Weekly News Roundup: Friday, Oct. 7

Catch up on this week's news about the legacy of Clarene Law, the Jackson fire chief's retirement and a new collection at Teton County Library.
A memorial popped up for the late Clarene Law at the Antler Inn, the first hotel she owned in Jackson. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)


Flags flown at half staff in honor of late Jackson business owner Clarene Law

The Wyoming state flag will be flown at half staff in Teton County on Friday, Oct. 7, in honor of Clarene Law. The longtime Jackson business owner passed away in late September at age 89. Law owned several downtown lodges, including the Antler Inn, 49er Inn, Elk Country Inn and Cowboy Village Resort. 

Law said in a 2020 interview with Wyoming Humanities Council that the people are what intrigued her most about living in the Cowboy State. 

“I’ve had a job where I could interact with all Wyoming,” she said. “Sometimes my husband thinks I know all 500,000 because they march in and they say, ‘Do you remember when?’ and I say, ‘Ya, and I knew your grandmother.’ Age has some wonderful rewards.”

Law also represented District 23 in the Wyoming House of Representatives as a moderate Republican from 1991 to 2004. The capitol building in Cheyenne will also fly the state flag at half staff in her memory.

A celebration of Law’s life will be held at the Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 12 p.m. The event is open to the public and will be livestreamed here.

Eastern Shoshone speaker presents at 22 in 21 conference ahead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Jackson-based think tank The Charture Institute held its annual 22 in 21 conference on Oct. 5. The event focused on the health of Jackson Hole’s environment, economy and community. 

One of the speakers, Jason Baldes, is a member of the Eastern Shoshone tribe and the executive director of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative. He encouraged the largely white audience to bridge Western knowledge with Indigenous beliefs when it comes to conservation and human development.

“Colonization, assimilation, exploitation — we have to begin to challenge some of these belief systems and incorporate more traditional beliefs, draw from our Indigenous relatives about how we can care more holistically for our land, the animals and the water — and each other,” Baldes said.

Baldes’s talk came ahead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is Monday, Oct. 9. 

Jackson Fire Chief retires, can’t afford to stay in community 

Brady Hansen worked for fire departments during a 30-year career in Utah and Wyoming. (Courtesy of Brady Hansen)

Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Brady Hansen retired last week after five years at the department. Hansen grew up in Alta, Wyoming and has spent 30 years in emergency services, but he can’t afford to retire in Jackson. He and his wife are moving to be with their children in Logan, Utah, where the family can afford to live.

“When the fire chief can’t even dream of affording to buy a home, then none of the firefighters can either, and that’s a super big challenge for our organization,” Hansen said.

Still, Hansen says he’s been grateful for the opportunity to live in Jackson and be part of the community where he grew up. In fact, leading the department has been the highlight of his career. He’s especially proud of acquiring new wildland fire equipment, raising pay for staff and recruiting a solid roster of volunteers.

“I think what really stands out to me, above all other things, is the caliber of people that work and volunteer for Jackson Fire/EMS — some of the best people I have ever met and will ever meet in my life,” he said.

Hansen helped select the new chief, Steve Jellie, who is moving from New York to lead the department. He’ll start on Nov. 7. Until then, Battalion Chief Mike Moyer will serve as interim chief.

Teton County Library launches new collection of practical, fun items

Teton County Library just launched a new collection it’s calling a “Library of Things.” With a library card, people can now check out items like quilting supplies, a Bluetooth speaker, gardening tools, hiking poles and much more. The library joins others across the country in expanding beyond books to offer fun and practical items. 

Cayla Broseus helped coordinate the collection and said it’s community-driven. 

“We’re just trying to make sure that we can reach as many people as possible and take care of some of the needs that people may have outside of finding their next great book,” she said.

Broseus and others hope to give community members the chance to try out things before purchasing them, or give them access to items they may not have room to store. Community members can make suggestions for the collection here.

Foster homes needed during animal shelter closure

The town’s animal shelter is closed for construction for the last two weeks of October, from Oct. 17 to 31, and the shelter needs foster homes for all of its dogs and cats. Call 307-733-2139 for more information.

Drop off gear for Jackson ski swap

The Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club’s annual ski & gear swap is coming up, presenting one of the year’s best opportunities to get discounts on new and used snow gear. Community members can drop off items to sell on Oct. 13 and 14. The swap will happen on Oct. 15 at the Heritage Arena. Visit the ski club’s website for more information about dropping off gear and early bird specials.

This roundup included audio recorded by Storyboard Production’s Josh Griffith at the 22 in 21 conference. 

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About Hanna Merzbach

Hanna is KHOL's senior reporter and managing editor. A lot of her work focuses on housing and local politics, but also women's health — and whatever else she finds interesting. You can hear her reporting around the country and region on NPR, Wyoming Public Radio and community radio stations around the west. She hails from Bend, Oregon, where she reported for outlets such as the Atlantic, High Country News and Oregon Public Broadcasting. In her free time, you can find Hanna scaling rock walls or adventuring in the mountains.

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