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END OF APRIL 2017 NEWS
TETON MOUNTAIN GOATS
Mountain goats gaining in numbers in NW Wyoming
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The population of non-native mountain goats is growing prolifically in the Teton Range in northwest Wyoming, while the number of native bighorn sheep is in a noticeable decline.
Counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter for the last three years, Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists tallied no more than 57 bighorns in the Tetons, a considerable drop from counts of 96 in 2008.
Meanwhile, an aerial count found 43 mountain goats.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that both bighorn sheep and mountain goats inhabit the West, including Colorado, Montana and Idaho, but mountain goats generally live in different terrain.
However, in the Tetons, one goat was seen near the sheep.
The closeness is worrisome because goats can carry bacterial pathogens that can be deadly in bighorn.
WYOMING AIRLINE-LEASE PAYMENTS
Wyoming airline behind on lease payments to Cheyenne airport
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming-based airline is behind in lease payments for its company headquarters at Cheyenne Regional Airport by about $80,000.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports the balance owed by Great Lakes Aviation was discussed during an April meeting of the Cheyenne Regional Airport Board. Airport Director of Aviation Tim Barth says the total represents five months of payments from December through April.
The airport uses the lease payments to pay off a bond that funded construction of the building that serves as the airline's headquarters and to cover the airline's operations at the airport.
Great Lakes Chairman Doug Voss says there've been conversations about the lease but the company won't comment further on the payments.
The small regional airline has been based in Cheyenne since 1999. It serves 13 airports in seven states.
Yellowstone project to rebuild part of East Entrance Road
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park is accepting public comment on a proposed project to reconstruct a segment of the East Entrance Road from Fishing Bridge to Indian Pond.
The proposed road reconstruction project would include work on about 3 miles of road, associated parking areas and turnouts, Fishing Bridge and Pelican Creek Bridge.
The project would make the road compliant with engineering safety standards, widen the road to the standard of 30-feet, repair or replace the deteriorated bridges, restore wetland functions and improve roadway and parking efficiency.
Public comments will be accepted until May 26.
WYOMING WOLF HUNT
Wyoming wolf hunt off to slow start with no reports
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming wildlife officials say hunters have not killed any wolves since the legal wolf hunt began.
The Jackson Hole and News Guide reports Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials say they have not received a report of a hunter-killed wolf as of Friday.
The first legal wolf hunt in the state in more than two years began on Tuesday. Successful wolf hunters have 10 days to report their kills.
Sporting goods store owner and hunting guide Robb Wiley says bad weather may be a factor for the slow start.
When wolves were taken off the endangered species list five years ago, only 23 of the 2,153 hunters that purchased the license killed a wolf.
2 Wyoming players drafted in NFL Draft
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming had two players selected in the 2017 NFL Draft over the weekend.
Running back Brian Hill was taken by the Atlanta Falcons with the 156th overall pick in the fifth round, and center Chase Roullier was taken with the 199th selection in the sixth round by the Washington Redskins.
The last time Wyoming had multiple players selected in the same NFL Draft was in 2014 when defensive back Marqueston Huff and wide receiver Robert Herron were drafted.
Several other Cowboys reportedly received free-agent offers from NFL teams after the draft.
Wide receiver Tanner Gentry received an offer from the Chicago Bears, tight end Jacob Hollister received an offer from the New England Patriots, and linebacker Lucas Wacha received a free-agent offer from the Dallas Cowboys.
RIVERTON DOG RESCUE
Underfed dogs confiscated from Riverton home are improving
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Almost 50 dogs confiscated from rural residence by Riverton officials earlier this week are recovering and may soon be placed in permanent homes.
Gunda Gamble of G Bar G Veterinary Service tells The Ranger she found some of dogs brought in Thursday with medical issues such as mange, worms and malnutrition. She says it's the group of dogs that were kept outside in cages that have the most problems.
Gamble says initially those dogs did not seem capable of rehabilitation, but are now showing signs of improvement.
Undersheriff Ryan Lee says the dogs were found on Monday. The department documented multiple dogs in a kennel without any shelter, food and a large amount of feces in the pen. It is unknown where the property owners will receive charges.
THEFT-BRAKE SUPPLY COMPANY
Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Casper Company
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A woman accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a brake supply company in Casper over a 10-year span has pleaded guilty.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports https://goo.gl/4Bz84u Gloria Taylor pleaded guilty Friday to six felony charges and will have to pay back at least some of the stolen money to Rocky Mountain Brake Supply.
Investigators say she used company checks and opened an unauthorized company credit card to make donations to several wildlife organizations and to buy groceries, art and two antique cars. They estimate that she spent about $300,000 of the company's money for her own purchases during her employment, though she pleaded guilty to only some of them.
Taylor was the secretary and treasurer at the company and had worked there for about 30 years before she was fired.
Fremont County Decides Against Eclipse Camping Permits
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Fremont County officials say they considered but have decided not to require permits for landowners who want to rent out their property to campers during the solar eclipse in August.
County planner Steve Baumann says there is no feasible way to require landowners to get such permits.
The Riverton Ranger reports Fremont County is in prime viewing territory for the Aug. 21 eclipse. Local officials estimate 10,000 people will travel to the area for the event.
Just east of Fremont County, Natrona County will require landowners to get permits to host campers during the eclipse.
Noise, Traffic, Fishing Access Among Impacts of Coal Project
SEATTLE (AP) — A new environmental study says a coal-export terminal proposed in southwest Washington would have major impacts on local communities, access to tribal fishing sites and rail safety.
Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview is proposing a terminal along the Columbia River near Longview to handle up to 44 million tons of coal a year. Coal would arrive by train from Montana and Wyoming to be loaded on ships for export to Asia.
The review released Friday by the Department of Ecology and Cowlitz County analyzed 23 environmental issues and found 19 where there were negative impacts.
Ecology Director Maia Bellon says all of those issue are concerning, but especially the impact on people's health.
Millennium CEO Bill Chapman called the study a "strong step forward."
The review will be used by agencies in deciding permits required for the project.
Meanwhile, project developers have sued the state after they were denied a sublease for state aquatic lands. The case is pending in Cowlitz County Superior Court.
Court rules against immediate protections for whitebark pine
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An appeals court has ruled that U.S. government officials don't have to take immediate action to protect a pine tree that is a source of food for threatened grizzly bears.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its order Friday that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to protect species through the federal Endangered Species Act is limited by "practical realities," such as scarce funds and limited staff.
The whitebark pine is in decline amid threats of disease, the mountain pine beetle, wildfire and climate change.
The Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011 said that protections for the high-elevation tree were warranted, but precluded by other priorities. Two conservation groups sued to force the government to immediately list the whitebark pine as an endangered or threatened species.
Canada listed the tree as endangered in 2010.
Another spring snowstorm hits Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Another spring snowstorm is marching through Wyoming, dropping heavy snow and ushering in cold temperatures.
Snow spread across much of the state on Thursday and was expected to continue through Friday before exiting the state.
Many highways were closed in Wyoming today, including portions of I-90 around Buffalo, Powder River Pass, the Sand Draw Highway out of Riverton, The Wind River Canyon and Lander to Rawlins.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for much of the eastern half of Wyoming, including the Casper, Sheridan, Buffalo and Douglas areas where up to 9 inches is possible.
Winter weather advisories have been issued for areas that include Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Worland, Riverton, Lander and Rawlins. Many mountain areas are likely to see a foot or more of snow.
Tight funding could eliminate beds at Wyoming State Hospital
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Department of Health officials say they might have to shut down parts of the State Hospital in Evanston if they don't get enough funding.
Department Director Tom Forslund told state lawmakers Thursday he might have to remove 12 beds from the psychiatric hospital if there aren't enough nurses to treat patients.
A state hiring freeze will prevent Forslund from hiring new employees starting Monday.
The state hospital currently has 75 beds for people involuntarily committed. Forslund says if a dozen beds were removed, more people would be sent to contract facilities.
He says 13 nursing positions at the state hospital are currently vacant.
UW to host new postage stamp ceremony
(LANDER, Wyo.) The U.S. Postal Service has chosen the University of Wyoming as the site to launch a first-of-its-kind stamp that changes when you touch it. The stamp will show a total solar eclipse that transforms into an image of the moon from the heat of a finger.
The Total Solar Eclipse Forever stamp will be issued June 20, the day before the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. The stamp will commemorate the total solar eclipse that will occur Aug. 21, when tens of millions of people in the United States -- including Wyoming -- hope to view a total eclipse of the sun.
The 1:30 p.m. First-Day-of-Issue ceremony will take place at the UW Art Museum in conjunction with is annual summer solstice celebration.
Wenk: Yellowstone is addressing sexual harassment report
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The superintendent of Yellowstone National Park says the park is acting to address a report that found evidence of sexual harassment within the park's maintenance division.
Superintendent Dan Wenk said the park has increased training and made sure employees know where they can go to report misconduct. He says park managers will be considering changes in policies and procedures, organizational realignments and possibly personnel actions.
Wenk said Wednesday that no disciplinary action has been taken.
The Interior Department released a report earlier this month that found male supervisors and staff in the maintenance division created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women.
Wenk reviewed the investigation and says the problems aren't systemic throughout the park, but they're also not just limited to the maintenance division.
I-80 enforcement during April week nets drugs, arrests
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Highway Patrol says it made multiple arrests and seized more than 250 pounds of illegal drugs during a weeklong enforcement initiative along the Interstate 80 corridor this month.
The patrol says during the week of April 10-15, it deployed troopers with K-9 teams in the Cheyenne, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Evanston areas.
The effort resulted in 21 drug related felony charges and 13 drug related misdemeanor charges being filed. Ten non-drug related felony and misdemeanor arrests were also made, including two sex offenders in violation of sex offender registry requirements.
In addition, one missing male was found and reunited with his family and one child was taken into protective custody.
The patrol also says it assisted 32 motorists in some way during the initiative.
MILITARY BASE MOLESTATION
Ex-military service member pleads guilty to sexual abuse
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Officials say a former member of the military has pleaded guilty to two counts related to the sexual molestation of a child on military bases in Washington and Louisiana.
Department of Justice U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes says 41-year-old Kenneth Descoteaux entered the guilty pleas for sexual abuse of a minor Thursday in Tacoma, Washington, as part of a plea agreement.
Descoteaux was arrested in April 2016 after the child told authorities while living in Wyoming that the molestation had been happening since 2011.
The Cheyenne, Wyoming Police Department worked with the FBI and police at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and the Fort Polk Military Installation in Louisiana to investigate the crimes.
Both sides are recommending a 23-year prison sentence when Descoteaux is sentenced in August.
Hall gains early lead to succeed Hill at Wyoming RB
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Sophomore Milo Hall has emerged from spring drills at the No. 1 running back for Wyoming.
The Cowboys entered spring camp looking for someone to replace Brian Hill, who left a year early to enter the NFL draft.
Hill set a school rushing record with 4,287 career yards. He rushed for 1,860 yards in 2016, breaking the single-season record of 1,631 yards he set as a sophomore in 2015. He scored a single-season record 22 rushing touchdowns last season.
According to the post-spring depth chart released Thursday by coach Craig Bohl, Hall is listed at No. 1, followed by junior Nico Evans and redshirt sophomore Kellen Overstreet tied at No. 2.
At receiver, James Price and C.J. Johnson are listed as the starters.
Fremont County Commission Agenda
MEETING OF THE FREMONT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ CHAMBERS
FREMONT COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 450 N 2ND STREET, ROOM 205, LANDER, WY 82520
Travis Becker (Chairman), Larry Allen (Vice-Chairman), Ray Price, Jennifer McCarty and Clarence Thomas
SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME
MAY 2, 2017
A. CALL TO ORDER
B. QUORUM PRESENT
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. OPENING PRAYER
E. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
F. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
G. ACCEPTANCE OF REGULAR BILLS
H. ACCEPTANCE OF TITLE 25 BILLS
I. SIGNATURE FILE
9:15 A.M.: PUBLIC COMMENT
9:25 A.M.: FINANCIAL ASSISTANT JOE FELIX – PRELIMINARY BUDGET HEARING
9:30 A.M.: TRANSPORTATION SUPERINTENDENT DAVE PENDLETON – DEPARTMENT REPORT
10:00 A.M.: BUDGET HEARING – COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
10:20 A.M. BREAK
10:30 A.M.: LIBRARY FACILITIES MANAGER TOM NORWOOD AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR JR OAKLEY – RIVERTON LIBRARY ROOF AND DRAINAGE PROJECT UPDATE
10:45 A.M.: PLANNING DIRECTOR STEVE BAUMANN
LANE SUBDIVISION TRACT 3A AND TRACT 5 REPLAT
CONTINUED REVIEW OF REWRITE OF FREMONT COUNTY SUBDIVISION REGULATIONS
11:30 A.M.: WIND RIVER VISITOR’S COUNCIL – REVIEW OF JOINT POWER BOARD AGREEMENT
12:00 P.M.: LUNCH
1:30 P.M.: CAPITAL REVOLVING FUND COMMITTEE – FY 2017-2018 PROJECT REQUESTS
2:00 P.M.: BUDGET HEARING – AMBULANCE
2:15 P.M.: BUDGET HEARING - INVESTMENT POOL, CAPITAL REVOLVING FUND – TREASURER SCOTT HARNSBERGER
COMMISSIONER MEETING REPORTS
COUNTY CLERK REPORTS/QUESTIONS
ELECTED OFFICIALS' CONCERNS
COUNTY COMMISSIONER SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
EXECUTIVE HEALTH INSURANCE COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT
PROTOCOL REMINDERS: Silence cell phones – Address the Chairman – State your name for the record
Two Riverton Men Sentenced in Federal Court
Michael Jimmy Hanway, 53, of Riverton, Wyoming, was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal on April 24, 2017, for mail fraud. Hanway was arrested in Riverton, Wyoming. He received five years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment and $62,500.00 in restitution. This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General-Investigations.
Garrett Blackburn, 24, of Riverton, Wyoming, was sentenced by Chief Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal on April 24, 2017, for attempted robbery. Blackburn was arrested in Florence, Colorado. He received 60 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment and $653.04 in restitution. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Human safety concerns may lead to Wind River Canyon closure
(LANDER, Wyo.) Wyoming Department of Transportation personnel in Thermopolis were dispatched to Wind River Canyon about noon Wednesday when a house-sized boulder and other debris fell to the U.S. 20/Wyoming 789 roadway.
Quite a few big rocks have fallen in one area, about 13 miles south of Thermopolis," according to WYDOT Maintenance Engineer Lyle Lamb of Basin.
He added that they would appreciate it if people didn’t stop and look around because it isn’t safe. WYDOT built a berm in the Windy Curve area to try to keep any new rocks from entering the roadway.
Lamb said WYDOT workers will continue monitoring the slide area and if it gets too dangerous they will close the road.
Another spring snowstorm hits Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Another spring snowstorm has started to march through Wyoming.
Snow is already falling in Jackson Hole and other areas of western and northern Wyoming and spreading across the rest of the state.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for much of eastern Wyoming, including the Casper, Sheridan, Buffalo and Douglas areas where up to 9 inches is possible.
Winter weather advisories have been issued for areas that include Yellowstone National Park, Jackson, Cody, Worland, Riverton, Lander and Rawlins. Many mountain areas are likely to see a foot or more.
Mountain Lion shot and killed in Riverton
(LANDER, Wyo.) A Mountain Lion that has been seen roaming the streets of Riverton has been shot and killed.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department the decision to shoot and kill the animal was made for the sake of human safety.
The lion was shot to death yesterday (Wednesday) after it was located under the deck of a residence on North Ninth Street.
The animal was described as a skinny female around 2 to 3 years old and is being sent to a lab in Laramie for testing due to its unnatural behavior.
Woman faces charges in Wyoming cemetery vase theft case
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities have arrested a Wyoming woman accused of stealing nearly $40,000 worth of brass vases from a cemetery and recycling the metal for cash.
Janna Szynskie was jailed Tuesday on suspicion of theft, receiving and concealing stolen property and property damage.
The Natrona County Sheriff's Office began investigating on April 14 after a cemetery worker in Casper reported at least 250 flower vases missing from headstones. The worker said staff at a local recycling center contacted her after receiving several vases from a woman.
An investigation found Szynskie dropped of more than 2,700 pounds of brass at the recycling center and received about $2,900 for it.
An arrest affidavit says Szynskie told investigators she purchased some vases from a man in Glenrock and admitted to taking some from the cemetery.
UW Signing Day Scheduled in Local High Schools
(LANDER, Wyo.) With the national deadline fast approaching for college enrollment confirmation scheduled Monday, May 1, the University of Wyoming Office of Admissions is partnering with Wyoming 4-H to host “UW Signing Day” in various high schools across the state.
Even though some of the events will occur after the May 1 deadline, events will still take place in some Wyoming communities, according to Shelley Dodd, UW Admissions director. The event is open to all students.
Sign up day in Lander will be next Monday at 2 at LVHS and next Thursday at Noon at the Riverton High School.
Pioneer Museum’s Sheep Shearing Day was a success
(LANDER, Wyo.) Over 300 people came out to Lander's Pioneer Museum last Saturday to celebrate the history and heritage of the sheep industry in Fremont County and have fun.
Over 300 people showed up to the third annual Sheep Shearing Day, which has been a popular spring event at the museum. There were shearing demonstrations, crafts for kids, a petting zoo, horseback rides and talks on the history of sheep.
According to Museum Curator Randy Wise Sheep Shearing Day will be back adding new things and making it a bigger, better event.
Volkswagen settlement to pay Wyoming $7.5M to cut emissions
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming is asking the public how it should spend about $7.5 million from a multibillion-dollar settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen.
The German car company reached a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in March and agreed to pay about $158 million to 10 states after admitting to intentionally engineering devices to circumvent emissions standards for some vehicles.
To qualify for the funds, Wyoming must demonstrate how the money will be used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
Potential projects include retrofitting school buses and shuttle vans.
Public comment is open until May 24.
With wolves back under Wyoming control, hunting to resume
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Planning for Wyoming's first wolf-hunting season in four years will get going now that a federal court has lifted endangered species protection for wolves in the state.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said Wednesday it will draft plans for wolf hunting this fall after the court put wolves back under state control Tuesday.
The plans would allow regulated hunting in northwest Wyoming outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and northwest of the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Elsewhere in Wyoming, wolves as of Tuesday may once again be killed on sight at any time.
Wyoming held regulated wolf hunts in 2012 and 2013 before a judge put wolves back under federal control soon before a planned 2014 hunt. Hunters killed 23 wolves in the 2013 hunt.
Arguments presented in Cindy Hill defamation lawsuit
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A state district judge is considering whether to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a former Wyoming schools superintendent against a former U.S. House candidate.
District Judge Thomas Campbell heard arguments Wednesday on a motion by Tim Stubson to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by Cindy Hill.
Hill contends that Stubson made malicious and false statements about her during his U.S. House campaign last year. Stubson lost in the primary to Liz Cheney, who eventually won the seat.
Stubson's attorney argued that comments made by Stubson about Hill is protected political speech.
Hill's attorney contends that Stubson's comments are false and not protected.
The comments by Stubson concerned the controversy over removing Hill as administrator of the state Education Department while she was state superintendent of public instruction.
CASPER POLICE CHIEF
Casper police chief under scrutiny has no plans to resign
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel says he hasn't considered resigning despite reports of low morale from within the police department and a city council member's call for him to step down.
Wetzel said he believes he still has support from the council and the city manager's office.
A Fraternal Order of Police survey released earlier this month showed officers have complained about Wetzel's leadership. The officers said the city's human resources department had not acted on their complaints about unfair discipline and other issues.
Councilwoman Amanda Huckabay called for Wetzel's resignation Friday.
Wetzel says he needs to improve communication with the department and that he's waiting for the results of an outside assessment of the department, which councilors approved last week.
Judge orders wolves back under state management in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A court has formally lifted endangered species protection for wolves in Wyoming and put the state back in charge of managing them.
Tuesday's order by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia follows a March ruling by the court that federal officials adequately responded to concerns about Wyoming's wolf-management plan. Environmental groups declined to appeal.
Gov. Matt Mead praised the order, saying Wyoming officials recognize the need to maintain a healthy wolf population.
Wyoming managed wolves from 2012 to 2014, when a judge reinstated federal protections amid concern that Wyoming's were inadequate.
The ruling kept Wyoming's 400 or so wolves on the endangered list while wolves remained off the list in Montana and Idaho.
The wolves are descendants of wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in the 1990s.
Mountain lion spotted inside Riverton city limits
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Police officers in Riverton chased off a mountain lion that had made its way into a city park earlier this week.
Several people reported seeing the animal before 7 a.m. Monday.
Police believe the cat may have been attracted by the presence of mule deer grazing in nearby alfalfa fields.
The cat was last seen in the Northwest part of Riverton late this morning (Wednesday) prompting the Riverton Middle School and High School to issue a “Stay Put” notice to students. Central Wyoming College has also alerted students of the situation.
ATV Stolen from Louis Lake parking lot
(LANDER, Wyo.) If you have ever driven by the Louis Lake Road turn off on South Pass you may have noticed a side by side ATV sitting in the parking lot.
The ATV belongs to a resident who lives off the beaten path nearby that she uses to get to and from her mountain cabin.
The ATV was stolen sometime over the past weekend.
The ATV is described as a 2008 Polaris Ranger, red in color, has a black soft cab, and tracks.
The Fremont County Sheriff’s Department is asking anyone with information on the missing ATV to contact their office.
Boysen Reservoir preparing for spring runoff
(LANDER, Wyo.) Releases from Boysen Reservoir to the Wind River are currently at 5,500 cubic feet per second to drain water off to make room for spring runoff.
The Bureau of Reclamation said in a release that they intend to lower the reservoir to near elevation of 4,700 feet by May. By July, they hope to have water levels back up another 24 and a half feet, which is about what has been seen over the past few years, with water on both sides of the causeway.
Recreationists are encouraged to use caution regarding changing reservoir levels and high river flows this spring.
Wyoming unemployment falls as people leave the state
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — New state statistics show Wyoming's unemployment rate has dropped as the state has lost thousands of jobs over the past year.
The unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in March, down a full percentage point from the same month last year.
The numbers from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services also show the state lost about 6,300 nonfarm jobs during that one-year period.
Most of those cuts came from Campbell, Converse, Natrona and Uinta counties amid the energy downturn.
State economist David Bullard says the county numbers show people are either leaving the state or have stopped looking for jobs.
GOP senator regrets saying guy in tutu 'kind of asks for it'
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator is apologizing for what he calls a poor choice of words after he said a man who wears a tutu to a bar and gets into fights "kind of asks for it."
Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi said in a statement Tuesday that his comments to students last week were about respect, tolerance and the dangers of bullying.
Enzi says he apologizes to anyone who took offense.
The Huffington Post reported the comments, quoting editor Mathew Burciaga of the Greybull Standard, who attended the event. In a partial transcript provided by Burciaga, Enzi spoke of "a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it."
SEX CHARGES-PLEA AGREEMENT
Wyoming man faces up to 40 years in prison for sexual abuse
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming man has pleaded guilty to amended sexual abuse charges after originally being scheduled to stand trial on Monday.
51-year-old Kenneth Matthew Lovato took a last-minute plea deal on Friday for two felony charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
The deal involves the state agreeing to recommend the sentences run consecutively. It also requests the second charge's sentence to be suspended.
Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent says the decision to alter the charges stemmed from the victim's age and the sensitivity of the testimony if he were called to the stand.
Lovato has two previous convictions for sexual abuse of a minor. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
Wyoming forest roads slow to open because of snow
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Portions of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in northwest Wyoming are scheduled to open to the public next Monday, but visitors in vehicles will find limited access because roads are soggy or still covered with snow.
And snowy, wet weather in the region this week is only making matters worse.
Forest spokeswoman Mary Cernicek said people may have to walk, snowshoe or cross-country ski in order to access forest areas.
Some roads in the forest will remain closed because they are still covered by snow, and rangers advise people with low-clearance cars to avoid the forest roads for now.
Snow closes highways in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Heavy snow is making for difficult travel in parts of northeast Wyoming.
A 100-mile stretch of Interstate 90 from Gillette to Sheridan and a 40-mile stretch of I-25 between Kaycee and Buffalo was closed Tuesday morning because of poor road conditions.
The National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning Tuesday for the Buffalo area where 6 to 10 inches of snow was possible. A winter storm warning was also posted for the Sundance along the South Dakota border.
Elsewhere, winter weather advisories were posted for many mountain areas in much of northeast and western Wyoming.
Fremont County is number one for being a home owner
(LANDER, Wyo.) The decision to rent or buy a home can be a challenging one for anyone looking to move. However, a study from SmartAsset, a financial technology company, makes it easier by determining which markets are the best for buyers.
Fremont County ranked among the best places to own in Wyoming in SmartAsset’s third annual study, which compares average rent and home prices in counties across the US to find the places where buying makes the most sense.
The average price for a home in Fremont County is just over $256,000 with the average Avg. Monthly Mortgage Payment at $739.00. Average rent in Fremont County stands at $975.00.
Search suspended for missing kayaker in Wyoming
RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) — Officials in south-central Wyoming have suspended their search for a 25-year-old man who is missing and presumed drowned after a kayaking accident.
Searchers spent six days looking for Michael G. Proberts of Wamsutter.
The Carbon County sheriff's office says Proberts was reported missing on April 16 after he traveled to Seminoe Reservoir the day before to go kayaking.
Searchers spotted his kayak, paddle, life vest and ball cap, but were unable to find Proberts.
Federal officials charge 15 with eagle trafficking
RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Federal officials in South Dakota say 15 people have been indicted for illegally trafficking eagles and other migratory birds after a two-year undercover operation.
U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler said Monday that officials expect "significant" additional federal charges in the case.
Seiler says the investigation focused on trafficking of eagles and eagle parts such as feathers for profit. Authorities say the case likely involves hundreds of birds including more than 100 eagles.
Seiler described one operation as a "chop-shop for eagles." Informants allegedly purchased bird parts such as eagle wings. Those accused include people from Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Wyoming community college enrollment beginning to level off
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's seven community colleges have been hit with falling enrollment and cuts in state funding, but officials say there are indications that the worst is over.
In 2014, statewide enrollment dropped by nearly 7 percent.
But Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose says in the past year, it's fallen by less than 1 percent.
The downturn in the state's energy industry has meant community colleges have lost more than $20 million in state funding. That has forced some colleges to cut programs and staff.
Rose said the cuts may have hurt college recruiting efforts.
On the other hand, Rose points out that most colleges have increased their completion rates.
Ex-Secretary Sally Jewell to be honored by Wyoming nonprofit
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming nonprofit is honoring former U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell with an award for her commitment to the protection of wildlife.
Jewell will receive the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award during Teton Science Schools' 50th anniversary celebration in August. She will also be the keynote speaker for the event at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts.
Before her four-year post under President Barack Obama's administration, Jewell worked as the president and CEO of Recreation Equipment Inc. and as a petroleum engineer.
Teton Science Schools Executive Director Chris Agnew says Jewell's background helped her understood what it takes to address today's greatest conservation needs.
The conservation award is given out annually to people who demonstrate a commitment to civility and community.
Wyoming man gets 65 years to life for death of infant son
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming man has been sentenced to 65 years to life in prison for the death of his 3-month-old son.
Paul Miller was sentenced Wednesday for the August death of his son Hunter, who suffered blunt-force trauma and a skull fracture. Miller pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder.
Prosecutors say he hit the boy while trying to calm him. Hunter had been born severely premature and weighed only about 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) at the time of his death.
Miller told detectives the death was an accident and he didn't know how to care for Hunter. But the boy's mother, Tasha Croak, said they both met repeatedly with doctors and nurses after the premature birth.
Coal production on the rise in Wyoming
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — State figures show coal production in Wyoming has increased by nearly 15 million tons in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period in 2016.
Wyoming's 18 coal mines produced 80 million tons of coal from January to March this year. The Wyoming State Geological Survey data shows most of that coal, about 78 million tons, came from the Powder River Basin mines.
Wyoming's coal industry has been working to come back from a low point in 2016, when hundreds of miners were laid off as the state's three largest producers went through bankruptcy.
While coal production has gone up slightly, employment is still down in Wyoming. There are 700 fewer coal jobs than there were at the same point last year.
Man gets 40 months in prison for Cheyenne robbery
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A 43-year-old man has been sentenced in U.S. District Court of Wyoming to 40 months in prison for robbing a credit union in Cheyenne last year.
Christopher D. Bandstra, Colorado transient, had earlier pleaded guilty to a single count of bank robbery.
U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson last week accepted a plea agreement in the case that includes five years of probation and more than $2,600 in restitution.
The judge noted Bandstra's mental state at the time of the incident.
Bandstra apologized to the bank teller at his sentencing hearing, noting that she was just doing her job when he made her fear for her life.
CASPER PEDESTRIAN FATAL
Man struck by 2 vehicles in Wyoming has died
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A man who was struck by two vehicles Casper has died of his injuries.
Casper police say the man in his mid-60s was struck at about 9:20 p.m. Friday while he was crossing the street.
Sgt. Kirk Buchholz says the man died Saturday afternoon at Wyoming Medical Center. His name has not been released.
The collision is still under investigation.
CODY GUNFIGHT SHOW
Cody city council OKs return of gunfight re-enactments
CODY, Wyo. (AP) — The Cody City Council has approved the return of gunfight re-enactments on a city street as long as The Cody Gunfighters have a safety manager who is responsible for all weapons and blank ammunition used during performances.
The re-enactments were ended last July after three spectators, including a 3-year-old boy, were injured when an actor used live ammunition instead of blanks in a performance.
The Cody City Council on Tuesday approved a return to the re-enactments with new rules meant to protect spectators, including safety manager who is not performing. In the past, the actors were responsible for inspecting their own weapons.
The nightly shows are scheduled for Mondays through Saturdays between June 1 and Sept. 30.
Casper councilman wants state probe into police chief
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper city councilman who used to be police chief says the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation should look into leadership problems at the Police Department.
Councilman Chris Walsh made the request in a letter to the interim city manager.
In the letter Thursday, Walsh says several people have complained about a hostile work environment and made allegations that could have a criminal aspect.
Walsh seeks investigation, in part, into whether Police Chief Jim Wetzel told officers to submit false grant applications and committed perjury while speaking under oath in a deposition. Wetzel didn't return messages seeking comment.
Interim City Manager Liz Becher said she would not request an investigation without a majority council vote.
She says two internal investigations related to the department are underway.
University of Wyoming student: Police injuries after seizure
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A University of Wyoming student claims campus police mistreated him by forcibly removing him from class while he was recovering from a seizure.
Senior petroleum engineering student Garret VonKrosigk says the encounter resulted in a broken wrist and bruising.
VonKrosigk said he left the classroom Wednesday because he knew he was about to have a seizure. He says he blacked out and woke up surrounded by emergency medical technicians and campus police.
University spokesman Chad Baldwin says the student returned to class against medical advice.
Another student says campus police and EMTs forcibly removed him from class. VonKrosigk says he wasn't being disruptive and his removal was involuntary.
Baldwin says the student was removed and hospitalized for the health and safety of himself and other students.
Casper native to take a top job in US Air Force
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper native is about to take a top leadership role in the U.S. Air Force.
Col. Darin Driggers begins May 1 as deputy director of Air Force current operations. The job involves a hand in everything going on in the Air Force, from training and deployment to budgeting and working with Congress.
Driggers is a Bronze Star recipient for his accomplishments as a commander in Afghanistan.
Driggers worked to train, advise and assist the Afghan air force as senior adviser to the Kandahar Air Wing Commander.
Driggers also has worked in counterterrorism and counternarcotics efforts for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico while stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He graduated from Natrona County High School in 1987 and the University of Wyoming in 1991.
Wyo. Air Guard invades Rock Springs airport Thursday
CHEYENNE, Wyo. ? Rock Springs-area residents can crawl around a Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 Thursday morning, while it’s parked at the Rock Springs Sweetwater County Airport from 10 a.m. ? noon.
The C-130, one of eight assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, in Cheyenne, is landing at Rock Springs as part of a statewide outreach to educate Wyoming residents on the benefits, capabilities, missions and opportunities available in the Wyoming Air National Guard.
“We wanted to bring the Wyoming Air National Guard to Wyoming residents,” said Master Sgt. Chandra Gillott, recruiting and retention manager. “We fly all over Wyoming skies, but it’s not often we can spend time on the ground to allow people to interact with us.”
To access the C-130 at the airport follow signs for the General Aviation side of the airport. Gate access to the C-130 is located at the public parking area. Cameras are allowed. C-130 crewmembers and recruiters will be available to answer questions.
Bike Lane Plan Killed in Lander
(LANDER, Wyo.) Lander City Council President Cade Maestas informed KOVE KDLY News Friday morning that the plan to eliminate the turn lanes, cut down parking places available by 24, and narrow lanes of travel between First and Fifth Streets as proposed by the committee looking into bicycle and pedestrian safety in downtown Lander has been scrapped.
KOVE KDLY News has learned that the Committee will re-group and possibly add members to form a broader base and will continue working toward increasing safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in downtown Lander
Man freed by DNA evidence in rape suing city of Cheyenne
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A man exonerated after spending 23 years in prison for rape is suing the city of Cheyenne.
Sixty-seven-year-old Andrew Johnson was convicted in 1989 but freed in 2013 after DNA collected from the victim showed it matched that of her fiance, not Johnson.
The federal lawsuit alleges that police "prompted or encouraged" the woman to say Johnson broke into her apartment and sexually assaulted her.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr said she could not comment on the merits of the lawsuit.
The lawsuit doesn't specify the amount of money Johnson is seeking.
Like many states, Wyoming doesn't have a law requiring exonerated prisoners to be compensated. An effort to change that and protect cities from lawsuits like Johnson's failed at the Legislature in 2014.
HABITAT OPENING DELAYED
Some western Wyoming wildlife areas to be closed longer
PINEDALE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is delaying public access to some wildlife management areas around Pinedale this spring.
The agency says one of the harshest winters in western Wyoming has caused extra stress on mule deer and human activity would only add to the problem.
As a result, the department decided to delay opening the Soda Lake, Fall Creek, Halfmoon and Luke Lynch wildlife habitat management areas until May 10.
The four Game and Fish administered properties are located within a major migration corridor for the Sublette Mule Deer Herd.
The delayed opening of the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area will also preclude anglers from accessing Soda Lake for fishing until May 10.
UW President going to Dubois
(LANDER, Wyo.) University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols will meet with local residents Thursday, May 4, from 7:15-9 a.m. in Dubois. (at the Headwaters Arts and Conference Center, located at 20 Stalnaker St. in Dubois).
Complimentary coffee, juice and donuts will be available. The UW Alumni Association invites all UW alumni and friends to the reception. No RSVPs are needed to attend the free public event.
During her first year in office, Nichols has traveled around the state to meet with citizens, community college and public school leaders, legislators, alumni, media and others.
Flood predictions prompt Wyoming flood preparations
(LANDER, Wyo.) Fremont County residents and disaster response officials are making preparations for spring flooding.
Predictions are that the county could see its biggest runoff from the mountain snowpack in decades.
National Weather Service hydrologists say the Wind and Little Wind river watersheds in Fremont County have a high potential for flooding.
Lander emergency management coordinator Nick Hudson says this year's runoff could rival 1963 when flooding caused severe damage in Lander and the town is working to prepare for the high water.
County Emergency Management Coordinator Kathi Metzler says residents along rivers are already placing sandbags to protect homes and property.
Elsewhere in Wyoming, the Upper Green River Basin is also predicted to have a high potential for flooding, while several other western river basins can expect moderate to high flooding.
Riverton man’s accused killer appears in court
(LANDER, Wyo.) The accused killer of Riverton Resident, 56 year old Keith Stephenson, a retired Riverton City employee, appeared before Judge Roberts in Riverton yesterday at a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to bring him to trial.
Stephenson‘s death was reported on Sunday, March 5th (2017).
During the hearing, Fremont County Attorney Patrick LeBrun revealed that Stephenson’s accused killer, 27 year old Florin Brandon Wyatt, who was a former roommate of Stephenson, had actually killed him days before in the early morning hours of Friday March 3rd at Stephenson’s home.
Evidence revealed in court yesterday revealed a broken window in Stephenson’s home as a possible way that Wyatt had entered the home. Wyatt’s own statements to police indicated he waited outside Stephenson’s bedroom around 4am for about an hour with a hammer in hand. When Stephenson woke up he came dressed out of his bedroom in a bathrobe and slippers and Wyatt attacked him with a hammer.
Autopsy results on Stephenson showed he was struck at least 17 times in the head and there were defensive wounds to each elbow and both hands.
After Wyatt killed Stephenson, he drug his body to the attached garage of Stephenson’s home, then Wyatt returned inside the home and retrieved a 22 caliber pistol and shot Stephenson in the backside as he lay dead in the garage.
Wyatt then stole Stephenson’s debit card and vehicle and fled. He was apprehended hours later in Pine Bluffs in Stephenson’s car. At that time Wyatt confessed to the crime.
LeBrun also brought to light that a Facebook conversation Wyatt had 2 days before the murder indicated his murderous intentions at that time.
During the hearing, Wyatt, who was in chains, remained calm and only looked straight ahead as the evidence was made against him.
Judge Roberts determined that the evidence against Wyatt warranted charges of 1st degree murder. A trial date will be scheduled later.
Fremont Commission to discuss roads with tribes
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Fremont County Commissioners have scheduled a special meeting to discuss a tribal request to begin negotiations to assume maintenenace of county roads within the Wind River Reservation.
Commissioners are hoping community members will share their input at the meeting that has been scheduled for next Monday (April 24, 2017) at the Fremont County Library in Lander at 10am.
Thousands of elk are leaving Wyoming refuge early
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife officials say elk are leaving the National Elk Refuge in western Wyoming by the thousands.
The official refuge count on Wednesday fell below a 2,500 threshold that allows for the opening of the multiuse pathway paralleling Highways 26, 89 and 191 located north of Jackson.
National Elk Refuge biologist Eric Cole says during the middle of feed season, elk numbers were around 9,000. In three weeks, Cole saw the elk numbers fall from 6,200 to 3,000 to 1,600.
Hundreds of bison that come to the refuge in the winter have also left. Typically elk and bison on the land are hazed north in early May, but officials are not sure whether that operation will be necessary this year.
California man faces federal charges after Wyoming pot bust
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A northern California man faces a federal drug charge after officers found more than 340 pounds of marijuana in a rental truck in northeastern Wyoming.
Court records say the possession with intent to distribute charge was filed against 57-year-old Cher Yang of Macdoel, California, last week. There is a warrant for his arrest.
The case began on Jan. 22 when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper contacted Yang at a truck stop in Sundance. A search of the truck turned up 342 pounds (155 kilograms) of marijuana in vacuum sealed packages in moving boxes.
Court records say Yang told investigators he was being paid $20,000 to take the truck to St. Paul, Minnesota.
Crook County jail administrator Sgt. Darren Horn said Thursday that Yang was initially charged in state court and posted a $50,000 bond on March 6.
STATE SENATOR-STUDENT PROJECT
Wyoming lawmaker, college students disagree on encounter
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming is reviewing an encounter between students and a state senator over an academic project on guns that the students presented at a recent public forum.
Two students say Republican Sen. Anthony Bouchard threatened to use his political influence to fire a professor and end funding for an academic program because he disagreed with their project.
But Bouchard, of Cheyenne said he never made any such threats.
Bouchard is a freshman senator who formerly ran a Wyoming gun rights organization. He is a member of the Senate Journal and Labor, Health and Social Services committees.
UW Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Chris Boswell says the school is reviewing the incident.
Wyoming woman pleads guilty to stealing money from clients
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — The 30-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to stealing from the clients of a faith-based organization that helps convicted felons re-enter society in northeast Wyoming.
Yelizaveta "Lisa" Zolotova of Gillette pleaded guilty to felony theft as part of a plea deal. Zolotova was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from Volunteers of America clients over a three-year period.
Under the plea deal, prosecutors will recommend suspending a three- to five-year prison sentence in favor of a six-month split sentence in the Campbell County jail. In addition, she can argue for straight probation at her sentencing hearing on Aug. 21.
However, she must pay more than $56,000 in restitution.
District Judge Thomas W. Rumpke has ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
Yellowstone starts opening roads on Friday
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park on Friday will begin opening select roads that had been closed over the winter within the park.
Roads opening at 8 a.m. Friday include Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris, Norris to Madison, Madison to Old Faithful, Madison to the West Entrance and Norris to Canyon Village.
Road construction also is resuming between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris with delays up to 30 minutes.
Yellowstone closes about 320 miles of road over the winter and plows them open in the spring.
Casper city manager retires amid call for investigation
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Casper's city manager, who said he would retire June 1, has left the job early as city leaders come under fire over morale problems within the police department.
The city council approved V.H. McDonald's retirement Tuesday night after he told Mayor Kenyne Humphrey in a letter that he was receptive to moving up the date.
McDonald has served in the position since November 2015.
Humphrey had called for an investigation after a survey found the police force was suffering from poor morale and many were looking for other work. Officers said city staff hadn't acted on their complaints and that they didn't feel like they had the backing of the administration.
McDonald did not respond to a text message sent Tuesday seeking comment.
7 Wyoming school districts OK allowing legal action
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — At least seven Wyoming school districts have approved resolutions authorizing possible legal action against the state over school financing.
The resolutions don't mean districts will sue the state but merely allow the individual districts to file or join a lawsuit if one is started.
The Gillette News Record reports that Campbell County School District was the first to approve a resolution on March 28. Since then, Laramie County School District 1 in Cheyenne, Sweetwater County 1 and 2, Sheridan County 1, Sublette County 1 and Lincoln County 1 have followed.
Campbell County Superintendent Boyd Brown says other school district boards plan to discuss the matter.
Brown said it shows how important school trustees throughout Wyoming feel about protecting their students from being impacted by state budget cuts.
Wyoming officials to end 4 high school sport programs
GREEN RIVER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming school board officials have decided to end four Green River sport programs in the face of educational budget cuts.
The Sweetwater County School District No. 2 board approved a resolution to cut back $1.6 million from its budget on Tuesday. The district's cost-saving task force, which proposed the resolution, suggested eliminating Green River High School's indoor track and field, spring tennis, golf teams and cheerleading for the wrestling team for next school year. The decision would save $200,000.
The move comes after Wyoming legislators slashed $34 million from statewide K-12 funding.
The board also cut $825,000 in staff attrition, which will result in the loss of three classroom teachers and six library staff and media specialists.
Wyoming High School Art Symposium
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Annual Wyoming State High School Art Symposium will be held April 20-22 at the Casper Events Center.
An estimated 5,000 pieces of student artwork are displayed.
Approximately 1,500 students, 105 high school art educators and several college and art institute representatives participate in this event.
Students interview with colleges, apply for scholarships and participate in a variety of art related activities. A
bout 50 LVHS Art Students will attend this event on Friday April 21st . Upon arriving in Casper, they will go to the Nicolaysen Art Museum and view the current exhibit and exhibit of high school teacher work. After lunch, students will head to the Casper Events Center and view the High School Art Symposium. Students will then load the bus at 3:15 and head back to Lander.
The week of April 24th students who are awarded ribbons at the Symposium and will have their work exhibited in the library.
FREMONT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ MEETING APRIL 18, 2017
THE BOARD APPROVED RESOLUTION NO. 2017-09 THAT DESIGNATES THE FIRST MEETING IN JULY BEING JULY 11, 2017, DUE TO THE FIRST TUESDAY BEING JULY 4TH, INDEPENDENCE DAY.
FEDERAL LANDS ACCESS PROGRAM MEMORANDUMS OF AGREEMENT WERE APPROVED FOR EAST FORK AND WIGGINS FORK BRIDGE REPLACEMENT AND HORSE CREEK ROAD.
RESOLUTION NO. 2017-08, FY 2016-2017 BUDGET AMENDMENT NO. 7, WAS APPROVED RELATING TO UNANTICIPATED REVENUES FOR THE DRY CREEK ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECT.
THE FREMONT COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY WAS RECOGNIZED AS STORM READY BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND THE WYOMING OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY.
THE COUNTY CONCURRED WITH THE STATE OF WYOMING TO APPOINT FREMONT COUNSELING SERVICE AS THE TITLE 25 GATEKEEPER FOR THE FREMONT COUNTY AREA.
MEMO TO EMPLOYEES:
FREMONT COUNTY CHRISTMAS COMMITTEE “SUMMER FUN” EVENTS
RAFFLE FOR YETI COOLER & CAMPING ACCESSORIES
“SUMMER FUN” SILENT AUCTION - MAY 15-25, 2017
EMPLOYEE PICNIC - JUNE 20, 2017
Wyoming man missing, presumed drowned in reservoir
RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) — Officials in south-central Wyoming say a 25-year-old man is missing and presumed drowned after a weekend kayaking accident.
The Carbon County sheriff's office says Michael Proberts of Wamsutta traveled to Seminoe Reservoir on Saturday morning to go kayaking. He was reported missing at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday after he failed to return home.
Searchers spotted his kayak, paddle, life vest and ball cap near a cove at daybreak Sunday, but were unable to find Proberts. Searches with an underwater remote operated vehicle and with sonar have been unsuccessful in locating Proberts.
Undersheriff Archie Roybal said no decisions have been made about how long the search will continue.
Rocky Mountain Power seeks $16M rate reduction for customers
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Rocky Mountain Power has announced that it's looking to reduce Wyoming utility rates by more than $16 million and freeze rates until 2020.
The electricity provider submitted its proposal for the rate decreases to the Wyoming Public Service Commission on Monday.
If approved, the company says average residential customers would see a decrease in their utility bills of about $15 per year. The rates would take effect in June.
Rocky Mountain Power has also pledged to not increase base rates for customers for the next three years.
A spokesman for the Salt Lake City-based company, David Eskelsen, says lower fuel prices and the sale of renewable energy credits on the open market has helped bring down costs. Revenue from the credits goes toward customer bills.
February storm in Teton County caused $2.8 million in damage
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials estimate a February storm that cut power to thousands of homes in Teton County and prompted a disaster declaration caused nearly $3 million in damages.
Nancy Casper with the Federal Emergency Management Agency says some of the repairs related to the Feb. 7 storm will be covered by federal funds. But the county will have to look elsewhere for money to cover flooding damage that came after the storm.
The storm brought down 17 steel transmission line poles, cutting power to the Teton Village ski town, Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort and surrounding residential areas.
Teton County commissioners issued a disaster declaration and Gov. Matt Mead requested the federal assistance.
FEMA representatives have been assessing the damage in the area.
Majority of officers express doubt about Casper police chief
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — About two-thirds of Casper police officers say they have no confidence in the leadership of the city's police chief.
60 officers voted against Chief Jim Wetzel, three voted that they have confidence in him and 10 officers abstained from voting. Results of the "no confidence" vote held last week were included in a letter to the chief from the local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, which counts 73 active Casper police officers as members.
The department has 94 sworn employees.
A recent survey completed by 84 of the department's sworn and civilian employees criticized the chief's leadership style and said city managers didn't address problems, despite repeated complaints.
City Council members have called for an investigation into the department's leadership.
SLAIN TRAIN WORKER
Man enters guilty plea in killing of Utah train worker
KEMMERER, Wyo. (AP) — A 23-year-old man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing a Utah train worker in Wyoming.
Dereck James Harrison entered his plea Monday during his arraignment in District Court in Kemmerer.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Harrison pleaded guilty to first-degree murder while perpetrating a kidnapping and kidnapping in the May slaying of 63-year-old Kay Porter Ricks.
Another player leaving Wyoming basketball program
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Junior forward Jonathan Barnes is leaving the Wyoming program.
Coach Allen Edwards said Monday that Barnes will transfer to another college. Edwards declined further comment.
Barnes averaged 1.3 points, 1.1 rebounds per game this past season.
Barnes is the second Wyoming player to leave within the last week.
It was announced last week that junior guard Jeremy Lieberman was transferring to another school.
Rodriguez on trading shackles for schoolwork and success
CHEYENNE, Wyo. ? On Jan. 2, Tyger Rodriguez, 17, of Torrington, Wyoming, found himself in unusual circumstances. He was adorned in handcuffs, shackles and an orange jumpsuit, seated in the backseat of a patrol car, and escorted to various appointments by local deputies in hopes of being accepted into the upcoming Wyoming Cowboy ChallNGe Academy class starting Jan. 8 at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center.
Dawson Reifschneider, a close friend of Rodriguez’s who had just graduated class 30 Dec. 10, 2016, was a proponent of the program and the possibilities it would give Rodriguez. So much so that he was the one that made a stop by Rodriguez’s residence one evening while Tyger was in county jail to talk to his mom, Alicia, and urge her to pursue the program in lieu of further legal ramifications for Tyger.
“Dawson told me they had a class just about to start. I made calls and Tyger and I agreed he would attempt to enroll which was a far jump because we only had a handful of days to meet all the requirements for enrollment,” said Alicia.
The application process ? like diffusing a ticking time bomb with an extremely short fuse ? is rarely successfully completed in such a short duration. But then again, it had never been undertaken by a cadet escorted in jingling chains whose mom saw this as a last ditch effort to turn things around for her son. They didn’t have much to lose at that point.
Alicia’s persistent efforts over just a few days resulted in Tyger reporting to Camp Guernsey Jan. 8 in the same shackles that bound him during the application process, where he embarked on a 22-week journey to graduate the WCCA program, recover his academic credits and earn his high school diploma.
“With Tyger leaving and being gone, things kind of changed drastically,” said his sister, Tayte Rodriguez, 16, also of Torrington. “Having a brother, you get used to seeing him every day when you wake up and go to bed. Then all of the sudden it goes weeks since the last time you saw him. It all really just takes some getting used to.”
Tyger’s reserved demeanor might lead others to assume he doesn’t have a whole lot of people in his inner circle. The quietness he portrays is in stark contrast from the reality of his large, fiercely supportive, inner circle. These people: mother, girlfriend, son, wrestling coach, friends and cousins, are only a small fraction of those who have helped shape and support his current path of positive change.
Tyger, who had home pass from the WCCA program for five days at the end of March, was able to see friends and family for the first time since reporting to the program 11 weeks earlier.
“It’s been nice being home and just relaxing. Wearing my own clothes,” said Tyger.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I first showed up to the program. It was a lot of structure, but it was better than the alternative,” he said, referring to the transition of going from six days of isolation in the county jail to reporting to the WCCA program.
Alicia recalled the emotional goodbye she experienced with her son and how difficult the first couple weeks of his absence were. Even harder on Alicia than her son’s absence, were the life memories she knew he was missing.
“Missing his senior year of wrestling has been the biggest downfall,” she said fighting back tears. Alicia knows how much wrestling meant to Tyger, who placed 2nd at state wrestling as a freshman, 2nd as a sophomore, and 3rd as a junior ? barely losing to an opponent he had beaten just the week prior.
“I wasn’t going to go to senior night. I hadn’t been to a wrestling meet all season,” said Alicia, alluding to the fact it was too hard on her to be there without Tyger. “But then my nephew came over and asked me to come to senior night. Even though I didn’t want to go, I did. When I showed up, all the parents and the entire team were wearing buttons they had made for Tyger. It was way cool, but at the same time, so, so hard,” she said.
“The impact he had on the wrestling team was extraordinary. The way he carried himself gave others confidence in themselves. He is a natural born leader. Everyone would always follow him because of the environment he created,” said Chase Dominquez, 17, of Torrington. Dominguez is not just a friend to Tyger, but also a cousin.
“It was really hard when state wrestling rolled around. I knew exactly where my (teammates) were and when they were going to wrestle. They sent me a picture of them on senior night with the button they had made for me,” said Tyger, who wasn’t able to watch several friends and cousins claim state titles.
“The winning wasn’t as sweet as it could have been (this year with him gone). Tyger was the leader in the wrestling room and his absence was felt. Something I always appreciated about Tyger was that if he set his mind on something, there was no doubt in my mind that he would get it, no matter how much work it took,” said Trey Rodriguez, 17 of Torrington, wrestling teammate and cousin to Tyger.
Although sports are a huge passion for Tyger, the schoolwork wasn’t.
“Trying to get up and get him to go to school was a huge challenge. He is so smart, but just hated going to school. Now he writes me letters (from the program) telling me what he wants to do after graduating the program and how he wants to get his diploma,” said Alicia.
Tyger, now less than eight weeks from graduation, is working on recovering credits in four classes.
“If he will work his butt off, the day he graduates the program, he can potentially have his high school diploma,” said Alicia.
Tyger has been working. Working to recover credits, improve his future, return to friends and family and to graduate June 10.
The struggles and sacrifices of the cadets are often recognized; not often noted are the residual effects left on family, friends and teammates ? those left in the hometowns vacated for 22 weeks by the cadets that attend the program.
For Tyger, those struggles have been eased by keeping his eye on the goal and taking the program one day at a time.
“I’ve realized my real friends are still here. Still supportive,” said Tyger. “It’ll all be worth it when I walk across that stage on graduation day.”
On graduation day Tyger plans to trade in his shackles for future success.
Lander man stabbed, requires surgery
(LANDER, Wyo.) Lander Police were called to an address on Four Season Drive late Friday night because a man had been stabbed.
Police reports state that 27 year old Lander Resident Jordan Apadhca was arrested for aggravated assault.
The report stated that the victim, a 27 year old Lander man, was transported to the hospital for surgery.
There is no word on his condition today.
Wyoming fed land transfer movement loses steam
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — State Senate President Eli Bebout says the election of President Donald Trump seems to have reduced for now the need for any legislative efforts in Wyoming to wrest public lands away from the federal government.
The Riverton Republican says he doesn't anticipate any major legislation aimed at securing state ownership next year.
He said the Trump administration gives lawmakers hope that the federal government will manage lands with local interests in mind.
Advocates for states taking over federal land have begrudged the amount of time it takes to permit oil and gas, timber and other projects and disagreed with federal environmental regulations.
But sportsmen and conservationists argued the state wouldn't be able to manage the additional 25 million acres of Wyoming.
Fatal Accident on highway 26 Friday night
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Wyoming Highway Patrol is reporting that a fatal accident occurred Friday night around 7pm on Highway 26, 8 miles West of Riverton.
According to Lee Pence with the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the 29 year old male driver made an aggressive move while traveling down the highway causing the pickup he was driving to roll multiple times ejecting the driver, who was not wearing his seatbelt.
The 29 year old man hasn’t been identified pending notification of kin.
Riverton chamber busy with calls about August eclipse
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Riverton Chamber of Commerce has responded to about 3,800 requests for visitor information through March of this year. And many of the inquires involve the solar eclipse.
Chamber executive director Jim Davis says "not a day goes by" without a phone call to the chamber inquiring about local celebrations and events for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.
The Riverton chamber is collaborating with other local agencies and groups who are promoting the Wind River Eclipse in hopes of making Fremont County a tourist destination. The event is expected to bring as many as 10,000 visitors to the area.
Crowheart, Pavillion, Riverton and Shoshoni will all experience the total eclipse for at least 140 seconds.
Lander public meeting for street construction
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Wyoming Department of Transportation is encouraging interested people to attend a public meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6 at Lander City Hall regarding some streets that have planned upgrades.
Jefferson Street from North 6th to North 8th, and East Main Street will both get upgrades,
The Jefferson Street upgrades involve some paving and gutter and sidewalk work, with the East Main Street upgrade will extend sidewalks from Mt. Hope Cemetery to Blue Ridge Apartments.
Once again the public meeting will be held at Lander City Hall tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6pm.
Wyoming company replaces faulty house-arrest monitors
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A bail bonds company in Wyoming has put new ankle monitors on inmates released to house arrest who were wearing faulty equipment.
Teton Bail Bonds realized some ankle monitors were not working properly from November to February.
Company owner Kelly Circle says none of ankle monitors were being worn by high-risk offenders.
Circle says the problem emerged when a notification received by the company indicated one person had cut a monitor.
The newspaper reported that the replacement ankle monitors can track wearers to within 25 feet (7.6 meters) instead of the previous 100 feet (30.5 meters).
Circle says the company has five new monitors and is looking into getting more.
Shoshones sue fed government over joint tribal funding
RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Shoshone Business Council has filed a lawsuit over federal funds possibly being restored to the Northern Arapaho Tribe.
At the same time, the Shoshone filed a motion this seeking to join the Northern Arapaho's separate lawsuit against the federal government as a plaintiff. The Shoshone contend that that their interests are likely to be affected by any settlement in the Northern Arapaho lawsuit.
The two tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation have been feuding over administration of the reservation since the Northern Arapaho pulled out of the Joint Business Council in 2014.
Both tribes have separately applied for self-determination funds to unilaterally continue programs that had been administered through the Joint Business County.
Coyote-killing devices still OK in Wyoming
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — There is no discussion in Wyoming about banning a device designed to kill coyotes by spraying cyanide when triggered.
Officials say at any given time there are about 300 cyanide-propelling M-44s protruding from the ground in Wyoming.
A national debate about the predator-killing device is unfolding in the wake of a hospitalized teenager and three dogs and a wolf that have been killed recently in Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services division announced it would discontinue using the device in Idaho.
But Kent Drake of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture said there has been no discussion about banning M-44s in Wyoming.
Lisa Robertson of the animal rights advocacy group Wyoming Untrapped says M-44s should be banned.
TETON COUNTY HOUSING-DEPUTIES
Teton County sheriff proposes cost-of-living allowance
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Teton County's sheriff is proposing an allowance for deputies who have been pushed out of the area because of the high cost of housing.
Sheriff Jim Whalen says only five of the department's 23 sworn deputies live in the valley, which leaves the county vulnerable during emergencies. In a letter to county commissioners, Whalen pointed to the department's inability to properly respond to a powerful snowstorm that closed the Snake River Canyon and Teton Pass for several days in February.
He says "Teton County needed to have a robust emergency response and we couldn't provide it."
The sheriff has pushed for housing allowances in the past but has been unable to get approval.
Whalen says not incentivizing emergency personnel to live in the area puts people at risk.
Elk foundation awards grant money for Wyoming projects
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has awarded nearly $315,000 in grant money to assist with elk research, habitat enhancement, permanent land protection and improving public access in Wyoming.
Grant money will benefit projects and programs in Albany, Big Horn, Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Johnson, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton and Washakie counties.
In addition, the Montana-based foundation will continue sponsorship of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Access Yes Program that seeks to secure access for hunters and anglers to private lands across the state.
GREEN HOUSE DATA
Cheyenne's Green House Data acquires Atlanta company
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Cheyenne-based Green House Data has purchased an infrastructure provider of hybrid cloud products and other services based in Atlanta.
Green House Data CEO Shawn Mills says the acquisition of Cirracore will allow it to offer a larger set of products with greater geographic diversity.
Green House Data provides cloud hosting and co-location services, with energy-efficient, green data centers located across the country. It also provides managed services and hybrid information technology services.
Green House Data now has locations in Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, New York, New Jersey and Georgia.
Officials declined to disclose how much Green House Data paid for Cirracore.
Cheyenne to host several events for 150th anniversary
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The city of Cheyenne is moving forward with plans for its 150th anniversary celebration this year.
Mayor Marian Orr named a committee to prepare the celebratory events about two months ago. Committee coordinator Mona Pearl says they've already planned a host of events scheduled from July through August.
The first will be a formal kickoff event on July 4 at Cheyenne's Romero Park featuring a hot dog eating contest and games for children.
Other celebrations this summer will feature live music, a fireworks show and a history night.
Pearl says the committee has two events planned for Aug. 8, which marks the day the city was officially incorporated 150 years ago.
Lander Main Street set to change traffic patterns
(LANDER, Wyo.) Social Media is buzzing today following last night’s public meeting at the Lander Community Center regarding Lander’s Main Street Bike and Pedestrian Safety Plan.
Comments on the news that Lander’s Main Street will be changed to accommodate bicyclists are mostly negative. The general feeling after last night’s public meeting was that the committee already has a preferred option.
According to an article posted on the City of Lander’s Facebook Page, a construction alternative to test new traffic patterns on Main Street will be implemented between 1st and 5th streets and be in effect from Memorial Day to the end of September. The plan in motion will add dedicated bike lanes on Main Street between 1st and 5th streets. The new bike lanes necessitate removing the turning lane from the center of all the blocks. Turning lanes will remain at the intersections and some 27 parking spaces near the intersections will be eliminated.
Lincoln and Garfield Streets will see “sharrows” painted in both traffic lanes to encourage equal sharing of the lanes with both automobiles and bikes.
$25,000 in grant funds will be used on the project.
Social media sites are seeing many Lander residents acting in surprise to the news. A few posts reported that the city had sent out letters on the plan and two public meetings to discuss the plan. However most posts from Lander Residents say no such information was received.
The deadline for public comment is Wednesday April 19th (2017). The internet site the city has supplied on its Facebook page to comment on the plan lists the address of email@example.com, however the address doesn’t work. The alternative is to go to Lander City Hall and ask for the official Bike and Pedestrian safety comment sheet.
Copies of that form are also available at the Lander radio station.
Bar fight in Rock Springs over gang patches
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — Police have arrested three motorcycle gang members after a bar fight in Rock Springs over a rival gang member's vest with patches that identify the gang to which he belonged.
The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Monday and resulted in the arrest of three members of the Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club.
They say one member of the gang attacked a member of the Bad 7 bike gang and took his gang patches while the other two prevented other bar patrons from intervening.
The Bad 7 gang member was treated for injuries to his head and arms at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.
The three were arrested Wednesday and were in custody at the Sweetwater County Detention Center.
Badly injured Yellowstone National Park wolf put down
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — One of only three white wolves roaming Yellowstone National Park has been put down by park staff after it was found with severe injuries.
P.J. White of the National Park Service says the female wolf was found Tuesday by hikers on the north side of the park.
White says the wolf was in shock and dying, prompting the decision to euthanize it and investigate what caused the wolf's injuries. The nature of the initial injuries could not immediately be determined.
The wolf was one of three known white wolves in the park.
It had lived to 12 years old, twice the age of an average wolf in the park and was one of the most recognizable and sought after by park visitors to view and photograph.
DOCTOR-SEX ASSAULT CHARGES
Former Wyoming doctor denies sexually assaulting patients
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A former Wyoming doctor has denied charges he sexually assaulted six patients during gynecological exams.
47-year-old Paul Harnetty appeared in Natrona County District Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to 10 charges stemming from the alleged assaults in 2014 and 2015.
The women say Harnetty, while working as a gynecologist at Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, touched them during exams in ways that made them uncomfortable. That included touching their vaginal area without gloves and rubbing them in ways that didn't seem to be in line with a medical exam.
Harnetty's attorney, John Miner, has said it's possible the doctor was just performing thorough exams.
Harnetty voluntarily relinquished his license in October after the state medical board began investigating him.
DRUG TESTING POLICY
School officials unsure of proposed drug test policy
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming school officials and parents are discussing a proposed policy to drug test some high school students.
Parents and school officials had mixed reactions to the policy during a Wednesday meeting with the Natrona County School District Board's policy committee. The policy would affect students who participate in district activities.
School board member Debbie McCullar, who does not support the policy, says it's missing an educational component. Others who oppose the policy say it only targets the estimated 4,000 high school students who are participating in activities.
Proponents of the policy refer to a Supreme Court's ruling that states districts cannot test an entire student body.
School officials say even if the policy does not pass, student drug users should face some sort of repercussion.
UW SORORITY HOUSE
UW to acquire unoccupied sorority house
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming will buy a vacant house on Sorority Row to prevent the building from falling into disrepair.
The UW Board of Trustees approved buying the unoccupied Pi Beta Phi house during a teleconference meeting Wednesday.
UW Vice President for Administration Bill Mai says the university has been taking care of the property for a couple years.
Mai said the university's goal is to eventually control all the property on Fraternity and Sorority Row.
Wyoming man found guilty in fatal 2013 Nebraska crash
OSHKOSH, Neb. (AP) — After years of court battles in the case, a Wyoming man has been found guilty in the 2013 fatal drunken driving death of a Nebraska woman.
The Nebraska Attorney General's Office says 48-year-old Edward Hood, of Sheridan, was found guilty Wednesday in Garden County District Court of motor vehicle homicide, manslaughter and drunken driving causing injury. He's set to be sentenced June 5.
Prosecutors say Hood was drunk and wanted on a Florida warrant in another DUI case when he hit the vehicle of 62-year-old Terry Hofer of Ogallala in western Nebraska. The crash also seriously injured a passenger in Hofer's car.
Hood successfully argued to suppress blood and urine samples taken from him after the crash, but lost a battle to have the case thrown out on what he said was a speedy trial violation.
Military families and the life of the cautiously carefree child
By Capt. Megan Hoffmann
State Public Affairs Office
CHEYENNE, Wyo. ? Children are typically carefree; no job, no bills to pay, no worries. However, that is not true for the military child.
Military children don’t typically fall into the carefree category. At any given time their lives can be in a state of change; living in a single-parent or no-parent household with parents deployed or geographically separated due to military obligations, changing schools and living in turmoil are just a few things military children deal with on a regular basis.
April marks the Month of the Military child, which aims to honor military children and the sacrifices they make.
On April 6 the Wyoming National Guard hosted the Month of the Military Child kickoff at Storey Gym, in Cheyenne, with remarks from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead about the unique nature of the lives of military children.
“We estimate in the state of Wyoming there are about 5,000 military children,” Mead said. “Another way to think about that is that we have 5,000 reasons to be thankful. These children represent courage, represent bravery, and they do the most important thing by supporting mom or dad by supporting the mission they do. We are so proud of you kids and what you do.
“I would tell you that as my job as governor I get the privilege of getting to spend time with our local military. On every occasion, I am so impressed with what they do . . . In the same way we recognize those who are serving, we should also recognize the families, and in particular, the children.”
Gov. Mead then went on to tell a story about a little boy who had his father deployed for so long that every time he was told his father was coming home, he didn’t believe it. It wasn’t until his father walked in the door and he was able to physically embrace him that he believed.
The struggles these children face are well known and understood by the personnel working in the Service Member, Family, Employer Readiness Support Team.
The S-FERST team provides programs and support focused on families, children and youth in a variety of arenas. One such program, the Yellow Ribbon, is aimed at providing pre and post-deployment support for children and family members.
Staff Sgt. Mikki Munson, a human resources sergeant, formerly the Yellow Ribbon program coordinator from 2012-2014 for the Wyoming Army National Guard, understands the importance of the S-FERST program and the services it provides. As a 15-year veteran of the Wyoming Army National Guard, mother of three and wife of a retired active duty Air Force master sergeant, she wears many hats and recognizes one of the most difficult aspects of military life is the toll is takes on the children.
“The sustainment and resiliency events are so crucial,” Munson said. “Every child reacts differently to a parent having to leave for a deployment and training, and then readjusting when they return home. These services are especially critical for the kiddos as we often overlook them, thinking because they are young that they don’t truly understanding the ramifications of having a parent(s) leave. They not only understand, but sometimes they are more deeply impacted than a spouse or adult.”
Employed for two years with the Yellow Ribbon program, Munson was in charge of planning pre-, during, and post-deployment events for families to help connect them with local resources.
“We would have 30, 60, 90, and 330-day resiliency and sustainment events. At the 30-day event we would ask spouses, children and family members of deployed members what they wanted or needed during the deployed member’s absence or what they were struggling with. We would then take that information and structure the sustainment events to reflect the needs of those families,” said Munson.
Amy Wilson, child and youth program coordinator for the Wyoming National Guard since 2013 said the services that S-FERST offers to military members and their families are too numerous to explain all of them. In the child and youth arena, S-FERST offers resiliency training for teens, day and summer camps, family events such as father/daughter dance, referrals for free tutoring or childcare assistance, activity grants and community trainings explaining the life of military children and how they are affected by separations.
“The most important aspect of the child and youth program is providing events with fun life-skill building activities and making sure families have the resources and information they need to navigate military life,” Wilson said.
In Wyoming, 5,000 military children who can’t be carefree are seen as reasons to be thankful and simply say ‘thank you,’ for the sacrifices made day-in and day-out.
MEETING OF THE FREMONT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS’ CHAMBERS
FREMONT COUNTY COURTHOUSE, 450 N 2ND STREET, ROOM 205, LANDER, WY 82520
Travis Becker (Chairman), Larry Allen (Vice-Chairman), Ray Price, Jennifer McCarty and Clarence Thomas
SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME
APRIL 18, 2017
A. CALL TO ORDER
B. QUORUM PRESENT
C. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
D. OPENING PRAYER
E. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
F. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
G. ACCEPTANCE OF REGULAR BILLS
H. ACCEPTANCE OF TITLE 25 BILLS
I. SIGNATURE FILE
9:15 A.M.: PUBLIC COMMENT
9:30 A.M.: TRANSPORTATION SUPERINTENDENT DAVE PENDLETON DEPARTMENT REPORT BUDGET HEARING
10:15 A.M.: COUNTY CLERK JULIE FREESE & FINANCIAL ASSISTANT JOE FELIX – BUDGET HEARING
10:20 A.M. BREAK
10:30 A.M.: COUNTY PLANNER STEVE BAUMANN – SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENT PERMIT DISCUSSION
10:45 A.M.: BUDGET HEARING – INFORMATION SUPPORT SYSTEMS
11:15 A.M.: BUDGET HEARING – VEHICLE MAINTENANCE
11:45 A.M.: EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COORDINATOR KATHI METZLER – STORM READY COMMUNITY AWARD BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
12:00 P.M.: LUNCH
1:30 P.M.: BUDGET HEARING – SHERIFF
2:30 P.M.: BUDGET HEARING – COURT ASSISTED SUPERVISED TREATMENT, JUVENILE TREATMENT COURT, JUVENILE DETENTION ALTERNATIVE INITIATIVE
3:00 P.M.: WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DIRECTOR THOMAS FORSLAND – DISCUSSION ON FREMONT COUNSELING SERVICE APPOINTMENT AS TITLE 25 GATEKEEPER FOR FREMONT COUNTY AREA
4:00 P.M. BUDGET HEARING – LIBRARY
4:30 P.M.: BUDGET HEARING – RECREATION COMMISSION
COMMISSIONER MEETING REPORTS
COUNTY CLERK REPORTS/QUESTIONS
ELECTED OFFICIALS' CONCERNS
PROTOCOL REMINDERS: Silence cell phones – Address the Chairman – State your name for the record
Wind River Reservation Man sentenced
Tristin Lane Burnett, 19, of Fort Washakie, Wyoming, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on April 11, 2017, for assault resulting in bodily injury. Burnett was arrested in Riverton, Wyoming. He received 18 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $100.00 special assessment and $34,849.87 in restitution. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Authorities investigate man’s death in Lander
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Fremont County Coroner has confirmed that the coroner’s office and the Lander Police Department are investigating a man’s death that occurred Tuesday in Lander.
The man’s death was reported on North Riverview Street adjacent to North Side Park around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.
The man was identified Thursday as 62 year old David Wayne Carey of Lander.
No other details are being released at this time.
Man sentenced for death of co-worker in Rock Springs
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to 40 to 80 years in prison in the stabbing death of a co-worker.
Charles Kenzell Carter pleaded no contest on Tuesday to second-degree murder under a plea agreement.
Carter was originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Toboris Lee last May at a Rock Springs convenience store.
Investigators said Carter stabbed Lee multiple times during a fight over money. The two had been working together as traveling salesmen.
During sentencing, District Court Judge Nena James gave Carter 337 days credit for time already served.
Notice of property value to be sent in Mail soon
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Fremont County Assessor’s Office will be mailing the 2017 Notice of Values today (April 13th). The Notice of Value gives the taxpayer the market value of their property as well as their estimated taxes for 2017. The actual taxes are set in August by the Fremont County Commissioners. Taxpayers need to read their notice carefully. It is imperative to call the Assessor’s office with any questions or concerns within 30 days from the date on the notice.
The notices have a new look for 2017 but contain the same important information! The biggest change is the ability to sign up to receive e-Notices on-line. Please look at the notices carefully for instructions or go www.fremontcountywy.org for further information.
Property taxation in Wyoming is based on market value. To calculate the market value of the property, appraisers from the assessor’s office gather physical characteristics such as year built, construction type, size, etc. of individual properties. Those characteristics are entered into the Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal System and a replacement cost new less depreciated value is then calculated. This cost value is then compared to sale prices. Once that comparison is done, all properties in an area are adjusted to market value. The current year valuation is based on sales information from the previous year.
The Fremont County Assessor’s office also wants to remind veterans, or widow(ers) of veterans, that it is time to renew their exemption for the 2017 tax year.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK-SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Report: Inappropriate actions toward women at Yellowstone
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal investigators say they've found credible evidence that male supervisors and staff in the maintenance division at Yellowstone National Park created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women.
The Interior Department's inspector general says the division's supervisor should have known about and addressed some of the alleged misconduct.
The investigation began last September. The report released Wednesday says more than 100 current and former Yellowstone employees were interviewed.
The report says that between 2010 and 2016, six women who had previously worked in this unit had been subjected to derogatory comments or actions that made them feel uncomfortable.
Most employees interviewed — male and female — have told investigators they had not personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment at the park.
COAL JOBS GRANT
Wyoming gets federal grant to help laid off coal workers
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming has been awarded up to $2 million in federal funds to retrain workers in the northeast part of the state who lost their jobs in the coal industry.
The money can be used to assist those who worked directly for coal companies or indirectly in manufacturing and transportation businesses associated with coal.
Workers in Campbell, Converse, Crook, Johnson, Niobrara, Sheridan and Weston counties are eligible.
Eligible individuals can receive up to $6,500 toward the cost of a retraining program.
Resources and information about the program are available at state Department of Workforce Services centers.
Wyoming puts Hunter Thompson on scholarship
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming basketball recruit Hunter Thompson says he's been offered a scholarship when he joins the Cowboys next season.
The 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward from Pine Bluffs signed with Wyoming in November with the understanding that he wouldn't go on scholarship until the fall of 2018.
But the recent department of junior point guard Jeremy Lieberman freed up a scholarship.
Thompson says Wyoming coach Allen Edwards called him with news that he could have the scholarship a year earlier.
Thompson originally verbally committed to play at Creighton but he backed out of that last July.
At Pine Bluffs, Thompson averaged 19 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game during his high school career.
Authorities investigate a death in Lander
(LANDER, Wyo.) The Fremont County Coroner has confirmed that the coroner’s office and the Lander Police Department are investigating a death that was discovered yesterday (Tuesday) in Lander.
The death was reported on North Riverview Street adjacent to North Side Park around 1:30 yesterday afternoon.
Lander Police identified the victim as a 62 year old Male.
No other details are available at this time.
2016 Cheyenne Frontier Days has decline in ticket sales
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Event officials say the 2016 Cheyenne Frontier Day was its fourth-largest event in the outdoor rodeo's history.
The 2016 event reached fourth place for the number of people who bought tickets despite a 2.6 percent decline in total paid attendance. Almost 7,000 more tickets were sold in 2015 than in 2016.
Frontier Days CEO Tom Hirsig says the decrease is due to the higher night show attendance in 2015. The 2015 shows featured performing acts by Aerosmith and country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
In 2016, the country duo Florida Georgia Line had a recording-setting attendance about 25,000 tickets sold.
Hirsig says 2016 is still one the event's best year. The total net income for the 2016 event $1.5 million — about 15 percent more than 2015.
Casper man to undergo second mental evaluation
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming judge has set an Aug. 7 trial date for a 19-year-old Casper man accused of raping and attempting to murder a 4-year-old girl.
In addition, District Judge Thomas Sullins on Tuesday also ordered that Brandtly Bedsaul undergo a second mental evaluation. Bedsaul's attorney requested the second evaluation.
Bedsaul is charged with attempted murder by strangulation, sex abuse of a minor, aggravated assault and aggravated child abuse in connection to a Sept. 28 incident.
Bedsaul has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Court records show that the victim was one of several children attending a gathering in September at the Casper home where Bedsaul lives. Someone noticed the girl was missing, went outside and saw Bedsaul with his hands around the girl's neck.
Weather Service to Teach Spotter Training in Lander
(LANDER, Wyo.) The National Weather Service in Riverton will teach a Severe Weather Spotter training class to increase the number of weather spotters in the Wind River Basin. The free, two-hour training class will take place at 6:00 p.m. Monday, April 17, at the library in Lander.
The course describes how various severe weather phenomena develop, outlines appropriate safety actions, and details procedures for identifying and reporting severe weather to the NWS. Videos and digital images from across Wyoming are shown during the training session to assist volunteers in correctly identifying important storm features. All course materials will be given to volunteers. Anyone who is a current weather spotter is encouraged to attend this session as a refresher.
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