Weekly News Roundup: Friday, Sept. 9

Miss the headlines this week? Catch up on a new historic survey of the Teton County Rodeo and Fairgrounds, county staffing shortages and the updated COVID-19 booster shots.
Historic photo of the Teton County Rodeo
Historic photos of the rodeo arena in Jackson Hole from the 1950s and ‘60s were distributed along with a new historic survey conducted by the Teton County Historic Preservation Board. (Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum)


New historic survey of Teton County Rodeo and Fairgrounds released amid controversy over site

A new historic survey of the Teton County Rodeo and Fairgrounds conducted by the Teton County Historic Preservation Board documents the cultural and physical history of the famous community gathering space in downtown Jackson. It’s a site now at the center of a controversy over a planned affordable housing project nearby—and as such, the timing of the new survey is no coincidence. 

Read KHOL’s full coverage here.

A wet August but continued drought conditions

With 3.65 inches of rain, last month was the second-wettest August on record for the Town of Jackson. That’s according to the latest edition of DroughtReach, an email newsletter compiled by David Lee, water resources specialist for the Teton Conservation District.

“We’re sitting in a relatively better position than we were in early spring, before we got those rain storms,” Lee said. “[It will] be interesting to pay attention to how this fall develops into this La Nina winter and how we see the snowpack develop this year compared to last year.”

Still, all of Teton County is experiencing some drought conditions, and the most southern 5% of the county near Jackson is experiencing extreme drought.

ACLU of Wyoming, state tribes urge Supreme Court to uphold Indian Child Welfare Act

The ACLU of Wyoming is weighing in on a U.S. Supreme Court case that could overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). On Aug. 18, the ACLU branch in Wyoming, along with 13 other states, sent the court an amicus brief urging them to uphold the act, which protects Indigenous children from forced removal from their families and tribes. 

Read KHOL’s full coverage here.

Teton County grapples with staffing ‘crisis’

The Teton County government has been grappling with a staffing shortage for years, but now it’s getting the label of a crisis. 

Sophia Boyd-Fliegel is the county reporter for the Jackson Hole News&Guide. She said the escalation in rhetoric was sparked by a recent request from the county’s planning and building department to extend the time period it legally has to process permits for various construction and zoning processes.

“They say they need this timeframe extension of anywhere from 24 to 53% because there’s more buildings being permitted—there’s more permits going out—and they have less staff,” Boyd-Fliegel said. “So, it’s kind of this double-edged sword.”

However, some county commissioners are skeptical of whether an extension will actually do that much to relieve overburdened staff and seem interested in pursuing alternative solutions, like contracting remote workers to help. The board of commissioners will continue discussing the issue on Oct. 4.

New COVID-19 booster shots available

Appointments are now available for the general public for the new COVID-19 booster shots through the Teton County Department of Health. The updated shots target the original strain of COVID-19 plus the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants. 

Pfizer’s new booster has been authorized for individuals aged 12 and older and Moderna’s shot for those 18 and older. More information and appointment booking is available at tetoncountywy.gov/covidvax.

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