About being a local ...

When people in a community consider you a local, you’re a local. If you feel like you have to tell people in a community that you’re a local, you’re not a local.

Duke Howard

Carpinteria, California

A collective sigh of relief

The residents of Teton County are to be congratulated on keeping one of our most revered national treasures safe. Grizzly bear 399 and her four cubs have been delighting wildlife watchers and nature enthusiasts since they emerged from the den this spring. While always a delight, 399 offered an extra special opportunity by birthing and raising four cubs, which is a rare sight. Her recent forays into the neighborhoods of Teton County have had wildlife watchers on pins and needles; many feared that the most famous grizzly bear in the world getting into trash or birdseed would spell disaster for her and the cubs.

To our credit, our community has risen to the occasion and a series of online posts, news articles and radio pieces have kept people apprised of her movements and steps to take to keep her and the cubs safe. Concerned citizens even posted handmade signs alerting drivers to the presence of bears in the area and the large, flashing highway signs were moved to warn drivers. As 399 made her way through the maze of roads and houses, she and her ambling cubs were able to avoid getting into attractants or ending up as roadkill.

To her credit, 399 has never shown any inclination toward feasting on anything other than elk carcasses and the bounty of vegetation found in the fields and bushes of Grand Teton National Park.

Living with wildlife isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. Not only does our economy rely on the abundant wildlife and natural spaces surrounding us, but we also rely on wildlife as members of functioning, healthy ecosystems. Living in this place requires us to behave differently than people living in other parts of the country. Our wide open spaces and rural character can quickly become like any other place USA if we don’t take the necessary steps to protect it.

When driving, slow down and stay alert. It can save lives — maybe even your own. Keep wildlife wild by not feeding them, and ensure all pet food, bird seed, grills and garbage are inaccessible to bears and other animals. We can set an example to all communities on how to successfully coexist with wildlife. Teton County can be the gold standard for a wild place where both humans and animals can thrive.

Grizzly 399 has slowly been wandering north back toward the park but is not out of the woods yet. She and her quad squad have been seen in both wild areas and neighborhoods. Please continue to stay vigilant not only for this family, but for all migrating wildlife as snow piles up in the high country and sends animals to the valley floor. We have done good work toward coexistence so far, but we still have gains to make and can do even better. Talk to your neighbors, friends and family and let’s hold each other accountable for responsible stewardship.

Kristin Combs

Wilson

Library fans unite

Hear, hear, Heidi Hughes, for your defense of Teton County Library! Defund the library? No way! Underfund the library? Already done.

Anyone with a brain cell working knows the library has been working overtime throughout this dark and challenging time for our community to keep its services flowing and its “customers” able to access said services.

Heidi wonders if Mark Barron uses any of those services himself. You don’t even have to do that to know our library’s value — just stand outside on the sidewalk any day during opening hours and watch the flow of children, moms, young men and old women, old men and teenagers going in and out ceaselessly, all day long. The only thing that stays outside are the bikes and dogs.

The rest of us have the great privilege of going in and choosing from a beautiful cornucopia. Hands off!

Penny Mohan and friends

Wilson

Don’t glorify suffering

The main angle of the Oct. 28 article in Jackson Hole Woman “Difficult times yield stronger women” seems to be that systemic oppressions and inequalities make women “strong” and highlights a system rooted in misogyny that glorifies women’s suffering.

This article notes that Guzman doesn’t have paid sick leave and is planning to work until the day she gives birth and return as soon as possible after — as soon as she can walk even! Guzman will potentially sacrifice her health and forgo what many experts agree is a critical time in infant cognitive and behavioral development, to go back to work to pay her medical bills. She will be both working for and paying into the capitalist medical complex, instead of being treated humanely and with respect for the massive physical feat of childbearing and raising.

Risto also laments that at six months pregnant she would not have been employable, so she started her own business. What privilege! And additionally, instead of pointing out the systemic hiring biases Risto, and every other woman, is acutely aware of, the article commends her for her grit by becoming “her own boss.”

At the very least this article could have talked about impacts of employer sponsored healthcare during a pandemic, or the lack of paid maternity leave in the United States. Instead the reader is offered no policy context in this fluff piece for the complex issues pregnant women and mothers face.

This article leaves much to be desired at best, and at worst furthers harmful and oppressive misogynistic expectations of women and mothers.

Karyn Greenwood

Jackson

Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words, be signed and include a town of residence and a telephone number for verification. Letters are due by 5 p.m. Monday. No thank yous or political endorsement letters. Guest Shot columns are limited to 800 words. Email editor@jhnewsandguide.com.

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