air-pollution parts of the country, but a strikingly odd one here.

Some accounts say the smoke we're seeing is coming from as far as Canada to our local valleys. Regardless of where it's coming from, there's no question that the smoke is holding down temperatures on what normally would be hotter summer days than we're getting.

Hoppers

Official reports over the weekend confirmed what most in Fremont County already knew about grasshoppers. There are a heck of a lot of them this year. Weed and pest analysts say this is the biggest hopper invasion in many years.

Chances are it has something to do with our long, snowy winter and our short, wet, late spring. The experts can come up with the official explanation, but we'd bet it is just the latest example of how one of the strangest, longest and oddest winters in decades continues to affect us even as the following summer winds down.

Harvey and Irma

More than a week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the impact of the storm on Texas and the western Gulf Coast region remains one of the top news stories in the nation, day after day. Clearly, there hasn't been a conventional hurricane to compare to it since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (although the "superstorm" dubbed Sandy in 2012 was comparable in its impact farther north).

Now, in a literal demonstration of the maxim "when it rains it pours," there's another fearsome hurricane taking aim at the United States, this time at the east coast of Florida. First up, Hurricane Irma will lay waste to the Caribbean islands before slamming the Sunshine State, where Gov. Rick Scott has told residents to "prepare for the worst."

If Irma is even half as bad as Harvey, our emergency management resources will be put to a severe double test.

Student of the Week

A welcome accompaniment to the impending autumn is the return of our annual Ranger Student of the Week program. We plan to premiere this year's version later this month.

Student of the Week, which culminates in the spring with the selection of the Student of the Year scholarship winners, comes about only because local schools pick the kids each week and because local businesses sponsor the weekly page.

Now in its fourth decade, Student of the Week continues to rely on community support through weekly sponsorship. It doesn't cost much, and it enables us to bestow the annual scholarships to deserving students.

This is a useful, rewarding and highly enjoyable program that has honored more than 8,000 Students of the Week, nearly 300 Students of the Year, and which this year will top $150,000 in scholarships awarded.

And it needs community support. When your Ranger advertising representative calls on you this month about sponsoring Student of the Week, please give it every consideration. This is worth doing, and worth being part of.

Here's to a good week.

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2017-09-24