Jackson

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort / Instagram

A low pressure system that moved through Wyoming Monday brought some strange weather, including strong winds statewide and snow in the upper elevations in the Tetons.

Gusts nearing 70 miles per hour were recorded in the Jackson area, and windy conditions fueled wildfires in Natrona and Sweetwater Counties.

Dave Lipson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Riverton, says this kind of weather is more typical of September or October.

Miles Bryan

When the housing shortage in Jackson comes up, Joshua Landon might be the face that comes to mind. When we met outside of my hotel in Jackson he arrived in a beat-up 1997 Chevy Suburban. It was smoking. Heavily.

“This is really bad,” Landon says.

It’s kind of important Landon keeps this thing running. Because it's not only ride...the SUV is his home, too. “I got a mattress back there,” he says, pointing to where the back seats were folded down. “Memory foam--pretty comfy.”

Courtesy Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust

 

 

Kelly Matthews teaches special education at Jackson’s Colter Elementary School. She rents a studio apartment in town—above a garage workspace.

“It’s not an optimal place, but it’s a roof,” Matthews says.

Matthews makes $67,000 a year. That’s more than the $58,000 average for Wyoming teachers, but it’s not enough to get Matthews into a 2-bedroom place for her and her 8-year-old-son.

“He gets the bedroom, and mom gets the couch,” says Matthews. “I’ve been sleeping on the couch for two years.”

artassociation.org

Downtown Jackson will be hosting a myriad of artists Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12. This year, Art Fair Jackson Hole is featuring 40 new artists alongside more than 100 returning artists.

Elise LaMay is Art Fair’s new events director. She says the fair showcases regional artists and artists from around the country. "I think we just have such a long history here in our community, both in terms of the art fair and in bringing art experiences to everyone here in Jackson," she says.

via Jackson Hole Community School Facebook

The Teton County school board faces a decision about whether private schools will need to foot the bill for their students to participate in activities at Jackson Hole High School.

For years, the district has allowed students from the Journeys School and Jackson Hole Community School to join activities like sports teams and the drama department at the public school, but the state’s block grant does not provide funding for those students.

The school district’s Chief Operating Officer, Brad Barker, says this has cost the district about $96,000 a year.

Miles Bryan

Five years ago the owners of Snow King Ski Resort in Jackson had a problem: business was terrible.

“They were looking to give the ski resort away to anyone who could keep it going,” resort manager Ryan Stanley told me. “And they couldn’t even put together a deal to give it away for free.”

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Artists will gather to paint outdoors Saturday, June 20 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. The annual Plein Air Festival gives artists four hours to complete a painting while mingling with spectators.

This blending of artists and spectators creates an environment very different from the typical painting studio.

“I had this one little girl come up, and she was very curious, a really cute little girl, and she touched my paint with her fingers,” recalls artist Tammy Callens.

Miles Bryan

Chuck Fidroeff runs the Good Samaritan mission in the Jackson. He came with me to a spot a few miles outside of town that, for a few days recently, was one of Jackson’s major attractions: the dump.

"It really hurts your heart," Fidroeff said while watching the crushing machines work. "Walgreens should have known better."

naturalnutmeg.com

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack toured Snake River Brewing in Jackson yesterday. His department's Rural Energy for America Program - called REAP for short - gave the brewery a $13,000 grant to put solar panels on its roof.

Vilsack says that REAP shows how government can give small businesses a hand.

"Here's a place where the government is making a difference. You might have done this at some point in time, but you would not have done it now but for the REAP grant."

The Brewery's Chris Erickson agrees.

Jackson’s bottleneck traffic may be getting some relief in the form of the Community Streets Plan.

The plan was created by Colorado firm Charlier Associates, and it aims to make walking, biking, and taking public transport more feasible for Jackson’s residents and visitors, which would hopefully make them less likely to use cars to get around. It looks to do this by installing more sidewalks, better bike lanes, and easier access to bus stops.

After 20 years of fearing guns, Lynn discovered that it wasn’t the gun she was afraid of it was the bad guy behind the gun. She is now the co-founder and business manager of Jackson Hole Shooting Experience. She talks about her new understanding and shares her experiences working with people to impart the fun of the shooting sports and the mental and physical fundamentals of self-defense.

Born in Uganda, Brolin describes his amazing journey to the United Stated where he is reunited with his mother at age 11.  Brolin shares his courageous ambition to become a doctor and be the first Olympic snowboarder to represent an African nation.

Smith’s Food and Drug Store in Jackson honored firefighters who helped save the store from a propane fire last November.

Jackson Hole Fire put out the blaze which started inside at propane store and was spreading towards an eleven-thousand gallon propane tanker.

More than fifty firefighters were on the scene. Smith’s Grocery Store is donating $5,000 of gift-cards to the Department and  hosted a dinner Thursday.

Kathy Clay is the Jackson Hole Fire Marshall and says the Grocery Store wasn’t the only business in harm’s way.

  

A new film follows the journey of a snowboarder Brolin Mawejje on his quest to become the first African Olympic snowboarder. Born in Uganda, he saw snow for the first time when he came to the U.S. at age 12. Snowboarding helped Mawejje escape a difficult home life and bond with a family who brought him to Jackson Hole.

The National Elk Refuge in Jackson has completed their annual classification count. For the second year in a row more than 8,000 wintering elk were counted, well over the refuge’s 5,000 elk goal.

That goal comes from the refuge’s 15 year management plan which began in 2007. The plan outlines sustainable elk and bison populations for habitat conservation and disease management in the Jackson area. The refuge has been trying to reduce the animal’s reliance on winter feeding at the refuge.

Jennifer Tennican

A new film follows the journey of a snowboarder Brolin Mawejje, on his quest to become the first African Olympic snowboarder. He was born in Uganda and only saw snow for the first time when he came to the U.S. at age 12. He eventually moved to Jackson Hole with a family that took him in as one of their own. Part of what sealed the bond with his adoptive family was a love of snowboarding, which he shared with their son, Phil Hessler.

Zach Montes

Last November, President Obama announced a major executive action on immigration—a plan that would offer temporary legal status and deportation relief to millions of immigrants who live in the country without documents. That’s big news for residents of Jackson. In the past few decades, the town’s Latino immigrant population has skyrocketed from basically zero—to about 30 percent of the community. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, these changes to immigration law could bring new opportunities to Jackson’s working class immigrants—and the employers who hire them.

Aaron Schrank

Income and wealth disparities in the U.S. are the most pronounced they’ve been in decades. Perhaps nowhere is the gap between luxury and poverty more apparent than in Jackson. The small ski town sits in the county with the highest average income in the country. But it’s also home to a growing number of Mexican immigrants who come to work in Jackson’s tourism economy. Teton County residents boast a median household income of $72,000, but for immigrant households, it’s just $26,000. That inequity has repercussions for Jackson's youth.

Administrators at Central Wyoming College’s culinary and hospitality program in Jackson are considering a new class schedule to allow students to continue working at hotels and resorts during the region’s busy seasons.

Students working towards associates degrees at CWC Jackson currently attend classes on a typical semester schedule. Program Director Amy Madera says the new schedule would be condensed into the tourism off-season—October and November—and April and May.

Courtesy of Kate Christman Nagel

Local business and one school were evacuated today after an explosion and fire at a propane distribution station in Jackson.

Safety officials reported an explosion just after 1 p.m. at an AmeriGas facility two miles from downtown Jackson.  A nearby high school, grocery store, and gym were evacuated but students in other area schools were told to stay in place.  Teton County Public Information Officer Charlotte Reynolds said in the afternoon that the fire activity has diminished but asks that the public stay away.

Large numbers of Elk have been seen migrating near Jackson and across major roadways last weekend. The National Elk Refuge is urging drivers around the Jackson area to be especially careful in the coming week as hundreds of elk make their way across the area.

The refuge says a winter storm that brought colder temperatures and more than a foot of snow likely kicked off the migration. Elk mainly move at dawn and dusk which makes sighting them more difficult. Refuge spokesperson Lori Iverson says migrations, wintery conditions and drivers take a toll on animals in the area.

istockphoto.com

The 2014 Wyoming Forum kicked off yesterday with a discussion of Wyoming’s tech scene between Governor Matt Mead and two prominent California entrepreneurs. One big topic was whether the Cheyenne-Laramie area or Jackson was the most promising for growth. 

Rebecca Huntington

Chef Eric Bartle and girlfriend, Sara Kundelius, moved in the dead of winter from Portland, Oregon, to Turpin Meadow Ranch. The guest ranch is nestled at the end of the Buffalo Valley Road, on the edge of the Teton Wilderness, one of the most remote places in the Lower 48 states.

The couple loves to forage for locally grown foods and brought with them a supply of homemade jarred and canned delicacies to incorporate into the ranch’s menu. They share stories about that first trip to the ranch and their passion for home and forest-grown food.

wyoarts.state.wy.us

When David Romtvedt first moved to Wyoming, his profession as a poet made him immediately suspect. His wife, Margo Brown, an artist and a Wyoming native, talks with David about how he gradually earned the respect of her ranching relatives. Romtvedt served as Poet Laureate of Wyoming from 2003 to 2011.

Rebecca Huntington

On May 25, 2014, 15-year-old Sasha Johnstone became the youngest person to climb and ski the Grand Teton, according to mountain guides. At 13,775 feet, the Grand is the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, bordered by cliffs dropping away precipitously to create “no fall zones.” Sasha skied the peak with his parents.

Rebecca Huntington

Dollie Iberlin gives new meaning to the phrase “student teacher” as she recalls her first teaching job, educating two students just a few years younger than herself on a Johnson County ranch. While teaching at the ranch, Iberlin also weathered one of the most famous and daunting blizzards in Wyoming history. Iberlin shares stories about that fun and fateful year with her daughter, Margo Brown.

Wyoming teen Megan Grassell was listed as one Time’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 this week, joining the ranks of Malia Obama and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard about her success.

With the help of a kickstarter campaign that raised $42-thousand dollars, Grassell created her own company. Yellowberry makes training bras for pre-teen and teenage girls. Grassell, 19, was inspired after taking her younger sister shopping for her first bra. All of the training bras she tried on were padded and mature-looking. 

Two Wyoming children are leading the charge against African elephant poaching. 

The Tooth Fairy Project is an elephant conservation event in Jackson on Saturday and Sunday. Two Jackson children, 11 year old Lily Marvin and 9 year old Alex French are headlining they event after they caught a filmmaker’s attention because of their passion for saving elephants.  The filmmaker is creating a documentary called Elephant Daze about elephant poaching and plans to incorporate the children into the documentary.

Every fall, the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson holds an annual fund-raising show that gives art collectors a chance to rub shoulders with high-caliber wildlife artists.

Partygoers, dressed in everything from cocktail gowns to cowboy  hats, are sipping drinks while admiring paintings and sculptures created by one hundred premiere wildlife artists. Bettina Whyte, a museum trustee, is among those admiring the art.

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