• Western Wyoming Community College kicked off the Speaking of the West series on Feb. 10, 1999, with Chris Kennedy and Mike Hensley’s “All Those Miles Going: America’s Romance With the Open Road.” The duo presented an evening of music, poems and prose about the open road.

Organizers said Kennedy and Hensley created a feel for the open road. One view of he road was a place to be free to find oneself and to begin a new life. Another perspective showed lonely hobos, sad motels and unfriendly main streets.

Hensley created WWCC’s theater department and taught speech and drama courses for several years before retirement. An experienced actor and traveler, he had performed from the South Seas to Alaska.

Kennedy was an instructor of communication at WWCC. He was a folk singer, songwriter and guitarist. He continued to hit the open road as often as possible but was no longer a hitchhiker or train hopper.

• Charlsie DeBernardi and Alysa Wismer were selected to skate at the opening and closing ceremonies at the 1999 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake City. The Rock Springs duo performed with a precision skating group on Feb. 10, 1999, and Feb. 14, 1999, in the Delta Center.

DeBernardi was a sophomore at Rock Springs High School, and had been skating for six years.

Wismer was a seventh-grade student at White Mountain Junior High School, and had been skating for four years.

The theme off the production was “The Past 100 Years of Skating History.”

The championships were considered the premier U.S. event in figure skating. This was the fourth time Salt Lake had hosted the national event.

• Wyoming was among a handful of states that submitted preliminary proposals to get a landing and launching site for the new X-33 spacecraft. Sweetwater County had also thrown its hat into the race.

Lockheed-Martin was building a prototype of the single-stage, reusable VentureStar spacecraft. It was expected to be ready for flight in 2004, but Lockheed-Martin’s X-33 prototype was expected to be ready for testing in summer 2000.

The company was looking for spots in the United States to place its spaceports and considering elevation, access to rail and interstate, weather patterns, seismic activity and population. Those surveying sites said the higher the elevation which the spacecraft would launch from, the better.

The ports were expected to cost several hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the infrastructures already in place, and could employ 2,000 workers.

• Green River hosted the Smithsonian Institute’s traveling art museum, Artrain, from Feb. 25-28, 1999, at the Union Pacific rail yard. The “Art In Celebration!” exhibit featured a collection of contemporary artworks from the museum including 37 original prints and mixed media collages commissioned by Smithsonian associates to commemorate events of national and international significance since 1972. Subjects included the opening of the National Air and Space Museum, the end of the Persian Gulf War and the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus to America.

The studio car featured demonstrations by several local artists including Deon Quiltberg, Donna Ragsdale, Mary Shaw, Dennis Freeman, Anna Savage and Kathy Clymer.

Artrain had traveled to 44 states and the District of Columbia and attracted more than 2.5 million visitors since its first stop in 1971.


• Around 1,000 people challenged the elements on Feb. 4, 1989, to attend the annual Caring and Sharing Carnival at the Sweetwater County Fairgrounds, helping raise funds to benefit the local food banks.

Although the evening events, such as the family dance were canceled, the talent showcase provided entertainment throughout the day. Bingo games went on all day, and prizes were awarded to several carnival goers.

Frances Koler of the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen said she was so busy dishing up food in the kitchen, she was unable to get out to the rest of the carnival fair, and all the food from the kitchen was sold out.

Because of the weather, many of the booth sponsors were unable to get to the complex to set up. However, the event still brought in a good amount of money to feed needy residents.

• “Knights of the Round Table” was the theme of the January 1989 Pack No. 70 meeting. Cub Scouts demonstrated spoon dueling, knights dueling, fire breathing dragons and a Battle Royal where knights on horseback attempted to thread their lance through a suspended hoop.

For their recitation of the poem “Knights of Yore,” the Scouts wore helmets and tunics and carried self-created coats-of-arms shields.

In a special advancement ceremony, the “Knights” received their awards from King Arthur by candlelight.

Participants included Fred Ball, Rion Frady, Travis Little, Geoff Frahm, Damon DeBernardi, Donald Davis, and Ty Johnson.

• Auditions for the Rock Springs Kiwanis Club Stars of Tomorrow talent competition were Feb. 18, 1989, at East Junior High School.

The competition was divided into elementary, junior and senior categories. First through third places were awarded in each category.

The contest was open to any kindergarten through 12th-grade student enrolled in either a public or private school in Sweetwater County.

Rehearsals began on Feb. 23, 1989, at East Junior High School, and the competition was set for Feb. 24, 1989. Competitors needed to provide their own special equipment or accompanist.

Winners of the local contest went on to compete in the division contest on April 2, 1989 in Rawlins. Division winners advanced to the district contest in Denver.

• “The People of Melanesia” exhibit remained open at the Western Wyoming Community College Natural History Museum through the spring 1989 semester. The exhibit opened on Jan. 28, 1989.

The exhibit displayed artifacts from New Guinea and Fiji from the collection of Claude Froideviux, a petroleum geologist who spent several years in New Guinea during the 1950s, and Charlie Love, professor of anthropology at WWCC, who had conducted field research in the Pacific basin.

In addition to the New Guinea and Fiji display, visitors could also visit an exhibit on southwest Wyoming prehistoric artifacts and fossils.


• The Quatuor du Luxembourg performed in concert on Feb. 9, 1979, in the East Junior High School auditorium. The group, based in Luxembourg, had performed numerous concerts throughout Europe and the United States since its formation in 1962.

The male quartet had a extraordinary volume and extensive repertory. Fluent in seven languages, the Quatuor du Luxembourg presented music from European folk songs to classical and spiritual pieces.

The Community Fine Arts Center presented the performance.

• A proposed University of Wyoming basketball auditorium would seat 15,000 fans instead of 12,500, the Wyoming Senate decided on Feb. 9, 1979.

The Senate also increased the proposed appropriation for the facility from $14.7 million to $14.9 million and directed legislative leaders to closely monitor planning for the arena, which was patterned after one at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah.

The UW proposal accounted for about half of the $30 million proposed state construction program, which would use general tax revenue instead of building bonds. The entire package advanced on Feb. 9, 1979.

Increasing the appropriations by $200,000 would allow eventual expansion of the facility, according to Sen. Dick Sedar, D-Casper, which differed from several senators who called it “farsighted.”

UW trustees originally proposed a 15,000-seat arena, but the Joint Appropriations Committee scaled it down to 12,500.

• Ed Cantrell’s preliminary hearing came to an end on Feb. 7, 1979, as Justice of the Peace Nena James bound him over to district court to stand trial on a first-degree murder charge.

Justice James made her ruling immediately after defense and prosecuting attorneys gave closing arguments. She said there was probable cause to show that Cantrell murdered Rock Springs undercover policeman Michael Rosa in July 1978.

Later in the day, Cantrell appeared for arraignment to district court and pleaded not guilty to the charges before Third Judicial District Judge Kenneth Hamm.

Hamm granted a request by Cantrell’s lawyer, Gerald Spence of Jackson, who had asked to be given until April 15, 1979, to file motions relative to the case. Spence said hi motions would include a request to drop the charges because of misconduct by state officials who investigated the case, and a request that Hamm review a transcript of the preliminary hearing to determine “if it was proper and fair.”

• Following a partisan battle in the Wyoming Senate, Gov. Ed Hershler vetoed a bill on Feb. 9, 1979, that would have eliminated the eight-hour day requirement in underground mines.

Hershler told legislators he had been advised by Wyoming Attorney General John Troughton the bill raised “serious constitutional questions,” and there was no alternative but to veto it.

The bill, which resulted in heated labor-management battles in previous sessions, would allow underground miners to work overtime. It also would allow management to require overtime in emergencies, which would include maintaining general production levels.

Hershler said that provision was “too vague” to render it “constitutionally suspect.”

The bill sailed through the Republican-dominated House 50-9, but provoked a partisan fight in the Senate, where Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to amend the production level clause. The bill passed the Senate on a straight party-line vote.

Compiled by Connie Wilcox-Timar. If you have information for the column or would like to contact her, send an email to lifestyle1@rocketminer.com.

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