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Tuesday notes

Sep 26, 2017 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

So long, summer

Like clockwork, the end of planetary summer and the beginning of the new season on the occasion of the autumnal equinox brought with it a correlating change in temperature, moisture, cloudiness and general seasonal effect.

In other words, Friday sure did feel like the first day of fall, didn't it? (Some might say the weekend felt a bit more like winter, as a matter of fact.)

Now, if we're lucky - and we usually are - we stand to enjoy the period that often constitutes the finest period of weather our part of America can deliver - sunny, mild and colorful.

We proclaim here and now that extended winter weather need not arrive before Thanksgiving Day. All those in favor please signify by saying "aye."

Top firefighter

Wyoming was fortunate in the summer just ended to have avoided major wildfire difficulties. There were three fires of some substance, but they were contained relatively quickly and didn't result in unacceptable danger, damage and loss of property.

And, now with the drastic change in weather over the weekend, any vestiges of those fires are very likely to have been wiped out.

Mother Nature may remain the ultimate firefighting tool. The fire season might be starting earlier than it used to, but there's yet to be fire in our part of the country that could survive the onset of fall (or winter) weather. Our fires appear to be extinguished. Good riddance.

Beanstalks

It's easy for sports fans to say we aren't really interested in the (legal) conduct of football players when they aren't entertaining us by playing football. "Just play the game," we fans might say when extra attention is being generated by, for example, players who do or don't stand for the national anthem before a football game - not to mention what the President of the United States says about them.

True civic change often happens in just this way, however. It's one thing to get together for a convention with the planned agenda of changing something, and it's quite another when things begin changing at times and occasions when something else normally goes on but is interrupted by external factors that spark a reaction that alters the normal course of events, evolves the customary way of thinking, and rattles the cage of the status quo.

So, when something that isn't football does change the way football players behave Sunday afternoon in the stadium, and the president feels compelled to talk about it, and people at kitchen tables, around the water cooler and in the halls of government, the seed of societal change is planted. That doesn't mean this, specifically, will grow into a giant beanstalk, but if a giant beanstalk does grow, this usually is the way it starts out.

You might or might not notice, ignore, agree, disagree, care or yawn about the controversy about football players and the national anthem, but it does have the makings of organic social change that never could be duplicated by a seminar or policy paper.

Filling the gap

Community college trustees from around the nation are assembled this week for their annual convention (they call it their "congress"). The trustees, like the colleges themselves, are a group demonstrating wide diversity, beginning with geography and continuing through age, affluence, education, race and ethnicity, age and gender - to say nothing of modes of operation, ideology, sensibility and opinions and objectives based on their local goals and requirements.

Having said all that, there is one thing they all have in common. Community colleges nationwide are primary educators, trainers, builders and leaders in their communities. Four Central Wyoming College board members attended the national congress, on the heels of making three key decisions advancing major construction projects for our local college. Each project is quite different from the others, but each also serves as both an illustrator and reminder that CWC does things that simply could not, and certainly would not, be done locally by any other entity.

Put more simply, the community college does what the state university won't do, and what the local government or private local sector can't do.

Here's to a good week.

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2017-10-18