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Tuesday notes

Feb 21, 2012 By Steven R. Peck

For months now, anyone who went online to visit saw only a static message about the site being under reconstruction or "coming soon."

The time now has come.

On Monday, without fanfare, we took the new live.

It's intended to coincide with the beginning of our 65th year of family newspaper ownership in Fremont County, which takes place March 1. (And we are the direct business descendants of newspapers dating to 1906 in Riverton and 1893 in Lander.)

Monday's quiet launch showed some of the features. But by the end of Tuesday, we plan to have the full site available to everyone.

Having a look doesn't cost a thing. Visit and enjoy.

It's always something

Sunday's headline accompanying the rundown of recent activity at the Wyoming Legislature had it wrong on the state tax exemption for ethanol producers. The Wyoming House voted to repeal that exemption, not grant it. It's the third such vote by that body, but the bill has yet to pass. The Senate must concur first, and that hasn't happened yet.

Skipping lightly through winter

Our warm January has been followed by a normal February. And make no mistake: January was enormously warmer than usual. An average temperature of 7 degrees above normal is huge in the eyes of the weather watchers.

It's not the sort of thing we'd welcome in July, but for those who have lived with Wyoming winters through the years, there could hardly be better news.

As for February, we're right about where we're supposed to be -- and that's easy enough to take.

So let's never complain about a sunny day in the upper 30s this time of year. It's not lawn-mowing weather yet, but we've skipped lightly around the fury of winter almost the whole way.

Frozen art

One bonus about the weather is that it has kept the Wild West Winter Carnival ice sculptures intact on the shady side of East Main Street in downtown Riverton. (Our Ranger sculpture needed a sturdier base to keep the elegant dolphin upright, alas.) The surviving pieces make friendly escorts to pedestrians as they make their way through town. If you haven't taken the winter "art walk" yet, there's still time.

An unsatisfying deal

Greece has a bailout deal at last -- or, to be more precise, a second bailout deal. It is intended to stave off bankruptcy for the nation, which would have been crippling to the united Eurozone economy.

But what an awful situation it is economically when bankruptcy is staved off by more than $150 billion in bailout money supplied by other nations, accompanied by a promise by Greece to reduce debt to no more than 120 percent of income eight years from. Even then, if everything goes perfectly, Greece will still have a huge debt burden. This is hailed as a "solution."

So this deal, this deeply unsatisfying deal, this deal that no private citizen ever would be allowed to pull off, is the best we can do.

Staggering stats

When a person lives in our times we might fail to recognize his or her achievements against the yardstick of history. That is to say, sometimes an all-time great exists among us and we don't realize it.

But time doesn't bestow greatness. Achievements do. And in the realm of popular music, Whitney Houston can be ranked only among the greatest ever. Her funeral was Saturday, and it generated a predictable amount of tabloid-TV attention.

Setting aside the gossip, the elaborate grief and the blind adulation, the simple statistics of her career are staggering. Not everyone was a fan, but this was a giant.

Thou in the Dow

Now that the Greek bailout crisis appears to have been solved for the time being, one of the big drags on U.S. stock market performance has been lightened.

But the market was doing quite well in spite of Greece, with slow, steady gains the rule over the past six months. Our weekly "Thou in the Dow" experiment, in which an imaginary $1,000 was "invested" in a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund following the U.S. credit rating downgrade in August which sent markets plunging, would have been worth $1,137.91 as of Tuesday morning.

Here's to a good week.

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