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42 New Wyoming Coronavirus Cases; 554 Active

in Coronavirus/News
5636

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Editor’s Note: This is a map of the active coronavirus cases in each county across Wyoming. The number of active cases is determined by subtracting the total number of recoveries seen since the illness first reached Wyoming in mid-March from the total number of confirmed and probable cases diagnosed during the same time period and taking into account deaths related to the disease.

The number of coronavirus cases seen in Wyoming since the first case was detected in March reached 3,000 Friday, but the number of active cases actually fell by 12.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said 42 new cases were reported on Friday, but at the same time, the number of people to have recovered from the illness since the pandemic began increased by 54.

The result was a drop in active cases by 12, with declines reported in Albany, Big Horn, Fremont, Laramie, Lincoln, Natrona, Park, Sublette, Sweetwater and Uinta counties.

As of Friday, Fremont County had 103 confirmed cases; Laramie County had 88; Carbon County had 62; Teton had 47; Park and Uinta had 43; Albany had 32; Washakie had 24; Sheridan had 22; Natrona had 19; Lincoln had 16; Campbell and Goshen had 15; Sweetwater had 14; Sublette had four; Big Horn, Converse and Hot Springs had two, and Johnson had one.

Crook, Niobrara, Platte and Weston counties had no active cases.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

The number of laboratory-confirmed cases seen since March increased by 41 Friday to total 2,490, with new cases reported in Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta and Washakie counties. Washakie County reported 10 new confirmed cases Friday.

The number of probable cases grew by 1 Friday to total 510. A probable case is defined as one where the patient has coronavirus symptoms and has been in contact with someone with a confirmed case, but has not been tested.

The state’s 2,420 recoveries have been seen among 2,007 confirmed cases and 413 probable cases.

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Wyoming Legislators Host Lunch For Disabled Vets at Devils Tower

in News/Sturgis
5632

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Crook County legislators Ogden Driskill and Tyler Lindholm on Friday hosted lunch for a group of 20-plus disabled veterans who were on their way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The bikers were riding from Utah to Sturgis and were affiliated with the Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) group — a nonprofit organization that provides programs specifically designed to assist wounded and amputee combat veterans.

“As a veteran myself, I’m a big supporter of fellow veterans,” Lindholm said. “It is always good to lend a helping hand to some fellow and brothers in arms.”

Lindholm, R-Sundance, said the group had lunch at the KOA Campground and then toured the Devils Tower monument.

“They were in great spirits. It was a great honor for me to spend time with them,” he said.

Driskill, R-Devils Tower, who owns the KOA Campground, said he and Lindholm volunteered to sponsor the lunch when he heard the veterans were going to be riding through.

“We love vets and combat-wounded vets are in a special category of their own,” Driskill said.  “Our country is here because of them.”

The senator said the lunchtime discussion was focused on their bikes, the travels they made so far, and the upcoming celebration at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

“It sure makes you feel good to do something for these people,” he said. “They were excited to be here in Wyoming and they looked forward get to being in Sturgis for a full week.”

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Southeastern, Central Wyoming Under Red Flag Warning Until Late Friday

in Don Day/News/weather
5630

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Much of southeastern Wyoming is under a red flag warning for fire danger until late Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Cheyenne.

The affected area stretches from Baggs all the way east past Cheyenne and into Torrington. It also stretches as far north as Bill and Glenrock.

The Weather Service predicted winds of around 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph.

Meteorologist Don Day noted in his Friday forecast that Wyoming was in for warm and dry weather, perfect conditions for a red flag warning. Fire dangers will be a concern over the weekend and into next week, he added.

“We have been able to avoid widespread or big fires this fire season so far, knock on wood,” Day said. “But be really careful if you’re going out this weekend or next.”

A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions either are occurring or will shortly. A combination of winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to this type of fire condition. Any fires that start in these conditions can spread rapidly, so outdoor burning should be avoided.

The NWS provided tips on what to do during a red flag warning, which inclulded:

  • If you are allowed to burn in your area, all burn barrels must be covered with a weighted metal cover, with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch;
  • Don’t throw cigarettes or matches out of a moving vehicle. They could ignite dry grass on the side of the road and start a wildfire;
  • Extinguish all outdoor fires properly. Drown fires with plenty of water and stir to make sure everything is cold to the touch. Dunk charcoal in water until cold. Don’t throw live charcoal on the ground and leave it;
  • Never leave a fire unattended, since sparks or embers can blow into leaves or grass, ignite and fire and quickly spread.

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Update: Video Footage From Casper Police Shootout Released

in Crime/News
5629

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UPDATE 11:25am: A neighbor provided K2 Radio with video of today’s incident.

As K2 Radio advises, “the video is graphic and depicts a woman who was apparently shot being led out of the building.”


A death was reported Friday at the scene of a reported shootout and kidnapping in Casper, according to the Casper Police Department.

The department, in a post on its Facebook page, reported finding the body after exchanging gunfire with someone at a home in Casper.

The post said officers were responding at about 7 a.m. to a report of a woman being held against her will and at gunpoint at 2200 S. Jefferson in Casper.

After entering the residence, gunfire was exchanged when officers entered the home’s bedroom.

“Officers located multiple individuals. Two individuals sustained gunshots wounds, one of which was deceased on scene. The injured person was transported to the hospital,” the posting said.

No officers were injured during this incident.

At this time, this incident is under investigation by the Division or Criminal Investigations and further information will be released as it becomes available.

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Laramie County Sheriff’s Deputy Catches Escaped Emu Without Getting a Roundhouse Kick to the Head

in Crazy animal stories/News
5624

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The Rocky Mountain West is still the wild, wild west.  And in 2020, all bets are off. Anything can happen.

Earlier in the week, Idaho police were called to wrangle an alligator who had escaped from the Idaho Reptile Zoo and was hiding under someone’s trailer.

They successfully “wrangled” the gator and he made it back without incident.

Here in Wyoming, another exotic creature was on the loose. An emu, the second-largest living bird in the world (by height), escaped from its home somewhere in Laramie County.

Just like up in Idaho, law enforcement was called and the gigantic bird was “wrangled” as well and brought back home.

Explains the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office:  “Yesterday afternoon Deputy Herlihey was dispatched to 4300 block of Summit Dr. for an Emu on the loose call. She was able to successfully wrangle the critter and return it home. When you go into law enforcement there’s just no telling what you’ll get to see.”

It’s not light duty to capture one of these things. They can run up to 30mph and their legs are among the strongest of any animal. This is an animal Dwight Schrute would respect.

It’s hard to imagine anything more powerful than a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick but the emu would have to rank up there.

What’s most impressive are its toes, however.  According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica (it still exists), under the right conditions, the toe claws of emus are capable of eviscerating animals.

Thankfully for Deputy Herlihey, the right conditions did not occur.

If you’d like to see an emu in attack mode, here’s a video from some idiot clearly antagonizing the bird. We are strongly on the side of the emu.

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‘Squaw Teats’ Should Remain On The Map, Park County Commissioners Say

in Government/News
5622

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By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune

A pair of summits in southeastern Park County should continue to be known as “Squaw Teats,” county commissioners say.

On Tuesday, the commission voted unanimously to oppose a proposal that would rename the formation Crow Woman Buttes.

“I do not believe that we need to go around renaming monuments, statues, rivers, mountains” and changing history, Commissioner Lloyd Thiel said before Tuesday’s vote, saying he “strongly” opposed a new name.

A Powell resident, Tyler Kerr, made the suggestion to change the name of Squaw Teats in June.

In a submission to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, Kerr contended that the current moniker “is derogatory, both to women and to Native Americans.” Crow Woman Buttes, he said, would carry “a similar meaning, but less offensive wording.”

“The proposed name acknowledges the feature’s supposed resemblance to human anatomy, but omits the racially charged (and arguably misogynistic) language of the existing name,” he wrote in the submission.

As for why he picked the Crow tribe, Kerr explained that they were active in the region and that it “would be an easier name to use in conversation than ‘Shoshone Woman,’ ‘Blackfeet Woman,’ etc.”

“The more general ‘Indian Woman’ would be likely to come across as an awkward euphemism for ‘squaw,’ somewhat defeating the purpose of a name change,” he added.

The Board of Geographical Names is now seeking input on Kerr’s proposal from various entities.

In a Wednesday message to the board opposing the change, county commissioners said they feel “the history and heritage of Park County is important and must remain the same today and tomorrow.”

The federal board will also poll federally recognized tribes, the Wyoming Board of Geographic Names and the Bureau of Land Management, as the summits sit on acreage managed by the agency.

Squaw Teats are located in badlands in Park County’s very southeast corner. The peaks are about 15 miles east of Meeteetse as the crow flies, with the taller of the two reaching an elevation of 6,173 feet (the other tops out at 6,110 feet).

The area was originally referred to as “Squaw Buttes” in a 1906 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) publication and other records located by Matt O’Donnell, a contractor for the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. However, in his report on the proposal, O’Donnell indicates that “Squaw Teats” became more common from 1938 on; that’s what the feature has been called on official USGS maps since 1951, he found.

Early Western explorers were apparently not bashful about naming mountains after breasts. For instance, Wyoming’s iconic Tetons draw their name from the French word for “teat” or “nipple.”

There’s also a Squaw Teat Butte in Hot Springs County and a Squaw Teat in Sublette County, according to O’Donnell’s research. Then there’s Katys Nipple, located on the southwestern edge of Bighorn Lake — and Mitchells, Dans and Clara Birds Nipple can be found in other parts of Wyoming, Powell mountaineer Tim Schoessler wrote for the website SummitPost.

In a 2009 writeup about Squaw Teats, Schoessler said the peaks “are steep scrambles,” and offer expansive views of the surrounding badlands and the Absaroka Mountains. But he’s not a fan of the moniker.

“That name has bothered me since I first ran across it, and I would love to see it changed,” Schoessler said Wednesday.

Some similar names have fallen out of favor in more recent years, O’Donnell’s report says. In 2008, Squaw Teat Butte and Squaw Teat Creek in South Dakota became Peaked Butte and East Rattlesnake Creek, respectively, while similar features in Montana became Mil-mil-teh Hill and Choo-heh-meen Hills; the Montana Legislature passed a bill in 1999 that called for the word “squaw” to be removed from all maps, signs and markers.

For their part, though, Park County commissioners want to stick with “Squaw Teats.”

“I don’t necessarily like it, personally,” Commission Chairman Joe Tilden said, “but it’s a part of Park County’s history — and I have no desire to rewrite history.”

During Tuesday’s brief discussion on the subject, Tilden said the commissioners “have never supported any name changes.”

In 2017, the commission voted against a proposal to christen an unnamed peak Mount Grinnell. Then in 2018, commissioners opposed a pending proposal from multiple tribes to change Yellowstone National Park’s Hayden Valley to Buffalo Nations Valley and to change Mount Doane to First Peoples Mountain.

Prior commissioners did agree to rename County Road 6FU in 2004, after some residents objected that, when read aloud, the route name was profane and offensive.

“That just wasn’t verbally proper,” said Park County Clerk Colleen Renner. (Commissioner Lee Livingston, who like his colleagues was not on the commission at the time, offered that, “I had no problem leaving it [the road] as it was.”) The route, which connects the North and South fork areas, is now known as Stagecoach Trail.

Squaw Teats isn’t the only eyebrow-raising name found on local maps.

“Asking for directions in northwestern Wyoming can be downright obscene,” former Powell Tribune News Editor Justin Lessman wrote in 2006. He gave examples like Negrohead Fork, Bitch Creek (a corruption of the French word for “deer” rather than an insult) and, most egregiously, waterways that included the N-word.

Some of the terms, such as “squaw,” were not offensive at the time they were placed on maps, historians told Lessman in 2006, but they confirmed some words had the same meaning as today.

“The first people out here named things what they thought they looked like,” then-Shoshone National Forest District Ranger Dave Myers told the Tribune at the time. “And if sheepherders were involved, it’s a good bet the names somehow involved female anatomy.”

The U.S Board of Geographic Names says its guiding principle is to use the place names used by local residents. However, exceptions can be made “when a name is derogatory or is shown to be offensive to a particular racial or ethnic group, gender, or religious group,” the board’s policies say. “Because geographic names are part of the historical record of the United States, the [board] prefers to proceed cautiously … as attitudes and perceptions of words considered to be offensive can vary among individuals and communities and can change connotation over time.”

There is no timeline for the board to make a decision on whether to name the summits Crow Woman Buttes. For example, the proposed renaming of Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley and Mount Doane have been pending since 2017, as the board continues to await a recommendation from the National Park Service.

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35 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming; 566 Active

in Coronavirus/News
5619

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Editor’s Note: This is a map of the active coronavirus cases in each county across Wyoming. The number of active cases is determined by subtracting the total number of recoveries seen since the illness first reached Wyoming in mid-March from the total number of confirmed and probable cases diagnosed during the same time period and taking into account deaths related to the disease.

Eight Wyoming counties reported a decline in active coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active cases to 566, a decline of nine from Wednesday.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, said recoveries among those with laboratory-confirmed and probable cases grew by 43 on Thursday to push the number of active cases down for the third time this week.

As of Thursday, Fremont County had 115 active cases; Laramie County had 94; Carbon County had 61; Park and Uinta counties had 44; Teton had 43; Albany had 33; Natrona had 22; Sheridan had 21; Sweetwater had 15; Washakie had 14; Goshen had 12; Campbell had 11; Sublette had six; Big Horn had three; Converse and Hot Springs had two, and Johnson had one.

Crook, Niobrara, Platte and Weston counties had no active cases.

Declines in active cases were reported in Albany, Campbell, Laramie, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, Sublette and Sweetwater counties.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, subtracting the number of recoveries during the same period among patients with both confirmed and probable cases and taking into account the number of deaths attributed to the illness.

The 43 recoveries reported Thursday brought the total number of people to recover from the illness since March to 2,366, including 1,969 with laboratory-confirmed cases and 397 with probable cases.

The recoveries offset the 25 new confirmed and 10 new probable cases reported across the state, which bought the total number of people infected since the pandemic began in March to 2,958, including 2,449 with laboratory-confirmed cases and 509 with probable cases.

The new confirmed cases were reported in 10 counties: Fremont, Goshen, Laramie, Lincoln, Park, Sheridan, Sweetwater, Teton, Uinta and Washakie.

Park County saw the biggest increase with five new confirmed cases.

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Northern Arapaho Tribe Reports Coronavirus Death

in Coronavirus/News
5618

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Fremont County man has died as a result of the coronavirus, bringing to 28 the number of Wyoming residents whose deaths have been linked to the illness.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe announced Thursday the death of the man, who was married to a woman whose coronavirus-related death was reported earlier this week.

“We offer our most heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of this couple — it is a staggering loss anytime family elders are lost,” Lee Spoonhunter, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, said in a news release. “They had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were known for their committed devotion to their Lord and Savior and each other. We pray for comfort for the loved ones they leave behind, and that our Tribal community soon emerges safely from this virus that has brought our people so much pain.”

Fremont County has now seen 12 deaths related to the illness, the highest number of any county in the state.

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Grand Teton Mountain Goat Hunts To Resume in September; Gordon Supports

in News/wildfire
5614

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon expressed his support Thursday for Grand Teton National Park’s plan to manage mountain goats within park boundaries using volunteers to kill a limited number of the animals.

The updated plan came after the governor called for a halt to the aerial gunning of non-native mountain goats to reduce their numbers. The new plan will allow qualified volunteers to harvest the animals, according to a news release from Gordon’s office.

“I am delighted that Grand Teton National Park officials have chosen to take a different, more sensible approach to addressing this important wildlife management issue,” Gordon said in the news release. “From the very beginning we have expressed our desire to partner with the Park to find a solution that achieves management objectives for this population and respects Wyoming values.”

Mountain goats in the park compete with bighorn sheep for limited, high-elevation habitat and may spread disease to the native sheep herd.

In February, Gordon was vocal in his opposition to a plan that relied on shooting the mountain goats from helicopters as a way to control the population.

In communications to both acting Grand Teton Park Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, Gordon criticized the National Park Service’s choice to “act unilaterally aerially executing mountain goats over Wyoming’s objections.”

Gordon’s position was supported by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, which adamantly recommended volunteers play a role in the operation.

The commission passed a resolution in January that condemned the use of aerial gunning to manage goats and urged the park to use skilled volunteers as the removal method. In a letter that same month, Brian Nesvik,Wyoming Game and Fish Department director, made the same recommendation.

“The use of qualified volunteers underscores how public participation is a key tenant of how wildlife is managed in Wyoming. The opportunity for the public to aid in the reduction of mountain goats — a wildlife management action — is essential to our state and reflective of the high-value we place on the wildlife resource,” Nesvik said in the release.

Grand Teton will manage the qualified volunteer program, and the methods and approach were developed in collaboration with Game and Fish.

Mountain goat meat harvested by qualified volunteers will be used to the greatest extent possible by the qualified volunteers who take the mountain goats or by donating the meat to organizations that work to address hunger.

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Gordon Launches Wyoming CARES Funds Transparency Website

in Coronavirus/Economy/Mark Gordon/News
5613

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Gov. Mark Gordon has created a page on the “Wyoming Sense” state spending transparency website outlining how the state is using federal dollars awarded through federal coronavirus relief.

As of Thursday, Gordon has allocated more than $710 million of the $1.25 billion in federal funds Wyoming was provided by Congress to address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

During a special legislative session in May, the Wyoming Legislature provided guidelines as to how that money should be spent, splitting the funds into three disbursements.

The first amounted to $450 million and was made available for allocation on May 25.

The second amounted to $400 million and was made available for allocation on July 15.

The third will amount to another $400 million and won’t become eligible for allocation until Sept. 15.

The CARES Act spending page breaks down spending into nine categories:

  • Economic/business relief ($327.3 million);
  • Education resilience ($110.5 million);
  • Broadband and communications infrastructure ($100 million);
  • Testing and contact tracing ($60 million);
  • Unemployment and Workers Compensation ($42.2 million);
  • Local governments ($35.9 million);
  • Eviction prevention and support ($15 million);
  • State agencies’ COVID response ($12.2 million);
  • Judicial and legislative branches ($7 million).

The page, https://www.wyomingsense.gov/cares-act, includes additional details on each category, along with helpful links and additional resources. It will be updated regularly as additional funds are allocated. 

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