EDITORIAL: Spring weather more than welcome; landslides are not


Thumbs up to warm spring weather. After a very long, hard winter and a cool, wet early spring, we’re happy to see warmer days and better weather. After a late start, farmers are out in their fields, barley and alfalfa are up and growing, and many other crops are planted. 

Canal water is running, water is flowing down the furrows in the fields, and the desert is turning green. There’s nothing better than spring in Powell. The forecast indicates we’ve still got some cold weather coming later this week, but we’re hopeful it will be short-lived and not damaging.

Thumbs down to land and rockslides impacting highways into and out of the Big Horn Basin. We love living in the Basin, surrounded by some of Mother Nature’s most amazing mountain beauty. But the geography of this area makes us dependent on mountain passes to navigate to and from our valley home. When they are closed due to rockfall, as the highway through the Wind River Canyon was two weeks ago, it is both inconvenient and distressing. Or when landslides threaten our access to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Mountains and some of the most amazing landscapes in the country, as is happening on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, it can be truly upsetting. 

Unfortunately, alternate routes are few, and they add many miles to an otherwise pleasant trip.

We commend Wyoming Department of Transportation employees who have spent countless hours this spring assessing both situations, clearing and patching highways and keeping the traveling public safe. 

Neither location is stable at this point; additional rockslides occurred over the weekend in Wind River Canyon, and the north lane of the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway dropped several feet in some places Wednesday night. But WYDOT crews were on the scene in both places to keep the highways open.

Thumbs down to President Donald Trump’s unpresidential behavior. We don’t have all the information needed to say whether the firing of FBI Director James Comey was appropriate or justified. But the timing and circumstances certainly indicate Comey’s firing was motivated, at least in part, by the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump aides colluded with Russia to interfere in last year’s election. 

The official story coming out of the White House initially was that Trump fired Comey based strictly on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation. But Trump himself said he planned to fire Comey “regardless of recommendation,” and in his justification for firing the FBI director, he referred to “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

Aside of that, however, equally distressing is Trump’s continued use of tweets on Twitter to push his personal agenda by intimidation, innuendo and veiled threats. 

Trump fired Comey on May 9. After the resulting media firestorm, he tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

That social-media outburst is more befitting a barroom conversation than something coming from the president of the United States — and it is one more in a continued stream of inappropriate tweets coming from the White House.

Trump seems to have little or no ability to use the decorum and dignity that his position as the leader of our nation requires. He fought hard to become president of the United States. It’s past time for him to start acting like one.