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Tuesday notes

Sep 13, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Still summer

Ninety degrees after Labor Day? Our annual meteorological question this year has brought its frequent answer - no. That's not to say, however, that summer weather has gone away. Anyone plunked downon Mondayafternoon at Main and Broadway might well have thought it was July, not September. In the season's last full week, it's sunny and hot during the day, still and cool and night.

One nice change in recent days has been a shift in the combination of barometric pressure, wind, and other applicable conditions that have brought a respite from the weeks of smoky skies. Dozens of wildfires are still burning in the western United States, but, for the time being, the smoke is not drifting over the Wind River Basin.

That awful day

Riverton has developed a nice Patriots Day tradition through the years, assembling a patriotic parade of emergency vehicles, motorcycle riders, blue-collar workers in their pickups, and others, taking a non-standard parade route around town as they display the flag and help the community reflect on the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.Monday'sroute took the long parade past Riverton Middle School and Riverton High school, where students turned out by the hundreds to watch and wave.

For those of us to whom 9/11 remains one of the singular days in shared memory, it can be a bit hard to believe that today's high school students have no personal recollection of the terrorist attacks at all.

Time passes. Remembrance must not.

That's Whitmire

Readers following our coverage of the top-level personnel changes at Wind River Job Corps in Riverton might have been a bit confused recently when it came to learning the name of the new center director. For the record, his name is Jim Whitmire.

He'll start his new job at the big facility west of Riverton almost immediately, bringing with him a good record of Job Corps administration elsewhere. The center in Denison, Iowa, he ran prior to coming to Riverton was ranked among the top one-third of all Job Corps centers in the nation.

Secretary of Education

It's not every day that day a United States government cabinet secretary visits Fremont County. In fact, it's very rare.Tuesday'svisit by secretary of education Betsy DeVos is a significant occasion. During the short trip, she may well get the sense of Fremont County's unusual, diverse, and challenging education environment. Madam Secretary, welcome.

Irma's wrath

The nation can be thankful that the incredibly powerful hurricane named Irma did not inflict quite the level of damage that had been feared as it came ashore in Florida over the weekend. A shift of just a few miles in its trajectory over the Sunshine State means that the biggest coastal cities - Miami on the east and Tampa on the west - didn't take the full punch.

It's all relative, however. Irma did damage. Lots of damage.On Tuesdaymorning, 5 million people - that's 10 times the population of our state - still had no electricity in Florida.

The hurricane all but destroyed modern civilization on a few of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, and it did bring big surges of water to inland areas of Florida. Streets in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and other Florida cities a mile or more from the beach stood 4 feet deep in water bySundayafternoon.

Think of that for a moment as you see a school bus passing through your neighborhood or as you take a drive up North Federal or a walk on Rails to Trails. Just because Irma wasn't a catastrophe doesn't mean it wasn't a monumental occasion - and a major pain in the butt.

Tradition

It's homecoming week at Riverton High School, with the other schools around Fremont County following suit in the weeks ahead. Particularly for long-term residents of our area, homecoming continues to provide an important touchstone from past to present. If there's an experience that hasn't changed much through generations, it's that of standing in the darkness on a crisp autumn night listening to a marching band and feeling the warmth of a burning bonfire, with a school and a football field nearby.

Most of homecoming week is intended for high school students, as well it ought to be. But there are a couple of occasions for the public to get involved, most notably the downtown paradeon Fridayafternoon and the football game later that night.

Be part of it if you can. It's important to remember where we came from and to realize that we build history and reinforce tradition every day of our lives.

Here's to a good week.

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2017-09-24