Cowboy State Daily Video News: Thursday, May 9, 2024

Thursday's headlines include: * Bill Gates To Attend Kemmerer Nuclear Groundbreaking * Sheridan Assistant Principal Arrested On Sex Assault Charges * Saratoga Man Pays Town Hall For Records Request With 15,500 Pennies

Wendy Corr

May 09, 20245 min read

Wendy pat 5 9 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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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 Thursday, May 9th.

Billionaire Bill Gates, who is among the richest people in the world, plans to visit Kemmerer next month for a groundbreaking ceremony for one of his largest investment projects that could reshape the landscape of nuclear energy development in America for decades to come.

Energy reporter Pat Maio says Gates is planning to visit Kemmerer on June 10 to mark the beginning of construction on the multibillion-dollar Terra Power project.

“Terra power, which is building a nuclear reactor, a tiny one. It's about 350 megawatts of power down in Kemmerer… they're going to have an official groundbreaking on June 10. And the CEO of the company, Chris Levesque said during his presentation that Bill Gates is coming to town… he's far already forked out about a billion dollars on the projects, and another $2 billion has been kicked in by the Department of Energy.” 

Gates has forked out $1 billion on the project so far.

A Sheridan High School virtual learning assistant principal is in police custody on a sexual assault charge. 

Sheridan Police Chief Travis Koltiska told Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland that police are still actively working on the case against Jacob Meyer. 

“We don't have a lot of details yet. The case was still early and is still under investigation… I know that he's 33, that he was assistant principal of virtual learning at the high school in Sheridan, and he's still in custody as of Wednesday.”

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.

The Natrona County coroner says 2024 is shaping up to be a “crazy year” for unnatural deaths, with suicides through the first four months of the year on a record-shattering pace.

Coroner Jim Whipps told county commissioners Tuesday that even third-world countries don’t have the suicide rate that matches Natrona County. That’s according to Cowboy State Daily’s Dale Killingbeck.

“The Natrona County coroner has been very vocal about suicide rates in the county. He spoke to the school board last month, and at the county commission meeting yesterday during a work session. He was giving a report to commissioners and said that it's looking like it's going to be a crazy year because of the amount of unnatural deaths he's dealing with, which includes suicide rates. And he said that Wyoming is typically at the top of suicide rates in the country. Certainly Natrona county is probably in the top four in the world, when you look at population ratios, and the amount of suicides that are taking place in the county.”

So far this year, Natrona County has seen 12 suicides.

Citizens cheered on Tuesday night after the Laramie city council voted to kill a controversial five story, 88-unit apartment complex in the heart of downtown. 

Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz attended the meeting, in which the main focus was the proposal for the Landmark building, which runs along 1st Street behind the Coal Creek Coffee Co. coffee house and brewery. 

“It was standing room only in the main city council chamber, and they had to send some people to an overflow room in the basement of Laramie City Hall and watch the proceedings on video… it was funny, they had nothing but good things to say about The company that wants to build the current apartment complex… They're just saying, great company. Great idea, absolutely wrong location. We don't want it here. It’s one of those, you know, they say you can't fight city hall. But this is one of those cases in which city hall did listen and they voted it down.” 

Business owners and residents reiterated worries that the proposed building would have eaten up already-sparse parking in the downtown business district and ruin the area’s historic vibe.

And Saratoga resident Jimmy Dempsey doesn’t believe his local town government is being transparent with the public, so he put in a public records request for a list of the town’s official government email addresses.

Then the town said it wants to charge him $155 for the list and other information, which he considers outrageous. Nevertheless, Dempsey recently went to the Saratoga Town Hall with $155 — all in pennies, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson.

“Dempsey made his request, because he wanted email contacts for current and former town officials and town employees for the past two years. Normally, this information is pretty easy to find on a town or county website, especially for elected officials like a town council. But in Saratoga, that's not the case… But he made a public records request for it, among other things, and the town turned around and charged him $155 For that, so decided to get even and pay the town in 15,500 pennies. The request was rejected by the town town clerk Jennifer Anderson, because she said that they had no way of counting the pennies, which Dempsey also that was ridiculous, because he got said pennies from the bank.” 

Saratoga Mayor Chuck Davis said there has been no purposeful intent to block the public from communicating with town officials, and added that the city is in the process of updating its website. 

And that’s today’s news. Get your free digital subscription to Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper by hitting the subscribe button on And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel! I’m Wendy Corr, for Cowboy State Daily.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter