Wyoming News Briefs
March 31, 2022
WYDOT announces strategy for National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding
LYMAN (WNE) — Wyoming will soon receive National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula funds to use to facilitate electric vehicle infrastructure development, especially charging stations, around the state.
The funding is part of the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), signed by President Biden in November 2021.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is allocated $3.9 million this year and expects $5 million each year for the next four years for a total of $23.96 million for EV infrastructure over five years.
In preparation to execute NEVI funding and other program incentives, the state has developed a Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy and will circulate the strategy over the next month to allow the public and interested parties to provide comments and feedback.
Wyoming’s interstates have been designated as “Alternative Fuel Corridors” and under the NEVI program must have infrastructure installed first.
WYDOT and other state officials have scheduled public meetings around the state in early April to gather public input as well as feedback from potential bidders and other interested parties.
Each meeting is expected to have a virtual component so viewers can attend any meeting and see the proposed plan and make comments.
The meetings will be held in Cheyenne, Casper, Cody, Riverton, Rock Springs, Jackson, Rawlins, Gillette and Sheridan.
Those interested in making a public comment can also email [email protected] For more information, visit https://www.dot.state.wy.us/ home/planning_projects/zero-emissionvehicles/national-electric-vehicle-infrastructure-(nevi)-program.html.
Cyberattack at Kronos meant hospital staff paid late, others were overpaid
CHEYENNE (WNE) — More than 2000 employees were affected when the software that Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and its overall health system uses for timekeeping and processing payroll was targeted by a larger scale phishing ransomware attack.
This incident caused about 55% of CRMC employees to be overpaid and to have to later reimburse their employer for money they were incorrectly paid that was not really owed to the staffers. Others, about 45%, were underpaid, and the hospital was making good on their full paychecks.
Some of the systems that CRMC uses for human resources and related issues were down for several months, as the software vendor worked to fully fix all of its systems.
Software company Kronos’ workforce management system, Kronos Private Cloud, went down on Dec. 11. This KPC outage affected 15,000 employers in the U.S. and worldwide, according to a written statement from Cheyenne Regional’s Joanna Vilos, its chief human resources officer.
While Kronos was down, Vilos said, the health system’s payroll department manually processed paychecks for its employees over five pay cycles. Kronos again became fully functional in early March, the statement said.
When Cheyenne Regional could access the payroll system, it “immediately began reconciling all employees’ paychecks,” Vilos said.
No personal employee information was compromised in the attack, she said, thanks to CRMC’s “robust set of policies and practices against cyberattacks.”
Up to 15 years recommended in kidnapping case
GILLETTE (WNE) – A man faces up to 15 years in prison for kidnapping a woman on Sept. 1.
Quain Trice, 41, pleaded no contest to the charge earlier this month and was found guilty of kidnapping and domestic battery.
It was part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors withdrew a sentencing enhancement for the kidnapping. Attorneys will jointly recommend that Trice be sent to prison for 8.5 to 15 years. They’ll also recommend he pay restitution for the victim’s medical expenses.
District Judge Stuart S. Healy III revoked Trice’s bond pending sentencing.
The woman he kidnapped told police that she was terrified that he would kill her when he showed up while she was cleaning out her storage unit and threw her into his car, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
She had had an on-and-off relationship with Trice that ended a week before, and she was dating another man. Trice reportedly had tried to call her several times, but she wouldn’t answer.
Police found Trice in his blue Ford Taurus and took him to the Police Department for questioning.
Trice said that he was mad after finding out that she was cheating on him. He denied any physical fight at the storage unit, but admitted that he shoved her and “escorted her” into his car through the open driver’s side door all the way into the passenger seat, according to the affidavit.
Trice also admitted threatening to kill her and burn her van down, according to the affidavit.
Teton County crackdown on telework effectively disbands COVID-19 response team
JACKSON (WNE) — After allowing remote work as an exception during the pandemic, Teton County is enforcing a return to in-person work that is already disrupting a key sector of the Teton County Health Department by effectively shutting down the department’s COVID-19 response team, which has worked remotely throughout the pandemic.
Health department staff sent a letter Monday to county commissioners explaining that the shift, effective March 25, essentially makes it impossible for them to continue in their positions.
“A policy decision of this significance and made on this time scale places employees in an extremely difficult position, erodes employee morale and would have implications for the County’s ability to retain several qualified and dedicated employees, an issue it already struggles with,” said the letter signed by seven employees.
County employees were allowed to continue working remotely if they shifted to contractor status, the letter states, but the affected employees called that option “dubious.”
Although the county reportedly offered a $1/hour pay increase if staff became contractors, the shift would also bring an additional tax burden of 7.65%, effectively resulting in a reduction in pay, staff noted.
The COVID response team was created during the pandemic and as such doesn’t have office space in the county health department building. Many of its members only joined because they could work from the safety and comfort of home.
One of the letter’s signatories, case manager Wendy Baylor, a registered nurse, told the Daily she wouldn’t consider becoming a contractor and will instead resign from case management.
Board of County Commissioners’ Administrator Alyssa Watkins said via email: “I believe the county’s COVID-19 response team has done and will continue to do an exemplary job of managing our local response to the pandemic!”