Cowboy State Daily Video News: Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Tuesday's headlines include: * Coal Production In Wyoming’s Powder River Basin Falls 21% * Kaboom! Average Jackson Home Price Hits New Record At $7 Million * Man Accused Of Drunk-Kicking Bison Signals Beginning Of Yellowstone’s Animal Attack Season

Wendy Corr

April 30, 20247 min read

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It’s time to take a look at what’s happening around Wyoming! I’m Wendy Corr, bringing you headlines from the Cowboy State Daily newsroom, for Tuesday, April 30th. 

An Idaho man is accused of kicking a bison while drunk, becoming Yellowstone National Park’s first bison attack victim of the season.

Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz reports that a 40-year-old man from Idaho Falls suffered only minor injuries in the attack, which happened April 21st. 

“You know, something Wyomingites look forward to every year is the first shenanigans in the park, the first people tangling with bison or moose or whatever it is. So we had the official first last week. Apparently a man who was allegedly intoxicated is reported to have gone up to a herd of bison, started harassing them and apparently kicked a bison in the leg, and then was counter attacked by the bison. Unfortunately, the Park Service didn't give any details as far as whether the animal tried to gore him or stomp him.”

Both Clarence Yoder and the person he was with were arrested on alcohol-related charges, as well as harassing wildlife.  

Real estate prices are still riding the up-escalator in Jackson and Teton County, and there’s no sign they’ve reached the top floor - despite exceeding $7 million dollars for the average single-family home.

Average sales prices were up 47% overall, hitting new records in several categories - and Cowboy State Daily’s Renee Jean reports that those prices have been driven in part by a 55% increase in the number of luxury sales - which means sales above $5 million. 

“The sales waiting in the wings right now have dropped and their prices are up, which just is an early indicator that the market constriction is continuing. What's going on here with this? Well, we have a new economic model for boom towns. We've talked about that before. Eight of the 10 largest wealth attracting counties right now have outdoor amenities. And Teton county is at the top of those eight wealth-attracting counties. So this is all about the outdoor recreation boom that's going on right now.”

Jean says dwindling supply — and more records — are ahead in an ever-tightening Jackson Hole market, and where it stops, no one knows.

With the unveiling last week of new federal environmental rules that could accelerate the phasing out of coal-fired power plants by the early 2030s, signs of trouble ahead may already be emerging on the horizon for Wyoming’s coal industry.

First quarter data released Monday by the Wyoming State Geological Survey shows coal production has slipped nearly 21% from the first quarter of 2023, when the Cowboy State dug up more than 58 million tons of coal out of the coal-rich Powder River Basin. Energy reporter Pat Maio says there are a number of reasons for the fall.

“We had a mild winter. Natural gas prices are just hammering coal… they're below $2 per unit of gas, making it more economical to go with natural gas over coal. Also, there's an issue of stockpiling by the utilities. They've had some excessive inventories, and there's no need to buy coal at the moment or, you know, just work off what they already have.”

The only other comparable quarterly drop in coal production came shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic locked down workplaces throughout the world in early 2020.

After the current Gillette library director moved a book about father-daughter incest, drug use and bulimia from a teen section to a “new adult” section, the husband of the director’s predecessor asked the library board to put it back in the teen section.    

Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland reports that Doug Lesley is the husband of former Campbell County Library Director Terri Lesley, whom the board fired last summer. Lesley told the board that the new director’s decision to move the book, titled “Identical,” by Ellen Hopkins, could invite legal challenges.

“As an attorney, he was like, I've worked with juveniles. I've seen incest in our community, it’s so problematic. It's often a common denominator in cases with troubled juveniles. So he was saying that the book could be a roadmap for troubled kids dealing with these issues. The board shot down his request four to one and some of the ‘nay’ voters countered, saying, ‘what about all the kids to whom this is a foreign concept, who don't want to stumble across this book, who shouldn't be stumbling across this book?’ And others were saying, ‘it's just very bleak. It's not helpful. It's dwells on the drug abuse and suicidal aspects of the character's journey and is not the best resource anyway.’”

Board member Charlie Anderson, the lone vote in favor of Doug Lesley’s request, said his argument made sense and “Identical” could be a mirror kids can hold up to their own lives.

And bison don’t follow bus schedules, but a Sunday post to the popular Facebook page “Yellowstone National Park: Invasion of the Idiots” has sparked a lively debate about driving etiquette through the park’s famous bison jams.

Photos with the post show a tour bus filing out of a line of vehicles stopped for bison on the road and slowly pushing through and herding the animals off the road as it moves forward.

Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi says the driver’s action has people arguing over the proper procedures in the sticky situation of bison jams.

“There isn't an official stance. The Park doesn't say that you can't drive through a bison jam - obviously, you're going to do it slowly, so you don't risk damage to yourself, your vehicle or the animals. But there's nothing that says you can't do that. … It's a part of the Yellowstone experience, and it's a part that people might find annoying. Some people believe that you should keep it pristine and just accept that that's part of your Yellowstone journey. Other people think they're well within their rights to keep traffic flowing, and bison might be the natural residents, but that doesn't mean they own the road.”

The only rule posted on the National Park Service’s Yellowstone website is to “stay in your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam” and never park on the road or block traffic to observe wildlife.

And that’s today’s news. Get your free digital subscription to Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper by hitting the subscribe button on I’m Wendy Corr, for Cowboy State Daily.

Radio Stations

The following radio stations are airing Cowboy State Daily Radio on weekday mornings, afternoons and evenings. More radio stations will be added soon.

KYDT 103.1 FM – Sundance

KBFS 1450 AM — Sundance

KYCN 1340 AM / 92.7 FM — Wheatland

KZEW 101.7 FM — Wheatland

KANT 104.1 FM — Guernsey

KZQL 105.5 FM — Casper

KMXW 92.5 FM — Casper

KBDY 102.1 FM — Saratoga

KTGA 99.3 FM — Saratoga

KJAX 93.5 FM — Jackson

KZWY 106.3 FM — Sheridan

KROE 930 AM / 103.9 FM — Sheridan

KWYO 1410 AM / 106.9 FM  — Sheridan

KYOY 92.3 FM Hillsdale-Cheyenne / 106.9 FM Cheyenne

KRAE 1480 AM — Cheyenne 

KDLY 97.5 FM — Lander

KOVE 1330 AM — Lander

KZMQ 100.3/102.3 FM — Cody, Powell, Medicine Wheel, Greybull, Basin, Meeteetse

KKLX 96.1 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep, Greybull

KCGL 104.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin, Lovell, Clark, Red Lodge, MT

KTAG 97.9 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KCWB 92.1 FM — Cody, Powell, Basin

KVGL 105.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Basin, Ten Sleep

KODI 1400 AM / 96.7 FM — Cody, Powell, Lovell, Basin, Clark, Red Lodge

KWOR 1340 AM / 104.7 FM — Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep

KREO 93.5 FM — Sweetwater and Sublette Counties

KGOS 1490 AM — Goshen County

KERM 98.3 FM — Goshen County

Check with individual radio stations for airtime of the newscasts.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter