Cowboy State Daily Video News: Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Wednesday's headlines include: * Teton Pass Set To Open Friday * Arrest In Cheyenne Coin Shop Cold Case * Running Predators Down With Snowmobiles Could Stay Legal

Wendy Corr

June 26, 20249 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 Wednesday, June 26th. 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!


Just three weeks after part of the highway on Teton Pass fell off the mountain, Wyoming transportation officials announced it will reopen on Friday. 

The detour will have significantly slower speed limits but no weight limitations, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Jake Nichols, but at least this highway that is considered the lifeline between Jackson and Idaho will be open for locals and travelers once again.

“That section that they're building the bypass on, it's going to have reduced speed limit to 20 miles an hour. It's only a very short section, it's going to slow down there significantly, but it's going to be a lot better than the option currently for the last two weeks, which has been the drive around. So it'll be a regular two lane highway, they, you know, it's it's a fix that it's going to work for now.” 

WYDOT Director Darin J. Westby credited department engineer Bob Hammond, along with full cooperation from both private and public agencies, with the quick turnaround.

Read the full story HERE.


Closure may soon be a little closer for the families of two people shot and killed in a double murder during a 2015 robbery at a Cheyenne business. 

On Tuesday afternoon, the Cheyenne Police Department announced it arrested 68-year-old California resident Douglas Smith in connection with the murders at The Coin Shop in downtown Cheyenne. Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that Smith was actually the person who dialed 911 after the shooting.

“I spoke to Mike Moser, who was friends with one of the victims, the owner of the coin shop. And he said that it really hit Cheyenne hard when this happened, because of the nature of the murder. It happened in the middle of the day in a very busy part of town. And Moser said he believes the city lost some of its innocence that day.” 

Laramie County Sheriff Brian Kozak said it will be his department that's responsible for bringing Smith back to Wyoming. Kozak was chief of the Cheyenne PD at the time of the murder, and he said there was no other case he lost more sleep over.

Read the full story HERE.


Despite outrage over a wolf being run down with a snowmobile in the infamous Daniel wolf torture incident, banning that practice in Wyoming doesn’t seem imminent. Some members of a legislative working group on Tuesday argued it should remain legal, according to outdoors reporter Mark Heinz.

“It's kind of decided that really, the focus should be on trying to craft some sort of legislation that penalizes or discourages allowing an animal prolonged suffering, regardless of the method that is used to try to kill it for whatever reason - whether it's attacking livestock, or you know, whatever is going on. So it's a complicated issue, not a pleasant subject at all.”

A representative for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association pointed out that in some cases, running predators over with snowmobiles could be more humane than shooting them.  

Read the full story HERE.


Gov. Mark Gordon dug his heels in at a town hall meeting in the coal capital of the United States on Tuesday, telling a rather subdued crowd of blue-collared miners, educators and public officials that he is not rolling over on a federal push to limit energy mining in the Cowboy State.

Energy reporter Pat Maio attended the town hall in Gillette, where Gordon vowed a legal fight to halt an aggressive federal overreach positioning against Wyoming.

“Governor Gordon disclosed - based on a question in conversation I had with him afterward - that a major law firm has been hired to help out in the battle against the federal government. It's a high powered one, too, they're paying close to a million bucks to bring them on board.”

Gordon said that at last count, Wyoming is participating in 58 legal actions designed to push back on overreach by the federal government, which aims to curtail or end the state’s right to mine and produce energy.

Read the full story HERE.


And a man who chased down another on a Park County road Sunday ended up getting shot in the leg.

Cowboy State Daily’s Andrew Rossi reports that few details were made available about the alleged early morning vehicle chase that ended badly for a man, who apparently had enough of a problem with another driver to chase him until he stopped.

“Someone was driving along a road, and they were being followed by a vehicle, and the man in that vehicle was someone that the driver knew - they had an active protection order against that person. The caller, who called it in, said that they got into a scuffle, the driver of the other vehicle approached him with a baseball bat, grabbed his collar, and started hitting him and the caller discharged his gun and fired into the man's leg just above the ankle, and the man ran off.” 

Neither driver is identified in the report, nor would the sheriff’s office confirm if any arrests or tickets resulted from the incident.

Read the full story HERE.


Gambling in Wyoming has rocketed over the past decade to become a $2 billion a year industry. Does Wyoming go full throttle and follow Montana or will the state take a more moderate approach? That’s the question that Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson posed to legislators who are considering crafting new laws to regulate the industry.

“Most of what we know today in Wyoming gaming actually has really evolved just in the last 10 years, as a result of various legalizations that the legislature has made. And in some ways, lawmakers have been kind of playing catch up on a lot of things after they go into effect. The sheer numbers of money being gambled in Wyoming right now is somewhat stupendous.” 

If this growth continues, one legislator predicted that gaming will in the near future become the third largest industry in Wyoming.

Read the full story HERE.


Soda Lake, just northeast of Pinedale, used to be one of Wyoming’s most prized trout fishing spots. Then nearly all the fish died - and Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz reports that it’s not exactly clear why.

“In the past few years, the fish population there has just been crashing really hard… really the fish population peaked in 1997 and has kind of been on a downward trend ever since. So this is, from Game and Fish’s perspective, this is nothing new. And the agency, Game and Fish, plans to keep stocking this lake. It has produced over the years, despite the decline in numbers, it’s produced some really, significantly huge brook trout and brown trout.” 

Counts last fall put the lake’s population at 400 adult trout, although the lake has since been restocked.

Read the full story HERE.


If the results of Republican primary elections in Idaho and South Dakota are any predictor, the upcoming Republican Primary could be a big win for the Wyoming Freedom Caucus.

Cowboy State Daily’s Leo Wolfson reports that like Wyoming, these two border states are overwhelmingly Republican, with the result of most races determined on primary election night.

“I spoke to former GOP chair Jack Spate… he believes that this might be a sign that Wyoming will be shifting to the right. Wyoming is already the largest majority Republican state in the country. But many people within the party argue that it's not as conservative as it might seem.” 

Aside from Wyoming, South Dakota and Idaho are some of the most politically red states in the country. Both states have enacted similar legislation banning transgender care for minors and most forms of abortion.

Read the full story HERE.


And Mitch Godwin is the go-to guy to hit up when you want to move some furniture, haul sacks of concrete or anything else that requires lifting anything heavy.

And why not? The 29-year-old Sheridan, Wyoming, man is one of the strongest guys around. Cowboy State Daily's Dale Killingbeck reports that Godwin won the 2024 United States Strongman Nationals competition in Denver earlier this month.

“He just won the national US Strongman contest in Denver, carrying 975 pounds, 100 feet in 35 seconds. So, Mitch Godwin is somebody you can really rely on when you’ve got stuff to move around. And he told me that he intends to keep lifting - the 29 year old hopes to become, joins, kind of like the pro competitors in the future. And he says he loves his sport, and he brought home a title to Wyoming.” 

While he is the only lifter at his Sheridan gym involved in strongman competition, he has been able to make a lot of friendships in the sport at various events. He calls the sport a “brotherhood.”

Read the full story HERE.


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 Dot Com - 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