— A transfixed nation turned its eyes to Florida’s Supreme Court, when lawyers for incumbent Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush battled on Nov. 20, 2000 over whether the marathon presidential election should continue to drag on.

Weary recount workers pecked through ballots in three Democratic-leaning counties, wondering if their labor would be for naught.

After 13 days of suspended political animation, lawsuits and counter-lawsuits, and “chads” “hanging chads” and “pregnant chads,” the 2000 presidential election might come down to this: Seven justices, all appointed by Democratic governors, would decide if the GOP secretary of state could certify Bush’s minuscule lead without accepting votes counted by hand.

The historic Supreme Court hearing opened with a court marshal bellowing, “God save these United States,” and the justices got right down to business — peppering lawyers with questions of law in a case riddled with political landmines.

— Desert View Elementary School students were invited by the Arc of Laramie County to assist with the 23rd annual Governor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The traditional event was conducted on Dec. 7, 2000, in the Wyoming State Capitol Rotunda in Cheyenne

Louise Ryckman’s sixth-grade class assisted students from the classes of Mary Ann LaBuda, Dena Lyon, Sue Dieringer and Carmen Goldman in making ornaments as a way of promoting friendship and understanding between children of different ages and abilities.

Peggy Syndergaard, special services social worker at Desert View, organized and the project, and Carolyn Shassetz supervised the children while they made ornaments.

Each child who contributed an ornament for the tree received a certificate of appreciation signed by Governor Jim Geringer and first lady Sherri Geringer.


— Green River native Robert Desmond of Arlington, Virginia, was selected to design a monument honoring women who were killed in the Vietnam War. Sponsored by the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project of Washington D.C., Desmond shared the honor with Eileen Barry, a sculptor from East Islip, New York.

The 55- by 55-square-foot monument was placed in a clearing inside a grove of trees near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The large square of Desmond’s design was punctuated with 240 portholes conceptually representing the months of the Vietnam War. From the portals a soft mist arose. The abstract design of the monument was an open story to be completed by those viewing the monument, according to Desmond.

The site had been approved by former President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush.

— Leaders from East and West on Nov. 21, 1990, buried the Cold War, uniting for the first time in solemn commitment to democracy and vowing to combat the economic that threatened to divide Europe anew. The signing of the Paris Charter by the United States, Canada and all European nations except Albania was a victory for the unheralded millions who fought tyranny and violence in Europe’s troubled past.

But it possessed a challenge for the newly united northern hemisphere, whose leaders left Paris without consensus on action in the Persian Gulf crisis.

President George Bush flew to Saudi Arabia without Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s backing for a United Nations resolution sanctioning the use of force to get Iraq out of Kuwait.


— On Nov. 20, 1980, the Senate Energy Commission warned the citizens of the United States that they should begin to prepare immediately for a major disruption of imported oil supplies in the next decade.

The country urgently needed to build up its oil reserves, and agreements for handling a cut-off should be worked out with other industrialized nations to prevent service strain on the “free world alliance.”

The United States would be importing large amounts of oil by 1990, even if domestic producer were to go all out to find new oil and natural gas reserves and develop other energy sources.

Without sufficient reserves, a major disruption could force the U.S. into a panicked world market.

— George Okano of Rock Springs was elected as one of six director of the Rocky Mountain Fair Board during the organization’s convention on Nov. 14-16, 1980, in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Sweetwater County Fair Board members in attendance included Okano, Karen Bonomo, Chuck Bonomo, Marilyn Nomis and Don Behunin.

States with representatives at the convention included Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, North Dakota and delegates from Canada.

Compiled by Connie Wilcox-Timar. If you have information for the column or would like to contact her, send an email to cwilcox@rocketminer.com.

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