PROPS & DISSES 9.25.13

By on September 24, 2013

Closed Elk Refuge Pathway (Zeenie Scholz)

The timing stinks, what with a winter storm predicted for today. Extending the seasonal opening of the new pathway along the National Elk Refuge is grounded in good intentions, but it’s a step in the wrong direction.

Good on ya, Brian Schilling, Town of Jackson pathways coordinator, for preaching patience over the past two years when walkers and wheelers bellowed about the drop-dead date closure of October 1. The previous two Octobers have been glorious, weather-wise, and nothing about the arbitrary closing date made sense.

Most path users could not comprehend how elk were going to be spooked by a whip-thin mom prodding along her baby jogger while RVs and buses rumbled by legally a mere 10 feet away. But the path got paved only on the Refuge’s say-so. Schilling pleaded with users to stay patient and let biologists study what every blaze orange soldier knows about sunny and 65 in October: Ain’t no elk movin’ yet.

After analyzing data from GPS-collared wapiti and utilizing Schilling’s own research, Steve Kallin, manager of the 25,000-acre hoof haven, decided to push the closing date back to November 1. The decision made sense last year, or the year before, but by the time this paper hits newsstands it will be painfully and teeth-chatteringly clear that a calendar date picked out of thin air doesn’t work any better than trying to teach elk to look both ways before crossing the highways and pathways.

Why must the pathway have a set-in-stone closure date, anyway? Do cyclists training for the next 10k du jour attached to a Jackson fundraiser really need to know months in advance whether the path will be open? Just take it on a year-by-year basis and announce the closure whenever it “feels” right. This year’s extension to November 1 sounds like a winner only if it comes with a snowplow. 

 92513props3Brass reduction  PROPS

St. John’s CEO Lou Hochheiser probably just had his name scratched off Gary Trauner’s Christmas card list, but canning the COO was the right move.

St. John’s Medical Center has had to navigate its share of choppy waters over the past decade. Boardroom squabbles and abrupt exits of administrative staff complete with generous severance packages were par for the course at SJMC. The addition of Trauner as Chief Operating Officer made sense in 2011 while the hospital tried to find its feet. Trauner, along with CFO John Kren, were able to keep the sails filled with wind while CEOs came and went prior to Hochheiser coming aboard.

Hochheiser called the hospital “top-heavy” and has apparently classified some of Trauner’s work as redundant. SJMC has always had better scrubs than suits and Hochheiser’s trimming of the fat was a necessary step.

Trauner took the news well – he’s always been a class act while campaigning (twice) for the Wyoming’s U.S. House seat.

 92513props2Day for the dogs PROPS

It’s hard to believe there has been three Canine Carnivals already. This Saturday will be the fourth. The dog-centered benefit gathering is always tons of fun, filled with activities, food and good friends. And that’s just for the dogs.

Pet Place Plus organizes the bash but the event is all about the canine community. Finding an open Saturday in Jackson’s busy summer season was the hardest part, but the last one in September seems to be working out fine. It’s cool enough for the dogs to exert in the Course-a-Lure, herding ducks, and bobbing for biscuits, and pleasant enough for humans to squeeze out one more weekend in flip-flops.

New this year is the Dog House Build-off. Two Ocean Builders has divided their crew into three teams, each hammering out a cozy canine condo to be auctioned off at the event this Saturday.

About Jake Nichols

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