Wyoming News Briefs
January 28, 2021
Florida congressman to protest Cheney in Cheyenne
CHEYENNE (WNE) — A couple weeks after Congresswoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, one of Trump’s strongest supporters in Congress is set to visit the Wyoming State Capitol later this week in reaction to Cheney’s vote, which has drawn some GOP pushback at home and in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, who has repeatedly criticized Cheney since her impeachment vote, plans to visit Cheyenne on Thursday for a rally at the Capitol. Tentatively set to begin at 1 p.m., the event has been organized on Facebook by newly sworn-in state Rep. Ocean Andrew, R-Laramie.
Cheney, who was among ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, has received substantial pushback for her decision, which she described as a vote of conscience.
Gaetz was among a handful of GOP representatives who have circulated a petition calling on Cheney to step down from her third-ranking role within the House Republican Conference, according to the New York Times.
When a Twitter user speculated that Gaetz was trying to get himself in line for Cheney’s leadership position, the Florida congressman shot down the idea.
“I do not want her job. I unequivocally am not seeking a position in House Leadership,” Gaetz said in a tweet Saturday. “I also know Wyoming can do better.”
Gas prices steady over last week
GILLETTE (WNE) — Wyoming gas prices are unchanged in the past week, averaging $2.22 a gallon on Monday.
Gas prices in Wyoming are 4.0 cents a gallon higher than a month ago and stand 30.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 494 stations.
The cheapest station in Wyoming is priced at $1.89 a gallon Monday while the most expensive is $2.69 a gallon, a difference of 80 cents.
Campbell County continues to have prices that are among the lowest in the state at $2.097. Other counties with low prices include Albany at $2.044, Laramie at $2.177 and Goshen at $2.159.
The highest counties are Park at $2.372, Hot Springs at $2.299, Johnson at $2.264 and Carbon at $2.407.
The national average price of gasoline has risen 1.1 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.40 a gallon today.
The national average is at its highest level since the pandemic.
“Increases are likely to slow down in the immediate short-term unless and until oil prices see renewed momentum,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“Finally, after several weeks of sharply rising gas prices, the pace of price increases has slowed significantly in recent days as prices are now largely caught up to oil’s increases as of late,” he said.
He noted that demand for gasoline last week was at its highest level since November, which shows that the nation continues to see slow improvement from the pandemic.
Court date delayed for woman charged in fatal accident
PINEDALE (WNE) — Monday’s preliminary court appearance for Jade S. Jewkes, 28, now of Jackson, was moved back to Tuesday, Feb. 16, at her attorney’s request.
Jewkes was charged with two counts of aggravated homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol after being involved in a fatal collision in Hoback Canyon on Jan. 1.
The two vehicular homicide felonies filed by Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson both resulted from the death of Shane Deal and are based on varying degrees of alleged alcohol intoxication. Jewkes was driving northbound on Highway 191 on the afternoon of New Year’s Day and others on the road reported her erratic driving across the tow-lane highway, according to court records.
Driving a 2015 Jeep Cherokee, she collided nearly head-on with Deal, who was driving a 2003 plow truck in the southbound lane. Deal had just bought the vehicle in Idaho and was driving it back to Pinedale, followed by his sister. The Jeep’s airbags and seatbelt protected Jewkes from serious injury – she suffered minor cuts to her hand. The truck did not have airbags and Deal was very seriously injured in the crash.
At the Feb. 16 preliminary hearing set for 1:30 p.m., the judge will determine if there is enough evidence to bind the felony case over to 9th District Court.
Benefit pie sale goes virtual, raises $9,000
POWELL (WNE) — COVID-19 intercepted the annual Backpack Blessings benefit pie sale scheduled for the Christmas season.
But that didn’t faze supporters of the program who stepped up to contribute to the Backpack Blessings program through a “virtual pie sale” and associated fundraising.
“We raised about $9000, which is unheard of,” said Sharon Earhart, president of the Backpack Blessings board. “We attribute most of it to the virtual pie sale, along with our regular donors and response to our website. It was just cool the way people responded.”
The success has literally filled the cupboard to carry on the program through the rest of this school year, she said. But fundraising is ongoing.
“We still need the community assisting us. We apply for every grant that comes up,” Earhart added.
The Backpack Blessings program provides crucial nutrition to elementary school children throughout the school year. Backpacks are filled with basic food and snack items as weekend “care packages” in a program coordinated through a number of local churches and the school district.
The pie sale benefit was started with a booth at the Country Christmas celebration. It was moved to the Presbyterian Church a few years ago “where people could come in and have a cup of coffee and enjoy a piece of pie or purchase a pie,” Earhart said.
Man faces federal charges in meth possession case
GILLETTE (WNE) — Local charges have been dismissed against a 34-year-old Gillette man accused of having eight ounces of meth in his hotel room because he has been charged federally.
Allen D. Jenerou was one of three people arrested in August in connection with the crystal meth, which police called a “substantial” amount. He had been charged with possessing meth, possession with intent to deliver meth and conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver meth. Those charges were dismissed because he has been charged federally for criminal offenses based on the same event and circumstances and the County Attorney’s Office believed the prosecution was more appropriately handed under federal jurisdiction, according to court documents.
He was sought in August for an unrelated aggravated assault and battery, and police learned that he was staying at a local hotel and that two women were staying with him.
After a drug dog indicated drugs were in the room registered to Jenerou, police got a search warrant and found eight ounces of crystal meth in a black cardboard box hidden underneath the bed frame of one of the beds in the room. About 4.5 grams of marijuana was found both inside the toilet and underneath a bed mattress along with $114 in cash and paraphernalia.
Longtime legislator Coe dies at 74
CODY (WNE) — Henry ‘Hank’ H. R. Coe, 74, a longtime Wyoming senator with deep roots in Park County, died Thursday afternoon after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
His ex-wife Marty Coe confirmed he passed away at home with his children around him.
Although he was not diagnosed with cancer until November, the disease came on quickly for Coe.
“It’s been tough, pretty tough,” Marty Coe said.
Coe was first elected to the Wyoming Senate in 1988 and after 32 years of representing Cody and Park County, decided in March not to run again for his Senate seat.
He served as Senate Vice President, Majority Floor Leader and President. He had been Chair of the Senate Education Committee since 2003 until 2020. In addition to the Education Committee, Coe also chairs the Air Transportation Liaison Committee and is a member of the Senate Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee, Select Committee on Capital Financing & Investments, Energy Council and Council of State Governments-West Education.
Prior to serving as Senator, he was a Park County commissioner from 1979-1987, serving as chairman in 1983, 1986, and 1987. He was also involved with many local civic organizations including the Cody Volunteer Fire Department, Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Yellowstone Regional Airport.
After being diagnosed, Coe still made every Education Committee meeting but one.
Assault charge for man accused of trying to blind deputy with light
GILLETTE (WNE) — The man suspected of shining a bright white light at a sheriff’s deputy during a high-speed chase on Saturday has been charged with aggravated assault and battery.
Prosecutors also have attached a habitual criminal enhancement to the charge against Trevor William Brinkerhoff, 32, because he has two previous felony convictions in Park County — conspiracy to commit destruction or defacement of property in 2011 and accessory before the fact for dangerous drugs in 2010.
Brinkerhoff was arrested Jan. 16 after he allegedly ran from sheriff’s deputies when the car he was a passenger in led them on a high-speed chase on Highway 50.
The driver, who also fled, hasn’t been found.
The chase when a deputy noted odd driving behavior from a 2006 Audi she was following. She pulled the Audi over. The driver fled at speeds reaching over 100 mph.
Deputy Justin Cody, who was following the car, reported speeds of 127 mph. Within a minute, he reported that the passenger was shining a spotlight at him, trying to blind him, according to the affidavit.
After the car was disabled by spike strips, it was found to contain a heavy-duty light attached to a battery, which was described as commonly used for power tools.
“That light would have been bright enough to have been flashed at Deputy Cody’s vehicle,” according to the affidavit.
“A loss of vision, due to being blinded by bright lights, could have caused a crash, with a high probability of serious injury due to the speeds at which he was traveling,” according to the affidavit.