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Casper Woman Killed In Crash Just Outside Of City

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper woman was killed over the weekend after her vehicle overturned on a county road just outside of the city.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol reports, Tianna M. Piper, 29, was driving a 2002 Toyota 4-Runner southbound on County Road 408 when the vehicle exited the roadway. She steered the vehicle back onto the roadway, then overcorrected steering to the right, which caused the Toyota to overturn.

Piper wasn’t wearing her seatbelt and succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Her passenger, 20-year-old Byron D. Babcock, was wearing his seatbelt and was transported by helicopter to the Wyoming Medical Center for injuries he sustained in the crash.

Driver inattention is being investigated as a possible factor.

This was the 48th fatality on Wyoming roads this year.

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Fort Laramie Woman Attempts U-Turn In Roadway, Dies In Crash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Fort Laramie woman was killed in a collision just outside of the town early Tuesday morning.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol reports, Amanda Wilhelm, 32, was stopped along the side of U.S. Highway 26 near Fort Laramie in her 1998 Ford Taurus. Evan Brooks, 48, of Torrington, was driving a 2008 Toyota Rav 4 westbound on the road and came upon Wilhelm’s vehicle.

Brooks moved partially into the eastbound lane to drive around the stopped Ford. For unknown reasons, Wilhelm attempted a U-turn in the roadway as Brooks began to pass by, causing the vehicles to collide.

Wilhelm was wearing a seatbelt, but succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Brooks was also wearing a seatbelt and was transported to the Community Hospital in Torrington for injuries sustained in the crash.

Driver inattention and cell phone usage on the part of Wilhelm is being investigated as possible contributing factors.

This is the 49th fatality on Wyoming roadways this year.

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Kanye West Seeks Approval To Use Cody Labs For Yeezy Manufacturing

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Kanye West
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

An engineering firm is seeking approval for plans to turn a building formerly owned by a defunct pharmaceutical manufacturer into a manufacturing facility for musician Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion brand.

The Cody Planning and Zoning Board was asked by Engineering Associates to approve its application for modifications of the building that used to house Cody Laboratories for the manufacturing of Yeezy apparel and shoes.

“The modifications primarily related to removal of items that are not needed for the new use, rearranging parking and utilities, and slightly modified site grading,” said a report on the plans by Todd Stowell, Cody’s city planner.

Cody Laboratories closed in July 2019 before it could complete work on what was to be a pharmaceutical product facility and warehouse.It was announced early this year that West had purchased the building and planned to use it to create prototypes for the Yeezy shoe brand.

After West purchased the building, James Klessens, the chief executive for Forward Cody, told the Cowboy State Daily the building was a perfect fit for West’s needs.

Stowell recommended the board approve the application as long as some technical conditions are met having to do with issues including water lines, utilities and landscaping.

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Sweetwater County Man Becomes Wyoming’s 22nd Coronavirus Fatality

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Sweetwater County man has died as a result of coronavirus, the Wyoming Health Department announced Tuesday.

The older man’s death raises the number of Wyoming residents whose deaths were related to coronavirus to 22.

The department said the patient was an older man who had health conditions known to put people at a higher risk of serious illness as a result of COVID-19.

The department also clarified that it only lists deaths as being related to the coronavirus if the illness caused or contributed to the person’s death.

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Stranded Sheridan Family Makes It Home From Denver After Outpouring Of Support

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Sheridan family whose car was stolen in Denver over the weekend finally made it back home Monday after an outpouring of support from people along the Front Range and across the rest of the country.

The Fischer family travels to Denver a few times a year for their son Lane’s medical appointments. Lane has Down syndrome, which requires the family to travel far distances such as to Billings, Montana, and Denver for his care.

But after traveling to Denver on Friday, the family’s 1996 Chevrolet van was stolen from a hotel parking lot, along with much of Lane’s equipment, including “two vents and a vent stand and an oxygen concentrator,” as well as five oxygen tanks.

“It is heartbreaking that someone would even think to take, even if it wasn’t his, any handicapped vehicle,” Yvonne Fischer said in a news report. “I just don’t understand.”

The family reached out to Contact7, an affiliate of the Denver Channel, which takes stories of people in need and broadcasts them out to the region. After their story was seen on Sunday, hundreds of dollars poured in from all over the country to help the stranded Sheridan family.

The news channel took the Fischer family to a Denver-area Target and provided them with two new car seats for Lane and his sister and a number of gift cards to help them pay for food and gas to travel home.

“[This is] a little extra to say, ‘Buy some toys, have some fun,'” a Target employee told Ira Fischer. “Bad things happen, but good things come out of it.”

The family was able to reach home safely Monday, but it was unclear if they rented a van for temporary transportation or if they were able to buy another vehicle.

“I will get to sleep in my bed tonight,” Ira Fischer said in the updated report Monday, tears welling in his eyes. “And then we will worry about the other stuff later.”

People looking to help the Fischer family with donations can follow this link, and use the drop down menu to choose “Help Replace Stolen Handicap Van.”

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Three Hikers Rescued In Grand Teton National Park Over Weekend

in News/Recreation
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Grand Teton National Park rangers were busy over the weekend attending to three separate injured hikers on Saturday.

According to a news release, the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call regarding an injured hiker above the 3-mile junction on the Surprise/Amphitheater trail around 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Jeremy Fraser, 31, of New York City was hiking when he had a misstep and injured his lower leg and was unable to move on his own. A backcountry ranger in the area responded, attended to the injury and determined Fraser would have to be transported to the Lupine Meadows parking area by trail wheel litter.

Additional rangers arrived on the scene around 3:30 p.m. with medical gear and equipment. Fraser was secured in a wheel litter and transported to the trail head. His hiking partner transported him to St. John’s Health in Jackson.

A few hours later on Saturday, dispatch received another emergency call around 7:30 p.m. regarding an injured hiker who fell around 500 feet down steep snow on the east slops of the Paintbrush Divide.

Samantha Edgcombe and Mackenzie Finton, both 19 and from Grand Blanc, Michigan, were hiking from Cascade Canyon to Paintbrush Canyon over the divide when they each slipped on snow and slid, crashing into large rocks.

Another hiker in the area called for help and used a GPS location to track their location. Initially, it was believed only one of the women was injured, but both were. Each hiker was short-hauled to Lupine Meadows and then transported via park ambulance to St. John’s Health in Jackson.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual, often with gear, is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.

The park reminded backcountry hikers and climbers to be prepared for their respective recreational activity, including knowledge about the current conditions, required skills and experience and wayfinding skills to safety navigate the route.

Hiking areas such as the Teton Crest Trail, Alaska Basin, Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop, or any other loop involving higher elevation mountain passes still involve a large amount of snow travel. Appropriate footwear and an ice axe are mandatory. 

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Missing Utah Man Killed In Afton Crash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Utah man who had been reported missing on July 6 was killed in a vehicle crash in Afton over the weekend.

According to a news release from the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Dustin E. Kilpack, 27, was driving a 2020 Chevrolet Trax southbound on U.S. 89 on Sunday morning when he failed to negotiate a curve to the right. The vehicle exited the left side of the roadway before Kilpack overcorrected in steering back to the right, causing the vehicle to overturn.

Kilpack wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash. Impairment is being investigated as a possible contributing factor.

According to the Star Valley Independent, Kilpack moved to the Star Valley area recently for work and had disappeared from the Afton area recently. Kilpack hadn’t been in contact with his family or seen since July 2.

This was the 47th fatality on Wyoming roadways this year.

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Powell’s Northwest College Prepares For Return of Students

in Coronavirus/Education/News
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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

At Northwest College in Powell, staff are preparing offices, classrooms and dorm rooms for the return of students on Aug. 19, even though officials are not sure how many students will show up for the fall semester.

West Hernandez, Enrollment Services Director at Northwest, said numbers for the fall semester are changing from week to week.

“It’s challenging to get an accurate picture,” he said. “You know, we have a good population of international students here at Northwest, and we don’t know what that’s gonna look like. And we have students who are just, and rightfully so, apprehensive about a large group of people coming to campus. So there is some talk about students nationally taking a gap year.”

Hernandez said he certainly understands why students are wary.

“We don’t know what this fall’s going to look like in many ways,” he said. “So you’re giving students information at this current time, with them hoping to make a decision, and sometimes you can’t give them everything.”

Hernandez said the college is still working out the details of what campus life will be like this fall — looking at a combination of online classes with in-person classes that would be held only with the appropriate safety measures in place.

“Students will have the opportunity to go to class in person at times, but also join us via Zoom for that live interaction,” he said.

Campus officials are making sure that Northwest College students are as safe as possible when school does start again this fall — that includes making mask-wearing mandatory for students and staff.

“We’re asking students and staff to wear masks while on campus, especially in those close quarter areas,” he noted. “You know, if you’re within 6 feet of somebody, it is going to be a requirement.”

Hernandez said the college’s staff is being diligent about cleaning facilities, but added students will need to do their part.

“We’re going to need the students’ help in following orders, monitoring how they’re feeling every day, and all those pieces. It’s definitely going to be a different fall semester than normal.”

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Gordon: Wyoming’s Public Health Orders To Remain In Place Until At Least July 31

in Coronavirus/News
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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Public health orders in place to slow the spread of coronavirus will be left in place until at least July 31, Gov. Mark Gordon announced Monday.

Gordon, in a news release, said given recent increases in the number of coronavirus cases seen in the state, he believes the restrictions should remain in place.

“I’m disappointed again that we continue to see case numbers rise,” he said. “Wyoming residents only need to look at what Texas, Florida and Arizona are experiencing to see how much damage being careless, not wearing a mask and failing to social distance can cause to our state’s economy, our citizens’ health and our healthcare system.”

The orders in place limit public gatherings inside a building to 50 people or fewer and events held outside to 250 people or fewer, with proper social distancing to be observed.

Restaurants will continue to operate under the rules that the make sure tables are placed at least 6 feet apart, that staff working with members of the public wear masks and that businesses are sanitized regularly.

The measures had been set to expire or be amended on Wednesday, but Gordon said in the past two weeks, the state has had an average daily increase in laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases of 27. Hospitalizations due to the illness have grown to 17.

Gordon said the number of coronavirus tests showing positive results remains at 2.9%, well below the national average.

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Does Wyoming Have the Best-Looking State Trooper Vehicle?

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When you get pulled-over for speeding on the highway, is your first reaction: “What a beautiful car that officer has?”

If so, now is the time to vote for the Wyoming Highway Patrol in the American Association of State Troopers “Best Looking Cruiser Contest.”

To be honest, when we’ve been pulled over, the beauty of the car behind us with its flashing lights on hasn’t been our first thought.

But since this contest is underway, why not be supportive of the women and men of law enforcement who help keep our state safe?

The WHP cruiser is a good looking vehicle.  Especially if you’re not in the back seat.

In looking at the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s Facebook page, where the patrol asked people to cast a vote for its cruisers, commenters offer mixed reviews.

Some people like the vehicles in Ohio. Others like Alaska’s. South Dakota’s is popular. 

Of course, each state tried to outdo the other by parking its vehicle in an area surrounded by the natural or manmade beauty of the state.  

And some states were so lacking in surrounding beauty they had to photoshop the imagery to make it look better.

Of course, the Wyoming Highway Patrol didn’t do that because, obviously, it didn’t need to. 

If you have an interest in voting for the best-looking cruiser, here’s the link:  Go Wyo!

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