Articles written by Joshua Wood


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  • Primary Filing Opens Today

    Joshua Wood|May 16, 2024

    Today marks the opening of the 2024 Primary Election filing period with a deadline of May 31 for candidates in all partisan and nonpartisan primary races. A complete listing of all offices can be found in the 2024 Primary Proclamation on page B6 of this week’s Saratoga Sun. A few of those offices include three seats on the Board of Carbon County Commissioners (BOCCC), three on the Saratoga Town Council, two on the Encampment Town Council and three on the Riverside Town Council. Board of Carbon C...

  • Sawdust in your blood

    Joshua Wood|May 16, 2024

    When Saratoga Forest Management first began operations in 2012—operating the sawmill once owned by Louisiana Pacific—it was big news for two reasons. First, the sawmill had been closed since 2003 dealing a major blow to the local economy. Second, Saratoga Forest Management was processing the abundance of beetle-killed lodgepole pine. When newspapers descended upon Saratoga to report the news of the sawmill reopening, one of the people they spoke with was Orville Howe. Howe and eight of his broth...

  • Make a difference, run for office

    Joshua Wood|May 16, 2024

    These days it may seem as if election cycles never end, but only bleed into one another. While it can be easy to get fatigued by the constant election rhetoric, the civic importance of elections shouldn’t be lost. This year is a presidential election and, in Wyoming, one senate seat and the lone congress seat are also on the ballot. Also on the ballot are a number of county and municipal offices. Three of the five seats on the Board of Carbon County Commissioners will be on the ballot this e...

  • Appointment made to vacant council seat

    Joshua Wood - Stevenson Newspapers|May 9, 2024

    Nearly three months after the untimely passing of Saratoga Town Council member Jacob Fluty—and a month of advertising—the governing body received two letters of interest for the vacant seat. One letter was from Bub Barkhurst, owner of Barkhurst Collision Center, and the other was from Chia Valdez, owner of Saratoga Land Company and a current member of the Saratoga Planning Commission. Both applicants cited their long ties to Wyoming in their letters with Barkhurst stating his family had set...

  • Making Healthcare Accessible

    Joshua Wood - Stevenson Newspapers|May 2, 2024

    In rural areas such as Carbon County, access to healthcare doesn’t always mean it is affordable. According to the Rural Health Information Hub (ruralhealthinfo.org), while access to healthcare would imply that services are available and obtainable in a timely manner many rural residents encounter barriers to healthcare. “Even when an adequate supply of healthcare services exists in the community, there are other factors that may impede healthcare access,” reported the Rural Health Infor...

  • A Fresh Taste of Wyoming

    Joshua Wood|May 2, 2024

    “I get a lot of people that knock on my window and say ‘Do you have real food?’ If you want a burger or you want a taco or you want wings, that’s not what I have.” For the past year, Courtney Ney has traveled across Carbon County—and even the state—with a food truck which stands out from the rest. It’s not the yellow color of the trailer, but rather what Ney sells. While other mobile vendors sell burgers, wings, tacos or even pizza, Ney’s menu could be seen as a palate cleanser. That’s...

  • Barkhurst appointed to vacant seat

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|May 2, 2024

    At the May 7 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council, Bub Barkhurst was sworn in by Mayor Chuck Davis to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Jacob Fluty earlier this year. Barkhurst was one of two applicants to the vacancy. The other was Chia Valdez, who currently serves on the Saratoga Planning Commission. Both applicants read their letters of interest in public and were interviewed by members of the council in open meeting. See more in the May 9 edition of the Saratoga Sun...

  • Saratoga Cougar Captured

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 25, 2024

    Living in rural areas such as Saratoga, interactions with wild animals are a given. In many cases, it’s that interaction which attracts people to the area. These interactions go beyond the “town deer” which live in town limits or the occasional moose making its way through. Such is the case with the mountain lion recently captured and relocated by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). According to Teal Cufaude, Saratoga Wildlife Biologist for the WGFD, this is possibly the second mount...

  • Resident protests Town of Saratoga

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 25, 2024

    On Monday morning, those driving up and down 1st Street in Saratoga likely saw an uncommon sight as a local resident held a protest outside Saratoga Town Hall. Wearing a bright yellow coat and carrying a pink sign, Jimmy Dempsey called for Mayor Chuck Davis to remove Town Clerk Jennifer Anderson for “neglecting her duty.” On his sign, Dempsey cited section 02.08.020 of Saratoga Municipal Code. This section of the code reads that all town employees may be dismissed by the mayor and council, wit...

  • Planning commission talks housing needs

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 18, 2024

    As the Saratoga Planning Commission continues to discuss affordable housing and short term rentals, they may be able to look to a recent report for some guidance. In February, the Wyoming Community Development Authority released its 2024 Housing Needs Assessment. More than 300 pages long, the report breaks down the state into various regions with Carbon County included in the Central Region with Natrona and Converse counties. Chairperson McCall Burau led the planning commission through the...

  • Clucking Around

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 18, 2024

    Taking a short break from discussing short term rentals, the Saratoga Planning Commission held a brief discussion over a proposed chicken ordinance during their April 9 meeting. Under current municipal code, it is mostly illegal to own chickens or other domestic fowl on residential lots within town limits. One of the only exceptions, per section 18.42.150© of the municipal code, are undeveloped areas in residential zones which are greater than five acres. This section of the code allows livestoc...

  • Snowpack above median

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 18, 2024

    In the lowlands of the Platte Valley, it may seem like winter has been gentle on us in regards to the amount of snow received this winter. As April speeds by, it may even seem like we could be looking at a dry summer. Data from the Wyoming State Climate Office at the University of Wyoming, however, shows otherwise. According to Director Tony Bergantino, snowpack at National Resources Conservation Services (NCRS) sites in the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre ranges varies from over 80% to 110% of...

  • Moving forward or backward?

    Joshua Wood - Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 4, 2024

    The resubdividing of existing lots and how that could impact the future of zoning was a subject of the Saratoga Planning Commission during their March 12 meeting. At the heart of the discussion was property owned by Paul Newman located at 208 W. Saratoga Avenue. Rather than either the property being a single lot or two lots, it is a lot-and-a-half. “I’d like to put two brand new trailers on that lot-and-a-half but per zoning, I’m only allowed to do one per lot,” said Newman. “I’m asking to divide my lot-and-a-half into two three-quart...

  • Get involved in your local government

    Joshua Wood|Apr 4, 2024

    “Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring to your own life.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last week, the Town of Saratoga began advertising for the vacancy on the Saratoga Town Council. The seat, previously held by Jacob Fluty, will be on the ballot as a two-year unexpired term this year. Whoever is appointed to the vacancy will onl...

  • Hop to it!

    Joshua Wood - Stevenson Newspapers|Apr 4, 2024

    It seemed the Easter Bunny not only made a stop in the Encampment and Riverside area, but lost most of his basket in the process. On March 30, the Encampment/Riverside Volunteer Fire Department held their annual easter egg hunt for children aged preschool through 6th grade. The event, held at Rick Martin Memorial Park in Riverside, seems to draw participants from near and far every year and with good reason. Approximately 30 dozen eggs and pounds upon pounds of candy were littered throughout...

  • Short term rentals discussed … again

    Joshua Wood|Mar 28, 2024

    Short term rentals and their regulation—or lack thereof—in municipal code was yet again a topic of discussion for the Saratoga Planning Commission during their March 12 meeting. While a proposed short term rental permit was created by the planning commission last year, it was ultimately tabled in November 2023 on the recommendation of Kylie Waldrip, legal counsel for the Town of Saratoga. In February, James “Jimmy” Campbell asked the planning commission to continue to pursue some form of perm...

  • Changing with the times

    Joshua Wood|Mar 28, 2024

    When Ed Glode’s great-grandfather, E.J. Shively, bought Tilton & Son Hardware Store in December 1925 it came with a list of vendors. “The top vendor was International Harvester,” said Glode, who is the fourth-generation to own and run the business. “When they settled the West from Chicago to San Francisco, next to every other rail hub was an International Harvester dealer. We were the product of one of those. Most of those are closed in the western United States. We’re one of the few that’s st...

  • Lost in the leather

    Joshua Wood|Mar 28, 2024

    Tack shops were once a common sight across the country, but especially the West. As the tools used in ranching have evolved from riding a horse to riding an all-terrain vehicle, these iconically western businesses seem to have all but disappeared. Not in Saratoga, though, where Hatch Tack has set up shop on Bridge Avenue. Cordell Hatch and his wife, Siara, have operated Hatch Tack for nearly two decades and opened up their storefront in Saratoga over a year ago. Since then, said the couple,...

  • Serving local, supporting local

    Joshua Wood|Mar 28, 2024

    Danny Burau, owner of The Malt in Saratoga, knows the concept of farm-to-table isn’t new or revolutionary in the food industry. It’s been around long enough it was once parodied by the sketch comedy series “Portlandia” when two characters—played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein—are so invested in the chicken on the menu they visit where it was raised. Being a comedy series, hijinks ensue. While it may seem almost hyperbolic in its critique of the locally sourced movement, there is perhaps...

  • Bullying: Not Just 'Kids Being Kids'

    Joshua Wood|Mar 21, 2024

    In the past week, I’ve talked with a few people—many of them longtime Valley or Carbon County locals—about the issues of bullying. It was even a major topic during the recent community forum with the candidates for Encampment K-12 School principal. I won’t reveal the names of the people I’ve talked to nor the exact nature of what they spoke with me about. These were personal conversations and the only reason I’m bringing them up is due to a similar comment through most of the conversatio...

  • Robbery suspect in custody

    Joshua Wood|Mar 21, 2024

    Cody Ellenson, the primary suspect in the December 16 robbery of the Whistle Pig Saloon south of Saratoga, has been arrested by authorities in Florida. On March 15, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 32-year-old Ellenson in a press release. According to the press release, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Unit (CSU) was contacted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) about a person in Wakulla County who might be a wanted fug...

  • Chamber to hold 50th annual dinner

    Joshua Wood|Mar 7, 2024

    Next week, the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce (S/PVCC) will be hosting its annual chamber dinner and awards. While each year the dinner is a way to celebrate local businesses and chamber members, the S/PVCC will also be observing its 50th Anniversary. CEO Amanda Knotwell gave the Saratoga Sun a preview of what to expect for this year’s dinner and awards, which will include everything from live music to a history lesson. This year will feature two guest speakers: Chuck “C.J.” Box a...

  • Shaking things up at SMHS

    Joshua Wood - Stevenson Newspapers|Mar 7, 2024

    When reading up on types of earthquake-resistant structures, one will be greeted with a variety of options when it comes to construction. Flexible foundations, seismic dampers, ductile materials which can either deflect, absorb, transfer or distribute vibrations from seismic activity. Professional architects and contractors have a variety of materials at their disposal to attempt this. The 8th grade science class at Saratoga Middle High School just had marshmallows and pasta noodles. Yet, quite...

  • Short term rental permit untabled?

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Feb 29, 2024

    Three months after tabling a draft short term rental permit application, the Saratoga Planning Commission once again discussed the impact of short term rentals in Saratoga at its February 13 meeting. The discussion was brought up by James “Jimmy” Campbell, a resident and business owner in Saratoga. Citing the goals the planning commission has set for 2024, Campbell said he was disappointed to see there was nothing regarding short term rentals. Chairwoman McCall Burau reminded Campbell the pla...

  • What about children like Nex?

    Joshua Wood, Stevenson Newspapers|Feb 29, 2024

    We’re told to think of the children. That’s the refrain used in state legislatures across the country when it comes to the slew of anti-LGBTQ laws which are proposed or passed. Laws like the one in Oklahoma, which requires people to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate. Yet, due to laws like this, it is likely that a child in Oklahoma has died. Nex Benedict was a non-binary 16 year old student at Owasso High School. On February 7, they were allegedly assaulted by three fem...

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