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Cheyenne Physician Appears In Golden Globes Sketch With Tina Fey

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne physician got the chance to virtually rub elbows with celebrities on Sunday night when she appeared in a Golden Globes sketch alongside comedian/actress Tina Fey.

Dr. Danille Prime , who works in pulmonary medicine at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, got the opportunity to appear in a virtual sketch with other real doctors who were “treating” various celebrities for fake diseases.

“Good evening doctor, I just wanted to thank you for the phenomenal work you’ve done during this terrible pandemic,” Fey, speaking in a silly British accent, told Prime over a “telehealth” session.

“You sound terrible,” Prime told the Golden Globes co-host, looking concerned.

Fey responded that she felt fine, although her voice was sounding strange.

“I think you have Thatcher,” Prime concluded, meaning that Fey sounded like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was portrayed by Gillian Anderson in “The Crown,” one of the night’s nominees.

Doctors from all over the nation were included in the sketch, treating celebrities such as “Hamilton” star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and actresses Glenn Close and Carey Mulligan.

Much of the Sunday night ceremony was dedicated to frontline health workers, as the significantly smaller-than-usual crowd at the event wasn’t made up of celebrities, but first responders.

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Teton County Search and Rescue Saves Eight Stranded Snowmobilers

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Eight snowmobilers were saved on Thursday by Teton County Search and Rescue after becoming lost on Beartooth Pass.

According to the SAR team, it was contacted Thursday morning by Park County to do an aerial search for the group of snowmobilers that were reportedly lost on the pass.

The group hadn’t been seen or heard from since Wednesday and spent the night out in the elements.

Park County’s Search and Rescue team determined the group’s location, about six miles from the nearest trailhead, and requested a helicopter evacuation.

The aircraft loaded up two Teton County SAR volunteers and a ranger from Grand Teton National Park and flew to Cody to refuel. The team then flew to the site and successfully transported all eight snowmobilers to safety.

In the past few weeks, the team has responded to incidents in Fremont, Lincoln, and Park counties, as well as Grand Teton National Park. The team has been called out more this year than all of last season.

“We still have very motivated rescuers who are eager to help out in any way they can,” said Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr. “We have this amazing resource available and if another county needs it, we’re absolutely happy to help out.”

Since the beginning of the year, the team has been called out 31 times — responding to events including five fatalities, three involving avalanches. Of the 31 responses, 24 resulted in active missions, more than during the entire previous winter season.

Three people have died in avalanches in northwestern Wyoming since mid-February, two snowboarders and one snowmobiler.

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Saratoga: Frozen Fore A Hole-In-One

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By Joshua Wood

The inaugural Carbon County Classic Frozen Fore appeared to be, by all counts, a success for the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association (Saratoga Museum) on February 13.

Despite the overcast sky and the cool winds, nearly 70 people headed out to Saratoga Lake to venture out on the ice and try their hand at some winter golfing. According to Kimberly Givens, director of the Saratoga Museum, a total of 68 people were in attendance and 17 teams tried their hand at 12 holes.

The participants appeared to have a very “ice” time as they either walked or drove from hole-to-hole. While nobody won the Hole in One Competition, sponsored by the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort, there were some winners at the end of the tournament.

Team Provident Realty took 1st place and won $500 in prize money, which was donated back to the Saratoga Museum. Coming in 2nd place was Team Pepsi-Teton, who won $300 and Team BearTrap took 3rd place with $200 in cash prizes.

With the weekend, apparently, a success the Saratoga Museum is already thinking about next year’s frozen fore. So it’s likely a good idea to work on your swing over the summer months.

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Stephen King Is Big Fan of “Big Sky”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

“Big Sky” has become one of the nation’s biggest cable network drama series, gaining millions of fans, and one of its biggest fans is horror author Stephen King.

“I think BIG SKY (ABC) is the best drama on network television,” King wrote this week on his Twitter account. “With the last three episodes, it’s tiptoeing into Emmy territory.”

“If Stephen King says so…” responded C.J. Box, the Wyoming author whose Cassie Dewell books from which the show is adapted.

Box also shared a link to an article that detailed King’s praise of the series, which began airing in the fall.

King has been watching the show since its premiere, it would seem, since he has been tweeting about it since December.

“BIG SKY gets the best line of the month (so far): “Ronald? Not to overstate the obvious, but you kidnapped the wrong girls,'” King wrote in early December following an episode.

The author is obviously a fan of the series’ writing, as he has praised other lines from the show.

“Best line of the week goes to Ronald (Brian Geraghty) in BIG SKY, when talking–shouting–at his mother: “I’M EATING MY CEREAL AND I DON’T WANT JUDGEMENT!'” he wrote.

Last month, the series was renewed for six more episodes for a total of 16.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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“Yellowstone” Prequel Series to Debut Later This Year

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A “Yellowstone” prequel series will debut later this year on Paramount+, according to a recent Super Bowl teaser.

“Y: 1883” will follow the Dutton family as they journey west through the Great Plains “toward the last bastion of untamed America,” according to a series description provided by Deadline.

“It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana,” the description said.

The ad will run during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

No date was given for when the show will drop onto the streaming service. No casting information was provided, either.

The “Yellowstone” series has been renewed for a fourth season and regularly calls for extras in the Mountain West region, which includes pay, although there is no guarantee you will get to see Kevin Costner up close and personal, or even at all.

The Dutton family in the “Yellowstone” series own a ranch and deal with regular issues with the bordering national park and Native reservations.

“Yellowstone” is the Paramount Network’s most-watched drama series.

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Torrington Corrections Officer Receives Medal for Stopping Stabbing

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Torrington corrections officer received the Medal of Valor from the American Correctional Association for stopping the stabbing of a prison inmate in 2019.

In September 2019, Officer Cullen Calderon at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution risked his own personal safety in order to prevent the loss of life, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections.

“Officer Calderon exhibited extraordinary bravery and valor in the line of duty, as evidenced by his actions, and he deserves recognition for the courage he demonstrated,” the Wyoming Department of Corrections said in a statement.

Calderon was working as the facility recreation officer on Sept. 10, 2019. When staff began to serve the afternoon meal, Calderon went to assist and saw an inmate begin to stab another from behind.

Calderon began to wrestle the attacker to the ground. Calderon restrained the attacker’s hand to stop the attack and then disarmed the attacker.

His actions prevented any further injury from being inflicted by the attacker and his weapon to the other inmate and potentially staff, the Corrections Department said. 

In this selfless act of bravery, with his undaunted courage and unwavering devotion to duty and the Wyoming Department of Corrections mission, Calderon prevented the attacker from taking the life of another inmate and protected fellow staff from serious injury or death. 

“Calderon’s actions demonstrated the qualities of a leader and reflect his own high standards, which serve to uphold the highest traditions of the Wyoming Department of Corrections,” the DOC said.

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Wyoming Conservation License Plate Sales Generate $300K

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming raised more than $300,000 in 2020 through the sale of state conservation license plates.

The money will be invested in projects that improve Wyoming’s roadways and reduce vehicle collisions with wildlife, Gov. Mark Gordon announced.

“Thank you to the thousands of people, businesses and organizations who purchased the Wyoming Conservation License Plate and helped fulfill this challenge,” Gordon said. “We share the roads in Wyoming with our abundant wildlife, and the funds generated from the sales of the plate serves as a basis for projects that can prevent crashes with over 6,000 big game annually.”

The Wyoming conservation license plate is a permanent specialty plate option for drivers and is available for $180 with an annual $50 retention fee, in addition to regular registration fees.

The funds, along with other donations, will be used to support wildlife crossing initiative projects throughout the state. Planning and research for these projects is led by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation.

Currently, there is a list of 240 projects throughout the state aimed at improving roadway safety.

Gordon extended his appreciation to the 44 Wyoming businesses that helped with the sale of the plates by joining a challenge in which they would offer discounts to drivers of vehicles displaying the conservation plates. Other companies were honored for equipping their entire vehicle fleets with the conservation license plates.

“Many businesses and organizations took the extra step to outfit their vehicle fleets with this plate and show their dedication to this cause, and I am very appreciative of those efforts as well,” Gordon said.

In August, there had been 15 vehicle/wildlife collisions, resulting in 19 injuries but no fatalities.

When it comes to a vehicle crashing into an animal in Wyoming, injuries are more likely than a fatality, according to the data provided. The highest number of fatalities resulting from such crashes was three in 2015.

A 10-year chart tracked what type of animals are involved in crashes on Wyoming highways, with deer being named the winner by a landslide. From 2009 to 2019, there were 23,058 collisions involving deer.

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J.C. Penney Statue Arrives In Kemmerer From Texas

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

James Cash Penney is back in Wyoming, at least to some degree.

A statue of the retail magnate behind the department store bearing his name arrived in Kemmerer, its new home, late last week after being delivered from Plano, Texas, about 1,200 miles away.

The trip was apparently delayed by two days due to a winter storm in Utah.

According to the media reports, the statue was donated by the J.C. Penney Co. after it vacated its Plano headquarters last year as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

The statue is just over 9 feet tall and weighs around 3,500 pounds. It previously sat in the headquarters’ rotunda, a place employees would gather for celebrations and big announcements.

The city of Kemmerer now owns the statue and intends to winterize it before its installation sometime later this year, when the ground is no longer frozen.

The first store run by J.C. Penney, the “Golden Rule” store in Kemmerer, was put on the auction block in August by the company. No further announcement has been made about the store’s fate.

J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy last May and was given until the end of July to formulate a plan to tackle its debt that would appease the court and the company’s creditors.

The Kemmerer store was one of 21 company-owned locations listed for auction. Forbes stated that the store will likely be liquidated and sold after the auction.

The Kemmerer location is known as the “Mother Store” and has been in continuous operation since the company’s founding in 1902 by Penney.

The building is now part retail store, part museum.

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Wyoming Is 41st Least-Hated State; Colorado Tops The List

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Unsurprisingly, Wyoming is one of the least-hated states in the nation. However, we weren’t the least hated state, which is surprising.

Instead, Wyoming came in at number 41 in a ranking of most-hated states, according to a recent study done by career website Zippia.

The least-hated state in the whole country, which is surprising for any person who lives in Wyoming, is Colorado.

Another surprise was the most-hated state, which was Illinois. The other most-hated states included New Jersey, New York, California, Mississippi and Kentucky.

“Illinois is one of the fastest shrinking states in the nation,” according to Zippia. “Overall, in recent years the state saw a 0.54% decrease in population. With that number, perhaps it isn’t too surprising that 1-in-4 Illinoisans say their state is the absolute worst place to live. Yikes.”

Zippia looked at three metrics to determine which states were the most and least-hated.

First, they looked at the percent of residents who told Gallup their state is the “worst possible state to live in.” Then, they looked at population increases and decreases in every state.

Obviously, the larger the population decrease, the more hated the state was.

Finally, they used an Instagram poll, where a man asked his 300,000 followers which state they hated the most, and apparently Illinois won.

It’s not the first time in recent weeks Wyoming has received a positive ranking in a national poll. Earlier this week, it was identified by Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of the top 50 vacation destinations in the country.

However, just to balance that out, an insurance company earlier this month ranked the state as the worst in the nation for drunk driving.

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” Renewed For Six More Episodes

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Six more episodes of “Big Sky,” the ABC series adapted from C.J. Box’s book “The Highway,” have been ordered by the network, the author announced on Wednesday.

“For those of you asking if/when #BigSky will be coming back…” the Wyoming author wrote in a post on Wednesday morning, linking to a Deadline article detailing the six episode order.

The additional episodes will bring the series to 16 episodes in total, which is not too shabby for a brand new show premiering in the midst of a pandemic.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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