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October 15, 2013 7:26 am

Parks closure painful, but Mead makes right call on reopening them

Written by Tom Lawrence

Thumbs down to the loss of October in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The partisan bickering in Washington continues, and Americans grow more disgusted by the day. Republicans who have been battling Obamacare for  five years continue to fight it, even as polls show support for the Affordable Care Act is growing, as is discontent with the GOP.

President Barack Obama has stood firm against any further negotiations with the Republicans, who have refused to fund many government services, forcing a partial shutdown. It’s a stalemate, and an indictment of our troubled political process.

People upset with the closure of Yellowstone, and the losses to area businesses, owners and employees, rallied at the East Gate Sunday. But that entrance would be closing about now anyway, so even if and when a compromise is hammered out in the Capitol, this month’s tourism business is effectively lost.

Thumbs up to Gov. Matt Mead’s decision not to have the state pay to open Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park.

The federal government made that offer last week, but Mead said he was not inclined to accept it. We might feel differently if it was summer, and millions of people were waiting to get into the parks. But it makes little sense right now.

“Wyoming cannot bail out the federal government and we cannot spend state money to do the work of the federal government,” said Renny MacKay, Mead’s spokesman.

Agreed.

Thumbs up to First Bank of Wyoming for offering interest-free loans to furloughed federal workers.

The bank announced Thursday it had established a $1 million fund to provide for the loans. To apply, federal employees need to bring in a government paystub and ID. They will be obligated to pay the loan back when they return to work.

This is a wonderful example of neighbors reaching out to help neighbors during a difficult time. That’s something Wyoming residents have always been able to bank on.

Thumbs down to the closure of Bank of the West in Powell.

While we understand a company has to make what decisions are in its best interests, we are of course disappointed to see downtown lose a business. It also forces bank customers to make a choice between moving their accounts to Cody, or switching to a different bank.

We don’t wish to criticize Bank of the West or any of its employees. Certainly they would like to continue to work here. But it’s still a shame.

Thumbs down to the nasty TV ad attacking Liz Cheney.

An outside group that calls itself the American Principles Fund placed a 30-second commercial on Wyoming stations criticizing, and distorting in a particularly slimy manner, Cheney’s stance on gay marriage.

The Cheney camp quickly fired back a response, calling the ad “a dishonest smear” from an out-of-state group, and asked to have the ad pulled. Sen. Mike Enzi, the three-term incumbent Republican whom Cheney seeks to unseat, has disavowed any involvement with the ad, and we believe him.

In fact, despite her family’s pro-gay marriage stance, Cheney’s position on the issue is very similar to Enzi’s. Neither supports gay marriage, but both feel partners should have many of the rights that couples in traditional marriages do.

What’s distressing is the strident tone this TV ad brings to an already unpleasant race. Heaven help us if we have to endure another 10 months of this.

Thumbs up to the undefeated Powell Panther football team, which rolled past Worland Friday night during the Homecoming game.

This team is seeking its third straight state title, and the way they look this season, they have to be a heavy favorite to do exactly that.

We also say cheers for the Powell High School cross country teams, who hosted their sole home meet of the year Thursday, and are preparing this week for the conference meet in Cody, followed by the state meet in Sheridan on Oct. 26.

Run well, Panthers.

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