Wyoming News Briefs
October 22, 2020
Brand inspection case to resume in December
PINEDALE (WNE) — The 2019 livestock brand-inspection misdemeanor case against Rex. F. Rammell is picking up about where it left off eight months ago – in Sublette County Circuit Court.
Rammell contested five citations after a deputy stopped him in June 2019 and he did not have current brand inspections for horses he was moving from Sweetwater to Sublette County. He has a Rock Springs mailing address and owns a veterinary clinic in Pinedale.
He argued the state law requiring brand inspections between counties violates his rights and the deputy’s stop constituted a “warrantless seizure.”
At the start Judge Curt Haws assigned the case to Magistrate Clay Kainer, who agreed in early December 2019 with Rammell’s motion to suppress the deputy’s report as evidence.
Magistrate Kainer, however, was not officially appointed and did not have authority to rule on evidence suppression.
The Sublette County attorney’s office challenged Kainer’s standing in district court, where the judge declared Kainer’s ruling “null and void” and returned the case to circuit court.
In the decision, district court Judge John Fenn placed the burden of proof on Rammell, saying, “Upon remand (Rammell) will have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that (the law) is constitutionally defective.”
The Sublette County attorney’s office requested “the final hearing” so Rammell had “an opportunity to meet his burden of proving WS 11-21-103(a) unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Rammell’s hearing is set for Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. in Sublette County Circuit Court.
Stolen car report leads to drug arrest
RIVERTON (WNE) — Various types of illegal drugs were discovered when a Lander Police Department officer went to investigate a stolen car report, and found the driver of the car talking to a man who had a meth pipe.
The man spotted with the pipe was found to be 35-year-old Charles Daniel Ariks, who now is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and a similar charge regarding heroin.
On Sept. 25 at about 2:50 p.m., Lander Police Department officer Trevor Budd was investigating a report of a stolen 2004 Isuzu SUV.
Four minutes later, Budd found the vehicle in a dirt lot in the alley south of the 100 block of Jefferson Street, in Lander.
Budd got out of his car and saw the SUV was parked “within arm’s reach” of a blue Buick LeSabre, and the Buick’s front-seat passenger, later identified as Ariks, was talking with the driver of the SUV.
When the parties saw the officer, they “both began making furtive movements as if hiding or reaching for items,” court documents state.
When addressed, Ariks told Budd that his “furtive movements” were to hide two open containers of alcohol he’d been drinking from.
While searching for the alcohol containers, a second officer found them but also found three baggies of what appeared to be methamphetamine and another baggie of what looked like heroin. They were in a case under the whiskey bottle.
Ariks was arrested on outstanding warrants, and the car was searched more thoroughly, revealing the pipe, THC wax, and a small glass jar about halfway full of meth.
School officials review options for Arvada school
SHERIDAN (WNE) — The future of Arvada School is still unclear, as Sheridan County School District 3 Board of Trustees discussed options in light of statewide school recalibration conversations.
While all school districts in Wyoming are faced with an ask from Gov. Mark Gordon to cut 10% of budgets, SCSD3’s Arvada Elementary School, which up until this year had students in the classroom, sits unused. The family whose children would have attended that school opted to homeschool this year.
Now, with the discussion of mothballing the school potentially reaching the Wyoming Legislature Select Committee on School Facilities agenda, Superintendent Charles Auzqui said he will need the board’s discretion on future community meetings.
He mentioned needing to hold a couple of community meetings, with one board member mentioning there should be one in Arvada and another in Clearmont to hear community input.
By mothballing Arvada Elementary, the district still receives a portion of state funding to maintain the building, which only lasts for three years. Auzqui said he’s heard of schools mothballing for six years, too.
Since the realization of no students at Arvada, staff there has been absorbed into the Arvada-Clearmont kindergarten through 12th grade school, and some equipment has been utilized in Clearmont from Arvada to avoid additional purchases by SCSD3.
Auzqui said the purpose of mothballing allows time for the board, administration and community to determine whether a resurgence of students will allow for a reopening of the school. The return number of students must also be determined with board input.
States put travel restrictions on Wyoming residents
CASPER (WNE) — A handful of states, plus the District of Columbia, have put strict restrictions on travelers coming from areas with COVID-19 surges, which now includes Wyoming.
Wyomingites hoping to travel to Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island or Washington D.C. will be asked to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival, according to the most recent data from The New York Times.
Five other states have situational quarantine protocols. In Kansas, visitors who recently attended a 500-person event without masks or social distancing will be required to quarantine upon arrival. Travelers to Vermont are permitted to do their 14 days before they leave for the trip, provided they travel by car and make only necessary stops— while masked—on their journey.
Wyoming currently has no travel restrictions in place for out-of-state visitors.
Wyoming’s inclusion in the list of surging states is relatively new. A month ago, the state was reporting fewer than 500 confirmed active cases of COVID-19. As of Friday, there were 1,741.
Four times in the month of October, the state has set new records for new COVID-19 cases, most recently Friday, with 290 new cases added in a single day. Hospitalizations have also skyrocketed from where they were a month ago. There were 16 people hospitalized because of the virus on Sept. 15. As of Oct. 15, 51 people were hospitalized statewide.
Idaho man killed in crash near Rawlins
ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — An Idaho man died in a crash east of Rawlins early Wednesday, Oct. 14 after driving the wrong way on Interstate 80.
The fatal crash occurred around milepost 221 on Interstate 80 east of Rawlins. Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were notified of a motor vehicle collision at 6:33 a.m. Wednesday.
The driver of a 2006 Toyota Corolla entered the eastbound lanes of I-80 traveling the wrong direction, according to a press release. As the Toyota driver drove westbound in the eastbound lanes, a collision occurred with a 2018 Dodge Ram 5500 pulling a trailer.
The driver of the Toyota has been identified as 60-year-old Jerome, Idaho resident Richard L. Shook. Shook was wearing a seatbelt and died of his injuries at the scene of the crash.
The driver of the Dodge has been identified as 61-year-old Eaton, Colorado resident Donald R. Patterson. Patterson was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured in the crash.
Driver inattention is being investigated on the part of Shook as a possible contributing factor.
This is the 105th fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2020 compared to 128 in 2019, 93 in 2018, and 113 in 2017 to date.