Them on Us for June 4. 2014
Jackson Hole, Wyo – News that a release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held by the Taliban, had been negotiated reverberated throughout the country. Republicans blasted the deal, which set free five bad guys from Gitmo, as a dangerous precedent of negotiating with terrorists. President Obama countered by saying it was a standard prisoner of war swap with historical authority.
Meanwhile, Bergdahl’s hometown papers (the soldier is from Hailey, Idaho) – the Idaho Statesman and Ketchum Keystone – predictably heralded the homecoming of Bergdahl after five years in captivity. Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said in a prepared statement: “The City of Hailey is very pleased with the release of Bowe Bergdahl from captivity. For these past nearly five years, the City of Hailey has stood by Bowe Bergdahl’s family in their quest to bring their son home. That day has arrived, and the City of Hailey can take comfort that Bowe Bergdahl has been returned.”
The city of Hailey plans a celebration when Bergdahl gets back. He is currently being reacclimated to society. Early reports are the serviceman may have all but lost the ability to speak English.
Footballers fight flood
Summer-like temps across the state have caused widespread flooding in some regions. In Teton County, creeks and tributaries remain fairly well behaved but other areas of the state are battling hazardous conditions.
The Weather Channel featured a segment the other day that heralded UW football players who had taken time off from practice to assist Saratoga residents with sandbagging and other flood mitigation. It may have been the first and last time Cowboy football was aired on the Weather Channel.
Closer to home, Teton County emergency manager Rich Ochs says he is predicting nothing major at this point in Teton County but Pacific Creek and the Snake River at Flagg Ranch are above record levels for this time of year.
LGBT interest groups have been applauding the Town of Jackson for its stance on same-sex couples. The town recently officially adopted a policy of nondiscrimination in hiring based on sexual preferences.
“The resort city of Jackson Hole has claimed the honor of being the first locale in Wyoming – “the Equality State” – to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance that includes LGBT citizens,” wrote TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com.
The unanimous vote last Tuesday was drama free. “While tempers ran hot and voices were raised in Houston as the city council considered similar protections, the public comment session in Jackson Hole was brief and composed,” added Jean Ann Esselink for the web news site.
The Human Rights Campaign said they had been working with Mayor Mark Barron for the ordinance. They added that local resident Mark Houser, with Jackson Hole PFLAG, spoke in favor of the wording, and that no residents spoke in opposition.
New hires headed to Hole
Industry veteran Phill McNabb will be packing his bags from Boise to Jackson Hole. McNabb was hired as project and service manager for Xssentials, a home automation system designer based primarily in Colorado but looking to build a bigger presence in Jackson Hole. McNabb started his own AV company in Boise, Visionary Systems. He will join Ed Trauth at the Jackson office.
Grand Teton Lodge Company announced Alex Klein would take over as VP/GM for GTLC. For Klein, it’s a return to the organization he began working at more than 20 years ago. He has been at the corporate headquarters in Vail for the past three years.
Mead pushes coal train
Wyoming governor Matt Mead is headed to Washington State next week to rally more support for a rail-to-sail export route that would help the Cowboy State export coal to China.
Fighting a losing battle at home, the governor has turned to international coal markets like Asia as a solution to the state’s economic dilemma.
“Expanding markets for Wyoming products is a priority I have engaged for some time,” Mead told the Star Tribune last week. “I know about the demand in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan for our coal. Increasing exports, including coal, will lead to economic growth and more jobs.”