Most people don’t pay much attention to the masthead of the newspaper they are reading, but today’s edition is worth noticing. It says Vol. 1 – No. 52. That means the Cheyenne Post has published 52 issues in its first year – one every week for a full year.
In the world of newspapers, that’s quite an accomplishment. Many publications don’t last a year, and this year was particularly difficult. But we made it, and that’s cause for celebration.
Vince Bodiford, the publisher and founder of the Cheyenne Post, likes to say that he wants his newspaper to be hung on the refrigerator. His intention has been to highlight local people and the good things they are doing in our community.
This is a good time to take a look back at our first year of publishing. As we put this story together, we couldn’t help but notice the kind of community we have here in Cheyenne. The city has its challenges, sure… but there are a lot of good people doing a lot of very good things, and the Cheyenne Post was able to bring you their stories. We think you’ll enjoy and take pride in the kind of community we live in.
We started off with a bang… lots of them, actually. The state of Wyoming celebrated the $300 million dollar renovation of the Capitol Building with tours and a fireworks display. The building is beautiful (take a tour when the Coronavirus allows), and the public was very excited to see it.
Our second issue coincided with Cheyenne Frontier Days, and Miss Frontier Halley Jankovsky, and her Lady in Waiting Bailey Bishop graced the front cover.
The Air Force Thunderbirds were featured in our next front page, and we’re happy to announce that Covid-19 will not stop the Thunderbirds performance in 2020 – they’ll be in the skies over Cheyenne on July 22nd.
Things went a little nutty the next week. The Planters Nutmobile and its ambassadors stopped in Cheyenne and we couldn’t resist getting a picture.
The Laramie County Fair has always been overshadowed by its big brother – Cheyenne Frontier Days. But in our issue of August 9, we shone the Cheyenne Post spotlight on Paighton Ronda of Albin, proudly showing her Grand Champion Award for her goose. Way to go, Paighton!
Grace for 2 Brothers is a locally run non-profit organization, focusing on preventing suicide. On Sunday, August 11, 2019 there was a release of rock doves in Lions Park, designed to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
The Cheyenne Police Department celebrated an important milestone last year. For the first time in its history, the Department had an all-female graduating class at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy. New officers Muzquiz, Brown, and Peterson have been “Protecting the Legend” ever since.
The Cheyenne Animal Shelter holds a variety of fundraising events throughout the year. On August 24, 2019, the Shelter brought more than 100 participants and their dogs to Holiday Park for the Dog Color Run. Participants would get dusted with non-toxic powders at several color stations along the walk courses. We discovered some dogs just don’t look good in pink.
The Cheyenne Post was hitting its stride in September. Two months of publishing had gone by, and all of the bugs and glitches were being worked out. We highlighted the Historic Wyoming Governor’s Mansion for our September 6 issue. The story was about the Seventh Annual Tour the Legend, put on by the Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board.
September 11th is a difficult anniversary, as we commemorate the attacks on the United States in 2001. At F.E. Warren Air Force Base, base firefighters in full turnout gear held a 24-hour vigil, marching around the parade field on the base.
Remember what things were like before the Coronavirus and the quarantine that followed? Here’s a reminder. Last September, the Laramie County Cowbelles held an Ag Expo for fourth-grade students in Laramie County. More than 800 kids attended in person. We can’t imagine that kind of event happening today.
347 classic and custom vehicles pulled into Frontier Park for the 12th Annual Car-Motorcycle Show and Chili Cookoff. The event was the largest show in its history, and raised money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
We rolled into October with National Coffee with a Cop Day. Our local version took place at the Starbucks on Dell Range Blvd. Officers met with members of the public to talk about whatever they wanted. We’re guessing the favorite flavors of coffee may have been one of the topics.
The Laramie County Fire Chiefs Association flung open the doors to fire protection in Laramie County, and welcomed visitors to an Open House and MDA Chili Cookoff. Aspiring firefighters got to try on some of the gear used in the field, see fire trucks up close, and watch displays of firefighting skills.
The roar of motorcycles filled the air as bikers from all over participated in the 42nd Annual Toy Run last October. Hundreds of bikes drove through the streets of Cheyenne, each one carrying a new, unwrapped toy for the Salvation Army to distribute over Christmas. It was an early start to the Christmas season, and welcomed because the weather for the ride was still pretty good.
People in Cheyenne have a great sense of humor, and that was very evident in “The Running of the Wieners”. 41 wiener dogs participated in the event. It was a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Animal Shelter. The little dogs not only raced… there was a costume contest as well. And yes, all of the dogs were very cute.
The Secretary of the Air Force visited Cheyenne in the last week of October. Barbara Barrett spoke with airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, and paid a courtesy call on Governor Mark Gordon. “America can sleep easy with the Mighty Ninety on watch, she said.
The Cheyenne Post broke a big story on November 8. The Cheyenne Civic Center’s season had exploded from seven shows to more than 80. But that also meant a $500,000 budget deficit, which the city was able to cover. Our front page featured dancers participating in the Dia De Los Muertos at the Botanic Gardens.
The Adopt an Airman program has matched 29 airmen with 22 local families, giving the airmen a home-away-from-home experience. We highlighted the program in our November 15 issue.
An award was on the menu last November for the Metropolitan, a popular downtown restaurant. The Cheyenne Historic Preservation Board gave the restaurant its LeClercq Jones Award, recognizing owner Sam Galeotos’ efforts to preserve Cheyenne’s commercial built heritage.
We highlighted three local small businesses in our November 26 issue. All three featured products that could make great Christmas gifts. We featured a photo of the Newswanger family, which makes Baer Jams – they’re called Best Jam Ever (and the jams and jellies are very tasty!)
The Christmas show for the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players was “A Christmas Carol”. We went behind the scenes at a rehearsal to get a preview.
Employees of Blue Federal Credit Union got together at the Flydragon Design Art Studio for a painting class. They showed off their work, and it landed them on the front page of our December 13 issue.
We were in a Christmas mood in December, so when Cheyenne Firefighters gathered bicycles for Santa to distribute, we wanted everyone to know about it.
It’s easier to find the Cheyenne Greenway today, thanks to Leadership Cheyenne. The local group donated close to $17,000 to the Greenway Advisory Committee to use for new signs.
We welcomed the new year with a big win for the Wyoming Cowboys. The Pokes beat Georgia State in the Arizona Bowl. Governor Gordon and his wife went to the game, and celebrated with the Arizona Daily Star’s coverage of the victory.
The Array School of Technology launched a local program for Girls Who Code, and the HollyFrontier refinery immediately jumped in to help. HollyFrontier donated $2500 to pay for five new computers for the students.
A developer building a new housing project for F.E. Warren Air Force Base was raided by the FBI at its offices in Oklahoma. The company, Balfour Beatty Communications, built and maintained housing for bases all over the country. The investigation centered on five Air Force Bases in the west. The company’s work at F.E. Warren was not included in the raid and investigation.
Members of the public can become honorary commanders of F.E. Warren Air Force Base. They are paired with base representatives, and learn a lot about the operations on F.E. Warren. A new class was inducted in time for our January 24 issue.
F.E. Warren decided to permanently close the base golf course. The decision was made in January, so no local golfers had to be chased off the course. The course was known for being a favorite spot for antelope that roam the prairies of Wyoming
Freedom’s Edge Brewery celebrated eight years of brewing, and new owners last February. We toasted their success with a front page story about the brewery and their transition.
When Great Lakes Airlines closed its doors and went out of business, it parked its fleet of planes at the Cheyenne Airport. The aircraft were put up for sale, and eventually flew off to new homes. Keeping the planes air-worthy meant mechanics had to turn them on and rev the engines every month.
The Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra is one of the highlights of living in Cheyenne. The orchestra brought in guest violinist Miriam Fried for a show at the end of February. It was to be the orchestra’s last performance before Covid-19 shut everything down.
Dogs are amazing creatures, and they have a huge impact on our lives. Author Joe Flynn wrote about the efforts to save Bubba, his seriously ill dog. Bubba survived and lived for another seven joyful years. Joe Flynn came to Cheyenne for a book signing and an interview with one of our reporters.
Dad’s Donuts and the Boys Brew expanded to a second location in early March. Our intrepid publisher had to make sure the doughnuts tasted good (they did!) but the result was a story introducing the family that owns the doughnut shop.
Every year, the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players put on a show that features a cast made up mainly of children. In March, the Wind in the Willows opened to large audiences. Unfortunately, the show had to close after just two performances, because of the Covid-19 quarantine. CLTP lost the rest of that run, and the scheduled run of Cabaret. It also had to cancel the Youth Summer Stock program. The result was a major financial hit for the theatre group.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr met with leaders of Laramie County, the school district, and county health officials to discuss the Coronavirus health crisis back in March. This was the first of a series of meetings called to plan and deal with the crisis.
With schools closed due to the coronavirus, teachers and staff members at Johnson Junior High School held a car parade to let the students know they were missed.
Jobs, schools, and public places closed down because of the Covid-19 quarantine. In early April, local folks participated in a photography challenge called The Front Porch Project. The Taylor family displayed their passions on their front porch, and were captured by a local photographer.
Dustin Swalla received an unusual surprise on his birthday. His wife and kids passed out fliers around their neighborhood, asking residents to post Happy Birthday signs. Boy, did they…. the Swalla family took a walk and saw dozens of signs, many from people they didn’t know. Dustin was surprised and the whole family was delighted.
F.E. Warren Air Force Base announced a change in name and duties for their security forces. Normally, that would be considered a fairly routine story. But the base accompanied it with a dramatic photo of a training exercise, and we wanted you to see it.
By the end of April, some people had had enough of Covid-19 and the restrictions placed on daily life. A group of protestors came to the state Capitol, calling for an end to the shutdown. Governor Gordon came out of the Capitol to pray and meet with the protestors. The restrictions were not lifted, but the protestors did have the opportunity to speak directly to the governor.
Schools were closed, and students and teachers had to quickly adapt to distance learning. How did it work? The best way to show it was a photo of Deming Elementary third-grader Carson Fender, learning from his teacher over the family’s computer.
Governor Gordon started to relax the Covid-19 restrictions in May. Among the first businesses allowed to reopen were barbers and hair stylists. But it took some adjustments. One barber said they kept cutting through the elastic that held masks on, until they started asking customers to hold masks up to their faces.
The increased demand on local hospitals and health care facilities has led to shortages of some supplies. Best Western Plus Frontier Inn in Cheyenne donated hygiene products, laundry items, and snacks to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation. The donated items were put to use immediately, and were very welcome.
Cheyenne Frontier Days had to cancel its annual event for the first time in CFD’s 123-year history. It meant a huge loss to the local economy and thousands of disappointed people. Two of them were Miss Frontier Bailey Bishop, and Lady-in-Waiting Savannah Messenger. Cheyenne Frontier Days eased their concerns by announcing they would stay in their positions through 2021.
101 year old World War II veteran Sidney Walton is celebrating 2020 by visiting the capitols of all 50 states. He stopped by Cheyenne for a chat with the Governor in front of the state Capitol. Walton joined the army in 1941.
High School graduations were very different year. The ceremonies did take place at Frontier Park, with social distancing, masks, and restrictions on seating. It didn’t stop the celebrating, though.
We finished off the first year of publishing with a cup of tea – from the brand new Hawthorne Tree. They’re celebrating their grand opening, which was worth a front page nod.
You really get a sense of the Cheyenne community when you look at a year’s worth of news coverage. Our town had challenges – the biggest being the global pandemic. But it also has wonderful people doing a lot of things to help. The donations, the local fundraisers, and sometimes just the fun are what make Cheyenne what it is. If you want to know why we love living here… take a look at the news coverage of the Cheyenne Post.
Now, on to year two!