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March 04, 2014 8:14 am

EDITORIAL: Investment fund should help boost economic growth

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Thumbs up to the progression of an economic development bill in the Wyoming Legislature that could help bring scores of jobs to our area. The initial bill from Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, would have just approved a $24.4 million loan to expand Cody Laboratories. But it’s since been morphed into a law that would create a revolving investment fund for any large economic development project in Wyoming that meets certain criteria.

We agree with legislators’ cautious approach to a loan of this magnitude. When this much money is at stake — to lose or to gain — we are glad they’re examining the proposal closely.

We also applaud their efforts to establish a program where multiple state officials, including the governor, treasurer and Wyoming Business Council, would vet large loan applications.

Wyoming has aided large-scale projects in recent years — a Colorado ammunition company recently got the green light for $13 million in grants to help move its manufacturing operations to Wyoming. In 2012, the state pledged more than $10 million in grants and incentives toward a Microsoft data center near Cheyenne.

While we remain excited about the idea of a future state loan helping Cody Labs’ parent company add 100 new jobs in Cody over the next four years, we’re glad to see lawmakers creating a comprehensive program and procedure.

Wyoming needs a mechanism in state statute to deal with large business projects, and as Sen. Coe said, this legislation is a fair way to do it.

Thumbs down to March’s arrival as a lion. After what’s already been a long, bitterly cold winter, many of us groaned when March blew in with snow and subzero temperatures on Saturday. We’re ready to turn down the heat in our homes and pack away the mittens and snow shovels, but know that winter’s grip hasn’t loosened quite yet.

Last year, it reached 40 degrees on March 1 — a much more pleasant welcome for calves and lambs, compared to the minus 2 degree daytime high recorded Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. We know warm days with blue skies will eventually arrive, but until then, hang in there.

Thumbs up to an outstanding wrestling weekend. The Powell High School wrestling team claimed its third straight 3A state championship title over the weekend in Casper. Five Panther wrestlers won state titles in their weight classes.

For the Panthers, it’s their second three-peat this school year, as the football team also won its third consecutive title in November.

Meanwhile, Northwest College wrestlers finished as the runners-up in the NJCAA National Wrestling Championships in Spokane, Wash. The Trappers placed seven All-Americans, and two NWC wrestlers won national titles.

We are proud of the Panther and Trapper wrestling teams’ continued excellence and their hard work all season long.

We’re also proud of the great performance by the PHS boys’ swim team, which claimed second place at the state championship in Gillette on Friday.

It was a jam-packed weekend for local sports teams, as Powell and Cody high school basketball teams met on the court Saturday night, and the NWC basketball teams each won their first-round games in the Region IX Tournament.

The excitement will continue as the PHS boys’ and girls’ basketball teams head to their regional tournaments this weekend in Mountain View.

Thumbs down to Wyoming’s ranking as the worst state in the nation for carbon dioxide emissions per person.

It’s important to note a couple of factors at play here — Wyoming is the top coal-mining state in the nation, producing almost 40 percent of the nation’s coal, according to The Associated Press. Burning coal to generate electricity results in large amounts of carbon dioxide, accounting for nearly 70 percent percent of Wyoming’s CO2 emissions.

The Cowboy State also is the least populated state in the nation, with roughly 582,000 residents.

With its small population and large amounts of energy production, it’s easy to see how Wyoming became the worst state for carbon dioxide emissions, ahead of smoggy places like California and New York.

Still, Wyoming can do better to regulate greenhouse gases. We agree with Gov. Matt Mead’s office — “we do have a responsibility to always do things better,” as Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said Thursday.

Thumbs up to award recipients at the recent Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Banquet.

Deirdre Cozzens of Catheze was named Chamber Member of the Year and Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity received the 2013 Community Member of the Year Award.

Larry Davis of Electric Graffix received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Rising Star Award went to James Sapp of Castle & Courtyard Services, Inc., and the Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Bob Prchal, who is a chamber ambassador, a master gardener, a 4-H backer and a dedicated University of Wyoming supporter.

The chamber’s members, who know best, voted on these honors. We think they made good choices.

Thumbs up to Bill White’s celebration of his 99th birthday last week. The World War II veteran who lives in Powell survived the Bataan Death March and spent several years as a prisoner of war. We can’t imagine the pain and despair White endured, and we can never thank him enough for his service to the United States of America. Happy birthday, Mr. White. We all salute you.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link March 06, 2014 8:01 am posted by TN

    This Coe fiasco smells of a bag of dirty laundry all around. Coe needs to go.

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