From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 18 - 12/28/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

My New Year's Predictions!

by Rob Shaul

1. Jackson developer Ron Saypol will purchase the Fayette Ranch for $25 million then quickly subdivide the 14,000 acres into seventy 200-acre home/recreation sites that he'll sell for $1 million apiece, quadrupling his investment in little over a year. After selling the last lot, Mr. Saypol will proclaim, "I love Sublette County. Sublette County has been very good to me."

2. Pinedale's 70 new millionaires will begin flying their private jets in and out of the Pinedale Airport. However, the increase in jets using the Pinedale Airport leads neighboring homeowners to sue the town and county over noise and pollution levels. After losing the case in court, the County Commissioners will accept an offer from Donna Steele to build a new, international airport on her property next to Tyler Wilson and Matt and Liz David's houses in Boulder.

3. The Sublette County Commissioners will fork out $100,000 to install scales at the Pinedale Transfer Station this summer because of perceived inequities for landfill charges using the current "quantity" system. This will result in a significant increase in landfill fees, angering everyone in Sublette County. However, the increase in fees will allow the County Road and Bridge Department to buy 24 new motorgraders to add to the six it has now. This will allow the department personnel to drive a different motorgrader every day of the month!

4. Doctors Burnett and Boyle will go to the Sublette County Rural Health Care District Board with a combined two-year contract for both clinics in the county. The Board, overly suspicious that doctors from Big Piney and Pinedale are working together, will reject the offer, and the two clinics will be inefficiently run separately for another two years. Doc Johnston will announce that he plans never to retire, but Pinedale High School graduate Dr. Healy will return to the county to work at the Pinedale Clinic anyway. He'll live in and work out of an old, rusting Winnebago parked adjacent to the helipad.

5. In January, Garry Eiden Sr. will lead a successful effort to oppose signing a contract with the Pinedale EMS for ambulance service in the north end of the county. In February, Mr. Eiden will suffer a fainting spell while working at the Pinedale Transfer Station. None other than Gary Wilson will arrive with the Pinedale Ambulance responding to the call. Mr. Wilson will save Mr. Eiden's life by performing mouth-to-mouth and CPR. At the next Board meeting, Mr. Eiden will give Mr. Wilson a six pack of Bud Light and publicly weep as he loudly proclaims, "I love you man." The Board will promptly sign a six-month contract with the Pinedale EMS for a contracted ambulance service that will include three and one-half paid EMTs and 24/7 service. By July, mounting problems in Big Piney and perceived inequities between the Pinedale service and the Big Piney ambulance service will lead the Board to combine the two services and write one contract for the whole county. Dogs and cats will be seen dancing in the streets that night.

6. Mike Irwin will purchase the old Elk Country Barbecue restaurant in Pinedale and turn the building into a lumber store so people in town won't have to drive to Dew's any more for a 2X4 and sheet rock. Bob Dew will respond by opening his own outlet lumber store in the abandoned building across Pine Street from the other lumber store. Mr. Dew's new store will be called, "Dew Too!"

7. The committee appointed by the County Commissioners to manage tax revenue from the new countywide lodging tax will have a rough first couple of months as people scrutinize their spending decisions. However, things will die down after the committee votes to spend all of the first year's tax revenue fully funding the website, which encourages tourists to "send your money, and we'll recreate for you!." This decision will appease everyone but Barbara Pfaff, who will continue to attend every committee meeting to glare and scowl at the committee members.

8. In February, Questar announces it plans to drill 500 wells on the Mesa just south of Pinedale. It begins a very aggressive drilling campaign involving 35 rigs in the summer. Noise and traffic from the rigs cause New Fork Social Club property owners to complain constantly to the County Commissioners. Questar attempts to make things up by hiring artist Don Kennell to return to Pinedale and create a new oil rig sculpture from materials at the recycling center. The new piece of "art" is twice as tall as the Cowboy head placed adjacent to it in the Chamber Park.

9. But...Environmental groups petition to have the sage grouse listed as an endangered species. The BLM will automatically start treating the bird as if it is already listed, resulting in extensive restrictions on drilling and grazing. Local ranchers will join with major oil & gas companies to place stuffed sage grouse under every bush in Sublette County in an effort to prove that sage grouse numbers are at an all time high. Environmentalist Linda Baker will retaliate by creating an emergency rescue and rehabilitation organization for wounded real sage grouse and broken stuffed sage grouse.

10. Tony Gosar will switch his party affiliation back to Republican, and Mickey LaVoie will switch his back to Democrat in 2001. However, both men will switch them back again in 2002 when they announce they're running for County Commissioner.

11. The Big Piney Punchers will repeat as Class 2A State football champions. Under the new realignment, Pinedale won't even come close to making the state playoffs, causing angry parents to call for a coaching change. Meanwhile, in Big Piney, the football team's success will mask continuing drops in WyCAS scores. In Pinedale, WyCAS scores will stay near the top of the state, but the School Board will be fixated on the 56-0 defeat the Wranglers suffered to the Punchers during the regular season. The Board will make beating Big Piney its number one goal for the next school year and hire fired Redskins coach Norv Turner to lead the Wranglers in 2003.

12. In March, the Sublette County Recreation Board will tell the County Commissioners that residents not only want the Pinedale Hockey Rink covered, but we want it expanded into a million square foot events complex complete with a water slide, indoor ATV track, bungie jumping, 2-mile walking path, casino and IMAX theatre at an estimated cost of $350 million.

13. The lumbering effort to update the Sublette County Master Plan will be scrapped in August, when, after 18 months, Steering Committee Chairwoman Suzy Michnevich will inform the Commissioners that her committees have become bogged down on the definition of "property rights" and "rural character." The County Commissioners will spend $100,000 to hire a California consulting firm to come in, conduct focus groups and other studies, and write a draft update to the current plan. The firm will complete its work by December. The new master plan will call for paved streets with gutters throughout the county, a 200-store shopping mall featuring Gap and Nordstrom's, a Starbuck's, gun control, and a Thai restaurant in Pinedale. Upon reading the plan, Gordon Johnston's face will get so red he'll set off the sprinkler system in the new county courthouse complex, causing $200,000 in damage. By then, our reserves will be gone and Commissioners will be forced to travel to Teton County to beg the Democratic Teton County Commissioners for a loan. Instead, the Teton County Commissioners offer to purchase Bondurant for $5 million and annex that community into Teton County. Sublette County's commissioners eagerly sign the deal avoiding bankruptcy.

14. Bill Kellen will complete his new movie theatre and bowling alley in Pinedale. No really, he will. He will!

15. Dave Bell, following immediate success with the new Super 8 motel, announces that he and his partners plan three more motels in Pinedale: Super 9, 10 and 11. <

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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul