Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Wyoming News Briefs

Gray condemns decision to remove Trump from ballot in Maine

CHEYENNE (WNE) — In response to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ decision to bar Donald Trump from appearing on Maine’s presidential primary ballot for the 2024 Election, Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray responded with outraged condemnation, a news release from his office said.

Gray said in a statement: “I am appalled by these outrageous, unAmerican attempts to remove Donald Trump from the ballot. Not only have we seen these attempts by the judicial system in Colorado, which I fought back against, but we are now seeing these outrageously wrong decisions come straight from elections administrators, like Secretary Bellows.

“We must stop the radical Left’s unAmerican and unconstitutional attempts to engage in election interference. I have continuously been working to make sure that President Trump will be able to be on the ballot. The radical leftwing media has attacked me for defending the truth. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court of the United States will put an end to these outrageous attempts at election interference.”

Former Gillette resident recognized for saving man from burning truck

GILLETTE (WNE) — Norah Harris couldn’t help but notice a truck in her rearview mirror coming up quickly from behind as she drove from Cheyenne to Chugwater at the end of September.

Harris’ initial reaction was akin to what many may think when they experience a similar situation.

“I started thinking to myself, ‘What is this guy’s problem?’” Harris said.

She pulled into another lane so the truck could pass before realizing something wasn’t quite right. The truck went flying by through a stop sign and guardrail before crashing into a field off the Interstate 25 service road and catching on fire.

Harris pulled over, ran out and stood at the top of the hill where she could see the truck. She called 911 and asked what to do because at that point, she could see the driver’s feet sticking out of the windshield. 

She decided the fire was a more pressing issue than the injuries she could give the driver by pulling him out. Either she would rescue him from the fire and potentially cause injuries or the driver would die in the fire.

The driver’s side front door was wedged in but Harris said she yanked it open, put her arms beneath the driver’s arms and dragged him about halfway up the grassy hill before he regained consciousness.

By the time law enforcement and the fire department arrived the truck was covered in flames and the fire had spread to the field. Harris later found out a diabetic seizure had caused the driver to crash, and first responders told her she’d saved her neighbor’s life.

The Laramie County Sheriff’s Office recognized her in December with the Civilian Life Saving Award.

Cody named “Top Western Town”

CODY (WNE) — True West Magazine has named Cody Wyoming the “Top Western Town.” Within Cody, the Smithsonian-affiliated Buffalo Bill Center of the West was also listed as the “Best American Indian Collection.”

“Cody is a shining example of a place that has retained its authentic Western culture with cowboys, rodeo, history and a self-sufficient attitude,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of Cody Yellowstone, and the marketing lead of Cody, Meeteetse, Powell and the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.

True West Magazine made a special note of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Whitney Western Art Museum, the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, the Rendezvous Royale Western art celebration and the Plains Indian Museum.

Editors of True West Magazine named historical sites like Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel as the “Best Who Slept Here Hotel” award. The Irma was built in 1902 by Buffalo Bill Cody and named after his daughter. The Irma’s historic rooms have provided accommodations for Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Frederic Remington and Buffalo Bill.

“As a preeminent Western destination and eastern gateway to Yellowstone, Cody is a city that can be returned to year after year - in all seasons - to explore the magnificent natural wonders, historic sites and world-class museums,” said True West Magazine. “From the historic Irma Hotel founded by Buffalo Bill Cody in downtown Cody to nearby guest ranches and lodges with trail riding and fly fishing, the Wyoming city of 10,000 is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the West.”

Bidding open on 13 bison

GILLETTE (WNE) — Those interested can now bid on 13 animals from the state bison herd. Bidding is open at the Hot Springs State Park office in Thermopolis until 4 p.m. Jan. 16.

The available bison include seven 2023 heifer calves, four 2023 bull calves, one 2022 yearling bull and one 20-year-old cow, according to a Wyoming State Parks press release. All the animals have received their vaccinations and the minimum bids for the animals are as follows: $850 for the heifer calves, $1,000 for the bull calves, $1,200 for the yearling bull and $800 for the cow.

Bidders may submit offers for any or all of the bison and the highest bidder that meets the minimum bid will receive the animal. Buyers can collect their animals starting Jan. 24 and they must arrange for transportation, since the seller doesn’t provide delivery.

For bison-related inquiries, call Jody Lange at 307-921-2610 or Christopher Delay at 307-331-3094. People may also call the Hot Springs State Park headquarters at 307-864-2176. Settlements must be made with the superintendent of the park within a week of receiving a successful bid notification.

Boat check stations broke records in 2023

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Wyoming once again faced an increased risk from aquatic invasive species in 2023 but remains free of invasive mussels. 

Over the inspection season, Wyoming Game and Fish Department staff at watercraft check stations inspected more than 73,000 boats across the state to protect the state’s waters from invasive aquatic plants and animals.

Game and Fish personnel decontaminated 1,154 watercraft and 64 of those contained mussels — both were the highest they’ve been since the AIS program was established in 2010 by the Wyoming State Legislature. 

“This year we saw another increase in high-risk watercraft moving through Wyoming’s check stations,” said Josh Leonard, Game and Fish AIS coordinator. “But that means we’re intercepting the problematic watercraft before they enter Wyoming’s waters.”

AIS check stations are regarded as the first line of defense against invasives entering the state or being spread between Wyoming waters. Those range from invasive plants like curly pondweed — which Wyoming does have — to species the state has managed to keep out, like Asian carp and zebra or quagga mussels. Invasive mussels are one of the most destructive types of AIS, and it is very unlikely to eradicate mussels once they are established in natural water. 

The increase in high-risk inspections, necessary decontaminations and mussel boats could have been influenced by a variety of factors, but the most significant is the increase in mussel detections in states surrounding Wyoming. South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Idaho all have at least one water containing zebra or quagga mussels.

As more states and waters turn up positive for AIS — particularly mussels — the threat to Wyoming continues to grow. 

The number of high-risk inspections, which are required when a watercraft is suspected of harboring AIS, hit an all-time high in 2023 with 7415 watercraft classified as high-risk. 

WYDOT gauges interest in electric vehicle charging stations

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Wyoming Department of Transportation has issued a Request for Information to gauge interest from potential station owners interested in participating in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program.

In 2021, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocated funding through the NEVI program for electric vehicle charging infrastructure along key corridors throughout the nation. Wyoming is allocated almost $24 million over five years for EV charging infrastructure along its federally designated alternative fuel corridors: Interstates 25, 80 and 90.

The RFI is open now and can be accessed on WYDOT’s procurement website at

The deadline for written questions about the RFI is Jan. 10, and the deadline for final responses is Jan. 31.

“In the time since the state’s 2022 plan was developed, the market has changed, and we’re seeing more charging stations open across the state,” said Keith Fulton, assistant chief engineer of planning at WYDOT, in a news release. “We want to see where there is interest and where there are gaps.”

More information about NEVI can be found on WYDOT’s website.

Fulton noted that the RFI can also help WYDOT see where there is lack of interest, which could also support potential exemption requests for the requirements that stations be placed every 50 miles and no more than one mile from an interstate exit.

Depending on the results of the RFI, the state will revisit continuing with the request for proposal process outlined in the Wyoming Year 1 NEVI plan or other potential alternatives.

The Wyoming 2023/Year 2 NEVI plan remains under review by the Federal Highway Administration.