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EDITORIAL: If you care about The Merc, make that known now

A heads up — a small change of pace for this spot — for all local residents who have shopped at, invested in or care about The Powell Mercantile.

The Merc has served this community since 2003 but it may be on its last legs. The Merc board has voted unanimously to shut it down, citing a lack of support that has resulted in declining sales.

A meeting to determine its fate is set for 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the store. We think the number of people who show up and speak up will tell us all we need to know about the future of The Merc.

You must be a shareholder to attend and vote but you can also vote with your feet by stopping and shopping at the store.

Thumbs down to the increase in deaths on Wyoming highways and roads in 2014. It’s an unwelcome return to tradition, as after a dramatic decline in fatal crashes in 2013, the deadly toll shot right back to the former level.

According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol officials, 148 people were killed in traffic crashes last year compared to 87 people in 2013. Highway Patrol Sgt. David Wagener said that one-year decline remains a mystery.

We have the highest traffic fatality rate in the country per 100,000 residents, in part due to the sparse population and the number of crashes in remote areas without easy access to medical care.

Poor driving choices, including the use of alcohol and/or drugs, speeding and the lack of seat-belt use also are factors. Sometimes, as we saw locally on Jan. 1, terrible luck can be added to that list, as a crash near Heart Mountain left a 17-year-old local girl dead while the three other teens in the vehicle were uninjured.

We have written about this before and will do so again. It may serve as a cautionary note to people to be more careful and a reminder of the possibly tragic consequences when you do not do so.

Thumbs up to TJ Bell, who stepped down from Park County Fire Protection District No. 1 Board of Directors after a pair of terms. He is credited by other board members with bringing a keen financial sense and a strong sense of pride to the district.

The department is the finest in the state and well set up for the future, Bell said. That is in part due to his eight years on the board. Bell moved outside his district, so he could not seek a third term. But he will remain a reserve firefighter after already devoting 15 years to the district responding to fires and other calls.

Jerry Faxon, an area farmer, was elected in November and will fill the seat. We thank him for his willingness to serve.

Volunteers staff the local fire department and serve on its board. We appreciate their commitment and service.

Thumbs up to Powell Parks Department Superintendent Del Barton for helping to obtain a $20,000 state grant to establish an arboretum in the city.

Barton, who doubles as the city’s arborist, has displayed a strong background and the willingness to get things accomplished during his first year on the job. He said the need for increased diversity in the urban forest, with the threat of an invasion from the emerald ash borer, was clear, since Powell had too many ash trees, meaning an attack from the ravenous insects could leave the city looking barren.

By bringing in these additional funds, the city can plant and develop a strong, more varied tree population on public land and set an example for private landowners to appreciate the beauty of diversity — and the need for it as well.

In addition, the state funds can be used to build a well for Veteran’s Park, which will be needed when the school district shuts down the well that has provided water for the park at the end of 2016. Nice work, Del.

1 comment

  • posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    January 08, 2015 3:03 pm

    Once again,in color,it's a management thing and when the first Merc manager was let go,the store went downhill.You reap what you sow.

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