THEM ON US: Billy Graham takes ill on way to Tetons

By on April 18, 2013


Billy Graham takes ill on way to Tetons

Superstar Bill Graham in Wyoming hospital. (Scott Epstein)

Superstar Bill Graham in Wyoming hospital. (Scott Epstein)

The Grand Tetons were on Superstar Billy Graham’s bucket list. Now, it looks like he may kick that bucket before getting to cross that one off.

The former world champion professional wrestler (yes, the fake kind) was on his way by car to Grand Teton National Park with his wife Valerie. Somewhere just over the Utah-Wyoming border, Graham took ill with digestive complications and resulting pneumonia. Graham has been in poor health for years because of past steroid abuse. He received a liver transplant more than 10 years ago.

Graham’s doctors are hoping he recovers enough for transfer to the Mayo Clinic. It is not known which southern Wyoming care center he is in.

Gary and Kelly? Local teacher misses out on national TV

Gary Duquette

Gary Duquette

Gary Duquette missed out on the cut to the final five for “Live with Kelly and Michael” and their search for America’s ‘best’ educator during Top Teacher Week. Duquette teaches math and engineering at Jackson Hole High School. He also coaches the RoboBroncs – a team that headed to St. Louis for international competition.

Duquette was nominated by his robotics team and was a top 12 finalist for the 4th annual nationwide teacher search. We caught a mention in the Casper Star-Tribune too late to put the word out. Voting ended on April 15 but we were so busy getting our taxes filed we never had a chance to pass on the news. Duquette could have appeared on the show if he won but JH Weekly learned he did not receive enough online votes to move on.

Ghost town resurrected

Rumors have circulated for the past few years that uranium mining was coming back to Jeffrey City. Now, finally, a company called Energy Fuels announced that they have secured rights to the claim on the old Sheep Mountain mine and will resume operations perhaps in 2015.

It should take at least 130 people to run the mine, by conservative estimates. That would more than triple Jeffrey City’s current population. The mining town originally known as Home on the Range in 1931 once boomed with uranium ore riches along with Atlantic City and South Pass City. In its heyday, in the 1960s-70s, Jeffrey City boasted thousands of residents. When the mines closed in 1982, more than 95 percent of the population was gone within three years.

When in full operation, the mine will be Energy Fuels second largest uranium producer. The company also mines in Utah and Arizona. They sell most of their yellowcake to the U.S. and South Korea. Energy Fuels expects the mine will produce for 15 years at a rate of 1.5 million pounds of uranium a year.

Gulp! Yellowstone might be percolating

Underground sensors as far as 19 miles away from the Yellowstone Lake have been picking up seismic wave patterns known as seiche waves from the heart of the caldera that once blew up half of eastern Idaho.

It started when some people began noticing small waves lapping the shore at West Thumb. They came at 78-mimute intervals no matter what – wind, boats, whatever. Always 78 minutes apart. Then the phenomenon was observed at Fishing Bridge. Only there they came every 51 minutes. Exactly.

(Cue the shark music.)

After the installation of ultra-sensitive seismic sensors four years ago, scientists have been ‘listening’ to the sleeping super volcano pulsing. These seiche waves are the product of the lake’s water weighing down on the relatively thin earth crust covering the caldera at the bottom of the lake. The pressure causes the crust to bend a little and create a ripple.

Scientists were not terribly surprised at the finding. They had observed seiche waves in Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Tahoe. They were, however, somewhat surprised to see seiche waves happening in the dead of winter when the lake is completely iced over. That shouldn’t be happening, they said.

Ever the plows shall meet

Plows meet in Yellowstone. (Cody Beers, WyDOT)

Plows meet in Yellowstone. (Cody Beers, WyDOT)

How much snow has fallen in Yellowstone since the plows began? About two-and-a-half feet. Still, plows reached a milestone around noon on Wednesday.

WyDOT says crews spent 11 days plowing westward from the East Entrance. They finally met up with plow trucks headed eastward about 15 miles inside the park gate, according to department spokesman Cody Beers.

Yellowstone officials cautioned that they still want to see all roads widened to accommodate two-lane traffic as well as all parking areas cleared out. It looks, weather permitting, like the May 3 projected opening will be very doable at this point.

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