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October 31, 2013 7:42 am

Yellowstone’s new winter rule shows compromise works

Written by Tom Lawrence

Thumbs up to the National Park Service and Yellowstone National Park leaders for the winter rule on snowmobiles and snow coaches that was announced last week.

Starting in the winter of 2014-15, a mix of both kinds of winter vehicles will be allowed in America’s first and most famous national park every day. The goal is to ensure Yellowstone becomes quieter and cleaner, while still allowing people to see the glorious place during the winter, and businesses that rely on those visits are not harmed.

The discussion on this has gone on for 15 years, and sometimes more heat than light was generated during the debate. But when the rule was released on Oct. 22, it was mostly met with support by both environmental groups and commercial interests. Getting those folks on the same side takes some doing, so we’re impressed the NPS was able to do it.

Compromise is the art of convincing opposing sides to accept a piece of what they want, and forging a workable solution. This winter rule seems to have done exactly that.

Thumbs up to the community for donating 5,884 pounds of food to Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes during last week’s food drive. When you consider that Powell is home to roughly 6,300 people, that’s a pretty impressive amount — nearly one pound per person.

The organization is thrilled with the response, said Cindy Balderas, treasurer for Loaves and Fishes. “The community really came through and showed their support for our pantry,” Balderas said.

We also applaud the 235 kids with 15 youth groups who went door to door, collecting donations. Balderas said she loves to see the kids’ excitement during the drive, and she hopes it instills in them a lifelong practice of giving back to the community. We hope so, too. If they didn’t make it to your home last week, you can drop off your donations at a local grocery store or the Park County Annex in Powell, where the pantry is housed.

Local residents will have another opportunity to give next month during the Empty Bowls fundraiser on Nov. 19. You’ll get warm soup in a bowl made by Northwest College art students that’s yours to keep, and all proceeds benefit Loaves and Fishes.

Hunger is a year-round reality in our community, and the pantry needs consistent support and contributions. We hope these efforts and continued donations keep shelves stocked and bellies filled with nutritious meals.

Thumbs down to the horrid launch of the Affordable Care Act website.

Providing more health care coverage for Americans has been a topic of public debate in this country since the 1940s. President Barack Obama was able to accomplish what other presidents could not — he was able to get his version of it, dubbed “Obamacare” by both critics and supporters — through Congress and make it the law of the land. That involved a long and bitter fight, including the 16-day partial government shutdown.

While Obama deserves credit for sticking to his principles, he also deserves to take the blame for the failed rollout of the ACA website. It has been nothing short of a disaster.

President Harry S. Truman first advocated for universal health care coverage in 1945, which gives you an idea of how long this debate has gone on. Most people are not aware of that bit of history, but they do know Truman’s famed quote about a president’s ultimate responsibility: “The buck stops here.”

Indeed it does. President Obama would be wise to accept that, and to make sure the flaws of the ACA website are corrected as soon as possible.

Thumbs up to Powell Parks Department Director Chuck Hewitt, who retired from the city Wednesday.

Hewitt was also the city arborist, and he used his knowledge of and passion for trees to help Powell’s urban forest grow and thrive. According to the Powell City Council, Hewitt continued to work hard to the finish line, making sure every job was completed or on the right track before he departed.

Many people could learn a lesson about working with a passion. It makes time pass quicker and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. Hewitt certainly has that, and we hope he enjoys the trees and the ease as he settles into retirement.

Thumbs down to the blast of cold and snow that arrived in late October.

Don’t get us wrong. We appreciate the changing of the seasons and enjoy the diverse weather that Wyoming offers its residents and guests.

But not yet. Not this soon. We’d like to enjoy a few more days of fall-like conditions, with moderate temperatures. Winter is a wonderful time of the year, but not yet. Not now.

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