By on April 7, 2015

PROPSFistbumpWine it up

Just give Bob and Anthony Schroth their winery business already. County commissioners and planners have wasted too much time on this while more important issues cross their plate.

Reasons for the winery? For one, a vintner bottling vino out of his garage is about as unobtrusive to his neighbors as it gets. The Schroths are not operating a welding shop or some other venture that produces a racket. Their business is conducted quietly. They do not draw hordes of people like, say, a daycare – something else neighbors in other areas have bitched about even while they complain there are not enough daycares in the county.

Louise Wade, one of Schroth’s sensible neighbors, told the News&Guide that she has no problem with the winery. In fact, she didn’t see it as being any different than someone putting up preserves for the winter. Yet, according to the same news source, at least one neighbor has chosen to hide behind an attorney to speak out against Schroth’s appeal for an amendment to the home business regulations (where no mention of a winery is made).

Our forefathers obviously didn’t think it possible for Jackson Hole to one day compete with Napa or Willamette Valley. But the Jackson Hole Winery does alright for itself. They’ve even won some awards.

More arguments in support of the rule bending? Schroth’s home is in the Dairy subdivision. Dairy — as in milk production. Presumably, Schroth’s vines don’t moo and stink like cows do. This subdivision was set up with the intent to produce libations for Pete’s sake.

And aren’t we supposed to be thinking outside the box when coming up with ways to stimulate the economy and help smaller entrepreneurs get their dreams off the ground? This is a perfect example of a minor operation that meets those things.

While third homeowners are renting out their places illegally and causing all kinds of friction with their neighbors, here comes a winery on 16.8 acres with two barns that for some reason isn’t being slam-dunked to approval for a wine business.

The sad thing is Jackson Hole has become a place where neighbors don’t want to see cows or horses in barns, anymore. It’s too rural. For most people, the only acceptable use for a barn in Teton County is a place to store your vintage Alfa Romeo summer car, or a quaint relic from another time to serve as a foreground for your Canon PowerShot of the Tetons.

Jackson Hole Winery (Photo credit: 1% for the tetanus)

Jackson Hole Winery (Photo credit: 1% for the tetanus)

DISSTongueNo show snow 

One look around here will tell you: Wyoming’s snowpack is disappearing fast. Unseasonably warm spring temps have melted snow that normally would be feeding rivers, creeks and irrigation ditches long into the summer.

Wyoming Public Media’s report on the Wind River Range was disturbing. Using data from NASA from the years 1972 through 2013, researchers concluded the snowpack there is melting 16 days earlier than it did during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

Crews from the Federal Natural Resource Conservation Service performed their snow level measurements last week near Newcastle. There, they found six inches on the ground in places that usually have a historical average of 24 to 40 inches.

Without significant rainfall in the next two months, reservoirs will be dangerously low and the entire West will be further strained. California’s situation is near crisis. Gov. Jerry Brown ordered an unprecedented 25 percent reduction in water usage. That is only the beginning. The Golden State’s rainy season has come and gone.

That means forest fires and legal battles over water rights. It is going to hurt everyone.

Maybe this new $1.4 million cloud-seeding program recently approved by the Wyoming Legislature is going to be more crucial than one might think. The Big Horn, Laramie, Medicine Bow and Sierra Madre mountains are all scheduled to get help. And the Wind River Mountains are on tap for the program next winter as long as neighboring states like Colorado chip in.

Bruce Boe of Weather Modification Inc. measures snow and concentrations of silver iodide, which is used in cloud-seeding procedures. (Photo credit: Casper Star Tribune)

Bruce Boe of Weather Modification Inc. measures snow and concentrations of silver iodide, which is used in cloud-seeding procedures. (Photo credit: Casper Star Tribune)

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