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In the fall of 2017, city and county leaders asked the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce, JOCO First and the now defunct Buffalo Downtown Authority board to enter discussions to determine whether there might be a way to combine forces, reduce overhead and administrative costs and still accomplish …

In the six years since former Gov. Matt Mead began championing expanding Medicaid in the state, much has changed – including the state’s financial house and the hearts and minds of some state senators and representatives. 

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Hello, House District 40. The Wyoming Legislature has now completed three weeks of the in-person portion of the 2021 General Session. However, as you probably heard, this past week was cut short due to a record-breaking snowstorm. In fact, we only held session on Wednesday, Thursday and Frid…

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“Food brings everyone to the table!”  That phrase was an understatement when I was growing up.  As the youngest of three brothers growing up on a farm, the table was where I learned a lot about life.  We were always hungry, and we most likely needed the most direction at that stage in life. …

It has been a long thaw. Our world is approaching the one-year date of when everything turned upside down. In response to a new virus, people took extreme measures to protect humanity. In a sense, all of us were driven to a place we didn’t want to be and resisted being there. We wanted to re…

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Hello, House District 40. The first week of the in-person portion of the 2021 General Session is in the books. We covered a lot of topics this week, and thought I would give you a quick synopsis of some of the more noteworthy bills passed by the House this week. 

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As the children’s voices rang out “and the home of the brave” in the final crescendo of the national anthem, I felt tears coming to my eyes and goosebumps on my arms. 

Last fall when Johnson County schools announced their plans to fully open in-school learning, no one knew whether this grand experiment would last weeks or months. Few, including parents, kids, teachers or administrators would have bet we would still be in the schools at this point. 

President Joe Biden’s moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on public lands is a bad idea and certainly cause for concern for Wyoming and Johnson County. But to hear Wyoming’s politicians describe the pause, it will be the downfall of our children’s education.

On the weekend of Jan. 9-10, I traveled to Cheyenne and spent several days in the state capitol preparing for the 2021 General Session. This will be a session unlike any other. Legislators will be meeting in a hybrid format, with some business conducted in person and other business conducted…

Johnson County School District No. 1 administrators had two pieces of good news to share at this month’s school board meeting. First, while the district’s elementary school-aged children did lose some reading proficiency related to the move to at-home schooling last spring, the losses were n…

It’s been almost a month since Christmas, and still the U.S. Postal Service is struggling to process a backlog of parcels. On its website the USPS warns that it is still experiencing “unprecedented volume increases” and thanks patrons for their patience. 

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I was 9 years old and the magic of Christmas was mirrored in my eyes as I gazed into the window of Buffalo’s Henry’s Variety Store’s Christmas window. There stood the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. 

Sometimes riding for the brand means doing what is right. It requires making tough decisions that are for the common good but that may not be popular. Due to rising coronavirus cases and very limited hospital space in the state and region, Gov. Mark Gordon was forced to implement a mask mand…

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When my husband and I got married and decided to raise our family here, the hardest part for me was being away from my parents and sisters and their families, and even cousins, aunts and uncles, on some holidays. Holidays are a big deal in my family — they are about family and being together…

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

As the number of active coronavirus cases has grown more than fivefold in the last month in Johnson County, it begs the question, what are we waiting for?

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In June, we penned an editorial asking Wyomingites to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so that Wyoming businesses can remain open. Although many sectors of the economy have been negatively affected by the pandemic, some of the businesses we are honored to represent… restau…

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.            Abraham Lincoln

Can you believe the Bench Sitters didn’t have a comment about the election this week? They talked it over and decided you folks have already heard enough. They did agree it seemed the campaigning went on for at least five years.

Here in Johnson County, we like to think of ourselves as the embodiment of the old west cowboy. Rugged individualists that boot strap our way to success.

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A fringe group of the Republican party has decided that group-think and loyalty to the tribe is the highest priority. Four Republican legislative candidates in Campbell County have signed a 10-point “contract” and are now urging Wyoming lawmakers to sign the contract, pledging their support …

Johnson County schools experienced the largest decline in student enrolment in the past 25 years. Certainly some of that decline can be attributed to community demographics, including an aging population and families moving out of the district for economic reasons. 

Last week, Gov. Mark Gordon finalized the first round of state budget cuts totaling more than $250 million, with an additional $80 million in cuts to maintenance of state buildings. The 10% cuts will have significant effects on Wyoming communities and citizens, as the cuts will impact import…

The first day of school will likely arrive with a wave of anxiousness in 2020 as students, parents and staff wonder what this school year will hold amid the ongoing pandemic.

Here’s your chance to be heard, to actually impact what Johnson County will look like in the years and decades to come.

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Effects of these warm days (and nights) are showing up in a number of ways. Range grass is short, dry and brittle and the snowdrifts in the highest parts of mountain are quickly disappearing.

The 2020 Johnson County Fair and Rodeo is now in the history books and considering concerns about COVID-19, fire danger, hot weather and a few other things . . . it was a great one again.

In less than two weeks, the voters of Johnson County will have the opportunity to demonstrate what our community truly values.

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Earlier this month, the state Department of Education released parameters for reopening the state’s 347 schools. By early August, the state’s 48 school districts must submit their own plans in accordance with the guidelines. 

Walking down the canned goods aisle at the grocery store this week, one of the Bench Sitters overhead two young mothers visiting (at a social distance of course) and picked up on a few thoughts that would not occur to most of us who are well into our “Social Security years.”

The clock is ticking toward Aug. 24 – the first day of school in Johnson County. With less than seven weeks until students return to learning, many questions remain unanswered.

And just like that, the Fourth of July is here! Maybe it’s the pandemic or all the political noise, but somehow this holiday snuck up on the Bench Sitters a bit too fast. 

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Well-intentioned bipartisan legislation supported by Wyoming Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso would allow state-inspected meat to be sold across state lines. Under normal conditions, this might create a boon for locally raised beef that could now be processed in Wyoming and sold under a pri…

It is budget season, and both the city and county are grappling with projected revenue declines of 20 percent or more. On Monday, the state’s first cost-cutting measures will go into effect – 10 of the state’s rest areas will be shuttered to reduce the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s …

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If there is anything positive to say about the summer of drought we are apparently facing, it would be that it has helped take local conversations away from coronavirus and rioting over racial issues.