Remove the statue“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the garden door.”
Words of the great lady standing at our gates. Words that are in contrast to the United States of today, but are also in contrast to a country that has mistreated so many for so long. People from the orient, locked up and denied citizenship, citizens of Japanese decent placed in “Relocation Camps,” German Jews turned away as Hitler proceeded to kill over 6 millions of them, a country with a long history of slavery. These are just some examples of our short comings. Now we build a wall to turn away the poor looking for freedom from their hell in Central America. We live in a land where children are locked up, and deported without their parents.
This begs the question why do we elect governments that have condoned and promoted such atrocities again and again? Is not our government really us?
Are we the people standing behind the Statue of Liberty, or are her words just a cruel myth?
It is now time to tear down The Statue of Liberty and return her to France, or at the very least hang a “shroud of shame” over her that shows us as the hypocrites we have become.
Don’t waste time destroying Confederate statues. Don’t waste time removing the confederate battle flag from Nascar, and the state flags of southern states. Don’t waste time removing the traitors names from our military installations. Those symbols are who we have been and for ever will be! Or is it?
Concerns over Wyoming’s proposed land deal along I-80Dear Editor,
July 8 was the deadline for the state to bid on the purchase of 1 million acres in surface land and 4 million acres in mineral acres from Occidental Petroleum. We don’t know what the bid amount will be – but it will likely be upwards of $1 billion. Governor Gordon has called this an investment in ourselves. The crux of my concern is that we are taking a big risk at a time of great financial uncertainty to invest in a future “what if”. Here are some concerns I am weighing:
• Purchase of this land would take funds managed by the state treasurer’s office, performing pretty well in their current investments, and lock them into a purchase that might or might not have equal or greater economic benefits. Remember these funds come from the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund and are meant to make money that is used to support state services.
• The economic benefits of this deal are spoken of in terms of ownership of mineral rights. With coal, oil, and gas struggling already this raises great questions about how lucrative this will eventually be.
• It will be a big task for state government to manage this resource. Neither Occidental Petroleum nor Anadarko found a way to make money on this deal. Can state government do a better job than private industry to make it pay off?
• On the surface, the lack of direct legislative involvement and the public voice is concerning. Some behind the scenes consultations are going on, but this is a big step and one that begs more legislative and public involvement.
No doubt Governor Gordon has looked at this carefully, and his background as Wyoming’s treasurer provides some reassurance. But bottom line, there’s a lot we just don’t know and in the post-COVID-19 context, this is just more uncertainty. Time will tell whether this move was visionary or a risk to avoid.
Mask wearing a matter of personal responsibilityDear Editor:
Personal freedom and personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin. Wearing masks in public protects oneself and others from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. There is a narrative claiming that it is government overreach to require the wearing of masks. This narrative is based in a sense that personal freedom trumps all. Government insistence that personal responsibility goes hand in hand with personal freedom is viewed as part of a plot to take away personal freedom.
One argument against personal responsibility is that Wyoming, and Albany County have relatively few cases of the virus. As of July 7, 2020, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute, Albany County has had 37 documented cases and no deaths. Why wear a mask when likelihood of getting the virus is so low?
This kind of thinking increases the possibility you, your parent or grandparent, child or friend will become infected. It is also extremely selfish. That said, it is your choice to wear or not wear a mask in public.
However, when this kind of thinking is adopted by a business, where it avoids responsibility for reducing prevalence of the virus by not having employees wear a mask, I can actually do something.
Given the choice to shop in a store where all employees wear masks and one in which none of the employees wear masks, I will shop where masks are required of employees.
I encourage everyone to shop where employees are required to wear masks and avoid businesses where employees don’t wear them. This is not a political statement. It is a way to affirm we are all part of the social body, and have a personal responsibility to others as well as the right to personal freedom.
And one step further, if you see a sign saying, “No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service,” thank the store’s owner. Let them know you appreciate their having a sense of responsibility for the welfare of customers and the rest of us.
Jeffrey J. Olson
Open container resolution will be a disasterDear Editor:
On Tuesday, Laramie’s City Council made a colossal mistake by approving a misguided plan to allow open containers on the streets of downtown Laramie.
The measure — falsely dubbed a “special event” resolution even though staff admitted that no special event permit had been applied for or issued — was supposedly intended to aid downtown businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. But if it benefits anyone, it will only be the few bars with off premise licenses. And it is highly unlikely even to do that, since drinkers will bring their own bottles or buy cheap packaged liquor rather than paying by the drink. They’ll then consume it on the street with no portion control and no supervision.
Does the City really believe that drunks dangerously wandering the streets of downtown — you cannot drink through a mask, after all — will “mask up” before barging into retail establishments? That they won’t urinate, vomit, litter, fight, and commit vandalism, as they already do when leaving bars? That they won’t share bottles and drinks with minors, especially when UW resumes? That they won’t wander down alleys, which are supposedly not part of the open container zone? That they won’t drive home or back to work drunk, even more so than during the yearly “brewfest” (which many downtown residents dread)?
During Jubilee Days, downtown has Porta-Potties, extra trash receptacles, wrist bands, and a huge police presence to keep revelers in line. Nonetheless, it suffers so much littering that a cleanup crew — featured in a recent Boomerang article — is required. Jubilee Days also provides seating for those eating and drinking outside. But Council, showing an utter lack of wisdom and foresight, required no such measures to be in place or even planned, inviting disaster. And Laramie Main Street — demonstrating that it represents only the few businesses that fund it and not the actual interests of downtown — actively encouraged this blunder.
Laramie needs leadership. It clearly lacks it now.
County commission election has consequences for our waterEditor:
City of Laramie voters: Yes, it matters who you elect to the Albany County Commission, because the county commissioners’ decisions directly affect our drinking water.
The Casper Aquifer Protection Area – the recharge area for the groundwater pumped into your faucet from the city of Laramie’s municipal wells – lies east of town. This same groundwater supplies the private domestic wells in the East Grand subdivisions.
Most of the aquifer protection area is outside the city limits, under the jurisdiction of the county commissioners. The county commissioners control the type and extent of development within the aquifer protection area through their zoning power. How they choose to exercise that power largely determines the potential for contaminating our water supply.
(Note: The Pilot Hill Project precludes development on about 13% of the aquifer protection area, assuming careful negotiation of the county’s lease with the state and with the nonprofit Pilot Hill Inc.)
Albany County Clean Water Advocates has surveyed the county commission candidates on issues relevant to drinking water protection and control of development through zoning.
Please review the county commission candidates’ responses on our website: albanycountycleanwateradvocates.org.
City council candidates will be surveyed after the primary election, as no council candidates will be eliminated in the primary.
We all are part of Albany County, and protection of drinking water supplies is a critical issue for county residents within and outside the Laramie city limits. We encourage all voters to consider the candidates’ stands.
Local government leaves little hope for futureI have lived in 30 of the 51 states, if you believe our 44th President. I chose Albany County. I’ve ridden with the Hells Angles, I dated a woman that cooked for the Clintons, I hit a deer on my motorcycle at over a hundred MPH and walked, I’ve drank wine with Mondovi and I’ve been in Easy Rider twice to just name a few, but the editorial comparing Wyoming to Delaware, Rhode Island and D.C., has to be the most moronic, triple dipped in pure stupidity that I’ve ever heard; and I thought I’d heard and done it all.
I strongly urge people that have moved here and want Wyoming to resemble there mother land, please exit our great Wyoming ASAP. Don’t bother to shut the door behind you, I’ll get it. People that love the outdoors have a golden rule; leave it as you found it.
While at a city meeting years previous, I brought up parking garages to solve parking problems the University was creating. Mayor Amber Travski at the time said that parking garages would not be suitable because of their ugliness. Therefore, in reality, a view is in-fact an important issue. Over the years, (private property) owners have tried to introduce strip clubs and adult bookstores, only to be shut down by government, what happened to the private property theory?
Humans have five basic senses; sight, smell being another. What if a company came in and wanted to construct a rendering plant and they created 200 permanent jobs; would that be OK? What if the black panthers or the KKK wanted to move in and put up signs expressing their opinions on private property? The city and county have tons of regulations limiting private property usage.
I’m not interested in having Albany County cluttered with massive wind turbines because a few inept ranchers spending too much time at the coffee shops. There’s capable ranches making a profit willing to take their place and buy them out. It’s called evolutionary economics. The corruption within the county commissioners leave me little hope for our way of life.
Garrison is the right candidate for HD 45Dear Editor:
The university should be complimented on its continuance of the Centennial Speaker Series—if only on Zoom. My wife and I have enjoyed the international focused series for the past seven years and are appreciative of the effort put forth by the UW Center for Global Studies to maintain the series. Both of the July 8 presenters, Jonathan Root and Phineas Kelly, gave highly informative talks.
I might add that the driving force behind the series has been and continues to be Professor Jean Garrison, who, I might add, is a candidate for the Wyoming House of Representatives in District 45. I have known Jean for almost 30 years as a student, UW faculty member and administrator and am impressed by her energy and exceptional knowledge of Wyoming. She would make a very able representative for Albany County.
Land purchase leaves questions unanswered Dear Editor:
A group of citizens has joined together to ask questions that we did not hear answers to at Monday’s virtual State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) meeting which was devoted to informing citizens of the Board’s plan to move forward with a bid to purchase land now owned by Occidental Oil Company—aka The Bison Project. We appreciate SLIB’s response to citizens’ demands for transparency regarding this purchase. However we do not feel that we have enough information about this sale.
Our questions and concerns are listed here. If others have similar concerns, they may go to the SLIB website https://lands.wyo.gov/contact-us and give their opinion.
1. Who makes the final decision regarding the Bison Project sale?
2. How much gross and net income has Occidental and beforehand, Anadarko Oil, received from all activities on the land in question on average for the last five years? What has been the State’s and counties’ share of that income?
3. How much income was generated over the last five years from each of the following activities on this land?
a. Oil/gas extraction
b. Trona mining
4. What entity or entities of State Government would manage the land?
5. What minerals are planned to be extracted from the land in the proposed purchase? What, if any, solar and/or wind energy projects are planned for this land? And what recreational/other uses are planned?
6. What gross and net profit does the SLIB anticipate making from the mineral extraction or other uses of this land? Will the entire state receive this income or just the counties the land lies within?
7. Have there been any losses during ownership incurred by Occidental/Anadarko? Are any losses anticipated to counties or the State of Wyoming if the land is acquired?
8. Has or will the State require Occidental to mitigate the land in question: eg., Neutralize and clean up any pollution remaining on the land, fix or replace leaky tanks, and in general, to leave the land in good condition?
We believe that these questions must be answered before the land is purchased.
Jamie Egolf and 10 additional signatories
Energy focus should be on plant efficiencyAs a Wyoming resident and a consumer of electricity I am thankful for our coal economy. However, as a former engineer in power plants, and now a teacher in engineering and statistics I must voice my concerns regarding carbon sequestration. Based on my observations of CO2 sequestration research I believe that continued spending on this idea is imprudent. CO2 sequestration is bound by the immutable laws of physics and decades of ignoring these natural laws has failed to produce a feasible full-scale solution.
Sequestration ideas are based on a false economy where the energy consumed by the process is ignored by research. When coal burns, a carbon atom combines with two oxygen atoms to form CO2 and release heat which ultimately makes electricity. Any attempt to reverse this process requires an even greater amount of energy, and this is the aspect that research conveniently ignores.
In addition to energy consumed by a sequestration reaction, consider a process where captured CO2 is transported as a gas or dry ice. For each trainload of coal rolling into a power plant, the equivalent weight of three trainloads of CO2 must be removed from the power plant. If the CO2 were to be converted to calcium carbonate, approximately eight trainloads of solid would need to be removed. The energy needed to make and deliver the ingredients for these processes plus the energy needed to transport the final product is on a par with the electrical energy produced in the first place. This is like a perpetual motion machine.
So how does research claim to show these CO2 capture ideas work in the lab or in pilot-scale applications? Quite frankly, in favor of politics, the associated energy consumption is conveniently ignored while methods and analyses are often suspect.
If we really want to rescue fossil-fueled electricity, we would be advised to spend our money on improving power plant efficiency. Coal-fired power plant technology has been relatively unchanged for the past five decades. Burning coal to make electricity is like driving a 1970 station wagon.
Facemask mandate proposal really about powerSo Mr. Weaver would like everyone to wear masks in public places, except restaurants and bars.
So why is it safe to go without a mask in a restaurant, but not True Value, Bloedern Lumber or Murdocks? Has the virus been trained not to infect anyone in a bar or restaurant? Can Mr. Weaver explain the logic of his conclusion?
What is the next level after this? Wear a mask in your car with the windows up? Wear a mask in your home? Maybe wear a mask to bed.
When will it be enough or over and done. It will be over and done when you say so for yourself. This is not about safety, public health, the common good, or caring about others. This is about the misuse of a position of power to force people to conform to your ideals.
People like Mr Weaver are never content with the authority they have and are always trying to move the lines farther and farther to make people conform to their standards.
Will all the school kids wear masks full time in school? On the bus?
Instead of all the hysteria about masks and COVID-19, maybe the press ought to do some stories on people who are out of work and trying to keep up with payments.
Or talk to some of the businesses that were closed and ask how much money they have lost and maybe check out the bankruptcies and foreclosures that are coming down the pike.
Put out a little real relevant news.
Call Mr. Weaver, council members, and the city attorney and ask them what their end game is. Besides, if masks are so effective in preventing pandemics, why didn’t we start wearing them 50 years ago.