By on December 29, 2015

Leno truckin’ with JH

151230TOU-1Winslow Bent, owner of Legacy Classic Trucks in Jackson Hole, stopped by “Jay Leno’s Garage” to show the comedian some of the finer points of the 1942, six-wheeled Dodge Power Wagon his company built for him.

Motor Authority said Bent tries to use many of the original parts. His company has now built about 60 Power Wagons. He is fully booked out for 2016, and prices range from $150,000 to $250,000.

Hollywood in the Hole

Hollywood celebrities have officially discovered Jackson Hole, according to a Christmas Day story in the Hollywood Reporter. Writer Jacquelyn Ryan doesn’t actually mention anyone but the usual – Harrison Ford, Sandra Bullock, and Lyle Waggoner – but she does go out of her way to help sell the valley to A-listers.

151230TOU-2While Angelenos may pull on sweaters and boots when temperatures drop below 70, they hardly experience what most people call ‘winter,’” Ryan wrote. “Those looking for something more authentic head out of town for snow and crisp air. Wyoming, where many stars, executives and tech startup billionaires have been scooping up high-end lodges, has a unique appeal: The state doesn’t charge income tax.”

Real estate agents Josh Flagg (Beverly Hills) and Matt Faupel (Jackson Hole) were both quoted saying Wyoming offers a great tax haven for owners, calling Wyoming their main residence – even if they are rarely here.

Teton County bucks trend

151230TOU-3Wyoming posted some gains last month despite the downturn in the state’s energy sector. Statewide, sales and use tax collections declined by $61 million (16.4 percent) in the first five months of FY2016. But the trend didn’t hit every county.

State economist Jim Robinson told Wyoming Business Report that six of the state’s 23 counties experienced gains in sales and use tax collections over the past five months.

Teton County (8.2 percent increase) joined Weston (24.4), Lincoln (7.3), Albany (4.6), Uinta (4.1), and Sheridan (2.8). Teton led the pack in monetary increase with 44.4 million. Dazzling data available in the December issue of government publication Wyoming Insight.

Third time lucky?

One Wyoming lawmaker will try again to raise the minimum state wage from $5.15 an hour to $9.50. Rep. Jim Byrd, D-Cheyenne, sponsored House Bill 4 for the upcoming session in February.

“It’s not going away,” Byrd told the Star Tribune. He’s tried since 2014. Last year, the minimum wage bill was shot down in the House Revenue Committee. The measure faces an uphill battle this shorter session. As a non-budget item it will require a two-thirds majority vote to clear. It will also be pressed for time in the shorter 20-day budget session.

Back in the saddle

Jackson saddle maker Keith Valley stepped into the national spotlight with an appearance on the Small Business Revolution, a spinoff of the popular Shark Tank TV series starring host Robert Herjavec.

Valley moved to Jackson in 2004 after a three-year apprenticeship in Montana. He custom designs and crafts about 13 saddles per year under his Keith Valley Saddle Company moniker.

Wyoming Business Report’s Mark Wilcox penned the short item on December 23.

College kids forgiven

Some Wyoming college students will catch a break on their student loans after a complaint filed against Education Management Corporation (EDMC) resulted in $127,441 in loan forgiveness refunds.

Complaints against EDMC included allegations the for-profit education organization misled students about program costs, falsely claimed students would earn higher incomes with a degree, and unfairly charged students even when they dropped classes.

Wyoming joined 39 other states in the complaint against EDMC. Wyoming Tribune Eagle carried the story.

Suntanned Moose

“It’s not easy for any visiting men’s hockey team to pull off a victory at Snow King Center in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Seven hundred partisan Moose fans usually raise a ruckus, and the Moose usually respond with enormous offensive pressure for goals,” wrote Jeff Cordes for Idaho Mountain Express.

The Suns blanked the Moose Saturday, December 19, 5-0. It was Sun Valley’s first ever shutout at Snow King. PJH

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