Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday morning round-up: Dems gather next weekend in Rock Springs

In my Sunday morning round-up, I want to salute the weather -- what kind of salute I won't reveal. Snow today and some lingering flurries tomorrow. Another reason we call this season "sprinter" instead of spring. I-80 is closed!

Hope it clears up by Friday when I trek to the Wyoming Democratic Party state convention in Rock Springs. Rock Springs is an old mining and railroad town, one with a neat mix of ethnic traditions -- International Day is held every summer -- and a long union history. Homie Kathy Karpan once told me that she grew up thinking that everyone in Wyoming was a Democrat. Imagine that in present-day WYO? Karpan is the luncheon speaker at the convention. California social justice activist Delores Huerta is the keynote speaker. Learn more about her here.

Rock Springs is honeycombed with old mine shafts. Its surface is criss-crossed with rail tracks and I-80. The Downtown development Association/Main Street group is doing some keen things in the city's center. The railroad splits downtown and the old train depot is now the visitor center. Bitter Creek Brewing inhabits an old brick building on Broadway and down the street is the renovated Wyoming Theatre. The community college has some great arts programs, including a Friday Night Live writers' series that I was part of in February. The main campus building is a sprawling structure perched on a bluff. Dinosaur skeletons lurk around every corner. T-Rex dominates the cafeteria space. One can look through T-Rex's ribs, out the big picture windows and see the billion-year-old rock outcroppings that must be honeycombed with skulls and teeth and leg bones and many secrets of earth's past.

This Democratic Party gathering will feature a host of new legislative candidates. That's exciting -- more about that next week when I report on-site. Wyoming Equality will be there to talk about its marriage equality lawsuit against the state. The way that marriage restrictions are giving way to reason around the U.S., it won't be long until WYO joins the fold. A plank supporting marriage equality will certainly make it into the party platform. Another plank will address climate change, although there certainly will be something about using our rich coal, oil and gas deposits for energy independence. Nationally, the Dems try to have it both ways. Support renewable energy while also backing carbon fuels. Politics demands it. Many Dems work in those trades and the jobs, for the most part, are good union jobs. So we have a split personality. I haven't read the Republican Party platform, but am certain that it lacks any mention of human-caused climate change. Republicans made it clear during the most recent legislative session that they don't even want the word uttered and especially don't want the concept taught in the classroom.

King Coal stills rules the roost.

So it's snowing today. But we're pretty sure that summer is coming. The good folks at the Wyoming Arts Council have assembled a summer calendar of fun events. It's a crowded schedule of art fairs, music festivals, writers' conferences, brewfests, county fairs and other assorted outdoor celebrations such as Jackalope Days and Jake Clark's Mule Days. Something for everyone. Check out the list here.

No comments: