Week in Review

Hikers make their way along the moraine of the Middle Teton Glacier while descending from the Lower Saddle in Grand Teton National Park.

This is a selection of the stories printed within the past week in the News&Guide’s sister publication, the Jackson Hole Daily. For full versions of each of these stories and more go to JHNewsAndGuide.com.

Coroner rules in Hoback deaths

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said a couple whose bodies were found in their Hoback home both died of gunshot wounds.

Heinrich “Heinz” Johann Karl Munz, 69, died by suicide. His wife, Barbel “Babs” Munz, 64, died by homicide, Blue said.

The deaths occurred around 10 p.m. Sept. 2.

A home health care worker went to the couple’s home Sept. 3 for a scheduled appointment, but no one answered the door. She returned Sept. 4 around midday, heard voices and went in. The voices turned out to be the TV. She saw one victim, then left and called 911.

— Emily Mieure

County eyes preservation rules

Teton County commissioners approved $5,000 Tuesday to craft new regulations to protect historic artifacts like old barns.

The effort is rooted in the county’s March 2018 approval of the Teton Raptor Center’s plan to redevelop the historic Hardeman Barns site in Wilson, off Highway 22.

As part of its approval of the plans, the county required a two-year delay of the destruction of a 1,570-square-foot bull barn in the historic Hardeman complex.

The county was supposed to use the two years to come up with regulations that would allow the barn to remain on-site alongside new construction without exceeding the Raptor Center’s allowable floor area.

The text amendment would exempt the floor area of certain historic structures from total floor area limitations, thereby allowing landowners to build new structures without destroying valued historic ones.

— Allie Gross

2 make women’s council

Two Teton County women will soon join the Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues, boosting the county’s representation on the group and adding the first elected official.

Gov. Mark Gordon appointed Teton County Commission Chairwoman Natalia Macker and Kristin Walker, founder of Jackson-based Three Elephant Public Relations, to the council. Including Vice Chair Jen Simon, also of Teton County, the three will account for a quarter of the members on the statewide board.

“I know that they have done great work, and I’m really excited to be able to join that team,” Macker said. “I think the work the council can do can really benefit the economic diversification efforts of the state, while at the same time addressing the problems of women.”

— Cody Cottier

Town delays paid parking

Despite a conviction that paid parking will sooner or later become a necessity in Jackson, elected officials put it off on Tuesday at least a bit longer.

Instead, they opted for a set of less controversial policy changes that could partially curb congestion and free up spaces downtown. But even as they approved the new plan, town councilors one by one agreed that the adjustments aren’t likely to be a permanent solution.

“I am pretty convinced that we’re going to get to paid parking,” Councilor Arne Jorgensen said. “But I do think we’re a little ahead of the curve at the moment in the community’s acceptance of that.”

The policy changes largely aim at getting employees to stop hogging prime downtown parking spaces and shift to outlying lots and streets. They include converting the Home Ranch parking lot to three-hour parking, creating employee parking maps, and requiring drivers to move their cars to a different block after reaching the time limit.

— Cody Cottier

Library wants feedback, changes

Teton County Library library recently released a survey to get a better handle on how people check things out and what kinds of new materials they would like staff to procure.

The survey at TCLib.org/formatsurvey asks for basic information like whether you live in Teton County, how often you use the library and how old you are. It also asks what kinds of library materials you use the most and which ones you would like to see more of.

They have tweaked the hours so that both weekend days end at the same time, allowing more open time Saturday and less Sunday.

The Jackson branch schedule is 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

— Tom Hallberg

Hole boasts old ravens

Eco Tour Adventures wildlife safari guide Josh Metten spotted a common raven with a metallic band clamped on its right foot while wildlife watching north of Blacktail Butte.

Knowing that such bands contain clues to a bird’s life history, he snapped a picture Aug. 11 of the perched black corvid.

Then Metten passed the image to Teton Raptor Center Research Director Bryan Bedrosian. The avian biologist didn’t even need to make out the band number to know that it belonged to an animal that’s long in the tooth, er, beak.

The style of band dated to Bedrosian’s graduate studies in the early 2000s, and it was a type that he stopped using more than 14 years ago. The bird, therefore, had to be at least that old, which would make it the second-oldest wild raven on record, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory’s longevity records. The third-oldest wild raven, according to that list, was also at Bedrosian research bird whose band was reported this summer. That band was called in by a Washington state biologist who has been working with ravens in Yellowstone National Park.

“It turns out that one of the birds they just tagged is breeding with one of my birds from 13 years ago,” Bedrosian said.

Bedrosian couldn’t say with certainly which bird it was, because the band number was faded, but he was “pretty sure” that it was a raven he picked up as a juvenile back in 2006 at the Teton County Fairgrounds. Like the raven Metten spotted, it was aged based on when he stopped using the style of band.

— Mike Koshmrl

 

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