Monday, November 22

the events of the week

Well, for the sake of a fresh post on my blog, I'm going to post some pictures of what I'm working on for the paper this week. Nothing much has changed around here, in that things are still very busy and my to-do list is never done. We have a short three-day week for Thanksgiving, which means the paper is going to press two days earlier than usual and I have to give everything to Tracy tomorrow morning at the latest.

So the picture above is Wyoming Governor Freudenthal, during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Biosecurity Level 3 (BSL-3) lab there at the State Vet Lab in Laramie. This was last Friday afternoon. Scott had taken the day off, so he rode down with me, and we listened to this formal ceremony, then toured the lab before they lock it down and seal it up. Second from left in the photo is the dean of the UW College of Ag. To the right of him is John Hines, president of the Wyoming Senate. On the far right is Tom Buchanan, president of UW, so all the big-wigs were on hand.

Donal O'Toole was the guide for our little group as we went through the lab. He's a pathologist there, and it was very interesting to hear him talk about how the BSL-3 space will change the way the State Vet Lab can conduct research. Mostly, it means that Wyoming can now work on its own brucellosis cases, as well as plague, which affects rabbits and prairie dogs, and tularemia, another small rodent/cat disease. Those diseases are among those listed as "Select Agents," which were put into this highest security level for research after 9/11.

Brucellosis is a big deal in Wyoming, as producers here continuously struggle to keep the cattle herd free, while it's endemic in the elk population. Obviously, keeping elk away from cattle is almost impossible, so it's inevitable that cattle cases will pop up. A few weeks ago four cases from the same herd showed up near Meeteetse in Park County, so the Livestock Board is dealing with that right now.

The room that Mr. O'Toole is standing in is the dissection space, where the animals come out of the cooler and are cut up before being sent to the appropriate section of the lab for testing.

In other news, the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is from Wyoming this year, and was cut from the Bridger-Teton Forest. It's been traveling the state before heading to D.C., and it made a stop in Casper last Tuesday.

Obviously, you can't even see the tree when it makes its visits. Instead, everybody autographs the signs that cover the outside of the tree's box on its extra-long semi trailer.

There is this one little window that opens up, with holes in it so the kids could reach through and touch the tree. There's a little set of steps that are set up so they can walk up to it. You can't see it in this photo, but there were some mini Christmas lights strung around in there to make it look festive, I guess.

The theme of the tree is Wyoming's state theme: Forever West. People from all over the state made ornaments to decorate it, so I'm curious to see what it looks like when it's set up. Many of the school kids made ornaments, as well as many private individuals.

Other than that, Scott turned 35 last Saturday, and we hosted a birthday party at the house. It was attended by about 20 people, all told, with the last of them leaving at about 12:30 a.m. when the poker game ended. I made two kinds of chili and a yellow and a chocolate birthday cake, as well as PW's bacon-wrapped jalapenos. Everyone else brought appetizers, desserts and snacks to fill in.

1 comment:

  1. I heard about the tree coming from WY this year but had no idea that it travels the state. No photos of the birthday boy! :(