UP to the Wyoming Department of Health for working quickly to get additional funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to parents and other caregivers participating in the WIC program statewide.

Also known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, WIC is a joint federal and state effort under the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide nutritious foods and education, breastfeeding support and health care referrals for income-eligible women who are pregnant or postpartum, infants and children up to age 5. All caregivers are welcome to receive help from the program, including dads, foster parents, guardians, grandparents and step-parents.

Thanks to the latest stimulus bill passed by Congress earlier this year, through Sept. 30, the fruit and vegetable voucher included as one part of WIC benefits has been increased from the standard $9 per month for children and $11 per month for women to $35 per month per participant.

Qualifying income guidelines for the program will also be updated July 1. Wyoming WIC serves families with incomes up to 185% of the federal poverty income levels. New guidelines include:

  • One-member family: $23,828/year or $1,986/month
  • Two-member family: $32,227/year or $2,686/month
  • Three-member family: $40,626/year or $3,386/month
  • Four-member family: $49,025/year or $4,086/month
  • Five-member family: $57,424/year or $4,786/month

Wyoming residents can find out if they are eligible for WIC by going to signupwic.com.

As volunteers at St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Needs Inc., Element Church and other places can attest, people of all ages and from all walks of life have found themselves in need of food assistance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And even though public health orders have expired, that doesn’t mean the need for this kind of help has ended, too. Kudos to those working at the state level to get this assistance out as quickly as possible.

UP to U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., for launching the Financial Innovation Caucus to “educate senators of both parties about digital assets, blockchain, faster payments and how the United States can surpass countries like China.”

We don’t pretend to know all there is to understand about digital assets – especially cryptocurrency – and we only have a basic understanding of blockchain technology and why it’s so important in the era of increasingly widespread cyber attacks. We’re guessing the same holds true for many members of Congress, who may be asked to pass legislation similar to that approved by Wyoming’s Legislature in recent years.

That’s why this bipartisan effort is important. With Sen. Lummis and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., leading the way, along with Sens. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., the hope is the caucus “will serve as a space in the Senate to discuss domestic and global financial technology issues, and to launch legislation to empower innovators, protect consumers and guide regulators ...”

Sen. Lummis is correct that America’s financial system needs to move into the 21st century. And although it’s just a beginning, the Senate Financial Innovation Caucus seems like a good way to get started.

DOWN to the group of Laramie County residents that has sued the local school district for preventing them from attending school board meetings in person the past 15 months.

Six people, including state Rep. Clarence Styvar, R-Cheyenne, say for that reason, the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees has not complied with the state’s public meetings law. They also say virtual attendance via Zoom creates limitations for some citizens.

We understand their opinion, and don’t totally disagree with the latter argument. But because most government bodies shifted to online-only meetings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’re not sure how LCSD1 is any different than the Cheyenne City Council or the Wyoming Legislature, which held an eight-day virtual session in February.

What really upsets these folks is board members refused to ask county and state health officials for permission to lift the mask mandate for schoolchildren as soon as Gov. Mark Gordon lifted it statewide for everyone except those attending public schools. And because they were turned away at the door to the meeting room, they’re taking the district to court.

This lawsuit is a waste of public money, and a Laramie County District Court judge should reject it as quickly as possible.

UP to members of the newly formed Burns Lions Club, as well as Lions from surrounding communities, for coming together to make today’s Burns Day celebration happen.

After a five-year absence, it will be fantastic to see residents from Burns and their neighbors throughout Laramie County come together to enjoy a pancake breakfast, parade, live music, games and much more.

These small-town festivals are just as important as big events like Cheyenne Frontier Days, and we’re glad to see this one up and running again.

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

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