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News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

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Tuesday notes

Apr 29, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

No rush

There have been plenty of years when the final week of April has brought weather strongly suggestive of summer. Just two years ago this week all the trees were in leaf, the hopa crabs had bloomed and faded, and we had seen several 80-degree days.

Not so this year. Monday was pretty darned wintry again, with virtually every kind of precipitation falling at one time or another during the day. The season is not being rushed this year.

Maybe it's the calendar, because when May arrives later in the week, so will gorgeous pre-summer weather, or so say the weather forecasters. It's bound to happen sometime ... isn't it?

Strike one

On a much shorter weather note -- about 1/1000th of a second, more or less -- many who experienced Saturday afternoon's lightning strike over Riverton describe it as one of the loudest and brightest they've ever seen or heard. Those of us who were in the newspaper office will concur. Wow.

Sure enough, it took less than a minute for the fire sirens to sound, announcing that something had been struck. It was an evergreen tree, with a bird the only casualty.

Ranger photographer Wayne Nicholls, who shot the picture for Sunday's front page, noted that the lightning strike hit just a couple of houses down from where a tree branch pierced the roof of a different house in September during the huge near-summer snowstorm that downed thousands of tree limbs around town. It's been an exciting half year for that neighborhood, weather-wise.

That's why it's called opinion

To the less than courageous person who wrote the anonymous letter criticizing columnist Randy Tucker for "editorializing" in his columns about the ongoing controversy over Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, here's a bulletin: Tucker writes a column every week. It's on the Opinion page. It's supposed to be opinionated.

He has strong feelings about the Hill situation, and he has written about them often -- with his name and picture attached every time. We'll take that over an anonymous writer's potshots any time. If you have a different opinion, have the guts to send it to us over your name. We'll be glad to run it. (Incidentally, the next letter to the editor we get defending the Legislature's and governor's treatment of Cindy Hill will be the first.)

As for Ranger news coverage of the Hill story on page one, we'll stand by the fairness of our reporting from the first word to the last. If there is a problem with bias in the news coverage of Cindy Hill in the Wyoming media, it lies elsewhere.

Less than a fortune

We are getting reports that the breadwinners in some families getting the big tribal settlement checks are quitting their jobs.

That's the kind of thing you hear around the country when someone wins the Powerball Lottery and pockets $100 million. It's hard to argue with the decision in that case, at least financially.

But the amounts being distributed this month due to the minerals settlement are nothing like that. True, some households are getting $30,000, $40,000, even $70,000 in some cases, but that's not enough to retire on -- at least not for very long.

Be sensible everybody. Have some fun, enjoy the windfall, but don't confuse a few months' worth of financial relief for lifetime security.

Our man Bruce

Many people in the past few days heard the news that Ranger sports editor Bruce Tippets was flown to Salt Lake City on Friday for emergency medical treatment. Bruce has faced chronic health problems for years, including a truly death-defying struggle about six years back, but he has battled gallantly day after day, virtually never missing a scheduled day of work.

We're glad to report that after missing the weekend shift and today's paper, Bruce plans to be back on the job Wednesday, doing the work he loves covering local sports.

CWC announcement

Central Wyoming College names its new president Tuesday, the first time that's happened since George Bush was in office -- the first George Bush.

Dr. Jo Anne McFarland is retiring in a couple of months, and her replacement will be the focus of a major transition.

We will break the news of the presidential choice immediately Tuesday evening at dailyranger.com, then have all the details in Wednesday's edition.

Three finalists have been selected for the job. Is McFarland's replacement a foregone conclusion, as so many have speculated? Or will tonight's announcement bring unexpected news?

There is lots of scuttlebutt, of course, but one thing more than a few years in the local news business has taught us is this: Never assume.

Here's to a good week.