By on August 17, 2016

FedUp, not put up

160817TOU1JACKSON HOLE, WY – Organizers for FedUp say they are getting the shaft from the Jackson Lake Lodge after the park hotel cancelled all 13 of their room reservations for the upcoming annual Federal Reserve retreat here in Jackson Hole. The coalition protested the event last year with signs reading: “Inflation? Seriously?” and “Whose Recovery?”

The 39 members planning to attend the symposium say they are being unfairly targeted by the Grand Teton Lodge Company. Alex Klein, VP and general manager of GTLC said the cancellation was a result of a reservation glitch, which oversold the hotel by 18 rooms.

“We worked proactively and diligently with guests to relocate them to our nearby Flagg Ranch property,” Klein told Bloomberg News. Sponsors of the event, the Kansas City Fed, said no directive came from them. Bank spokesman Bill Medley said the KC Fed “has no input regarding any decisions that the Lodge makes outside of its contract with us.”

Breeze bill for CA

160817TOU2It was years ago when state legislators came to the realization that Wyoming blows. A lot. And all that breeze couldn’t simply go to waste, vanished into thin air.

A question was posed: Who owns all of that wind?

Rawlins-based journalist William Yardley answered the question in a piece that wound up in the LA Times. His headline read: “Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it’s taxing those who use it.”

Since Wyoming began taxing its wind four years ago, the state has collected a little less than $15 million in revenue. Bill Miller, co-owner of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, is building a massive wind farm in Wyoming. His intent? To feed three nuclear reactors worth of power 750 miles on a transmission line to a California grid that will provide clean electricity to nearly a million homes in Southern California.

Faced with declining coal, oil and natural gas revenues, the wind tax isn’t much, but it’s exactly what Wyoming needs right now.

Jackson Hole, Idaho

160817TOU3160817TOU3Maybe Jackson Hole should trademark its name before everyone decides to cash in on the iconic branding. First, there was the mini-me development in China that Xeroxed the valley complete with rustic log cabin mansions and lofty real estate prices. Now, a 42-acre project is set to break ground between Teton Toyota and Interstate 15 in Idaho Falls.

“Jackson Hole Junction” has been two years in the planning. The $200 million commercial center development will be a motorist’s one-stop shopping haven with a big box store, a hotel, banks, gas stations, fast food establishments, restaurants and convenience stores. Morgan Construction is spearheading the project. Idaho’s Local News 8 ran the story on August 11.

Gran Tetón, NY-style

160817TOU4The New York City Ballet Moves is in town this week for weekend performances but they aren’t the only New Yorkers enjoying our valley. NBC News ran a superb piece on a Bronx transplant here for a summer internship in Grand Teton National Park.

Millie Jimenez, 25, is helping the park introduce Latinos like her to the great outdoors. The Big Apple ranger translates for Spanish-speaking visitors as part of a program called Pura Vida.

“We’re the next generation,” Jimenez said. “The national park isn’t representing the United States’ population. If we want to continue to be relevant and if we want to get to 200 years, we need to open our arms and embrace everyone.”

How is Liz in the lead?

160817TOU5National news outlets aren’t the only ones calling the primary race for U.S. Senate from Wyoming already. The Casper Star Tribune recently threw its endorsement behind Liz Cheney as the “one to beat.” They called the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, “well-funded and disciplined.”

Well-funded, indeed. Cheney is backed in large part by her father. She’s raised 10 times that of her nearest three challengers combined.

Allegations of “carpet bagger” and her high-profile sister feud have virtually disappeared, and some insiders see the crowded GOP field (eight are on the Republican ticket) playing to Cheney’s advantage.

“With an eight-way split in the vote, I think she pretty much is in the driver’s seat,” said Jim King, a University of Wyoming political science professor.

Fortune headlined a Sunday story on her: “Liz Cheney’s Wyoming campaign backed by big names, bigger money.” PJH

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