UP to Gov. Mark Gordon for deploying Wyoming National Guard airmen and soldiers to assist Wyoming hospitals struggling to handle the extra workload created by a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The governor announced in a Sept. 21 news release that about 95 Guard members would be sent to 24 different medical sites in at least 16 Wyoming cities. Considering at least five facilities in the state were at or exceeding their capacity earlier this week, and several have said they're experiencing staffing shortages, the help is surely needed.

This is the third time the governor has deployed Guard members in response to the pandemic. Last November, he also sent them to assist hospitals with administrative tasks, delivering meals to rooms, etc., and a month earlier, they assisted with contact tracing.

This time, it's expected they will help with support duties like environmental cleanup, food services, COVID-19 screening and managing personal protective equipment. Some may even be trained to administer coronavirus tests.

Whatever they do, we hope they're able to help relieve the pressure on overworked medical staff, who have been asked to do more and more work in an environment that is risky to themselves and their families.

UP to Lunavi officials and Laramie County Community College information technology program instructors for working together to create training programs designed to place local students in high-paying tech careers.

At a recent event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of rebranding Green House Data, Lunavi Chairman and CEO Sam Galeotos announced that the company is expanding the types of services it offers companies to include data organization, management and security. Mr. Galeotos also wants to use the increasing demand for the company’s services to invest in a statewide workforce to help meet the demand with homegrown employees. LCCC IT staff like Troy Amick share that goal.

At a time when opportunities in the mineral extraction and energy industries have been declining, it makes sense for leaders to be looking elsewhere to develop a stronger, more stable workforce. And the tech sector offers those opportunities, along with higher wages in exchange for a minimal investment in training time.

Wyoming leaders would be wise to take a closer look at this partnership and work to replicate it in other locations across the state. 

UP to Laramie County residents and state lawmakers for participating in a public comment session last weekend to discuss the state’s redistricting process in the wake of the 2020 census.

Every decade, lawmakers have the task of redrawing district boundaries to try to ensure equitable representation based on where people live at that point. It's not an easy task, but it's an important one – both for the elected officials and the public. 

That’s why it was great to see this kind of opportunity for public participation. Kudos to state Rep. Dan Zwoniter and state Sen. Tara Nethercott, both R-Cheyenne and members of the Legislature's Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee, for hosting the gathering at the Laramie County Library.

It was also good to see so many people interested and invested in the process enough to come out on a Saturday afternoon and offer their thoughts. Although not everyone will get their way, the final outcome will at least be informed by a variety of perspectives.

For more information about Wyoming's redistricting process – including an interactive redistricting mapping portal, where you can try redrawing boundaries yourself – go online to https//redistricting.wyoleg.gov.

UP to Visit Cheyenne Vice President Jim Walter and his team for hosting the 2021 Small Market Meetings Conference last weekend at Little America Hotel and Resort.

The conference brought about 100 meeting planners together with around 150 destinations, hotels and attractions to network, educate and plan future meetings. In addition to attending workshops at the conference, attendees were able to tour meeting spaces, reception sites, downtown and other venues to get a better idea of what the capital city has to offer organizations looking to host a meeting, conference or convention here. They also participated in a "downtown dine-around," where about 250 people ate out and experienced nightlife in the city's breweries and bars Monday night.

This weekend conference had an estimated direct economic impact of $175,000. But the longer-term goal, Mr. Walter said, is to book 15 meetings over the next five years as a direct result of hosting this conference.

We hope that goal is met, and we applaud the Visit Cheyenne team for having the foresight several years ago to put in a bid to host this conference. It's just one more way the county's convention and visitors' bureau is working to make Cheyenne and the rest of Laramie County a year-round tourist destination, not just for 10 days at the end of July. 

WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK: Contact us via email at opinion@wyomingnews.com.

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