Author photo

By Karla Pomeroy

The News Editorial: COVID was only one major story in 2020


December 31, 2020

In this week’s issue we begin the annual year in review, a look back at the stories that moved us, changed us, made us laugh, smile and cry.

We take a look at major stories throughout each month in 2020 but here I want to take a look at some of the top stories of the past year.

•Yes, the No. 1 story, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic. We chronicled many things throughout the pandemic, the caring spirit of our community that made masks for health care workers using 3D printers, and those who sewed hundreds of cloth masks for health care workers, for community members, for “essential” workers and for anyone wanting one.

We chronicled the highs of the pandemic with stories of those who fought COVID and survived and through obituaries, stories and statistics we chronicled the lives that COVID took from us this year.

We chronicled the impact COVID had on businesses, on academics at our public schools and on athletics.

We chronicled the many festivities that were canceled or changed due to COVID. We will wait for the 20th Nowoodstock coming in 2021 after it was canceled, we will wait for the return of the Wyoming Championship BBQ and Bluegrass Festival, the annual Culture Fest event, the brew fests here and in Thermopolis.

Currently our focus is on the vaccine that is rolling out with injections now being administered to health care workers and emergency responders.

•No. 2 story this year would be the elections. Ten Sleep elected a new mayor in Ernie Beckley, there are several new school board members who took the oath of office this month in Ten Sleep and Worland. Next week, four new council members will take the oath of office before beginning service in Worland.

Ed Cooper of Ten Sleep will be serving Senate District 20 in Cheyenne for his first term.

Mayor Jim Gill was elected to his second term.

And, of course, on the national level, President Donald J. Trump was defeated for a second term by Joe Biden.

•Coming in at No. 3 is the work on the new Washakie County Library on Main Street in Worland. This is an ongoing story that we are excited to be covering into 2021 and we will be looking forward to covering the grand opening of a larger facility for the library in Worland, as well as new amenities, including better parking.

There were many honorable mentions that did not quite crack the top 3 this year including state and national honors achieved from, but not limited to, nurse practitioner Sarah Anne Galloway; Worland school Superintendent David Nicholas; Lindsey Holiday of Ten Sleep earning U.S. Senate nominations from Mike Enzi and John Barrasso to the Air Force Academy and a nomination to the Naval Academy by Enzi; Worland High School ag instructor Grace Godfrey was recently honored with the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Model Award and the Wyoming Vocational Ag Teachers Association Teacher of the Year; the Ten Sleep Senior Center earned top honors by the Wyoming Public Transit Association, named the WYTRANS 2020 Agency of the Year; Worland Public Transportation/Worland Senior Citizen Center’s dispatcher Patricia Owens was honored as the Wyoming Public Transit Association Dispatcher of the Year; Thad Shaffer earning the Citizen’s Life Saving Award; and Worland High School boys soccer coach Ron Overcast was named the United Soccer Coaches (USC) 2019 National High School boys coach of the year for small schools; Kinley Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Ralph Witters Elementary (RWE) School in Thermopolis, has been named a recipient of the National University System-Sanford Teacher Award; the Ten Sleep Library was selected as the 2020 recipient of the Wyoming Library Association’s Outstanding Library of the Year Award; 1st Lt. Andrew Skretteberg, of Worland was awarded the Bronze Star.

The drought was a story late in 2020 but look for it to be more prominent in 2021 as snowpack levels are below normal.

Another story that earned honorable mention and that will be one to watch in 2021 is state and local budget cuts. A downturn in the energy industry, along with the impact of COVID on the economy will impact many budgets in 2021 and could impact some services. The Worland Senior Center has already announced an impact to its home care program starting July 1, 2021.

Last year I tried to predict what some prominent stories might be and then the pandemic hit. So beyond the few stories mentioned here as ones to watch, we will have to wait and see what 2021 has in store.

Happy New Year!

Karla Pomeroy


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