Cowboy State Daily Video News: Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Tuesday's headlines include: - Officials Say Yellowstone Rangers Who Killed Shooter Likely Saved Many Lives - Record-Setting Death Valley Heat Wave On The Way To Wyoming - Ammo Vending Machines: Would They Work In Wyoming?

Wendy Corr

July 09, 20246 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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Yellowstone National Park rangers likely saved a number of lives in an Independence Day shootout with a contract worker who reportedly took a woman hostage and threatened a mass shooting.

28-year-old Samson Fussner was killed in an exchange of gunfire with park rangers early Thursday morning. Campers who were in the vicinity told Cowboy State Daily’s Clair McFarland they heard more than 100 rounds fired - and a former top official of the National Park Service said that the fact that only one ranger was injured was a testament to the team that responded during the crisis.

“I actually set out to write about the training and duties of park rangers because I think that's often an unsung field. But when I talked to Rob Wallace, who formerly oversaw the National Park Service, he said, ‘Man, for 100 shots to be fired, and one park ranger injured and the shooter is down and that's the only damage we saw, they must have had an amazing response.’” 

Wallace was not the only career National Park Service employee to tip his hat to the Yellowstone force Monday. Leading NPS law enforcement history expert Paul Berkowitz pointed to the rangers’ response as an example of sound management by Park Superintendent Cam Sholly.

Read the full story HERE.


A question posed at a political rally in Casper on Sunday about whether Gov. Mark Gordon could run for a third term has people asking if he could legally do that.

Secretary of State Chuck Gray responded that he believes the answer is no, and if Gordon were to run for a third term, he won’t certify his campaign.

But political reporter Leo Wolfson spoke to Bradley Cave, the attorney who successfully brought a lawsuit to the Wyoming Supreme Court that overturned a voter initiative that had put term limits on elected officials in Wyoming. Cave said just because a law is in place, it doesn’t make it constitutional.

“He basically said that any old law could theoretically get passed and enacted and ruled upon. But that does not mean it necessarily passes the constitutional smell test. And it takes someone to file a lawsuit to basically kind of bring that to a head, which just simply hasn't happened with Wyoming's law prohibiting governors from running for a third term.”

There is no mention of term limits anywhere in the Wyoming Constitution.

Read the full story HERE.


Strata Energy, the U.S. unit of Australian-based Peninsula Energy, is on schedule to begin uranium production at its central processing plant in northeastern Wyoming by December.

An executive of the Wyoming business told energy reporter Pat Maio that the company is expected to double its workforce, in order to sell $88 million to $117 million dollars’ worth of uranium to a European buyer.

“They're building a processing plant for uranium, turning it into yellowcake and then sending it somewhere else, where they go to enrich it into nuclear fuel for reactors. This company, Strata, like many uranium companies in Wyoming, are really gaining a lot of traction because of the pivot away from Russia for dependency on enriched uranium.” 

The processing plant will begin limited production in late 2024 and ramp up to 2 million pounds of uranium annually.

Read the full story HERE.


A Western U.S. heat wave that’s setting records in Death Valley and Las Vegas is on its way to Wyoming.

While Wyoming won’t get the insane temperature readings of those areas, like the record 128 degrees recorded in Death Valley on Sunday, it’s going to be hot, according to Cowboy State Daily’s Greg Johnson.

“It won't be Death Valley type of heat. But it can be record setting, and especially in the eastern part of the state, expect several days of 100 degrees or more. So it's not going to be pleasant. Although it's a dry heat, so I guess we got that going for us.”

The National Weather Service’s extended forecast for areas around the Cowboy State show highs in the 90s in Cody and Lander, while the eastern plains can expect a string of 100-degree days.

Read the full story HERE. 


How about adding 100 rounds of 9 mm, 115-grain full metal jacket to the grocery shopping list? Thanks to ammunition vending machines, that’s already a thing in some grocery stores in the south.

But Cowboy State Daily’s Mark Heinz reports that the company, called American Rounds, claims that artificial intelligence keeps the sales safe and secure.

“This is just like a walk up to get a candy bar or a snack, you can walk up to a machine and buy ammo out of a vending machine. Now, of course, there has to be an added layer of security there because you must be 18 or older to purchase long gun ammunition, rifle cartridges or shotgun shells. And you must be over age 21 To purchase handgun ammunition. And so the company says I mean, they tout that they've got this AI technology that can use facial recognition and an identification, ID card like a driver's license verification, to ensure that people who are purchasing ammo from these machines are actually legally qualified to do it.” 

Wyoming vendors have had mixed reactions to the idea - some say it could work, while others say the machines could hurt small businesses.

Read the full story HERE.


Wyoming has changed its rules to discourage environmental groups from attempting to lock up state oil and gas leases. 

Cowboy State Daily’s Pat Maio reports that the new laws passed by the legislature in the most recent session changed the definition of what a qualified bidder is - which will prevent the Wyoming Outdoor Council, for example, from bidding in this week's state-run oil and gas lease auction - unless, of course, they intend to drill.

“The story isn't so much about these energy companies putting in bids against the Wyoming Outdoor Council, but larger concerns that are being raised about potential billionaires that could come into the state of Wyoming and bid on oil and gas, state run oil gas lease auctions, and take control of the entire industry in Wyoming. And they can do it. Michael Bloomberg is on the record with you know, he's already ended up with a billion dollars for the energy transition.” 

Nearly a year ago, the Lander-based conservation advocacy organization admitted it wanted to knock off energy industry players in the auction process and preserve a bottleneck migratory route used by pronghorn antelope.

Read the full story HERE.

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director