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Afton Teen Seriously Injured In Soccer Accident

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By Tom Ninnemann, Cowboy State Daily

An Afton teenager is recovering in an Idaho hospital after suffering a serious injury when he was kicked in the head during a soccer game in Jackson.

Ethan Nelson, a Star Valley High School varsity soccer player, was taken to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho, after being kicked in the head during a game Thursday.

Reports Friday from a “GoFundMe” page established for Nelson said he was awake and responsive.

According to reports, Nelson was playing as the goalie in Star Valley’s game against Jackson. With seconds remaining in the first half, Nelson dove for the ball and was kicked in the head by another player.

Trainers for both teams provided medical assistance, as did doctors who were attending the game as spectators.

Nelson was driven to St. John’s Health in Jackson before being flown to the Idaho facility.

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Natrona County Health Officer Concerned About Uptick In COVID Cases, Hospitalizations

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Natrona County health officer has expressed concern about the rising number of coronavirus cases in the county and state, as well as increasing hospitalizations.

In a video update, Dr. Mark Dowell talked about the safety of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (noting it was more likely for people to get a blood clot from getting the coronavirus than the vaccine) and how the vaccination rate in Natrona County is lagging.

“The vaccines are free,” he said. “No co-pay, no nothing, it’s another reason to get it. Some programs in the country are giving a free beer or mixed drink if you get your shot. That’s pretty crazy, but let’s do it.”

He noted that around 32% of adults in the United States are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the same as Wyoming’s statewide vaccination rate among adults.

However, Natrona County’s rate is around 25%, with only 29% of adults 18 and older getting one of the doses.

“That’s why Natrona County was in the New York Times as one of the least-vaccinated counties in the United States,” Dowell said. “As a group, as a family, Natrona County and the state of Wyoming, we can do much better.”

He added that people who wanted to avoid mask mandates and have a normal summer should prioritize getting vaccinated and there was no reason to not get the vaccine.

Then, Dowell noted that the Wyoming Medical Center has quadrupled its number of coronavirus patients this week, going from two to nine as of Wednesday morning.

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Bill Sniffin: We Can’t Do It Without You – Thanks So Much To Our Donors!

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Retired Army officer Walter Olson walked up to me at a recent Lander Rotary meeting, handed me a $100 bill and said: “That’s for Cowboy State Daily. Keep up the good work!”

Now that is the kind of support we are getting from people all across the state.

During our spring donor drive, we have also heard so many wonderful comments from our readers, much like Walter.

Shauna Roberts of Cody sent a beautiful card with the inscription: “Thank you for the Wyoming News – just the facts – no spin!”

Marianne Bidart says: “Thank you for all the bear stories I am looking forward to hearing more about 399 and her four cubs.  How about a feature on Wyoming Ranch dogs at work or being silly?  This all makes me smile and have a laugh – we all need it. Many thanks to all at the Cowboy State Daily.”

Up in Buffalo, Brenda Bayliss writes: “Thanks for the news and keeping me in the loop!”

And finally, Linda Sue Golding of Dayton writes: “Keep up the good work!”

And now during our Spring Donor Drive, the donations are rolling in, which helps us bring you the news every day in two big ways:  First, we send you this daily newsletter which we like to call Wyoming’s Morning News and second, with our big web page, which is updated all day long with statewide stories.

Because we have so many subscribers — lots of you folks do not realize you can go to www.cowboystatedaily.com at any time and see the news updated all day long. You can even scroll down the site and catch up on the news for the past week.

Most of our donors donate by clicking on the “donate” button and paying by credit card. Unfortunately, this does not allow for comments.  Thus, if you want to comment, please email them to news@cowboystatedaily.com or send comments to bsniffin@wyoming.com. We appreciate hearing from you.

We have had over 400 responses and the checks and credit card payments are coming in.

During tough times like we saw in 2020, it helps to have someone to turn to. In the past year, Wyomingites turned to Cowboy State Daily in record numbers. We anticipated your questions and we provided the answers.

Thanks for helping us continue our mission of keeping Wyomingites informed. In a year when information literally saved lives, we came through, thanks in no small part to your loyalty, which means so much. 

Cowboy State Daily is owned by YOU.  We are a 501 C 3 non-profit corporation. With ownership comes responsibility.  We are reaching out to our 13,000-plus subscribers and asking you to make a tax-deductible donation to help us do our job.

“Don’t just watch us grow – join us” has certainly come true this past year as our subscriber list has surged.

Cowboy State Daily continues to grow.  We have been adding 1,000 new subscribers per month for the past year. That pace is actually increasing this year.

Whether you chip in with a donation or with your continued attention, we’re so grateful for your support.

Please click on the donate button to donate by credit card or send your check to: Cowboy State Daily, Box 900, Lander, WY 82520. Thanks!

52 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Thursday; 484 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases decreased by 33 from on Thursday from Wednesday

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 103 new recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 52 new laboratory-confirmed and 18 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 484 active cases. 

Laramie County had 102 active cases; Sweetwater had 65; Albany had 58; Natrona had 47; Fremont 40; Park 33; Uinta 22; Sublette 17; Teton 16; Big Horn 14; Sheridan 13; Campbell and Carbon 12; Goshen six; Lincoln and Washakie five; Converse, Platte and Weston four; Hot Springs three, and Crook and Johnson had one.

Niobrara County had one active case.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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 new confirmed and probable cases brought to 58,069 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 56,878 have recovered.

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47 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Tuesday; 412 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases increased by 2 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 61 new recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 47 new laboratory-confirmed and 18 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 412 active cases.

Laramie County had 95 active cases; while Albany County had 57; Sweetwater had 48; Natrona 44; Fremont 38; Uinta 22; Teton 17; Sublette 15; Campbell 14; Sheridan 11; Goshen and Park 10; Carbon eight; Big Horn seven; Lincoln four; Platte and Washakie three; Weston two, and Converse, Crook, Hot Springs and Johnson one.

Niobrara had no active cases Tuesday.

Active cases are determined by adding the total confirmed and probable coronavirus cases diagnosed since the illness first surfaced in Wyoming on March 12, 2020, 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 new confirmed and probable cases brought to 57,883 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 56,764 have recovered.

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Wyoming’s $430 Million In Budget Cuts ‘Not Surprising’ Says Budget Analyst

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By The Center Square, for Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is eliminating 324 states jobs and cutting its budget by $430 million in response to economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.

Gov. Mark Gordon signed House Bill 01 into law earlier this month.

Juliette Tennert, director of economic and public policy research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah and member of the Volcker Alliance Research Budget team, said the cuts are not out of place.

“Now, it’s an incredibly large cut that we’re looking at, but given the economic dynamics of the past year, it’s a large number, but it’s not something that’s surprising given those economic dynamics,” Tennert told The Center Square.

The University of Wyoming will be one of those affected by the cuts, according to William Glasgall, director of State and Local Initiatives at The Volcker Alliance, which produces State Budget Practice Report Cards on all states.

“That is a traditional method of balancing budgets around the country,” Glasgall told The Center Square. “State universities nationwide have suffered huge cuts.”

Some highway rest stops will also be closed because of these cuts, according to Glasgall, which happened all over the east coast during the last recession.

He also warns that state park entrance fees will increase, which could hurt lower income visitors, but is also a fairly standard way to deal with revenue shortfalls, he said.

“The budget does set our state back by eliminating valuable programs and services, and some of the impacts of the cuts we have had to make will be felt by those who are already struggling, but it is our constitutional duty to right-size our government based on revenues,” Gordon wrote in a budget letter.

Gordon also noted state government is at its smallest since the early 2000s, but Glasgall said whether or not that is true depends on how you define government. Glasgall said the state has roughly the same number of employees as in 2005, but the amount of money spent on employees is higher.

“So in terms of dollars spent, government is larger, in terms of number of people employed, government is about the same size or a little bit smaller,” Glasgall said.

The Volcker Alliance’s report card for Wyoming gives the state’s fiscal and budget health a decent grade, which includes two B’s for budget forecasting practices and budget maneuvers.

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61 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Thursday; 468 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases decreased by 34 on Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 110 new recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 61 new laboratory-confirmed and 15 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 468 active cases.

Laramie County had the most active cases with 74, while Albany went down by five for a total of 73; Sweetwater had 48; Natrona 45; Teton 35; Fremont 32; Uinta 24; Campbell 23; Sublette 19; Park and Sheridan 16; Carbon 14; Lincoln and Weston nine; Converse, Goshen and Washakie five; Crook and Platte four; Big Horn and Johnson three, and Hot Springs had two.

Niobrara 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, 2020, 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 new confirmed and probable cases brought to 57,203 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 56,032 have recovered.

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Bills Proposing Tax Increases, Legal Marijuana Die In Legislature

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Measures proposing tax increases and marijuana legalization died in the House on Monday as a deadline for their first review passed.

The bills calling for fuel and tobacco tax increases and a proposal to examine the legalization of marijuana were victims of the “general file cutoff,” the deadline for the review of bills by the full House after they have been examined by committees.

The bills were among 23 that died Monday with no debate as the deadline passed.

The marijuana regulation bill, sponsored by Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, would have established requirements for the production, testing and sale of marijuana

The state Legislative Service Office estimated the taxes on legal marijuana sales would total about $45 million a year.

Representatives also failed to review a bill that would have directed the state public health officer to develop a report on allowing the use of marijuana in the state to treat medical conditions.

Two tax bills, one proposing an 9-cent per gallon increase on gasoline and diesel taxes int he state and one adding 84 cents in taxes on a pack of cigarettes, both died without review.

According to the LSO, the fuel tax increase would have raised about $60 million per year for the state, while the tobacco tax increase would have brought in an extra $7 million per year.

Other bills to die on Monday included one that would have applied sales taxes to digital streaming services, 

One bill that was debated on the floor Monday but killed in a vote would have created a training program for Wyoming students to teach them to recognize signs of suicidal tendencies among their classmates. 

The bill was brought to the House by freshman legislator Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, after it was killed by a committee during interim work.

“But what’s most important is that we’re building resiliency in our youth,” she said. “And we’re also teaching new skills. We’re teaching youth to recognize the signs and symptoms that come along with suicidal thinking.”

The bill was rejected in its first reading Monday by a vote of 26-32.

Wyoming’s Senate left no Senate files unexamined on its general file.

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Wyoming Legislature: Suicide Prevention Bill Up For Floor Review

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A bill aimed at training Wyoming students hope to recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts in their peers is awaiting action by the full House of Representatives this week.

House Bill 175, sponsored by Rep. Rachel Rodgriguez-Williams, R-Cody, was approved by the House Education Committee on Friday and sent to the House floor for debate.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 through 24 in Wyoming. A recent Wyoming study conducted by the private Prevention Management Organization (PMO) shows that half of all residents in the state have been touched in some way by suicide.

 That’s why a bill that would train students to recognize the signs of suicidal thoughts in their peers could be a benefit, according to Rodriguez-Williams.

“I’ve met several families who have lost a loved one to suicide, particularly the youth, a child, and so often they tell a friend before they tell a trusted adult,” she said.

Rodriguez-Williams said HB 175 would require school districts to provide suicide awareness and prevention programs to Wyoming students grades six through 12 — just as they currently do for teachers.

Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth, a licensed psychologist whose focus is on suicide prevention, said that especially for youth, the bill being considered would give teens tools to help friends who are in trouble.

“How to say something to that trusted adult, how to approach their friend that they care so much about in a way that can be life saving and affirming and get that person to help that they need and help combat those lies that their depression or their stress is telling them — those lies that they’re not worth it when they really, really are,” Humphries-Wadsworth said.

Rodriguez-Williams said the bill does not require any funding.

“There’s no fiscal note tied to this bill at all,” she said. “And if it does pass most school districts will access the Suicide Prevention experts in their respective counties.”

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