Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Articles written by Sarah Pridgeon


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 2085

  • Property tax refund program now open

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 18, 2024

    The property tax refund program for homeowners has opened for applications, with an extra $20 million allocated by the Legislature this year and expanded eligibility. The program assisted 9000 families last year and is expected to help an additional 2000 this year. Homeowners can apply for a refund of up to one-half of the median residential property tax amount or 75 percent of their 2023 property tax bill, whichever is less. HB-04 made changes to the program this year to widen the eligibility requirements. To be eligible in the past, your...

  • Through the looking glass

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 18, 2024

    For the first time since the StoryWalk® first graced the Sundance walking paths, its contents don't tell a single story. Instead, each frame will display a photograph of a piece of fusion glass artwork and the unique story behind it. The pieces were created by students of Sundance High School under the tutelage of art teacher Tobi Miller-Ayer. Depending on the complexity of the project a student has chosen, she says, they can take as little as a month or as much as a semester to complete....

  • Sawmill announces layoffs in Spearfish

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 18, 2024

    Neiman Enterprises has announced layoffs and production reductions at Spearfish Forest Products, its last remaining facility in South Dakota. The company says the decision is due to a decrease in the timber sale program on the Black Hills National Forest (BHNF). “We have done everything possible to prevent this unfortunate outcome that will impact these employees, our community, and ultimately the health of the forest,” said Jim Neiman, President. “We’ve weathered economic and market downturns over the decades. These layoffs, however, are a d...

  • This Side of the Pond

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 18, 2024

    Somewhere in the north of England, not too long ago, a good Samaritan stumbled across a creature in need. We’ll never know the identity of our well-meaning citizen because it’s been redacted for the privacy I am sure they will be grateful for now this story has come to light. But we do know all about the good they did that day. Our tale takes place in Cheshire, and I would like to imagine it began in a sunlit glade, deep in the picturesque woods, with spring leaves rustling in the morning breeze...

  • SPOT tax to appear on this year's ballot

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    Voters will be asked this year to again approve the Specific Purpose Sales and Use Tax (SPOT), which raises money that goes directly to the four municipalities and the county and is used for infrastructure needs that are often difficult to fund elsewhere. This time, at the suggestion of Pine Haven Mayor Karla Brandenburg, the amount to be raised for each entity may be increased from $1.5 million to $3 million. This doesn’t change the amount of the tax itself – it’s still just a penny, she said, and it’s a penny that is already in place,...

  • County to update land use plan

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    As the county moves to update its land use plan, the commission must make certain decisions about the process and its outcome. Key to these decisions will be the involvement of the public, and also the municipalities – especially, said Community Planning and Zoning Consultant Jayna Watson, if the commission still wants to encourage development towards the county’s population centers. A refresh of the comprehensive land use plan is a potential first step towards zoning, which the county has been considering as a way to provide more control over...

  • Commission at end of patience with plow request

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    A scuffle over road maintenance on a quarter-mile stretch of Old Sundance Rd may have reached its conclusion for now, it seems, after the county commissioners said they would not add it to the agenda again for at least another year. The commission’s answer has not changed since Eric Akola first attended a meeting to request that this portion of road be plowed in the winter. “We are going to maintain the county roads that we maintain now,” stated Commissioner Fred Devish, later adding, “I don’t know how we can make it any plainer that an unmain...

  • No need for speed

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    Speed limits can be a tricky thing on a gravel road: driving at the posted limit doesn’t always mean you’re driving safely. This concern has led a county resident to request that the county reduce the speed limit on Barlow Canyon Rd to 30 mph, which passes right through the middle of his land. With new neighbors moving into the area and construction taking place nearby, Dave Wolfskill says the number of people traveling more quickly than he feels is safe has increased. He told the commission last week that this has led him to fear that har...

  • City considers new ordinances

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    The City of Sundance is preparing to modernize its ordinances to tackle new challenges such as solar panels and tiny houses. Trevor Keyworth of the Land Use Planning Committee spoke with the council last week to confirm that examples of such ordinances have been sourced from other Wyoming municipalities for review. He asked council members to look them over to see whether they would like to adopt something similar and how they should or could be adapted for Sundance’s needs. Some of the issues u...

  • City to issue free landfill day coupons

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    City of Sundance residents will once again receive a coupon this year for a free landfill day. This coupon grants every resident the opportunity to bring their trash to the city’s transfer station completely free of charge on a day of their choosing. For the last few years, the City of Sundance has issued a free trash coupon to each of its utility customers. Originally, the city hosted a single “free landfill day” each year. This process was changed several years ago when the landfill closed and the city transitioned to using a transfer stati...

  • Phantom door gets a fix

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    With a fix in mind for the phantom door, the City of Sundance is ready to move forward with renewing its contract with the Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) for ambulance space in the fire hall. The council told EMS Coordinator Anthony Vopat last month that two issues needed to be solved before this could happen. According to Mayor Paul Brooks, the bay door was being left open and the thermostat was being turned up to 70 degrees. Both these things are costly, said the mayor. Vopat, however, had no knowledge of who had been...

  • Flush out of ideas

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 11, 2024

    The city’s efforts to solve a sewer conundrum do not appear to have been successful, leading the council to consider allowing a variance that would allow for a septic tank on the lot instead. The issue cropped up late last year, involving a parcel of land that was under development at the east end of town. City rules don’t allow for a lot within reach of a sewer line to have a septic tank. While it is in reach of a line, this particular lot sits at an elevation that makes it difficult to tap in at the available connection point. Heith Wad...

  • CCMSD appoints new trustee

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    Bob Richey resigned his position as the Hulett trustee for Crook County Medical Services District last week and was immediately replaced with the appointment of Robin Hibbard. “I have his resignation with me today,” said Trustee Sandy Neiman, who told the board that Richey has stepped down due to personal circumstances. In the letter he submitted to the board, read by Neiman, Richey said, “It has been my honor and privilege to serve on the board but, due to unforeseen circumstances, I will no longer be able to meet my duties as treasurer and t...

  • Vetoes stand

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    Governor Mark Gordon’s recent bill signings have included several vetoes, which last week prompted a vote in both chambers on whether to schedule a special legislative session that would offer the chance to override them. Bills that got a thumbs down include one to reduce property tax by slashing 25% of the first $2 million of a home’s assessed value, an overturn of all gun-free zones and further regulation of abortions. A closed vote that required a simple majority in both chambers to pass saw the Senate vote in support of a special ses...

  • Beulah gets its water district

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    Beulah’s new water district has been given the go-ahead. The county commissioners approved a resolution on Tuesday morning that officially forms the Beulah Improvement and Service District and sets forth the next steps for its formation. Efforts to form the district began earlier this year, after the water company that serves 32 customers in the area applied for a significant increase to its monthly rates. The change would have increased the amount each customer of Beulah Land Water LLC pays by just under $200 per month – a 380% hike on the cur...

  • County asks for seat at table on old-growth forest plan

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    The Crook County Commissioners have officially requested the status of cooperating agency in the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) process of changing how it manages old growth forests. Earlier this year, the commissioners called for a rethink of the USFS’s plans to amend every national forest land management in the nation to create one overall strategy. The county criticized the one-size-fits-all approach and failure to include local governments in the process. The new rules are expected to affect all National Forests in Wyoming, including the Blac...

  • CCMSD changes lane on mental health care plans

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    The Board of Trustees for Crook County Services District (CCMSD) will not at this time be introducing the Senior Life Solutions program to provide mental health care for residents aged 65 and above. Instead, the board has opted to fill a nurse practitioner vacancy with a candidate who has a dual specialty that includes mental health. The board heard a presentation at its last meeting from Kirby Johnson of Senior Life Solutions, a program offered by Psychiatric Medical Care of Tennessee. The program offers intensive outpatient group therapy...

  • Washington man charged with possession

    Sarah Pridgeon|Apr 4, 2024

    A Washington man faces a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine after being pulled over because his vehicle’s validation sticker was covered in tape. On March 25 at around 4:10 p.m., a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper observed a vehicle traveling west on I-90 near milepost 152 with an obscured validation sticker. The year tab, he reported, appeared to be torn and flapping in the wind. The trooper caught up with the vehicle and was still unable to read the year tab sticker as it seemed to be covered with something. The trooper stopped t...

  • Migration boosts county population

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    Wyoming is getting more crowded – and Crook has been welcoming more new residents than almost any other county. According to new data from the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information, Crook County gained the second most newcomers during 2023, leading to a population increase of 2.3%. This percentage represents a total of 173 new people now residing in the county, bringing the population estimate to 7592. Sublette County beat this percentage only slightly at 2.5%. A total of 17 c...

  • Second season

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    The second of Wyoming's seasons is upon us: it's time for road repairs to begin. WYDOT announced last week that motorists will begin noticing repair work on the interstate this week. Traffic control is set to be placed this week in the section of I-90 between the state line and mile marker 202. Croell Inc. will be completing a paving project in this section as the contractor selected by WYDOT, which will also include repair of several bridges. At the beginning of April, traffic in the eastbound...

  • CCMSD to benefit from statewide ultrasound program

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    Crook County Medical Services District (CCMSD) is among the healthcare providers set to benefit from a statewide initiative to increase access to ultrasound technology. Funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the initiative will see $13.9 million divided among hospitals and healthcare centers to purchase 143 ultrasound devices and to provide training for the new equipment. CCMSD will receive a grant total of $415,000 for ultrasound equipment in the hospital and each of...

  • Fleenor named UW Extension Educator

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    Sara Fleenor may be new to the position of Ag and Natural Resources Extension Educator, but she's no stranger to the philosophy behind the role. For the past 12 years, she has served as 4-H Educator for Crook County. She will now add adults to her roster – and she couldn't be more excited to explore the possibilities. Over her time as the 4-H educator, she introduced numerous opportunities for kids to learn about rural life. These ranged from the hoop house and geodome on the fairgrounds; to the 307 Clinic for showmanship skills; to the f...

  • Looking for lead

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    Sundance residents will soon be asked for their help to determine whether any lead is present in the water pipes that lead to their homes. The city is in the process of creating a complete inventory of every service line within its water system, a requirement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of changes being made to its rules on lead and copper in public drinking water systems. “We really need your help,” says Public Works Director Mac Erickson. At this time, according to Erickson, around 300 of the city’s utility customer...

  • This Side of the Pond

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    Never let it be said that my nation fails to give our all when we take on a project. You might even say that we get a bit carried away. Such is the case with the humble honeybee. To be clear, the bees haven’t done anything wrong, unless you count the fact that they keep keeling over. It’s not ideal, but you can hardly blame them. It’s the reaction of the Brits to this news that can be problematic – not because we don’t care, but because we arguably care too much. Since the news came out that...

  • BLM places fire restrictions

    Sarah Pridgeon|Mar 28, 2024

    The Bureau of Land Management has followed in the county’s footsteps and placed stage one fire restrictions on its public lands in Crook, Weston and Niobrara counties. “Last summer’s moisture and cool weather brought an abundance of grass and other fine fuels to public lands within the district,” says High Plains District Fire Management Officer Craig Short. “This, in combination with the lack of moisture and warm, windy weather we’re experiencing, has created an environment susceptible to wildfires.” It is now prohibited to building, mai...

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