Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Articles written by Sarah Pridgeon


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  • Ridge Fire contained

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    A fire that flared back up several days after it was first reported neared 300 acres in size before it was contained last week. Though structures in the area were threatened, none were ultimately lost. The Ridge Fire was located on Douglas Rd southwest of Sundance and was first reported at 2 p.m. on July 9. It was discovered to be a flare-up from a previous fire on July 6. On day one, according to Fire Warden Charlie Harrison, it displayed extreme fire behavior and the rate of spread was rapid,...

  • Visitors to outnumber residents next month

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    Northeast Wyoming’s residents will be far outnumbered by visitors this August as rallygoers from the east collide with an estimated 60,000 guests at Gillette’s Camplex. Both the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the International Pathfinder Camporee will be taking place during the first week of August and officials are warning that locals will feel an impact. Save yourself some inconvenience, says Crook County Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Robinson, by planning ahead to have everything you need on hand before the influx begins. What’s Camporee...

  • County supports Campbell County complex bid

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    The choice of where to locate the new Wyoming State Shooting Complex has come down to two options, and the Crook County Commissioners are supporting the more local one. Campbell County has made the shortlist alongside Park County. At a special meeting on Monday, the commission signed a letter of “enthusiastic support” for the multi-million-dollar complex to be built just across the county border. “We believe that locating this facility in Campbell County would provide significant benefits not only to Northeast Wyoming, but also to shoot...

  • State smooths the path to grant funding for smaller towns

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    Wyoming’s smaller towns may now have an easier path to obtaining federal grant funding through a new state program that aims to fill the gaps in knowledge and capability. Governor Mark Gordon announced last week that the Wyoming Grant Assistance Program (WYGAP) is now active through the State Budget Department and will be looking to assist local governments, nonprofits and small businesses in finding, pursuing and managing the grants they need. The program acknowledges the hurdles that often f...

  • Drought conditions return

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    It won’t surprise anyone who stuck their nose out of the air conditioning over the last week that the county is heading back into drought conditions. The National Integrated Drought Information System reports that more than a quarter of the county is now in a condition of moderate drought – a 23% increase on the previous week. The drought zones, which account for 27.4% of the county, are located along the northern border and also the southern border and southeast corner. Streamflows on the Belle Fourche River at the South Dakota border are cur...

  • Scam threatening victims with jail time becoming a trend

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    The Wyoming Judicial Branch is warning citizens that any demand for a cash deposit from someone claiming to be connected with the courts or law enforcement is almost certainly a scam. According to a press release, there is currently a trend of individuals pretending to be associated with the judicial system to con members of the public out of large sums of money. Those who have been contacted by such individuals have been told they have arrest warrants in place for failing to appear for jury duty or similar reasons. The scammers then tell...

  • Motorcyclist killed in highway crash

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 18, 2024

    A Minnesota woman was killed last week in a motorcycle crash on U.S. Hwy 14. The incident took place near Sundance at milepost 191.4 on July 5 at around 11:15 a.m. The 61-year-old driver, Kelly Pierson, was traveling eastbound. According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, witnesses said she was traveling well under the speed limit. Pierson had just exited from a curve onto a straight stretch of road. Marks on the roadway indicate that she lost control of the motorcycle, laying it over. Pierson was separated from the motorcycle and...

  • Garman named Tree Farmer of the Year

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    Crook County's Jeff Garman has been named the 2024 Wyoming Tree Farmer of the year by Wyoming State Forestry. Each year, the award recognizes a family-owned woodland for its outstanding sustainable forest management, honoring individuals who go above and beyond in their commitment to responsible forest management. The Garmans have spent several decades working with professionals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wyoming State Forestry on stewardship of their land. The goal of this...

  • Lost child recovered after all-night search

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    With the help of dozens of community members and emergency personnel, Crook County Sheriff’s Office was able to reunite a young boy with his family last weekend after the child disappeared from his home, leaving only a footprint behind. On July 5, at around 12:47 a.m., the sheriff’s office received a report of a missing child who had gone missing from his home near Hulett. According to sheriff’s office reports, the ten-year-old, who is autistic and nonverbal, had last been seen at 2 p.m. the day before. The caller enlisted between 20 and 30 peo...

  • City floats no-parking zone

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    A no parking zone is to be enforced on one block of a city street – the Sundance City Council’s response to an issue with a driver who is said to be blocking his neighbor’s drive. Mayor Paul Brooks described the situation as a person who parks on the driving lane on the block of E. Sewell Street behind the high school. The neighbors, he said, are having issues backing out of their driveway due to the presence of this vehicle on a narrow stretch of road. The vehicle’s owner is unwilling to move it elsewhere, said Brooks. He told the council...

  • Council makes pickleball call

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    It’s hard to play pickleball without a net, but will it be safe from thieves if it’s left up at the court? Sundance’s pickleball club has been keeping the net locked up to protect it, said Clerk-Treasurer Theresa Curren last week, but this has caused a problem because the city has received requests from members of the public who would like to make use of it. Until now, she said, a potential pickleballer has had to contact a member of the club to borrow the net. Curren suggested that a better option would be to have the net at City Hall to loan...

  • Council opts to cost-share sewer line work

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    The Sundance City Council has agreed to chip in on a bill of several thousand dollars to fix a backed up sewer line, raising the question of where exactly the city’s responsibility ends when it comes to a utility issue around a property’s connection point. Levi and Sophia Galloway attended last week’s meeting to make a polite request for assistance on a bill of $7533. Sophia explained that, two months ago, the couple began noticing a sewer smell at their home and eventually discovered that the sewer had backed up under the building and had a...

  • County updates hazard mitigation plan

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    As the final stage of adopting the new hazard mitigation plan for the county, Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Robinson has been presenting it for approval to the governmental bodies it will affect. The Region 1 Hazard Mitigation Plan is, Robinson says, “A plan that is adopted by all of the municipalities and the county every five to seven years.” As the last adoption was in 2018, the time for renewal has arrived. The mitigation plan identifies the demographics and characteristics of the county and the major hazards faced here. These inc...

  • Behavioral health overhaul will impact service users

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    The state has been working to overhaul and strengthen its behavioral health system since 2021, when the Wyoming State Legislature passed new laws to support the effort. The goal, says the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), is to focus the state’s resources on the people who need them most: acute psychiatric adults, criminal justice-involved clients, high needs children and families and low income and indigent general access populations. “For many years, our department has paid millions of state dollars to community mental health centers to hel...

  • Secretary of State launches website guide for voters

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 11, 2024

    A new website has been launched to help ensure that every Wyomingite has the resources they need to vote this year. Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray announced that “Wyoming Votes” is intended to contain all the pertinent information a voter needs to make sure their voice is counted. Available at letsvotewyo.org, the site includes functionality that will help you check where your polling place will be for the coming elections. Typing in your zip code and street address will allow you to check your polling location, precinct number and the...

  • Fair week promises parades, rodeos and fun

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    CORRECTION Last week’s newspaper listed the day of the parade, bicycle rally, color run, livestock sale and Tris Munsick concert incorrectly. Parade day will take place on Saturday, July 27. The youth rodeo is scheduled for July 20, the ranch rodeo for July 23 and the youth rough stock rodeo for July 25. Fair week is coming right up, this year to the theme of "Country Freedom". Promising all the familiar contests and attractions, there will be a few small schedule changes to watch out for t...

  • Grasshopper program winds up for the year

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    Just under 61,000 acres of land have been treated for grasshoppers, bringing an end to this year's insecticide program through the Crook County Weed & Pest District. The district launched the program in response to predictions of a bad grasshopper season this year, planning an overhead spray of Dimilin® to combat the pests. The process began in March with outreach to gauge public interest, after which District Supervisor Alycia Conroy-Davis worked to obtain an emergency insecticide managemen...

  • CCMSD sued for breach of contract

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    A lawsuit has been filed against Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) by the company responsible for the electronic medical records (EMR) system that was recently replaced throughout the district. TruBridge Inc has filed the suit in the Southern District of Alabama, claiming that the district broke its contract and owes the company just under $1 million in damages. According to the complaint, CCMSD entered into an agreement with TrBridge for the use of its EMR system, Evident. The system was to provide full accounts receivable...

  • Man reunited with family by search and rescue team

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    Crook County Sheriff’s Office reports a successful search and rescue operation last week in which a young man was reunited with his father and brother at Reuter Campground. The report came in at around 9:15 p.m. on June 20 that an 18-year-old who had been camping with his brother and father had gone missing. According to the father, the male had gone mountain biking at around 5 p.m. on the trail system, but had not returned by 8 p.m. The father had gone looking for him, but was not able to locate him before dark so called 911 to report him m...

  • New laws take effect

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    Numerous laws go into effect this week from this year’s session of the state legislature. From new crimes to benefits for emergency personnel, some of the statutes that became active on July 1 include: School and Childcare • School districts have additional duties related to notification and consent. For example, there are now procedures to provide notice about a child as soon as possible if there is a change in their well-being and policies must be adopted to, “reinforce the fundamental right of parents and guardians to make decisions regar...

  • Upton site ready for RER demo plant

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    Rare Element Resources (RER) released a progress report this week on construction of its demo plant in Upton. Despite budget issues caused by inflation, the company expects to begin operation at the end of the summer. It’s been all systems go at the site since RER’s ground breaking ceremony last October. Shortly after, the company announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had finalized its review of the demo plant that the company anticipates will soon be built in Upton, officially completing the federal permitting process prior to con...

  • BLM fire restrictions back in place

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    Fire restrictions are back in place on BLM land within Crook County and the agency is asking for the public’s help to prevent human-caused fires by being safe and responsible while enjoying the outdoors. “Preventable wildfires threaten lives, property, and precious resources every year,” says Craig Short, BLM High Plains District Fire Management Officer. “Firefighters are needed more than ever to keep Americans safe, so please, do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires.” A fire ban was initially put in place in March due to the abundance...

  • Rabbit fever cases concern health department

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jul 4, 2024

    It isn’t shaping up to be a good summer for Wyoming’s rabbits. Following last week’s announcement from Wyoming Game & Fish that Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 appears prevalent this year, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is now warning about tularemia, otherwise known as “rabbit fever”. This serious disease can spread to humans in a number of ways and can cause serious symptoms. According to WDH data, eight confirmed and suspected cases of tularemia have been reported so far in 2024 – four times the normal amount for the whole year....

  • Bear sightings on the rise

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 27, 2024

    Bear sightings near populated parts of the county have been more common than usual so far this year, according to Game Warden Nate Holst. A few sightings have taken place near Sundance, as well as one in Moorcroft that Holst says was hanging around for a while near the D Road. The latest sighting near Sundance took place on Monday evening, says Holst. In this case, the spotter thought it was a grizzly due to its coloring, but it was identified as a blond phase black bear. Grizzlies are not...

  • Celebrate the holiday at Keyhole

    Sarah Pridgeon|Jun 27, 2024

    Keyhole State Park will be celebrating independence next weekend with a series of outdoor events for the whole family to enjoy. On July 4 itself, head to the dam area between 5:30 a.m. and noon to take part in a bird banding exercise. Park staff will be joined by the Audubon Rockies, the regional office of the National Audubon Society in an annual exercise that helps to conserve migratory birds by understanding the health of populations and individual creatures. Banding involves determining age...

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