Cowboy State Daily Video News: Thursday, June 20, 2024

Thursday's headlines include: - Tourist Risks Life On Yellowstone Rocks - Casper Police Chief Calls For Anti-Squatter Laws - Drunk Gillette Man Destroys Porsche In High-Speed Crash

Wendy Corr

June 20, 202411 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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It’s time to take a look at what’s happening around Wyoming, for Thursday, June 20th. I’m Wendy Corr, bringing you headlines from the Cowboy State Daily newsroom - Presented by Cheyenne Frontier Days - starting July 19th, from sun-up to sun-down - there’s something for everyone! Check it out at C-F-D RODEO DOT COM!


A tourist at Yellowstone’s Lower Falls risked his life on Wednesday by climbing out to a dangerous section of rocks above the raging 308-foot waterfall. 

Photos of a man who climbed out onto an outcropping overlooking the raging waterfall puts into focus the heights — literally — some tourists will go to when breaking the rules, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi.

“I have never had a more visceral reaction to photos than the ones that I saw. It was a man who had climbed down to the brink of the Lower Falls. So there's this narrow, jagged precipice of rock. And he's there crawling away after getting down there and just feet away from him is the brink of the Lower Falls. So the white sheet of water, which I checked the National Park Service's at peak volume, which I imagine we're close to, if not there, right now, 60,000 gallons of water per second 308 foot drop, and he was within a few feet of that.” 

No climbing is permitted in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but even for a tourism season already predicted to see more bad tourist behavior, the recklessness on display in the photos is almost too much for even seasoned “touron” watchers.


 Casper’s police chief is urging Wyoming lawmakers to craft criminal penalties against squatting. Now, at least two bill drafts are in the works.

The issue of squatting is gaining attention and prevalence in national media, and has reached Wyoming - and now costs property owners collectively millions of dollars, according to crime and courts reporter Clair McFarland.

“Squatters are creating crime hubs in the houses they're unlawfully occupying, there’s  all sorts of nefarious things that go on in there. Sometimes the city has to condemn buildings when the homeowners just give up on ever getting their property back. And he said that sometimes people who go to places like Arizona for the winter will come home and everything's a disaster, and they have to stay in a hotel for months, while they sort out eviction processes.”

The chief pointed out that vacant businesses, homes caught in the probate system, absentee homes, homes in foreclosure and other processes all can be victimized by squatters.


Wyoming and Utah have become the first states to challenge in federal court an obscure rule touted by the Bureau of Land Management that marks a major shift in how 245 million acres of public lands are managed in the United States.

The rule was designed by BLM to strike a balance between conservation and extractive mining for natural resources. However, energy reporter Pat Maio points out that the rule effectively gives the BLM power to kill off mining projects before they even get off the drawing board.

“It's called the public lands rule, and it relates to trying to find a better balance between conservation on one end and mining on the other. And Gordon is arguing, or at least the statements are pointing out, that the rule has gone too far, and that it avoids the federal law that's supposed to allow states like Wyoming to be able to - you can't like tell a state you can't mine on public lands, which is kind of essentially what's happening here.”

The two states announced Wednesday that they have jointly filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City challenging the BLM’s final “public lands rule,” which was announced April 18.


The attorney for a Natrona County ranch and family is pleading with the Natrona County Commission to resolve growing problems with people trespassing, littering and damaging their private property that’s accessed by an “alleged” county road that comes off the south side of Casper Mountain.

In turn, commissioners have sued the family to stop them from carrying through with a threat to close off the road, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Dale Killingbeck.

“That's a key road for construction projects right now for the county, and … according to the lawsuit from the county, provides fire evacuation route for residents of Casper mountain. So the county is looking for an injunction from the judge.” 

As of Wednesday, the family and company stated in a letter that only first responders and those who obtain prior written permission will be able to use the road.


State Sen. Cale Case of Lander wanted to make a point Wednesday morning at the Capitol rotunda, that he believes former Wyoming U.S. Senator Lester Hunt’s death by suicide decades ago, and many suicides today, may have been preventable.

Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that Wednesday was the 70th anniversary of Hunt’s death - something Case doesn’t believe has been properly publicized because of the stigma around suicide. 

“Hunt had was being targeted by Senator Joe McCarthy, right around the time that he committed suicide. And it's basically been proven that was one of the driving reasons he did it… Case said there's a lot of incivility in politics right now. And he said there's streaks of McCarthyism that he sees in Wyoming politics.” 

Hunt’s portrait is permanently displayed in the basement of the Capitol near the governor’s offices. During Wednesday’s event, the painting was brought up to the rotunda on the main floor of the building, which Case said was an act symbolically returning Hunt’s spirit to the Capitol.


A Gillette man remains in jail after pleading guilty to DUI, reckless driving, and driving while under suspension, after speeding through downtown Gillette Sunday night and rolling his Porsche. 

39-year-old Dustin W. Ostert was caught while trying to flee on foot after wrecking the vehicle - but it was a pair of tenacious bystanders who saved the day, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Jen Kocher.

“The unsung heroes in this story are the couple who followed Dustin Ostert through downtown, and they were the ones who called it in… but they actually followed him to the end. They were on site also when he crashed... And he when he crashed, he hit a guardrail in his car, flipped three to four times and skidded about 350 feet, which the car experts I spoke to said that's as far as crashes go, that's huge.” 

This was Ostert’s third DUI in less than four years, following earlier convictions in June 2020 and July 2023 for which he was still on both supervised and unsupervised probation.


A school board in Lusk, Wyoming, has censured one of its elected members for threatening a school employee.

The Niobrara County School District No. 1 board of trustees voted 5-4 on June 10 to censure Trustee Joyce Hammer for a private Facebook message Hammer sent to school employee Erin Hodge. That’s according to crime and courts reporter Clair McFarland.

“She Facebook messaged a school district employee saying, ‘I hope you never piss anyone off. A couple of videos sent to me could really cause you and your girls some problems.’ I spoke with the employee and she said that the only thing she could think of is someone took a video of her at a house visit with a friend where she had a beer and her daughter and two more of her daughter's teenage friends were singing. And so I talked to Hammer and Hammer said that the teens were drinking in the video. I asked Hammer for the video and she said she had deleted it.

Hammer did not apologize for the post, telling Cowboy State Daily she did nothing wrong, and that her message to the employee was meant as a warning and an effort to keep a compromising video off Facebook, not as a threat.


Global Uranium Corp., a tiny exploration company with mining operations in Canada, has become the latest entrant to expand to Wyoming to take advantage of a uranium mining boom unseen in the state for decades.

Several uranium exploration and production companies have expanded their operations in Wyoming since the United States began cutting ties with Russia as a supplier for the enriched fuel - and Cowboy State Daily’s Pat Maio reports that the latest company to invest in Wyoming is Vancouver-based Global Uranium. 

“They just announced that they picked up about a little bit over 5000 acres in uranium properties that they're buying from a veteran geologist and mining executive…  this company out of Vancouver, is the first time they've come to Wyoming. And as far as I can tell, it's the first time they've come to the United States.” 

Uranium is needed for the nation’s growing appetite for newly developed nuclear reactors, as well as a fleet of 94 commercial reactors already producing power for the nation’s electrical grid.


Accused of sexually abusing multiple 5- and 6-year-old girls he had access to in Rawlins, a 33-year-old man faces up to 680 years in prison if convicted.

Tyler Jessop, who moved to Rawlins from Utah about three years ago, is charged with 28 felonies for allegedly molesting two 5-year-old girls and one 6-year-old girl whom he knew and saw frequently in the town. The severity of the charges are due to the long timeline of events, according to crime and courts reporter Clair McFarland.

“The allegations are that he had access to these girls for months or years and in some cases, and that he did things to them that even as kindergarteners, they were able to describe vividly.”

Jessop’s wife reportedly told police that she was aware before their marriage that he’d been convicted on a child pornography charge back in Utah.


The full moon will look huge Friday as it hits a once-in-a-generation phase called “lunistice,” or lunar standstill. 

The phenomenon, which happens every 18 1/2 years, will make the moon appear gigantic and especially bright, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi.

“It's when the moon reaches its northern most point and southernmost points in the sky. So in a kind of rare phenomena, the first time that there's been a full moon on the summer solstice since 1985, the moon is going to appear at its southernmost point in the sky. So it's going to rise before sunset, set before sunrise. It is going to outrace the sun, and it's not going to get very high in the sky, but it's going to appear very big and very bright. And the cool thing is in six months on January 15, it's going to do the opposite.” 

Sunset will happen at 8:40 p.m. Friday, and the lunistice begins 45 minutes earlier, when the moon rises at 7:55 p.m.


And that’s today’s news. Get your free digital subscription to Wyoming's only statewide newspaper by hitting the Daily Newsletter button on Cowboy State Daily dotcom - and you can watch this newscast every day by clicking Subscribe on our YouTube channel. 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

Broadcast Media Director