crash highlights rescue risks

By Jim Stanford on February 16, 2012

Comments: 2 Comments

A helicopter ferries searchers in Grand Teton National Park in April. Last year, rangers used a helicopter nearly 30 times on search and rescue missions.

As many commenters have pointed out, yesterday’s helicopter crash that killed Teton County Search and Rescue volunteer Ray Shriver serves as a painful reminder that rescuers risk their lives every time they go into the backcountry.

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office has released a few more details about the crash (see release after jump). Notably, the chopper never reached the scene of the snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass. The helicopter was hovering, looking for a landing spot, when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed, authorities said.

This is the first fatality on the team since it formed in 1993; before that, it had operated for years as a loose-knit group of volunteers. Only once had a team member been seriously injured, the result of a fall in the Darby Canyon caves.

We’ve read about so many daring, and successful, rescues in the Tetons over the years — whether featuring GTNP rangers or TCSAR volunteers — that perhaps we had come to take helicopter missions for granted. Not anymore.

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Posted under County Government, Deaths, Environment, Sports

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rescue chopper crashes on Togwotee

By Jim Stanford on February 15, 2012

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A helicopter carrying members of Teton County Search and Rescue crashed this afternoon on Togwotee Pass.

Two rescuers and a pilot were on board. All three sustained injuries, and a rescue was underway, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

The crash occurred 6.7 miles south of Togwotee Mountain Lodge. The chopper had been dispatched to help a snowmobile party in distress. The crash happened between 1 and 2 p.m., County10 reported.

Teton County Search and Rescue sent a ground team to respond. Grand Teton National Park and Fremont County assisted. The full text of the sheriff’s office press release appears after the jump.

Update 8 p.m.: The sheriff’s office and county coroner have confirmed that one of the rescuers has died. Identification is being withheld, pending notification of family. The News&Guide has a detailed account of the response.

Update 9:20 p.m.: The deceased is a longtime member of the team. Veteran pilot Ken Johnson was flying. Mechanical trouble appears to be the cause, as the crash occurred on a mostly clear, calm day.

My deepest condolences to the entire Search and Rescue team.

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$3 shuttles available for New Year’s

By Jim Stanford on December 29, 2011

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Update: Click for schedule.

Thanks to the JH Late Night Transportation Crusade, New Year’s Eve merrymakers can get a safe, cheap ride home in something other than a police cruiser.

Shuttles will be provided between 12:30 and 3 a.m. connecting Teton Village, the West Bank and town. The town drop-off locations are Albertsons, Town Square and St. John’s Medical Center. Pick-up points on the West Bank are the Mangy Moose, Q Roadhouse and Stagecoach Bar.

Shuttles will run about every 20 minutes. Tickets are for sale in advance at the Town Square Tavern liquor store, Mangy Moose market and The Liquor Store, next to Albertsons.

So go ahead, have that extra extra glass of champagne and kiss the girls at midnight, assuming you can find any.

Aaron Davis has a rundown of all the New Year’s music around Jackson Hole.

Kudos to the organizers behind the transportation campaign. Between their efforts and the recent appointment of April Hankey to the START board, hopefully the community can come up with better bus service at night.

Last week, I met a group of West Bank friends at the ‘Coach to commemorate a special occasion. Because I caught a ride to the bar, I resigned myself to taking a cab home, if needed. After not finding anyone else driving to town, I took the cab — and had to pay $20 for a ride to the Square, which is freaking ridiculous.

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Posted under Business, County Government, Entertainment, Holidays, Music, Politics, Town Government

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sheriff’s deputy found dead

By Jim Stanford on December 6, 2011

Comments: 10 Comments

Jackson police are investigating the death of a sheriff’s deputy, Edwin R. Fourre, whose body was found today at a home in Hoback Junction.

Authorities found Fourre dead from a single gunshot wound, according to a press release. He worked in the court services division of the sheriff’s office.

Jackson Police Lt. Bob Gilliam issued the following release:

At 10:04 AM today, Teton County deputies responded to a residence on S. Palmer Creek Drive in Hoback Junction to check the welfare of one of their deputies. The deputy, Edwin R. Fourre, age 49, had failed to report for his assigned shift this morning in the Court Services division of the sheriff’s office. Upon arrival, deputies found Fourre, deceased from a single gunshot wound.

Sheriff Jim Whalen requested the Jackson Police Department conduct the investigation. Detectives from the Jackson Police Department and Teton County Coroner Kiley Campbell responded to the scene and are conducting an investigation. An autopsy is pending as well as an evaluation of evidence collected at the scene.

There is no further information at this time and the investigation is continuing.

Update 12/7: Police suspect the gunshot wound was self-inflicted but can’t say for certain. They have sent evidence to the state crime lab for analysis, but don’t expect a response for at least two weeks. No foul play is suspected.

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free speech for everyone, even religious crazies

By Jim Stanford on May 21, 2011

Comments: 25 Comments

A counter protester along Broadway.

It’s a shame to learn in today’s Daily that a member of our community was arrested for clipping the sign of an abortion protester with his car.

Fortunately, I have not had the slightest contact with the group of religious wack jobs who invaded Jackson this week, even though I visited Whole Grocer, next to their protest site, several times. Perhaps it’s fortuitous that I had to spend a few days in Moose for work. I certainly would have had a few choice words for them had they showed up on my doorstep.

But I support their right to be here and speak their minds, no matter how tasteless and offensive their signs may be. I was disappointed to see friends posting on Facebook along the lines of “I’m for free speech and all, but …”

No buts. This week’s protest is no different than anti-war activists going to Teton Pines and holding up photos of dead soldiers or Iraqis, outside Dick Cheney‘s home. (Come to think of it, too bad the supposedly “pro-life” movement barely raised a peep about the Iraq War.)

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Posted under Crime, Democratic Party, Politics, Religion, Republican Party

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