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Wyoming Supreme Court Upholds Restitution For Totaled Pickup Truck

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A man ordered to pay restitution for wrecking a pickup truck has to pay that restitution even though an insurance company paid for the damages, Wyoming’s Supreme Court has ruled.

The court, in a unanimous ruling Thursday, said a state district court was correct in ordering Cory Hudson to pay restitution to the owner of a pickup truck he stole and destroyed.

Justices rejected Hudson’s argument that since an insurance company paid the pickup truck’s owner for the damages, there was no “victim” to receive restitution.

“Under Mr. Hudson’s view, he would owe no one restitution for destroying the $16,998 pickup truck — an absurd result,” said the court’s ruling, written by Justice Kate Fox.

According to the ruling, Hudson stole the pickup and trailer and “embarked on a spree” which led to his arrest on charges of destroying property, theft, possession of meth and possession of marijuana.

Hudson entered a plea agreement under which he pleaded guilty to one count of theft, was ordered to pay restitution for the damaged property and was sentenced to 18 months to 54 months in prison.

In his appeal, Hudson argued he should not have to pay restitution of $16,998 for the pickup truck because the owner’s insurance company already compensated him for his loss.

Justices disagreed.

“His argument that (the pickup truck’s owner) cannot be a victim now that his insurance company has made him whole is … unavailing,” the opinion said.

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South Dakota Gov to Leftists: Don’t Even Try to Mess With Mt. Rushmore

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has received a lot of national exposure this year for refusing to close her state down due to the coronavirus pandemic and now she’s in the news for speaking up about the riots which have occurred across the U.S.

Speaking on FOX News on Wednesday about the destruction and toppling of statues across the country, Noem said any attempt to desecrate Mt. Rushmore will be met with a strong push-back.

“This is no longer about equality,” Noem told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “This is a radical rewriting of our history and in South Dakota we won’t stand for it.”

The issue came to a head when she tweeted “Not on my watch” in response to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s statement that Mt. Rushmore could be the next target of attack from radical leftists.

“This is a national monument. The more we focus on the flaws of these men who are on our mountain, the less likely we are to recognize the virtues and the lessons we can learn from their lives,” the governor said.

“This really is the message I have for those who love Mt Rushmore and as a country what it represents to us,” she said.

“We will do all we can to make sure this message is loud and clear,” she said. “We will make sure that Mt. Rushmore stays as majestic as it is today.”

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133 Year Old Wyoming Bible Mystery Solved

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A Gillette woman who had been trying for two years to track down the family of a 133-year-old Bible has finally succeeded.

Through the help of newspaper in Nebraska, the great-granddaughter of the man who originally owned the 13-pound ornate Bible was located and will soon have it for her own.

Brenda Elliott found the Bible at a garage sale more than two years ago and paid $5 for it. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the Bible was dated 1887 and the name Carl August Sandberg was engraved in it.

Elliot told the newspaper that buying old Bibles and distributing them to people who needed them was a hobby of hers but this Bible was different, she said, as it was filled with old photos and newspaper clippings.

“I said, ‘I can’t own this. It doesn’t belong to me.’ There’s got to be somebody that this would mean something to,” Elliott she said.

“This belongs to a great-great-grandchild somewhere. It would have some sentimental value,” she said.

The newspaper did a story on Elliott’s search for the owner and someone from the small town of Waverly, Nebraska, knew the Sandbergs and reached out to Rhonda Sandberg who had moved from Nebraska to Southern California in the 1950s.

Ms. Sandberg, who had a career in show business and appeared in the movie ‘Scarface’ and on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, talked to Elliott on the phone Monday and reportedly is looking forward to receiving the Bible.

“I am so tickled. I just feel so good; it needs to go to that home,” Elliott told the newspaper.

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Increase Of 24 Coronavirus Cases Pushes Wyoming Total Over 1,000

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Another day of double-digit growth in the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Wyoming since the illness was first diagnosed here in mid-March brought the state’s total number of cases seen during the pandemic to 1,016.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, reported 24 new cases were detected in eight counties: Albany, Campbell, Fremont, Laramie Natrona, Park, Sweetwater and Uinta. Sweetwater had the highest number of new cases at seven.

As of Wednesday, the total number of cases seen since the pandemic began stood at 301 in Fremont County; 140 in Laramie County; 124 in Uinta County; 87 in Natrona County; 82 in Teton County; 57 in Sweetwater; 41 in Campbell; 34 in Washakie; 29 in Albany; 16 in Park; 15 in Converse, Johnson and Sheridan; 13 in Carbon; 11 in Lincoln; nine in Big Horn and Hot Springs; seven in Crook; four in Goshen; three in Sublette; two in Platte, and one in Niobrara and Weston.

The number of recoveries increased by 13 on Wednesday to total 966, including 759 recoveries among people with confirmed cases and 207 among those with probable cases.

Probable cases involve patients who show signs of coronavirus and have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case but have not been tested for the illness. The department said it has seen 263 probable cases since mid-March.

Active cases on Wednesday were set at 295, with 239 involving people with confirmed cases and 56 involving those with probable cases.

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Cheyenne Animal Shelter Closes To Public Until July 5 Due To Coronavirus Exposure

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Wyoming animal cruelty penalties

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Cheyenne Animal Shelter is closing until July 5 due to an employee testing positive for the coronavirus.

In a Facebook post, the animal shelter confirmed an employee tested positive on Monday for the virus and is now receiving medical attention. As a result, the shelter will close for adoptions and animal surrenders until July 5.

Employees required to come to the shelter every day are required to submit to a temperature check and wear masks when close to any other employees. They will also have to frequently sanitize their hands and workspaces.

The shelter’s “Critter Camp,” a program for children, will continue as scheduled, officials said, because it is held in an area separated from shelter employees and their workspaces. The employee who tested positive had no interaction with campers or animals and the class is taught by a privately-contracted instructor.

Fosters are still needed to house pets until they can be adopted. Animal control officers will still work to find lost pets.

“During this difficult time, the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Staff and Board of Directors appreciate the patience, understanding, and generosity of our supporters,” the post said.

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Five Cheyenne Restaurants Impacted By Coronavirus Cases

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By Ellen Fike and Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Employees at five Cheyenne restaurants have either tested positive for or are suspected of having the coronavirus, city officials announced late Tuesday.

The Cheyenne/Laramie County Health Department identified the five restaurants with employees who have tested positive for the virus or have been diagnosed with probable cases as Red Lobster, Buffalo Wild Wings, Accomplice Beer Company, Wyoming Rib and Chop House and the Tortilla Factory on South Greeley Highway.

Anyone who has visited any of those five restaurants in the last seven days and developed a cough, congestion, loss of smell or taste, headache or fever should contact their health care provider immediately, the department said.

In a Facebook post, Tortilla Factory said it will close its restaurant on South Greeley Highway until at least July 5 due to the employee’s diagnosis. Curbside pickup will still be allowed at that location.

“During this difficult time Tortilla Factory South appreciates the patience and understanding of our customers,” the post read.

Accomplice Manager Rory Sandoval also took to Facebook to address the situation, noting the restaurant would be closed until Thursday afternoon to allow county health officials to conduct proper contact tracing. Two employees from the brewery and restaurant tested positive for the virus.

“During the two days closed the brewery has been thoroughly sanitized,” Sandoval wrote. “County health officials have released some of our staff to return to work and many have been instructed to stay home for 10-14 days dependent on test results.”

Accomplice’s seating capacity and hours will be reduced due to the positive cases.

Kathy Emmons, executive director for the Cheyenne/Laramie County Health Department, said the department decided to share the names of the restaurants so patrons would be aware they might have been exposed to coronavirus.

“We were concerned about making sure that people who may have been in those restaurants, if they were to become ill, I don’t want them to just ignore those symptoms,” she said. “It’s kind of a public health heads up. We didn’t want to shame anybody.”

Emmons praised the restaurants involved for their willingness to work with the department.

“And I have to say the restaurants involved have been incredibly cooperative,” she said. “They’re concerned about their patrons and staff also.”

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Grizzly Knocks Woman Down in Yellowstone; Will Not Be Destroyed

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Missouri woman sustained a minor injury after encountering a bear in Yellowstone National Park on Monday.

According to a news release, the Columbia, Missouri woman, 37, encountered the female grizzly while hiking on the Fairy Falls Trail near Old Faithful.

The woman was hiking alone when she encountered two grizzlies at close range. The female bear knocked the woman down and she suffered a scratch on her thigh. The woman attempted to use her bear spray.

When the woman fell, she also received minor injuries to her face. She declined medical attention.

Following the incident, the Fairy Falls Trail was cleared of hikers. The trail and surrounding area have been temporarily closed.

“From the injured person’s statements, this appears to be a typical case of a mother grizzly bear protecting her offspring following a close-range encounter,” said Kerry Gunther, a park bear management biologist. “Because this bear was displaying natural protective behavior for its cub, no action will be taken against the bear. Several trails in the area will be closed to give the grizzly family group time to clear from the area.”  

This is the first incident of a bear injuring a visitor in Yellowstone this year. The last time a bear injured a visitor in the park was June 2019, when a black bear bit into an occupied tent and bruised a woman’s thigh.

This incident is under investigation.  

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Wyoming GOP Convention Gets Conservative Superstar Charlie Kirk to Keynote

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The Wyoming Republican Party is doing what most organizations can’t right now. Not only are they getting a high-profile figure to keynote their convention but that figure is actually appearing in-person.

Well-known conservative activist Charlie Kirk is heading to Gillette for the Wyoming Republican Convention this weekend and for conservatives, there couldn’t be a better time to host him.

In conservative circles, Kirk is on fire. On Tuesday night, in front of more than 3,000 people, President Trump praised the young activist.

“The radical left demands absolute conformity from every professor, researcher, reporter, journalist, corporation, entertainer, politician, campus speaker, and private citizen,” President Trump said.

“But we have Charlie Kirk and we have our people and our people are stronger.  You are the courageous warriors standing in the way of what they want to do and their goals,” he said.

Speaking on Fox News Wednesday morning, Kirk was enthusiastic about President Trump’s performance in Phoenix.

“Despite what a lot of people wondered, more than 3,000 young people in the middle of the Arizona heat waited up to nine hours to hear the president speak,” Kirk said.

He said the president’s message on “core American values” resonated with the crowd.

“He repeatedly mentioned ’In God We Trust’ and ‘One Nation Under God’”, Kirk said.  “He reenforced the cultural issues in America.”

“He reenforced a lot of the cultural issues in America. He talked about how we are not going to tolerate history being deleted or being torn down.”

According to a release from the Wyoming Republican Party, Kirk will deliver the keynote address on Saturday at the Cam-Plex in Gillette. The dinner is slated to begin at 6pm.

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18 New Wyoming Coronavirus Cases Reported On Tuesday

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Wyoming since the illness was first diagnosed in the state grew to 992 on Tuesday, an increase of 18 over Monday’s numbers.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, reported new cases in Campbell, Crook, Fremont, Laramie, Park, Sweetwater and Teton counties.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Fremont County had reported 300 cases since the pandemic began; Laramie County had 139 cases; Uinta County had 120; Natrona County had 83; Teton County had 82; Sweetwater had 50; Campbell had 37; Washakie had 34; Albany had 27; Converse, Johnson, Park and Sheridan had 15; Carbon had 13; Lincoln had 11; Big Horn and Hot Springs had nine; Crook had seven; Goshen had four; Sublette had three; Platte had two, and Niobrara and Weston had one each.

The number of patients hospitalized since the pandemic began totals 109, according to the Department of Health, with eight patients remaining in hospitals as of Tuesday.

The number of recoveries seen since the virus first reached Wyoming in mid-March also increased Tuesday, growing by 22 to total 953. The number included 747 recoveries among those with laboratory-confirmed cases and 206 among those with probable cases.

A probable case is defined as one where the patient has not been tested for coronavirus, but shows symptoms of the disease and has been in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of the illness. 

The Department of Health said 262 probable cases have been reported in Wyoming since mid-March.

The numbers show the state now has 283 active cases of coronavirus, 227 among patients with laboratory-confirmed cases and 56 among patients with probable cases.

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Enzi, Barrasso Call For Reform In Meat Processing Industry

in Agriculture/Business/Food/News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyoming, called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday to look into reforming the meat processing industry.

The two joined a bipartisan group of legislators in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to consider areas for regulatory and programmatic reform in the industry.

“When high-capacity processing facilities experienced (coronavirus) outbreaks amongst employees, operations were forced to shut-off or slow down production, leaving the rancher with livestock they could not move and the consumer with either empty grocery shelves or overpriced products,” the senators wrote. “These pitfalls can be avoided in the future if we take action today to promote a diversified food supply chain. Regulations must be streamlined to remove barriers impeding small and medium-sized meat processors.”

The legislators included Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.

In April, Wyoming legislators Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, and Rep. Tyler Lindholm, R-Sundance, called for an investigation into meat processors, accusing them of taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to make record profits.

They both criticized the four major meat packing companies, Tyson, Smithfield, JBS and Cargill for creating a monopoly that hurts ranches and small cattle producers.

Driskill recommended the public call for an investigation into these companies and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, which regulates interstate and foreign commerce in livestock, dairy, poultry and related products.

Lindholm blamed the companies’ misuse of the Federal Meat Inspection Act as one of the problems behind rising beef prices for consumers, but not ranchers. 

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