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    The Top Stories of 2018 as selected by you, our readers

    (Fremont County, Wyo.) – County10.com’s list of the top posts of the year was not a staff decision, but rather our readers made the choice by the posts they clicked on the most. The year 2018 was a newsy one, too. While there was no single large event like the eclipse from 2017, the county had its share of both good and not so good news. On the business front, Riverton was impacted with the closure of the Safeway and BIG Kmart stores. While those businesses were closing, however, the Eastern Shoshone Tribe broke ground on a new 304-acre business and retail development just north of Walmart this past May.

    While it wasn’t a closing, the loss of patient services at Riverton’s Sage West Hospital alarmed local leaders launched a “Save Our Hospital” campaign which will continue into the new year.

    In the Upper Country, the rebuilt portion of the town’s Main Street business sector destroyed in a fire on the last day of 2014 reopened with new businesses, including the relocation of Olson’s Western Store and Trading Post from Lander.

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    The Lander, Riverton, Dubois, Pavillion and Shoshoni town governments will be under new leadership entering the new year with Monte Richardson in Lander, Richard Gard in Riverton, John Myer in Dubois, Rich Johnson in Pavillion and Joel Highsmith in Shoshoni.  Mike Anderson was re-elected as Mayor of Hudson. State Representative Jim Allen of Lander lost his reelection to the only county Democrat to win in November, Andrea Clifford, who will be the only woman in the county’s state legislative delegation.

    Among the top stories of the past two years is the reconstruction of Riverton’s South and North Federal Boulevards. South Federal was rebuilt in 2017 and the start of the North Federal rebuild began this past year. There’s still one construction season remaining to complete the project and that will be an ongoing story for 2019. On the Wind River Reservation, reconstruction work on the Blue Sky Highway began. The project will eliminate five “hair pin” turns on the current road from Highway 287 north of Lander to Ethete.

    The biggest story on the Reservation was the creation of the Wind River Intertribal Council after the Joint Business Council had been dissolved. The new Council represented a new era in inter-tribal cooperation and collaboration.

    A demolition project gained much attention this past year in the Biggest Little Town By a Dam Site – Shoshoni. The blighted block of the town’s Main Street, abandoned for decades and slowly deteriorating, was taken down and hauled away. It was the final campaign promise of outgoing mayor Scott Peters and was accomplished with the help of Fremont County, the Solid Waste Disposal District and haul trucks from the county’s municipalities.

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    It’s been four years in the making, but the revival of reliable air service at Riverton Regional Airport took another huge step in 2018 with the third year of contracted commercial flights with Denver Air Connection resulting in dramatically increased passenger numbers. It was announced in November that the airline has reached an Interline agreement with legacy carrier United Airlines, which will make travel in 2019 much smoother out of the county’s only commercial airport.

    Lander’s Chamber of Commerce moved into its new office and visitors center at Main and First Street in Lander after a successful community fund raising drive and assistance from Wyoming Business Council and the City of Lander.

    While the above stories were all important and well-covered, our readers decided on the top posts of the year. Based on reader engagement, here are THE top dozen posts of 2018:

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    #12 – In August, a rumor was circulating that Riverton’s Walmart store was about to close due to the large amount of shoplifting there. Company officials squashed the rumor, noting that 2018 was exceeding expectations. The good news for the big box retailer was probably due to the closure of Riverton’s Safeway.

    #11 – A local radio talk show host got into hot water when allegedly ambushing Riverton School Superintendent Terry Snyder with an on-air anti-gay rant about an alleged inappropriate poster at Riverton High School. Numerous stories resulted from the incident, and the announcer was ultimately taken off the air. It was the 11th most read story of the past year.

    #10 – Number ten, unfortunately, is still an open case. Jose “Pepe” Pereda has been missing since Wednesday, September 5th. His truck was found in a washout on the Pipeline Road some 10 miles east of Riverton, but he was not with the truck. Weeks of searching failed to turn up any trace of the 70-year-old county resident. A reward has been offered for information in the case.

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    #9 – A store closing is always sad to that businesses’ loyal customers, and when Big O Tires on South Federal closed in September, a minor controversy erupted. The ninth most road story was about the aftermath of that store’s closure. 

    #8 – Multiple stories about an incident on a Riverton High Wrestling trip in January of 2018 captured the eighth most reader clicks overall. Three wrestlers implicated in the “inappropriate touching” hazing incident ultimately pleaded guilty in the case and served jail sentences in Natrona County. The students were also expelled from school for one year. 

    #7 – Thanks to an observant Wyoming Department of Transportation maintenance employee, a woman trapped out of sight for some 10 hours in her wrecked vehicle on in a ravine adjacent to Highway 28 was the sixth most read news post of the year. The story had a happy ending as the worker noticed a break in a highway fence and investigated and found her. The woman received numerous injuries, but survived.

    #6 – A protest over the explusion of some students from Arapahoe Elementary School on December 14th inflamed emotions and one student was hurt after the school locked out protesters and called in the Wind River Police Department. The student-led protest that turned physical was the fifth most viewed post of the year.

    #5 – Of all the vehicle crashes reported during the past year, one in April captured the interest of County10.com readers and resulted in the fifth most read post. The crash was on Highway 20/26 east of Arminto.

    #4 – The fourth most read post of 2018 was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for the Maverik Store on South Federal in April. After one of its employees was choked into unconsciousness by a robber, the store was closed and later demolished. The store had been the site of numerous police calls for thefts and assaults.

    #3 – A man who teased a bison in Yellowstone National Park, created a disturbance in Mammoth Hot Springs, and got into a fracas at Glacier National Park was finally caught and arrested. This post generated the third most clicks of any post during the year as multiple stories were reported. The man was chased by Park Rangers in two states. 

    #2 – The second most read post on County10.com that occurred during 2018 was in November about an alert from the Wyoming Department of Health about an outbreak of gastroenteritis and Salmonella poisoning in local child care, pre-school and school buildings.  The WDH said it is likely that not all clusters of illness were related to each other.

    #1 – There is one more top story, however. County10.com’s April Fools Day post in 2017 of the first 90 Kangaroos being released in the Wyoming is the top read post of the past two years. The popularity of the story is due to its huge social media engagement which generated lots of interest nationally and, of course, in Australia.  After two years, it still leads the pack.

    There you have it, the top posts generated by County10.com. We’re looking forward to 2019 and we’ll be there to cover the top stories from our local communities.

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