THEM ON US

By on September 6, 2016

Smile, you’re on web cam

160907TOU1OK, why is the cyberspace community so enthralled with the downtown Jackson webcam? The cam, owned by Bob Strobel of See Jackson Hole, went live on July 20 and has since picked up a steady 2,000 or more viewers watching and commenting at any given time.

The camera takes an angle looking at town square from the northeast. In view is a rival business webcam provided by Jackson Trading Company with their name blurred out. The SeeJH webcam is all the interweb sensation right now with its own cast of stars including Wormguy, Bike Witch Lady, Green Shirt, Cowboy, Old Couple, and Waldo.

None are more popular, however than Red Truck. In fact, a change.org petition has been launched calling for “The First Annual Jackson Hole Red Truck Parade!!”

No one is quite sure why the webcam has taken off like it has but some of the organic traffic has now been computed into formulas used by YouTube when it suggests what you might be interested in watching. And guess what it is suggesting? Visit it now. Hurry, you might miss something. YouTube: Jackson Hole Town Square.

NASDAQ, NYSE, DOW, JH

160907TOU2It’s not unusual for valley residents to read headlines like the one in NASDAQ.com: “What Jackson Hole means for investors.” After all, we are used to vast wealth that rolls through and sometimes lives here. But how must it read for the rest of the nation, and world, really, to see “Jackson Hole” in reference to money markets and the like?

The Federal Reserve symposium wrapped up last month with Fed chair Janet Yellen’s Friday morning keynote address hinting at policy-making interest hikes (possibly by December) in light of the economy’s slow, steady recovery. At this point, the whole annual banking retreat is referred to by most media outlets as “Jackson Hole.”

Palace vs. pup tent

160907TOU3Allen Best’s Mountain Town News contained two pieces relevant to Jackson Hole. A write-up of the widening economic gap between the “ultra-wealthy and everybody else,” as Best put it, is to blame largely on Wyoming’s tax-friendly status.

“Wyoming has no income tax. Wyoming residents can also create dynasty trusts to shield property from federal estate taxes for up to 1,000 years. The state also has no real estate transfer tax, no estate tax, no tax on out-of-state retirement income,” Best wrote.

Real estate agents are hip to the scene as well. A Sotheby’s ad in July read, “Wild, wonderful Wyoming—the tax friendly state,” in large, bold print.

The second piece Best penned concerned something very familiar to many Holers. Homeless camping in the forest is on the rise in places throughout the Rocky Mountain West. A wildfire sparked earlier this summer in Colorado revealed scores of homeless people camping on public lands. The numbers are hard to pin down, says Lee Cerveny, a researcher looking into the situation, but her latest count shows a definite upsurge around Crested Butte and Breckenridge.

“What is happening, and why are we seeing more people living in the forests?” Cerveny said. “We don’t know yet.”

Umm, see the first story.

Art slinging cowboys

160907TOU4Wyoming may not be at the top of everyone’s list for states exuding with culture and the arts, but hold on to your ten gallons—the Cowboy State is pretty dang artsy.

The National Endowment for the Arts released statistics recently on American participation in the arts and, behold, Wyoming ranked near the top in every category. We go to concerts, theatre performances, and dance recitals (43 percent of us in 2015) at a rate third highest in the country. We also perform or create art (59 percent of us)—good enough for seventh best in the U.S.

Certainly Jackson Hole is doing its part to boost the numbers though we were not mentioned in the Casper Star Tribune article last weekend.

Alt-revenue

160907TOU5Wyoming is nearly a half-million dollars richer thanks to a suspected drug dealer nabbed for speeding three years ago.

Robert Miller, of Des Plaines, Illinois, was pulled over by state troopers for speeding on I-80 in 2013. A search of his car turned up $470,000 in cash, which was seized by the state under its Controlled Substances Act. Miller is fighting the forfeiture but received some bad news last week when State Supreme Court Chief Justice E. James Burke dismissed an appeal from Miller who contends the seizure was unconstitutional.

Gov. Matt Mead in 2015 vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would have required the state to secure a criminal conviction first before seizing cash and property from suspects. Earlier this year, Mead signed a compromise bill that requires the attorney general to review all seizures. That bill went into effect July 1. PJH

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