Teton County

Jordan Cooper via Flickr

Teton County residents will vote in May whether to approve $70 million in revenue collected from a Special Purpose Excise Tax, or SPET. The tax would fund local infrastructure projects, including three housing developments meant to accommodate Jackson’s far-flung workforce. Two of the projects would provide housing for seasonal town and county employees.

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Johansen Laurel

Teton County’s Habitat for Humanity has released design plans for twenty-four low income homes that will help address the housing shortfall in the area.  

Many of the people who work in the Jackson area can’t afford to live there, and a recent study found that a third of the county's residents spend more than thirty percent of their income on housing.

A local group hopes to build the three bedroom units over the next four years, and sell them to people who make less than eighty percent of the county’s average.

Teton County Education Foundation

While educators across the state are facing budget cuts, teachers and staff in the Teton County School District have something to look forward to in the New Year. The Teton County Education Foundation granted approximately $23,000 in support of 68 teacher-driven projects in public schools beginning in January.

Susan Eriksen-Meier is the executive director at the Teton County Education Foundation.  She said applications to the Classroom Grants Program doubled this year.

NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS PROGRAM

Three Wyoming elementary schools have received the National Blue Ribbon Recognition for exemplary high performance. Fort Casper Academy in Natrona County, Wilson Elementary in Teton County and South Side Elementary in Worland were amongst 330 public and private schools in the U.S. selected to receive this award.

National Interagency Fire Center

Teton County health officials are warning people living in communities near wildfires about lower air quality.

Wildfire smoke has particles in it from burning material that when inhaled can be harmful on the body, especially during exercise. These particles can irritate an individual’s eyes, lungs and throat.

“You know, it’s not a good time when it’s really smoky out to go run to the top of the mountain,” Rachael Wheeler of Teton County Public Health said. “You don’t really want to aggravate your body when the air isn’t clean.”

U.S. Forest Service-Bridger-Teton National Forest Facebook Page

Bondurant residents who were evacuated due to the Cliff Creek Fire have been allowed to return home, although some residents in the Granite Creek area remained displaced as firefighters are still working to prevent damage to about 30 structures in that area.

Some Granite Creek Residents were escorted to their homes to collect valuables and perishables.

One22

Three non-profits that serve Teton County's lowest income residents and Latino community are merging into a single entity called One22. The Community Resource Center serves low-income residents who find themselves in crisis often due to housing or medical challenges. The center is merging with the Latino Resource Center and El Puente. 

The new group's Executive Director Mary Erickson says the merger will build better relationships with clients.

Harvey Barrison via Flickr Creative Commons

About 150 tenants at the Virginian Village apartments in Jackson are struggling to find new places to live after being notified last week that they’re being kicked out of their homes. 

The property owners of Jackson’s Virginian Village apartments say tenants must be out by the end of July—and some must leave as soon as May 1. California-based Bedford Investments plans to remodel and sell the complex’s 56 units.

William Brawley via Flickr Creative Commons

Teton County has seen a big uptick recently in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Health officials have confirmed eight cases in the county this year, which represents one third of those in Wyoming.

Whooping cough is a bacterial disease that’s easily transmitted from person to person. Teton County Public Health Officer Travis Riddell says it’s hard to diagnose and especially dangerous for infants.

The Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners agreed to a draft housing action plan for the community this week, following a 3-day summit.

The 80-page plan will need to be approved by a vote at a joint meeting November 2. Under the plan, the county and town will work together on housing issues with a joint Town-County Housing Director.

The Teton County Housing Authority will be restructured to allow for joint control with the town of Jackson. It will remain a quasi-governmental agency, but its scope and focus will be significantly reduced.

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.

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.

Elk
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr Commons

This week, 9 school district superintendents met with Governor Mead to contend that the state has underfunded its K-12 schools. While Wyoming ranks near the top of the pack when it comes to per-student funding, this coalition of districts says that funding has not been properly adjusted for inflation each year—and the shortages have meant cutting crucial programs in some districts. But some lawmakers say it’s more complicated than that.

commons.wikimedia.org

A new report out from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information shows that the state continues to do well economically, but housing costs are rising in several counties. Converse County has had a twenty percent increase in both apartment rent and house payments. Teton continues to be the most expensive county to live in comparatively.

Amy Bittner is a senior economist with the department and says the state overall is doing well.

Miles Bryan

The town of Jackson has long struggled to find enough affordable housing for its seasonal workers. Right now, the average rental property there is going for 2800 dollars a month. But lately, the popularity of house sharing websites have transformed the housing problem into a housing crisis. And that’s got local business owners looking in new places for their for seasonal hires.

It's midmorning at a campsite just outside of Jackson and Christen Johnson is setting up her camp stove for a cup of coffee before work--”it came with the van,” she tells me.

Car camping for one night might soon be legal within Jackson Hole, according to proposed changes to the city’s camping ordinance.

The municipal camping rules are designed to keep public areas clear and campers safe. The original law, however, does not offer any flexibility to motorists who want to stay in their vehicle for a night.

Councilman Jim Stanford says that the city needs this flexibility, however, to accommodate a growing seasonal workforce coupled with a housing shortage in Jackson Hole.  

Community And Camaraderie: Tap Dancing Your Way To Happiness

Jul 16, 2014

"Into the Arts: A Personal Journey" shares stories of adults in Jackson Hole who are discovering, rediscovering or furthering their artistic talents. In this vignette, we meet Debbie Schlinger who brings her "sassy self" to Amelia Terrapin's adult tap class at Dancers' Workshop. The mental and physical challenges along with the comaraderie are why Debbie shows up each week.

Alan English CPA via Flickr Creative Commons

Teton County is planning to build affordable housing for local teachers.

The development in Wilson will include 11 homes. Each will have 3 bedrooms and cost no more than $422,500. The median sales price for residential properties in Jackson Hole last year was more than $550,000.

Commissioner Ben Ellis says he hopes the development will keep top teaching talent in Teton County.

Rebecca Huntington

With the deadline looming to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, healthcare-dot-gov navigators are seeing a surge in people seeking help. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more.

"Thanks for your patience, you'll have our undivided attention shortly. Your access to quality, affordable coverage is just a few minutes away."

www.magnussonracing.com/blog/

Sixteen sled dog teams are racing more than 300 miles this week across western Wyoming and neighboring states. This is the nineteenth year for the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race. This weekend is the end of the 8-day race that started in Jackson and finished in Evanston. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington caught up with one of the racers, Bruce Magnusson.

CROWD: Go dogs, go!

Phil Round is a guitarist and singer from Jackson Hole.  He’s a member of the fabled Stagecoach Band, which holds down a weekly Sunday night gig and dance at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson. Phil shares some early memories from the bar with his son, Wilden.

Governor Matt Mead talks about his Jackson roots, family influences as the grandson of  Senator Cliff Hansen and life in the governors mansion. His conversation is light-hearted as he talks about his Mom and her run for governor in 1990, how he met his wife, Carol and raising their two children.

Powder Magazine

Bill Briggs, a Dartmouth graduate from Maine, moved to Jackson Hole and became North America’s “father of extreme skiing.” In Jackson he worked as a climbing and ski guide for many years, driven by his own passion and encouraged by the supportive outdoor community to surmount the insurmountable. In 1971, Briggs was the first person ever to descend the Grand Teton on skis, a feat most considered to be impossible.  His friend Spark M asks him to describe the experience.

Teton County drivers will soon be able to buy compressed natural gas at a filling station in Jackson.  The State Loan and Investment Board granted $766,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the project.  

Jennifer Tennican

Dail Barbour was twenty-four-years-old when she moved to Jackson Hole. She worked at the Wort Hotel, a historic inn in the heart of the city, where she was issued a remarkable uniform. 

Dail Barbour arrived in Wyoming the summer she graduated from high school, 1964. She and a few friends bicycled across the country. They spent a week in Yellowstone and Barbour swore she would return. Six years later, she moved to Teton County permanently, settling for some time in Wilson where she spent many days and nights at the legendary Stagecoach Bar.

EJS, Prior to 1970 / National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Archives Center

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted Monday to impose limits on what types of motorized craft can be used on Teton County’s Snake River, and when.

Teton County Commissioners have passed a hold on applications for new cell phone towers in the county.

Commission chair Paul Vogelheim says the hold is meant to provide time for the county to update their land use regulations in what he described as “a balancing act”.

Vogelheim says that the county will look into several creative solutions to help meet the county’s service needs while leaving scenic views and landscapes undisturbed.

Scott Beale / Creative Commons

Teton County's commissioners are seeking new regulations on cell phone towers in the county due to concerns that new towers could impede scenic views.


 

In the meantime, they’re considering a moratorium on all applications for new towers.


 

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