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Wyoming News Briefs


May 21, 2020

Two-year probe leads to felony drug charges in Fremont County 

RIVERTON (WNE) — After two years of data-gathering, law enforcement agents are airing the conversations of a presumed local drug network in court. 

The conversations of Marshall Osterkorn, Marcella Knowles, and “another known distributor of prescription medication,” Shyanne Cross-Dailey are written in court documents that accuse 24-year-old Samuel J. Plush of selling oxycodone. 

Plush has been transferred to the felony-level Fremont County District Court, due to the audio recording of a 2017 conversation in which he discussed selling the drugs to others. 

On Dec. 7, 2017 at about 11:42 a.m., a confidential informant told Wangberg she or he could buy hydrocodone prescription medication from 23-year-old Knowles. That informant sent cell phone screen shots of a conversation with Knowles, describing the drug deal. 

Later that day, the informant agreed with DCI agents that he or she would meet Plush at Knowles’s home in Riverton while wearing a digital recording device. The person was given $50 of the state’s funds allocated for programmed drug deals, then went into the residence at about 2:20 that afternoon. 

In a later recap, the informant said Plush had entered the home and sold three hydrocodone pills to him or her. Plush then sold two more pills to a woman who had arrived shortly after he, court documents state. 

A year and a half later, agents downloaded information from Facebook detailing conversations between Knowles and Osterkorn. Law enforcement “recognized drug talk” between the two. 

Plush faces two charges: one of oxycodone delivery and one of conspiracy to deliver oxycodone. Each charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Latest coronavirus case confirmed in Evanston child attending local preschool

EVANSTON (WNE) — Uinta County Public Health announced the county’s eighth confirmed case of COVID-19 on Saturday, May 16, just one day after announcing that all of the other county’s previously confirmed and probable cases were officially recovered. 

The latest case is reportedly in a child with no known source of infection, which would indicate community spread. 

With word spreading throughout Evanston that the child in question had been attending Evanston Child Development Center (ECDC), Director Kendra West said she wants to be as transparent as possible while also ensuring privacy and confidentiality are maintained. 

West said staff at ECDC have worked very hard to ensure all CDC-recommended protocols are followed while continuing to remain open to provide childcare for the community’s essential workers. Those protocols include screening of all staff members and children every day, consisting of temperature and symptom checks and questioning regarding possible exposures. 

West said the entire facility has been cleaned and sanitized multiple times a day since the pandemic began, a practice West said the center follows at all times and is not only related to the novel coronavirus. 

As to the particular child with confirmed infection, West said she could not provide any information that might identify that child, who is reportedly isolated and recovering at home. 

She said all close contacts, both staff and children, of the child had been contacted directly and staff and students will be tested. 

West said the ill child had not been in attendance at ECDC for at least a week and had been completely asymptomatic when last at the center. 

Rock Springs International Day will not be held until 2021

ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — The Rock Springs International Day Committee has elected to postpone this year’s event due to recent circumstances related to the COVID-19 virus. The celebration of Rock Springs’ multinational heritage is currently being rescheduled for July 10, 2021, according to a press release.

The Rock Springs International Day Committee, composed of local volunteers, came to the conclusion to postpone the event both out of caution and concern for the health of the community, and out of a desire to ensure that the event continues its trend of record-breaking attendance and community support.

Committee Chair Philip Parnell said, “We want to host the kind of celebration we can be proud of, but at the same time, we understand the current concerns about community health. We are grateful to all our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and the community, and can’t wait until we can get together again in celebration of this community and its history.”

The Rock Springs International Day celebration is unique to Wyoming, as the only multinational, multicultural celebration of its kind, honoring the 56 nationalities present in the city census at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the celebration is centered around artists, performers, musicians and vendors representing the city’s rich cultural heritage.

UW approves incoming president’s seat on Council on Competitiveness

LARAMIE (WNE) — University of Wyoming leadership is seeking membership in the U.S. Council on Competitiveness — a national organization focused on economic development. Inclusion on the council comes with an annual membership fee of $35,000.

Incoming UW President Ed Seidel suggested during the Board of Trustees’ meeting Thursday that the university join the council. He said the move reflects what will be his administration’s focus on economic and workforce development.

“So to me, among other things, this means making sure that the university helps to attract more talent both from inside the state, and out,” Seidel said. “And to provide compelling offerings that prepare students to be productive citizens, and to produce graduates that are really ready to hit the ground running and contribute to the economy of this state.”

The Council on Competitiveness is a nonprofit with the stated aim of growing and improving the United States’ economy, as well as the country’s competitiveness globally. It hosts conferences and makes policy recommendations at the federal level, and has done so since its founding in 1986 by the chairman of the Reagan administration’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness.

Membership is by invitation only.

“They’re asking because they’d love to have Wyoming involved,” Seidel told the board. “They’ve never had representation from the state, and they need more membership from rural sectors of the country to make sure they develop effective policy recommendations.”

UW’s trustees voted unanimously to approve Seidel’s spot on the council. 


Jealous ex accused of involvement in battery and assault in two Gillette bars

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 23-year-old Gillette man is accused of being involved in two bar incidents Thursday night. 

At East Side Liquors, the suspect allegedly grabbed his ex-fiancée by the arm and pulled her outside before leaving the scene, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said. 

He then left the bar and went to Fireside Bar and Lounge where he and a 51-year-old friend allegedly assaulted a 37-year-old man because the suspect believed the victim had spoken to his ex-fiancée, Wasson said. 

The victim suffered multiple cuts to his face.

Officers later found the 23-year-old suspect inside a black jeep on Echeta Road and Caribou Avenue with the 51-year-old man and another man who also was at Fireside.

The 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault for the East Side incident. He and the 51-year-old man were ticketed for battery for allegedly assaulting the 37-year-old victim. 

Man arrested in Gillette after fighting with police officers

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 23-year-old Missouri man was arrested after headbutting a police officer and attempting to bite another Thursday night.

Officers were at the Fireside Bar & Lounge on an unrelated call when they learned that Lincoln Riley of Belton, Missouri, was on unsupervised probation with alcohol restrictions for driving while under the influence.

Officers attempted to speak with him and he walked away. They then tried to escort him out when he resisted and was taken to the ground. He later got up and attempted to hit an officer before being placed in handcuffs, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said.

Riley kicked officers trying to get him inside the patrol car. He was then taken out of the vehicle and placed on the ground again. When he got back on his feet, the suspect headbutted an officer then attempted to bite another officer on the hand. He was eventually placed inside the car and taken to the Campbell County jail.

Riley could face charges of alleged felony interference and three counts of bodily injury to an officer.


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