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Wyoming News Briefs


April 11, 2019

Gillette to host curling championships

GILLETTE (WNE) — Gillette will host the 2020 USA Curling Arena National Championships next spring at Cam-plex’s Spirit Hall, and the historic piles of rocks on West Second Street has something to do with it.

The championships will be staged April 26-May 2, 2020. It will be the first time a major curling championship will be held in Wyoming, according to a press release.

Rick Mansur, director of Campbell County Parks and Recreation, said it was a joint effort between his department, Cam-plex staff and the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Last year, a company from Minnesota came to Gillette to help set up the sheets of ice for curling.

“They were really impressed with Spirit Hall,” Mansur said, and they suggested that Gillette try to host the curling arena national championships.

The Arena Nationals, which began in 2013, features teams that compete in league play in arena settings versus a traditional curling-only facility. USA Curling’s greatest growth is in arena settings.

The 2019 national event is taking place May 5-11 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and will feature 38 teams.

“It is simply fantastic to be taking our first national event to Wyoming, and it is fitting that the Arena Championships — representing one of the fastest-growing segments of curling in the country — will be the landmark event,” said Rick Patzke, USA Curling’s Chief Executive Officer.

“With Gillette’s historic association with piles of rocks already well-established, we are excited about the possibilities as we bring a slightly different twist to town,” he added. “Our thanks go out to the Cam-plex and local curlers and the community overall for making this happen.”

Gillette man guilty of unemployment fraud

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette man accused of defrauding the Wyoming Unemployment Insurance program has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Gerald Roderick-Jackson, also known as David Jackson, was convicted in Natrona County District Court of under-reporting his income to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Under state law, that constitutes fraud.

Roderick-Jackson pleaded guilty to obtaining benefits by fraud and was ordered to pay $982 in restitution plus $735 in fines and fees.

Robin Cooley, director for the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, says the agency places a high importance on maintaining the integrity of the unemployment insurance program.

“As stewards of the funds which help unemployed workers stay afloat while they look for permanent employment, we take cases of benefits fraud very seriously,” Cooley said.

Since 2016, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services has had 25 fraud prosecution convictions in various counties. Those convictions have resulted in more than $247,000 in total restitution.

Men ordered to repay WYDOT for stolen snow fences

LARAMIE (WNE) — Two Colorado men have been ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Department of Transportation after the men stole lumber from snow-fences in Albany County and sold them to a Fort Collins business in 2017.

On Monday, one of the men, Tres Steinhoff, was sentenced to five years supervised probation in lieu of a suspended three- to five-year prison sentence. Steinhoff was convicted for conspiracy to commit theft.

“I’m ashamed,” Steinhoff said. “I don’t have anything that justifies this. I’d say that it’s a mistake, but it’s more than that.”

Brian Quinn, who represented co-conspirator Billy Cobb in the case, said in October that Steinhoff was “the ring leader of this operation.”

Billy Cobb was the first of the group to turn himself in. Like Steinhoff, Billy Cobb was sentenced to five years supervised probation.

“I don’t have concerns about your ability to be successful,” Albany County District Court judge Tori Kricken told Cobb at his October sentencing.

Less than two months later, Kricken revoked Billy Cobb’s probation and he was arrested on a warrant after he continuously failed to meet with his probation agent. He remains on probation.

The lumber was taken from snow fences off U.S. Highway 287 near Tie Siding. Steinhoff said he’s particularly remorseful over the fact that the theft could have made the treacherous stretch of road even more dangerous.

Kricken thanked Steinhoff for taking responsibility for the crime.

“While it’s not a violent crime, I appreciate the fact that you acknowledge there could have been physical consequences for someone,” she told him.

Woman accidentally sends drug proposition to police

POWELL — A Powell woman thought she had texted a meth dealer last September, but a couple of mistyped digits instead put her in touch with a local cop. 

As a result, Audrey Biggica’s attempt to buy methamphetamine — which reportedly included offering to pay for the drug with sex — resulted in her serving nearly three weeks in jail. 

“Nothing worse than a wrong number dialed,” mused Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters at Biggica’s sentencing hearing last month. “There are lessons to be learned there; I’m just not sure where to start.” 

At a March 15 hearing in Cody, Biggica pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempting to possess a controlled substance; the 23-yearold explained she didn’t realize she was conversing with a Powell police officer. 

For the count of possession, Biggica was ordered to serve 20 days in jail, with another 160 days suspended in favor of six months of unsupervised probation. She also must pay $555 in court fines and fees and $400 to repay her court-appointed attorney. As part of a plea deal, the Park County Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss a second misdemeanor count, of prostitution.

At the hearing, Judge Waters said it was one of the more interesting sets of facts he’s heard in court. 

“It was an interesting one; that’s for sure,” 

Biggica agreed, with a laugh. 

“I was surprised.” She added that, “Everything happens for a reason, though, I guess.”

Rock Springs man fined more than $5000 for poaching

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — Rock Springs resident Christian J. Cosby will pay more than $5000 in fines and have his hunting and fishing privileges suspended for two years after pleading guilty to the intentional illegal taking of a bull elk in 2017 and taking a mountain lion with an illegal caliber firearm in 2018.

In the fall of 2017, Green River Region Game and Fish enforcement personnel received multiple tips suggesting Cosby had illegally killed a large bull elk in an area he did not have a license for and had entered the bull in a local contest. 

During an initial interview, Cosby claimed to have killed the bull with a bow in Elk Hunt Area 93 on the evening of Sept. 27 and packed it out to his truck on Sept. 28. However, evidence showed that he had been in the vicinity of Aspen Mountain south of Rock Springs on those days and had not been in Area 93 as he stated, according to a Wyoming Game and Fish Department press release.

Cosby was charged with the intentional illegal take of an antlered big game animal, using an illegal caliber firearm to take trophy game, failure to wear fluorescent orange clothing while hunting trophy game and using artificial light to take wildlife.

On Jan. 10, 2019, Cosby pleaded guilty to the intentional illegal take of an antlered big game animal and taking a trophy game animal with an illegal caliber firearm and was ordered to pay $5055. The elk antlers and compound bow used during the commission of his crime were forfeited, and his privileges to hunt and fish in Wyoming and 46 other Wildlife Violator Compact member states was suspended until Jan. 10, 2021.


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