A Long Standing Tradition
The USS Ralph Johnson's Midnight entry for 2021 done in verse:
The ball may be dropping in time square.
Onboard Ralph Johnson we’re still in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
Our time on deployment was supposed to be fun.
But then came Ms. Rona, and oh how she’s won.
She took all our ports and made us a bubble.
From what we can tell she has given us nothing but trouble.
She made us wear masks and clean all around.
You would not believe all the dirt that we found.
Everyone is hiding and in quarantine.
Why is it so hard to find a vaccine?
Our crew is still working because we’re essential.
The trips that we take are quite confidential.
We boarded a small boat and gave them a fright
Searched top to bottom all day and night.
We seized everything the law deems illegal.
There was so much you could fill a cathedral.
We allowed scary pirates to come aboard our ship.
They said they would have us all cleansed in a zip.
Opened their mouths and ate our wogs like little snacks.
After they spit them out they called them all shellbacks.
No mission or Pirates can stop our team.
We are closer and stronger than we all may seem.
A family of warriors is hard to bring down.
We will keep fighting until the next year rolls around.
Our mission out here is to following all orders.
We could not carry on without our supporters.
To our supporters at home and our families who need us.
We are coming home soon and that you can trust.
Continue the watch. U/W as before.
It doesn’t matter if you are tired to the core.
Independent steaming in the Pacific Ocean.
Only Ralph Johnson can cause such commotion.
No other ships are out here showing their presence.
The only ones out here are just us peasants.
Engineering plant status is as follows: 1 & 2 GTG’s online, 2B GTM’s online, 2 and 3
A/C units online, No. 5 fire pumps online, 1, 3, 4 5 SWS pumps online.
Engineers claim that everything’s fine.
Condition 3 readiness is what we achieve.
The crew is so ready to take leave.
Modified zebra set.
That you can bet.
EMCON Delta set.
All objectives were met.
All Nav lights are bright.
So anyone out there will see us alright.
The OOD is LTJG Miller. The Captain is tired and off the bridge for the night.
We traveled 421.05 NM throughout this day.
Everyone’s excited to be home, it’s not far away.
The work and the struggles have made us both happy and sad
Thank you 2020 for all the memories you had.
Toys For Tots
In this world of Covid-19 there are families that will need real help to put things under the Christmas Tree for their kids. Please dig into your pockets to help the Marines.
To all of those that greeted me at their front doors
The people of Wyoming are always warm and comfortable to candidates.
Thank you, again
Yesterday I came across these front porch swings while knocking on doors, Imagine that, tire swings made out of racing slicks... must give a real ride!
Stopped in at Freedom Arms, good conversation there. Thank you.
Star Valley Independent Radio and Internet Forum
Wednesday October 28th
Wednesday night (10/28) the Star Valley Independent hosted a candidate forum for House District 22. It was interesting as jim & I chatted before the start. Both he & I had been bitten by a dog while out campaigning... We faced off with Duke Dance of the SVI for about an hour.
In a recent letter to voters, I may have worded something poorly.
I stand strongly for Multiple Use of Public Lands.
For the coming General Session, I am very concerned that, given the heavy emphasis on budgets, Multiple Use of Public Lands could be forgotten in the rush. This would then expose these lands to a low level run on the access of the public to them. I will keep my eye out for such a run and will ensure people will know of it and in turn I will work hard to prevent any limits on public access and useage of public lands.
I have spoken with the AMPL Executive Director, Amy Edmonds, and clearly understand the issues and will stand strongly for legislation in support of the AMPL Goals.
I stand Four Square behind our current system as supported by AMPL (Advocates for Multiple USe of Public Lands).
In a mailing delivered Thursday, jim roscoe doesn't even know who his opponent is... Just Plain Wrong about my position on Multiple Use of Public Lands. Here is a shot of his mailer. Along the way he also says he was a 30 year republican... Yet he doesn't tell you he was a democrat when he was in the House circa 2008-2012...
Apparently he pulled up a mailing from his last campaign and sent it out without even reading it over. He gave no thought to my position on Public Lands. My position on Multiple Use of Public Lands is that our current system of Multiple Use of Public Lands is key to today's Wyoming: ranching, minerals, hunting, fishing and other recreational uses. I stated Wednesday evening that I stand Four Square behind our current system and the position of AMPL (Advocates for Multiple Use of Public Lands).
I will be your Bulldog in Cheyenne
I was made aware just today (10/21) of a newspaper ad designed to trash me. The false information in it is legion. What this really shows you is that I am that Bulldog a friend has called me. I have taken on corruption. The Marines say that it's not size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog! I will stand tall for HD-22 in Cheyenne in these truly draconian budget times just as I have done here.
Note: This board stonewalled a request to inspect their records for nearly 18 months. This was in violation of statute. They only allowed an inspection of records on the order of a judge.
Once I recognized a pattern of vandalism, I began filing police reports. Once these vandals realized I was doing that the vandalism stopped.
bill conley speaks in his ad of a "common sense" resolution. What hogwash, early in the legal wranglings the district’s lawyer approached mine about a settlement. So I, and my lawyer, prepared a proposed settlement and sent it on. We were met with… Silence. So when they complain about the costs, in the vein of common sense, they had an opportunity to minimize the money. Common sense says they would have taken advantage by at least negotiating. Instead they chose to engage in “LawFare” seeking to drive up my costs (and theirs).
Thanks for stopping by our house yesterday. It was a pleasure to [meet] you!
He stopped in at the house the other night! Very nice guy!
A glorious Bondurant sunset.
Susan Riggs, Daniel, Wy
"Folks. This guy is the real deal. We need him. Thanks for running Bill and you have my vote!!!"
5th Generation Wyoming Family
Hoback Junction, 24 September 2020
La Velle Van Voast
I support Bill Winney as candidate for the House District 22 House seat in Sublette County. Bill acquired a great deal of experience while serving in the United States Navy and he uses the knowledge and skills from his professional career as he serves as a volunteer who attends the Wyoming legislative sessions.
I most admire Bill for his selfless commitment and dedication to the state of Wyoming as a resident, volunteer, and speaking up in Public Comment in front of committees. I met Bill during the legislative sessions and observed his tireless efforts to speak out in various committees about the issues that matter most to him. He is an excellent example of a concerned and caring Wyoming resident.
Over these past two years, the public and I have had the opportunity to observe Bill’s dedication to the great state of Wyoming. His honest, pragmatic, and hopeful insight into our state’s problems and needs, and his willingness to examine the issues and listen closely during legislative committee meetings, sets him far apart from other candidates' expected techniques and talk. I am writing today, with proud enthusiasm, to express my support for his campaign as a candidate for the Wyoming House of Representatives and my intention to spread word to others of the value of his policies and abilities.
La Velle Van Voast
Resident, Cheyenne, WY
Note: La Velle Van Voast is a woman I crossed paths frequently with as I attended our legislature's sessions and committee hearings. She is a long time observer and keen critic of those who speak in Committee Hearings. Her words of support are gratefully appreciated.
News & Guide Candidate Article
12 August 2020
The below article, published Wednesday, 12 August 2020, is so short as to at best skim over much of what I’ve done over the years. That happens in the world of print journalism where space can be limited. I'd like to expand on the article.
In attending our legislatives sessions and selected Interim Committee Hearings I have spoken up for the people of Wyoming. Initially I selected bills of interest to me. Then I began to speak up in Public Comment. I’ve found our legislature is so structured that a private citizen who speaks clearly and keeps it short can in fact influence what our legislators do. See Rep Landon Brown's Letter of Support under the On the Issues Tab.
Once I realized that I could directly contribute to their deliberations, I started following bills closely. For example I have followed, and spoken on, our Wyoming National Guard Challenge Program. This program is for HS dropouts and has a really good success rate in getting them to a diploma. It has been on the cutting table over the years. I believe it has fared well as those cuts came through. Our youth are the future, ensuring they are educated so they can compete is vital.
In the realm of education I have observed struggles on how to include computer science into the curriculum. I had observed the Committees over several years. I finally proposed a method of spreading it over the entire curriculum that made the “Shoe-horning” of another course un-necessary. The Committees liked the idea and the Wy Dept of Ed fleshed it out (a lot of work by them by the way to develop this). This came out of several years of attending Committee hearings and Interim Committee Hearing where I listened to the struggles. I realized that they needed a way to look at the problem another way.
I have now begun paying a lot of attention to the Multiple Use deliberations. From my perspective preserving Multiple Use is preserving the Soul of Wyoming. I will stand for Multiple Use.
I have observed the budget process for some 6 years. I have been distressed as $900M plus was repeatedly taken out of savings. I have observed what I believe to be a laying of groundwork for an income tax. I believe that would fundamentally alter Wyoming and will oppose it.
I stand for the people of Wyoming.
Your Voice Matters.
This article only skims the surface, here's the link to the entire article. Please email me (email@example.com) or call me (307-413-1506) and let me know your ideas and vision of Wyoming’s future. I will carry that to Cheyenne and turn it into reality.
By Billy Arnold, JHN&G, 12 August 2020
"Bill Winney, Republican, House District 22"
"Perennial candidate Bill Winney, a Navy veteran and Republican from Bondurant, is back on the horse this year, running unopposed in the primary to address three priorities: education, the state budget and preserving multiple use of public lands.
"The state is projecting a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall over the next two years, and Winney said bringing things back into balance would require a mix of cutting spending and increasing revenue. The candidate, who managed budgets for the Submarine Launched Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program and the Sea Lance ASW Standoff Weapon, said he would like to start on the spending side, but carefully.
" “We’ve got to be careful about ‘reducing expenditures,’” he said, “because that’s probably going to mean real people, either being furloughed or losing jobs.
" “You can’t cut your way out of it,” he said.
"On the revenue side of the equation, he said he doesn’t support an income tax but could get behind an expanded sales tax because it doesn’t bring bureaucratic overhead and “it’s not that difficult to change later on.”
"Winney also said that in the state’s dire financial situation it’s vital to “protect the classroom” (teachers and other supporting staff) but he thought cuts, if needed, could come from administrative overhead."
Breakfast in Wilson
Talked alot, some Cowboy Poetry... and a little politics... Along the way saw this guy. He was taking a small drink from the puddle and then ambled on down the road.
Tonight's Bondurant Sunset - Friday 7/24
This looks through trees burned in the Roosevelt Fire and is looking west-northwest. The Wyoming Range brings fire to the sky on many nights.
"Citing Educational Risks, Scientific Panel Urges That Schools Reopen"
"Younger children in particular are ill-served by remote learning, according to a report issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine."
There is much discussion on whether and how to re-open schools. This article from the science pages of the New York Times discusses the downsides of keeping schools closed along with the protective measures that should be put in place in order to re-open schools. The Wyoming Department of Education has provided guidance on how to re-open our schools for the use of local school boards (see below). We need to get on with this, it is clear from the scientists cited in this article that the downside of remaining closed is far greater than many perceive.
July 4th, 2020
A Time to Celebrate, A time to Reflect
A time to celebrate our freedom, we are a nation that people aspire to be part of. They vote with their feet. But, as the saying goes, Freedom isn’t Free. It takes work, scanning the “horizon” for threats and those who’d silently subvert us.
I chatted with one of the Chaplains that our legislature has visit during sessions. He was from a church south of Rawlins. As we spoke he talked of the difference between Free Choice and the freedom to choose. It took me a few minutes to click in to the difference. Our creator endowed us with many things and Free Choice is central to our humanity.
It leads us to seek things greater than ourselves, but it also leads to more base motivations.
The outpouring of self-righteous loathing we see in our nation today is deeply troubling. The willingness of media to label obvious vandalism as a protest protected by our Constitution is deeply troubling. This can only be a political design.
I have long marveled at the indomitable spirit of our nation. As a CO on two Navy ships my most difficult job was to figure out how to stay out of the way of my crews. They always amazed me at their ability to perform “above and beyond.”
An Indomitable Spirit
Ron & Alice are rebuilding their home that burned in the Roosevelt Fire of 2018. They are using lumber recovered from the burned timber on their land. It will take time but they’re on their way.
They set about rebuilding and along the way bought a portable lumber mill. They are using fire damaged logs from their property. It will reflect the history of the fire... and save some real money! You will also see Alice "Supervising" from the porch of their Temporary cabin.
So where is our nation headed? This bout of self-hatred will run its course. It is incumbent on the judges of our “Second Estate” to hold responsible those people that did the vandalism. Our leadership must support those who run to the danger: law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS, military. It is a very, very human motivation for some to run toward danger. We must steel ourselves to acknowledge that as a core element of human behavior and honor those who make such sacrifice.
May Godspeed our nation as we rebuild.
Superintendent Balow Briefs School Re-opening in the Fall
From The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
CHEYENNE – Lunch in classrooms, widespread hand sanitizer stations and face coverings are just a few of the features Wyoming students can expect to see if the state’s schools return to in-person instruction this fall.
The Wyoming Department of Education’s initial framework to reopen K-12 schools, which was released Wednesday afternoon, requires districts to prepare for three possibilities: fully open facilities, fully closed facilities and a hybrid model somewhere in between.
If buildings are open to students, procedures for social distancing and face coverings will be followed “to the greatest extent possible,” the plan states.
During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said much of the decision-making outlined in the plan, developed by health and education experts across the state, will be left to local communities.
“Health officials, school boards, educators, parents and students will make informed decisions in the coming weeks,” Balow said. “Communities know best how to address your own unique challenges.”
Statewide, school districts have been asked to submit a plan to the education department by Aug. 3 that accounts for all three potential scenarios, with a focus on four areas: communication, safety and wellness, school operations, and instruction and technology.
The guidance released Wednesday largely includes recommendations for district administrators to consider in their plans, though it does entail a few across-the-board requirements for each scenario.
For example, if they reopen, schools must have a plan for students to safely enter and exit the building, “whether limiting the number of entrances open or requiring specific groups to use specific entrances.” Parents would also be expected to screen their children daily for COVID-19 before allowing them to attend school.
The recommendations, while not yet official procedure, provide further insight into what school could look like this fall. Under the nutrition guidance, one recommendation is to “serve students in their classrooms/pods/designated areas, rather than in cafeterias or common areas” and “provide water sources other than water fountains.”
The plan also included a framework for if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. The person testing positive would enter into self-isolation, and “other students and staff members who came into close contact with the positive case will be quarantined for 14 days, or as otherwise directed,” the plan states.
“Schools or buildings could also be closed by state or local public health directive or order for a 2- to 5-day period (or longer, if conditions warrant) to sanitize the facility and to conduct an investigation,” the plan reads.
Students who are more at risk of contracting the virus, or who live with someone who is, will be eligible to receive remote education, according to the framework.
Following the closure of school buildings across Wyoming this spring to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Balow acknowledged the loss of in-person instruction will be an issue to grapple with “for years to come, especially in the area of early literacy.”
“I would anticipate that in the coming months, we in Wyoming ... will double-down on our focus on brain-reading instructions, so that our youngest learners can get the interventions they need to make up for the lost time,” Balow said.
At the local level, the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees could discuss its specific reopening plan during its next meeting, set to be held virtually at 6 p.m. July 13.
Four Key Legislators Discuss Wyoming's Revenue Future
Sens Driskill & Bebout, Reps Sommers & Nicholas
The revenue future is bleak, no surprise there. These legislators discuss Wyoming's future.
Consider: if every state employee was sent home, the reduction in expenditures would be about $877M. For perspective the past two Budget Sessions the Legislature took over $900 M out of savings. So where do we go from here? One thing they seem to like is the 1¢ increase in Sales Tax. Does that fix things... no, but it helps. ...And it kicks in quickly. A 1% sales tax would bring in about $300M...
Look at this Wyoming PBS show where these four legislators talk through the issues facing us. Note that Education is mentioned as having to absorb reductions, although quietly said.
Stopped by Alpine Saturday Morning (6/13)
Stopped by Alpine Saturday Morning (6/13) to have coffee and chat. Visited with Nancy & Roger Calhoun. Good talk. If you see me around over coffee and have something you want your Representative to do, sit down and talk.
The Red White & Blue Cafe was busy...
Stopped in at Hoback Jn to talk with Bill Rode. He was "cutting the grass." His horse was in need of "Green Therapy." Good talk.
Sublette Ranchers: Lawsuit could run them out of busines
In this case a lawsuit regarding grizzly bears purports that the bears are being harmed and that the ranchers must stop grazing on lands used for nearly a hundred years. This article from Wyoming Public Media outlines the issues. My hope is that the information these ranchers need was collected, analyzed, and archived for just this kind of case.
The State Money Issue
I have observed our legislature for several years now. I have been very concerned at the budgeting process in that they have always retained the current level of spending while taking money out of savings.
Governor Gordon acknowledged that the chickens have come home to roost with his Thursday (6/4) Press Briefing. State revenues have just simply cratered. The cancellation of major rodeos across the state have far reaching revenue impacts by the related spending of tourists, hotels, meals, and incidental spending. What might have been a small cut in state programs will be far worse.
What one must recognize is that in spending, for example, on schools generally, probably 70% of the budget is essentially a fixed cost. Then there is maybe 20-25% in which there is some flexibility. Finally in the last 5% or so, there is room to cut.
The Covid-19 related loss of revenue to Wyoming coupled with the reality of taking some $900M+ out of savings for the past two budget sessions will cause our legislature to have to cut through that ~5%, well into that 20-25% and maybe into that 70%. What is that 70%? Buildings (& repairs), transportation, heat & lights, classroom materials, desks, food service, etc.
Similar things must be addressed across all other state agencies.
I stand for low taxes and specifically no income tax.
So how will our legislature go forward? Step one will be to root out what lies in that ~5% and get it off the books quickly. This will not turn out to be easy despite the perception that it ought to be easy to find and agree on.
Here's a thought... Some years ago Gov Mead gave some pay raises to key executives... maybe we start there. So how many 25% cuts in executive pay does it take to save one state employee?
I stand for honesty in government and open records. I took on a district and it took 18 months to get them to open their records. Statute is clear: they had some 5 business days and they actually only opened them on order of a judge.
I have had to take on a district that I believe to be dishonest.