renewing Wyoming driver’s license now as annoying as in other states

By Jim Stanford on July 30, 2013

Comments: 35 Comments

Sample license from the good ol’ days.

Got a birthday coming up? Woohoo! Driver’s license about to expire on that day? Boooooo.

It used to be that obtaining or renewing a driver’s license in Wyoming was a breeze compared to other states, where a trip to the DMV is synonymous with a root canal.

Now, thanks to a combination of federal and state regulations, be prepared to have everything shy of a vial of your mother’s blood when heading to WyDOT.

It had been four years since my last trip through this process, and days before my license was to expire, I learned that a valid U.S. passport (in addition to my current license) was not enough to prove my identity. I also had to bring my original social security card and two proofs of residency.

WyDOT gave me the option of renewing in advance by mail, which I declined because 1) who does this sort of thing in advance; and 2) it’s always a good idea to mail such documents.

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Posted under Politics, Wyoming, Wyoming Legislature

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crosstown traffic: so hard to get through to you

By Jim Stanford on June 12, 2013

Comments: 47 Comments

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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Posted under Economy, Politics, Town Government

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5-way construction zone actually improvement

By Jim Stanford on April 3, 2013

Comments: 9 Comments

Westbound traffic flows more easily along Broadway, thanks to rerouting.

Granted, it’s spring break and the dead of off-season.

But reconstruction of the five-way intersection on Broadway — a potential traffic nightmare billed as “carmageddon” — appears to be an improvement on the existing configuration.

Even with the road reduced to two lanes from five, traffic flows better, thanks to the stoplight being turned off and no left turns allowed.

For those in east Jackson or downtown heading west, the key is getting on Broadway early enough to avoid getting stuck at the end of Pearl Avenue or Flat Creek Drive. Willow and Millward streets are the best options. Eastbound traffic flows to Pearl, Flat Creek Drive and East Broadway unimpeded.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” town manager Bob McLaurin said. “We’ll have to see how it goes when everybody gets back and there are a few tourists around.”

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Posted under Economy, Politics, Town Government

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slide photo that went viral not from Teton Pass

By Jim Stanford on January 23, 2012

Comments: 21 Comments

Somewhere in Idaho, perhaps, but not Glory Bowl.

The photo of a massive pile of avalanche debris widely circulated this weekend turns out not to have been taken on Teton Pass.

Showing a plow’s width cut through a 20-foot-high wall of snow, the image served as a powerful dissuasion to skiing the backcountry, as well as a commendation to WyDOT staff on a job well done opening the highway.

The image was posted Saturday by Matthias Hans Joachim Richter, a pilot who lives at Devil’s Tower, according to his Facebook profile. He attributed the photo to the pass and advised, “Please be careful out there folks!”

By Sunday morning, the photo was everywhere, as friends shared it on their Facebook pages, inviting discussion and oohs and aahs from their circles. Victor, Idaho, residents were some of the first to share. Among those who reposted it were media figures such as Jackson Hole Radio, Mary Cernicek, Bridger-Teton National Forest spokeswoman, and Teton AT.

A true journalist, Sam Petri wanted to see for himself and perhaps post his own photo on Instagram. Petri phoned friend Tony Birkholz and said, “Let’s go admire this big pile of snow like a couple of rednecks.”

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Posted under Environment, Humor, Media, Sports

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more details on Teton Pass slides

By Jim Stanford on January 22, 2012

Comments: 5 Comments

Busy morning for powderhounds atop the pass.

After more than four feet of snow in four days, Highway 22 over Teton Pass has reopened. Despite high danger and an avalanche warning from Bridger-Teton forecasters, the parking lot was full of skiers and snowboarders by 10 a.m.

In the Hoback Canyon, an avalanche apparently ran early this morning to Highway 191, hitting a car. For photos of that slide as well as impressive debris from Glory Bowl, see Teton AT.

More details have emerged about the amount of slide activity on the pass in recent days. In addition to gas-powered exploders, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has been using its 105mm howitzer and bombs dropped from a helicopter to provoke avalanches, said Teton Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono.

An avalanche that occurred in a seemingly innocuous location — the power line road on the south side of the pass — has experts worried about the danger prevalent throughout the backcountry.

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Posted under Environment, Sports

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