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Editorials

Traditionally, readers are encouraged to look beyond first appearances — to not judge a book by its cover. This week, however, will be all about first appearances for local readers as they see their newly remodeled Powell Branch Library.

The library was closed to the public for the month of January and the first days of February as it underwent extensive remodeling. On Monday morning, the library reopened its doors, showing off an updated layout, new carpet, fresh paint and added features. The library is now compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it accessible for all residents.

Education continues to be a major issue in the Wyoming Legislature this year.

This is understandable, since education traditionally is one of the major consumers of state money. In recent years, the Legislature has provided much better funding for schools than was available in the past. Wyoming spends more money per student than most, if not all, other states.

Powell prides itself on being a safe community — the kind where kids can ride their bikes freely around town and neighbors look out for one another.

Contrary to a popular local belief, however, Powell is not a place where it’s OK to leave your front door unlocked or the keys in your vehicle.

One constant in the business of the Wyoming Legislature has always been concern about the state’s public schools.

This concern has heightened in recent years because the state’s courts have put the responsibility for funding education on the backs of the state Legislature. As a result, the Legislature has become concerned about just what the state is getting for the money it spends in terms of student achievement.

Wyoming residents should be able to access public records easily and with no cost. After all, they are the owners of those documents, not the officials who often try to hoard them.

It’s the same with government meetings. Residents should be able to oversee their public officials’ work, except in some rare cases such as personnel matters and legal actions.

Our new governor, Matt Mead, quickly fulfilled one of his campaign promises when he announced shortly after his inauguration that Wyoming would join a multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care reform act.

This is in contrast to Mead’s predecessor, Dave Freudenthal, who chose not to send the state down that path, believing it would be a waste of the state’s money.

In the past decade, more than a billion dollars was spent on school facilities in Wyoming. With a new high school, new Southside Elementary, a new Westside Elementary under construction and plans underway for middle school renovations, Powell has seen millions spent on demolition and construction in recent years.

Similar school projects are going on across the state, and Gov. Matt Mead wants to ensure Wyoming contractors receive a fair chance at those jobs.

EDITORIAL: Shooting an attack on America

Once again, an act of terrorism has our flag flying at half staff.

Last week’s shooting in Arizona, which killed, among others a 9-year-old and a federal judge, was apparently aimed at a member of the United States Congress, who was seriously wounded and will face disability, probably for the rest of her life.

The incident has revived perennial arguments about safety and security.

EDITORIAL: Legislature in session

As legislators gather in Cheyenne this week, they will be inundated with dozens of bills — eventually hundreds of them — up for consideration during the 2011 General Session 61st Wyoming Legislature.

Once again, Wyoming finds itself in a much better position than other states with its enviable budget surplus — more than $1 billion to allocate or invest.

EDITRIAL: Fire knows no holiday

Powell’s volunteer firemen once again had a holiday weekend interrupted by a major fire.

In May, firemen spent a chunk of their Memorial Day weekend dealing with the fire at Treasure Valley Seed. Last Friday, they spent their New Year’s Eve fighting a fire at a storage building near Glad Tidings Church and welcomed in the New Year at midnight while cleaning up their equipment and preparing it for the next fire.

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