Looking Back

Wilson volunteer firemen David Owen, Gene Shinkle and Pat McCoy tend to the dutch ovens at the annual Wilson Firemen’s Chicken Fry in July 1985. Fair skies helped swell the crowd, which consumed over 3,000 pounds of chicken at the fire department fundraiser.

45 years ago ...

Jackson Mayor Lester May said he would not seek reelection because he’d vowed to retire at 65 and his big birthday was coming up in January. “I’m just going to take Momma and play,” he said.

• At the Wilson Firemen’s Picnic the crowd consumed 2,500 pounds of chicken, the most in the event’s 10-year history.

• John Stone was opening a store in Grand Teton Plaza. Stone’s Drug would offer “everything from pills to power saws,” the paper reported. In addition to a pharmacy there would be camping, hunting, fishing and biking equipment; a selection of plumbing aids, hardware and electrical supplies; a sewing and knitting section; and several aisles of cosmetics and toiletries.

• Weldon Richardson Sr., Hazen Cotterell and Boyde Wilde opened Western Saveway Foods in Grand Teton Plaza.

• In the fall every resident of Wyoming was to be offered a free vaccination against swine flu. The Teton County clinic, coordinated by regional public health nurse Willma Elmore, was set for late September. “For the first time in history, scientists are attempting to predict and stop an epidemic before it actually starts,” the Jackson Hole News said.

• A traveling show sponsored by the National Park Service to celebrate the country’s bicentennial was coming to the Moose Visitor Center. “We’ve Come Back for a Little Look Around” featured actors playing Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams and Mark Twain.

30 years ago ...

• The only bid the National Park Service received for a 10-year contract to operate the major hotels and restaurants in Yellowstone came from the incumbent, TRW Restaurant Services Inc. Critics in Congress said the Park Service limited competition for its contracts with a policy of giving existing concessionaires the right to match the high bids.

• St. John’s Hospital had 40 applicants for its new 60-bed nursing home, which was to open by Christmas.

• The Jackson Hole News’ Close-up for the week featured Roger Kjerstad, proprietor of Kjerstad Helicopters. He ran scenic tours but also rescued fallen climbers and hunters, transported grizzlies and black bears, and did “fish planting” for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Hazardous contamination from oil and gas drilling sludge was found in a dump near Granite Creek, the first such contamination ever found in Teton County. The discovery came at a time when Chevron U.S.A. Inc. was seeking the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s permission to drill a well near Camp Davis, 20 miles southeast of Jackson.

15 years ago ...

• At a pubic hearing Alta and Teton Valley, Idaho, residents overwhelmingly supported an expansion and rezone of Grand Targhee Resort, saying it would create housing and job opportunities.

• A report from conservation groups named Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks as among those most threatened by climate change associated with global warming. The parks stood to lose glaciers, fishing, winter recreation, wildlife and vegetation and were likely to become overcrowded and susceptible to wildfire closures, it said.

• Poker players Rob Williams, Dawna Wilson, Bill Swenson, Paul Shoquist and Brett McPeak headed to Las Vegas to play in the $10,000 buy-in Texas Hold ’em World Championship.

• Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was reviewing a construction contract and finalizing financing arrangements for an Aerial Tram replacement. The 40-year-old original was heading for retirement Oct. 1.

• The school board approved a 20% increase in teacher pay. The starting salary would go from $33,000 to $50,000, and the average teacher salary would rise to $58,992.

• Firefighters and volunteers helpers served about 5,000 people at the annual Wilson Chicken Fry.

• Accompanied by a trio of kayakers, Jim Sorensen swam 13.1 miles on Jackson Lake from Spalding Bay to Fonda Point in 5 hours, 21 minutes. He was likely the first to do that, the News&Guide reported.

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor for the News&Guide and one of the editors for local articles printed in the Jackson Hole Daily.

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