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Tuesday notes

Apr 7, 2020 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

Unmistakable spring

We've reached time of year when any longtime Fremont County resident, even with eyes closed, could determine the approximated date on the calendar simply by stepping outdoors in late afternoon.

Breezy? Temperature in the 50s? Dry air, but with the smell of mud?

Must be early April, when the seasonal battle between winter's last gasps and spring's stronger breaths is played out on a climatic scale.

This, in other words, is quintessential Wyoming spring weather. Sorry, winter, but your day is just about done.

E-Thursday

The Ranger again will be publishing the Thursday edition only online this week. As we did last week, we'll hang hard copies of each page in our front window on Thursday, but there will be no printed edition that day. We'll be back Friday as usual, and we will print the Sunday Ranger as well.

We don't particularly like this, and we know some readers would rather not miss the printed edition, either. But, like any other business, we need to find ways to respond to the loss of business due to the virus emergency.

For us, that means saving paper when we can, because the same thing that has happened to toilet paper in the marketplace is happening to "newsprint," which the name for the big rolls of paper we use to print The Ranger. There isn't as much of it out there at the moment, and it costs more.

We also are looking at ways we might combine the ADvertiser and EXTRA! into a single press run, and we will publish the combined Friday-Sunday ("Frunday") edition at least once a month into September.

The Ranger is a business. We are feeling the pain of the virus outbreak. We will continue to publish -- but, for one day a week, the Ranger will available only at dailyranger.com -- free of charge. Bear with us.

All-county hoops

We published our annual All-Fremont County girls basketball team on Sunday. This coming Sunday, we'll announce our Fremont County high school girls Player of the Year, and we'll follow that with girls Coach of the Year before repeating the sequence for the boys.

Our school students are being deprived of their valued springtime customs and events by the COVID shutdown, so we're glad to continue our long-standing tradition of all-county teams. It helps a bit.

DJ100

Lacking many of the customary trends and indicators that drive the daily performance of the stock market, our ongoing investment experiment we've named DJ100 isn't following much rhyme or reason after the disastrous market crash last month because of the coronavirus and the forced contractions it necessitated in the U.S. economy.

Those losses make the couple of downturns in August 2019 seem modest in comparison. Nevertheless, it was that summertime plunge that sparked the start of our latest exercise, in which we make an imaginary investment in a market index fund and simply leave it be for a designated period of time.

This is the fifth time we've done it over the past decade or so, and there's never been another one remotely like this one.

Here's the update: Had you actually invested $100 in on Aug. 6 in a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund and left it alone since then, as of Tuesday morning it would have been worth $87.93, up $3.60 from a week earlier.

Longer haul

Projections a couple of weeks ago that the coronavirus emergency might be over by Easter were dubious at the time and now seem preposterously absurd. Easter is this Sunday, and the virus has not even reached its peak in most places yet, much less dissipated.

This is going to be a longer haul than anyone wants.

If some of us are looking at calendar markers to define the crisis, perhaps we can shoot for Memorial Day for some relief -- but don't be shocked if the Fourth of July is the more realistic checkpoint for nationwide encouragement.

In the meantime, plan accordingly.

Masks

Local health officials now are recommending that we wear simple cloth face masks to cover the nose and mouth when we are out in public and likely to encounter other people. Remember, you might have coronavirus even if you don't show symptoms, but the people you could infect might get deathly sick from the same bug if you transmit it to them.

That's what the masks can help prevent.

Here's to a good week.

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2020-05-28

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