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Hospitalized Wyoming COVID Patients Ties Record

in Coronavirus/News

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Despite a decline in the number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming over the last week, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals around the state tied a record on Sunday.

The Wyoming Department of Health’s report said 235 coronavirus patients were in various hospitals on Sunday, the same number as were in hospitals on Nov. 21.

The number of active coronavirus cases around the state has dropped from a peak of 11,861 seen on Tuesday, Nov. 24, to 9,252 on Sunday, a decline of 2,609.

However, during the same period, the number of people being treated in hospitals for the illness grew by seven, from 228 to 235.

The highest number of coronavirus patients was found at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, 64, while 63 were being treated at Casper’s Wyoming Medical Center.

A major concern throughout the pandemic has been the strain the illness might put on hospitals, particularly intensive care unit rooms.

As of Sunday, the Cheyenne hospital had three open ICU rooms and Casper’s had two. Several smaller hospitals, including SageWest Health Care in Lander and Community Hospital Torrington, had no ICU rooms left as of Sunday.

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Barrasso Spends Thanksgiving In Qatar With Wyoming Soldiers

in John Barrasso/News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso spent his Thanksgiving overseas, celebrating with Wyoming soldiers who are helping defend the country.

Barrasso had dinner with Wyoming National Guard troops serving in Qatar on Thanksgiving day. He sat down with members of the 153rd Airlift Wing and 187th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, both of which are supporting airlift operations and medical evacuations in the Middle East.

The Wyoming senator makes it a tradition to spend time with Wyoming troops overseas every Thanksgiving, even in the pandemic.

“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and things we’re most thankful for,” Barrasso said. “So much of our gratitude goes to the brave Wyoming men and women serving our country overseas. This year the holidays will look quite a bit different for most Americans. This is especially true for the members of the Wyoming Air National Guard deployed in Qatar.

“Despite the unique challenges this year brings, they continue to do a remarkable job keeping America and our allies safe,” he continued. “It was wonderful to share a meal with them and bring a little bit of home to them this holiday season.”

Barrasso was also briefed on military operations in the Middle East during his time in Qatar last week.

Qatar lies to the east of Saudi Arabia and to the west of Iran.

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514 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming; 9,252 Active

in Coronavirus/News

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of confirmed cases in Wyoming increased by 514 on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases reported since the virus first hit here in mid-March to 28,252.

The number of active cases also rose. An increase of 336 cases brought the number of Wyoming residents currently ill with the virus to 9,252.

As of Sunday, Natrona County had the highest number of active cases with 1,966; Laramie County had 1,408; Campbell County had 985; Albany County had 873; Fremont County had 660; Sheridan County had 579; Sweetwater County had 501; Goshen County had 348; Uinta County had 273; Washakie County had 207; Park County had 205; Lincoln County had 192; Teton County had 189; Johnson County had 137; Carbon County had 129; Platte County had 112; Sublette County had 96; Converse County had 85; Hot Springs County had 72; Niobrara County had 62; Big Horn and Weston counties both had 59; and Crook County had 55.

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.

Probable cases increased slightly (46), while recoveries were also up by 224.

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Cowboys Ran Past UNLV, No Hangover from Three-Week Break Between Games

in News/wyoming cowboys football

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LAS VEGAS – The Cowboys (2-2 over, 2-2 MW) rushed for 399 yards in a 45-14 road win over UNLV (0-5 overall, 0-5 MW) on Friday afternoon in Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. It was the most rushing yards in a game since rushing for 424 yards against San Jose State on Nov. 3, 2018. Wyoming scored six touchdowns on the ground in the contest.

“We talked at halftime about our execution and UNLV good players and we had to make them work hard,” UW head coach Craig Bohl. “We reestablished the momentum on the fourth down play and went down and scored and that got thing rolling for us. Our point of attack on the defensive and offensive line were well up to par.”

Senior Trey Smith rushed for a career-high 156 yards with one touchdown. He recorded 6.8 yards per carry for the game with a long of 28 yards. Junior Xazavian Valladay added 94 yards and a touchdown from 78 yards a career high. He left the game in the first quarter.

“Our offensive line did a great job of opening up holes,” Bohl said. “Trey (Smith) kept his feet moving and made some great runs, it was very heartwarming to see him out there and execute at such a high level.”

Freshman quarterback Levi Williams had three rushing touchdowns for the most in a game by a Cowboy since Brian Hill had three against New Mexico on Nov. 26, 2016. He rushed for 44 yards and passed for 99 yards.

The Wyoming offense averaged seven yards per play and held onto the ball for over 35 minutes. Wyoming finished the game with 498 yards of total offense for a season-high.

The Pokes defense was stingy all night allowing only 290 yards. Wyoming recorded two turnovers and turned those into points. Wyoming recorded five sacks in the contest. Junior linebacker Chad Muma had three sacks in the game for the most in a contest since Carl Granderson had three against Boise State in 2017. Senior defensive end Garrett Crall made his return and added and sack and two tackles for loss.

“To have two veterans back out there in Garrett Crall and Logan Harris it adds stability and leadership,” Bohl said. “Their presence sent steadiness to some of our younger players.”

“We knew that UNLV had some weakness and the blitzes our coaches dialed up really allowed Chad (Muma) to make plays. “It is encouraging to see the development from our coaches with our defensive line.”

The Cowboys wasted little time getting on the board with Valladay finding paydirt on a 78-yard scamper for the longest rush of the season for the Cowboys and longest of his career. The rush came on the second play of the contest for the earliest score for the Pokes this season.

The Pokes added to their lead with a 36-yard field goal by John Hoyland with 6:52 left in the opening frame. It capped a 14-play 54 yard drive for the Brown and Gold. The drive was highlighted by a rush of 13 and 11 yards from senior running back Trey Smith.

Wyoming made it 17-0 contest with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter on a 15-yard scamper from Williams. It was a part of a nine-play, 75 yard drive that spanned four minutes. Williams rushed for 27 yards on the drive and hooked up with senior wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt on a 27-yard pass to highlight the third scoring drive for the Cowboys.

The Rebels got on the board in the final seconds of the first half on a two-yard touchdown run by Max Gillam. UNLV drove 98-yards on the drive, as it reached Cowboy territory for the first with 45 seconds left in the half, as the score made it a 17-7 game at the half.

Wyoming stopped UNLV on fourth down to open the second half on a big stop from Gandy. The Pokes turned it around on their first play with an 18 yard rush from Smith for the Cowboys. UW kept it on the ground and made it a 24-7 game on a one-yard rush from Williams with 8:27 left in the third quarter.

The Cowboy defense made another big play this time freshman defensive end Cameron Smith hopped on a fumble inside UNLV territory. Wyoming added to its lead with freshman fullback Parker Christensen with a 21-yard catch that led to Williams third touchdown run of the day this time from one-yard out for a 31-7 advantage with 5:27 left in the third period.

Yet another turnover by UNLV this time an interception from senior safety Braden Smith set up another score for the Pokes to build a 38-7 lead with 1:19 in the third quarter. The drive was highlighted by Trey Smith finding the endzone on a 28-yard rush to record a career-high for rushing in a game.

Wyoming added to its lead in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard run from Brett Brenton for his first career touchdown to make it 45-7. UNLV added a touchdown late with the Pokes taking the contest 45-17.

UNLV was led by Max Gillam with 65 yards passing and 63 yards rushing. UNLV was led defensively by Bryce Jackson with nine tackles.

Wyoming returns to action next week once again playing in Las Vegas this time against New Mexico at 8:30 p.m. MT on CBS Sports Network on Saturday, Dec. 5.

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Grizzly 399, Cubs Sighted Back In Grand Teton

in Bears/Grizzly Bears/News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Although the most famous grizzly in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and her four cubs were recently seen farther south than they’d ever ventured, Grizzly 399 and her babies are now back in the Grand Teton National Park area.

Jackson-based adventure guide Matty Deehan took a video of the mother and her cubs, which have grown significantly since their debut earlier this year. He then posted it to his Instagram account, celebrating their return.

The video shows the five bears wandering through a backyard area, presumably Deehan’s, on their way back to their main home in the park.

“The family is less than a mile from returning back into Grand Teton National Park. Hopefully this time it’s for good,” Deehan wrote in the Instagram post.

The bears are preparing for hibernation, which will last around five months. Once they begin hibernating, grizzly 399 and the four cubs likely won’t be seen until late March or early April.

In October, one of the cubs was spotted limping, but all four appeared to be healthy in the video posted by Deehan.

Grand Teton National Park officials didn’t respond to a request for comment from Cowboy State Daily.

Grizzly 399 is considered the most famous bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She has had around 16 cubs, including her latest four that were first seen this year.

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Wyoming Supreme Court Rules Against Negligence Claim In Cody Traffic Accident Case

in News/Wyoming Supreme Court

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A driver failed to prove that another driver was negligent when the two were involved in an auto accident at a Cody intersection, Wyoming’s Supreme Court has ruled.

The court rejected arguments by Nathan Wageman that a jury should have found Destin Harrell negligent in the accident.

According to the ruling, Wageman was driving his car toward what was described as a “complex” T-intersection. Drivers approaching the intersection from one direction have to drive down a steep hill, while drivers approaching from the direction of the stop sign at the intersection have an obstructed view of the road because of shrubbery and “at certain times, blinding sunlight.”

The ruling said Wageman and his wife were driving north on the road and Harrell was at the intersection’s stop sign facing east, waiting to turn left.

“Mr. Harrell proceeded from the stop sign as Mr. Wageman turned and Mr. Harrell’s car struck the driver side of Mr. Wageman’s truck,” the ruling said.

Wageman sued Harrell for damages for injuries he suffered in the accident, alleging Harrell was negligent in the accident.

The jury in the case disagreed, finding Harrell was not negligent.

Wageman said the evidence he presented was sufficient to prove Harrell’s negligence and the jury’s ruling was improper.

But the Supreme Court’s opinion, written by Justice Lynne Boomgaarden, said jurors were told that Harrell’s view was obstructed by the sun and were also told that when Wageman started making his turn, his vehicle crossed over Harrell’s lane of travel.

Because jurors were presented with conflicting information, they were not bound to declare Harrell negligent, the opinion said.

“The evidence shows Mr. Harrell carefully approached the intersection, took extra time to twice look left and right, proceeded slowly when he thought it was safe, and only collided with Mr. Wageman because Mr. Wageman had cut sharply into his lane of travel,” the opinion said. “The jury could reasonably conclude from this evidence that Mr. Wageman failed to meet his burden to establish that Mr. Harrell breached his duty of ordinary care. We therefore will not disturbe the jury’s verdict.”

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Grand Teton National Park Sees Highest October Visitation On Record

in News/Recreation

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Continuing the trend from late summer, Grand Teton National Park again saw record-breaking visitation numbers, this time through the month of October.

The park hosted an estimated 351,173 recreational visits over October, an 88% increased compared to October 2019. Statistics show that this October saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month.

The list below shows the October trend for recreation visits over the last several years:

  • 2020—351,173
  • 2019—186,487
  • 2018—207,534
  • 2017—187,499
  • 2016—186,185
  • 2015—190,681

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park are reminded to plan ahead and recreate responsibly.

The park highly encourages visitors to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state authorities, by maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering when in buildings and high-visitation areas outside. 

The park saw an estimated 603,789 recreation visits in September, a 17% increase compared to September 2019. 

In general, hiking use in the park increased approximately 54%, camping in concession-operated campgrounds increased 24% and backcountry camping increased 79% in September 2020 compared to September 2019. 

In August, the park hosted an estimated 710,198 visits, the second-highest number of recreation visits on record, just behind August 2017.

Yellowstone National Park has also seen record-breaking numbers over the last few months, setting all-time visitation records in September and October, as well.

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Wyoming Cowboys Football Depth Chart Update: True Freshman Assumes Back QB Role

in News/wyoming cowboys football

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By Tracy Ringolsby,

Senior defensive end Garrett Crall and offensive right guard Logan Harris were among the four Cowboys selected by their teammates as team captains before the season started.

Crall, however, has been sidelined all season by a slow recovery from off-season surgery. Harris did open the season as a starter on offense, but has not played since the second game of the season because of a bout with mononucleosis.

Crall is not expected to travel with the Cowboys to Las Vegas for Friday’s game against UNLV.

“We will see what happens with Garrett Crall,” Bohl said in his Monday media session. “He just started to practice.”

Harris figures to in uniform, although he figures to have limited, if any, game action.

“I would venture to say he will make the trip,” said Bohl.

Behind Center

A week ago, the Cowboys listed true freshman Gavin Beerup and sophomore Ryan Marquez as the backups to quarterback Levi Williams. This week, Beerup is the only backup on the depth chart. Marquez remains the holder for placekicks.

Bohl said the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Beerup was limited during the preseason the result of a positive COVID test. He, however, has been getting in full workout activity in the last couple of weeks.

“(Brent Vigen) has done a good job with him,” Bohl said of the Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. “He is not as far along as what we’d life, but he has shown really nice capabilities to be a good quarterback. We have been running him with (the second team offense).”

And in other adjustments,

— Skyler Miller, a 5-11, 234-pound senior from Torrington, has moved ahead of Jahmarr Moore as the backup fullback to Parker Christian, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound redshirt freshman from Sheridan.

— Emmanuel Pregnon, a 6-6, 265-pound freshman from Denver, is listed as the backup at right tackle behind Frank Crum. Blayne Baker, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound sophomore from Sheridan, was listed in that role last week along with the backup at right guard. He remains the back up at right guard to sophomore Zach Watts, a 6-foot-5, 302-pound sophomore from Windsor, Co.

— Alex Brown, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Spring Texas, was listed as a second backup at wide receiver a week ago, but has a shoulder injury that led to him being dropped from the depth chart.

— Cameron Smith, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman from Parker, has moved ahead of Jack Boyer, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound sophomore from Arvada, Co. , as the backup at defensive end to Victor Jones, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior from Sacramento.

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Interior Department Uses Grizzly 399, Cubs As Perfect Example Of How To Travel In Bear Country

in Grizzly Bears/News

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We’re not saying we used a Twitter post as an excuse to write about Grizzly 399, the objectively best bear in Yellowstone, but hey, at least it’s not politics, right?

The U.S. Department of Interior on Wednesday showed off an image of the 24-year-old mama bear and her four cubs, noting they were the best example of how to hike in bear country.

“A sweet reminder to give other families you see on the trail plenty of space! Take it from Grizzly 399, the safest way to hike in bear country is with groups of 3 or more,” the tweet read, alongside with a picture of the grizzly and her four cubs walking away from the camera (which is probably for the best).

While we all love watching 399 and her cubs, there’s been concern recently about their eating habits. The five-some ventured farther south this fall and have been eating some human-related items, such as honey from a beekeeper’s hives and a compost pile.

That’s concerns Wyoming Game and Fish Regional Supervisor Brad Hovinga.

“Here’s a bear that’s long habituated to being around people,” Hovinga told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “Now she’s in a new area that has different food sources, and some of those food sources are associated with human and residential activity.”

Wildlife photographer and advocate Tom Mangelsen was upset with the beekeeper for not properly taking care of his property.

“That’s not good,” Mangelsen told the newspaper. “The beekeeper needs to take responsibility for leaving honey out that the bears might find. Same thing with compost.

“You can’t just have stuff out,” he said, “and expect the bears to not find it and eat it.”

It’s not the first time this year, there has been worry about the most photographed group of bears.

One of her cubs was spotted limping around a month ago, but has seemed to improve since then.

In September, the bear family was caught on camera while the cubs were playing with traffic cones in Grand Teton National Park.

Grizzly 399 is considered the most famous bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She has had around 16 cubs, including her latest four that were first seen this year.

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Thanksgiving Lefovers: Be Careful What You Feed Your Dog

in dogs/News

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, if you are like many (like Dave Simpson), you have a lot of leftovers.

As dog-lovers (we like cats too), we wanted to remind you that — although it’s tempting to share your Thanksgiving feast with your doggo — it can also be dangerous for them.

To that end, we went to our friends at the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA to see what dogs can and cannot handle over the Thanksgiving holiday.

My veterinarian advises not giving them any special food at all. Her regular dog food is enough and she’ll be happy.

But if you can’t resist sharing your bounty, consider the following:

Do NOT let your dog have any of these foods:

Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
Mashed potatoes
Creamed peas
Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (especially anything containing xylitol)
Alcoholic beverages
Raisins and grapes
Onions, scallions, and garlic
Yeast dough
Fatty foods
Foods containing spices

And it’s not because they are being a Scrooge (to mix holidays), it’s because there are unsafe and unhealthy ingredients in these food items.

What is safe to eat? The American Kennel Club lists the following:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Just remember not to give your pet sweet potatoes containing any added ingredients.

Potatoes. You get to enjoy both kinds of potatoes, and your dog can have that option, too. However, give only boiled or baked potatoes with no butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper, and serve in moderation.

Apples. Full of vitamins A and C and contain lots of great fiber, making them a healthy Thanksgiving treat for your pet. But be sure to cut around the core, as large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic.

Turkey meat (no bones, no skin). For those that wonder if dogs can eat turkey at Thanksgiving, the answer is yes. The main dish is okay to offer up as long as it has not been prepared with any seasoning. However, do not feed your dog any skin. The outer layer is likely to have been prepared with butter, spices, or other fatty ingredients that may cause pancreatitis or other issues for your dog.

Green beans. But the bean dish should be plain — without any added ingredients like butter or spices.

Plain peas are a fine choice, but creamed peas should be avoided. Fattier food items like this that may upset your dog’s stomach.

Pumpkin. Pumpkin helps with digestive health and it’s great for a dog’s skin and coat. Also, if feeding canned pumpkin, make sure it’s just pumpkin and not the pre-spiced pie mix.

Enjoy the weekend!

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