entire state hungover, following whiskey debut

By Jim Stanford on December 3, 2012

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People wait in line to purchase Wyoming Whiskey outside the opening party Saturday in Kirby. The spectacular launch of the bourbon has put the tiny town in central Wyoming’s Hot Springs County on the map for liquor connoisseurs.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead might as well have declared today a state holiday, after nearly every resident rushed out to purchase and consume ample quantities of his brother’s Wyoming Whiskey over the weekend.

The long-awaited first release of the homegrown bourbon became a marketing sensation unlike anything the state has ever seen. Not only were hundreds of Wyoming retailers shut out, but stores, too, were raided shortly after opening.

Jackson Whole Grocer opened at 7 a.m. Saturday and sold all 150 bottles in stock within 25 minutes. Yes, people lined up to buy whiskey at 7 a.m. The store had to cancel a planned tasting because there was none left to taste.

At the distillery in Kirby, a line of roughly three times the town’s population of 92 stretched from the party tent as people waited to buy a bottle, in a scene one onlooker described as reminiscent of Prohibition.

The question lingering like cottonmouth and a dull headache, though, is whether the whiskey lived up to the hype. The Casper Star-Tribune consulted a liquor expert, who described it as “one of the best bourbons I’ve ever tasted.”

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Posted under Business, Humor, Wyoming

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closing argument

By Jim Stanford on October 31, 2012

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As the campaign for town council enters the final week, indulge me in a little shameless self-promotion.

After months of talking about serious issues like the comprehensive plan, I decided it was time for some fun. Hence my appearance outside the Ski Swap in festive Halloween attire, pledging fresh tracks for all.

Throughout the forums and on my campaign blog, I have tried to lay out my ideas as clearly as possible and make the case that I am qualified to serve on the council and will do an effective job.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from the folks above.

For those still looking to dig deeper on the issues, visit my campaign website, listen to archived KHOL broadcasts or consult the News&Guide Election Section, which offers comprehensive coverage of every race and question on the ballot.

Thanks again to the friends and local dignitaries cajoled into making a cameo. Six days to go. I’m bound to have a big tab at Moo’s once the campaign is over.

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Posted under Humor, Politics, Town Government

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Video Blitz boosts filmmakers, nonprofits

By Jim Stanford on October 25, 2012

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Last Saturday, 1 Percent for the Tetons staged perhaps its most successful Schechter Fest yet: screenings of eight short films about the latest round of projects funded by 1 Percent donations.

Nearly 400 people — many of them friends of the young filmmakers — poured into Center for the Arts to watch the clips and vote for their favorite. The above video, by KGB Productions, was the funniest — no surprise, given that KGB are the professional makers of Wyoming Triumph. Because it was voted best by the audience and a panel of judges, the video won an additional $1,000 for the filmmakers and $1,000 for the Candyland Trail built by Teton Freedom Riders.

1 Percent is continuing the Blitz with online voting that will award an additional $1,000, to be split between maker and nonprofit. All of the videos are posted on the 1 Percent website, and the deadline to vote is 5 p.m. Nov. 2.

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Posted under Art, Economy, Environment, Humor

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beavers continue to foil park officials

By Jim Stanford on September 21, 2012

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A highly trained park ranger engages a beaver in a tense standoff.

For the second time this season, Grand Teton National Park has been forced to close the Moose-Wilson Road by a family of pesky beavers. The road will be closed Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning.

The beavers have built a large dam and lodge in the wetlands north of the Death Canyon road. The dam has “created a substantial pond that threatens to completely flood the road and cause structural damage,” according to a park release.

The beavers have been brazen, crossing the road to cut trees and shrubs and bringing branches back to shore up their construction. Tourists looking for moose in the pond have had to drive through water at times.

Earlier this year, the park installed a device to allow water to pass through the dam, but the beav’s would not be deceived. They packed the pipe with mud and stopped the flow.

During Monday’s closure, the park will try again with a longer pipe. Eventually, the park plans to relocate this portion of the road away from wetlands.

The sabotage of Moose-Wilson Road is the latest blow in the beaver uprising against the human occupation of Jackson Hole. A few winters ago, beavers struck by felling a prominent stand of cottonwoods along Flat Creek in west Jackson.

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Posted under Environment, Humor

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elk preparing for start of rifle season

By Jim Stanford on September 20, 2012

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Clad in blaze orange, this bugling bull ought to dodge a bullet in front of Pearl Street Bagels and Wilson Backcountry Sports.

After several weeks open only to archery, elk hunters are set to stalk the forests around Jackson Hole armed with rifles. Hunt area 71, Pacific Creek, opens today, while many more areas open Sept. 26.

Elk are ready to duck and cover, as the above photo suggests.

The grassy area in front of Pearl Street Bagels in Wilson occasionally serves as a stage to make a statement, at least forcing drivers on Highway 22 to do a double-take while returning from Teton Pass or breakfast at Nora’s. Last winter, for instance, “flowers” began blooming suspiciously early on the island.

Either the spot is curated by someone with a good sense of humor, or this adornment of the elk is part of Suzanne Morlock’s latest “Yarn Art” project, in which senior citizens are knitting accessories for statues around the valley.

Update: Artist Morlock did have a hand in bedecking the statue but credits Lisa Ridgway for the idea and doing most of the knitting. Morlock writes about the project on her blog and will discuss the artist’s role as instigator at the next Culture Front forum Sept. 27.

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