Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

The News Editorial: A new year begins

A new year and a new decade began yesterday.

In this issue we take a look back at 2019 and it was a year of changes, especially in the business world here in Worland. We had a number of businesses that were shuttered, most notably Reese & Ray’s IGA (although the liquor store is still open) and Shopko.

We don’t know what the future holds this year or this decade for the building that housed the grocery store but we do know the Shopko building on 20th Street will not be empty for much longer as Lee and Gerry Kennedy have purchased the building to move their Ace Hardware store there, providing them more parking and more square footage to expand the products they offer as well as having their rental/repair shop at the same location.

Their move has allowed the county to purchase the downtown Ace location for the future location of the Washakie County Library. The move also will be good for the library for similar reasons — more parking than their current location and more square footage.

There were several new businesses that have opened in the past year as well — Black Sheep Boutique, Classy Reinventions and Gifts, Taps Dance Studio, Worland Pharmacy and Bomgaars. Some businesses have continued under new ownership, including, but not limited to, The Outdoorsman and Carquest.

Big Horn Federal and ANB Bank completed their new constructions and opened their new facilities in 2019.

And, of course, we had some changes here at the newspaper. This newspaper began in 1905 as the Worland Grit, a weekly newspaper, and now 115 years later we are still going strong, again as a weekly newspaper. In December of 2018 we received word that we would be switching to a weekly publication starting the first of February 2019. The Feb. 1 issue was the final issue for the Northern Wyoming Daily News (that began in 1939). This newspaper went back to its roots as a weekly newspaper with the first publication of the Northern Wyoming News on Feb. 7.

We’ve had some downsizing in staff due to the change and we realize it has been tough on our community getting used to the switch from a daily to a weekly. We appreciate all the readers who have stuck with us through the change and for those of you who came back to give us a try.

We hope you have enjoyed the focus on local news, stories and events.

We’ll be celebrating our one year anniversary as a weekly and saying thank you to our readers with an open house on Feb. 6 this year so mark your calendar and come and say hi.

That brings us to this year and what we might be able to expect. This is an election year and while all eyes are likely on the presidential election, we’ll have plenty of interesting local elections as well with mayor and council seats up in Ten Sleep and Worland, and both school boards will have open seats in November.

Prior to election we’ll have the Wyoming Legislature this year as they continue to look at ways to generate revenue with declining funds from mineral royalties. Committees have looked at an additional state one-cent sales tax. Sin taxes (tobacco and alcohol) are usually bantered around as well. To help fund the Wyolink emergency responder communication system they are looking at an additional fee on your phone bill.

Mother Nature will deserve some watching in 2020 as one never knows what she might bring. With sediment again building north of the U.S. 20/Big Horn Avenue bridge, we’ll be watching for any potential ice jams in the future.

Two years ago, the weather helped Wyoming Sugar have a record year but last year due to hard freezes in October, 5% of the sugar beets were left unharvested. Farmers in the area are hoping 2020 will be more like 2018 than 2019.

2020 is also a census year so you’ll be getting an invite in the mail to participate in the census. Most people will get the basic form to fill out and there are three main ways to fill it out, by hand, online or over the phone. Population factors into many things including the number of representatives for each states, any possible redistricting for state House and Senate districts and of course, population can impact funding on certain things.

The city of Worland has been concerned about dropping below 5,000 and thus lose the Urban Systems federal funding, funding that was used to build 23rd Street and that they hope to use to upgrade Washakie Avenue in the future.

The census is required by the U.S. Constitution and it is important to the community and the state.

Some other things to look for in 2020 as the “20s” begin are:

•Leap year, thus this year has 366 days

•United Nations declares 2020 International Year of Plant Health

•Summer Olympics in Tokyo

•100th anniversary of ratification of 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote (Aug. 18, 1920).

This new year, like every year offers an opportunity for new beginnings. We look forward to chronicling whatever it brings to Worland, Ten Sleep and Washakie County.