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Your friend Sven is sitting at his old Royal upright typewriter with a blank stare on his face this week. He won’t speak. Not even blink. We think he is either in a mind-numbing trance or might be semi-comatose.

Just over three weeks after Wyoming recorded its first case of the coronavirus, there is still much that remains unknown about the virus, how it will affect our community and when it will pass. 

The Bench Sitters have been trying hard to come up with positive thoughts during these days of “sheltering in place” – or as we were told back in the days of our youth, “You are grounded!”

By virtue of the social distancing necessitated by the spread of COVID-19, you and your family will be spending a lot of time at home the next few weeks.

“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.” – Michael Leavitt, former HHS Secretary under President George W. Bush

The 20-day legislative session ended with a budget for operation of state government, including schools and colleges. However, no agreement could be reached on a construction budget, and we adjourned without an appropriation bill for state construction. That saves, for now, $162 million.

It only took a few warm days last week to change the landscape from white to brown, raise Clear Creek to early spring levels and finally remove the deep ice ruts and holes from most of Buffalo’s side streets.

There was brief talk this legislative session of expansion of the Medicaid program, a major component of the Affordable Care Act. That move quickly fizzled out. Here’s why.

his week, as newspapers across the nation celebrate Sunshine Week – a week dedicated to pursuing government transparency at every level – it’s appropriate that we thank elected officials who believe in and defend the public’s right to know.

One of my Senate colleagues recently sported an unfamiliar lapel pin: the profile of the Grim Reaper, complete with a scythe. The Grim Reaper is an old symbol of death, and he uses the sickle to harvest the souls of the living.

The Bench Sitters have been keeping an eye on the Wyoming Legislature since they went into their semi-annual budget session, and we notice they are very busy not addressing the problem of not having enough money to meet all the demands to keep things running.

More than 65 Johnson County Healthcare Center employees are set to receive a healthy pay boost in April, and that’s good news for local families, the healthcare center’s bottom line and our community.

Even in a tough budget year, there are a few bright moments. One such was a visit to the Capitol by the Icanberry family of Kaycee.

On Monday, the late Peggy Drury was once again honored as the Boys & Girls Club of the Bighorns took a giant step toward realizing a dream they have chased for nearly two decades: The club broke ground on a new home that they own. When the club relocates to 189 North Cedar Street this su…

As a kid growing up in the ’80s, I knew exactly what the secret sauce was: it came on a burger and it was, well, a sauce.

“The Legislature does its work by committee,” observed the late John Patton, a former local state legislator.

A few weeks ago, you will recall, we woke up one morning to more than 6 inches of fresh snow and knew winter had really arrived. One of the Bench Sitters was driving on DeSmet early that morning and noticed a “weaving” bicycle track on the road.

Once again, the Wyoming House of Representatives has failed all the people of our state. Last week, with a simple procedural vote and no debate, the House voted to strip Medicaid expansion out of the consensus agenda, leaving Wyoming as the sole state in the intermountain West to fail to exp…

When SafeTech Solutions presented its long-awaited report to the Johnson County Rural Health District, it came as no surprise that our community has excellent ambulance service. Both ambulance services in Buffalo and Kaycee earned praise for the quality of care and patient satisfaction. The …

The Summit, Elk Mountain and The Sisters on Interstate 80. Laramie Peak on Interstate 25. Separation Flats north of Rawlins. South Pass southwest of Lander. Piney Creek interchange on I-90. The list goes on and on.

In the five years since former Gov. Matt Mead began championing expanding Medicaid in the state, much has changed – including the state’s finances and the Affordable Care Act itself.

One of the recreational opportunities in Buffalo that gets a lot of use all year-round is the walking path system which stretches from West Hart Street near the Bozeman Steak House all the way to Grouse Mountain.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the road to waste may be paved with free transportation.

A few years back, a week or two in late January with daytime highs in the 40s would have been amazing. Now we are starting to take it for granted. This was the month we could expect at least a week with the thermometer well below zero for portions of each day.

On Feb. 10, the Wyoming Legislature will convene for its biannual budget session to hammer out the budget with even less revenue than anticipated. Word came last week from the state’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Group that the Legislature will have roughly $72 million less to work with this…

Johnson County is ground zero for an aging population explosion. The median age for the county in 2016 (45) is substantially higher than the median age for both the state (37) and the country (38). As the population ages, the need for senior services is likely to grow.

The Bench Sitters have seen a number of articles on the subject of cats over the past years. There have been essays on how to give a cat a pill and even how to give a cat a bath. Most are pretty hilarious to be sure.

Over the past decade, Wyoming counties lost out on almost $100 million in delinquent mineral taxes.

Welcome back! It was nice these past couple of weeks – the pace of life was noticeably slower with kids out of school and everyone operating at about half capacity. Many friends I’ve chatted with in the past few days are reporting that they devoted the 10 days after Christmas to some combina…

The State of Wyoming’s use of the bucking horse and rider as a symbol for the Cowboy State dates to at least 1918. The state obtained trademark protection for the symbol in 1936. That same year, it was first incorporated in the Wyoming vehicle license plate as a means of combating counterfei…

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to the editor of New York’s “Sun” elicited a response that was printed as an editorial on Sept. 21, 1897. The editorial, which is the work of Francis Pharcellus Church, has become the most reprinted newspaper editorial, according to the Newseum, a mu…

The Bench Sitters had another wonderful Christmas, with a few minor exceptions.  These guys have been around long enough to learn what some of the most valuable gifts any person can receive when Christmas rolls around.

When you shop locally, 68 cents of every dollar spent stays right here in the community, supporting local organizations, charities and services.

The recent blanket of snow left Johnson County looking like a postcard from the North Pole. And so it seems the Christmas season is once more upon us.

Tis the season for making your lists and checking them twice, and we hope plenty of the gifts on your lists can be found right here in our community.

It was an unusually busy weekend for Johnson County and Buffalo firefighters and emergency responders. The crews responded to two house fires Saturday night into Sunday morning. Thankfully, no one was hurt in either fire.

Monday morning the mercury was down to 10-below at Sven’s place. One of the advantages of living down the Clear Creek valley below town is the cold air that settles in the low spots and keeps the snow light and fluffy so it’s easy to shovel.

As the Johnson County Rural Health Care District board worked on its budget this spring, it was hoping to find cost savings. Like all special districts in Johnson County, the rural health care district’s mill levy has shrunk dramatically, and the district was hoping to balance its budget wit…

Veterans have willingly served our country, fully accepting that they could be called away from family and loved ones and into harm’s way at any time to defend our country and our way of life.