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Lander Store broken into and robbed

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Lander Police are reviewing security footage hoping to identify the suspect who broke into Melody Liquor’s over the weekend.

The business, located at 4th and Main Street, was broken into late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  Just after 3am Saturday the window was observed to be broken, and it was determined that merchandise was taken by reaching in through the broken glass.

Owners of the store were contacted and they secured the building hours later.


Big Horn County hospital district subject of investigation

BASIN, Wyo. (AP) — A health care provider in northern Wyoming is being investigated by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

South Big Horn Hospital District Board of Trustees Chairman Todd Denny revealed the investigation last week but declined to provide details, including what was being investigated.

The hospital board began cooperating with investigators in February.

News of the investigation comes as the South Big Horn Hospital District undergoes administrative changes, which have attracted some public criticism.

The district includes a hospital in Basin.


Most Wyoming counties saw population declines in 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — U.S. Census Bureau estimates show that most of Wyoming's counties saw more residents move out than move in between July 2015 and July 2016.

State economists attribute the decrease to the downturn in Wyoming's mineral extraction industry, which resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

Natrona County lost 1,600 residents, while Campbell and Sweetwater each lost nearly 1,000. All three counties have major oil, gas and coal operations.

Statewide, Wyoming's population contracted 0.2 percent from July 2015 to July 2016.

Moderate population growth in counties such as Albany, Crook, and Teton were mostly attributed to natural increases instead of migration. On the other hand, many rural counties with low populations but a high proportion of older residents saw declines because of deaths.


Highway deaths prompt awareness campaign across Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is launching a highway safety awareness campaign after a spate of recent highway deaths.

The agency will use message boards throughout the state to display messages reminding drivers to check their seat belts and speed. The signs will also display the number of deaths on Wyoming roads this year.

Thus far, 18 people have been killed in crashes in 2017.

The recent number of deaths comes after fatal crashes on the state were on the decline. According to the Highway Safety Office, n 2014 there were 150 deaths and 131 fatal crashes. By 2016, the numbers were 112 and 100.


Trump budget would cut air service funding to Laramie, Cody

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Laramie and Cody could lose air service under President Donald Trump's proposed budget.

Trump wants to eliminate the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies for commercial carriers to serve rural communities around the United States.

SkyWest Airlines currently receives $2.18 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to serve Laramie and $938,000 to serve Cody.

Officials with the Laramie and Cody airports said the subsidy is important for keeping small Wyoming cities accessible.

The subsidy program was created in 1978 after Congress deregulated the airline industry. It is intended to ensure airlines did not abandon smaller and less lucrative markets.


Expanded hunting proposed for Jackson elk herd

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife managers are considering an expanded early season elk hunt in an area of Jackson Hole where excessive numbers of elk have caused damage to private ranches and a subdivision.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife biologists say the idea is to increase the harvest on that portion of the herd to help control its numbers.

The proposed hunt would allow people possessing over-the-counter licenses to take to the field on Aug. 15 in unit 78, which extends from the Grand Teton National Park boundary to Wilson on the west side of Highway 26/89/191.

Early season hunting there already exists but is open now only to people holding limited-quota licenses acquired through a draw.


Unusual weather damages Wyoming national park building

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials at an eastern Wyoming national park are unsure if a recently damaged roof will delay a preserve center's spring reopening.

An unusual amount of snow water, rain and warm temperatures at Grand Teton National Park may have crushed the roof of the Laurance S. Rockfeller Preserve Center. The center is a popular attraction at the park and was opened in 2007.

Park officials say maintenance workers spotted the damage Thursday. They say no one was in the building when the damage occurred.

Before crews can work on the roof, they must clear the snow on roads that lead to the building.

The crews will also be checking to see if the building suffered any other damages.


Study: Livestock grazing can benefit struggling bird species

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A new study suggests some livestock grazing can benefit a ground-dwelling bird that's suffered a dramatic population decline across its 11-state range in the U.S. West.

Grazing on land occupied by greater sage grouse has been frequently cited as a reason for the bird's decline, along with disease, oil and gas drilling and other factors.

But researchers now say that grazing late in the season can actually help sage grouse.

That's in part because late-season grazing leaves in place for longer the grasses and other vegetation that sage grouse nest in. Late-season grazing also can stimulate the growth of vegetation that sage grouse eat.

The findings by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University and Utah State University were published in the scientific journal Ecological Applications.


Wyoming company seeks loans for sugar beet growers

WORLAND, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming company is requesting almost $5.7 million in loans for farmers who grow sugar beets after heavy rains and frost hurt last year's harvest.

A special call-in meeting of the Wyoming Business Council is scheduled for Thursday to consider the request from the Wyoming Sugar Company.

The company says the loans would help growers who saw beet prices drop last year due to weather-related problems. Wyoming Sugar is owned by 38 growers representing about 60 families in northern Wyoming.

If the proposal is approved by the business council's board of directors, growers would need to submit loan applications by May 15.


Jackson Hole power company considers underground lines

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A power company is considering burying the power lines in the Jackson Hole region that were downed in February during a powerful storm.

Lower Valley Energy can either erect poles similar to the 17 that blew down or put the lines underground along where the poles stood.

Lower Valley spokesman Brian Tanabe said burying the lines could limit future outages by sheltering them from wind, snow, ice and tree damage.

But burying the lines costs nearly three times as much as overhead lines.

Tanabe says Lower Valley, which is a cooperative utility, would like to have the permanent transmission lines installed by fall.


Hard winter challenges Wyoming livestock producers

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — The snowy, cold winter caused challenges for some Wyoming livestock producers.

Regan Smith, who raises sheep, cattle and crops northeast of Powell, says it was a constant struggle to make sure sheep and cattle were protected from the worst of the weather.

Smith said the winter was costly in terms of extra labor, extra feed and extra energy.

Some producers scrambled to find hay after snow blanketed winter pastures and prevent cattle from reaching the grass.


Weather Service: Wyoming has wettest winter on record

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The National Weather Service says Wyoming's three main winter months — December through February — were the wettest in the state's recorded history.

Nearly 5.5 inches of precipitation fell on the state this season, breaking the previous record of 4.93 inches set in 1898. The western side of the state received the bulk of the moisture this winter.

About 15 percent of Wyoming remains in a drought. A year ago at this time, about 75 percent of the state had some level of drought alert.

Wyoming's reservoirs are also full, and the snowpack in many mountains is well above average.

Chris Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Riverton, says states like Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, California and Utah also received a lot of moisture.


Refuge elk feeding ends early due to warm spring

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The National Elk Refuge in northwest Wyoming has ended its supplemental feeding of elk earlier than usual because of the recent warm weather melting the snow cover.

Refuge biologist Eric Cole says feeding usually goes until the close of the first week of April.

Cole said March 20 is the earliest feeding end date in the past 20 years. This year, the feeding was cut off on Thursday, March 23.

Cole says snow-free areas adjacent to the refuge's four feedgrounds have grown steadily in size.

The end of feeding means some 500 bison and nearly 9,000 elk will soon set off for their migration to points north, east and west.


Indiana couple caught in Wyoming with 48 pounds of marijuana

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) — Southern Wyoming police say a couple arrested in possession of 48 pounds of marijuana purchased in Oregon was planning on selling it in Indiana.

59-year-old Michael Ellet and 24-year-old Monica Milliner from Marion, Indiana, each face charges of felony possession of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and conspiracy to deliver marijuana.

Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper David Chatfield says he initially stopped the pair on Monday for travelling 78 mph in a 75 mph zone but later noticed the driver, Ellet, smelled like marijuana. Chatfield says after talking with the pair, he had his K9 search the vehicle for drugs which they found in the trunk.

Along with the marijuana, police also found marijuana edibles, credit cards, cell phones and miscellaneous paperwork.


High water floods mostly ag land in western Wyoming

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Rivers and creeks swollen with snowmelt runoff are causing some minor flooding in western Wyoming.

Officials say the Bear River upstream and downstream from Cokeville in Lincoln county is flooding mainly agricultural land.

The river is expected to slowly recede below bankfull at Cokeville by Saturday morning.

In the Star Valley area, Crow Creek and Salt River are flooding mainly agricultural land although some homeowners in the Fairview area have had to place sandbags to protect their property.

Crow Creek near Fairview crested Thursday morning and the Salt River near Etna crested Thursday afternoon.


Lander takes the number two spot for retirees

(LANDER, Wyo.) SmartAsset, a financial technology company, has released its third annual study on the most tax friendly places for retirees, and Lander takes the number two spot.

Riverton and other communities in the Wind River Basin didn’t make the list.

The study ranks locations on a Retirement Tax Friendliness Index, which takes into account property, income, fuel, sales, and Social Security tax data. In the table below you can see which cities lead Wyoming in retirement tax friendliness.

More details on the study results and methodology can be found at smartasset.com.



New UW trustee is newly registered independent

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — One of the new members of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees switched his political party affiliation just three weeks before his appointment last month by Gov. Matt Mead.

However, even if Dr. David Fall had not switched from Republican to independent before his appointment, the board makeup would still comply with state law that sets boundaries on the mix of Republicans and Democrats among its members.

Fall and Republican Kermit Brown were appointed by Mead on Feb. 24 to replace board members Mike Massie, a Democrat, and Dave Palmerlee, a Republican.

Fall, who had registered as a Republican since 1986, switched to independent on Feb. 1.

Fall said he wasn't trying to mislead anybody by changing his party affiliation.


UW trustees approve changes to faculty separation program

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has approved changes to a program that aims to reduce the number of faculty members in order to save money in the long run.

On Thursday, the trustees approved lifting a cap that had been on the voluntary separation program.

With the change, up to 45 UW faculty members could leave the university at the end of the current academic year. Some positions will be refilled, others will be eliminated.

A previous retirement and separation incentive resulted in the departure of about 50 employees, but fewer than 10 of them were faculty members.

The current program is targeted specifically at faculty.

UW officials expect annual net budget savings of about $4.45 million from the separation program.


Cody psychiatrist charged with huffing and driving, crash

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — A Cody psychiatrist has been charged with driving under the influence for a second time in four months.

49-year-old Matthew Hopkins waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday for aggravated assault and misdemeanor DUI.

Prosecutors say Hopkins had passed out and had a can of Dust-Off in his sport utility vehicle when he crashed head-on into a pickup on March 14, injuring the other driver. The chemicals in "canned air" can be inhaled for a euphoric high.

Hopkins, whose specialties include treating people with addictions, has previously had his medical license suspended in New Hampshire and Wyoming due to his own struggles with addiction.

Hopkins posted a $20,000 bond is scheduled to enter pleas next week.

A change-of-plea hearing for the November DUI is set for May.


Wyoming to don full pads Saturday

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will be in full pads for the first time during spring practice on Saturday in Laramie.

Saturday's practice will conclude the first of five weeks of spring drills.

The Cowboys held their second day of spring practice on Thursday, with coach Craig Bohl noting progress at wide receiver, linebacker and running back.

Bohl mentioned one potential season-ending injury occurred Thursday to strong safety Anthony Makransky, who may have suffered a torn Achilles tendon.

Makransky was the Cowboys primary backup at strong safety last season and played significant minutes in Wyoming's Poinsettia Bowl appearance.

Riverton Man stands off police for years

(LANDER, Wyo.)  A Riverton man, who has barricaded himself inside his residence for 7 years, was arrested by authorities yesterday.

According to Undersheriff Ryan Lee, 28 year old Randy Pickering was arrested during a joint operation utilizing many different agencies at his residence at 45 Mintor Lane in Riverton.

Lee said over the years Pickering would call and threaten to shoot any police officer who approached his home.

Yesterday (Wednesday) morning authorities executed arrest warrants at his home, at which time Pickering took several shots at officers almost hitting them several times.  At one point he threatened to burn his home down, pouring gasoline around the porch area, however, eventually he surrendered to officers.

Lee said Pickering is currently being held at the Fremont County Detention center and additional charges are pending against him.  


Drugs, alcohol factors in man's drowning in Riverton ditch

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Toxicology reports show drugs and alcohol may have contributed to the drowning death of a man who was found in an irrigation ditch in Riverton.

Joseph Atkin's body was discovered Feb. 21, nearly an hour after he was reported missing.

According to the Fremont County Coroner's Office, Atkin had a blood alcohol content of .169 at the time of his death. Marijuana, amphetamine and Valium were also found in his system.

Deputy Coroner Tadd Curtin says Atkin's toxicology is relevant to his drowning.

A woman had reported seeing the Lander man standing near the edge of the water before his body was found about a mile and a half downstream. It is unknown whether he willingly entered the flood waters.


Arapaho council to head to mediation over court lawsuit

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Northern Arapaho Business Council will begin mediation with the federal government in a lawsuit that claims the Bureau of Indian Affairs violated the tribe's sovereignty by preventing the tribe from running its own court.

A federal district court judge on Monday ordered the tribal officials and the government to head into mediation.

The tribe also argues that the BIA infringed upon tribal self-determination rights by refusing to issue federal funds to the Arapaho for some programs that had previously been managed by the Joint Business Council.

The business council and the BIA had been close to reaching a settlement agreement last summer before the BIA announced it would shut down the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribal Court after the Shoshones' contract expired.


Snow, rain impact parts of Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A storm system is bringing rain and snow to parts of Wyoming.

Up to a foot of snow is possible in the Bighorn and Wind River mountains. Snow was expected in areas as low as around the 6,500 foot elevation.

Rain in lower elevations was expected to cause problems where snowmelt has swollen rivers and streams.

Flood warnings were posted for much of Lincoln County in western Wyoming, including Kemmerer, and a flood watch was posted for areas of neighboring Sublette County, including Jackson, Pinedale and Big Piney.


New UW trustee is newly registered independent

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — One of the new members of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees switched his political party affiliation just three weeks before his appointment last month by Gov. Matt Mead.

However, even if Dr. David Fall had not switched from Republican to independent before his appointment, the board makeup would still comply with state law that sets boundaries on the mix of Republicans and Democrats among its members.

Fall and Republican Kermit Brown were appointed by Mead on Feb. 24 to replace board members Mike Massie, a Democrat, and Dave Palmerlee, a Republican.

Fall, who had registered as a Republican since 1986, switched to independent on Feb. 1.

Fall said he wasn't trying to mislead anybody by changing his party affiliation.


More than 1,200 Yellowstone bison killed this winter

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Operations to kill bison in Yellowstone National Park for slaughter have come to an end, with more than 1,200 bison culled this winter.

The park released figures Wednesday showing 748 bison were consigned to slaughter this year. Another 453 were killed by hunters from Native American tribes and the state of Montana.

The total winter death toll marks the highest number of bison killed in the Yellowstone area since 2008. It also falls just short of the removal goal bison managers set in the fall.

Bison are taken from the area each year because of a management plan established in 2000 that calls for a population of 3,000 bison in the region. Park biologists estimate there are 5,500 bison there now.


Man gets same sentence on murder conviction 2nd time around

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A 24-year-old Gillette man has been sentenced to 48 years to life in prison for a second time in a fatal shooting on Thanksgiving 2013.

Todd Sindelar was convicted in January of shooting and killing Matthew Boyer. He had been convicted and sentenced for the same crime once before, but that conviction was thrown out because of an improper jury instruction.

District Judge Michael N. "Nick" Deegan on Tuesday handed down the same sentence that he originally ordered after the first conviction.

The Gillette News Record reports that Deegan noted the evidence presented in the second trial was the same as the first.

Public defender Mitchell Damsky asked Deegan to give Sindelar a sentence of 25 years to life.


Teton County storm gets federal disaster declaration

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration for damage caused by a winter storm in Teton County in early February.

The storm knocked down power lines and cut power to the Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort and nearby residential areas. It took days to restore power in some places.

The declaration makes federal disaster funding available to help with the costs and repairs associated with the event.


State officials search for cause, fix for fractured highway

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working to figure out what's causing a landslide to fracture a stretch of U.S. Highway 89/26 south of Jackson and how to fix it.

The landslide, reported Friday, affects about 175 feet of pavement and has fractured approximately 20 feet of highway as well as 10 feet of the embankment. Officials say the slide is still moving slowly toward the Snake River.

Geologists are conducting tests on the landslide to figure out a permanent remedy for the fractured highway. After those tests are complete, geologists will come up with proposals to fix the problem.

Those solutions will be presented to WYDOT's executive board, which will decide which project to pursue.


Wyoming in CBI finals

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will play in the finals of the College Basketball Invitational next week.

The Cowboys advanced to the finals with a 74-68 win Wednesday night over Utah Valley in Laramie.

Justin James led Wyoming with 16 points, while Louis Adams and Jason McManamen each contributed 12. McManamen made a layup with 43 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

The Pokes will meet Coastal Carolina in a best-of-three championship series that will start on Monday in Conway, South Carolina. Wyoming will then host the second game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. If necessary, a third game will be played on Friday.

Wednesday night's win marked Wyoming's 400th win in the Arena-Auditorium and the 17th this season, tying for the most wins in the Arena-Auditorium in a single-season.


Vigen promoted to associate head coach at Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming offensive coordinator Brent Vigen is being elevated to the position of associate head coach.

Head coach Craig Bohl made the announcement Tuesday.

Bohl says as the Cowboy football program moves forward, he felt it was critical to expand Vigen's role.

Vigen took over as Wyoming's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2014. He will retain those duties while assuming the associate head coach position.

Among the specific areas that Bohl said Vigen will be more involved in include having more autonomy over recruiting of players, particularly offensive players. In addition, Vigen will take a more active and visible role in the promotion of Wyoming football.

Vigen is entering his 20th year as a college coach, including 15 with Bohl.


Cheney plans to vote in favor of replacing health-care law

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney says she supports the Republican-sponsored health care bill.

Cheney said the proposal would give flexibility to states and individuals that would make insurance more affordable for consumers.

The bill would repeal major parts of former President Barack Obama's health law. The House is scheduled to vote on the proposal Thursday.

Cheney says the proposal does exactly what needs to be done in terms of replacing the current health law with a system that "puts people back in charge."

The first-term Republican says she likes the plan to allow states to convert Medicaid payments into block grants. She says the block grant would allow Wyoming the flexibility to distribute funding as it sees fit.


Terminal work to begin at Cheyenne airport

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Construction of a new $10 million passenger terminal at Cheyenne Regional Airport will start early next month.

A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for April 25.

The new single-story terminal will replace a smaller one that was built more than 50 years ago. The current facility was deemed no longer adequate in a feasible study from 2007-08.

Another $6 million will go toward building a commercial apron area that will accommodate three aircraft.

The airport's deputy director of aviation services, Jim Schell, says the project should take a little over a year to complete.

Funding for the construction work came from various sources, including the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and Laramie County residents who supported a sixth-penny sales tax election.


New flood outlook sees increased spring flooding in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The latest National Weather Service spring flood outlook shows the potential for flooding from the mountain snowpack melting this spring and early summer has increased in parts of central and western Wyoming.

The outlook released Tuesday adds portions of the North and South Forks of the Shoshone River in northwest Wyoming to the river basins where there is a moderate to high potential for flooding when the snowmelt gets underway in earnest in May and June.

Moderate to high potential for flooding remains in the Big and Little Wind River basins in central Wyoming, the Upper Green Basin and Snake River Basin.

Currently, the low-level snowpack is melting out, prompting a flood watch through Wednesday night for portions of northwest, southwest and west-central Wyoming, including Jackson, Pinedale and Kemmerer.


State officials search for cause, fix for fractured highway

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation is working to figure out what's causing a landslide to fracture a stretch of U.S. Highway 89/26 south of Jackson and how to fix it.

The landslide, reported Friday, affects about 175 feet of pavement and has fractured approximately 20 feet of highway as well as 10 feet of the embankment. Officials say the slide is still moving slowly toward the Snake River.

Geologists are conducting tests on the landslide to figure out a permanent remedy for the fractured highway. After those tests are complete, geologists will come up with proposals to fix the problem.

Those solutions will be presented to WYDOT's executive board, which will decide which project to pursue.

Women of the Wyoming National Guard

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - In 1869, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote. More than a century later, the Equality State continues to be a trendsetter for women - it houses Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry, which employed the first female infantry soldier in the country.


Today, of the 2,702 airmen and soldiers serving in the Wyoming National Guard, approximately 1 in 5 are women. They fall into the rank spectrum from slick-sleeved airmen and empty-chested privates, to brigadier generals. These women, officer and enlisted, serve as doctors, lawyers, pilots, mechanics, and yes, even infantry.


The Wyoming Army National Guard Commander, Brig. Gen. Tammy Maas, initially joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1979, then transferred to the Wyoming Army National Guard in 1980. Her first assignment as a commissioned officer in Wyoming was as a platoon leader for the 960th Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company, in Torrington, Wyoming - a unit she would later command in 1993.


Under Maas’ command, the 960th was asked to be a substitute unit during annual training at Camp Dodge, Iowa, where they set a handful of records under her leadership.


“Typically units would start the fix of a major end item, such as an engine or transmission, work on them for their two weeks of AT, and then pass them on to another unit. We did the entire repair within our two-week window. That had never been done before. We did so well that they invited us again the next summer. It was really my first opportunity to form and lead a great team,” said Maas.


Now in her 37th year serving in the Wyoming Army National Guard, Maas said her parents were an immense influence on her decision to join the military.


 “They were great role models in encouraging me to pursue my dreams and work hard,” said Maas, whose father served 40 years in the Army as a chief warrant officer.


Chief Master Sgt. Milissa Fowler, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, echoed Maas’ sentiments about the critical role of supportive parents. Originally from Clinton, Indiana, Fowler joined the military in June 1988 and said that the important part of her decision to join was how her parents were so receptive to the idea.


“They raised me to know I could be anything I wanted to be. We were not stereotyped because we were girls. I didn’t know anything about the process of joining the military. I just asked my parents to sign the delayed-enlistment form when I was 17, and they did,” said Fowler of her parents.


“I was shell-shocked when I arrived at (basic training). My parents always tell people about my first phone call home while at basic training that consisted of me crying the entire time. Then they tell the story of my second call home, when I asked my mom to put my dad on the phone and I told him I thought I made a mistake by joining,” laughed Fowler, who now has almost 30 years of military service under her belt.


“I vividly remembering standing in formation, studying the ranks and not knowing anything about the enlisted rank structure so I was soaking it all in. I saw the chief master sergeant rank and said to myself ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’”


Fowler was initially stationed at McCord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington.


“I was basically the UPS driver on base. Here I was in my pickle-green uniform as a slick-sleeve, my first time away from home and not knowing anyone. I delivered parts to everyone on base and met so many people. It was the best job I could have gotten,” said Fowler, who now serves as the personnel superintendent for the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Force Support Squadron.


Col. Shelley Campbell, originally from Lakewood, Colorado, had much of the same experience as Fowler. Wanting to get away from home and not knowing what else to do, she joined the military and eventually landed in the Wyoming Air National Guard, deploying multiple times since 9/11.


 “The Air Guard actually ended up contacting me in high school and telling me I had high ASVAB scores. At that point I didn’t even know the difference between active duty Air Force and the Air Guard,” said Campbell, who initially joined active duty in 1980 and was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, doing air traffic control.


Campbell, who is currently chief of the joint staff for the Wyoming National Guard, ended up getting out of active duty and moving back to Colorado to pursue her degree. While there, the young and motivated Campbell picked up marathon running in the Rocky Mountain Roadrunners Club, which is how she learned more about the guard.


“The guard seemed to be this well-kept secret,” said Campbell, who wished she would have learned more about it sooner.

At one of her final races in Colorado, the Cherry Creek Sneak, she ran into a familiar face, a lieutenant that she worked with and helped train while at Tyndall, who told her that he had joined the guard. Campbell followed suit and eventually landed at the Wyoming Air National Guard in 1997 to help stand up the 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron.


As Campbell moved up the ranks, so did Fowler and Maas. All three women were instrumental in orchestrating mission success in the Wyoming National Guard.


“You have to high a pretty high confidence level and a very strong will to overcome and continue to work at it until you get it right,” said Campbell about holding leadership positions in the organization.


The journey of these three Wyoming National Guard women have common themes: supportive parents, solid work ethic, people-first mentality and willingness to take assignments.


“Whenever I was asked to take a job, work longer hours, or pick up an extra task, I always said yes. The best part about doing that was the relationships I built,” said Fowler.


“Work hard. Take jobs no one else wants and see them as opportunities. I’ve taken jobs that weren’t desirable or sexy. I worked hard because I had a strong desire to make a difference and I would think ‘Wow, here’s a job where I can really make a difference and contribute,’” said Maas.


Campbell said she has seen women’s roles in the military mature since joining in 1980. “We are better at our jobs now then (our organization has) ever been, and I think women are a big part of that. There are more opportunities for leadership and a greater understanding of all the great things that women bring to the mission and the workplace.”


Fowler agreed. “The Wyoming National Guard will always get the job done. Always. You don’t even have to ask them to do the job, they just do. You just need to take care of people. Over the span of my career, the thing I am most proud of is that I took care of people,” she said.


 “We train our women to be strong. We encourage them to be strong. And they are,” said Maas.


MARCH 21, 2017












APRIL 18, 2017 (LANDER)

APRIL 19, 2017 (RIVERTON) 



Young girl found dead at residence

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Lander Police and emergency personnel were called to an address on Washington Street on Friday to a report of a 14 year old girl who was not breathing and was stiff.

Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen has said an autopsy of the girl's body has been performed and the results of that autopsy are not yet available.

The girl was identified as Millani Watt, from Arapaho, by the Coroner.  No other information is available and her death is still being investigated by the Lander Police Department and the Fremont County Coroner’s office.


Former Laramie school bus driver faces sex assault charges

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A 20-year-old former school bus driver in Laramie has been charged with sexually assaulting two teens.

Matthew Allyn Strom was charged with five counts of sexual assault in the first degree, four counts of sexual assault in the second degree and one count of kidnapping.

Strom is scheduled to appear for an arraignment in District Court on March 28.

Albany County School District Superintendent Jubal Yennie confirmed Monday that Strom was a district school bus driver who was terminated in February.


Veteran healthcare executive tapped to lead two-hospital system

(LANDER, Wyo.)  SageWest Health Care announced today that Alan Daugherty has been named the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the Lander and Riverton hospitals, effective April 3.

Daugherty most recently served as CEO of Parkview Regional Hospital (PRH) and Ennis Regional Medical Center (ERMC), two LifePoint Health facilities in east Texas.


3 pounds of pot found at Lander residence

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Last week (3/14), the Lander Police Department assisted the Wyoming Department of Family Services with a welfare check at a residence in the 300 block of Washington street and discovered a large amount of illegal drugs in the presence of a minor child.

A 21 year old male at the residence, who hasn’t been named, admitted having the 3 pounds of marijuana and 67 pieces of paraphernalia used in illegal drug trafficking.

A press release from the Lander Police department says the information has been forwarded to the Fremont County Attorney’s Office for consideration of formal criminal charges.  


Electric Car Charging Station now in Lander

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Bob Borne, owner of the Breadboard in Lander, has announced the installation of an electric charging station for people with electric cars.  Borne and an electric vehicle owner partnered on the project that will charge any electric car.  Borne said that the charger is an 80 watt unit for faster charging and that charging costs $5 per hour.

Presently, only one vehicle at a time can plug in to fill up with added capacity a possibility as demand increases.  The charging station is under the awning at the Breadboard in Lander.


13 Cody teachers take early retirement amid budget woes

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Thirteen Cody School District teachers have chosen to take early retirement packages as the district struggles with budget issues.

In addition to the 13 retirements, a few other staff members resigned, leading to 15-plus open positions. Superintendent Ray Schulte says 12 certified positions will be eliminated.

Schulte says the district is making cuts in order to bring expenses in line with declining state revenue.

The district's shortfall comes from legislative cuts and continued declines in enrollment.


Winter ozone problem returns to western Wyoming gas fields

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Itchy eyes and scratchy throats blamed on high levels of wintertime ozone have returned to western Wyoming's gas patch for the first time in six years.

The ozone results from complex atmospheric chemistry involving cold temperatures, sunlight, snow on the ground and air pollution.

Average ozone levels in the Upper Green River Basin this winter exceeded the federal standard for the first time since 2011. Ozone topped the standard on seven days between January and March.

Environmentalists say the gas industry needs to do more to reduce air pollution. The basin is home to two of the largest U.S. gas fields, the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field.

Industry officials say they've already reduced pollution substantially and that other sources including wood stoves and idling cars may play a significant role.


Wyoming oil-gas auction brings in $30M, most since 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An online auction of rights to drill on Wyoming state lands has brought in almost $30 million, the most since oil and gas were booming six years ago.

The auction took place over a week. The revenue will help Wyoming during a downturn in the oil and gas market that has depressed state revenue.

Beneficiaries include the state's common school fund, which gets over $26 million.

State officials say 70 bidders sought the right to drill on almost 86,000 acres in 11 counties. The bidders nominated the leases offered and all 197 leases sold.


Wyoming advances in CBI

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming remains alive in the College Basketball Invitational tournament and will host another game.

The Cowboys held Missouri-Kansas City to 34 percent from the field and 16 points below their season scoring average in a 72-61 quarterfinal win Monday night in Laramie. Guard Justin James led Wyoming with 21 points.

Wyoming will now host Utah Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.

Wyoming now has 20 wins this season for the 22nd 20-win season in school history.

Head coach Allen Edwards also became only the second Cowboys head coach to record 20 wins in their first season. Benny Dees had 26 wins in his first season in 1987-88.


Wyoming opens spring practice Tuesday afternoon

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Fourth-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl is set to open spring practice after the Cowboys made big strides on the field last year.

Spring practice opens Tuesday afternoon in Laramie.

The Cowboys are coming off a season that saw them host the Mountain West Championship Game and earn a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl.

The Cowboys are allowed 15 spring practices, which will be spread over five weeks.

One of the five Saturday practices will be a practice open to fans to be held at Natrona County High School in Casper on April 8, weather permitting.

The other open practice will be the spring game on Saturday, April 22, at 2 p.m. in War Memorial Stadium.


Charges filed in Casper radio host's motorcycle death

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper man is charged with negligent homicide in the death of a well-known radio host who died in a motorcycle crash.

William Michael Spicer faces the charge in Montana's Judith Basin County where K2 Radio morning show host Brian Scott Gamroth died in September.

Spicer also is charged with speeding. Spicer pleaded not guilty to both counts during his initial appearance Monday.

Spicer's attorney couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday.

The crash happened soon after Spicer and Gamroth passed several other vehicles on their motorcycles. Prosecutors say Spicer's bike made contact with Gamroth's, causing Gamroth to crash into a ditch and strike a post.

Gamroth died at the scene.

Negligent homicide is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.


Man gets 45 to 60 years for attempted sexual assault

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A registered sex offender has been sentenced to 45 to 60 years in prison after admitting he hit a Cheyenne woman in the head with a rock, hoping to knock her out so he could have sex with her.

47-year-old Richard Megeath was sentenced Friday soon after pleading guilty the attempted sexual assault of a woman in November 2016.

Court records say Megeath was convicted of second-degree attempted sexual assault in 2005 and aggravated assault and battery in 1994. He pleaded guilty in July 2016 to failing to update his sex offender registration.

District Judge Thomas Campbell told Megeath that whatever is wrong with him is "so serious, so dark and so unpredictable ... it would justify any sentence this court would impose." However, Campbell followed the plea agreement.


Self-defense option sought in Wyoming high court murder case

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has heard arguments in the case of a man convicted of first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing a man to death in Laramie.

Attorneys for 31-year-old John Michael Schnitker argued Thursday he had the right to claim self-defense in the death of 59-year-old Clinton Gartman in 2015.

The high court took the arguments under advisement and will rule later.

Prosecutors say the confrontation happened after Schnitker began rummaging through Gartman's truck on Gartman's property. Gartman confronted Schnitker with an axe and Schnitker allegedly stabbed Gartman with a knife from the truck.

Gartman died later at a hospital.

A jury last year convicted Schnitker of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Jurors also convicted him of battery for attacking another man earlier that day.


Cheyenne man gets 18-20 years in prison for baby's death

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Cheyenne man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 13-month-old boy has been sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison.

23-year-old Logan Rogers was sentenced Friday for the death of 13-month-old Silas Ojeda. Silas is believed to have died around Oct. 21, and Rogers is accused of disposing of the body in a trash bin.

Searches of a landfill in Ault, Colorado, as well as various places around Cheyenne, failed to turn up any remains.

Rogers told the court in November he had used methamphetamine around the time Silas died, and that the boy fell off a counter and appeared to have suffered a concussion.

But he said Friday that his plea was coerced, and the boy is still alive.

Silas was the son of Rogers' girlfriend at the time.


Landslide fracturing US 89/26 south of Jackson

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A landslide is fracturing a stretch of U.S. Highway 89/26 south of Jackson, causing travel delays.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation was able to reopen a stretch of the road in the Snake River Canyon over the weekend by building a temporary lane, but speeds are still reduced.

The road was closed from 8 p.m. Friday until 3 p.m. Saturday while crews built the temporary lane by filling a drainage ditch with dirt, topping it with reinforcing grid and gravel and then road base. Maintenance foreman Bruce Daigle said the temporary lane will have to be maintained every few days because of heavy traffic.

DOT geologist Kirk Hood says with all the moisture in the ground, the dirt lost strength and is sliding toward the Snake River.


Wyoming Air Force base mulls development on vacant land

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Officials at a U.S. Air Force base in Wyoming want to develop about 74 acres of nearby vacant land.

Leaders at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne have already taken several steps toward development on the base's southern boundary, but haven't yet decided what the land will be used for.

Col. Frank Verdugo, the base's mission support group commander, says the possibilities are open. He says the opportunity to develop the land comes through the Air Force Community Partnership Program and an enhanced use lease.

The base's community planner, Todd Eldridge, says a groundbreaking will likely take place in late 2018 or the start of 2019.


Springtime plowing to begin in Grand Teton

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Crews will get to work plowing the main road through Grand Teton National Park today (Monday).

Plowing will end skiing on Teton Park Road but begins a period every year when the pavement becomes accessible to people on bikes or on foot.

Until then, plowing operations will temporarily close 14 miles of road from Taggart Lake trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge.

People will still be able to ski and snowshoe next to the road during plowing but park officials advise watching out for snow being thrown by plowing equipment.

The road will open up to vehicle traffic May 1.


To aid ferrets, vaccine treats planned for prairie dogs

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Feeding vaccine nuggets to prairie dogs could help bring back a species of prairie weasel that almost went extinct.

Scientists thought the black-footed ferret was extinct until a Wyoming ranch dog brought a ferret home in 1981.

One of the biggest barriers to restoring the black-footed ferret to Western ranges is plague, a disease that kills prairie dogs by the thousand. Black-footed ferrets feed almost exclusively on prairie dogs, meaning plague can leave ferrets without enough to eat.

To help black-footed ferrets, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others plan to vaccinate prairie dogs against plague in several Western states later this year.

They will use all-terrain vehicles and possibly drones to disperse vaccine pellets across as much as 40 square miles of ferret habitat.


Moose numbers strong despite tough Jackson Hole winter

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The moose population in Jackson Hole remains strong despite a tough winter.

Wildlife biologist Aly Courtemanch estimates 346 moose are in the area, up from 231 last winter and the most since 2010.

Still, the number is well below the Wyoming Game and Fish Department goal of 800 animals for the valley.

Deep snow this winter has been hard on elk and pronghorn in Jackson Hole. Courtemanch says moose typically fare better in cold temperatures and deep snow than other ungulates.


Sheridan JCPenney among 138 store closures nationwide

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — The JCPenney store in Sheridan will be among 138 locations the retailer plans to close amid tough competition from online sales.

JCPenney got its start in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. The closings don't include the JCPenney Museum and Mother Store in Kemmerer and other locations around Wyoming.

Liquidation of the affected stores will begin April 17 and 5,000 jobs will be cut or otherwise affected.


Decision on Wyoming state pen's fate could be made in June

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers expect to decide in June what to do about the deteriorating Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins.

Shifting soil is causing concrete in the 16-year-old prison to settle and crack on a major scale. Options include trying to repair the structural issues, rebuilding the prison nearby, or some combination of those two approaches.

A task force appointed by Gov. Matt Mead last year recommended repairing the facility.

State Rep. Don Burkhart of Rawlins said the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee plans to meet in Rawlins in June to tour the penitentiary and decide how to move forward.

He says the prison will remain in Rawlins no matter what the lawmakers decide. He estimates the project will cost between $100 million and $400 million.


Warm temperatures melting low-level snow

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — The National Weather Service says rapid snowmelt below 7,500 feet is possible across western and southwest Wyoming because of warm temperatures.

As a result, minor flooding could occur along creeks and streams and low-lying ranchland, especially on Saturday when the warmest temperatures of the week are expected.

Snowmelt and ice jams have been causing some flooding this week, especially near the confluence of the Hams Fork and Blacks Fork Rivers near the town of Granger in western Sweetwater County.

In addition, fire weather conditions will be elevated on Saturday in southeast Fremont, Natrona, and southern Johnson counties.


New Wyoming Catholic bishop named

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Roman Catholics in Wyoming have a new bishop.

Pope Francis announced Thursday the appointment of The Most Reverend Steven Biegler as the ninth bishop of Cheyenne.

According to a news release, Biegler will take over the Diocese of Cheyenne on June 5.

The 57-year-old Biegler is currently pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City, South Dakota, as well asthe vicar general for the Diocese of Rapid City.

Biegler is originally from Mobridge, South Dakota.

The Cheyenne Diocese has been without a bishop since last November.

Established in 1887, the Diocese of Cheyenne has over 54,000 Catholics, 37 parishes and 35 missions.


Democrats Prepare for Party Elections

(Lander, Wyo.)   Over the next few months the Fremont County Democratic Party and the Wyoming Democratic Party will be electing leaders to forge the way to 2018 elections. 

The Fremont County Party elections will take place on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at the Lander Library, 244 Amoretti, starting at 1:00 p.m. Election of county and state leadership will take place in March and April, respectively. 

In March, Precinct committeemen and women, who make up the voting members of a county’s central committee, will vote for their county’s Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and a State Committeeman and Committeewoman. Any registered Democrat may run for an officer position. 


Korean War vets to get last round of Peace Medals

(CHEYENNE, Wyo.)  Ceremonies to award the Republic of Korea Ambassador for Peace Medal to Wyoming’s Korean War veterans or their surviving family members will take place across Wyoming on Monday, March 20.

Korean Consul General ShinChae-Hyun, Gov. Matthew Mead, Wyoming Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner and Wyoming Veterans Commission Chairman Linda Allgeier will present the medals during the ceremonies.

Ceremony locations are being held in Cheyenne, Casper and at 2:30 p.m. at the Lander Community Center.

The brief ceremony will feature a video presentation from the Korean government and remarks by local officials. Veterans receiving the medals have been notified of the events and no additional medals are available.


Shoshone National Forest to Hold Public Meetings on Travel Management

(LANDER, Wyo.)  The Shoshone National Forest will hold a public meeting Monday (March 20th)  to discuss the status of the travel management planning process.

During the meeting, the Shoshone National Forest will update the public as to why there has been a pause in the process, explain the next steps in developing a minimum road system, and present an updated timeline for the process.

The Meeting will be held at the Tuesday (March 21), at the Lander Community Center, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


More Wyoming residents select marketplace health plans

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — More Wyoming residents are selecting health insurance plans from the Affordable Care Act marketplace even as lawmakers consider repealing the act.

Data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Wednesday shows that nearly 25,000 Wyoming residents purchased health plans from the marketplace, a 4 percent increase from last year.

The increased number comes as Congress considers legislation to overhaul President Barack Obama's health care law, including aspects of the insurance exchange.

Tracy Brosius of Wyoming Institute of Population Health, which oversees a program that helps people obtain insurance through the exchange says about 20 percent of the people she worked with were new to the exchange. Many had job changes or lost their insurance or were nearing the age of 26.


Casper reviewing sexual assault policy after complaints

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Casper police are reviewing how they handle sex assault cases after multiple complaints from women about how their cases were handled.

Police Chief Jim Wetzel said Thursday that the department is looking at better enforcement of existing policies as well as areas where changes could be made.

Wetzel said that the department has studied changes police in Missoula, Montana made after the Justice Department reviewed its handling of sexual assault cases.

Casper's current policy requires detectives to review a case and decide the next step within a week but one woman told city leaders it took about three weeks in her case.

City councilwoman Amanda Huckabay said the chief's comments were "lip service" and said the council hasn't been told about any policy review.




Travis Becker (Chairman), Larry Allen (Vice-Chairman), Ray Price, Jennifer McCarty and Clarence Thomas

MARCH 21, 2017

9:00 A.M.:             

A.            CALL TO ORDER

B.             QUORUM PRESENT


D.            OPENING PRAYER





I.              SIGNATURE FILE

J.              COMMUNICATIONS 


 9:15 A.M.:             PUBLIC COMMENT 






10:20 A.M.         BREAK 



12:00 P.M.:           LUNCH 





PROTOCOL REMINDERS:  Silence cell phones – Address the Chairman – State your name for the record


Lander crash fatalities identified

LANDER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities have released the names of the three Wyoming residents killed in a two-vehicle crash in Fremont County.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says 18-year-old Darion Wheeler, of Lander, 15-year-old Destinee Wheeler, of Hudson, and 20-year-old Paul McEwan, of Greybull, all died in the crash Tuesday night on Highway 789, about 2 miles north of Lander.

The patrol says all three victims were traveling northbound in a 2003 Honda Pilot SUV driven by Darion Wheeler when the vehicle failed to negotiate a left-hand curve and was overcorrected. The SUV went into a counter-clockwise spin and entered the southbound lanes where it collided with a southbound 1993 Chevrolet driven by 42 year old Riverton resident Brian Rhodes.  He was hospitalized in Lander.  His injuries were extensive and his current condition isn’t known.

Darion Wheeler was wearing his seat belt and was not ejected. Paul McEwan, Destinee Wheeler, and Brian Rhodes were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and were not ejected.  

Excessive speed and driver inattention are being investigated as contributing factors.


Fontenelle expansion wins US House passage

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. House has passed a measure to expand the water storage at Fontenelle Reservoir in southwest Wyoming.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says the proposal now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The state's congressional delegation has been pressing for the legislation, saying that the expansion of the reservoir's storage is important to maintaining a reliable water supply in the region and would help boost the local economy.

The Bureau of Reclamation oversees operation of the Fontenelle Reservoir.

The proposed expansion would be accomplished by completing "rip rap" around the reservoir. Rip rap is a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete connected together around the reservoir to prevent erosion.


Casper restores electronics recycling program amid criticism

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — After criticism from residents, the Casper City Council has voted to restore the city's electronic waste recycling program.

The council voted Tuesday to contract to recycle electronic waste rather than start dumping it in a landfill. City staff will prepare a new contract for future approval.

Last month, the council rejected a contract to renew the recycling program, which is mandated by city law. The council initially declined the revisit the issue, but Mayor Kenyne Humphrey decided to bring the program back up for discussion.

The contract was rejected as a cost-saving measure. It called for the city to spend as much as %57,000 annually to have electronic waste shipped to Denver to be recycled.


Wyoming trooper accused of stalking woman

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Prosecutors say a 31-year-old Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper stalked a woman while on duty in his patrol vehicle.

Robert D. King has been charged with felony stalking, felony property destruction and misdemeanor protection order violation.

King, who remains in custody, had his first court appearance on Wednesday. Magistrate Ericka Smith set King's bail at $5,000 cash.

King's attorney, Alan Harding of Laramie, indicated King will contest the charges.

King has been on paid administrative leave from the patrol since Feb. 17.

Charging documents say a GPS system installed in King's patrol car shows that King constantly drove through the woman's neighborhood. They also accuse King of following the woman in his patrol car and keying a car outside her house.


Calling it 'murky,' Mead vetoes government-meetings gun bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead has vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed firearms into government meetings.

Mead said in his veto message Wednesday the bill is murky and could have allowed concealed weapons into local government meetings but not state legislative meetings.

Proponents said the measure was needed as a safety measure to protect against people who would start shooting at a government meeting.

Lawmakers considered but decided against changing the bill to allow local officials to decide whether or not they wanted concealed firearms in their meetings. Mead also sided with those opponents, saying Wyoming values government closest to the people.

He urged lawmakers to consider studying the issue over the interim.

Mead signed into law another bill allowing school officials to carry guns in schools.


Jackson struggles to attract and keep public employees

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — When winter weather conditions closed almost every road in out of Jackson last month, Teton County was left without most of its first responders because they couldn't get to work.

Most of Teton County's public employees live outside the county because the cost of living in Jackson Hole is too expensive.

Only three of the 23 patrol deputies with the Teton County Sheriff's Office live locally. A dozen of the 31 sworn officers of the Jackson Police Department call Teton County home.

Sheriff Jim Whalen says the main problem is the high cost of housing in Jackson Hole.

The town and county help provide rental housing for employees, but it's inadequate and doesn't always meet the needs of the employee.


First confirmed grizzly bear sighting in Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park has confirmed its first sighting of a grizzly bear to have emerged from winter hibernation.

The National Park Service says the bear was spotted early Wednesday by a park employee in an area between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt in the northern part of the park.

Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.

Grizzly bear tracks have been observed in Yellowstone since Feb. 22 but no bears have been seen until now.


Wyoming hosts Missouri-Kansas City on Monday in CBI

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will host another game in the College Basketball Invitational tournament.

The Cowboys beat Eastern Washington 91-81 Wednesday in the first round. Justin James led Wyoming with 19 points.

On Monday, Wyoming will host Missouri-Kansas City at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium in a quarterfinal game.

Minutes from the Fremont County Commission meeting

MARCH 14, 2017









APRIL 18, 2017 (LANDER)



Auto accident claims lives outside of Lander

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Emergency crews were called to the scene of a two vehicle accident on Wyoming Highway 789 about a mile outside of Lander at Mile Post 84 around 8:30 last night (Tuesday).

There were three fatalities.  The Wyoming Highway Patrol said an 18 year old male resident of Lander, a 20 year old male resident of Greybull, Wyoming, and a 15 year old female resident of Hudson, Wyoming, all sustained fatal injuries on scene from the crash.   

All three of the fatalities were traveling together northbound on WY-789 in a 2003 Honda Pilot SUV. The SUV failed to properly negotiate a left-hand curve in the highway as the vehicle drifted to the east. The SUV was overcorrected sending the SUV into a counter-clockwise spin. During the spin, the SUV entered the southbound lanes of WY-789 and collided with a southbound  1993 Chevrolet Silverado. 

Excessive speed and driver inattention are being investigated as the contributing factors in the crash.

Next-of-Kin notifications have not been confirmed, so names haven’t been released yet.


Advocates welcome signing of Native American education bill

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The recent signing of a bill that will help educate future generations about Wyoming's native population is being praised by advocates who pushed for years to get it passed.

Gov. Matt Mead signed the bill last week.

The legislation provides education materials for the 48 school districts across the state. The resources will be created with consultation from tribes of the region, including the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone

Jason Baldes, of the Wind River Native Advocacy Center, says working to get the bill passed was a formative experience for him. He credited Native Americans' presence at the Legislature for helping get the bill to Mead's desk.

Baldes suggested the education materials should cover issues such as tribal sovereignty and the Lewis and Clark expedition.


Wyoming State Winter Fair wraps up

(LANDER, Wyo.)  The 50th Anniversary of the Wyoming State Winter Fair wrapped up this past weekend.

The event saw a steady influx of fair goers to see the many entertaining shows and various vendors throughout the Field House in Lander.

The Fair Board chose a Queen of the event, a 50 year veteran of the fair, Marlene Young who has been a faithful volunteer for 50 years holding offices for approximately 20 years and the other 30 years working the event.


Trooper arrested on suspicion of violating protection order

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper has been arrested on suspicion of violating an order of protection by reportedly throwing rocks at a woman's house.

Cheyenne police arrested 31-year-old Robert King at about 11 p.m. Monday.

Police spokesman Kevin Malatesta says King was the focus of a felony vandalism investigation that began on Feb. 16. The patrol suspended him with pay the next day. Malatesta says officers have forwarded the results of the vandalism investigation to the Laramie County District Attorney's office for review and potential prosecution.

Malatesta wouldn't say why the woman obtained the protection order or whether it had anything to do with the February incident.

King was scheduled to make an initial appearance in Laramie County Circuit Court on Wednesday. He has been a trooper since December 2008.


Traffic delays resume on Wind River Canyon rockfall project

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Traffic delays of up to 15 minutes have resumed on U.S. 20/Wyoming 789 through Wind River Canyon as scaling of rocks, cleaning culverts, reshaping ditches and other work work continues.

The work is in response to the Memorial Day weekend flooding and mud slides of 2015.

Wilson Brothers Construction, Inc., of Cowley is the prime contractor on the $840,000 project.

The work within Wind River Canyon is happening between mileposts 116.80 (near the tunnels) and 126.82 (about six miles south of Thermopolis). All work is dependent upon favorable weather and favorable road conditions.

According to Wyoming Department of Transportation project engineer Andy Freeman of Thermopolis, "By contract, traffic stop delays will total 15 minutes throughout the project,". "Please plan accordingly if traveling through Wind River Canyon is part of your trip."

The Wyoming Transportation Commission awarded the project to Wilson Brothers Construction, Inc., at its September 2016 meeting. Contract completion date is May 31, 2017.


KOVE Transmitter work may take the station off-air today

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Today (Thursday) KOVE will likely be off the air for an hour or less as the transmitter building is lifted and a raised foundation is installed.

In February flood waters entered the building and could have destroyed the transmitter if station owner Joe Kenney hadn’t cut the power to the building prior to flood waters entering. 

Today, a crane will lift the building while the new foundation is laid out.  Any off air time should be minimal.


St. Patricks Day enhanced traffic safety planned

(LANDER, Wyo.)  St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s biggest times to celebrate and party. Unfortunately, too many people are taking to the roads after drinking alcohol, making the holiday one of our most dangerous.

 In fact, 30 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) in 2015, and that was a Tuesday celebration. This year’s celebration lands on a Friday.

 That’s why Fremont County Law Enforcement is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reach all drivers with an important life-saving message and warning: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

According to NHTSA, 252 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2011-2015. More than a fourth of them were killed in drunk driving crashes that occurred in the early morning, post-party hours (midnight to 5:59 a.m.). 

“These needless deaths could have been prevented,” according to Captain Todd Byerly of the Riverton Police Department. He added that “Planning a sober ride home before the party begins is the first step in staying safe on St. Patrick’s Day.


Out of state resident fined for claiming residency to hunt

(GREEN RIVER, Wyo.)  A Utah man found out what happens when you claim residency in three states in order, to buy resident hunting and fishing licenses. 


Wyoming Game and Fish Department Southwest Access Yes Coordinator Andy Countryman contacted Timothy Haws in the fall, while he was elk hunting on his resident general elk license on the Red Dugway Road in Uinta County. Haws stated he lived in Lyman, Wyoming. However, during Countryman’s contact with Haws, several concerns led him to investigate further into his residency status. 

The case was finalized on December 8th, 2016,” Countryman said. “Haws pled guilty to five counts of false swearing to obtain resident Wyoming hunting and fishing licenses from the years 2011-2015. The Uinta County court sentenced Haws to pay $10,880 in fines and restitution and he will have to serve five consecutive days in the Uinta County Detention Center. Also, he will have all Game and Fish license privileges suspended for 10 years and will be entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact agreement of 45 states.” 


Kentucky men fined for televised poaching of elk in Wyoming

DOUGLAS, Wyo. (AP) — Two Kentucky men on a cable television hunting show have been fined nearly $31,000 and have lost their hunting privileges for 15 years for poaching two bull elk in southeastern Wyoming in 2014.

The case came to light when someone watching "Hunting in the Sticks" reported the men appeared to have killed elk in the wrong hunting district.

Game and Fish investigator Mike Ehlebracht says he believes 37-year-old Ricky J. Mills and 25-year-old Jimmy G. Duncan were driven to get "kill shot footage" and it led them to make bad decisions.

Investigators say the men from Bedford, Kentucky, eventually confessed. Wildlife officials say Duncan also poached an antelope in 2013.

The men pleaded guilty Monday. Duncan was ordered to pay $17,500 in fines and restitution while Mills was ordered to pay $13,460.


Fire breaks out at Rock Springs Pet Store

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Reports are still coming in of a large structure fire in Rock Springs that broke out last night at a pet store.

The fire, at Zoobecks Pets and Supplies, started in the basement late last night, and pictures of the blaze show smoke billowing out of the second story windows as firemen battle the blaze.

Pet store owner Jim Rubeck was quoted in saying that all pets inside the structure have perished.

It’s unknown how many pets were inside the building, however the size of the store suggests that the number could be significant.


Man charged with DUI, hitting house, killing 2

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. (AP) — A Green River man is charged with two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide after prosecutors say he hit a house while driving under the influence of a narcotic, killing a woman and her 1-year-old great-granddaughter.

68-year-old George Maestas made an initial court appearance Monday. He also is charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury for the crash Friday morning. He did not enter a plea.

His bail was set at $1 million and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 20.

Maestas is charged in the deaths of 62-year-old Debra Devries and Stella Doak. Three others were injured.

Court records say Maestas told officers someone gave him a prescription narcotic at about 2 a.m. Friday and that he drank some Nyquil before going to bed.


Man killed in snowmobile crash in northwestern Wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a man was killed in a snowmobile crash near Togwotee Pass in northwestern Wyoming.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. David Wagener says 74-year-old Gerald Walters, of Ten Sleep, accidentally rode off a 10-foot snowbank and landed on U.S. Highway 26 about 6 miles east of Togwotee Mountain Lodge on Sunday afternoon. Emergency responders were unable to revive the man.

Investigators say Walters' unfamiliarity with the area could have played a role in the crash.

He was wearing a helmet at the time.


Governor signs education funding compromise

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead has approved a compromise state K-12 education spending plan that cuts $34.5 million from schools.

The governor signed the legislation Monday. Lawmakers declined proposals to increase taxes to raise new money for education.

Fixing an education funding shortfall on track to top $380 million a year was one of Mead's top hopes for the eight-week session that ended earlier March 3.

The state has lost millions in revenue because of the downturn in the coal, oil and natural gas extraction industry. Wyoming funds a lot of its public education from taxes and other sources of income derived from the industry.

The legislation creates a special committee to work on how to fund Wyoming schools in the future.


Snowmelt causes flooding in southwest Wyoming

GRANGER, Wyo. (AP) — Flooding along the Blacks Fork River in southwest Wyoming forced the evacuation of about 40 residents in the small town of Granger.

Runoff from melting snow sent the river to record levels late Sunday. The river hit 12.5 feet at Little America. The previous record was 11.2 feet on March 13, 1997.

The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office says a trailer court in Granger had to be evacuated over the weekend because of the high water. The water had receded some Monday but residents remain out of their homes until authorities determined it was safe to return.


Input sought in effort to review Wyoming math standards

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Education is undertaking a review of the state's K-12 math standards.

The math standards establish what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level and by the time they graduate.

The department is inviting parents, teachers, school board members and others to apply to join a standards review committee.

The committee will meet for at least two days between June and August, though it may meet more in 2018.

Education department spokeswoman Kari Eakins says the current math standards were put in place in 2012 and are being reviewed now following a timeline approved by the state's Board of Education.


Hypothermia caused death of Powell man

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — The Park County Sheriff's Office says a 61-year-old Powell Tribune reporter whose body was found over the weekend in northern Wyoming died of hypothermia.

Gibson "Gib" Mathers, of Powell, was found Saturday by a local man riding a horse in the area about 2 miles south of U.S. Highway 14/16/20.

Mathers had been missing since Jan. 31.

The Powell Tribune reports that investigators found no evidence of foul play, no apparent injuries and no predation on the body.


911 outage hits parts of Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Parts of Wyoming temporarily lost 911 service on Monday.

Chris Petry of the Wyoming Public Service Commission says the outage Monday morning affected Natrona, Campbell, Fremont, Sheridan and Johnson counties.

Petry says CenturyLink has made temporary fixes to restore part of the service and is working on a permanent repair.

He says he doesn't know what caused the outage.


Cody jerky company could beef up operations with state help

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Cody company is seeking about $940,000 in financial help from the state so it can beef up sales of its jerky products.

However, Wyoming Authentic Products already benefited from state aid when it started up, and some believe the company should now foot the costs of expansion itself.

A divided Wyoming Business Council approved the proposed financing in the form of a $750,000 grant and a loan of about $190,000 last week.

Wyoming Authentic Products benefited in the beginning of its operations with the help of a $1.2 million state grant in 2011.

The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board will make the final decision in April on whether to approve the new financial request.


Wyoming gets WNIT big

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Cowgirls are back in the Women's National Invitation Tournament.

Wyoming received and accepted a bid from the tournament on Monday evening.

The Cowgirls will host Seattle on Thursday in a first round game. The game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

The Cowgirls capped off the year with a 21-9 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Mountain West to place second in the league. The 13 victories were the most conference wins in program history and it was the eighth time under head coach Joe Legerski with 20-plus wins in a season.

Wyoming will be playing in the WNIT for the sixth time during Legerski's tenure and the first since 2013.

Wyoming won the 2007 WNIT title.



Man dies in snowmobile crash in northwestern Wyoming

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A man in his 70s has died in a snowmobile crash near Togwotee Pass in northwestern Wyoming.

Teton County Sheriff Jim Whalen said the man went off a snowbank on Sunday afternoon and landed on US Highway 26 about 6 miles east of Togwotee Mountain Lodge. Emergency responders were unable to revive him.

The man's name and hometown haven't been released.

The case is being investigated by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.


Green River Man slams into home, killing one, injuring others

GREEN RIVER — A vehicle collision over the weekend with a residence in Green River has resulted in one adult female succumbing to her injuries. Two other adults and a child remain hospitalized.

The driver, 68 year old George Maestas of Green River, was subsequently arrested for homicide by vehicle and driving while under the influence causing serious bodily injury.

The cause and contributing factors of the crash are still under investigation.


Former Judge passes away

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Former Lander Judge Elizabeth (Betty) Kail passed away this weekend.

Kail, who was 81, was Wyoming's first female county court judge and first district court judge, spending many of her years of service in the Lander area.

Her family said she passed away peacefully. 

Funeral are planned for Thursday.


Casper man killed in Laramie crash after police pursuit

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a 22-year-old man has died after a vehicle led police on a high-speed chase and crashed in southeast Wyoming.

Nathan Pieper died after the Friday crash in Laramie. The Casper man was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Tyler Lane, who was arrested on suspicion of aggravated vehicular homicide and driving while impaired.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says a Laramie officer tried stopping the Ford Mustang that Lane was driving because the vehicle's headlights were not on.

Authorities say Lane eluded the officer and struck a piece of wood while trying to use an Interstate 80 on-ramp.

The car slid, left the roadway and rolled.

Pieper was ejected from the vehicle and taken to a hospital where he died.

Lane and another 21-year-old passenger were hospitalized and later released.


Wyoming Supreme Court affirms Sen sentencing in 2009 murder

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of a man who was 15 years old when he killed a Sheridan businessman eight years ago.

Dharminder Vir Sen was sentenced to serve at least 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole in the home-invasion murder of Robert Ernst in 2009.

He was convicted of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and aggravated burglary.

Sen argued that the 35-year sentence amounts to a life sentence and is unconstitutional.

It was one of several appeals Sen has filed challenging his sentence. He originally was sentenced to life in prison without parole. The Wyoming Supreme ordered him resentenced because of federal court rulings affecting life sentences for juvenile offenders.


Wild horse gather in the works in southwest Wyoming

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to remove about 1,000 wild horses from three herd management areas in southwest Wyoming in order to comply with population level objectives.

The BLM plans to remove 210 horses from Adobe Town, 584 from Salt Wells Creek and 235 from Great Divide Basin.

Kimberlee Foster, of the Rock Springs BLM field office, says the gathered horses will go to the Rock Springs Holding Facility where they will be put up for adoption.

The BLM is accepting public comment until April 4 on its horse roundup plan.


Officials start monitoring mule deer in southern Wyoming

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife officials are outfitting a mule deer herd in southern Wyoming with GPS collars to learn more about how the animals move throughout the year.

The study of the Sheep Mountain Mule Deer Herd is part of a long-term effort to bolster the herd, which occupies an area west of Laramie from the Colorado border north to Hanna.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured and collared 60 does over the last several weeks.

Biologist Lee Knox says wildlife managers are looking to identify the herd's migration routes, winter ranges and fawning grounds over the next two years. They also want to determine if any herd members cross the border into Colorado.

In 2014, the herd was estimated to have about 5,600 members. 


Former House speaker to serve as UW trustee

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Former Wyoming State House Speaker Kermit Brown will soon take a seat on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees.

Gov. Matt Mead appointed Brown, of Laramie, to the board and the state Senate confirmed his appointment recently.

Brown is expected to begin serving a six-year term on the 12-member UW Board of Trustees at its March meeting.

Brown said serving on the board was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. He is an attorney and graduated from the UW College of Law in 1973.

UW trustees face some of the most significant challenges in the institution's history. UW is working to weather $42 million in state funding cuts and changes.

Before those cuts are over, UW's leaders expect to lose anywhere from 250 to 400 positions.


More troopers brought in to patrol Wyoming-Idaho road

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities are stepping up traffic enforcement along a stretch of roadway in western Wyoming in response to semitrailers ignoring the seasonal closure of Teton Pass.

Lt. Matt Brackin said Wyoming Highway Patrol has been using new technology for about a year that alerts troopers to the semitrailers.

Teton Pass is closed to all tractor-trailer traffic from Nov. 15 to April 1 every year.

Brackin says many truck drivers have been ignoring the visible warnings, resulting in crashes or fines.

He says the patrol is bringing in additional troopers to monitor the roadway, as the agency is about six troopers short in the area.

Teton Pass runs between Wilson, Wyoming, and Victor, Idaho.


Legislature directs UW to explore closing part of 15th St

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Legislature has directed the University of Wyoming to explore the possibility of closing 15th Street on campus to motor vehicle traffic as a safety measure for pedestrian students.

The section of 15th Street involved is between Willett Drive and Ivinson Avenue and is among the most heavily used roads on campus.

Data dating back to 2009 indicated that about 3,000-4,000 pedestrian crossings occur on 15th Street every day as students cross from the residence halls or Fraternity and Sorority Row.

Laramie Mayor Andi Summerville and UW vice president of governmental affairs Chris Boswell said such a project would require collaboration between the city and UW.

The Legislature directed UW to report its finding no later than Nov. 1.


Body of missing Wyoming man found

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — The body of a 61-year-old Powell Tribune reporter missing since January has been found in northern Wyoming.

The Park County Sheriff's Office says Gibson "Gib" Mathers, of Powell, was found on the North Fork about 11 a.m. Saturday by a local man riding a horse in the area.

The body was found in a location about 2 miles south of U.S. Highway 14/16/20.

Mathers had last been seen in the area on Jan. 31.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Lance Mathess says Mathers' death is under investigation.


Comment accepted on proposed UW academic fees

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming is accepting public comment until March 20 on a proposal to institute cost-based student fees for academic programs.

The proposal offers direct help to UW students through enhanced advising, career preparation, assurance of course availability and other student services.

Crafted by a subcommittee appointed by President Laurie Nichols, the proposal was discussed with UW students during a series of town hall sessions on campus last fall.

Following the public comment period and potential revision, a program fees proposal is scheduled to be presented to the UW Board of Trustees at its March 22-24 meeting.

Under the proposal, student fees would be assessed above the standard tuition rate.


 Wyoming has new state Spelling Bee champion

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Sublette County third-grader Sakiusa Meador is Wyoming's new state Spelling Bee champion.

Meador spelled "magnific" correctly on Saturday during the bee in Laramie.

He will represent Wyoming at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., later this year.

Meador beat 76 other spellers, including his brother, from 19 counties.

He made few mistakes in the 50-word written preliminary round, and no mistakes in 13 rounds of oral competition.

Hyrum Baxter of Campbell County finished second, followed by Gustavus (Orion) Aronson of Fremont County in third.


New warden for Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Corrections says Rick Catron has been selected the new warden of the Wyoming Women's Center in Lusk.

The agency says Catron will begin the job on March 27.

Corrections Department Director Bob Lampert says Catron is a native of Brush, Colorado, with 40 years of corrections experience.

Catron succeeds Warden Virginia Pullen, who retired in November, 2016.

The Wyoming Women's Center is the only adult female prison in Wyoming, with a normal operating capacity of 277 inmates.


Albany County sees uptick in felony cases filed in 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Albany County saw a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of felony criminal cases filed in 2016, with a major increase in the number of drug cases.

In 2016, 116 felony criminal cases were filed in District Court compared to 78 in 2015. Of those, 59 cases in 2016 involved at least one drug-related charge, compared to 14 in 2015.

Of the 2016 drug cases, 35 were related to marijuana and 14 cases involved methamphetamine. Only five cases involved cocaine and two involved heroin.

Albany County Sheriff Dave O'Malley says he attributes the higher number of felony charges to the legalization of marijuana in neighboring Colorado and increased efforts by state and local law enforcement.


Top federal prosecutor in Wyoming resigns from his post

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Crofts says he will resign his post as the lead federal attorney in the state.

Crofts is one of 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama who have been asked to leave their posts as part of the transition to the new Trump administration. Crofts was appointed to the post by Obama in December 2009.

In a statement, Crofts says: "It has been my distinct pleasure to work with the men and women of the Wyoming United States Attorney's Office for the past seven years. I thank them and the law enforcement community for their tireless efforts in the pursuit of justice on behalf of the citizens of Wyoming and the United States."


Wyoming to play in CBI

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming men's basketball team has accepted an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational.

The Cowboys will host Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.

The Pokes are 18-14 on the season under first-year head coach Allen Edwards.

Edwards says it's a tremendous opportunity for his team because the extra game can help propel the Cowboys into next season.

Eastern Washington heads into the game with a 22-11 overall record and finished second in the Big Sky Conference during the regular season.

Wyoming is making its fifth appearance in the 16-team CBI and first since 2014, when UW fell at Texas A&M.


First-degree murder charge filed in Riverton slaying

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed a first-degree murder charge against a Riverton man accused of killing his former roommate with a claw hammer during an argument.

27-year-old Florin Brandon Wyatt was initially charged with second-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Keith Stephenson, whose body was found in a home Sunday morning. That charge was changed to first-degree murder because prosecutors believe the slaying was premeditated.

According to an affidavit, Wyatt told investigators he and Stephenson had been arguing March 3 about the Denver Broncos when he retrieved and hid a hammer. Wyatt says Stephenson tried to hit him during an argument later than night, so he grabbed the hammer and struck the man in the head.


Firefighters celebrate law ensuring access to benefits

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead has signed into law a bill that ensures immediate access to worker's compensation for firefighters diagnosed with diseases connected to their job.

The law grants firefighters automatic access to benefits if they are diagnosed with a number of conditions that are linked to firefighting, like cardiovascular disease or certain cancers. Previously, firefighters had to prove their disease was related to their work — an arduous process during an already stressful time.

Researchers have found that firefighters are at a higher risk for certain diseases and cancers.

The law essentially flips the burden of proof. Instead of firefighters proving their illness is related to their disease, employers have to demonstrate that it is not.


(LANDER, Wyo.)  The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a Boysen Reservoir Water Information Meeting in Worland.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21, (2017) at the Elks Lodge at 604 Coburn Av. in Worland.

Topics of discussion will be current water supply conditions, the 2017 snowmelt runoff forecast and the projected reservoir operations.


Help for Health is holding a free screening

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Help for Health is holding a free community screening of the documentary “Being Mortal” on March 13th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the United Methodist Church in Riverton and March 21st from Noon to 2 at the Lander Library.  After the screening, audience members can participate in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes and end-of-life goals and preferences.  

Seventy percent of Americans say they would prefer to die at home, but nearly 70 percent die in hospitals and institutions.  Ninety percent of Americans know they should have conversations about end-of-live care, yet only 30 percent have done so.


Daylight savings time begins this weekend

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Daylight savings time begins this weekend.

Clocks will advance one hour at 2am Sunday morning.


Wyoming adopts 1st new abortion restrictions in 28 years

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead has signed into law Wyoming's first restrictions on abortion in a generation.

Doctors will need to tell women seeking abortions they're entitled to see an ultrasound of the fetus before going ahead with the procedure.

Another law prohibits using tissues from aborted fetuses for experimentation.

Mead didn't comment before signing the bills Thursday but received thanks from abortion opponents who attended the signing ceremony.

While the laws make Wyoming more restrictive on abortion, others states, such as Oklahoma, still have many more restrictions to the procedure.

Three facilities provide abortions in Wyoming. Wyoming's last abortion law, enacted in 1989, requires any minor seeking an abortion to have parental permission.

The new laws take effect July 1.


Peabody to end self-bonds, for now

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Peabody Energy will cover coal mine reclamation in Wyoming with third-party insurance rather than self-bonding.

Peabody is the last of the large coal companies using self-bonds in Wyoming to make the change.

Peabody owns the North Antelope Rochelle mine in Campbell County. It announced its decision recently to replace its self-bonds with traditional insurance to cover more than $728 million in reclamation liabilities.

The decision ends a long debate over self-bonding in the state, at least for now.

Self-bonds are reclamation obligations that a company essentially promises to pay, based on the health of a company's balance sheet.

Peabody, Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources each declared bankruptcy as the coal market tanked in 2015 and 2016.



MARCH 7, 2017

























MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2017 AT 1:30 P.M.




Travis Becker (Chairman), Larry Allen (Vice-Chairman), Ray Price, Jennifer McCarty and Clarence Thomas



MARCH 14, 2017



9:00 A.M.:              A.            CALL TO ORDER

                                                                B.             QUORUM PRESENT


D.            OPENING PRAYER





I.              SIGNATURE FILE

J.              COMMUNICATIONS




 9:15 A.M.:             PUBLIC COMMENT


9:30 A.M.:             BUDGET WORK SESSION




10:20 A.M.         BREAK






12:00 P.M.:           LUNCH










POTOCOL REMINDERS:  Silence cell phones – Address the Chairman – State your name for the record


Riverton man accused of killing former roommate with hammer

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) — A Riverton man is accused of killing his former roommate with a claw hammer during an argument.

27-year-old Florin Brandon Wyatt is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Keith Stephenson, whose body was found in a home Sunday morning.

According to an affidavit, Wyatt told investigators he and Stephenson had been arguing Friday about the Denver Broncos when he retrieved and hid a hammer. Wyatt says Stephenson tried to hit him during an argument later than night, so he grabbed the hammer and struck the man in the head.

Wyatt was found in the victim's car in Pine Bluffs on his way to Nebraska on Sunday.


Big snow portends flooding in major Wyoming river basins 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The heavy snowfall so far this winter in parts of central and western Wyoming has forecasters looking at potential spring flooding in some major watersheds that haven't seen it in decades.

National Weather Service hydrologist Jim Fahey in Riverton says parts of the Upper Green, Sweetwater and Snake river basins are seeing unusually high snowpacks and potential runoffs.

He says the Upper Green and Snake basins haven't seen this situation since the mid-1990s.

Statewide, the snowpack across Wyoming this week is 132 percent above the median for this time of year.

The snowpack in the Sweetwater River Basin is a whopping 219 percent of median.

More snow was falling Thursday in the western mountains, where a winter storm warning was posted through Friday.


Man charged with aggravated child abuse in infant's death 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Cheyenne man is charged with aggravated child abuse in the death of his 4-month-old son last year.

26-year-old Tyler L. Miller was arrested Friday and made an initial court appearance on Tuesday. He did not enter a plea. His bail was set at $10,000 cash.

Court records say Miller and the baby's mother brought the baby to the hospital on April 3, 2016. The baby had bleeding in his eyes and his brain and was having seizures so he was transferred to the Colorado hospital for treatment. He died on April 10.

Investigators say Miller was the person caring for the child at the time he was fatally injured.


Sheridan develops app to report public works issues 

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Residents of Sheridan who encounter potholes or water issues will soon be able to report those problems to the city with a few taps.

Starting March 27, residents will be able to use Connect Sheridan, a smartphone app, to report issues to the Sheridan Public Works Department.

Connect Sheridan coincides with Cityworks, the current Citizen Care Module that enables residents to enter service requests. Connect Sheridan will generate a citizen service request through the Cityworks program. Public Works staff reviews the submissions and turn them into work orders.

Utilities Director Dan Roberts and Kathy Georgeson presented the app to the City Council on Monday. The app will allow residents to report a laundry list of issues including dirty public premises, mosquito spraying, parking, snow and ice and others.


Amateur baseball league world series coming to Cheyenne 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An international youth baseball association has chosen Cheyenne to host one of its age-18-and-under world series later this year.

The Continental Amateur Baseball Association has more than 5,000 teams among its affiliates in the United States and Canada. CABA plans to hold its 18U Wood Bat World Series from Aug. 4 to Aug. 12, featuring 16 teams from across the western half of the continent.

CABA Northwest Director of Program Development Steve Avila said marquee teams from California, Canada, Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere will be at the tournament.

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr says Cheyenne was brought to CABA's attention by the Cheyenne Mustangs, a local high school-age baseball team.

Mustangs Coach Rick Thompson says the event will attract college coaches and professional scouts.

FBI announces $10K reward for information in 2007 murder

LANDER, Wyo. (AP) — The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information about a July 2007 murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

The agency is seeking information about whoever is responsible for the death of 50-year-old Kim Allen Morin of St. Michael, North Dakota, and help in locating the .22 caliber Marlin rifle officials believe was used in the killing.

Morin was last seen in the Fort Washakie area the morning of July 27, 2007. He planned to travel to Lander with his friend's son, but there's no indication he ever arrived. Morin's remains were found in October 2007 about eight miles north of Fort Washakie.

The agency has a person of interest but the case is still being investigated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI in Lander at 307-349-6458.


Riverton man charged with killing his roommate

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A 27-year-old Riverton man has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his roommate.

Florin Brandon Wyatt was located in the Cheyenne area in the victim's car on his way to Nebraska. Wyatt was initially arrested for possession of the victim's vehicle. He has not appeared in court.

Riverton Police Capt. Eric Murphy says Wyatt's roommate, a man in his 50s, was found in his residence Sunday morning. Neighbors reported they hadn't seen the man since Thursday afternoon.

The Wyoming State Crime Lab is assisting with the investigation and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. The victim's name and suspected cause of death have not been released.


New law could free up liquor licenses in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A new state law seeks to end the practice by some people purchasing a liquor license and holding onto it while its value appreciates rather than using it to operate a bar, restaurant or liquor store.

Senate File 14 was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead on Monday.

Under the old law, license owners could hold onto a permit for up to three years without using it.

The situation has led to liquor licenses selling on the secondary market for up to $300,000 and have presented a high barrier of entry for entrepreneurs looking to open a bar and even for corporate chain restaurants that require a liquor license.

The new law shortens that time to two years.


Mead signs bill to diversify economy, fund job creation

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead and Wyoming's Legislature are hoping to diversify the state's economy by encouraging business development and entrepreneurship.

On Monday Mead signed into a bill that pledges $2.5 million to stimulate new and emerging industries and to create private sector jobs.

The bill is known as the ENDOW Initiative, which stands for Economically Needed Diversification Options for Wyoming.

As Wyoming's energy industry continues to see declining revenues, state leaders say Wyoming's economy can no longer rely on the land's mineral resources to pay for the state's operating budget.

Mead says he hopes technology can become the fourth leg of Wyoming's economy, behind energy, agriculture and tourism.


Senate overturns BLM’s flawed Planning 2.0 rule

Washington, D.C. –  The Senate today voted to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule, which implemented sweeping changes to how the BLM develops resource management plans. U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., praised the vote, which they said would return power back to those who actually live near BLM lands in western states.

The resolution now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.

The Obama Administration rule, finished right before he left office, would have shifted the power away from state and local government and into the hands of Washington, D.C.  In Wyoming, almost half of the land is owned by the federal government and most of that is overseen by the BLM.   Sen. Enzi said we should be empowering state and local voices in land management processes, not trying to sideline them.


Water levels are expected to be high

(LANDER, Wyo.)  February precipitation totals across Wyoming were 165 to 175 percent of average. Precipitation numbers varied between near 290 percent of normal over the Wind River Drainage to near 70 percent of normal over the Belle Fourche River Basin in northeast Wyoming.  Current water year (October 2016 – February 2017) precipitation across Wyoming is 135 to 145 percent of average. 

Mountain snowpack across Wyoming was 125 to 135 percent of median by early March.  Snowpack "water" numbers were the highest across basins in central through southwestern Wyoming—varying between 160 to near 200 percent of median. 

The National Weather Service in Riverton said above normal (155 to near 170 percent) snowmelt streamflow volumes are expected across almost all major basins across Wyoming.  


Wyoming, Montana St to meet in 2021 on football field

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will host Montana State in a nonconference football game in 2021, the first time the two teams will meet since 2003.

The game on Sept. 4, 2021, in Laramie will be that season's opener for the Cowboys.

Wyoming and Montana State have met 19 previous times, with the Cowboys holding a 13-6 advantage in the series.

The teams have played only three times since 1950, and those last three meetings have all been won by Wyoming. The Pokes have won the last eight meetings in the series, dating back to the 1934 season. Montana State won six of the first 11 meetings in the series between 1919 and 1933.

Wyoming's 2021 nonconference schedule is now set and includes a road contest at Clemson, this year's College Football Playoff champion.


Supreme Court decides to censure but not remove judge

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has decided to censure but not remove a Pinedale judge who says her religious beliefs prevent her from presiding over same-sex marriages.

The court split 3-2 on its decision Tuesday in the case of Judge Ruth Neely. The majority says Neely violated judicial conduct code but her misconduct doesn't warrant removing her from the bench.

The dissenting judges argued that Neely didn't violate any judicial conduct code.

Neely, who's not a lawyer, is a municipal judge in Pinedale and a part-time circuit court magistrate in Sublette County.

The Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics had recommended that Neely be removed from her positions for violating state code of judicial conduct.

Neely had argued that removing her would violate her constitutional rights.


'I got a new piercing': Branch impales ski instructor's lip

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A ski instructor trying to jump between two trees on a Wyoming mountain says he crashed and ended up with an 18-inch branch impaling his lip.

Natty Hagood, who works at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, was snowboarding with friends last week. The 29-year-old tells the Idaho State Journal that at first he thought his helmet strap got pushed into his face.

But he said he soon realized it was a branch jabbing through one side of his lip and out the other.

He joked to a friend that he got a new piercing and then broke the stick shorter himself before ski patrol took him off the mountain.

Hagood says the most painful part was the numbing shots he received before doctors removed the branch and repaired the wound with 15 stitches.


The Latest: Wyoming man pleads guilty in Montana murders

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 19-year-old Wyoming man has pleaded guilty to shooting and killing a couple and wounding their daughter after the family tried to help him along a roadside on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation.

Jesus Deniz Mendoza pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Billings to killing Jason and Tana Shane and wounding their daughter near Pryor in July 2015.

The Worland man faces life in prison on two counts of second-degree murder and other crimes under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

A final sentencing decision will be up to Judge Susan Watters.

He offered no motive and denied prosecutors' claims that he asked the Shanes for money prior to the shooting.

His attorneys have said Mendoza ingested a considerable amount of the synthetic drug spice prior to his arrest.


Intense wind wreaks havoc in Rockies region

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Intense wind is wreaking havoc across the Rocky Mountain region, blowing tractor-trailers off roads and keeping an injured skier from being flown to a hospital.

Authorities warned truck drivers not to take risks with the wind topping 45 mph Tuesday. Even so, wind tipped at least four trailers along Interstate 25 south of Cheyenne near the Colorado line.

One worker was hurt when wind caused a building under construction to collapse in Greeley, Colorado. Fire officials say two other workers escaped injury.

Authorities say they called a medical helicopter to help an injured skier, but wind had grounded the aircraft. The 23-year-old skier had collided with a tree at Eldora Mountain Resort southwest of Boulder, Colorado.

The man was pronounced dead about 45 minutes after he was found.



Officials release name of victim of Cody house fire

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Officials with the Cody Fire Department have released the name of a 74-year-old man who died in a house fire.

Fire marshal Sam Wilde said Gary Hagberry died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation.

Investigators say the fire started on the second story of the house and burned unnoticed for many hours because of the home's sturdy log construction. Neighbors reported the fire at noon on Feb. 26.

The man's body was found on the second level. The cause of the fire remains unknown. The house was destroyed.


LPD identifies suspect in Pathfinder Burglary

(LANDER, Wyo.)  The Lander Police Department believes they have the man they were looking for regarding a burglary at the Pathfinder High School.

The burglary was reported on February 27th.

Detectives are not naming the man, but they said after interrogation, the suspect admitted to more burglaries including burglary from a vehicle outside the Lander Swimming Pool, debit card theft from a residence, another burglary in the county and possession of stolen property.

Formal charges haven’t been filed yet.


 Cheyenne traffic stop leads to seizure of 91 pounds of pot

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A 30-year-old California man has been arrested after authorities say they found more than 90 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a traffic stop in Wyoming.

Police had pulled the man over in Cheyenne for several traffic violations on Friday night.

A police K-9 alerted the officers to the marijuana and 91 pounds of pot was seized from the vehicle.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of felony drug possession.

Officers say the amount of marijuana seized during the stop is one of the largest busts in recent memory for the Cheyenne Police Department.


Food Insurance is affordable

DENVER – There’s a hidden threat that strikes countless unprepared Americans each year – flooding.  Unlike fire, wind, hail or most other perils, flood damage is not covered by a homeowners’ policy.  An uninsured flood loss can undo a lifetime’s worth of effort and create a mountain of bills.  Fortunately, a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy provides the defense against such losses and can ensure that a flood doesn’t bring financial ruin.

Flooding is an ever present threat; it can happen at any time and in virtually any location.  While certain areas may be more prone to flooding – especially those in coastal areas or riverine environments – history has shown that almost no place is immune to flooding.  Flooding can have many causes: a quick heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt can cause flash flooding, a blocked culvert or storm sewer drain can create flooding in a city neighborhood, or prolonged wet weather can swell streams and rivers.  Even dry conditions can pose a threat, as minimal rainfall in wildfire burn areas or drought stricken regions can create flash flooding when soils are unable absorb even slight precipitation.

The average flood insurance premium nationwide is about $700 a year, or less than $2 a day for financial protection from what could be devastating effects of a flood to one’s home or business. By purchasing a policy now, or keeping your existing policy, you have peace of mind.  As with any insurance, be sure to talk with your agent about the specifics of your policy – how much coverage you need, coverage of contents as well as structure and any other questions you might have.


Wyoming coach, players earn Mountain West honors

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming coach Joe Legerski and three members of the Cowgirl basketball team have been recognized by the Mountain West Conference for their work this season on the court.

Legerski was selected coach of the year by his peers for the second time in his career at Wyoming, while Liv Roberts, Marta Gomez and Taylor Rusk were named to the All-Conference team.

Roberts was named to the All-Mountain West and All-Defensive Teams for the first time in her career while Gomez was selected the sixth player of the year. Rusk earned a spot on the league's All-freshman team.

The Cowgirls open up play at the 2017 Mountain West Tournament on Tuesday night against Fresno State.


Legislators approve car registration fees in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have approved a bill that increases vehicle registration fees.

The bill was the final bill approved in the 2017 legislative session, which ended Friday. It now goes before Gov. Matt Mead.

Under the proposal, state fees for registering a passenger vehicle will double from $15 to $30 and motorcycle registration fees will go up from $12 to $25.

State car registration fees have not increased since 1975.

Wyoming lawmakers have also approved legislation that doubles fees for obtaining a state driver's license.

The two bills are part of an effort to free up general fund money currently going to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.


2 Casper police officers charged in child abuse case

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Two Casper police officers are charged with abusing their adopted son and daughter, who have been removed from their custody.

Laura Starnes-Wells made an initial court appearance Friday on a felony child abuse charge. She did not enter a plea. Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown set her bond at $10,000.

Sgt. Todd Wells made his initial appearance on misdemeanor child endangerment on Feb. 23.

Prosecutors say school officials filed a report with the Wyoming Department of Family Services in March 2008 expressing concerns for both children due to "extreme punishment by the mother."

The Natrona County sheriff's office began investigating in May 2016 after the girl told school officials that Starnes-Wells slapped her. The girl recounted years of abuse.

Wells and Starnes-Wells were placed on paid administrative leave in November.


Missouri men arrested in Wyoming marijuana case sentenced

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Two Missouri men caught driving a rental car with 55 pounds of marijuana in Wyoming last year have been sentenced to five years of probation.

Dominique Davis of Fulton, Missouri, and Sherdon Walters of Jefferson City, Missouri, were both sentenced to probation last week with underlying prison terms of four to five years.

Davis and Walters both previously agreed to plead guilty to drug possession and delivery charges as part of a plea deal.

Court documents say a trooper became suspicious of the 31-year-old men after stopping them in Cheyenne for driving too close to another vehicle.

Both men approved of a search of their vehicle and a K-9 helped locate the 55-pound bag of pot.

Attorneys for Davis and Walters referred to their clients' actions as bootlegging.


Compromise: Last-minute deal on Wyoming K-12 funding bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have approved an education finance bill containing more than $34 million in spending cuts but no taxes.

Fixing an education funding shortfall set top $380 million a year was one of Gov. Matt Mead's top hopes for the eight-week session.

The House voted 45-13 and the Senate 25-4 to approve the bill late Friday. The bill now heads to Mead's desk for his signature.

The cuts in the bill accompany a plan to study and revamp education funding amid weak state revenue from coal, oil and natural gas extraction. Lawmakers considered but rejected a half-cent sales tax increase to address the shortfall.

House Speaker Steve Harshman says the bill doesn't solve Wyoming's education funding crisis but is a step in that direction.


Wyo delegation applauds court decision to uphold wolf delisting

Washington, D.C. – A federal appeals court upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision to remove the gray wolf in Wyoming from the endangered species list on Friday. The Wyoming congressional delegation applauded the ruling, which overturns a lower-court ruling from 2014 that reinstated protections of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. 

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi said the ruling is a win for Wyoming and all those who have worked so hard to return management of the gray wolf to the state.   He added that the state of Wyoming has been working on this issue with local stakeholders and the federal government for years and the courts should have never blocked the delisting in the first place. He said he’s hopeful that this decision is the end of the battle and will continue to work to ensure that management will stay in the hands of the state.


Bighorn sheep transplanted in Wyoming

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — State game managers transplanted about two dozen bighorn sheep from the Lovell area in northern Wyoming to near Rawlins in the south-central part of the state.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department captured the sheep in the Devil's Canyon area and transplanted them last month to the Ferris-Seminoe area.

The Game and Fish Department wants to keep the Devil's Canyon herd between 140 and 210 animals.

But wildlife biologist Leslie Schreiber says she counted 253 sheep last July and there could be more.

Around 130-150 bighorn sheep were believed to be living in the Ferris-Seminoe area before the new sheep arrived. The objective is 300.


Bison from Iowa adapting well to new environment in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A group of bison relocated from Iowa appear to be thriving as their first winter in Wyoming comes to a close.

The 10 bison were brought to the Wind River Indian Reservation in November as part of a long-term repopulation effort. Bison once ranged widely across Fremont County.

The Eastern Shoshone tribe obtained the bison from the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.

The tribe's Jason Baldes says the bison have adapted very well to the 300 acres of Shoshone land.

He says the animals have primarily been grazing the existing forage but were fed supplemental grass hay when temperatures dropped below zero and snow storms struck the county this winter.

The tribe is open to having more bison brought to the land.


UW considers offering a tourism and recreation degree

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — In 2018, the University of Wyoming plans to offer a degree in natural resources, recreation and tourism.

Doug Wachob is the interim dean at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Wachob says he believes that no other state in the country offers the same combination of business, human dimensions, natural resources and recreation.

The degree is still in the concept and planning phase. It won't be official until it is reviewed by the faculty Senate and approved by the dean, provost and UW board of trustees.

The university already offers programs to help feed other industries in Wyoming, from education to energy.

Wachob says it's a logical extension to train students to work in the state's second largest industry.


'Antiques Roadshow' cancels Gillette stop

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — The long-running PBS television program "Antiques Roadshow" has canceled its summer stop in Gillette.

The network says in a press release that logistical issues led to the decision. It says planning is underway to reschedule a stop in Wyoming as part of a future tour.

Gillette was a last-minute addition to the show's tour that will start in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in June.

The show was planned for Aug. 19 at the Cam-plex.

Cam-plex general manager Paul Foster said that he and his staff are disappointed and had been looking forward to the exposure the show would bring the facility and Gillette.

The Cam-plex staff had been trying to book the popular TV show for at least eight years.


Water from northwest Wyoming dam could be released early

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Water managers in northwest Wyoming are considering increasing the rate at which water is released from the Jackson Lake Dam earlier than usual to clear space for what's likely to be a major runoff this spring.

Bureau of Reclamation managers have tentatively planned moving away from winter flow levels as early as this week. But a permanent release schedule is still in the works.

The bureau's water managers say the timing and intensity of the increase in water moving out of Jackson Lake depends on the agency's March snowpack and runoff forecast. As of Thursday, those records had not yet been complete.

Boosting releases into the Snake River earlier than usual isn't expected to have a big impact on fish.


Wyoming lawmakers override veto, uphold state hiring freeze

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Legislature has upheld a state hiring freeze but not certain state budget cuts that were opposed by Gov. Matt Mead.

Mead exercised his line-item veto authority Thursday and tried to block the freeze as well as cuts affecting the Wyoming Business Council, Department of Corrections and Wyoming Pipeline Authority budgets.

The House and Senate voted by wide margins Friday to keep the hiring freeze in place, including currently vacant positions in corrections.

The overrides required margins of more than 2 to 1 in both chambers.

The Legislature failed to override Mead's veto of cuts affecting the three agencies. The votes happened in the waning hours of this year's legislative session.


Yellowstone roads starting to close for spring plowing

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — Roads in Yellowstone National Park are about to start closing for spring plowing.

Park officials say the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris were the first to close on Sunday followed by the roads from Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village on Tuesday. Other park roads will follow and all roads will be closed by the end of the day March 15.

The road from the park's north entrance at Gardiner, Montana through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana will remain open.

If the weather cooperates, the closed roads are expected to reopen on April 15.


US rig count increases 2 this week to 756; Texas up 6

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by two this week to 756.

A year ago, 489 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 609 rigs sought oil and 146 explored for natural gas this week. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Texas increased by six rigs, North Dakota was up three, Louisiana gained two and Utah one.

Oklahoma declined by three, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each dropped two and Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico were off one apiece.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Ohio and West Virginia were all unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out last May at 404.


Wyoming beats San Jose State to claim seventh seed

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Hayden Dalton and Cody Kelley hit late 3-pointers to help Wyoming break away and take a 74-62 victory over San Jose State on Saturday and secure the seventh seed for the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Cowboys (18-13, 8-10) led by six with two minutes to go when Kelley and Dalton made 3-pointers less than 30 seconds apart. Kelley and Justin James added two free throws each in the final minute.

James led Wyoming with 15 points. Alan Herndon had 13, Dalton 11 and Kelley and Jeremy Lieberman 10 each. The Cowboys made 11 of 21 3-pointers, the eighth straight game they have made double-digit treys.

Brandon Clarke scored 20 points to lead the Spartans (14-15, 8-10), who have lost four straight and, as the ninth seed, will play eighth seed Utah State in the MWC Tournament's first round. Clark blocked three shots and is now alone in second place on the school career list with 114. Ryan Welage added 19 points.

Here is where you can get Sand Bags in Lander

Sandbag Station in Lander: There has been a sandbag station set up at the old Fremont Motor Company property on the hill. If you have flooding concerns the bags and sand are located there. Please be courteous to others that might need them and only use what you need. There are only so many to go around and run off season is just starting. A huge thank you to the Fremont Motor Company for the use of their property!


Wyoming governor vetoes cuts, warns about K-12 reductions

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead says some spending reductions approved by the Legislature would cut too deep and has vetoed part of a supplemental budget bill.

Mead mostly kept the bill intact but also raises concern in a letter Thursday to House Speaker Steve Harshman about $20 million in cuts to K-12 education.

Mead says the cuts could interfere with an upcoming review of the state's education funding formula, which won the approval of Wyoming courts after years of litigation.

Mead exercised his line-item veto authority to nix cuts to the Wyoming Business Council, Department of Corrections and Wyoming Pipeline Authority, saying they've already experienced major cuts. He also vetoed the Wyoming Water Development Commission budget, which also has come under scrutiny.

The supplemental budget modifies the state's two-year budget.


Legislature OKs bill to educate students on Native Americans

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have passed a bill that will help educate K-12 students in the state about the history of Wyoming's native people.

The bill received approval from the Legislature on Wednesday. It still must be signed by Gov. Matt Mead.

The proposal will provide education materials for the 48 school districts across the state. The resources will be created with consultation from tribes of the region, including the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone, and will be available on the state Department of Education's website.

Jason Baldes, of the Wind River Advocacy Center said he was pleased with the Legislature recognizing the contributions of the tribes to Wyoming.


Ride-hailing app Uber to launch in Wyoming

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — People in some of Wyoming's largest cities will soon be able to catch rides with the Uber app.

Gov. Matt Mead is expected to sign legislation allowing ride-hailing companies to operate in Wyoming Friday afternoon. Rides are expected to begin at 5 p.m. Friday.

Uber has been talking with potential drivers in cities including Casper, Cheyenne, Jackson and Laramie, but will be available anywhere in the state. Exact service locations depend on driver availability.


Court rules to lift federal protections for Wyoming wolves

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An appeals court has lifted federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming.

Friday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reverses a lower judge who sided with environmental groups and rejected Wyoming's wolf management plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed in 2011 that gray wolves are no longer a threatened species in Wyoming.

State officials promised to maintain a population above the minimum 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman ruled in 2014 that the state's promise was unenforceable and rejected its wolf management plan.

In its reversal, the appellate court ruled federal officials exercised proper judgment and adequately responded to concerns about Wyoming's management plan.


Wyoming 2017 football schedule released

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will host Oregon in Laramie this fall in a nonconference college football matchup.

The game is set for Sept. 16 and will be Oregon's first trip to War Memorial Stadium.

Wyoming's 2017 schedule, which was announced Thursday, also shows home games against Colorado State, New Mexico, Fresno State, Hawaii, Gardner-Webb and Texas State.

The schedule includes a rare seven home games. The only other seasons Wyoming has played a seven-game home schedule were in 1990 and 2008.

The Cowboys play on the road at Iowa, Utah, Boise State, Air Force and San Jose State.

The Cowboys are coming off a season that saw Wyoming capture the 2016 Mountain West Conference Mountain Division title and host San Diego State in the conference championship game.

Game dates are subject to change.


Nearly 1,000 Yellowstone bison killed this season

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials estimate nearly 1,000 Yellowstone National Park bison have been killed this season.

Bison managers are making progress on their goal to eliminate as many as 1,300 bison from the Yellowstone area. A 2000 management plan calls for a population of 3,000 bison in the region, but about 5,500 live there now.

The herd is culled through public hunting and shipping some bison to slaughter. Slaughtered bison become meat for various Native American tribes.

Officials say roughly 650 bison have been caught for slaughter so fan and about 400 have been shipped.

Bison cannot be hunted in the park, but instead are caught when they migrate into the Gardiner basin.

Grant Awards to 18 Local Nonprofit Organizations 

On March 7, 2017, 5:30 PM at the Lander Library, the Lander Community Foundation (LCF) will award grants to 18 local charitable organizations and kick off its annual Challenge for Charities Fundraiser.   


“The Lander Community Foundation is thrilled to support these nonprofit organizations with awards totaling $17,000. We were able to make at least a partial award to all 18 applicants this year,” explained foundation board member Liz Lightner. Individual awards ranged from $500 to $1,500 dollars.


Mountain Vista, Lander Valley Wetland Preserve, Bighorn Restoration Group, and the Fremont County Alliance Against Domestic Violence were all first-time recipients of the LCF Open Grant Program.  Other winning organizations were the Central Wyoming Climber’s Alliance, First Stop Help Center, Fremont County Symphony Orchestra, Help for Health Hospice, Lander Art Center, Lander Chamber of Commerce, Lander Children’s Museum, Lander Community Concert Association, Lander Pet Connection, Museum of the American West, Promoting Arts in Lander Schools, Maker Space 307, Performing Arts in Lander Schools, and Friends of the Library.


The projects awarded varied widely from Lander Live to performing arts for the schools; from basic human needs to elderly and cancer patient health care needs; and from pet chip readers to preserving wildlife and wetland habitat.   “Lander has so many great nonprofits dedicated to filling the needs of the community through their missions and dedicated volunteers.  That’s one of the things that makes Lander such a great place to live!” says LCF board chair RaJean Strube Fossen.


Over the past five years LCF has awarded $64,950 through the Open Grant Program.  These funds were largely provided by the Challenge for Charities Community Challengers whose generous donations sponsored the matching fund pool and the Open Grant program. Most notably, the 2016 Platinum level sponsors of Fremont Therapy and Fremont Toyota allowed this grant program to make a highly meaningful impact in Lander.


Additionally, the Lander Community Foundation is kicking off the 2017 Challenge for Charities, a community-wide fundraiser for local nonprofits with a matching gift. To register your nonprofit to participate in the Challenge for Charities fundraiser please attend the organizational meeting March 7, 2017, 5:30 PM at the Lander Library or visit www.landercommunityfoundation.org.


For further information, or to participate in the 2017 Challenge for Charities as a donor or a nonprofit organization contact the Foundation at 307-438-9247 or email info@landercommunityfoundation.org .

Spring is just around the corner in Wyoming’s Wind River Country!

Fremont County, WY – As we transition between winter and spring in Wind River Country, signs of the warmer season to come abound. Animals and humans alike get restless, so we’ve gathered up lots of events to jump-start your spring. Print out the attached March/April events flyer to see what we mean.

With the August 21st Wind River Eclipse path of totality passing right through our county neighborhoods, we have plenty of cosmic events lined to suit every level of learning: hear from local scientists and NASA experts or attend informal night-sky observing opportunities.

Enjoy the bold colors and scents of spring flowers at the Garden Expo. Guided tours into the backcountry or grand stately homes from the past are also an option. Hear youngsters giggle with delight at the petting pen on sheep sheering day celebrating a once-thriving local industry. Flavorful music concerts, arts shows, an Easter powwow, and other dance events dot our events flyer, too.

We aim to please and have fun in the process here in Wind River Country, and it shows in our friendly faces. Bring the family and experience our spring hospitality wherever you choose to go in Wind River Country!

This exciting events calendar is provided by the



Authorities work to identify Cody man killed in house fire

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities have not yet released the name of an elderly Cody man who died in a house fire this weekend.

Officials on Wednesday said they believed the victim was the 74-year-old man who lived in the home, but the identity could not be confirmed until a coroner's autopsy.

Firefighter's found the man's body on the second floor of a Cody home on Sunday.

Cody Fire Department Marshal Sam Wilde says the fire started on the second story and burned unnoticed for many hours because of the home's sturdy log construction. It wasn't until interior oxygen was consumed that flames broke through the roof.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.


Riverton Police Chief offered job

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Riverton Police Chief Mike Broadhead has been offered a job in Georgia.

According to an article in the Riverton Ranger yesterday(Wednesday), Broadhead, who has been Riverton’s Police Chief for 7 years, has been named the sole finalist for the chief of police position in Statesboro, Georgia.

In a telephone interview yesterday with the Riverton Ranger, Broadhead said that he expects to receive an official job offer next week.  Until then, he said he wouldn’t comment on the situation.


Man in custody after shots fired

(LANDER, Wyo.)  Police in Douglas have arrested a man on suspicion of shooting at a parked car outside a convenience store.

Nathaniel Thompson was arrested Tuesday night without incident.

Douglas Police said several rounds were shot into a parked car at the store.  Thompson’s motive remains unclear.

Thompson  was booked into the Converse County Detention Center and is awaiting charges.


Wyoming puts teeth in collecting online sales taxes

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials hope more online businesses will begin to pay sales taxes voluntarily but are laying the groundwork to collect from those that refuse.

Gov. Matt Mead signed a bill Wednesday that says anybody outside Wyoming who does more than 200 transactions or $100,000 in sales in the state annually must pay sales tax.

The bill says the Wyoming Department of Revenue can take those who don't pay to court.

Mead signed the bill on the day that online retail giant Amazon has promised it would begin voluntarily collecting sales taxes on sales in Wyoming.

State Rep. Mark Kinner, of Sheridan, says how much revenue the bill generates remains to be seen but it could be substantial.

Sales taxes in Wyoming range from 4-6 percent depending on local rates.


Legislature OKs bill to educate students on Native Americans

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have passed a bill that will help educate K-12 students in the state about the history of Wyoming's native people.

The bill received approval from the Legislature on Wednesday. It still must be signed by Gov. Matt Mead.

The proposal will provide education materials for the 48 school districts across the state. The resources will be created with consultation from tribes of the region, including the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone, and will be available on the state Department of Education's website.

Jason Baldes, of the Wind River Advocacy Center said he was pleased with the Legislature recognizing the contributions of the tribes to Wyoming.


Donors give University of Wyoming a record $63 million

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has reached a new record with $63 million collected in donations last year.

The money donated in 2016 came from more than 21,000 donors. It also surpassed the university's previous funding record of $55.8 million in 2013.

UW Foundation President Ben Blalock says the timing of the new record could not have been better.

It comes as the university has struggled to adjust to $42 million in state budget cuts. UW officials announced $29 million in cuts this fiscal year, eliminated hundreds of positions and offered early retirement packages for some faculty and staff.

Last year's donations helped fund a number of projects, including the school's efforts in natural resources, educator training, a new athletic center and scholarships.

50 Years of Curing Cabin Fever in Lander, Wyoming

(LANDER, Wyo.)  For 50 years, the Wyoming State Winter Fair in Wyoming’s Wind River Country has been the place where winter blues melt away. 

For the 50th anniversary this year, enjoy once again the thrill of Ultimate Miniature Bull Riding (UMB), followed by the precision of a horse show. Then discover the fares and entertainment of the trade show.

The festivities will kick off on Saturday, March 4 with the adorable and impressive UMB for aspiring young bull riders. Although small in size, the miniature bulls provide a rush for viewers and young riders alike at the Lander Old Timers Rodeo Arena. The show starts at 7 p.m.

The following morning at 9 a.m., a variety of horse show competitions will begin at the Lander Old Timers Rodeo Area, 1663 Rodeo Drive. Learn more about the challenges skilled riders and horses maneuver their way through here.

The trade show will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, March 10 and run until 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 11. All trade show events will be at the Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse, 350 Baldwin Creek Rd. Find a complete list of the fun to be had (think local vendors, live music, Native American dancing and much more) at www.wyomingstatewinterfair.org.

*Don’t forget to use the hashtag #windrivercountry when you share your Wind River Country memories on social media.  

Facebook - Like us!

Twitter - Follow us!

Instagram - Follow us!

You Tube - Watch us!

#windrivercountry - Tag us!

Related Links: Lander Chamber of Commerce, Riverton Chamber of Commerce, Dubois Chamber of Commerce, Destination Dubois, Shoshoni Chamber of Commerce

For a complete calendar of events go to www.windriver.org/calendar.  To request a vacation packet, please visit us at Wind River Country or call 800-645-6233. Pioneer your own adventure in Wind River Country!

About Wind River Country/Fremont County

Wyoming’s Wind River Country is the authentic, untamed West. It holds the answers to your adventurous spirit. Come discover new things like the best route to Yellowstone, see an Indian powwow, ride a horse or holler at a rodeo, pan for real gold, and hike in country that will take your breath away. Find the room to breathe, slow your pace a bit, and discover uncontrived adventure that will rejuvenate your soul in Wind River Country.

Woman arrested on suspicion of giving child marijuana candy

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Casper woman has been arrested on suspicion of giving her daughter marijuana candy and having drugs and paraphernalia at her house.

Vanessa Smith was arrested Monday evening when she arrived to pick up her child from her sister's house.

A police report says Smith's boyfriend dropped the girl off Monday morning and when the girl's aunt noticed she was lethargic and had bloodshot eyes the boyfriend said Smith had given the girl a marijuana gummy Sunday night to calm her down. The girl's urine tested positive for the chemicals in marijuana.

Officers searching Smith's house found marijuana, bags with methamphetamine residue, marijuana edibles and unidentified pills. She was booked into jail on suspicion of child endangerment, drug possession and distributing to a person younger than 18. Formal charges have not been filed.


UW medical education program invests in critical expansion

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming is renovating its facilities to accommodate second-year medical students who have previously gone to the University of Washington for their second year of study as part of a multi-state medical education program.

The two schools are in the program with schools from Alaska, Montana and Idaho, with the goal of providing medical education in northwestern states without independent medical schools.

The program is now changing its curriculum to have medical students spend their second year in their home states.

The Wyoming program director, Marivern Easton, says UW ran the risk of losing its accreditation if not for the $1.5 million classroom renovations, which were approved last month.

The program has seen fewer than 200 students graduate in its 20 years in Wyoming, but more than 70 percent have returned to practice in Wyoming.


Senate: Don't designate revenue to Wyoming K-12 shortfall

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Senate is favoring spending cuts over putting revenue toward fixing an education funding shortfall.

Senators voted 27-3 Tuesday not to reallocate mineral taxes to education. The House had advocated redirecting $84 million in mineral taxes toward the looming $380 million education shortfall caused by declining revenue from coal, oil and natural gas extraction.

But the Senate has been wary of designating new revenue for education, at least for now.

Last week, the Senate Education Committee nixed a sales tax increase for education proposed by the House. Committee members said they didn't want to commit to a higher sales tax when emergency funding for education hasn't run out just yet.

Senators took a similar position on reallocating mineral taxes Tuesday, saying the measure would be difficult to repeal.


House kills bill that on tags for women's antelope hunt

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A bill that sought to bring parity to separate men's and women's antelope hunts in Wyoming has died in the state House.

Senate File 60 would have guaranteed tags for the new all-women's pronghorn hunt near Ucross in north-central Wyoming. Currently, the annual, men's-only One Shot Antelope Hunt in Lander is provided additional tags by the state Game and Fish Department to ensure each hunter receives a tag.

But the Casper Star-Tribune reports that the bill wasn't debated in the House on Tuesday and died. A vote for force debate on the measure failed 42-18.

Republican Rep. Jim Allen of Lander said the women's hunt has had no problems getting tags in their hunt area while the Lander One Shot hunt is more difficult to obtain a tag.


Wyoming criminal justice reform bill dies in Legislature

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The president of the Wyoming Senate has killed a bill that would have made sweeping changes to sentencing and rehabilitation options for low-level offenders.

Republican Sen. Eli Bebout says there were too many issues with the legislation to move it forward. The bill died Friday.

The criminal justice reform bill would have given judges and prosecutors the option to halt court proceedings for those charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent felony and without a previous felony conviction. The person could then have their charges dropped if they successfully complete the terms of their probation.

The bill also would've allowed judges to order substance abuse treatment as a condition of probation.

Bebout says his main concerns with the bill were financial.

Enzi: Zinke brings western sensibility to Department of the Interior


Washington, D.C. – Today the Senate confirmed Representative Ryan Zinke, R- Mont., to be the next secretary of the Interior. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said he believes Zinke’s western experience will help bring some needed perspective to a department that manages about one-fifth of the land in the United States.

“Being from a western state, Representative Ryan Zinke understands the incredible importance of public land issues to states like Wyoming. With so much of our land managed by the federal government, it is key that they are open for multiple uses such as recreation, agriculture and energy production. I look forward to working with him on the critical issues that matter to Wyoming and other western states."

Enzi - Trumps words were a call to action.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., released the following statement today regarding President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress.  

“Today I heard the president deliver a message about what we as a nation can achieve. Too often in the heat of political battle, we lose track of the bigger picture and the commonalities that bind us. That could mean safety for our family and communities; good jobs to support our loved ones; or the opportunity to make the most of our lives. As Americans, we not only share many of the same goals and desires, we share the responsibility inherent in our democratic system of government to work together to ensure those dreams are within reach.

“The president’s speech wasn’t just about what we hope for, it was also about taking action. He laid out an agenda aimed at addressing real problems for real people. The president has a large spotlight which he can shine on the major problems that need to be fixed, but Congress tackles the details of how to fix it. We need to stay true to our values and beliefs and remember that no person, or party, has all the answers. Governing is the art of coming together to find solutions and common ground. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the president to craft those solutions in order to ensure our country is on the path to a better future.”

Wyoming’s Wind River Country has Full Schedule for August Total Solar Eclipse 

Wyoming’s Wind River Country/Fremont County will be the heart and soul of the Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21, and our calendar of events flyer is growing with each week. 

Wind River Country is a unique space in the Milky Way. It offers up cowboy towns and dude ranches right next to yoga studios and rock climbing meccas. It invites you into the warm arms of red-rock deserts and into the swirl of colors worn by Native American dancers. It is a wild and rugged landscape with the room to breathe that your soul yearns for. Why not get to know this place on Earth while it lines up with the moon and the sun? 

The full schedule of events is available in this flyer, as well as the Wind River Eclipse website, windrivereclipse.org. 

Whether you hope to learn all about eclipses and our unfathomable universe from a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) scientist or immerse yourself in the cultures that makes Wind River Country the most authentic corner of the West, you’ll find an unforgettable experience in which to package this summer’s total solar eclipse.

*Don’t forget to use the hashtag #windrivercountry when you share your Wind River Country memories on social media.  

Facebook - Like us!

Twitter - Follow us!

Instagram - Follow us!

You Tube - Watch us!

#windrivercountry - Tag us!

Wind River Eclipse - windrivereclipse.org 

Related Links: Lander Chamber of Commerce, Riverton Chamber of Commerce, Dubois Chamber of Commerce, Destination Dubois, Shoshoni Chamber of Commerce

For a complete calendar of events go to www.windriver.org/calendar.  To request a vacation packet, please visit us at Wind River Country or call 800-645-6233. Pioneer your own adventure in Wind River Country! 

About Wind River Country/Fremont County

Wyoming’s Wind River Country is the authentic, untamed West. It holds the answers to your adventurous spirit. Come discover new things like the best route to Yellowstone, see an Indian powwow, ride a horse or holler at a rodeo, pan for real gold, and hike in country that will take your breath away. Find the room to breathe, slow your pace a bit, and discover uncontrived adventure that will rejuvenate your soul in Wind River Country.

Academics & attitude: Academy focus for class 32 cadets

By Capt. Megan Hoffmann

State Public Affairs Office 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Seven weeks complete. Fifteen remain. A daily routine has been achieved, but the ultimate goal, to graduate the 22-week in-residence program June 10, is still being worked toward.


The cadets of Wyoming Cowboy ChalleNGe Academy class 32 reported to the program on a cloudy day in Guernsey, Wyoming, Jan. 8. Since initially embarking in the program, they have encountered unpredictable difficulties and successes.


Angel Burson, 16, from Burlington, Wyoming, said her biggest struggle was trying to find coping skills to actually stay in the program, excel in academics and graduate.


“The academics here aren’t too bad. I’ve been working on getting caught up from my freshman year. I can still return to high school if I get my GED, but the program helps me catch up on the things I missed in high school, which is really nice,” she said.


Academics are a main focus of the program and consume six hours of the cadet’s daily schedule. Many of the candidates coming into the program have either dropped out of high school or have fallen severely behind. WCCA offers them two educational options in order to continue their education.


“One pathway is the High School Equivalency Certificate and the other pathway is Apex.  Apex is our accredited credit recovery system,” said Angie Schultz, lead instructor for WCCA. “HSEC is not limited, but Apex is.  Apex is a way to help our cadets return to high school once they have graduated our program. To date we have graduated 835 cadets with 608 GEDs earned and 29 high school diplomas presented. In class 32 alone, there is the chance of adding a couple high school diplomas to that number.”


“If I can make it through the program and get that high school diploma on graduation day, it’ll all be worth it,” said Tyger Rodriguez, 17, of Torrington, Wyoming.


Although the program offers varying education avenues, it mirrors public school.


“It’s like going to school normally, except you also have the military standards of how to enter the classroom, sit down, and use the latrine. In normal school you wouldn’t have to worry about that, but you do here. It has a lot of structure,” added Samantha Clinger, 16, from Thermopolis, Wyoming.


Structure not only means abiding by certain standards, by also individualizing the educational plans to fit each cadet’s needs.

“Academically, we do everything we can to ensure success. Reading the information on potential candidates and talking with parents/guardians really helps us individualize their academic plan,” said Schultz.


The decision making process is also another important facet of the program. All the cadets agree that the quicker you learn to make smart decisions and abide by the rules, the easier the program becomes - for everyone.


“A lot of the little things matter when you come here. If you learn the little things, like not talking in the hallway, latrine or the (dining facility) and how to stand in the hallway, then you’ll be a lot better off. If you do these things correctly then the sergeants won’t have anything to adjust you on,” said Rodriquez.


If a cadet does find themselves being corrected, it usually involves some type of physical training to reinforce the expectations, such as a set number of pushups a cadet must do. However, PT isn’t just used for behavior modification.


“We’ve gone on runs, flipped tires, and carried sandbags,” added Rodriquez, who said he’s enjoyed it. “PT has brought our class closer together.”


Cohesiveness is critical in this environment. Cadets quickly realize that they will spend a majority of their time together in the classroom, marching, doing PT and in their sleeping bays.


While much of their time is spent together, they still have their individual fears.


“When I first got here I had a lot of trouble making eye contact with people. I stumbled over my words a lot. The program has improved my confidence and it’s much easier for me to talk to people and maintain eye contact. I’ve learned leadership skills as a squad leader which has been a great feeling,” Clinger said.


 “In regular school, I was bullied a lot. Coming here was like facing my demons, but it’s getting easier each day,” she added, alluding that her confidence and courage have improved just by being in the program, so much so that she is now considering going to college, an idea that was academically out-of-the-question before starting WCCA.


“By graduation I see myself maybe going to college,” and then with a slight pause and smile, she added, “OK, most likely going to college.”


The cadets of class 32 have grown up a lot in seven weeks. They have learned to deal with adversity independently.


“It’s a great feeling knowing how much I’ve changed and how much of a better person I’ll be when I go home. I can’t wait for my family to see me walk across that stage,” said Robert Renquist III, 16, of Casper, Wyoming.


The cadets still have much work cut out for them during the next 17 weeks and graduation isn’t guaranteed for any of them. They admit the coming months won’t be easy and that each day comes with its own set of struggles. They also admit that the coping skills, confidence and attitude that’s been instilled in them since Jan. 8 is greatly impacting their ability to handle these struggles.

Making it to graduation day June 10 will rely heavily on academics and attitude. A challenge that each cadet overcomes one day at a time.




Note: Stories updating the progress of WCCA Class 32 will appear periodically throughout the residential and mentor phases.


Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xZKd_tO5Jg


Photos available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wyoguard/shares/250a0L






Travis Becker (Chairman), Larry Allen (Vice-Chairman), Ray Price, Jennifer McCarty and Clarence Thomas



MARCH 7, 2017





9:00 A.M.:              A.            CALL TO ORDER

                                                                B.             QUORUM PRESENT


D.            OPENING PRAYER





I.              SIGNATURE FILE

J.              COMMUNICATIONS




 9:15 A.M.:             PUBLIC COMMENT








10:20 A.M.         BREAK









12:00 P.M.:           LUNCH















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