Recent county happenings an antidote for cynicism

Just when the news leaves you cynical and jaded about the state of international and national affairs — from the recent killings in Nice, France, to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — recent developments in Park County provide inspiration.

There were many high points along the way as we rocketed through another July — how can it be almost over already? Following is an outline of some noteworthy items.

First off, well-known Livingston police officer Jessika Kynett returned home earlier this month after suffering injuries June 27 while riding her horse, Tank, on a Park County trail. Kynett hit her head in an apparent fall and was airlifted to a Billings hospital after being found by a hiker. The upside of this unfortunate accident is that Kynett is back in Livingston and says she’s recovering from her injuries.

“Be tough, wear a helmet. And sunscreen, just in case,” Kynett posted on Facebook after returning home from the hospital with two black eyes.

The community is hoping for a speedy recovery for Kynett and looking forward to seeing her back in uniform patrolling city streets.

Park County also has reason to celebrate this month in the crowning of a new rodeo queen. BreAnne Pino, 19, was crowned July 4 as Miss Livingston Roundup 2017. Pino called the crowning a “dream come true.” Her enthusiasm for the title and the occasion are a reminder that the rodeo queen event’s roots are planted deep in Park County and is an annual function that should no doubt continue into the future.

As The Enterprise reported earlier this month, Pino will spend the next year serving as a role model for her peers and children alike while also representing Livingston and the Roundup — among the top four Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos in the nation.

Pino says she’ll work to boost local and statewide interest in the yearly rodeo queen pageant, an effort all Park County residents should support as the teen works to build momentum for next year’s event, where she’ll hand off the crown to our next Miss Livingston Roundup.

Meanwhile, few Livingston and Park County residents could complain as our elected officials announced this month efforts to put their annual budgets under the microscope to reduce spending. Park County commissioners, in a preliminary budget expected to be approved in the coming months, reduced this year’s deficit by about $1 million compared with the year before. County commissioners further slashed expenditures by 9.67 percent. Let’s hope the final budget stays on that track.

And while water, sewer and garbage rates are expected to increase slightly over the next year, the Livingston City Commission also took a long look at city spending for this year’s budget, resulting in a 2.36 percent decrease in projected expenditures.

The efforts of our city and county officials are appreciated and applauded during a time of seemingly uncontrollable spending at other levels of government.

One needed project worth highlighting is the concrete work ongoing this month at six sidewalk crossings in Livingston, making them safer for students walking to school. The project brings the sidewalks to federal standards with the lion’s share of funding — about $195,000 — coming from a federal grant. The city pitched in a 13.42 percent match, or $26,265, for the needed improvements.

Another effort worthy of recognition is the work of Bryan Wells to establish a memorial in honor of the four airmen who died in the 1962 B-47 Stratojet bomber crash on Emigrant Peak. Wells should be commended for seeking to memorialize the event and those who died. A memorial has been constructed, thanks to Wells and lots of community support, at Old Chico Cemetery at the base of Emigrant Peak. A memorial service and dedication ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at the cemetery. 

With August just around the corner, let’s hope the coming weeks bring more “good news” to Park County.

— Justin Post
Enterprise Managing Editor