Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Law Enforcement Wants Superbowl Weekend To Be a Safe One

This Sunday, February 5th, is Superbowl Sunday. Local law enforcement want it to be a safe and sober weekend for local football fans. Sweetwater County Detective Dick Blust, Jr. says the Sweetwater County Sheriff's office is working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation Selective Traffic Enforcement Grant program to provide extra DUI enforcement patrols in the community on Saturday, February 4th and Sunday February 5th.

The sheriff's office has provided some tips for a safe Superbowl Sunday... People hosting Superbowl parties should have their guests designate their sober drivers before kick off. Serve plenty of food and make non-alcholic beverages available. Keep alcohol out of the hands of anyone under 21 and be prepared to have guests spend the night if a sober way home is not available.

Whether you are rooting for the Giants or the Patriots, enjoy the game and please stay safe

Two WY National Guard Units Recognized For Work

Two Wyoming Air National Guard units are being recognized for their work. The Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Logistics Readiness Squadron and 153rd Medical Group in Cheyenne have both received the 2011 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Girl Scouts Warn of Cookie Scam

It's almost time for Girl Scouts to begin selling cookies in Wyoming and Montana and some people are apparently trying to cash in on pent up demand for Thin Mints. The organization says there have been reports of people taking money in advance for cookies in Cheyenne, promising to deliver the cookies later. However, Girl Scouts spokeswoman Anna Paige says troop members don't take money in advance and the cookie program in Wyoming and Montana doesn't begin until Feb. 11. Girl scouts will go door-to-door to take orders for cookies between Feb. 11 and Feb. 26. Cookies will be sold from booths starting March 31.

national Parks Essential

Most Wyoming voters think you can protect land and water and have a strong economy at the same time, according to a new poll of attitudes throughout the Rockies. Lori Weigel with the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies also found near-unanimous support among Wyoming voters from both parties that national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas are “essential.”

The report notes Wyoming is home to three of the top 10 U-S destinations for snowmobiling, with skiing, camping and hunting also big for the state. Two more points from the survey – voters support energy development on public lands, and also support industry regulations to protect land, water, wildlife and quality of life.
Another survey topic showed that voters approve of the Legislature’s decision to dedicate 200-million dollars to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust. Trust Executive Director Bob Budd calls that finding “humbling.”

Voter attitudes about elected officials were assessed in the poll, with 77-percent approving of the job Governor Matt Mead is doing. That’s the strongest show of support for any public official in the six states polled. Sixty-two percent of voters say U-S Senator John Barasso deserves re-election.

Monday, January 30, 2012

More Hunters Use Non Lead Bullets At Park

Researchers say nearly half of successful hunters participating in Grand Teton National Park's elk reduction program this fall used non-lead bullets. Hunt reports show that 130 of 278 successful park hunters - nearly 47% - used the non-lead bullets, That's up from 33% during the 2010 hunting season. Biologists are looking to reduce lead poisoning in scavengers in Grand Teton and on the National Elk Refuge by distributing non-lead bullets to hunters. Research has shown that blood-lead levels in eagles and ravens around Jackson Hole rise and fall in relation to hunting season. Researchers think the scavengers ingest lead bullet fragments in gut piles left behind by hunters.

Land Settlement Objectors Receive Threatening Phone Calls

Four people who are objecting to a $3.4 billion settlement over misspent Native American land royalties have received angry calls and letters after plaintiffs' attorneys published their phone numbers and addresses. The attorneys have spent nearly 16 years suing the U.S. government and the objections are the latest obstacle to closing the case. The attorneys on Jan. 20th sent an open letter to the approximately 500,000 settlement beneficiaries with the four objectors' contact information if they "want to ask them directly about their motives." One of the objectors, Carol Eve Good Bear, says she has gotten at least 15 phone calls over the last week. She says she feels threatened and intimidated, but does not plan to drop her appeal. The first appeal is expected to be heard Feb. 16th.

Wyoming Safety Officials Issue Citations For Explosion That Killed Three Workers

19 citations have been issued by Wyoming for an explosion that killed three workers near an oil well last year. No details about the citations have been released yet. The explosion and fire happened Aug. 29 about 40 miles northeast of Casper at an oil well site owned by Tulsa, Okla.-based Samson Resources. The blast killed James Turner, Llewellyn Dort and Gerardo Alatorre. The three workers were installing pipe. Turner worked for Double D Welding and Fabrication in Mills.

Recent BLM Approval To Expand Table Rock Field Raises Concerns

The BLM recently released the environmental assessment that authorized Chevron to expand the Table Rock Field with development of up to 88 new wells. Those wells will include shallow oil wells, deep gas well and water injection wells. Serena Baker with the BLM says they are aware of the recent concerns of fracking and will take that into account as the project moves forward.

The wells be located just 40 miles east of Rock Springs. Another concern is recent reports that fracking could cause small tremors and earthquakes and what impact that might have for those in Rock Springs who have found sink holes in their neighborhoods from previous mining.

Chevron plans to develop the wells during the next 14 years.

Pipeline company sues operator of Wyo. coal mine

A dispute between a natural gas pipeline operator and a coal mine in southwestern Wyoming has landed in court. Utah-based Northwest Pipeline GP claims that operations at Chevron's coal mine near Kemmerer shifted the earth near two interstate pipelines. The Star-Tribune reports that Northwest has sued Chevron Mining Inc. seeking at least $20 million to pay for the pipelines to be protected and moved.

pine bluffs smoking train

Emergency workers in Pine Bluffs had to deal with a whole lot of roasting potatoes on Sunday. It seems a smoking train pulled into town hauling several tons of potatoes. Emergency workers were able to extinguish the cargo and there were no injuries reported. The train had come from the west.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sarah Stucki Wins Lincoln Elementary School Level National Geographic Bee

Sarah Stucki, a sixth-grade student at Lincoln Elementary, won the school level competition of the National Geographic Bee on Jan. 26th and a chance at a $25,000 college scholarship. The school-level Bee, in which 14 students answered oral questions on geography, was the first round in the 24th annual National Geographic Bee. Stucki will take a written exam to see if she moves to the state-level competition, which will take place March 30th. The Lincoln PTSO provided cash rewards for the top three finishers. First place was $50; second place, $25; and third place, $10.

Wind River Casino Hotel Now Partially Open

The Wind River Casino's new hotel is partially open for business. The four-story hotel began accepting guests Friday to stay in the 20 or so completed rooms. The hotel will have 90 rooms, including three suites, when construction is complete. The hotel is located next to the Wind River Casino and has a flat rate of $109 a night per regular room. Casino rewards card members and Northern Arapaho tribal members can get discounts. Northern Arapaho Business Council chairman Jim Shakespeare tells The Riverton Ranger that the hotel represents the latest achievement of the tribe. He expects it to help the area's economy.

Rock Springs Man Charged With Child Exploitation

Two counts of alleged child exploitation is what 26 year old Mathew Donovan of Rock Springs is now charged with. He was arrested on January 16th. The arrest came after Rock Springs Police received information from the Wyoming Department of Family Services that said that Donovan was allegedly in possession of a laptop computer that contained child pornography. After a warrant was obtained, the computer was seized from Donovan's residence. Multiple images of child pornography were found on the computer. Donovan's bond has been set for 30 thousand dollars. The case remains under investigation.

Men Lose Four Wheeler and Rhino Through The Ice At Flaming Gorge

Taking vehicles out on the ice can be dangerous, as a party of ice fishermen participating in this year's Flaming Gorge Burbot Bash learned on the first night of the event. Sheriff Rich Haskell said his office was notified at about 10:15 PM on January 25th that four men fishing in the Lost Dog area of the Gorge had lost a four-wheeler and a "Rhino," a four-wheel drive off-road vehicle commonly called a "side-by-side," through the ice at the lake. The four reported that they managed to get off the lake, had dry clothing, and did not require medical attention. They also reported that a good deal of equipment went to the bottom of the lake with the two vehicles. Haskell reminds the public that ice fishing safety tips are available at the Sheriff's Office website at www.sweet.wy.us/scso.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sweetwater County Sheriff Being Investigated

Casper District Attorney Mike Blonigen was assigned as a special prosecutor to investigate Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell. Sweetwater County Attorney Brett Johnson said his office is not leading the investigation because of conflict-of-interest concerns. In 2010, the Sheriff's Office spent $47,000 for security services from a company owned by Haskell's son and daughter-in-law.

Clearview Acres Treasurer Arraigned

The former treasurer for Clearview Acres Improvement Service District was charged with larceny of more than $1,000, a felony, on Jan. 25. Traci Williamson made an initial court appearance Wednesday before Judge Daniel Forgey, Circuit Court Judge for the 3rd Judicial District. Her bond was set at $10,000. Sweetwater County Sheriff's officers arrested Williamson on Jan. 20 after an investigation into allegations the service district mishandled funds. The district exists to provide water to the residents of Clearview Acres. According to court documents, Williamson allegedly wrote herself 137 checks totaling $148,367 between September 2008 and January 2012. Williamson allegedly said these checks were not authorized by the Clearview Acres board. About 10 Clearview Acres residents attended the arraignment.

Group Wants Cougar Released In Jackson Area

A group that works to protect cougars wants wildlife officers to release a mother cat that's been killing deer near homes in the Jackson area. The cougar was captured Monday but her two kittens have eluded authorities. The Cougar Fund says releasing the mother will help ensure the survival of the kittens. But wildlife officials tell the Jackson Hole Daily that releasing the mother wouldn't be safe.

WY Ranks 37th For Child Well-Being

A new national survey ranks Wyoming 37th overall among the states for child well-being. The survey by the private philanthropic group Foundation for Child Development says it rated states on 25 different criteria in various subcategories. Wyoming placed in the bottom 10 overall in safety/risk (49th), social relationships (48th) and emotional/spiritual (43rd).

BLM Preparing To Auction Coal Right To Mine

The BLM is preparing to auction off the right to mine more than 400 million tons of coal in the Powder River Basin. The coal lease sale is set for Feb. 29 in Cheyenne. The 3,200-acre tract is adjacent to the North Antelope Rochelle Mine operated by Powder River Coal, a subsidiary of Peabody Energy. Coal royalties in Wyoming last year totaled $590 million.

Unemployment Rate In Sweetwater County Remained Stable In December

The un-employment rate in Sweetwater County remained stable in December. According to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, the unemployment rate in the County stood at 4.6 percent, the same rate in November. A year ago, the unemployment rate in Sweetwater County stood at 5.6 percent. The numbers show the county has 1,103 un-employeed, about 100 less than in November. A year ago, over 1,300 were un-employed. The current labor force in the county is 23, 925. The statewide unemployment rate is 5.7 percent. Sublette County has the lowest rate at 3.2 percent. The national rate is 8.5 percent.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Green River mayor questions revisions to 6th-cent tax process

Green River Mayor Hank Castillon said he disagreed with the Sweetwater County Commission changing the process to review and select possible 6th-cent tax projects. On Tuesday, the county commissioners decided not to use the method developed in 2010 under the direction of the previous commission. A 14-member committee established steps so people could propose projects to go before the voters. County Commission Chairman Wally Johnson said the previous commission could not bind the current commission. Other commissioners agreed. Castillon said the previous resolution fulfilled an important need. Before a procedure was established, he said the process was unorganized. Under state law, passing a 6th-cent tax still requires a petition for a tax ballot measure from 5 percent of the electors of the county or a resolution approving the proposition from the county commission and the governing bodies of at least two-thirds of the incorporated municipalities within the county.

Rock Springs rodeo fighting image problem

Organizers of the 2012 and 2013 National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs say the city has an image problem among some rodeo teams, and they're taking steps to repair that. The Rock Springs Rocket-Miner reported Thursday the organizers plan to distribute brochures to rodeo visitors listing restaurants, hotels, attractions and stores. Larry Lloyd, executive director of the Sweetwater County Events Complex, says he heard some unfavorable comments about Rock Springs when he attended a National High School Rodeo Association meeting this month in Denver. He says some people have wondered whether the city has a mall or an airport. It has both.

WY Has Best Tax Policies For Spurring Job Growth

A new report says Wyoming has the best tax policies in the nation for spurring job growth. The Cowboy Stat took the top spot for the second year in a row in the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation's annual rankings, which were released yesterday. Author Mark Robyn says the state is especially attractive for prospective employers because it doesn't levy personal income and corporate taxes.

Mead Says Changing Wind Energy Tax Unlikely

Gov. Matt Mead says he's giving up hope that the Wyoming Legislature will change how the state taxes wind energy projects this year. Wyoming in January began imposing a $1 per megawatt hour tax on wind energy production. The state also began imposing sales and use taxes on equipment used on wind energy projects this month. The Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee in October rejected Mead's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a 2% impact fee on wind projects to support county governments. Mead says this week that he is disappointed but hopes the Legislature can revisit the issue next year. Some major wind energy companies have protested that it's unfair for the state to impose the new tax on existing wind projects.

Burbot Bash To Conclude On Saturday

Anglers are busy out at Flaming Gorge with the annual Burbot Bash. Teams of up to four are competing for more than 10 thousand dollars in cash and prizes. A select number of burbot have been implanted with internal. Regional Fisheries Biologist for Wyoming Game and Fish in Green River, Craig Amaddio says that state fish biologists hope to learn more about the extent of the burbot problem in Flaming Gorge based on tag return data.

All anglers catching a tagged fish will be entered into a drawing for cash prizes. The grand prize drawing for catching a tagged fish is $2,500.

Prizes will also be awarded in the biggest fish caught, for the most fish caught and youth categories. The derby will conclude on Jan. 28th with a burbot-filleting competition, a free burbot fish fry and the prize-award ceremony featuring the tagged fish drawing. The prize-award ceremony will be held at the Manila Rodeo Grounds in Manila, Utah.
Two Wyoming writers are winners of the Wyoming Arts Council's 2012 writing awards. George J. Vlastos of Casper is the winner of this year's Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award for his work "Out There - 9 Poems." Mary Beth Baptiste of Laramie is the winner of the 2012 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award for women writers for her nonfiction manuscript titled "Singing Horses."

Three Worland Residents Sentenced To Poaching

Three Worland residents have been sentenced in the poaching of a trophy class mule deer. Shenae Blakemore was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution, placed on probation for two years and prohibited from hunting for two years. Cody Gilligan and Colton Lapp each were ordered to pay $5,000, placed on probation for one year and had their hunting privileges suspended for two years. The buck was illegally shot in November 2010 in a closed area on the Greybull River near the Park and Big Horn county lines.

American Indian leader calls for more flexibility

The president of the National Congress of American Indians says the federal government should be more flexible in its relationship with tribal governments. Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation, made the remarks Thursday while delivering the State of Indian Nations address in Washington, D.C. Keel says the government should put more decision-making power in the hands of tribes. He says tribal governments have proven they have the capacity to grow their economies, educate their people and manage their own resources. Keel says giving tribal governments more authority will remove barriers that cost jobs and opportunity. Keel also called on the federal government to have more American Indians in important positions and to create an office for American Indian programs at the Office of Management and Budget.

Rawlins High School Now Has Debate Team Again

Rawlins High School has a debate team for the first time in about five years. The Rawlins Daily Times reported that teacher Wendy Kuper revived the team after joining the high school staff in November. Kuper has been coaching debate for more than 20 years, including stints in Basin and Greybull, Wyo., and in Oregon. Seven students responded after she sent out an announcement that she was setting up a team. The team's first tournament was the state's largest, in Cheyenne.

FONSI Decision at RSFO

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Rock Springs Field Office (RSFO) is releasing the environmental assessment (EA), finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and decision record (DR) authorizing Chevron U.S.A., Inc. to expand the Table Rock Field with development of up to 88 new wells.
The Table Rock Field encompasses 13,644 acres of primarily federal and private land, with a small amount of state-owned land, approximately 40 miles east of Rock Springs, Wyo. in Sweetwater County. The project straddles the boundaries of the Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices, with the RSFO acting as project lead. The Table Rock Field was developed in 1945, and presently has 100 producing wells, along with a gas processing plant operated by Chevron. The new development includes a combination of vertical and directional drilling of 33 shallow oil wells, 20 deep gas wells, and up to 35 water injection wells at depths ranging from 7,000 to 15,000 feet depending on geologic formation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NWC soccer player fined $200 in doughnut theft

A 19-year-old Northwest College soccer player accused of stealing a 79-cent doughnut has agreed to pay a $200 fine. The Northwest Trail reports Zach O'Dell was charged with shoplifting for allegedly eating the treat in Blair's Market in Powell and leaving without paying for it Nov. 28. Attorney Sandra Kitchen says she has deferred the prosecution, and the charge will be dismissed in six months if O'Dell stays out of trouble when it comes to larceny or theft. She says he agreed to pay the fine, $10 in court costs and 79 cents in restitution. Market owner Brent Foulger defended the charge, saying "paid for is OK; not paid for is shoplifting." The Trail reports O'Dell, who has been studying criminal justice, declined to comment.

WY Delegation Not Impressed With Obama's Speech

Wyoming's Republican congressional delegation didn't find much substance to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso both say the president's speech was more rhetoric that's not backed up by action. Enzi says Obama and the Democrat controlled Senate need to focus on legislation that most everyone can agree on instead of bills that have no chance of passing. Barrasso says Obama has no new ideas when it comes to improving the economy and creating jobs. Rep. Cynthia Lummis says Obama's policies have not worked and it's time to turn to bipartisan ideas on reforming entitlement programs and creating jobs.

Nicholas backs state land purchase from law client

The chairman of the Wyoming Legislature's Senate Appropriations Committee is advocating a deal in which the state would buy 11,000 acres from a client of his law firm.

Republican Sen. Phil Nicholas of Laramie is meanwhile keeping alive a proposal under which the client, Doug Samuelson, would acquire a 50,000-acre ranch between Laramie and Cheyenne. The Colorado State University Research Foundation and University of Wyoming Foundation jointly own the Y Cross Ranch.

Nicholas says Wyoming should buy 11,000 acres that Samuelson's Warren Livestock LLC, owns east of Laramie to establish a state park and protect the Laramie aquifer. Nicholas says he would not profit from the deal.

Samuelson's property near Laramie also has featured in a proposed buyout or land swap through which Samuelson would acquire the Y Cross.

Court releases prosecutor's death penalty filing

A special prosecutor says several factors support imposing the death penalty against a Cheyenne man accused of gunning down two people and critically wounding a third last summer.

Nathaniel Castellanos has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the August shootings of 21-year-old Corey A. Walker and 25-year-old Megan L. McIntosh, both of Cheyenne. Castellanos pleaded not guilty to attempted murder in the shooting of another woman.

Casper District Attorney Mike Blonigen listed factors made public this week that he says would support imposing the death penalty against Castellanos.

Blonigen alleges Castellanos' actions created the risk of death to two or more people, that he's likely to commit more violence, that McIntosh's murder was especially cruel and that Castellanos committed murder to avoid arrest.

Chevron gets go ahead to expand Table Rock Field in Wyoming

Chevron USA Inc. has gotten the go ahead to add up to 88 new wells in western Wyoming. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Wednesday said it authorized Chevron to expand Table Rock Field 40 miles east of Rock Springs. The plan calls for 33 shallow new oil wells and 20 deep gas wells, and as many as 35 water injection wells. Chevron also got approval to convert 18 existing wells to water injection wells. The BLM says just over 300 acres would be disturbed and the wells would have a lifespan of between 40 and 55 years. Public comment on the plan began in November and the BLM says all concerns have been addressed in the environmental assessment.

CDBG Child Care Facility Loan Program Available for WY Child Care Providers

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Child Care Facility Loan Program still has funds available to provide reasonably priced loans to licensed child care providers in Wyoming. Julie Kozlowski with the Wyoming Business Council says the purpose of the loan program is to create jobs for low and moderate income people, expand child care capacity for existing providers, increase the number of licensed providers, and alleviate greater workforce and economic development constraints posed by the lack of available licensed child care within Wyoming communities.

All loan recipients must be licensed child care providers. If interested participants are not currently licensed, they will be required to become licensed as part of the loan agreement.

For more information regarding the loan program, contact Julie Kozlowski at 307-777-2812 or julie.kozlowski@wyo.gov; or Farrah Rhea at 307-760-2698 or email frhea@uwyo.edu.

Semi-Truck Rolls on I-80

A semi-truck rolled on Interstate 80 at milepost 141 on Sunday morning. Fire Chief Jim Wamsley said the Sweetwater County Fire Department received a call around 10:30 a.m. The Wyoming Highway Patrol also responded to the accident. The driver pulled himself from the vehicle.

Commissioners identify tax priorities

The Sweetwater County commissioners identified preferred priorities for a proposed 6th-cent tax and set a general collection ceiling of $80 million. The Rocket-Miner says preferred projects included paying down the bond debt of Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, extending a water pipeline to the Rock Springs/Sweetwater County Airport and helping the Farson Improvement District pay off its debt for its community center.

Mead Says Budget Cuts Are Frustrating

Wyoming Joint Appropriations Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Phil Nicholas says Gov. Matt Mead's $70 million cuts to his budget plan might not go far enough. Mead says it's been agonizing to trim his original $3.4 billion proposal in light of new revenue projections that see the state collecting $100 million less for its coffers. Nicholas says Mead has been making easy cuts and is leaving ongoing expenses that could compound problems.

Wyoming car chase ends in Colorado

One person is in custody after a car chase that began in Wyoming ended in Colorado. Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid said Wednesday the car was stopped on Interstate 25 about seven miles south of the Colorado-Wyoming border after authorities flattened two tires of the Cadillac Escalade with stop sticks. Reid says he does not know where or why the chase began in Wyoming. The Wyoming Highway Patrol says no details were available. Reid says there were no injuries.

Strong Winds in SE WY, Cody Foothills

Strong winds could make travel difficult in southeastern Wyoming as well as in the Cody foothills. Interstate 25 between Cheyenne and Wheatland was closed to light, high profile vehicles on Wednesday because of wind gusts over 65 mph. The strong winds are expected to continue into early Thursday. In the Cody area, the National Weather Service said wind gusts up to 68 mph per hour have occurred. The winds there are expected to persist until early afternoon, with gusts up to 90 mph possible near Clark. Drivers on Highway 120 between Cody and Clark are warned to be on alert for gusty crosswinds.

Help Needed

Green River police are asking anyone who lives on or near the 100 block of Evans St. for help in solving a crime. During the evening hours of Sunday or the early morning hours of Monday, someone tried to break into an unoccupied home which is undergoing renovation. From tracks in the snow it appears the suspect parked up the street near Wilkes Drive and walked to the house and tried to break in. this happened on the 100 block of Evans St. Detective Ross says citizens in the neighborhood should be alert for strange cars parked in the area, possibly occupied or left idling and to call the police department with the vehicle description and possible license plate number. Anyone with information can call the police department at 872-0555 or contact Detective Ross at 872-6188.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

BLM To Hold Wild Horse Adoption Event This Weekend

As we told you yesterday, The Bureau of Land Management High Desert District is reopening the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility with an expanded adoption event. Serena Baker says on Friday, from noon until 3, potential adopters will be able to preview the horses available, ask questions of BLM specialists and fill out the adoption application.

Untrained weanlings, geldings, and mares gathered from the White Mountain/Little Colorado, Great Divide Basin and Red Desert Complex herd management areas will be available for adoption. The Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility has been temporarily closed since August 2011 so all animals gathered from the range could be evaluated by a veterinarian, dewormed, Coggins tested, and given their booster shots. A complete listing of 2012 adoptions can be found at blm.gov.

2nd Annual Burbot Bash Kicks Off With Safety In Mind

The Second Annual Burbot Bash kicks off today. Sweetwater County Detective Dick Blust, Jr. says they are reissuing a safety advisory and tips for safe ice fishing.

The ice pick sets will be available as long as the supply lasts.   Donations to the Dive Team will be accepted and appreciated. Blust hopes everyone will remember a few safe ice fishing tips.

Always check ice thickness, never ice fish alone, and remember that fishing from shore ice when the lake is not frozen over from bank to bank can be particularly hazardous. Wearing a personal flotation device is recommended. Blust also recommends watching Haskell recommends an ice fishing safety video produced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources called “Danger, Thin Ice!” It is available on YouTube. The Burbot Bash will be a weekend long Fishing Derby with a kick off at 11 AM today at Buckboard Marina, with registration, rules and status updates on the burbot.

Green River Police Ask For Public's Help In Attempted Break In

Detective Ross of the Green River Police Department is requesting the assistance of the residents who live on or near the 100 block of Evans Street during the evening hours of Sunday, January 22nd or the early morning hours of Monday, January 23rd. Someone tried to break into an unoccupied residence which is undergoing renovation. From tracks in the snow, it appears the suspect parked up the street near Wilkes Drive and walked to the residence and attempted to break into a house on the 100 block of Evans Street. Detective Ross requests citizens in this neighborhood to be alert for strange parked cars that are possibly occupied or left idling. If you see anything suspicious, you are asked to call the Green River Police department at 872-0555 or Detective Ross at 872-6188. Please provide a vehicle description and license plate number, if possible.

Missing Snowmobiler On Guided Tour

Authorities say a man who spent the night stranded on the Continental Divide Trail in blizzard conditions had been snowmobiling with a commercial guide service that did not notice he was missing until the group reached its destination. Fremont County deputies said the trip arrived at its destination in Fremont County late on Jan. 18. The Minnesota man was found alive after spending the night in the Union Pass area. He seemed to be suffering from exposure and possible hypothermia, but his condition was not released.

Laramie County School District Employee Arrested For DUI

A Laramie County School District #1 employee was arrested over the weekend, after police caught him driving the wrong way down Warren. Dennis Johnson, a psychologist for the school district, was arrested on Saturday, charged with Driving Under the Influence, Careless Driving, among other charges. The officer turned his lights on as Johnson was driving towards him on the one way street, Johnson then turned and accelerated before hitting a parked car. He failed his sobriety test and blew a .11 on the breathalyzer test.

Icy Roadway Kills Illinois Man On I-80

An Illinois man was killed and his three passengers injured when a tractor-trailer jack-knifed into their GMC pickup on an icy roadway of Eastbound I-80 early Sunday morning. The semi, driven by 58-year-old Tonja S. Morale, was in the process of passing the Williams vehicle driving at approximately 65 mph. But as she was passing the vehicle, she lost control, and jackknifed into their vehicle. Both vehicles went off the roadway into the median. The driver of the GMC, 54-year-old David E. Williams, died at the scene. One of the passengers had to be LifeFlighted to a hospital in Denver. Morale and her passenger were not injured. This crash, along with several others, caused the closure of the eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 from Cheyenne to the Wyoming-Nebraska state line for approximately six hours. At the time of the crash roadways were icy with snowfall, blowing snow and limited visibility.

WY Snowpack Is Improving

Wyoming's snowpack is improving. This week's figures put the statewide snowpack at 92 percent of average, up from 78 percent a week ago. The Natural Resources Conservation Service says the snowpack in all of Wyoming's basins improved.
The snowpack in the Upper Green Basin rose 31 percent. Last year at this time, the statewide snowpack was 120 percent of average. The new snow has elevated the threat of avalanches in parts of the mountains. The avalanche danger remained high in the Tetons, the Salt and Greys area as well as in the Medicine Bow National Forest on Tuesday. The threat was rated as moderate in the Continental Divide/Togwotee Pass area.

Sage-Grouse and Wyoming Pocket Gopher Make List

The greater sage-grouse and the Wyoming pocket gopher made “the list” of wildlife most at-risk in the country because of oil and gas development, but that’s not the end of the story for the critters – or industry. Duane Short at the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance says the listing should help provide focus.

Short says sage-grouse behavior and range has long been studied, and the pocket gopher habitat has been documented. He makes the case that the oil and gas industry can use technology to minimize its footprint on those habitats with methods such as directional drilling. Several companies already do it – those reluctant cite costs or possible loss of production volume.

Short says oil and gas production is important to Wyoming, which is why making sure species don’t end up on the endangered species list is in everyone’s best interest.

The B-L-M has already taken note of the sage-grouse issue, and public meetings are scheduled in Wyoming starting January 30th to discuss conservation measures.

Monday, January 23, 2012

BLM Holds Drawing Contest For Area School Kids

The Bureau of Land Management High Desert District is reopening the Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility with an expanded adoption event, including a drawing contest, elementary school field trips, preview day and an adoption featuring curly horses. Serena Baker with the BLM says the drawing contest is open to area school kids.

Baker says there will be some special prizes with the contest.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, more than 300 Rock Springs and Green River fourth graders will be taking a field trip to the RSWHHF learning about veterinary care given to wild horses, freeze branding, different breeds of horses, history of wild horses, and why BLM gathers wild horses. We will bring you more on the adoptions that will take place later this week during tomorrow's news.

Mead recommends cuts to proposed budget

Gov. Matt Mead is proposing cuts to the state budget proposal he submitted to state legislators in December. Mead wrote to members of the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee on Monday calling for cuts, including axing proposed pay raises for state employees and for workers at the University of Wyoming. Mead proposed a $3.4-billion state budget in December. State budget analysts this month said lower natural gas prices mean the state will likely receive $100 million less than anticipated in the 2-year budget cycle that begins next July. Sen. Phil Nicholas, a Laramie Republican, is co-chairman of the appropriations committee. He says that Mead's cuts may not go far enough. He says every recipient of a state program needs to share in the belt-tightening with state employees.

Rocky Mountain Power Hires Former State Auditor Meyer

Rocky Mountain Power has hired former state Auditor Rita Meyer to serve as the electric utility's vice president for Wyoming. The utility says Meyer will have responsibility for overseeing Rocky Mountain Power's Wyoming state business plan, directing customer and community relations, and supporting regulatory and legislative activities. She will maintain offices in Casper and Cheyenne. Meyer also is a retired officer with the Wyoming Air National Guard. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Wyoming before earning her MBA in International Business from Regis University in Denver.

Consultant to help with UW American Indian center

A design consultant for the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will be doing similar work for the University of Wyoming. Johnpaul Jones has contracted to work with the UW American Indian Studies Program to develop a project profile for a proposed American Indian center on the Laramie campus. The proposed center would house the American Indian Studies Program as well as provide space for cultural events and a research institute. Jones' work with UW is partially supported by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund. Jones will visit UW next month to meet with project stakeholders and begin gathering information for the project profile.

Veterans officer holds meetings in SE Wyoming

Wyoming's veterans service officer is holding meetings with veterans in southeastern Wyoming this week. Barry Gasdek will hold meetings with veterans and their families to talk about benefits, claims and health care in Torrington on Tuesday and Wednesday and in Wheatland on Thursday. The Torrington meetings will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., first at the Goshen County Courthouse and at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution the following day. Thursday's meeting in Wheatland will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wheatland Senior Center.

Acting CEO of Jackson hospital charged with DUI

The acting head of Jackson's hospital has been charged with DUI following a crash on Jan. 13. The Jackson Hole Daily reports that St. John's Medical Center CEO John Kren was arrested in the hospital's emergency room. He was brought there to be checked out after allegedly flipping his truck. Kren was later released and has pleaded not guilty. Hospital board president Michael Tennican said Kren's job performance has been exemplary and no questions have been raised about his conduct.

Avalanche danger up in Tetons, Salt/Greys area

The avalanche danger in the Tetons is up after up to 21 inches of new snow fell over the weekend. The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center said the avalanche danger in the Tetons as well as the Salt and Greys area was expected to be considerable on Monday. The hazard is rated as moderate in the Togwotee Pass area. The center says widespread avalanches were reported in the backcountry on Sunday, including a few close calls. The National Weather Service said a total of 21 inches of snow fell over the weekend at Grand Targhee. Casper Mountain got 16 inches, the most snow east of the Divide.


Residents around the state except the northwest and southeast regions are asked to participate in an online survey to help identify and address broadband gaps in Wyoming.
LinkWYOMING, a statewide initiative funded through a 2009 federal grant to map broadband access in the state, has created a survey to assess Wyoming’s broadband Internet usage and the needs of Wyoming's health care organizations, businesses, and the general public.
Data from the survey will be used to map locations where unmet demand exists for broadband. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and the deadline for submitting the survey is Feb. 28.
Participants have the option to include their broadband information on a geocoded map or to remain anonymous. Data will only be shared with the LinkWYOMING regional planning teams and the statewide broadband coordinator to identify and address broadband gaps.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

University of Wyoming to seek 2-year tuition hike

University of Wyoming officials plan to ask trustees in March to approve tuition rates for a 2-year period. The Laramie Boomerang reports that at a meeting Friday, Vice President of Administration Doug Vinzant told trustees adopting a 2-year planned tuition program would provide certainty for students. Currently, annual full-time undergraduate tuition and fees are $4,125 for residents and $12,855 for non-residents. Vinzant says increases will likely be based on what the university receives in appropriations from the Legislature. Gov. Matt Mead has recommended providing the university with less than what it requested for faculty salaries and boosting the university's library collections, prompting school officials to look at raising tuition. Vinzant says that since 2000, tuition has increased 3.9% per year on average, or about $130.

FE Warren airman dies of gunshot wound

Officials at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old airman. Capt. Angela Webb says Airman 1st Class Brandon Tafoya died in the shooting in a government building on base at about 10:55 p.m. Wednesday. She said Friday the shooting is under investigation and would not say if the death was a suicide, homicide or accident. Tafoya was from Westminster, Colo., and was a member of the 90th Security Forces Group. No other details have been released.

Clearview Acres Treasurer Arrested on Larceny Charges

The Treasurer of the Clearview Acres Improvement District has been arrested in the theft of nearly 150 thousand dollars of district funds. 39 year old Tracy Dawn Williamson was taken into custody at her Rock Springs home without incident Jan. 20th.

The improvement district exists to provide services, specifically water service, to the residents of Clearview Acres, an unincorporated community west of Rock Springs. Water is obtained by Rock Springs and Clearview residents David Gillespie and Debbie Lasch told investigators that Clearview owed the city 148 thousand dollars.

Williamson stated that as of October 26, 2011 the district owed the city of Rock Springs 137 thousand dollars in back payment for water service.

Over the course of the three month investigation county detectives uncovered evidence that Williamson had written herself 137 checks from the Clearview acres account that were not authorized by the board. The checks totaled 148,367 dollars and 9 cents.

She was released after posting a 10 thousand dollar bond. The investigation is continuing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Survey at 4-year high, but shows signs of trouble

A monthly survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states puts the report's overall index at a 4 1/2-year high, but other indicators show trouble ahead for the rural economy. The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday rose from 59.7 last month to 59.8 for January, the highest since June 2007. Anytime the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow. But indexes tied to bankers' responses to questions about farmland prices, loan volume, rural housing and hiring all dropped from last month. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says the results indicate a "leveling off" in the rural economy's growth. The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

WY Lawmakers Endorse Redistricting Plan

A panel of Wyoming lawmakers has endorsed a statewide plan for redrawing legislative districts that would leave one eastern Wyoming state senator out of a job. The Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee unanimously approved a redistricting plan Thursday in Cheyenne. The redistricting is in response to population changes reflected in the latest census. The redistricting plan would put the residence of Sen. Curt Meier, a Goshen County Republican, into a district represented by Sen. Wayne Johnson, a Laramie County Republican. The committee voted to allow Meier to serve out two years remaining in his term. The plan also would place two pairs of Republican state representatives into the same districts. Meier says he may propose to amend the plan in the legislative session that starts next month.

Casper Woman Pleads Guilty to Vehicular Homicide After Huffing

A Casper woman accused of huffing dust cleaner before a car wreck that killed a 50-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide. The Star-Tribune reports prosecutors say 39-year-old Heather Christensen's car sideswiped a truck at an intersection Nov. 14 and then struck a light pole. Passenger Richard Condelario died. Authorities say they found two cans of compressed air - one in Christensen's vehicle and another nearby. Court records say she acknowledged huffing the cleaner before the crash.

More Snow Expected In Western Wyoming

More heavy snow is expected in western Wyoming after up to 2 feet of snow fell in parts of the mountains on Thursday. Another Pacific storm system is set to move into the state Friday night. The National Weather Service says the Tetons and Gros Ventres could get another foot of snow from the latest storm. Wind gusts over 50 mph are possible. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort says that storm brought 2 feet of fresh snow to its slopes.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Kemmerer Field Office (KFO) Seeks Public Comment

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Kemmerer Field Office (KFO) is seeking public comment on a proposed 3D geophysical exploration project and will hold a public scoping meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lyman Town Hall, 100 E. Sage St., Lyman, Wyo.
The project proponent will use vibroseis and shot hole methodologies in an area comprised of approximately 96,812 acres, or 151 square miles, of BLM, Forest Service and private lands one mile southeast from the town of Mountain View in Uinta County, Wyo. If approved, operations would begin in late summer 2012 and would be completed within an estimated 10 to 12 weeks. An environmental assessment (EA) will be prepared by the BLM to analyze the effects of this proposed project. Public comment is being sought to help identify potential issues, concerns, ideas and alternatives to be addressed in the EA. Mail or deliver written comments by March 2, 2012 to the KFO, 312 Highway 189 N., Kemmerer, WY 83101 or email to debrown@blm.gov with “Uinta 3D” in the subject line.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.

Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board

The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) approved over $6.2 million in Business Ready Community (BRC) grants at its meeting today in Cheyenne.
The Wyoming Business Council administers the BRC program, which provides the financing for publicly owned infrastructure that serves the needs of businesses and promotes economic development within Wyoming communities.
The Business Council Board of Directors is required by statute to forward all BRC recommendations to the SLIB for final approval. During its Dec. 1 meeting in Cheyenne, Wyo., the Business Council board recommended funding for eight BRC applications totaling $6,233,392 million, leaving $37,664,490 available for this biennium.
The SLIB is made up of the five statewide elected officials: Gov. Matt Mead, Secretary of State Max Maxfield, State Treasurer Joe Meyer, State Auditor Cynthia Cloud, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.

Pinedale Anticline Working Group

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now accepting nominations for one position on the Pinedale Anticline Working Group (PAWG) representing energy and mineral development or transportation and rights-of-way for an appointment term of two years.
The PAWG is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and tasked with providing balanced recommendations to the BLM on the development and implementation of monitoring plans, mitigation and adaptive management decisions pertinent to oil and gas activities in the Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA) as described in the Pinedale Anticline Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision.
Nominations must be received by Feb. 16, 2012 from Wyoming residents living near the PAPA. Mail or deliver nominations to Shelley Gregory, BLM Pinedale Field Office, 1625 W. Pine St., P.O. Box 768, Pinedale WY 82941, or send via email to ssgregory@blm.gov.
Additional information about the PAWG, its membership and activities, and the nomination process can be found at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Pinedale/pawg.html.
For more information, please contact Gregory at 307-315-0612.

EPA Seeks Nominees To Look At EPA Draft Report on Fracking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking nominees to take a close look at an EPA draft report that theorizes a link between hydraulic fracturing and groundwater pollution in a Wyoming gas field. A federal notice this week says members of the peer review panel must have technical experience in areas including petroleum engineering, hydrology, geology and chemistry. The panelists must also not have any conflicts of interest. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method for breaking open rock deposits inside oil and gas wells. The EPA draft report released last month theorized that industry activity including fracking might have polluted groundwater in the Pavillion area. A 30-day peer review will follow a public comment period on the report that began Dec. 14.

National Park Might Consider Wolf Hunting At Rockefeller Park

A National Park Service official says he would consider allowing wolf hunting in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway but doesn't think it's ideal. The prospect of wolf hunting comes up now that state and federal officials have agreed to remove wolves from endangered species protection in Wyoming.

Arson Is The Cause of Deadly Mobile Home Explosion

Authorities say an arsonist is to blame for a mobile home explosion that killed two people in Hudson last November. Capt. Ryan Lee with the Fremont County Sheriff's Department says the case is now being treated as a double homicide. Investigators ruled out a natural gas explosion as the cause, and sheriff's deputies say they have some leads. The Nov. 17 explosion in the small central Wyoming town killed 20-year-old Elva Quiver and her 42-year-old boyfriend, Eric Likes

Jigging For Wyoming Down Syndrome Burbot Classic Registration Starts Friday

Registration begins today at 9 AM and runs until 8 PM for the Jigging For Wyoming Down Syndrome Burbot Classic Ice Fishing Derby at Buckboard Marina at Flaming Gorge. Richie Kaumo started the derby in honor of his own daughter who has Down's Syndrome. Kaumo says 100 percent of the entry fees will go toward the Wyoming Down Syndrome Association and ARC Regional Services in Laramie.

Teams of two to three will compete by for some nice prizes.

Burbot are an invasive fish that are attacking the food sources of native fish at Flaming Gorge. Weigh-ins will take place both on Saturday and Sunday at Buckboard and Firehole Boat Launch.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WY Lawmakers Hold Final Meeting On Redrawing Legislative Districts

Wyoming lawmakers held a final meeting today to hash out a statewide plan for redrawing legislative districts. The plan approved by the committee last month faces opposition in eastern Wyoming, where two incumbent Republican senators would be placed into one reconfigured district. It also faces opposition in the far western side of the state, where some residents oppose seeing several new legislative districts created.

Winter Storm Blasts Western Wyoming

Heavy snow in western Wyoming is providing fresh powder for the state's premier ski resort area. But it's also prompting avalanche warnings for the surrounding mountains. Winter storm warnings are posted for western Wyoming until 5 a.m. Friday. The storm has already dumped up to 20 inches of snow and up to 4 feet is possible in some areas before it's over. A 12 mile section of Wyoming 22 between Jackson and the Idaho state line was closed Thursday morning and no unnecessary travel was advised on a 55-mile section of U.S. 26-287 between Dubois and Grand Teton National Park. Elsewhere, winds gusting up to 65 mph are hampering traffic along Interstates 80 and 25 where advisories against light trailers are posted.


One man was injured in an explosion and fire yesterday morning in Jamestown.
A Green River Fire Department crew and one engine responded to a report of an explosion and fire near the Westco building at 10:09, according Assistant Fire Chief Dea Cargile. Dick Blust of the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office says the explosion occurred when Larry Bingham was using a cutting torch near a 50-gallon barrel marked ‘Methanol,”. Bingham was transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and then flown to Western States Burn Center in Greeley, Colo., with second-degree burns to both legs and a possible broken arm.


Due to the amount of scams that have taken place in the past couple of years, the GRPD is taking it upon itself to educate the community, hosting workshops and trainings on how local residents can protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud. During a workshop to a local group of citizens, Green River Police Department Detective Sergeant Tom Jarvie explained the statistical data on fraud in Green River. He stated that there were 85 total fraud cases reported in 2011.
“Our 2011 reported cases show several individuals lost more than $1,000 to scams while a few cases reported even greater losses,” says Jarvie.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent,” says Jarvie. “Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash because once it’s gone you can’t get it back.”

Endangered Species Coalition

Wyoming is home to two critters listed on a new report from the Endangered Species Coalition that details ten species in jeopardy because of fossil fuel development. The greater sage-grouse and Wyoming pocket gopher made the list because roads, vehicles and pipelines have fragmented their habitats. Wildlife biologist Dr. Jan Randall is a fellow at the California Academy of Science, and a member of the scientific advisory board that selected the ten species most imperiled.

Randall says making sure species are not wiped out is not just in the best interest of the animals and plants. She explains that every plant and animal plays a role in a healthy environment.

Plants, birds and fish from around the country are listed in the report, including a type of flower that only grows on oil shale land in Utah, and bowhead whales and speckled eiders in the Arctic. The report cites leaking pipelines and the Gulf oil disaster as examples where species have been devastated.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Merle Haggard To Play Cheyenne Frontier Days

Country music legend Merle Haggard plans to play Cheyenne Frontier Days this summer. Event organizers announced Tuesday that Haggard would play July 22nd with Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band as the opening act. It will be the second time Haggard has played at Frontier Days. The first was in 1979. Tickets go on sale on Friday. Frontier Days runs from July 20th through the 29th. Other performers who are set to appear include Hank Williams, Jr., Reba McEntire and the Zac Brown Band.

Local Game and Fish Hosts Season Setting Meeting

The local Wyoming game and Fish department will be hosting a season setting meeting Today (thursday) and is encouraging all hunters to particpate in the process. The meeting today is being used to gather input from hunters on the management stratedgies the Game and Fish uses when making decisions on hunting seasons. The Game and Fish says the local District will continue to host spring season setting workshops and the meeting today will allow for small group discussions. The meeting begins at 6pm and will take place at the regional office on Astle Avenue in Green River.

Sweetwater County Democrats Seek Nominees To Fill Assessor Vacancy

Due to the impending retirement of Sweetwater County Assessor David Rauzi, the Sweetwater County Democratic Central Committee will meet February 9th to select three nominees to submit to the County Commissioners. The Commissioners will select one to serve as Sweetwater County Assessor until the next General Election in November, 2012. Democrat Rauzi is set to retire from his post on February 1st. JoAnn Dayton, Chair of the Sweetwater County Democratic party, invites any registered qualified Democrat residing in Sweetwater County to submit a letter of intent to fill the vacancy. Interested persons should submit their letter of intent no later than February 7 to Dayton at mdayto@msn.com or mail to 738 D Street, Rock Springs.

Green River Man Burned In Work Explosion

According to Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office Detective Dick Blust, Jr., a Green River man was badly burned during an explosion in Jamestown on Wednesday morning.

Blust says that Bingham ran from the shop, then drove himself to his residence in Green River, where deputies and emergency medical technicians found him.

Blust says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified.  The Sheriff’s Office will serve in a support role while state and federal authorities conduct their investigation since the explosion was workplace-related.

City Council Meeting

The Green River City Council met for its second monthly meeting Tuesday night, Erick Pauley has the story

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wheatland Man Pleads Not Guilty In Deadly Rampage

A Wheatland man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed his three sons and his brother in a shooting rampage last summer. Platte County Attorney Eric Jones said Everett Conant III entered pleas Tuesday of not guilty and not guilty by mental illness before District Judge John Brooks. Conant is accused of shooting and killing his sons — 11-year-old Joseph, 13-year-old Charles and 18-year-old Everett, as well as their 33-year-old uncle Nacuma Roland Conant. The defendant is also charged with attempted murder in the wounding of his wife during the shootings on July 7. Jones said no other court dates were set and Conant remains in custody.

Greybull Man Dies In Rollover Crash

A Greybull, Wyo., man died Sunday after he was thrown from a car during a rollover crash in northern Wyoming. According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, 62-year-old Jimmy D. Soetmelk was driving a Buick Century southbound on Highway 20 about six miles south of Basin when the car drifted off the west side of the road at about 11:30 a.m. Soetmelk over-corrected and the Buick slid into the oncoming traffic lane before going off the east side of the road and rolling several times. Soetmelk, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the car. He was declared dead at the scene.

Two State Car Chase Ends In Crash in Wyoming

A two-state pursuit on Tuesday ended in Wyoming when the suspect in a road rage incident crashed his car off of Interstate 25.
The Colorado State Patrol asked for help from Wyoming while they were chasing a Dodge Neon suspected to be involved in a road rage incident. A Wyoming trooper laid out a spike strip four miles from the border, but it is unclear if the care hit the strip. The car did strike a van carrying a family of eight from Alberta, Canada, at the Port of Entry off-ramp and went down a steep embankment on the east side of the road. The driver, a male whose name has not been released, is alleged to have jumped out of the car and yelled at troopers that he had a gun and wanted them to shoot him. Troopers eventually tackled him and took him into custody. No gun was found. No one in the van from Canada was injured in the crash.

Six Million Dollars Worth of Counterfeit Clothing Seized Near Cheyenne

The Wyoming Highway Patrol seized nearly $6 million in counterfeit jackets, handbags and shoes during a traffic stop near Cheyenne on Monday. According to a patrol news release, a trooper pulled over a semitrailer on Interstate 80 about a mile north of Cheyenne. During a routine commercial vehicle inspection, the trooper noticed that the semi's shipping documents did not say what it was carrying. Inside the trailer, the trooper found 18 pallets loaded with $5.7 million worth of fake Nike tennis shoes and Louis Vuitton (loo-ee vi-tawn) leather jackets and handbags. The clothing is believed to have come from China and was headed for New York City. The patrol turned over the apparel to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is assisting in the investigation.

Burbot Bash Is Rapidly Approaching

More than seven thousand dollars are literally up for grabs at this year's Burbot Bash. Green River fisheries biologist Craig Amadio said in a recent interview that while the weekend long fishing derby is a lot of fun, it is also has its serious side.

The real goal is to get as many of the invasive burbot out of Flaming Gorge.

The Burbot Bash will kick off on January 25th at Buckboard Marina. It will conclude on January 28th with a fish cleaning competition and burbot cooking demonstration at the Manila Rodeo Grounds.

Missing Cheyenne Man Held On Gunpoint Was Never Missing At All

22 year old Joseph Isaac Trock of Cheyenne was reported as missing on Sunday, supposedly held at gunpoint. According to Cheyenne Police spokesman Lew Simpson, it never happened. Trock was found safe and unharmed Monday morning. A woman who said she was Trock's grandmother initially made the report, saying that he was taken against his will and held at gunpoint. The woman was not Trock's grandmother, but police say she was confused. Trock was found by tracking his cell phone on Monday.

UW New Visual Arts Building To Be Dedicated

The University of Wyoming's new Visual Arts Building will be dedicated Friday morning. Located just east of the Centennial Complex that houses the UW Art Museum, the 79,000-square foot facility expands teaching space and provides additional rooms for student projects. The facility offers teaching studios and spaces for art history, ceramics, drawing, foundations of art, graphics, painting, printmaking, sculpture and small metals. It also provides administrative offices, a large student commons area, a gallery to exhibit students' work and to support the Visiting Artists Program, and a large lecture room for art classes and other programs. The UW Department of Art moved into the new building during winter break, and classes are being offered there this semester.

Budget Cuts Hurt Wyoming Prison Program

Budget cuts of 5% or more would hurt alternative programs in Wyoming's prison system, according to the corrections department. Department director Robert Lampert briefed lawmakers on Monday about what cuts would be required under different funding scenarios. Lampert said the department could handle a 2% cut. However, he said a 5% cut would lead to the closure of programs like a Casper substance abuse treatment center for inmates at the end of their sentences. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that he said an 8% cut would severely impact all alternative programs for prisoners. The Joint Appropriations Committee has asked all departments to propose how they would handle a range of cuts. State revenue is expected to be flat, mainly because of a drop in natural gas prices.

Animal Antibiotics

Farmers and ranchers in Wyoming and around the country are going to have to make some changes when it comes to treating animals with antibiotics. The F-D-A is banning some off-label uses of the class of medications known as Cephalosporins, because of concerns that overuse in animals is creating drug-resistant bacteria – and that affects people. David Wallinga with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy applauds the decision.

Wallinga says about 54-thousand pounds of Cephalosporins were used in producing farm animals in the U-S in 2010. But he calls that just a 'drop in the bucket' compared to the widespread use of other antibiotics in agriculture - and he thinks more needs to be done to end routine use of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are used in feed to help promote faster growth and ward off possible infections, and are promoted as a way to keep food supplies safe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock Springs Fire Caused By Heater

The Rock Springs Fire Department said the Thursday night fire that destroyed a home at 1700 Swanson Drive Space 155 was caused by a heater being used to thaw water pipes under the home. Although the fire destroyed the home, no one was reported injured.

Green River Police Department Offers Citizen's Police Academy

The Green River Police Department will be accepting applications for the 2012 Police Academy through January 31st. Detective Fred Maculski says there are just a few requirements with the course.

The Academy offers classroom and hands-on instruction on such things as patrol duties, investigations and arrest techniques. Maculski says space is limited.

The six week course starts February 6th. For more information, contact the Green River Police Department.

January Is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

The Wyoming Department of Health is reminding women to take steps to reduce their risk of cervical cancer. Carol Peterson of the Wyoming Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program says there has been significant progress in the fight against cervical cancer in recent years. But a state Health Department report says Wyoming is ranked low at 45th in the nation for women reporting they had at least one Pap test in the past three years.

Cheyenne Wants To Clean Up Stinky Lake

Cheyenne officials are looking for money to remove the stench from a lake in Holliday Park. The Tribune Eagle reports that a recent study proposed several ways to improving the water at Lake Minnehaha. Parks and recreation director Rick Parish said one possible source of funding is local government money that the city may receive from the Legislature this year.

Bill links driver's license to school attendance

A Wyoming lawmaker is proposing that students who drop out of school before age 18 be barred from getting a driver's license. The Star-Tribune reports that Republican state Sen. Hank Coe of Cody has drafted a bill with the new requirement. Twenty other states and the District of Columbia have set 18 as the minimum age for dropping out. About 1,000 Wyoming students dropped out of school in 2008-09.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wyoming revenue projections down $100 million

The co-chairmen of the state's revenue estimating group have briefed Wyoming's Joint Appropriations Committee Friday afternoon on projections that show the state collecting more than $100 million less than anticipated for the upcoming 2-year budget cycle. The state's earlier budget projections made in October were based on natural gas prices at $4 per thousand cubic feet. Bill Mai, who works for the Legislative Service Office, says mild weather this winter and increased gas production in other states have combined to push prices lower. Gov. Matt Mead said Friday the revenue projections could force Wyoming lawmakers to impose spending cuts on state agencies in the legislative session that starts next month. Mead said that if cuts are necessary, he would ask the Joint Appropriations Committee to give him the time to make them with precision.

Laramie County Inmate Hangs Himself, Dies

Authorities say an inmate has died after hanging himself in the Laramie County jail in Cheyenne. The Cheyenne Tribune Eagle reports the inmate was found Thursday and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name hasn't been released. Authorities haven't said how the inmate hanged himself. The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is handling the inquiry.

Season arrives for high ozone in western Wyoming

The season for high levels of ozone pollution has arrived in the Upper Green River Basin in western Wyoming, but so far ozone levels have been relatively low. Last winter, ozone levels in the Pinedale area soared above levels normally seen in big cities during the summertime. The ozone results from air pollution caused by activity in 2 of the nation's biggest gas fields, the Jonah Field and Pinedale Anticline. Certain weather conditions must also be in place for ground-level ozone to form. They include bright, sunny weather and snow on the ground to reflect that sunlight back into the atmosphere. So far there isn't much snow cover in the Pinedale area. State regulators and gas industry representatives say they're ready to act if ozone levels rise.

BLM Releases Final Scoping Report For Resource Managment Plan Revision

The Bureau of Land Management Rock Springs Field Office has released the Final Scoping Report for the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan revision and associated environmental impact statement. Serena Baker with the BLM says they received 666 unique comments during the 60 day period.

Baker says the public comments received will help the BLM identify impacts, develop planning criteria and evaluate existing land use decisions while drafting the RMP revision and EIS.

The final scoping report and additional project details are available online at blm.gov.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Joint Appropriations Committee Briefed Today On State Spending

A panel of Wyoming lawmakers is being briefed today on state revenue projections that could shape state spending over the coming two years. The Joint Appropriations Committee will rely on the new revenue projections to make budget recommendations to the full Legislature in the session that starts next month.

Cheyenne Man Convicted Of Buying Vehicles Unlawfully

A Cheyenne man has been convicted of posing as a licensed car dealer when buying more than $300,000 worth of vehicles in Nebraska. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 51-year-old Thomas Merchant was convicted earlier this week of the unlawful purchase or sale of a vehicle. Prosecutors say Merchant used a forged dealer's license when he bought 19 vehicles from the Nebraska Auto Auction last June. Merchant could be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison on Feb. 23 because the state is alleging he's a habitual criminal.

Trustmark Insurance Hike Will Stand

State officials say they lack authority to regulate Trustmark Life Insurance Co.'s health insurance premium rates following the federal government calling the insurer proposed increase "unreasonable." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the company has proposed unreasonable rate increases in Alabama, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming. The 2010 health care law requires insurers to justify rate increases over 10%. Trustmark in a statement told the Casper Star-Tribune that it disagrees with the department's conclusions and says it takes into account its loss ratio that varies significantly from year to year. The insurer has about 1,400 policyholders in Wyoming. Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Ken Vines says Wyoming lawmakers have decided that a competitive market, rather than the government, should regulate rates.

Train Pickup Crash Under Investigation in Granger

No one was injured in a pickup train crash in Grange Thursday evening. Detective Dick Blust with the Sweetwater County Sheriff's office says detectives responded at about 6:58 PM to a reported collision.

A passerby assisted Wolfley in an effort to pull his vehicle from the tracks, but they were unsuccessful.

The cause and circumstances of the crash remain under investigation.

Train Car Crash at Granger Crossing

Early reports of a train wreck yesterday about 22 miles west of Green River at the Granger Crossing. Our sources tell us that a pickup truck either got stuck or broke down on the tracks. At some point, two people came upon the crossing, and noticed a train was coming. The couple then proceeded to get the older man out of the truck before the train ran into it. At last report, the locamotive is sitting in the Green River Rail Yard and sustained some damage. We belive the truck was totaled in the crash.

PAPO Proposals

The Pinedale Anticline Project Office (PAPO) is accepting proposals to collect and evaluate the vegetative effects of fertilization projects on the Mesa mule deer winter range south of Pinedale, Wyo.
Two Mesa sites have been fertilized: 468 acres in 2010 and 1,000 acres in 2011. Existing PAPO data on these sites will be available to the successful project proponent.
Proposals should include the data collection field seasons of 2012 and 2013. Project proponents must be capable of evaluating the statistical significance of shrub and herbaceous production and changes in vegetation composition as well as canopy and ground cover.
Proposals must be delivered or mailed to 1625 W. Pine St., P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, WY 82941 or emailed to dostroud@blm.gov no later than Monday, Jan. 30.

Truman Elementar Honored

Students and staff at Truman Elementary school in Green River will be honored Tuesday January 17th by Cowboys Against Cancer. Margaret Parry, President of Cowboys against Cancer, says she will be joined by Paul Marcum from General Electric to honor the students and staff for there generosity at the recently held Cowboys Against Cancer fundraiser. Kindergarten through fourth graders as well as the staff used their various talents and creativity in preparing six baskets ranging in themes to help provide two thousand dollars in donations.
Parry says in addition to the monetary benefit received by Cowboys Against Cancer, it also provided a vehicle for demonstrating to the children the importance of paying forward support and assistance for their freinds and neighbors. She says T-shirts are to be distributed to the students and staff in appreciation for their participation. Parry says over 475,000 dollars was raised during the banquet. Parry says Marcum will be on hand to make an announcement from General Electric about the companies Wyoming Women First program. The event on the 17th will begin at 2:30pm at Truman school.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Green River Students To Be Honored Next Tuesday

Kindergarten through fourth grade students at Truman Elementary School in Green River managed to raise two thousand dollars for Cowboys for Cancer. Vice President George Lemich says the students will be honored on Tuesday the 17th at the school.

Paul Marcum with General Electric will be on hand to help honor the kids and teachers. The kids will also receive a special presentation.

A total of 475 thousand dollars was raised by Cowboys Against Cancer at the banquet where the baskets were sold. The honor ceremony will take place at 2:30 PM at Truman Elementary.

Colorado Man Dies In Fall At Grand Teton National Park

Federal workplace safety regulators are investigating the death of a Colorado man at a construction site at Grand Teton National Park. The National Park Service said Thursday that 33-year-old Bryon Peck fell about 15 feet Monday while installing a second-floor door on a new housing unit near the park's headquarters complex at Moose, Wyo. He died Wednesday at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Park officials say Peck was the plant manager for a housing assembly company out of Fort Morgan, Colo. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. Peck is survived by his wife and children.

Wyoming Schools Receive C Plus Grade In National Report Card

A national report card for Wyoming's public school shows the state slightly above average. The 2012 Quality Counts Report, done by Education Week, was released on Thursday. In addition to giving grades, it ranks the 50 states and Washington D.C. Wyoming earned a score of 76.8 or a C+ and was ranked 26th in the country. The national average was a 76.3 score and a C grade. Neighboring states all scored lower, with Nebraska and South Dakota ranking 50th and 51st. Maryland received the highest marks for its public schools.

Powell Police Make Arrests In $10,000 Coke Bust

Powell Police officers arrested two residents for possessing about $10,000 worth of cocaine. 49 year old Rosa Gonzalez and 58 year old Ernesto Gonzalez were taken into custody Wednesday. They face charges of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, namely cocaine. Police obtained a search warrant for a residence and found 108 grams of the drug -- about 4 ounces -- with an estimated street value of more than $10,000. The drug was packaged for sale and distribution in 1-gram amounts. Police also recovered packaging material, drug paraphernalia and $6,500 in cash.
Vestas Wind Systems says it will lay off over 2,300 people worldwide and warned that an additional 1,600 jobs in the U.S. could be at risk if Congress doesn't extend tax breaks for renewable energy. The Denmark-based company says 182 of the jobs will be cut in the United States. In 2010, Vestas was awarded about $51 million in federal tax credits in the U.S., where it has invested more than $1 billion in four facilities in Colorado. The U.S. operations are headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Vestas is the world's biggest maker of wind turbines in terms of revenue. The company says the layoffs are part of efforts to reduce fixed costs by more than $191 million as it deals with tough competition and a market slowdown following the global recession in 2008-2009.

Wyoming Recognized By Feds For Protecting of Wildlife and Motorists

Efforts in Wyoming to protect motorists and migrating wildlife, especially a unique herd of pronghorn antelope, are being recognized by a federal agency. The Federal Highway Administration presented awards to five state and federal agencies for their work at the Trappers Point area in Sublette County near Pinedale. Nearly $10 million is being spent to construct overpasses, underpasses and fencing along a 12-mile stretch of U.S. 189 and U.S. 189-191. The idea is to protect both wildlife and motorists from collisions. The two-lane highways bisect a key migration route of wildlife, including a herd of pronghorn antelope that make 1 of the longest treks by mammals in the Western Hemisphere. The pronghorn migration route also has been squeezed by energy and housing development over the years.