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Newspaper Archive of
News Letter Journal
Newcastle, Wyoming
September 3, 2020     News Letter Journal
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September 3, 2020
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edit0r@newslj. com more and more. to school for his first day of what that ‘.would look like amid a global pandemic. Would I be able to take the first day? What would lunch look like? How is he Will he actually be able to play at recess? What about or staff? be okay. of luck. ‘ l l im Owen is one of the 1 Jbest-known, least—known ' people in Wyoming. , The’author of both I Cowboy Ethics and The Code of the West, Owen had a huge influence on the state in the last decade by helping Wyoming adopt these codes, which seem to make more sense here in the CoWboy State than anywhere else I am riot ashamed to be the first one to admit that I absolutely hate the health guidelines put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also not ashamed to admit that as this twilight zone of a year has carried on, I have found myself respecting the reasons for those guidelines For the first time ever, as I prepared to send my youngest kindergarten, I was dreading a picture with his teacher on going to find his classroom? the ability to interact with other students The listvof questions rolled on forever ,- and as a mom the fear and anxiety ate at , x me until the first morning of school. AS'we ’ ' ‘ drove around town, it was like Kazen could read my mind, questions flooded out of his mouth. All I could do was hope for: the best and assure him that everything would As we approached the school, I was pleased to see teachers in dinosaur cos- tumes, kindergarten teachers standing ,, outside waiting to greet us so I‘c0uld snap ' that first day photo, and parents hugging their children and wishing them the best I was pleased to see a first day of school, just like any other. There was excitement on the faces 10f parents, staff; and Mud tears l rolling the faces 0 V just as many. I saw Starting school out the right way some wearing masks and others maintaining their distance. as possible. kids. Alexis Barker Worse than her bite noon on Sept. 6. Owen traveled the world giving talks about Cowboy Ethics to places like West Point, the FBI Academy, Navy Seals, and onward. He was flying around giving 35 speeches a year and found himself in the worst physical condi- tion of his life. He weighed 205, his knees creaked, and his lower back was in America. killing him. Through ” I talked with MBilvlvsnimf‘ a number of changes ‘6 Jim Saturday about Y°m'“9 in his life, which he 1- his latest project, 11 which has a lot of interest to me. -= His three-stage career as -l a successful investor, then a a proponent of Cowboy Ethics, 3 has now turned to “aging [1 well.” He has produced a documentary with Jim Havey called The Art of Aging Well which follows his journey n as he tried to re-invent his physical self at the age of 70. Now, ten years later, he Says he is in the best shape of his life and he wants to share his journey. The program will be on Wyoming PBS Friday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 pm. and at l'! is anxious to share, he now weighs 150 and feels no pain. Earlier he wrote a book called Just Move! published by National Geographic. I am looking forward to seeing his documentary but his history with Wyoming really piqued my interest. It all started with the ubiq- uitous late Mick McMurry of Casper. McMurry wanted to start his Jonah Banks and had seen a copy of Owen’s book Cowboy Ethics. McMurry thought his bank needed an ethic guide and with his bank president Mark Zabach, they I saw children who were chomping at the bit to get back in that building and teachers eager to start a school year as normal «What I didn’t see, despite the last five months of confusion, stress and the overwhelming fear of the future, was people judging others for our decisions. I didn’t see both sides of the debate, I saw a community that could come together and respect each other for the betterment of our That evening, during the Weston County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees meeting, I heard school administration praise the kids. I heard them talk about how excited they all were to be there, about how things went much more smooth than they ever could have imagined. I heard 4, them bektruly grateful to be back with the students and doing what they love. “For the first time since March I could hear kids on the playground. That’s what we are about, that’s why we do what we do. It will all be better if we listen to the kids on the playground,” WCSD No. 1 Superintendent Brad LaCroix said. “I have never been happier to be back at work.” As parents, we need to encourage a posi- tive learning environment, we need to do What we can to keep our children in school, and we need to support the staff at the schools. The more we all come together, put our different beliefs aside, and abide by the guidelines, the more time our kids will get to spendwith the teachers and administra- tion that'haye a drive and passion to are for , them, to educate them and to love thrfm. i r..r *5" met with Owen about incor- porating it into the bank’s system of operation. The late McMurry, who died in 2015, was probably Wyoming’s biggestbooster, with his wife Susie, during this last decade and pretty soon, the idea of Cowboy Ethics was speeding all across the state. Ultimately, it was even adopted by the Wyoming Legislature as a code of conduct..Wyoming is the only state in America that has such a code. During his visits to Wyoming, he recalled one dinner with former U. S. Sen. Al Simpson in Cody. “I never met a man more interesting,” he said. Owen, who now lives in San Diego, has a special affinity with Wyoming that goes back a long way. In the early 19805, Jim and his wife of 52 years adopted two children. Their son was born in Sheridan and his wife had to be a Wyoming resident in order to complete the adop- tion, so she lived in a ranch outside of Sheridan for six months. From that date years ago, they came full circle EEpro TALK To A PUBLIC SERVANT? ' ,raChair) (Board Vice-Chair) bard Clerk) , Treasurer) School Board Trustees’ contacts: 629-1 01 0 746-2338 746-2473 746-2079 746-51 16 465—2268 746-9480 465-2214 , 629-0378 746~M51 F’ll Letter to the Editor .... .; ......... .. No doubt about the state’s spending spree To the Editor: This is an answer to the question of the week. There is no doubt that Wyoming has been on a spending spree because of the abundance of money that was available, and if there is money, politicians feel they have a mandate to spend it. The money fountain is going dry and probably will not recover. Coal will persist with limited sales and oil will probably recover to above $50 per barrel. That will not cure the basic problem that Wyoming spends nearly 10 times as much for services, according to some reports, as it receives from its citizens. This means that for every person who moves to Wyoming, the amount for the citizens diminishes. There is a group with their head in the sand who seems to think this party can go on and on. They have convinced enough of the legislators of this idea that they have been able to stop any movement to change the tax system. During Gov. Stanley Hathaway’s term the state was almost unable to write a check so he made an effort to get a severance tax on minerals, and he succeeded. We have a cushion available now but it will not last long. Cutting spending will help but the cuts should be selective where they do little harm. Total budget cuts are the easy but inefficient method. The tax system in Wyoming needs a major revision to require citizens to pay for some of their services and for business to pay a share of the burden. At the present a business which does not produce minerals only pays ad valorem tax on its property and pays nothing on any profit it earns. The people could be paying an income tax in incomes above $100,000. We have never hesitated to tax minerals, so there is no reason not to tax the wind. It is a natural resource and companies only come here to make a profit from it. Increasing taxes is always difficult and unpleasant but that is what the legislators signed up for. How to age gracefully according to J Owe ten years ago when Mick McMurry made that fateful phone call. “Wyoming is a great place,” he says. “Cowboy Ethics really matter here. They just do not anymore in Texas, Colorado, or Montana.” He paused. “But, Wyoming, is the real home of the cowboy. And it is the home of the mythology of the. West.” He recalled being on a panel at the University of Wyoming and being nervous that he might be stumped by the professors on the panel with him. But when he started talking about the mythology of the West and how all great systems in mythology have to have heroes —— well, in Wyoming, the cowboy is the hero. “When I was growing up, cowboys were always my heroes,” he says. “We need heroes in our lives today more than ever.” “Heroes always live by a code of honor, loyalty, honesty, bravery . . . think of the Knights of the Round Table or the Samurai, for example. In every culture, there are noble heroes. They all have ethics they follow,” “(M It; Pelt!- DQnMThorfin i) l and flu! Md .. he says,” and it is the same for Cowboys.” But now he has moved on from cowboys. “I am trying to inspire. I guess I am in the inspiration business. I want people to reach for the best in them- selves,” he said. “to do that it means taking care of yourself and taking on a healthy life- style.” He doesn’t like the word exercise but believes the first step is to just move. “My wife and I call our workouts training, which seems to fit us better. We like to do our exercises together.” Like Jim, it appears the best thing for all of us to do is just move! Bill Snifi‘in is a retired newspaper publisher who has penned a number of books about Wyoming. He appeared for author ’s receptions at both the Weston County Library and News Letter Journal. Check out additional columns written by Bill at www. billsniflin. com, and find volumes from his coffee table book series, which have sold over 30,000 copies, for sale at the News Letter Journal. Deadline for letters is noon on Frlday .’- n . September 3, 2020 — 3 News Letter Journal: WPA and NNA Award Winner lob Bonn! Publisher Natl! lurker News Editor I!“ W Reporter mm- SlrlKarr Woodmen AmyMermy W Ann Cottrell. James Lane WHAT We strive to cover all the news and entertainment important to the people of Weston County, Wyomtng. Our entire staff takes part in the decision-making process of what appears in these engages and all content is locally generated. If you have a story idea please contact any of the people you see here. NLJ editori~ als appear in the upper left hand corner of this page and are writ- ten lrom the position of the news- paper. usually with the influence of several people, and in the hope that they will carry the weight of our 100-plus years of leader- ship. The personal columns and letters appearing elsewhere on this page, and others, represent the opinionsof single individuals and do not necessarily reflect the position of the newspaper. The NLJ welcomes and encourages your Letter to the Editor. We will print all signed, original letters of local interest. Please provide a phone number for verification. We will not publish letters that are libelous or scurrilous in nature. Letters of thanks are offered at a reduced price in our classified section. WHERE Stop in Monday—Friday at 14 West Main Street, Newcastle, Wyoming, POSTMASTER: Please send any address changes to'the‘ a News Letter Journal. PO Box 40, Newcastle. 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