By on November 24, 2015

Dark day ahead

It’s not too early for some stargazers to begin planning for the first total solar eclipse in the United States since the late 1970s, and the first to travel the entire country since 1918. Wyoming is expected to get a front-row seat to the action, especially Jackson Hole.

The trajectory of the event will take the sun’s path directly over Jackson Hole on August 21, 2017 at 12:37 p.m. The event is expected to last for 2 minutes and 20 seconds, according to NASA’s Fred Espenak.

Photographer alert: The centerline should pass through Grand Teton National Park, past the north end of the runway of Jackson Hole Airport, and virtually right over the Grand Teton itself.

Viewers of the event will need to be in the direct trajectory to see the totality of the eclipse. In Wyoming, that means Jackson Hole, Glendo, Guernsey, and Casper. Casper city officials are ahead of the curve, scheduling a four-day Eclipse Fest from Aug. 18-21, 2017. Jackson Hole Central Reservations is encouraging visitors to make their reservations early.

(Photo: JH Astronomy Club)

(Photo: JH Astronomy Club)

Universally affordable

University of Wyoming is the most affordable four-year college in the nation for in-state students. A report issued by the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. showed that UW topped the nationwide list while Central Wyoming College ranked 8th in lowest tuition in the country.

Low tuition comes at a price, however. The same study ranked Wyoming as having the second-highest levels of state funding compared to the rest of the U.S. Uncertainty over expected budget cuts due to poor coal revenue has delayed a decision by Wyoming Community College Commission on whether to increase tuition for the next school year. That determination is usually made in October.

The story was reported in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

El Nono?

Is Jackson Hole too far north to squeeze the best out of El Nino? The positive precipitation effects of the system are expected to bring higher than normal snowfall to the southwestern U.S. – Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico should get blasted – but northwest Wyoming is considered just out of the geographic pattern.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Jones told the Casper Tribune that skiers and snowboarders should not worry. “Wyoming’s northwest corner should still receive plenty of snow, just maybe not as much as other years,” Jones said.

Equality State?

(Photo: WyoFile)

(Photo: WyoFile)

Suzan M. Pritchett’s guest column for WyoFile last weekend was interesting. Following the terrorist attacks on Paris, Gov. Matt Mead predictably joined governors from across the nation in asking President Obama to halt the refugee process and declared Wyoming would not accept Syrian refugees.

The announcement seemed little more than political posturing – how many Syrian refugees are actually looking to relocate to the Cowboy State? – and Pritchett would likely agree. She wrote: “Wyoming was the only state in the United States that did not participate in the federal refugee resettlement program.” Indeed, Wyoming has been and continues to be the only state in the nation that does not directly receive refugees who have been identified and vetted by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees.

The state that once resorted to drastic measures, like giving women the right to vote, in order to increase population is turning a cold shoulder to foreigners from global terrorism hotspots.

And they’re off…again

(Photo: Dan Cepeda/Star Tribune)

(Photo: Dan Cepeda/Star Tribune)

Horse racing terminals are back online after 50 days of downtime. Regulating agency Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission pulled the plug on the machines October 4 after a warning from the State Attorney General’s Office that betting on historical horse races was still betting and therefore illegal under state statute.

A work-around has been achieved which requires every terminal’s software to be verified and then certified with a sticker. PJH

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.

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