News Roundup: Avalanche workshop to come to Jackson, program offers savings accounts to preschoolers

Plus, a new report proves the importance of Wyoming's wildlife migration corridors, and local restaurant Thai Me Up is closing its doors.
The eighth-annual Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop is coming to Jackson on Oct. 21 and 22 to prepare snow enthusiasts for the winter season. (Jackson Hole Photo Shelter)

 

Eighth-annual snow and avalanche workshop coming to the Center for the Arts

The Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation will host its eighth-annual Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop on Oct. 21 and 22 in Jackson. The first day of workshop events is geared towards backcountry professionals, while the second day is open to anyone looking to prepare for the winter season.

Last winter there were seven avalanche deaths in the Greater Yellowstone region, three of which were in the Jackson area. Liz King, the preventative search and rescue manager of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation, said it’s important for all snow enthusiasts to engage with continuing education to keep their skills sharp.

“Traveling in avalanche terrain is something that nobody is ever going to become a complete expert in,” King said. “There’s always something to learn. There’s always room for growth.”

The two-day snow workshop is jam-packed with speakers and panels on everything from new avalanche research to equity in the outdoors. 

TCSAR is partnering with Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center and Central Wyoming College to present the event at the Center for the Arts in downtown Jackson. Attendees must register at TetonCountySAR.org to attend the event in-person, or watch virtually for free. Recordings of the talk will be available online within two weeks of the event.

Teton Literacy Center help families save for children’s future

A local family support organization, the Teton Literacy Center, launched a new program this year to help families save for their children’s post-secondary education. Over 20 participating families have already saved $14,000 in total in the children’s saving accounts.

Executive director Laura Soltau said it’s not about how much a family saves, but about making that commitment to their kid’s future. 

“Low- and middle-income families are living more paycheck to paycheck, so the idea of saving is not always on the radar, and so this program helps people to take that first step,” Soltau said.

The Teton Literacy Center’s main focus is providing free literacy programs for kids throughout their academic career. But, in working with high school students, the organization saw a gap in financial resources for college. So, it launched a pilot program in January with 23 families who have kids in preschool. The organization helps the families open the account through U.S. Bank, and savings are matched by an anonymous donor. 

The funds can be used for any kind of post-secondary education, including two-year programs or vocational schools.

“By saving and by having these conversations early, students will know that there are choices out there, and they won’t be stuck in one path just because that’s where they ended up,” Soltau said.

Though the program is currently only available to those 23 families, the organization will offer it to another class of preschool families next year. Soltau hopes to provide resources for other families who want to open accounts on their own, and she eventually hopes to see the school district start a program available to all families in Teton County. 

New science proves importance of migration corridors for Wyoming wildlife

A new Pew Charitable Trusts report tapping mountains of GPS collar tracking data and other research offers a roadmap for protecting big game in Wyoming and across the West. 

Joy Bannon with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation said the study confirms that migration is a critical survival tool for mule deer, elk and other ungulates. Migration helps animals find shelter in winter, and catch the green wave of sprouting vegetation in spring.

“These animals are moving to follow the groceries,” Bannon said. “Just like humans, when we’re fed and we have enough water, we have more energy, we’re stronger. And in this case they can have the ability to get pregnant, have healthier young, and then also, of course, survive the winters.”

The study found that when migration pathways are blocked or disrupted, animal populations tend to decline. Fencing, roadways, residential development and energy and mineral operations can block, alter or fragment migration routes and limit access to habitat that animals rely on. Climate change also is disrupting growth patterns of vegetation at key locations and times of year.

This story comes from Eric Galatas, with the Public News Service.

Local restaurant Thai Me Up to close ahead of condo development

Jackson restaurant Thai Me Up is closing its doors on Nov. 4. The restaurant has served thousands of diners at the corner of Pearl and King for 22 years. But, last summer, the Jackson Town Council approved a development plan for short-term rentals on the half block home to Thai Me Up. 

Owner Jeremy Tofte will continue to run his other company, Melvin Brewing, in Alpine.

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