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Wyoming News Briefs


February 3, 2022

Medical seizures lead to seizure of cocaine, LSD, weed, meth and mushrooms

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 42-year-old man was arrested on multiple drug-related charges after officers arrived at his home on a medical emergency call Friday.

His wife, a 36-year-old woman, reported the man was having a seizure Friday night in the 3400 block of Quacker Avenue.

When officers arrived, the woman who reported her husband’s seizure began having a seizure herself and was taken to the hospital for treatment, said Police Sgt. Dean Welch.

At that point, the man regained consciousness and was OK. The man and woman both showed signs of “amphetamine” use and the man said they had each used cocaine about three hours earlier.

He gave officers permission to search their home, but the woman denied a search. They eventually got a search warrant and found a slew of drugs.

Including packaging weights, officers found 23.7 grams of cocaine, 1.4 ounces of psilocybin mushrooms, 28.2 grams of meth, 2.3 grams of LSD, 3.1 grams of marijuana and 19.1 grams of THC edibles inside the residence.

Welch said the man claimed ownership of all of the drugs and was arrested for misdemeanor use of a controlled substance, felony possession of meth and cocaine, as well as three misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana plant form, edible form and LSD.

After being released from the hospital, the 36-year-old woman was arrested for misdemeanor use of a controlled substance, Welch said.

Cody taxi drivers happy with Tipsy Taxi hike

CODY (WNE) — Ron Clark, owner of Town Taxi, said he’d rather take someone home for free than see them drive drunk.

However, he’d much prefer to get paid at least as much as he would charge somebody on a normal flat rate.

Now he and the other taxi companies that use the City of Cody’s Tipsy Taxi service will be paid $3 more than before each time they take someone home who has a voucher.

Since it started, the service has paid the taxi company $7 every time someone has used one of the vouchers to get a free ride home after drinking. Last week, the city council unanimously approved paying taxi companies $10 per voucher starting retroactively Jan. 1.

“I charge $8 a ride, so I was losing money,” Clark said. “It’ll help a lot.”

On average, about 16 retail or restaurant liquor license holders participate by handing out vouchers to qualifying customers.

Those who are impaired are eligible for a free ride home and driven from a participating bar or restaurant to a place of residence or hotel within city limits.

“It’s a great benefit to the community,” said Cody Cab manager Earl “Mike” Farlow. “It keeps people from driving when they’ve been drinking.”

He said the company has been participating in the program since its inception in 2011. He now charges a $9 flat rate for rides in town, so the voucher will finally no longer be a loss for him as well.

“That would benefit us greatly,” he said. “It is a program that greatly benefits our citizens here.”

Clark said he averages roughly 30-35 uses of the voucher per month. He said in the summer that use can rise to 50 vouchers in a month.

New federal bill would bring funds to Wyoming to fight CWD

POWELL (WNE) — Wyoming may soon receive federal help in its fight to mitigate chronic wasting disease. A bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support, promising millions of dollars to be shared with the 27 states where the deadly disease has been found. 

Amid concerns the disease will continue to spread to herds across the country, the bill authorizes $70 million annually from fiscal year 2022 through 2028 for research and management of CWD. 

Should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would administer the funds. 

The department would distribute funds through cooperative agreements with state or tribal wildlife agencies and departments of agriculture, with at least 75% going to wildlife agencies, according to the legislation sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Penn. 

The Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act passed the House with a vote of 393-33 in December, with U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., backing the legislation. 

Brian Nesvik, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, heralded the legislation at the Game and Fish Commission’s January meeting in Cheyenne Wednesday. 

“For the last couple of years, when we’ve looked at what the costs are to be able to do large scale CWD research, we realized that [CWD] isn’t something any one state can bear the cost of,” Nesvik said. “So we’ve been talking with our delegation about finding some federal money that could help us get a start.” 

The disease has hit the state hard, including areas in the Big Horn Basin seeing infection rates as high as 60%. 

Murder charges bound over for shooting suspects

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Charges for two teenagers accused of involvement in the July shooting death of a local 14-year-old were bound over to Laramie County District Court at a preliminary hearing Friday. 

Raymond M. Sanchez, 16, of Cheyenne is being charged as an adult with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Xavier Sanchez, 18, of Casper is charged with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. 

After about three hours of testimony and argument by the state and the Sanchezes’ attorneys, Laramie County Circuit Judge Sean Chambers found there was probable cause to send all of these charges to the county’s district court, which handles felony criminal cases. 

Chambers reduced Xavier Sanchez’s bond from $250,000 to $100,000 cash. Raymond Sanchez’s bond remains at $100,000 cash. 

The judge denied requests from the defendants’ attorneys to modify the bonds to cash or surety. State Public Defender Diane Lozano, Raymond’s appointed attorney in the case, said during the hearing that her client was in the custody of the Wyoming Department of Family Services. Xavier Sanchez is being held at the Laramie County jail. 

The Sanchezes will next appear for arraignments in district court on a yet-to-be-determined date.

Information collected by CPD points to the 14-year-old’s death having been the result of a gang-related conflict, or at least a conflict between two families.

Jobless rate continues to fall

CASPER (WNE) — Wyoming unemployment rate continued to fall in December, bottoming out at 3.3%, according to figures released this week by the Department of Workforce Services. 

That decline mirrored the country’s overall joblessness rate, which fell to 3.9% in December. 

The number of employed Wyomingites rose by more than 900, as more people returned to work. 

Unemployment rates changed little in most Wyoming counties, save for Teton, which saw its rate fall from 2.8% to 1.6% thanks to jobs brought by the start of the ski season. Natrona County had Wyoming’s highest unemployment, at 3.1%. Teton County’s 1.6% had the state’s lowest. 

Over the past year, unemployment has fallen in Wyoming by nearly 2 percentage points, with the number of jobs increasing by 4100, according to the department. That improvement reflects the unusually high joblessness reported in December 2020 amid a pandemic-related economic slowdown. 

Natrona County has experienced the greatest improvement since that time. In the last month of 2020, the county’s unemployment rate stood at 7.3% as the oil and gas industry sputtered due to declining demand and a global price war. 

Other energy-producing counties have enjoyed similar declines since then including Sweetwater (6.8% to 2.9%), Sublette (6.7% to 2.9%) and Converse (6.0% to 2.4%). 

Total non-farm employment in Wyoming rose to 275,100 in December, an increase of 4,100, according to workforce services.

2022 Cybersecurity contest opens; Sheridan businesses lead past winners list

SHERIDAN (WNE) — For the last several years, Sheridan businesses have taken home the top awards from an annual statewide cybersecurity competition.

Registration for the 2022 Wyoming Cybersecurity Competition for Small Businesses officially opens on Tuesday, and past participants say the competition is worth doing.

The competition is “an incredible resource,” according to Ryan Johnson, systems administrator for Frontier Asset Management.

It targets small businesses that want free training to manage their security risks, according to CyberWyoming, the nonprofit that has hosted the competition since 2017. 

Registration continues through May 15, but those that enter early have a better chance of winning and can work the project at a more leisurely pace. Judging reports are due Aug. 15 and participants are judged on the categories of problem solving/innovation, information security, culture/learning, planning, progress, thoroughness and presentation.

In 2021, Bighorn Airways and Frontier Asset Management won first and second place, respectively, while the Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne and Wyo Support tied for third.

The competition is also open to people who don’t want to officially compete and simply want the training. 

“I would highly recommend the competition. Not only is it a great way to focus on your own shortcomings or things you want to improve on, but these people have an amazing network of cybersecurity professionals, people that have been there,” Johnson said. “You are getting a massive network of people to lean on really at no cost.”

CyberWyoming Alliance’s mission is to support cybersecurity awareness, education and outreach programs for Wyoming citizens and the economic communities that surround them.

To participate in the competition, business owners or managers should contact [email protected] to get a copy of the intent to participate form.electricity coming from Rocky Mountain Power.

During the Jan. 19 commission meeting, the organizers said they purposely left their application submitted on Nov. 12 unfinished so they could gauge public opinion on the project before committing too much time to it.

Of the roughly 20 Clark residents who spoke at the meeting held at the Park County Courthouse, not one expressed support for the project. Many said this project would be a better fit in Jackson and criticized the visual appearance of the sand-toned, half-oval shaped building.


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