Cowboy State Daily Video News: Friday, June 21, 2024

Friday's headlines include: * Alpine Man Killed In Tragic Wood Chipper Accident  * Gordon, Gray Get Heated At Each Other Again * Kids Set Fire To And Destroy Federal Railroad Bridge

Wendy Corr

June 21, 202410 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 Friday, June 21st. 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!


An Alpine-area man died in a wood chipper accident Tuesday.

Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland reports that the machine had to be disassembled to release the body of the man, who was not identified - and the first responders who arrived said it was a grisly scene.

“They were clearing debris for wildfire mitigation there outside of Alpine. And I know that the wood chipper was brand new, according to the fire chief. So he wasn't sure that the wood chipper had malfunctioned, though I suppose anything could happen.”

The victim had been working as part of a contract program to clear debris to prevent wildfires, and died while still in the machine.


The town of Wheatland got another $1.06 million to fix a failing water tank Thursday, but not before Gov. Mark Gordon and Secretary of State Chuck Gray argued over plans for the money and Gordon’s recent veto of money from the Legislature to help fix the tank.

The crux of Gray’s issue with Gordon about Thursday’s approval was what he saw as the governor flip-flopping his support on the project, according to politics reporter Leo Wolfson.

“This prompted a rather strong response from Governor Mark Gordon. He developed a more aggressive tone, and essentially told Secretary Gray, ‘Fine, I get it. You think I'm a jerk? But you know what, we have a business to do here and let's move on.’”

Gordon said when the State Land and Investment Board addressed the Wheatland water tower last winter, the board had every intent to fully fund the project - eventually.


The Natrona County Commissioners voted Tuesday to pull back a May 7 decision to contribute $600,000 to extend the SkyWest Delta connection flight between Casper and Salt Lake City through June 30, 2025.

Cowboy State Daily’s Dale Killingbeck reports that without the funding, the Casper/Natrona County International Airport will be down to one airline option and destination. 

“That withdrawal of funding for the county, $600,000, and other entities, the city and Fly Casper Alliance, that also pitched in money. So that means that there may not be a flight between Casper and Salt Lake City in the near future.” 

Commission Chair Peter Nicolaysen said his understanding was that the airport board looked at the size and type of aircraft not being cost effective, not even “breaking even,” and that there were no plans for that to change. He also said ticket prices are another issue.


Explosive chemical sales are down significantly at the Cheyenne-based Dyno Nobel plant because of declines in coal production in northeastern Wyoming. 

Energy reporter Pat Maio says the company’s sales to coal markets has fallen significantly, mainly due to power units switching from coal to natural gas.

“The company is, actually, it's profitable, the Dyno Nobel chemical plant here in Cheyenne. However, it's taking a hit on its explosives that it sells to the coal industry up in the Powder River Basin. In fact … the revenue has fallen like 19%, year over year for the first half of 2024.” 

Dyno-Nobel’s parent firm sold off a chunk of the company’s property in western Cheyenne to Microsoft Corp. for a data center. The $18 million earned in the real estate transaction was used to help offset the falling cash flow at the local operation.


A trio of kids are suspected of setting a railroad bridge in Rock Springs ablaze Wednesday afternoon, sending a column of thick, black smoke high over Sweetwater County.

Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi reports that several people saw the suspects fleeing the scene on their bicycles.

“According to eyewitnesses, and the suspects themselves, three juveniles were playing with fire under a timber frame railroad bridge in the south of Rock Springs, and the flames caught on. And since all the timber of the bridge was soaked in creosote, it just took off and was engulfed pretty immediately. But the Rock Springs Fire District number one, they responded quickly, they were able to put it out in 10 to 15 minutes.”

The bridge was on a spur line of the Union Pacific, infrequently used but serving at least two businesses. Fire officials say the structural damage to the bridge was enough that it must be demolished and rebuilt.


A bull moose that was chased through a Montana campground by a grizzly bear was lucky the bear wasn’t fully committed to turning him into a meal. 

The man who took video of the incident - retired bear biologist Wes Larson - told outdoors reporter Mark Heinz that the chase was a little half-hearted on the bear’s part.

“He's sitting in his car in the Soda Butte campground, which is right near the Wyoming state line to south side of Yellowstone. And first you see a moose come by, and then there's a grizzly bear hot on its heels. So I talked to the guy who actually took that video… He said probably what he was doing was just following the moose, waiting for the moose to make a mistake, get itself boxed in, trip and fall, do something stupid, because grizzly bears are smart enough to just not go right after a full size moose right in the open, because that could end very badly for the bear.”

Grizzlies have to be smart about hunting moose because there’s real risk involved for the bears, as moose can deliver bone-shattering kicks.


While the bald eagle has widely been adopted as the symbol of America going back to the 1780s, most people may not know that it’s NOT the official national bird.

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis wants to change that. Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that the Wyoming senator introduced legislation Thursday designating the bald eagle as the official bird of the United States. 

“Even though the bald eagle is very commonly associated culturally as the official bird of America, and one of the biggest symbols that many people associate with America, it is not considered the official national bird, because America does not have an official national bird. So this would basically put that into place. Obviously, it's kind of more of a symbolic thing, and it wouldn't cost any money to do this.” 

In 1782, the Continental Congress installed the bald eagle on the front of the Great Seal of the United States. Since then, it has been the second most used representation of the United States behind the American flag.


Huge hail, 60 mph winds and at least one tornado touched down in southeast Wyoming on Thursday afternoon as a supercell thunderstorm passed through the area. 

Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi said weather experts are surprised there hasn’t been more supercell activity this spring and summer.

“I spoke to Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day and he's actually surprised we haven't had more of these, up to this point in the season. Super cells are rare, but they're not so rare that they're not uncommon. They can actually happen quite frequently during this time of year in Wyoming. And… this was the first afternoon of severe weather we've had so far this spring and summer, which is saying something in his view, but the chances are they're going to be more supercells throughout Wyoming as we get further into the summer.

Photos and videos of the supercell storm on social media show the ground blanketed with hail in some areas and a tornado-like feature that seems to be on the ground in another.


Wyoming is the only state without a “good Samaritan” law that grants immunity from prosecution for illegal drug users who report drug overdoses. 

But Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that could change under a bill advanced Thursday by a legislative committee.

“What this would do, as advanced by the committee on Thursday, would give people up to two times per year to claim immunity from possession of controlled substances or being under the influence of controlled substances, if they are suffering a drug overdose or someone with them is suffering a drug overdose, as long as they are cooperative with law enforcement and emergency medical services.”

The executive director of the Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers said fear of prosecution can be a legitimate barrier that prevents people from seeking help when someone is overdosing on drugs.


There’s a lot of charged rhetoric tossed around in politics, and one common theme in Wyoming Republican circles is whether someone is or isn’t a “true” conservative or a “real” Republican.

State Sen. John Kolb is running against Jeff Ramaj in the Republican primary for Senate District 12, which covers most of Rock Springs. Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that Ramaj claims that Kolb isn’t a true conservative - a claim which Kolb said is patently false. 

“Ramaj’s whole campaign is based off a theme of ‘Reboot Wyoming.’ Many of his campaign yard signs have his name, and a graphic of a cowboy kicking a rino on them. This is a reference to the famous acronym ‘Republican In Name Only.’ It's an interesting comment considering that Kolb is pretty conservative, his own right as well.” 

Kolb has been serving in the Legislature since 2021. Ramaj, who works in sprinkler irrigation, has no formal political experience beyond running for the Sweetwater County Commission in 2022, finishing eighth of nine candidates.


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