John Butler sports the colors

By Jim Stanford on March 10, 2014

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Australian guitarist and banjo picker John Butler spent a few days in Jackson Hole last summer before playing a show at Center for the Arts. Evidently he did a little shopping when he was in town.

Alas, the shirt is not one of Tommie Williams’ Dedicate designs, but a knock-off from one of the shops around the Square.

Butler’s trio released a new album last month, Flesh & Blood. They previewed a few of the songs in Jackson.

Given this performance in the Jambase studio, the album is worth a listen.

“Always remember that after winter, there follows spring,” he says, introducing one of the new songs. “Thank god.”

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‘effective’ population now 60,000

By Jim Stanford on August 30, 2013

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Crowd at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. During the peak of summer, Teton County draws 24,000 visitors per day. Total annual visitation is closer to 1 million people, rather than the 3 million often touted.

A few months ago, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk raised eyebrows when, at a joint meeting of town and county leaders, he said the park does not have 3 million visitors per year, as often touted. Rather, Wenk said, the park attracts more like 1.5 million people, some of whom visit multiple times.

A study released by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance this month further calls into question the widely held notion that Teton County hosts 3 million — sometimes stretched to 4 million — visitors per year.

The study gives a snapshot of the county’s “effective population,” or the total number of people found here at a given time. The tally combines permanent residents, second home owners, seasonal workers, commuters and tourists.

At the peak of summer (July 15), that total is more than 60,000. In winter (Feb. 15), the effective population is 40,000, and even in the shoulder seasons (April and November) the tally is 30,000.

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Posted under County Government, Economy, Politics, Town Government

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singer Blunt films video around Tetons

By Jim Stanford on August 28, 2013

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On the heels of John Mayer, Band of Horses and this French guy comes the latest artist to film a music video in Jackson Hole.

James Blunt, the English singer and guitarist, shot the video for “Bonfire Heart,” the single from his forthcoming album, while riding his motorcycle through the valleys on both sides of the Tetons earlier this month. A host of locals, including a sheriff’s deputy, make cameos, and the video culminates with a celebration at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson.

The 39-year-old crooner originally sought to film at the Cowboy Bar and approached the town about closing North Cache for several hours on a Saturday evening, but that idea was greeted coolly. Fortunately, he settled on the ‘Coach.

Blunt’s new album, Moon Landing, is due out in the U.S. in early November.

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crosstown traffic: so hard to get through to you

By Jim Stanford on June 12, 2013

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Gridlock along Broadway on Monday. It took four cycles of the light for westbound traffic to get through this intersection.

RV blocking both lanes of traffic? Check. Truck pulling into the intersection illegally? Check. Timid drivers not using both lanes before merging? Check.

All manner of poor motorist behavior was on display Monday along Broadway, as reconstruction of the five-way continues to cause gridlock downtown.

So much for the rosy optimism of April. With tourists pouring into Jackson Hole and being funneled through the only major east-west roadway, the congestion is some of the worst residents have seen.

How I came to be stuck in the jam was a mix of poor timing, naivete and a pressing list of errands in west Jackson too cumbersome for a bike and backpack. As I recounted for today’s News&Guide, I had avoided driving across town during business hours for three weeks, doing my grocery shopping at night and relying on bike as much as possible.

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not the buzz Starbucks hoped to generate

By Jim Stanford on June 10, 2013

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Coming soon to Square.

Back in April, a News&Guide report that Starbucks planned to open a store on the Town Square brewed up a venti-sized dose of dismay.

Java junkies were jittery at the prospect of the megachain draining business from local coffee shops. Critics appealed to the town government for help. One friend wrote on Facebook:

“WTF? Jackson Town Planners?!?! Seriously. Walgreens and now Starbucks. B/c we really need those chains right… They just fit right in with the LOCAL folks who already serve up great coffee.”

The town government has little regulatory authority to keep out chain businesses, other than issuing building permits to ensure codes are met. In this case, the building inspector rejected Starbucks’ initial application because the store would have exceeded capacity (49 people) and had entrance problems (being inside another business, Lee’s Tees). As of last week, the company had resolved those issues, and the town was set to issue a building permit.

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Posted under Business, Food, Politics, Town Government

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