Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Wyoming News Briefs

Mountain lion shot and killed in Slater

GUERNSEY (WNE) – As local ranchers Jeb and Lalonda Baker were sipping an early morning cup of coffee and looking out toward the horizon, they wondered why their dog was out agitating the cattle. When the dog came walking in between them, they knew something else was out near the calf pen. 

As Baker grabbed a pair of binoculars and took a closer look, all he could say was, “it’s a lion,” before heading for the gun cabinet. 

This mountain lion was a 130-pound male that was on the prowl close to Normandy Road on the Baker ranch in Slater. 

Although more lions are spotted west of the I-25 corridor, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, this one came east of the highway. The Bakers watched as the lion paced back and forth in front of the calf pen. It appeared to be stalking the cattle, according to Baker. 

Jeb and his son Harley were able to take the lion down with two shots. 

They immediately called the game warden, Jesse Niemerr, from the Wheatland office of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, who investigated the incident.

According to Briana Ball, WGFD public information officer, the investigation proved a justified kill in the defense of property. 

“It’s sure not something you see every day,” Jeb Baker said. 

This is the second occurrence of the “something you don’t see every day” at the Baker farm, as last fall they saw a black bear on their property. 

In the rural areas of Wyoming, the domain is still frequented by various wildlife. Lions are more often reported near Glendo and Hartville, but sometimes they will wander in search of food. 

Gillette resident suing county commission after being denied records request

GILLETTE (WNE)— A Gillette resident has sued the Campbell County Commission to get an opinion that he believes the board received from the Wyoming Attorney General.

Bruce Williams has submitted a petition in District Court for information in a public records request.

Williams said he’d heard that the commissioners had asked for an opinion from the Wyoming Attorney General, and that in late February they’d received it.

On Feb. 27, he made a public records request with the county for the opinion.

“I was informed that the Attorney General has given the county an opinion on attorney-client privilege and/or what is available as to the communications between county officials and others,” he wrote in the request.

The next day, Williams got a response that said he would not be receiving the records he was requesting. The reason given was the records were exempt from disclosure because they fell under attorney-client communication.

On March 1, he filed the petition in District Court.

“The public has as much right to know what the Attorney General of Wyoming thinks is public records as the County Commissioners do,” Williams wrote.

Williams said opinions are not exempt from public records requests, and he’s worried the county is withholding information that should be accessible by the public.

He wondered why the county wouldn’t want “the people to know what the Attorney General thinks is information they have a right to and information they do not have a right to.”

Williams wants the court to order the county commission to release the requested attorney general’s opinion.

This is not the first time Williams has sued local governments. He’s sued the city of Gillette on a few occasions.

Commission Chair Colleen Faber did not respond to a message left for comment.

Woman charged for making ‘jailhouse booze’

CODY (WNE) — The Cody woman arrested in February for a fourth and fifth offense of possessing drugs along with a second offense of driving under the influence of controlled substances was charged March 14 for making “jailhouse booze” while an inmate at the Park County Detention Center.

Patricia Gail Shew, 61, was charged March 14 with taking contraband into a penal institution or correctional facility, which is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a maximum fine of $2000 or both.

According to the charging documents, Shew intentionally possessed and combined ingredients to make the contraband, specifically intoxicating liquor.

Park County Deputy Corey Zubik conducted a cell search at the detention center on the afternoon of March 14 and found a cup hidden under Shew’s bunk and surrounded by items, including a bag stuffed with bread.

The cup contained what looked like orange juice, Zubic wrote in an affidavit, but further investigation revealed it was not orange juice.

“The liquid had deteriorated to a state which suggested longer than a three-day period to make alcohol,” said Zubik. 

He deemed the liquid “jailhouse booze” — made from fruit and bread and stored in a warm place to allow for fermentation.

Shew pleaded not guilty to the contraband charge.

Shew was initially incarcerated Feb. 1 after Cody Police Officer Blake Stinson conducted a traffic stop on her after he observed her driving over the center line on Big Horn Avenue, the affidavit said.

Methamphetamine and amphetamines were found in her car. Charges against Shew include two counts of DUI of controlled substances and two counts of possession of controlled substances.

She was given a $20,000 bond and has remained an inmate at the Park County Detention Center since her initial arrest. She now faces a jury trial in August on the contraband charge.

Police seeing a ‘smorgasbord’ of illegal drugs

POWELL (WNE) — In his 35 years in law enforcement, “there’s always been one drug that’s been predominant,” said Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt. 

However, that’s not the case right now. 

While his department knows fentanyl is spreading across the state, “it’s almost…a level playing field in what we’re seeing. It’s not limited to or predominantly cannabis, or heroin or meth,” Eckerdt said. “Meth still has a strong presence in the state, but we’re seeing everything.” 

He referenced a case from earlier this month, in which a Colorado woman was caught with a variety of controlled substances at the Super 8 Motel. 

In a March 12 search of Rosalie M. Hosking’s suite, Powell police say they found more than 38 grams of crack and powder cocaine, 17 grams of meth, 1.5 ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms and THC hash and five marijuana joints; some of the narcotics had reportedly been stashed inside hairspray bottles with a false top. 

“It’s a smorgasbord,” Eckerdt said of the drugs that Powell police are encountering. 

Hosking stands charged with three felony and two misdemeanor counts of possessing a controlled substance. Park County Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah initially set her bond at $150,000 cash, but later lowered it to $50,000 cash or surety. 

Hosking made bail on March 23 and is now free as she awaits an arraignment in Park County District Court.

Campbell County Public Health to roll out ‘Man Therapy’ mental health campaign

GILLETTE (WNE) — Campbell County Public Health will be rolling out a new mental health campaign targeted towards men.

Last week, the county commission approved a $5000 licensing agreement between Public Health and Man Therapy, a digital mental health campaign designed to encourage men to seek help if they need it.

Ashley McRae, a community prevention specialist, said that for many men, it’s hard to acknowledge their feelings. And often, even if they do acknowledge those feelings and they have support around them, “they don’t take that next step” to get help, she said.

“That next step is a barrier, and Man Therapy encourages that in a way that doesn’t seem unmanly,” she said.

Originally launched in 2012 as a suicide prevention initiative, Man Therapy expanded to address men’s mental health as a whole. It’s an evidence-based program that puts mental health “into terms that men understand,” McRae said.

“It’s not doctor language, it’s not fluffed up,” she said.

The campaign will begin in April. It will include videos, social media posts and ads, and provide tools, resources and guidance for men, including access to 24/7 crisis services and mental health treatment and support.

It also includes a 20-point head inspection, a series of questions that rates one’s depression. Based on one’s score, he will be directed to local resources that can help him. And even though it’s targeted toward men, women can use it too, McRae said.

McRae said Jackson has used the campaign with great success, and Rock Springs also has used portions of the program.

Commissioner Butch Knutson said he was impressed after reading about the program and its approach to mental health.

“If it saves one life, it’s worth everything we throw at it,” he said.

High court plans mock argument in Casper


CASPER (WNE) — The public will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the difficult court decisions Wyoming judges face during a mock case argument held at Casper College next month. 

On April 11, the Wyoming Supreme Court will hold a mock case argument along with an educational event starting at 11 a.m. in Wheeler Concert Hall, the high court announced. 

The state supreme court typically hears arguments on appeal at the Wyoming Supreme Court building in Cheyenne. But this time, it’ll hear one case in Casper. 

Local attorneys will present the short mock argument, which will be presided over by volunteers from the audience, the statement said. 

The “You Be The Judge” event participants will be able to ask questions and weigh in on how they would rule on the case. 

The interactive program is meant to educate Wyomingites on the mission and responsibilities of the Wyoming Judicial Branch, the statement said. 

Folks at Casper College and the local Natrona County lawyers and judges “really stepped up” to make this a successful program, Chief Justice Kate Fox said in the statement. 

“We look forward to the opportunity to talk to the students and citizens of Natrona County about what we do in the judicial branch, and why we have such a passion for the rule of law,” Fox said. “I hope for a good turnout.” 

The event is free. A live audio broadcast will be available on the Wyoming Judicial Branch’s website.


 Dayton may soon allow chickens


SHERIDAN (WNE) — Dayton Mayor Clifford Reed wants chickens.

Dayton is the only incorporated town in Sheridan County that does not currently allow chickens on all properties within town limits. Chickens are only allowed on properties greater than one acre.

Ranchester passed its chicken ordinance in 2013; up to six chickens are allowed per residence with a permit. The permit costs $25 per year.

Clearmont passed its chicken ordinance in 2014. There is a limit of ten chickens per residence in town limits.

Sheridan does not currently limit the number of chickens per residence. Current ordinance in the city only restricts chickens and other birds at large, meaning the animals cannot roam.

Reed said he’s had many people interested in owning chickens contact him.

“We’ve actually had some little kids, I mean, ten-year-olds come and ask the council [for chickens],” Reed said. “And, it’s heartbreaking for me to watch the council vote no [in the past].”

Dayton’s proposed ordinance defines ‘domestic fowl’ as “chickens and domestic ducks that are bred for the primary purpose of meat and/or eggs.”

The planning commission tabled the ordinance March 14 so the commissioners had more time to look over changes made.

The ordinance would allow up to six chickens per residence on properties less than one acre with a permit. The ordinance would allow up to 20 chickens on properties more than one acre.

“We just decided that if we’re going to put a limit on the people with smaller lots of six [chickens], then it stands to reason that we would…if you have an acre or more, put a limit on that too,” Reed said. “Because then it kind of keeps people out of the commercial business.”



Barrasso co-sponsors bill to grow the mining workforce


CHEYENNE (WNE) — On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and ENR Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the Mining Schools Act of 2023.

This bipartisan legislation is designed to improve opportunities for university and college mining and geological programs to prepare students to meet America’s future energy needs.

“Unleashing American mining is good for our economy and good for the state of Wyoming. It’s also critical to boosting America’s energy security,” Barrasso said in a news release. “That can’t happen unless we continue to recruit and train the next generation of American workers.”

The Mining Schools Act of 2023 would establish a grant program for mining schools to receive funds in order to recruit students and carry out studies, research projects or demonstration projects related to the production of minerals. It would also establish an advisory board for oversight.


 Applications for state centennial ranches open


GILLETTE (WNE) — Families celebrating 100 years of owning and operating the same farm or ranch can apply for centennial status with the state’s historic preservation office.

The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office is now accepting applications for this year’s Centennial Farm and Ranch recipients. 

More than 300 families have been recognized through the program that hosts a celebration to honor the families and ranch, according to the press release.

The program began in 2006 and an annual yearbook is published that features the histories and photos of the families. The families play a key role in preserving the state’s heritage and have unique stories tied to family histories.

For more information, people can visit or call Bethany Kelly at 307-777-7530. Applications must be postmarked by July 1.