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Daily Wyoming Gas Map: Friday, April 1, 2022

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s gasoline price increased by 1.8 cents in the previosu 24 hours to average $4.10 per gallon on Friday.

The website GasBuddy.com, which tracks national gas prices, reported Wyoming’s average gas price was up 3.1 cents per gallon of regular unleaded over one week ago, and up $1.22 per gallon from one year ago.

Wyoming’s average price for gasoline remained below the national average of $4.211 for a gallon of regular.

*The average price per gallon of regular in each Wyoming county: 

Albany $3.91; Big Horn $4.09; Campbell $4.07; Carbon $4.10; Converse $3.93; Crook $4.12; Fremont $4.13; Goshen $3.957; Hot Springs $4.12; Johnson $4.32; Laramie $4.00; Lincoln $4.33; Natrona $4.09; Niobrara $3.99; Park $4.14; Platte, $4.29; Sheridan $4.11; Sublette $4.09; Sweetwater $4.14; Teton $4.09; Uinta $4.09; Washakie $4.09; and Weston $4.10

The big movers were Jonson County, up 28 cents per gallon, and Uinta County, down 26 cents.

*The lowest price per gallon, reported in major Wyoming cities:

Basin $4.15; Buffalo $3.95; Casper $3.95; Cheyenne $3.95; Cody $3.95; Douglas $3.78; Evanston $4.23; Gillette $3.93; Jackson $4.37; Kemmerer $4.28; Laramie $3.88; Lusk $3.99; New Castle $3.91; Pinedale $4.19; Rawlins $3.99; Riverton $3.99; Rock Springs $4.06; Sheridan $3.99; Sundance $4.09; Thermopolis $4.07; Wheatland $3.88; Worland $4.08.

Among surveyed cities, the lowest reported price continues to be $3.78, in Douglas.  The highest reported price in the state is in Wheatland at $4.79.

Tim’s Observations:

Wyoming petroleum industry production has rebounded steadily since its pandemic low of 164,000 barrels a day seen in May 2020, rising to production of 227,000, barrels per day in January.

Wyoming’s production in January was below the 302,000 barrels per day recorded in December 2019, just prior to the COVID pandemic, according to the federal Energy Information Agency. However, it was still much higher than the state’s historic low of 139,000 barrels per day recorded in 2005.

*Note: Prices in this report are for reference only. They are gathered the evening before posting, and may not reflect prices that have changed since last posted.

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Gordon Signs Law Banning Abortions If ‘Roe vs. Wade’ Overturned

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would ban abortions in Wyoming should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade has been signed into law by Governor Mark Gordon.

House Bill 92, introduced by Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R–Cody and signed into law Tuesday, will make abortions illegal in the state except in cases where the mother faces serious risks of death or irreversible physical impairments or in the case of rape or incest.

This so-called “trigger” law will become legal should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn landmark legislation of Roe vs. Wade that made abortion legal across the country, taking away the ability of individual states to ban abortions.

In a floor statement two-hours before the session ended on Friday evening, Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, told his colleagues that he was frustrated lawmakers were focused on abortion rather than the ones they should have been working on, mentioning the budget and redistricting.

“We would have had more time instead of the last day, than the two hours we have left,” he said regarding the bill that redrafted Wyoming’s legislative district borders to conform with new census results. “But, instead, we were busy debating guns. We were busy debating abortion, we were busy debating non-issues in this state instead of our constitutional obligations.”

Brown said the bill’s sponsor (Rodriguez-Williams) told him that he should apologize to the House for his remarks to which he responded that she could “want an apology all you want, but you’re not going to get it.”

Wyoming was one of 26 states predicted to take action in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group.

These states have a variety of laws in place, from banning abortion entirely to exemptions or limitations past the first trimester among others, should Roe vs. Wade be overturned.

A handful of abortion rights bill are awaiting rulings in the U.S. Supreme, including Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case challenges the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Oral arguments were heard by the court in December with a ruling expected at some point this year.

The ACLU of Wyoming criticized the new law, saying it “improperly assigns the executive branch the responsibility of enacting law based upon future hypothetical case outcomes and creates a codified, inflexible mandate that lacks clarity.”

The group said it plans to continue challenging the state’s efforts to take reproductive health care decisions out of the hands of citizens.

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64 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 61 Recoveries; 366 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by five over the weekend.

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

At the same time, the state reported 64 new laboratory-confirmed and two new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 366 active cases on Monday.

Laramie had 84 cases, Natrona 41; Fremont 40;  Sweetwater 23; Albany, Campbell and Carbon 19; Teton 18; Sheridan 18; Goshen 13; Park 12; Platte ten; Washakie nine; Lincoln seven; Hot Springs and Sublette five; Johnson, Niobrara, Uinta and Weston three; Big Horn, Converse and Crook reported two.

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 155,492 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 153,385 have recovered.

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Rod Miller: All Members Of The Human Race Are Equal (At Least In Wyoming)

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By Rod Miller, columnist

Cheyenne City Councilman Richard Johnson is proposing an ordinance aimed at penalizing anyone who would violate the civil rights of a Wyoming citizen. Its agenda item #15, if you care to read it.

Johnson and his colleagues on the council crafted the proposed ordinance to combat “malicious harassment” based on race, gender, religion or any other human quality that might differentiate one citizen from another.

In an increasingly fractious and polarized society, in which personal attacks have almost become the norm, and civility among citizens is becoming nothing more than a distant memory, legislation like this ordinance is how we will stem that dismal tide.

But to characterize this effort as anti-hate crime, or anti-discrimination legislation is to miss the most important point. This ordinance is pure civil rights lawmaking, intended to protect the political rights of each and every Wyomingite regardless of circumstance.

Richard says he modeled this ordinance from one that he found in Oklahoma, but I like it because it draws language directly from one of the most egalitarian, humanistic and democratic documents that I have ever read – the Constitution of the State of Wyoming.

Besides, those boys from Oklahoma roll their joints all wrong.

Indulge me while I respectfully remind you that the “Bill of Rights” in the Wyoming Constitution contains 37 sections, while that in the U.S. Constitution has only 10. Wyoming’s grizzled old Framers obviously had more on their minds than cows, water and railroads, bless their hearts.

Here are Sections 2 and 3 of the Wyoming Constitution’s Article 1 Declaration of Rights:

Sec. 2. Equality of all. In their inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.

Sec. 3. Equal political rights. Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.

And here is the opening provision of the proposed Cheyenne ordinance:

A. It shall be unlawful and an offense for any person to maliciously and with the specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, or disability, commit any of the following acts:

Nobody is naive enough to believe that prevention of intimidation or harassment (the goal of the ordinance) will fully ensure “the enjoyment of natural and civil rights…through political equality” (the mandate of Wyoming’s Constitution), but its a genuine and timely start.

And it takes real political courage to propose an ordinance like this one when the tenor of politics in our state and nation is increasingly based upon harassment and intimidation.

Debate over this ordinance in Council chambers, coffeeshops and online platforms will probably be just as rancorous and divisive as everything else these days. And this ordinance will do nothing to diminish or punish our First Amendment rights to rant.

I hope this ordinance passes. And I hope it also serves as a model for future legislation at both the state and local levels that transfer the ideals embodied in the Wyoming Constitution to laws on our books that we live by….together as citizens of this most remarkable state.

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Judge Refuses To Block Superintendent Selection; Gordon To Pick By Midnight Thursday

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A request to block Gov. Mark Gordon from appointing a new superintendent of public instruction was denied by a federal judge Thursday.

Judge Scott Skavdahl denied a request from 16 individuals to stop Gordon from naming a new superintendent from a list of three nominees sent to him by the central committee of the Wyoming Republican Party.

The request was filed with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the system used by the central committee to select the nomineees.

To win a temporary restraining order, the group had to prove it would suffer harm if Gordon had been allowed to proceed with the process to name a successor to Jillian Balow or that it would likely win its lawsuit. Skavdahl said the group failed to meet that burden of proof.

“Plaintiffs have not demonstrated any irreparable harm,” Skavdahl wrote. “Having considered the plaintiffs’ motion and complaint, the defendants’ responses and plaintiffs’ reply, the court finds the motion for a temporary restraining order … should be denied.”

The lawsuit stems from the selection of a successor to Balow, who resigned as superintendent earlier this month to take a similar job in Virginia.

Under state law, Gordon has until midnight Thursday to select a person to finish out Balow’s term — which ends in January 2023 — from a list of three nominees submitted by the GOP central committee.

The committee, made up of three representatives from each county, voted Friday to select three nominees from a field of 12 candidates.

However, the process was challenged by the bipartisan group, which claimed that by giving each county three votes in the process, counties with smaller populations would have a disproportionately large influence in the decision. The lawsuit alleges the process is a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions and of the concept of “one man, one vote.”

Proceedings on the lawsuit itself will continue even though the request for the temporary restraining order was denied.

To obtain a temporary restraining order in such a case, the party requesting the order must prove, among other things, it is likely to win its lawsuit and that it will be damaged in some way if action is not halted.

Skavdahl found that the group filing the lawsuit proved neither point.

“Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits because the case law does not support their position,” he wrote. “Additionally, plaintiffs have failed to establish irreparable injury.”

The idea that the naming of a replacement will cause irreparable harm is erroneous, Skavdahl wrote, because voters will have the opportunity in November to re-elect or remove from office anyone appointed to the position.

“Irreparable harm seems unlikely because all Wyoming voters will have an opportunity to elect a new superintendent of public instruction in November 2022 — the governor’s appointment only fills the position for nine months,” he wrote.

In addition, the group has not submitted legal arguments that support its claims, Skavdahl said. He noted again that the “one man, one vote” rule will be adhered to in November’s general election.

“If voters feel their vote is diluted and are unhappy with the governor’s appointment (or the three nominees submitted to the governor), voters have the opportunity to cast a ballot in the next general election, when their votes are counted in compliance with ‘one man, one vote,’” he wrote.

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Dave Simpson: So, You Think This Is The Right Track?

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By Dave Simpson, columnist

A liberal relative posted on Facebook five years ago that every time President Donald Trump had a bad day, she would break out a good bottle of wine to celebrate.

Some of her relatives, however, live out here in Flyover Country and voted for Trump, and we were lamenting his bad days.

She would probably join one person I saw who defined Trump voters as “degraded specimens.”

Ouch!

My coastal relative and her husband probably had to re-stock their wine cellar after Trump left office.

I have not reciprocated. I have not broken out a bottle of good wine (I like the stuff that comes in cardboard boxes, which I call “cardbordeaux”) to mark President Joe Biden’s bad days.

The reason?

A guy can only drink so much wine.

This comes at a time when U.S. Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said Biden “runs a taught shipwreck.”

It comes at a time when most Americans – 72 percent, according to a recent poll – believe that America is on the “wrong track.” Given the state of the southern border, the worst inflation since 1982, unmet promises in battling Covid, a truly ineffective pick for vice president, murder way up in our cities, gasoline prices through the roof, and wild deficit spending with more to come, the wonder of it is that only 72 percent of Americans think this is the wrong track.

What’s up with the 22 percent, according to pollsters, who think we’re on the “right track?” Who are these people? Are they under care for their delusions? Are they able to dress themselves?

The news here is the 22 percent. The people who think Biden and Harris are doing a great job are the classic “man bites dog” story.

Meanwhile, twice in the last week, in separate instances, my wife and I encountered the word “diaspora.” She read it in a story about the border crisis, and I heard a smug guy on “Morning Joe” (I’m a glutton for punishment) use it regarding last year’s riot at the Capitol. We both turned to our dictionaries, and learned that a diaspora is “a large group of people with a similar heritage or homeland who have since moved out to places all over the world.”

Keep an eye out for diaspora, which may become the new “gravitas” for pundits attempting to look gravitas-y. Diaspora could be heading up the charts. People who say diaspora no doubt eat “crudites” instead of cut up veggies, like the rest of us.

It harshes my mellow when people use words like “diaspora.” Makes me downright dystopian, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down. Language needs to put the hay where the goats can get it. But not this hay, and not this goat.

I perked right up, however, when I read a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal addressing my pet peeve: People who say, whatever the problem, that we need to have “a discussion,” preferably a frank, national discussion, and that will fix everything. (When has that ever worked?)

This person wrote: “Translation: ‘You need to sit your behind down so I can lecture you about your moral depravity from my exalted position of self-anointed  moral superiority.’”

Bingo!

And lastly, I notice in the news that shipping containers aboard Union Pacific trains are being looted along tracks in Los Angeles at a rate of about 90 per day. The railroad hired Pinkerton guards to help cops stop the thefts, but since the prosecutor there is soft on crime, most thieves are quickly released, and head right back to the tracks to party on.

Even Joe LaFlores, who led the posse in the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” couldn’t stop the robberies if the prosecutor wouldn’t jail the perps.

When you see the elaborate graffiti that has defaced rail cars for decades now, you have to conclude that railroads dialed back protecting their property long ago. Maybe open plunder is the next logical step on the road to perdition.

The wonder of it all? Twenty two percent think this is the “right track.”

Man bites dog.

My relative drank wine to celebrate Trump’s bad days. What we need now is wine to drown our Joe Biden sorrows.

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829 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 1,016 Recoveries; 3,288 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus tally increased by 203 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 1,016 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Tuesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 829 new laboratory-confirmed and 406 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,288 active cases for Tuesday.

Six counties had more than 200 active cases and nine had more than 100. Teton County had 627; Laramie 567; Natrona 436; Albany 297; Uinta 229; Fremont 202; Campbell 180;  Sweetwater 132; Sheridan 129; Park 83; Lincoln 82; Carbon 76; Converse 49; Johnson 43; Goshen 27; Crook 18; and Platte 20; Sublette 18; Weston 16; Big Horn 11; Hot Springs had nine, while Niobrara reported six.

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 122,774 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 117,878 have recovered.

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Casper Attorney Donald Tolin Suspended From PracticeFor Three Years

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper attorney accused of failing to adequately represent a client in a divorce case has been suspended from the practice of law for three years.

Wyoming’s Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended Donald Tolin on the recommendation of the state Board of Professional Responsibility, the group that investigates complaints against attorneys and determine whether they will be punished.

A note posted on the Google listing for the website for Tolin’s law practice said he had closed his office and retired as of Dec. 31.

In its recommendation forwarded to the Supreme Court, the BPR said Tolin was approached by a woman in June of 2019 seeking legal advice about a possible separation or divorce from her husband.

In her communications with Tolin, the woman made it clear that “her overriding concern was that her husband was concealing assets …” the report said. 

It added that the woman paid Tolin a $5,000 “availability retainer” in June 2019.

According to the report, the woman repeatedly asked Tolin from June of 2019 to August of 2020 to take steps to make sure assets were not concealed by her husband.

“Despite expressing fears since June 2019 that her husband was hiding assets and demanding a full accounting, Tolin never requested an accounting from wife’s husband,” the report said.

The report also said Tolin failed to communicate with the wife about proposed mediation dates and said he failed to “exercise professional billing judgment.”

“The invoices reflect that he repeatedly charged $20 for texts and emails containing little information or containing information unrelated to legal issues, such as information about Tolin’s grandchild,” it said.

It added Tolin did not send any invoices to the woman while he was employed by her.

The woman fired Tolin as her attorney in August 2020.

During the investigation by the BPR, Tolin admitted he had failed to comply with the woman’s directives, had neglected the case for several months, failed to respond to inquiries from his client and willfully violated a court order for mediation of the case.

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Federal Judge Blocks Head Start Vaccine, Mask Mandate In Wyoming And 23 Other States

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By Jon Styf, The Center Square

A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked President Joe Biden administration’s vaccine and mask mandate at Head Start preschools, granting a preliminary injunction for the 24 states involved in the lawsuit.

The mandate was set to begin on Jan. 31. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty said that the injunction will remain in effect until the case is settled.

“This issue will certainly be decided by a higher court than this one,” Doughty wrote. “This issue is important. The separation of powers has never been so thin.

“Because the Plaintiff States have satisfied all four elements required for a PI to issue, a PI (preliminary injunction) should issue against the Agency Defendants enjoining and restraining the Agency Defendants from implementing the Head Start Mandate.”

Defendants in the lawsuit included the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administration for Children and Families, which were attempting to make toddlers wear masks and require staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 31.

“This latest attempt by the Biden administration to centrally plan the daily lives of Americans in the name of mitigating COVID-19 is perhaps the most absurd so far,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “The federal government simply has no legal authority to order two-year-olds to wear masks all day at preschool.”

States involved in the suit where the mandate will now be blocked are: Louisiana, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“This is another victory for the rule of law,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “Yet another court has said no to this abuse of power and executive overreach. These mandates are garbage and we will continue to stand for the rule of law.”

The lawsuit claims a mandate related to Head Start is beyond the authority of the Executive Branch and is against the law, violating the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA) Notice-and-Comment Requirement, the Congressional Review Act, the Nondelegation Doctrine, the Tenth Amendment, the Anti-Commandeering Doctrine, the Spending Clause and the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999.

“Once again the federal executive branch has overstepped its legal authority to make laws and once again a federal court has agreed with the State of Alabama that such overreach is unconstitutional and should be stopped,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. 

“In a rare New Year’s Day order, the Western District Court of Louisiana enjoined the Biden administration from enforcing its vaccine mandate for Head Start workers and its mask mandate for toddlers. The order affects 24 states, including Alabama, which brought suit against the mandate. This victory will help ensure that numerous Head Start programs will continue to operate rather than have to fire teachers and cut back services to children. And this win will forestall the nonsensical and damaging practice of forcing masks on 2-year-olds.”

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Jonathan Lange: Why is Christmas on December 25?

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By Jonathan Lange, columnist

Tomorrow begins a 12-day celebration, throughout the world, of the birth of Jesus Christ. December 25th is the “First Day of Christmas.” After the 12th Day of Christmas, on January 5th, we reach Epiphany (known as Theophany to our Eastern Orthodox neighbors).

While different Christian traditions have celebrated in different ways and have emphasized different days of this season, all Christians have marked December 25th as the birthday of Jesus going back at least to its first explicit mention in 354 A.D.

No serious scholar—Christian or otherwise—doubts that Jesus was born two millennia ago. But neither the Bible nor any other historical record names the season, month or day of his birth. Lacking such a record, scholars in recent centuries have challenged the December 25 date.

The most popular challenge arose from the “History of Religions School” which assumes that all religions are man-made. Looking for a man-made “reason for the season,” these scholars theorized that a festival for the pagan sun god, Sol Invictus, was co-opted by the Christian Church in a deliberate attempt to oppress pagan rivals.

They seized on the fact that Sol Invictus was associated with December 25. But they neglected to notice that Sol Invictus was not a Roman holiday until Emperor Aurelian invented it in 274. By then, the date of Christmas had already been calculated by Tertullian in 200 A.D. William J. Tighe wrote a very good synopsis of this history in Touchstone Magazine (December 2003) called, “Calculating Christmas.”

Tertullian’s calculations are not necessarily correct, but he shows two things. First, Christmas was not determined by the Sol Invictus. If anything, the Sol Invictus was determined by Christmas. Second, and more importantly, Christmas relates directly to the cross of Jesus. The date of Christmas is a by-product of Latin Christianity’s attempts to calculate the exact date of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Today, nearly the entire world uses the calendar of the Roman Empire based on the sun. But the Jews of the Bible marked time by the moon. As anybody knows, who pays attention to the cycle of the moon, these two calendars do not match up. Twelve “moonths” do not add up to 365 ¼ days. So, periodically, an extra month must be added to the lunar calendar in order to keep in sync with the sun.

The Old Testament Jews managed this by an occasional decree of the ruling Council. But when the Romans wiped out the Jewish nation in 70 A.D., nobody was left to make the needed adjustments. Later generations could only guess at what they would have done, but nobody in the Christian world had any contact with its actual doing.

That’s why Christian scholars had to make a series of calculations and guesses that can never be perfected. To make a long story short, Tertullian calculated that Jesus was crucified on March 25 in AD 29. We need not concern ourselves overly much about whether this date is correct. But what Tertullian and his contemporaries concluded next is most interesting.

Tertullian wrote, “Jesus died on the cross on March 25, the same day of the year as that on which He was conceived.” It would seem that he was not the only one who thought this. Even Hippolytus of Rome (+235) accepted this date. It seems that the entire Church, for 154 years before the first mention of Christmas celebrations, considered the day of Jesus’ crucifixion also to be the day of his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

That is the basis for Christmas Day. Human birth regularly occurs nine months after conception. That would mean that Jesus’ birthday is on December 25. Again, nobody in the world has enough historical data to prove either that Jesus was born on December 25, or that He wasn’t. Regardless, the most important fact of Christmas Day is that Christians have tied the birth of Jesus to His crucifixion for more than 1,800 years.

Our Eastern Orthodox neighbors center their celebrations on January 6, the Theophany of Jesus, but they nevertheless acknowledge December 25 as His birthday. Western Christians tend to put the accent on December 25 and treat January 6, the Epiphany, as a lesser holiday. But both together—either knowingly, or unknowingly—anchor the season of Jesus’ birth in the purpose for that holy birth.

On the day that Jesus died, He stood before Pontius Pilate who asked, “Are You a king, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world” (John 19:37). As we sit down to Christmas dinners and attend Christmas services, this truth is shouted out by the very calendar itself.

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151 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 92 Recoveries; 1,018 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus tally increased by 88 on Thursday. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 92 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 151 new laboratory-confirmed and 29 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,018 active cases for Thursday.

Three counties had more than 100 active cases and one had more than 200. 

Laramie County had 207; Teton 138; Uinta 119; Natrona 94; Campbell and Fremont 60; Sheridan and Sweetwater 51; Carbon 37; Park 33; Albany 32; Lincoln 29; Goshen and Weston 20; Sublette and Washakie 11; Crook and Platte ten; Johnson eight; Converse seven; Big Horn and Hot Springs had four, while Niobrara reported two 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 114,242 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 111,698 have recovered.  

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Bill Sniffin: The Longest Night Of Wyoming’s Year

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

 If my late father had a favorite winter day, it would occur on Dec. 22, this year.  That is the day when the nights started getting shorter and days started getting longer.

As he got older and entered the long dark winter of his own lifetime, I think those ever-longer nights and ever-briefer days would remind him of his own life slipping away

He always looked forward to the official first day of winter, which falls on Tuesday, Dec. 21, this year.  He would have a spring in his step, as he got up as early as possible to mark the fact that we had all made it through one more dark winter season. “The future is going to be much brighter, no doubt about it!” he might be saying, if he were still alive.

The theme of the HBO show Game of Thrones was “Winter is Coming.”  I think that theme does not just refer to the seasons but to the overpowering darkness that occurs in the wintertime. My dad died before he had a chance to see that show but he knew what that phrase meant.

I am now in my 75th year. It is easy to identify with his feelings. With that introduction, let me say that, Dec. 21, is (was) a great day. Yes, the nights are shorter. And the days are longer.

Alas, here in Wyoming, we still might have four and half more months of wintry weather.

Some years ago I created markers on my patio showing the location of the setting sun during the spring, summer, fall, and winter solstices and equinoxes. I know that you feel like the sun has moved during the year, but when you see those markers, well it is almost unbelievable.

If I stand looking straight ahead to the marker for the Spring and Fall equinoxes the summer sun marker is far to the my right.  The distance is almost unimaginable when you see how far the winter sun marker is from where the summer sun sets.

Actually, the sun does not move.   The earth tilts on its axis but it just seems like the sun has moved a long, long way.

Of course, this time of year, the sun going down between 4:15 p.m. is a shock to the system. In my hometown of Lander, we lose about 20 extra minutes of daylight because the afternoon sun sets behind the massive Wind River Mountains to our southwest.

And if those days do seem shorter, it is because they are massively shorter.  The longest summer day is five hours and 50 minutes longer than the shortest winter day. About a fourth of the 24-hour day in difference.

This is one of the reasons so many people feel depressed this time of year. Too much darkness.  Two other reasons are cold and ice. Friends all over Wyoming have been slipping on the ice and breaking bones.

Many places in the state get lots of wind, which warms up their towns and melts the ice.  Places like Lander, Riverton, Sheridan, Newcastle, Worland, and Evanston are not quite as prone to get wind, thus ice piles up.  Nothing is quite as depressing as dealing with a broken arm or separated shoulder or fractured hip from a fall.

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Your Wyoming Sunrise: Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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Today’s Wyoming sunrise featuring the Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Carter Mountain comes from Tim O’Leary of Cody, Wyoming.

Tim writes: “This sunrise photo was taken west of Cody over the Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Carter Mountain in the background. The temperature started out a bit chilly at four degrees and winds were a bit calm, however things changed quickly as the temperature climbed so did the wind. Still a beautiful Wyoming day.”

We feature a different Wyoming sunrise every morning.

To submit yours, email us at: News@CowboyStateDaily.com

NOTE: Please send us the highest-quality version of your photo. The larger the file, the better.

NOTE #2: Please include where you are from and where the photo was taken.

Note #3: We prefer horizontal (not vertical) photos. Thanks!

Note #4: Tell us about your sunrise!

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Kegs Of Beer Stolen After Semi Crashes On Highway 59 Near Gillette

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By Ryan Lewallen, County 17

Things took an unexpected turn Thursday night after a semi-tractor trailer that had been hauling Bud Light beer overturned near Wright and a passerby reportedly stopped to steal a couple of kegs.

Deputies were dispatched to S. Highway 59 near milepost 66 after receiving a report of a single-vehicle rollover around 5:45 p.m. Dec. 9, according to Campbell County Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds.

The driver, a 61-year-old male from Washington, had been attempting to slow down while traveling downhill when he lost control of his trailer, which was loaded down with “copious amounts of alcohol,” Reynolds said.

The trailer spun around before overturning in the ditch, pulling the Freightliner after it, according to Reynolds.

The driver and his 61-year-old female passenger did not report any injuries, though they did tell deputies that a passerby had stopped, picked up a couple of kegs of beer, and left before law enforcement arrived, per Reynolds.

While deputies were investigating the rollover, they reportedly witnessed another crash approximately 200 yards away when a 40-year-old male, driving a 2000 Interstate, slid into a 2020 Kenworth while both vehicles were slowing down as they approached the scene.

The impact disabled the Interstate, but only caused minor damage to the Kenworth, operated by a 27-year-old male who was ultimately found to have an active arrest warrant from Goshen County for failing to pay fines for not stopping at a port of entry, Reynolds said.

The 27-year-old male was arrested for the warrant, he continued, adding that deputies also ticketed the 40-year-old Interstate operator for following too closely.

The investigation into the stolen kegs is currently ongoing.

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156 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming on Wednesday; 124 Recoveries; 1,405 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 59 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 124 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 156 new laboratory-confirmed and 27 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,405 active cases for Wednesday.

Five counties had more than 100 active cases, with having more than 200. 

Laramie County had 320; Natrona 205; Campbell 127; Carbon 121; Uinta 120; Park 70; Fremont 66; Sweetwater 64;  Sheridan 61; Teton 40; Albany 38; Goshen and Lincoln 26; Converse and Platte 21; Sublette and Weston 16; Big Horn and Washakie eight; Crook had seven; while Niobrara and Hot Springs reported five 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 112,551 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 109,674 have recovered.

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Californians Plead Guilty To Bringing Large Amounts of Meth To Park County

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By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune

A pair of California residents admitted to federal charges alleging they helped bring a large amount of methamphetamine to Park County.

Last month, William Taylor — who was caught with more than 200 grams of meth and other drugs outside of Cody in July — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth, while Melissa Walsh (aka Melissa Peralez) pleaded guilty to distribution of meth. They are both set to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Casper in February.

An investigation led by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and assisted by both local and federal law enforcement agencies concluded that Taylor helped bring drugs to the Cody area from July 2020 through July 2021 — and that Walsh assisted on at least one occasion in June.

DCI agents and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service found evidence that Taylor had been supplying drugs to Philip Dobbins of Cody. Dobbins was the subject of a lengthy DCI investigation and is currently a fugitive, after jumping bail on federal drug charges.

A court-approved search of the men’s correspondence on Facebook Messenger found Taylor and Dobbins had been in touch since at least the summer of 2020, according to charging documents. In a July 2020 message, Taylor indicated that he would be back in Cody early the next month and “ill bring a bunch this time.”

“I know through my training and experience and with consulting with other law enforcement officers and through reading other correspondence between Dobbins and Taylor that ‘ill bring a bunch this time’ is referring to bringing illegal narcotics,” Postal Inspector Richard Fergon of Denver wrote in charging documents.

In February, Taylor reportedly shipped a package from Sacramento to Dobbins’ P.O. box in Cody. Then in March, Taylor told Dobbins that he’d “put 2 more in the mail” as soon as he got “6 each” — a message that Inspector Fergon interpreted as offering 2 ounces of narcotics for $600. Dobbins soon wired $610 to Taylor, who shipped another package Dobbins’ way.

It arrived at the post office on March 22, charging documents say, but Dobbins never picked it up. On March 23, Dobbins was on his way back to Cody from a trip to the Denver area when he and a passenger were pulled over by Cody police. Inside their vehicle, police and DCI agents eventually found 354 grams of apparent methamphetamine.

The passenger, Natosha Martin of Cody, cooperated with authorities and received a 37-month federal prison sentence in October for conspiracy to distribute meth.

As for Dobbins, he was released from federal custody in late June — over the objection of prosecutors — so he could attend a drug treatment facility in Sheridan. However, when a judge ordered Dobbins to return to jail in early October, he fled. He’s been at large since then.

As for the package that Taylor shipped to Dobbins back in March, it wound up being intercepted by USPIS personnel. A court-approved search revealed that it held 62 grams of meth, or a little over 2 ounces, according to charging documents.

While Dobbins was taken into custody, Taylor is alleged to have continued supplying drugs in Park County, moving to rural Cody in May. On June 23, Taylor sold 1.7 grams of meth to an undercover DCI agent at a Cody gas station, charging documents allege, and he soon sold her another 2 grams.

The same day he made his first sale to the DCI agent, Taylor is alleged to have contacted Walsh — the codefendant who remained in the Sacramento area — asking her to “go see Janet for me … and send me a package.”

“Just let me know when and where,” Walsh responded. A few days later, on June 27, she shipped a parcel to Taylor, not only putting her name on the package but also being captured on surveillance camera footage placing it in the mail, Inspector Fergon wrote.

The shipment was seized by law enforcement and they found 54 grams of apparent meth inside.

At that point, investigators were monitoring Taylor’s movements and in mid-July, they learned that he had traveled to Sacramento and was on his way back to Cody.

Around 4:30 p.m. on July 13, Park County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Toohey pulled Taylor over for no valid registration on display and spotted apparent meth residue around the driver’s side of the car. A narcotics K-9 from the Powell Police Department alerted to the scent of narcotics and a subsequent search turned up about 201 grams (7 ounces) of apparent meth, 45 grams of marijuana and 6.4 grams of heroin, charging documents say. The meth had a street value of around $20,000.

Both Walsh and Taylor have been detained since their arrests. She is set to be sentenced on Feb. 17, while Taylor is scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 2.

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114 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 144 Recoveries; 1,346 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 19 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 144 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 114 new laboratory-confirmed and 55 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,346 active cases for Tuesday.

Four counties had more than 100 active cases, with two having more than 200. 

Laramie County had 312; Natrona 202; Campbell 124; Uinta 118; Carbon 98; Sheridan 64; Fremont and Sweetwater 62; Park 52; Albany 43; Teton 38; Lincoln 27; Goshen 23; Platte 22; Converse 18; Johnson 16; Sublette 15; Big Horn 13; Weston 12; Crook 11; Washakie seven; Niobrara had four, while Hot Springs reported three 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 112,368 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 109,550 have recovered.

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156 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday; 148 Recoveries; 1,234 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case tally increased by 36 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 148 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 156 new laboratory-confirmed and 109 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,234 active cases for Tuesday.

Five counties had 100 or more active cases, with one having more than 200. 

Laramie County had 231; Natrona 178; Uinta 168; Campbell 115; Sheridan 100; Sweetwater 61; Albany 60; Fremont 32; Washakie 30; Teton and Johnson 28; Platte, Park and Carbon 27; Lincoln 24; Sublette and Niobrara 17; Converse 16; Goshen and Big Horn 15; Crook 11; Weston had six, while Hot Springs reported 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 111,089 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 108,427 have recovered.

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154 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 11 Recoveries; 1,961 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus count increased by 202 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 11 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 154 new laboratory-confirmed and 59 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,961 active cases for Wednesday.

Seven counties had more than 100 active cases, with two having more than 200. Laramie County had 418; Natrona 304; Uinta 160; Albany 151; Sheridan 127; Campbell 122; Sweetwater 102; Fremont 74; Park 70; Goshen 60; Carbon and Platte 49; Teton 42; Lincoln and Washakie 36; Niobrara 30; Big Horn 22; Sublette 19; Converse 17; Crook 16; Weston had 11, while Hot Springs reported three 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 110,264 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 106,956 have recovered.

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150 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Tuesday, 285 Recoveries; 1,759 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 36 on Tuesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 285 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Tuesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 150 new laboratory-confirmed and 99 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,759 active cases for Tuesday.

Six counties have more than 100 active cases, with two having more than 200. 

Laramie County had 375; Natrona 258; Uinta 149; Albany 126; Sheridan 118; Campbell 111; Sweetwater 97; Fremont 74; Park 50; Goshen and Platte 48; Carbon 45; Teton 43; Johnson 42; Lincoln 36; Niobrara and Washakie 28; Big Horn and Converse 19; Crook and Sublette 16; Weston had 11, while Hot Springs reported two 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 110,051 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 106,945 have recovered.

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355 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Monday; 797 Recoveries; 1,795 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 313 over the weekend.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 797 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases between Friday and Monday.

At the same time, the state reported 355 new laboratory-confirmed and 129 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,795 active cases on Monday.

Six counties have more than 100 active cases, with two having more than 200. 

Laramie County had 388; Natrona 275; Uinta 145; Albany 138; Sweetwater 103; Sheridan 102; Campbell 97; Fremont 89; Park 56; Johnson 48; Goshen 46; Platte 43; Carbon and Teton 42; Lincoln 34; Niobrara 28; Big Horn and Converse 23; Washakie 21; Crook 19; Sublette 17; Weston had 14, while Hot Springs reported two 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 109,802 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 106,660 have recovered.

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276 New Coronavirus Cases IN Wyoming On Friday; 554 Recoveries; 2,857 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming fell by 176 on Friday to end the week.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 554 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 276 new laboratory-confirmed and 102 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,857 active cases for Friday.

Nine counties now have more than 100 active cases, with four having more than 200. 

Natrona County had 536 Laramie 453; Fremont 238; Sheridan 200; Uinta 183; Campbell 171; Albany 142; Sweetwater 137; Park 97; Goshen 95; Lincoln 89; Carbon 83; Washakie 63; Weston 54; Platte 49; Teton 46; Converse 43; Crook 40 Johnson 39; Big Horn 34; Sublette 30; Niobrara 23 had 28, while Hot Springs reported 12 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 105,318 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 101,327  have recovered.

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Session Over: Legislature Agrees To Compromise On Final Anti-Vaccine Mandate Bill

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The final bill of 20 submitted for consideration during the Legislature’s special session, this one banning most public entities from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate, won final approval Wednesday as the Wyoming’s House and Senate agreed to a compromise on the measure.

Representatives and senators agreed to adopt the compromise to HB1002 adopted by a joint conference committee Wednesday afternoon to send the measure to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon.

Discussion on the bill was brief in both chambers of the Legislature as members approved the compromise reached by the committee, in essence ending the session that began on Oct. 26.

The bill as approved would prohibit state and local government entities from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden. Biden’s proposal would require vaccinations for federal employees, health care workers and employees of companies that employ more than 100.

A bill prohibiting employers from making coronavirus vaccination a condition of employment died in the Senate earlier in the day.

As approved, HB1002 would prevent state and local government entities from enforcing any such mandate, however, the bill was amended to exempt any public entity that could lose federal funds by refusing to enforce a mandate.

The bill also specified that if a court issues a stay of the federal mandate, Wyoming’s rules would take effect. It would also set aside $4 million for the state to assist in lawsuits filed by those who are injured by any mandate.

The federal rules putting the mandate into effect have not been drafted.

The bill was the last to survive the special session, called by the Legislature to chart Wyoming’s response to the federal mandate. Prior to the session, 20 bills had been filed with both the House and Senate for consideration.

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Park County Homeland Security Official Out After DUI

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By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune

Less than a week after being arrested on allegations that he drove his work truck while drunk, Jack Tatum is out as Park County’s director of Homeland Security.

Tatum’s last day on the job was Friday, said Park County Sheriff Scott Steward, who oversees the county’s Homeland Security office. Tatum had served as director since June 2019 and had previously received praise from the sheriff and others for his work in the role.

However, on the night of Oct. 24, a citizen reported that a Park County Homeland Security truck was swerving all over U.S. Highway 20/26 west of Casper. Trooper Eric Sandstead of the Wyoming Highway Patrol found Tatum at the wheel and an open bottle of Smirnoff vodka near the driver’s seat. Tatum reportedly failed sobriety tests and two breath tests administered about an hour after the traffic stop pegged the 33-year-old’s blood alcohol content at 0.272% and 0.267%. That’s more than three times the 0.08% legal limit for driving.

Tatum was unwilling to follow directions as he was arrested, Trooper Sandstead wrote in charging documents, and he was taken to the Natrona County Detention Center by a deputy. Tatum pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol in Natrona County Circuit Court on Oct. 25 and was released on bond pending further proceedings. He was subsequently suspended from his job.

“Once we found out [about the arrest], he was immediately put on administrative leave and then we had to deal with it,” Steward said Monday.

The sheriff said he couldn’t comment on what personnel action was taken, but noted that Tatum has a right to due process and a fair trial in his criminal case.

“We wish him the best,” Steward said.

At the time of his arrest outside Casper, Tatum had been enrolled at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas, where he was training to become certified as a peace officer; Steward had hoped the certification would enhance the sheriff’s office’s capabilities, but the county will now need to find a replacement. Tatum was earning an annual salary of $54,891.20, according to the Park County Clerk’s Office.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney: Pandemic Cause For Zero Human Trafficking Convictions In Wyoming Last Year

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By Elyse Kelly, The Center Square

Wyoming saw no state or federal human trafficking convictions during all of 2020, a recent report found.

The Human Trafficking Institute’s latest state analysis shows that there were zero human trafficking convictions in Wyoming last year and no charges filed for sex trafficking or forced labor, Cowboy State Daily reported.

Typically most cases Wyoming sees are handed over to the federal government, according to Kara Chambers, director of Wyoming’s Division of Victim Service.

Nicole Romine, assistant U.S. Attorney and chief of the Criminal Division U.S. Attorney’s Office, said the pandemic affected the number of cases in 2020.

Both pointed to Wyoming’s less-than 600,000 resident population as the main factor behind Wyoming’s usually low numbers. 

Romine said the typical caseload from Wyoming is three per year.

“My assessment is the pandemic really got in the way of one: either investigating those crimes, or two: preventing those crimes from entering into the district of Wyoming,” Romine told The Center Square.

Romine’s office sees three types of human trafficking: interdiction, where an officer finds a trafficking victim during a traffic stop and refers to federal or state authorities; transferring a minor, in which someone buys a minor for sex; and enforcement, where commercial sex is peddled at large events like Cheyenne Frontier Days.

“There was just less traffic on the highways in 2020,” she said, referring to interdiction.

Romine pointed out their office also saw a drop in drug interdictions.

Regarding transferring a minor, Romine said her sense was that because the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, parents were better able to supervise children and keep an eye out for potential offenders.

The final type was curtailed by the cancellation of large events.

“There weren’t any large public events that happened in 2020 for law enforcement to try to identify sex traffickers actually bringing victims in to perform commercial sex acts,” she said.

Both Romine and Chambers said trafficking victims in Wyoming are almost always transported into the state from a large metropolitan area or somewhere else.

“The victims that we work with are almost 99% of the time from somewhere else, but I don’t want it to seem like we’re not acknowledging that this can be a homegrown problem,” Chambers told The Center Square.

Chambers said human trafficking in rural areas looks different than in big metropolitan areas, pointing out that most calls coming in are reporting something along one of Wyoming’s major cross-country interstates. 

“Like any other sex crime, it is vastly underreported and therefore very hard to measure,” she said.

The more awareness there is, the better chance of stopping, Romine pointed out, and urged residents to make use of the human trafficking hotline (Phone: 888-373-7888; Text: 233-733; or humantraffickinghotline.org).

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304 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 69 Recoveries; 3,359 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case count increased by 419 on Wednesday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 69 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Wednesday. 

At the same time, the state reported 304 new laboratory-confirmed and 184 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,359 active cases for Wednesday.

Twelve counties now have more than 100 active cases, with five having more than 200. 

Natrona county had 604; Laramie 388; Fremont 354; Campbell 216; Sheridan 214; Goshen 187;  Carbon 168; Park and Sweetwater 167; Uinta 161; Albany 144; Lincoln 97; Washakie 92; Teton 74; Weston 70; Converse 55; Platte 43; Crook 38; Sublette 37; Johnson 28; Big Horn and Niobrara had 21, while Hot Springs reported 13 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 101,912 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 97,379 have recovered.  

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726 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming; 1,210 Recoveries; 3,084 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus decreased by 301 over the weekend. 

The Wyoming Department of Health received reports of 1,210 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 726 new laboratory-confirmed and 183 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,084 active cases on Monday.

Twelve counties had more than 100 active cases, with six having more than 200. Natrona County had 547; Freemont 341; Laramie 329; Sheridan 233; Campbell 201; Uinta 69; Goshen 168; Sweetwater 152; Carbon 150; Park 141; Albany 124; Lincoln 85; Teton 79; Washakie 78; Platte and Weston 43; Converse 40; Sublette 34; Crook 33; Big Horn 31; Johnson 28; Niobrara had 21, while Hot Springs reported the fewest active cases, with 14.

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 101,083 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 96,850 have recovered.

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536 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 570 Recoveries; 3,547 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 85 on Thursday.

The Wyoming Department of Health said it received reports of 570 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Thursday. 

At the same time, the state reported 536 new laboratory-confirmed and 119 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,547 active cases for Thursday.

Fourteen counties had more than 100 active cases, with seven having more than 200. 

Natrona County had 620; Freemont 351; Laramie 324; Sheridan 293; Campbell 251; Goshen 228; Carbon 172; Albany 159; Sweetwater and Uinta 158; Park 149; Washakie 121; Lincoln 108; Teton 81; Converse 73; Platte 60; Weston 43; Niobrara and Sublette 39; Crook 38; Johnson 32; Big Horn had 31; while Hot Springs reported the fewest active cases, with 19.

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 99,662 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 94,979 have recovered.

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305 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 42 Recoveries; 3,462 Active Cases

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total increased by 398 on Wednesday. 

The Wyoming Department of Health received reports of 42 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 305 new laboratory-confirmed and 135 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,462 active cases for Wednesday.

Fourteen counties had more than 100 active cases, while six had more than 200. 

Natrona County had 599; Freemont 345; Laramie 333; Sheridan 2267; Campbell 257; Goshen 189; Albany 166; Park 163; Sweetwater 152; Uinta 151; Carbon and Washakie 125; Lincoln 118; Converse 83; Teton 79; Platte 67; Weston 43; Crook 40; Sublette 38; Niobrara 37; Big Horn 36; Johnson had 30; while Hot Springs reported the fewest active cases, with 19.

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 99,007 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 94,409 have recovered.

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Jonathan Lange: Local Library or Seedy Adult Book Store? The true Censorship at Your Local Wyoming Library

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By Jonathan Lange, guest columnist

It was a book that introduced the term “catch-22” into America’s modern vocabulary. The 1961 novel by Joseph Heller satirized a bureaucratic loop that prevented a military man from requesting a psychological evaluation because, according to the “catch-22” rule, the very act of asking proved he didn’t need one. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem.”

Heller’s novel is touted by the American Library Association (ALA) among famous “banned books.” However, it was only temporarily banned in one Strongsville, Ohio library out of 116,867 total U.S. libraries. The real irony is that a “catch-22” is precisely what prevents an open and honest discussion of civic responsibility in libraries across America.

Banned Books Week is a propaganda campaign invented in 1982 by a collusion of the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, and the National Association of College Stores. Annually, on the last week of September, it provides a platform for libraries to treat parental concerns with contempt. Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Woke school administrators at the Burbank (CA) Unified School District removed three American classics (John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”) from a required reading lists in the high school English curriculum. Despite a million other books that are not on that list, this move provided the pretext for the ALA to tag the books as “censored.”

Step 2: The ALA’s “Office of Intellectual Freedom” (OIF) used the dubious claim to include two of them on their “Top 10 #BannedBooksList.” Despite its official-sounding name, the OIF list has zero science behind it. Rather, it is a fake ranking ginned up by activists who solicit complaints from “librarians and teachers” while ignoring the concerns of parents. The mere request to move a book from the children’s section to the adult section of the same library is counted as a censorial “challenge.”

Step 3: The same OIF carefully selects eight other books to round-out the “Top 10” list. Importantly, these serve the woke agenda and raise legitimate objections among parents. The objective is to shift the Overton Window by associating examples of woke orthodoxy with American classics. They are careful, however, to omit the most egregious violators of decency standards from the list.

While these most pornographic books are excluded from the ALA’s annual list, they are not excluded from the children’s section of your local library. Thus, the ALA annual list is designed to distract public attention from the worst books by steering attention to the merely bad.

Consider three books omitted from this year’s list. Anyone unable to see why parents should object to the open display of “Doing It,” “The V-Word,” and “This Book is Gay,” in the children’s section of a library has no business being around our children. Despite what progressive ideologues will tell you, this has nothing to do with “sexual identity” and everything to do with exposing children of both sexes to inappropriate sexual content.

Unless you read the above-named titles for yourself, you will likely not believe what unsuspecting children can encounter in your local library. These titles would be perfectly at home in the seediest “Adult Book Store.” Who, but the most jaded parents, would dream that a library might display them at the eye-level of your average seven-year-old?

That brings us to the real catch-22: The pornographic language and pictures found in the children’s section of America’s libraries is so over-the-top that examples cannot be printed in any respectable newspaper. This is the very definition of catch-22. The public needs to know the extent of the problem. But a full disclosure is “denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem.”

Thus, parental concerns are censored from the public by sheer decorum and decency. But that same decency is not restraining librarians from exposing even the youngest children to indecent content. By attractive, kid-friendly displays, they invite curious children to read what your local newspaper editor is ashamed to print. This is no exaggeration, “Doing It” was attractively featured in the children’s section of my local library in Kemmerer. More recently, the executive director of the Campbell County Public Library has come to national attention for refusing even to move the most obscene titles out of the children’s section.

So, what’s a citizen to do? First, educate yourself. Under the radar, virtually every county and school district library in America indecently exposes children to explicit content. Concerned citizens should search the card catalogue for books of a sexual or otherwise objectionable nature. Make sure to cover the libraries in your local school system as well. Work with other people in the community to share the workload.

Second, go to administrators and discuss your findings. Seek a solution that protects the community’s children above all. Sexually objectionable books should, at the very least, not be exhibited on the direct eye-level of kids wandering past book displays. Better yet, move them into the adult part of the library. Parents who actually want their children to read them can find them there.

Third, learn the library’s policies and whether they are being followed. If not, file a complaint. If the policy itself is inadequate, bring up the matter before the appropriate oversight board—either the school board or the library board. Schools and counties are not answerable to the American Library Association. They are answerable to the voters. Sadly, the ALA has abused the public trust and squandered any credibility it once enjoyed.

Finally, remember that not only parents have a duty to make public libraries safe for children. The entire community shares the duty to create safe spaces. Parents, grandparents and those with no other connection to the community’s children than a desire to see them thrive—all have a legitimate concern. Don’t be silenced because you don’t have a child in the school system. Don’t allow libraries to censor your concerns through bigotry or elitism.

Children need and deserve the protection of every member of the public. That’s why public libraries exist in the first place.

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300 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Wednesday; 43 Recoveries; 3,565 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s total of active coronavirus cases increased by 396 on Wednesday. 

The Wyoming Department of Health received reports of 43 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 300 new laboratory-confirmed and 139 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 3,565 active cases for Wednesday.

Twelve counties had more than 100 active cases, while eight had more than 200. 

Natrona County had 712; Campbell 324; Laramie 299; Fremont 275; Sheridan 232; Park and Uinta 213; Sweetwater 158; Goshen 155; Albany 135; Washakie 134; Lincoln 123; Converse 86; Sublette 77; Carbon 76; Big Horn 70; Platte 67; Teton 51; Weston 49; Johnson 40; Crook 38; Niobrara had 24, and Hot Springs reported the fewest active cases, with 14. 

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 96,059 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 91,414 have recovered.

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Rod Miller: Free Speech, Lava Soap and Wyoming’s Political “Firebrands”

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By Rod Miller, columnist

I learned important lessons about free speech growing up on a ranch. As a kid, the hired hands would teach me interesting new words down in the barn. I’d practice my new vocabulary on the walk up to the house.

When I, with a certain pride, clearly enunciated my new word to Mom, out came the Lava soap. Lava is gritty, foul and tastes like a toxic waste dump, but it was a great mechanism for teaching me about free speech and consequences.

I learned that not every word is suitable for every occasion, despite the First Amendment. I learned that our language is very powerful, and like any powerful thing it is most effective when used with circumspection and wisdom.

There is a GOP precinct committeeman in Park County, Troy Bray, who has not learned those lessons and has obviously never tasted Lava soap. He recently wrote Wyoming Senator Tara Nethercott, castigating her for how she does her job, and suggesting that she commit suicide.

Bray closed his letter, on GOP letterhead, with a string of vulgarities unworthy of a thinking adult.

To their credit, both the Speaker of the Wyoming House and the President of the Senate have asked this knucklehead to resign his position because of the venomous nature of his letter. Apparently the Park County GOP Men’s Glee Club has cut their ties with him as well.

But Bray says on his Facebook page that he won’t resign. And more than a few people are supporting and defending him, including several elected officials. They like his “firebrand” style apparently, and agree with his street-fight rhetoric.

Bray is among a number of GOP officials, both past and present, who are trying to hijack Wyoming’s political heritage and replace it with their brand of scorched earth politics. They are trying to change the very vocabulary of how we do politics in Wyoming by injecting their vulgarity and hate into our common discourse.

They like to characterize themselves and each other as “patriots” and defenders against some sort of ill-defined Deep State. Yet their rhetoric and behavior is that of rabid contestants for “Sphincter of the Month”.

The Brays, the Correntis, the Clems and the rest of that narrow wedge of the Republican Party in Wyoming are betting the farm that you, the Wyoming voter, will respond to their message of fear and division.

They’re going all-in wagering that they can replace the way Wyoming has conducted its political business for more than a century with their crude style of swagger and bluster.

They want to change how we talk about politics, from the measured, respectful language we grew up with to the sputtering, bug-eyed filth that Bray spewed in his letter to Nethercott.

Is Bray’s political speech protected by the First Amendment? Of course it is. But the Constitution offers no indemnity from the consequences of speaking freely.

If we, for any reason, permit this small but noisy bunch of demagogues to succeed in taking over our political life, then we have only ourselves to blame. Unless we want our future civic discourse to be conducted in “expletive deleted”, we need to act soon to put a stop to this nonsense.

Since Wyoming has no statutory mechanism to remove elected officials, and since Bray and a lot of his defenders have election certificates, we as voters will have to go old-school on them.

Educate yourselves about Bray and his supporters. Find out who they are, where they live, what precinct or district they represent. Then, on election day, use your vote to reject this festering pustule on Wyoming’s body politic.

When you have that ballot in your hand, look at it for a moment. Imagine that its a big ol’ bar of Lava soap. Then get to work teaching a lesson about consequences.

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Wendy Corr: Park County Will Miss Radio Host Darian Dudrick

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

For the last seven years, Darian Dudrick has been the voice of KODI-AM in northwest Wyoming.

On Tuesday, the 52-year-old talk show host died, leaving behind family, friends and coworkers after fighting for his life for the previous two weeks.

When I first met Darian, I had come back to radio after a seven-year absence. It was December of 2016, and for the previous two years he had been the man in the seat behind the microphone, after the retirement of longtime morning show host Tom Morrison. Darian had been a newspaper man, primarily as an editor, for 22 years, prior to his foray into radio.

As the KODI morning show hosts – he as the host of “Daybreak” and “Speak Your Piece,” and me as the news director and host of “Partyline” – we were the first two people in the building each day. By 5:30, I was printing out my news stories and he was prepping for his four-hour on-air shift. 

Twice an hour, he and I would banter before my news breaks, and I’d take over the KODI microphone for my half-hour talk show before he re-claimed the studio for “Speak Your Piece.”

Darian’s call-in show won numerous awards over the years from the Wyoming Association of Broadcasters, including “Best News Talk – Small Market” in 2016, 2018, 2020 and this year.

“Darian is fairly irreplaceable,” according to Susan Patrick, who with her husband Larry owns Legend Communications, the parent company for the Big Horn Radio Network in Cody. “I mean, he did his KODI Daybreak show, and he was very, very good at that. And that’s a little easier to fill.

“But ‘Speak Your Piece’ (a live daily call-in radio show) he sort of made his own,” she continued. “And he was a great interviewer, he had his slew of regulars, but also brought in new and interesting people. And he put his own spin on that, and took great pride in it, and that will be very hard to replace.”

The show sparked conversations that were carried around the state by news outlets like Cowboy State Daily – from comments about Kanye West’s contributions to Cody’s economy (“I am hopeful West continues to explore investment in our community,” Cody economic development director James Klessens said on Speak Your Piece in February) to retired U.S. Sen, Al Simpson blasting Iowa-based Gun Owners of America (GOA) while live on the air in April.

“They’ve been exposed as absolute nut cases,” Simpson said at the time.

Other regular guests that I watched come and go for “Speak Your Piece” were local legislators, economic development experts, school board members, historians, public health officials, and others who would comment on issues important to listeners in the Big Horn Basin.

His reputation as an interviewer allowed him other opportunities, as well, including as the moderator for the 2018 gubernatorial debate that was held in Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

But he wasn’t all serious. 

During football season, Darian would be sporting his beloved Miami Dolphins jersey – and his listeners learned quite a bit of music trivia in the early morning hours of the Daybreak show.

Since Sept. 2, the last day Darian was behind a microphone with the KODI Morning Show, Andrew Rossi, the news director for the Big Horn Radio Network, has been filling in as the moderator on “Speak Your Piece” – but how the station moves forward is uncertain.

“We haven’t even begun to discuss it, because of course we were hoping that Darian would recover,” said Patrick. “But, you know, we may feel that we go in a totally different direction – we’ll just have to see. We are considering all options.”

Above all, Patrick noted, the community has lost a good man.

“His co-workers loved and cared for him,” she pointed out. “He’s a great family man and he loved his community. And, you know, part of why he succeeded and did so well with Speak Your Piece is because he truly believed that the issues that he was talking about on a daily basis were important, and he shone a light on them. From Larry and I, he will just be terribly missed.”

Darian leaves behind a wife, two children, a community to whom he endeared himself, and in which his life and his contributions will be remembered with fondness. He will be missed.

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Jim Hicks: ‘Whoops, We Forgot To Get Vaccinated – And Now We Are Sick’

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By Jim Hicks, columnist

A couple of the regulars at the coffee meeting asked about the “one-lane” traffic on the east bound lane of I-90 where the road crosses US 16 next to Bighorn Tire.

Anyone driving under that bridge can quickly see the problem.  Earlier this summer something hit one of the steel spans hard enough to bend it out and actually move the structure a tad to the west.

It was a “hit and run” kind of event, because no one reported the accident which will probably costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair.

But those inexpensive TV surveillance cameras are on lot of buildings around the village and local Highway Patrolmen were able to identify the rig that did all that damage.

It turns out it was a large excavator being hauled on a flatbed semi-truck.  The driver apparently had neglected to “lower the boom” enough. A highway department employee told the Bench Sitters the guilty guy was “apologetic and cooperative.”  Imagine his insurance company is not too happy however.

By looking at several cameras, they were able to identify the truck, trailer (from Campbell County) and now the WYDOT engineering department is designing the project for some major repairs.

We know some of the local people who are sick with the Covid Virus. A few are very sick. They all have one thing in common – they decided not to get vaccinated for one reason or another. 

Some say they just “procrastinated” or thought they were in good health and it probably wouldn’t be any worse than the flu if they did catch it.

Guess it comes under the heading of “whoops.”

We hope they all recover without any lasting damage to their health.

Old Bad News claims he has proof Covid has been around for years. “I know a dozen locals who act and talk like they have serious brain damage and I’ll bet it was caused by this virus before they gave it a name.”

Meanwhile, back down at the feed store we are hearing complaints about how low the streams coming off the mountain are flowing.  Some that usually run at least a trickle into the fall have stopped completely. 

Pumping or hauling water for livestock is unusual, but apparently needed in a few places.  Anyone driving around the county has noticed a lot of dry reservoirs.

And when the California smoke cleared out for a couple of days we all noticed the last of the snow banks on the peaks have melted away . . . just grey granite showing now.

Wyoming Jack O’Brian used to tell dudes the creek was so low he had seen trout carrying canteens.

Local bow hunters are going to be happy with cooler weather which is supposed to roll into the area over the weekend, and we hear there is even a possibility of a little snow in the mountains for the “pointy-stick” elk hunters.

And a couple of the early morning coffee group confirmed these early season bow hunters sometimes answer each other’s bugle calls and end up hunting each other down.

Good way to get acquainted with fellow hunters.

Local football fans were all smiles this week after the Bison got past Green River 20-19, the UW Cowboys won another thriller with last minute scores and the Denver Broncos handled the New York Giants on the road.

A good start for the season. The only downer was Pittsburg beating Josh Allen and the Bills.

The oldest member of the Bench Sitters spends so much time telling us about how it used to be around here that the boys have named him “Back When.”  This week he told us the best bootleg beer in Buffalo during the prohibition was made and sold by a family named Lager who lived on Charles Street (now Lobban). He claims they had no problems with the law because they were among their best customers. 

We’ll keep you posted on things you didn’t really need to know again next week.

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348 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming On Thursday; 677 Recoveries; 4,024 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus case total decreased by 144 on Thursday from Wednesday. 

The Wyoming Department of Health received reports of 677 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases Thursday. 

At the same time, the state reported 348 new laboratory-confirmed and 185 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 4,024 active cases for Thursday. 

Thirteen counties have more than 100 active cases, with eight having more than 200. Natrona County continued to lead the state in active cases with 773; Laramie had 405; Campbell had 331; Fremont had 302; Sweetwater 297; Uinta 268; Sheridan 250; Park 202; Converse 154; Lincoln 145; Hot Springs 123; Teton 122; Albany 101; Carbon 96; Goshen 86; Washakie 68; Crook 62; Platte 50; Johnson 49; Big Horn 48; Weston 44; Sublette had 41, and Niobrara had 27.

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 79,830 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 74,927 have recovered.

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Drunk Gillette Man With Blood “Gushing Out of Head” To Be Cited For DUI After Hospital Release

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By Ryan Lewallen, County 17

Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies will seek the arrest of a 57-year-old man who reportedly crashed into a gooseneck trailer on Little Powder River Road while intoxicated, Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds said Thursday.

Deputies were notified of the incident around 12:07 p.m. yesterday afternoon by a resident who called and reported seeing a 1998 Buick sedan leave the roadway and crash into the trailer, per Reynolds.

The resident reported that the driver of the vehicle was unconscious and bleeding.

When deputies arrived, the 57-year-old male was up and walking around, albeit with a large amount of blood gushing out of his head and face, Reynolds said.

While investigating the scene, he continued, deputies saw several empty beer cans in the vehicle. When asked, the male allegedly admitted to drinking two beers prior to driving.

He was transported to Campbell County Health for his injuries, where deputies were denied access to him while he received care, Reynolds said. Deputies sought and were granted a warrant to obtain a blood sample from the male before leaving him in the care of hospital staff.

He will be arrested upon his release for driving while intoxicated. He will also be cited for failing to maintain a single lane of travel, expired registration, no insurance, and no valid driver’s license, per Reynolds.

The crash on Little Powder River Road resulted in over $1,000 worth of damage both to the Buick and to the trailer.

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Enzi Family: Thanks To All

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The family of Mike Enzi would like to thank everyone for their love and support to us during the loss of our loved one. 

Words cannot begin to express how we appreciate the care shown us by the people of this great state. 

The attendance of our community, friends from Wyoming and around the country, our Governors and Legislators who have served our state so well, the Senators who flew in to be there for him, the Enzi Team over the years and all of those who celebrated his life with us was a special showing of respect to Mike and kindness to us. 

To our dear family, friends, and neighbors who laughed and cried and shared memories, thank you so much. You are why we love this place so much. 

To all who were there or helped in any way that were missed in our thank you, we are so grateful for you. Go make memories and share them with those you love. 

Additionally, thank you for the hundreds of cards sent, filled with memories of Mike and the generous memorials sent in honor of him.

Our thanks and love,

Diana Enzi, Amy and Mike Strom, Brad Enzi and Michelle, Emily and Mike McGrady

and Grampa’s kids Trey and Lilly and Megan and Allison

724 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Monday; 2,782 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by one to start the week Monday. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 890 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 724 new laboratory-confirmed and 167 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 2,782 active cases.

Ten counties now have more than 100 active cases, with two having more than over 400. Natrona County had the highest number of active cases as of Monday 447; Laramie had 408; Campbell had 297; Uinta 194; Fremont 185; Sweetwater 159; Sheridan and Teton 149; Albany 125; Park 113; Converse 78; Lincoln 72; Platte 60; Carbon 55; Goshen 54; Johnson 42; Weston 42; Bog Horn 37; Hot Springs 36; Crook 29; Washakie 24; Sublette had 15, and Niobrara had 13.

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 71,562 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 67,971 have recovered.

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200 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Wednesday; 28 Recoveries, 1,891 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily. 

Wyoming’s active coronavirus increased by 228 on Wednesday from Tuesday. 

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 28 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 200 new laboratory-confirmed and 56 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,891 active cases, an increase of 228 active cases since Tuesday. 

Of these cases, 671 are the Delta variant.

Two counties are over 200 active cases. Laramie County continued to have the highest number of active cases at 442. Natrona County had 263; Campbell had 199; Uinta had 132; Teton 97; Fremont 93; Sheridan 91; Albany 86; Sweetwater 77; Park 75; Carbon 69; Converse 57; Lincoln 48; Platte 32; Goshen 27; Big Horn 24; Johnson and Sublette 14; Washakie and Weston 13; Hot Springs ten; Niobrara had nine, and Crook reported six 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 67,582 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020. Of those, 64,898 have recovered.

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Drought Deepens In Wyoming With An End ‘Difficult To Predict’

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By Elyse Kelly, The Center Square

As Wyoming sinks further into drought conditions, experts say there is no clear end in sight.

The most current U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows nearly 93% of the state in some sort of drought condition, from moderate to extreme, Tony Bergantino, acting director for the Wyoming Water Resources Data System at the Wyoming State Climate Office, said in an email to The Center Square.

More of the state has moved from “abnormally dry” into “moderate drought,” including parts of central and far eastern Wyoming, he said. In north-central Wyoming, conditions have degraded from “moderate drought” to “severe drought.”

“Conditions have continued to deteriorate, with just over a third of the state being in ‘extreme drought’ (D3) or worse now,” Bergantino said. “One-third is the greatest percentage of the state in D3 or worse since the week of Apr. 16, 2013 when we were coming out of the 2012-2013 drought.”

Conditions in neighboring states are also bleeding over into the Cowboy State, with four adjacent counties in Montana and Idaho designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “primary natural disaster areas.” Wyoming already had several counties with this designation by May, and more were added in July, Bergantino said.

As the skies continue to withhold moisture, rivers and streams around the state are showing strain. Rivers, including the Snake River above Jackson Dam, are at or near record low flows, according to Bergantino.

“Low stream flows and low reservoir levels could result in warmer waters, having an impact on aquatic populations and also making areas more susceptible to algae blooms,” he said.

Other environmental impacts range from the obvious – increased chance of wildfires, to potential air quality concerns as a result of wind erosion from drier ground, he said. 

And there is no real end in sight.

“Looking at three-month seasonal outlooks, it is not until the end of 2021 that we see Wyoming move out of the expectation of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation, and even then we move more to a situation of uncertainty where there are even chances of above/below normal temperature/precipitation,” he said. “I do not see things improving markedly in the near term, though.”

Bergantino said it is very difficult to predict how long it will take to recover from this season of extreme dryness.

“There are so many unknowns, such as timing of its ‘end’ and then what sorts of precipitation do we see after we are out of the drought, i.e., do we see normal precipitation, above normal precipitation and for how long?” he said. “Some have looked at a cumulative departure from normal for precipitation and then see how much precipitation would be needed over various lengths of time to bring that departure back up to zero. Unfortunately it is not as simple as that, and simply having your precipitation balance come back to zero does not necessarily mean you have ‘recovered.’”

On top of that each region will recover at a varying rate, Bergantino said. 

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76 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Tuesday; 88 Recoveries, 557 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus remained unchanged Tuesday from Monday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 88 recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases. 

At the same time, the state reported 76 new laboratory-confirmed and 21 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 557 active cases, the same as the total seen Monday.

Laramie County continued to lead the state in active cases with 266; Sweetwater had 42; Natrona 31; Teton 24; Carbon and Lincoln 22; Uinta 20; Albany and Campbell 19; Fremont 18; Converse 16; Platte 11; Sublette 10; Park eight; Crook five; Hot Springs, Sheridan and Weston four; Big Horn, Goshen and Johnson three; Washakie two, and Niobrara County had one.

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 63,235 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 61,918 have recovered.

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Wyoming 2nd Highest In Country For Energy Bills

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Despite being one of the country’s foremost energy producers, Wyoming ranks near the top of the list when it comes to the states with the most expensive energy. 

This has nothing to do with electricity consumption, natural gas use or even the rapidly escalating gas and diesel prices at the pump this summer. Rather, it’s the one thing residents can’t do anything about: long driving distances.

For the third year in a row, Wyoming ranks first in the nation when it comes to the highest motor-fuel consumption per driver and second for the most expensive energy costs, with an average cost of $403 per month, according to a 2021 WalletHub survey.

The survey compared the average monthly energy bills of residents in all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the average monthly consumption and cost of electricity, natural gas, home heating oil, average gas price and the miles traveled for the average driver.

Connecticut had the highest average energy costs, followed in second by Wyoming and Massachusetts in third place. Wyoming also came in second in 2019, though fared better in 2020, placing seventh, according to past years’ surveys.

Not surprisingly, the Cowboy State also topped the list for the most money spent per month on fuel at $246 per month. Conversely, the state ranked 36th for the cheapest electricity at an average of $115 per month. 

Alabama ranked first for high electricity costs at $181 per month, while the most expensive monthly natural gas bill was found in New York at $68, compared to $41 in Wyoming.

As for fueling up vehicles, the worst place to do this is in California, Hawaii and Nevada, which had the highest motor-fuel prices, respectively, according to the survey.

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Wyoming Road Construction Update: No Holiday For Road Construction

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The Fourth of July holiday weekend may be coming up, but road construction knows no holidays — so be prepared for delays and stopped traffic across the state during your weekend travels.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation’s road condition website shows that dozens of construction projects with the potential to slow and stop traffic are still underway around the state.

On Interstate 80, delays are expected east of Cheyenne thanks to a bridge rehabilitation project, and between Cheyenne and Laramie because of pavement marking projects. Construction projects will reduce travel to one lane west of Laramie, while delays are also expected near Elk Mountain.

On Interstate 25, delays are expected south of Cheyenne because of a bridge rehabilitation project. Similar work will also delay traffic south of Douglas and near Casper. Paving on the interstate near Kaycee could also result in 20-minute delays, the department said.

On Interstate 90, bridge repairs east of Moorcroft could lead to travel delays.

A number of projects are also underway on state and federal highways. Work causing delays in travel can be expected in the following areas:

Wyoming Highway 296 northwest of Cody, expect delays;

Wyoming Highway 120 north of Cody, delays of up to 20 minutes;

Wyoming Highway 120 south of Cody, delays of up to 20 minutes, stopped traffic; 

U.S. Highway 14/16/20 north of Cody, delays of up to 20 minutes, stopped traffic;

U.S. Highway 14A between Cody and Powell, expect delays;

U.S. Highway 14A near Byron, expect delays;

U.S. Highway 310/Wyoming Highway 789 near Cowley, delays of up to 20 minutes, stopped traffic;

U.S. Highway 14A/310/Wyoming Highway 789 northeast of Powell, expect delays;

U.S. Highway 16/20/Wyoming Highway 789 north of Worland, delays of up to 15 minutes;

U.S. Highway 26/287 near Moran Junction, delays of up to 20 minutes;

U.S. Highway 26/287 between Moran Junction and Dubois, expect delays;

U.S. Highway 189/191/26/89 south of Jackson, expect delays of up to 20 minutes between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.;

U.S. Highway 189/191 southwest of Jackson, delays of up to 10 minutes;

U.S. Highway 89 between Thayne and Alpine Junction, delays of up to 20 minutes, stopped traffic;

U.S. Highway 20, Wyoming Highway 789 near Shoshone, delays of up to 20 minutes;

Wyoming Highway 372/374 near Rock Springs, delays of up to 10 minutes, stopped traffic;

U.S. Highway 20, Wyoming Highway 789 near Shoshone, delays of up to 20 minutes;

U.S. Highway 287 northwest of Lander, delays of up to 20 minutes, stopped traffic;

U.S. Highway 20/26 west of Casper, delays of up to 20 minutes;

U.S. Highway 20/26/87 in Casper, expect delays;

U.S. Highway 85 between Lingle and Lusk, expect delays;

Wyoming Highway 211 north of Cheyenne, expect delays, and

U.S. Highway 85 south of Cheyenne, expect delays.

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Jim Hicks: It’s Hot, But Not Hot Enough To Baptize A Cat

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By Jim Hicks, columnist

“This is August weather!”  That’s the comment we heard from under a sweat stained ball cap at the feed store this week. After Monday and Tuesday’s temperatures in the triple digits, there were not too many of those “climate change deniers” giving speeches.

But at least it waited until the kids were out of school and on summer vacation.  The city pool is full and looked pretty inviting.

And baseball season is underway with a lot of local kids taking part.  Years ago there was not much in the way of youth baseball activities offered here. School got out and a lot of the kids headed for the ranch to start the summer’s work. 

But there were some years when an American Legion baseball team would be organized to compete.

And sometimes Buffalo would be blest with good young athletes who could play the game well enough to compete with teams from larger communities like Sheridan.

The Bench Sitters remember a team like that.  They didn’t have the full roster of players, but do recall Jack Swartz (who operated the airport here at that time) was coaching.

Some of the players included (and we hope we got this right) were Tony Swartz (pitching), Craig “Goose” Jones on first, Greg Smith on second, Richard Lawrence playing short-stop, Tom Ahern on third base and Ray Mader, catching. 

They were a pretty scrappy team, but almost nobody left in the dugout when they took the field. 

A little thin in the ranks.

In one game against Sheridan the competition was close.

It was a hot day and Buffalo had gone though everyone who had ever pitched.

But there was another inning to play.

They huddled with Coach Swartz to come up with a solution.

“How about having Mader give it a try?”

Now Ray (as anyone who knew him) could throw a ball HARD!

When a runner tried to steal second and Ray got ready to fire one for the “tag” several things would happen.  First the pitcher would dive and hide behind the mound and the center fielder would be ready in case the throw was a bit high.

So they made the decision and Ray took the mound for a few “warm-up” pitches.

And then he hit the next seven Sheridan batters. A few left the game.

Finally, Sheridan’s third base coach asked Tom Ahern a question.

“Is that relief pitcher’s dad a doctor?”

“No,” says Tom with a sideway’s glance. “Why did you think that?”

“Well it looks like he’s drumming up business for someone in the medical field.”

Meanwhile, after several days of hot dry wind, locals are watching the snow rapidly disappear from the tops of the peaks and green replaced by shades of tan in the hills.

Dry years can generate some interesting comments. A few we’ve heard were:

“It looks like one of those years we have to decide if we want to buy hay or sell cows.”

“This is the kind of year irrigators don’t get their feet wet.”

“The boy is only six years old. Until last year he thought hay always came on a truck.”

“So then I got the bright idea of fertilizing our dry-land hay.”

Finally this week we heard a couple of young mothers talking about a wisdom they have picked up by listening to their kids so far this summer.

“You can’t baptize cats.

“When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.

“Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.

“You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.

“Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

“Don’t hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.

“You can’t hide broccoli in a glass of milk.

“The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandma’s lap.”

Stay cool, if you can, and we’ll write again next week.

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Rod Miller: Rep. Shelly Duncan Is A Profile in Political Courage

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Political courage among elected officials is so rare in these dark days of our civic life together that, when it does appear, it stands out like a comet against a night sky. Representative Shelly Duncan, of House District 5 recently gave us just that kind of display.

A few weeks ago, Rep. Duncan attended a GOP town hall in her district where she was presented with a pledge by Representative Chip Neiman, HD1, also from the Upper East Side of Wyoming. Neiman drafted the pledge and sent it to his colleagues in the Wyoming House and Senate, imploring their support.

The pledge in question solicited legislators’ commitment to vote for a bill to alter Wyoming’s election code to rectify what he perceived as problems with election integrity in the Cowboy State, specifically crossover voting and crowded GOP primaries. The impetus, of course, was the GOP gubernatorial primary of 2018, in which Governor Mark Gordon prevailed over a handful of primary opponents with less than 50% of the vote.

Elements of the Wyoming GOP have been seriously butt-hurt since that election, weeping, wailing, gnashing their teeth and promising to “find a better way” that will favor their chosen, less moderate candidates. And now, the crowded slate of hopefuls vying for Liz Cheney’s seat in Congress has them nearly apoplectic.

Enter Chip Neiman with his pledge to support a bill to do away with crossover voting and to establish a run-off election in Wyoming’s primaries. And enter political pressure brought to bear by the state and county GOP apparatus, subtle or otherwise, for Republican legislators to affix their signatures to that pledge and to prove that they are not RINOs.

Representative Duncan, feeling that pressure, reluctantly signed Neiman’s pledge. She was not the only Republican to do so. But she immediately began to have nagging doubts and second thoughts.

In the interim between the town hall and a meeting of the Joint Corporations Committee (the legislative committee responsible for Wyoming’s election code) , where Neiman hoped to present his list of signatories to the pledge, Duncan had time to consider what the pledge meant. Two things became apparent to her.

First, a pledge by a legislator for a future vote on a particular bill without the benefit of the rigorous debate among colleagues of the bill’s merits and drawbacks, and the necessary give-and-take among elected officials, binds the hands of a legislator and obviates the group genius of a representative body. A pledge like Neiman’s attempts to replace collaborative lawmaking with an edict from the Party.

Second, Rep. Duncan took time to research the legislation associated with the pledge and found it to be prohibitively expensive, impractical and likely unconstitutional. None of those facts were revealed in the pledge.

Now, here comes the lesson in political courage. At the aforementioned Joint Corporations meeting, Duncan took time publicly to rescind her support of the pledge, and to apologize to her constituents for signing something so obviously wrong. She did so with humility, and at potentially great political cost.

At the same meeting, several members of the committee also castigated Neiman for his ill-advised pledge, diplomatically and generously calling it a “freshman mistake”. Several country clerks -our frontline soldiers in elections – were also in attendance, including the clerk from Neiman’s own country and they too rapped his knuckles.

I hope that the entire Wyoming Legislature takes note of Duncan’s courageous stateswomanship, and emulates her at every opportunity. 

I also hope that Duncan’s constituents realize how their best interests are served by her kind of wisdom and courage. 

I hope they keep sending her to Cheyenne with that election certificate that she so clearly honors by, in her words, “voting the county line, not the party line”.

In these days of political darkness, black as the inside of a cow, we need to celebrate political courage when it is presented to us, and count ourselves blessed to have humble, brave Representatives like Shelly Duncan.

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Campbell County 16.6% Covid Vax Rate Way Below National Average; 28 States Above 60%

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Talayna Duran has not received the COVID-19 vaccine nor has she given it much thought. The 18-year-old Gillette resident and recent graduate from Thunder Basin High School has started to put the pandemic behind her. 

The last couple months of school saw mask requirements and other restrictions relaxed, and now, she’s not sure if she plans to get vaccinated.

“I don’t have anything against it,” she said with a shrug last Sunday from behind the reception desk at All Dimensions Fitness. “I mean, I would do it if needed or my job required it.”

Phillip Losinski was equally nonplussed about his plans to potentially get vaccinated. The 61-year-old Gillette resident said he’s a bit dubious about the conflicting data coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in general and said he’d like to wait for another six months to see if any new information arises with regard to vaccinations.

“I’d like to do a bit more research,” he said, noting that he believes he had COVID in February 2020, before the illness was officially recognized, and thinks that gives him natural antibodies against the virus. “I’d like to give it at least another six months to see if there are any negative side effects.”

Others, however, like 22-year-old Jacob Dalby have no interest in ever being vaccinated. Dalby, who questions many of the CDC guidelines and science supporting them, pointed to the stated 

98.54% survival rate for COVID-19 versus the 94% 95% efficacy rate of the vaccines in preventing the virus. 

He also questioned the safety of the vaccines and the fact that they were rushed to market under the Emergency Care Act on top of the blanket immunity granted to the pharmaceutical companies under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986 to protect the companies from lawsuits in the event of adverse reactions.

All factors considered, Dalby said that neither he nor members of his family plan to get the vaccine, including his grandmother who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

These are common attitudes in Campbell County, which has the lowest vaccination rate in the state. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, only 16.66% of residents have been vaccinated, followed by 17.67% in Crook County. Conversely, Teton County has the highest number of vaccinations at over 54%.

The relatively low vaccination rate has prompted Campbell County to launch a COVID-19 vaccination campaign to build confidence in the vaccine and prompt residents to get vaccinated, according to Ivy Castleberry, public information officer for Campbell County Public Health.

Ideally, the county would like to achieve a 70% vaccination rate, Castleberry said by email Tuesday, in order to achieve community immunity.

She also noted that while the county county may be lagging when it comes too vaccinating the lower-risk population groups age 12 and older, it has seen vaccinations administered to almost 60% of the higher risk population in the county age 65 and older, with an average of 400 to 500 people getting vaccinated through CCPH each week.

“We would certainly like to see vaccination rates pick up again,” she said.

The county is still in the process of developing the campaign, Castleberry noted, and she couldn’t say whether or not it will involve similar incentives to those seen in other cities and states, most notably Colorado’s $1 Million COVID Vaccine Drawing.

Health Department spokeswoman Kim Deti said the department is disappointed with the vaccination rates seen in Wyoming.

As of June 8, WDH has recorded administering 371,213 shots of the 459,535 COVID-19 vaccines doses it has received, including 222,495 of the Pfizer, 208,740 Modern and 28,300 of the single-dose Janssen vaccine, per WDH data, for a total vaccination rate of just less than 29.5%.

WDH is already running a significant multimedia marketing campaign promoting the vaccines, Deti said, but has not yet discussed offering potential incentives.

“We want everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated,” she said. “The vaccines are doing their job very well.”

Deti noted that the majority of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are occurring among those who have not been vaccinated.

She added the WDH would like to see the vaccination rate increase, although she refrained from providing a target goal. 

“There is no question we would like to see a much higher coverage percentage,” Deti said. “Without vaccination the risk of illness could remain for people and that’s what we’re focused on avoiding. So if our coverage rates remain low the risk for illnesses in Wyoming continues and that is disappointing.”

She cited issues such as the politicization of the vaccine and the relatively low level of new cases in recent weeks as threats affecting public’s perception of the need for vaccination.

“With schools and most businesses open, it may be harder for some people to see the personal need for vaccination,” Deti said.

For Dalby, it’s a lost cause, he said, reiterating his plan to not get the COVID-19 vaccination despite attempts to market it as safe and effective. To him, it’s just another misuse of taxpayer dollars that could otherwise be better spent. 

“I got the shot for the swine flu back in 2010 but got it anyway,” he said. “I don’t see any reason to do that again. And you know what they say? If the government tells you to do something, you should do the exact opposite.”

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70 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming Friday; 77 Recoveries, 531 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily.

Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases increased by four on Friday from Thursday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 77 new recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases.

At the same time, the state reported 70 new laboratory-confirmed and 10 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 531 active cases.

Laramie County continued to have the highest number of active cases at 144; Sweetwater had 84; Campbell 64; Natrona 38; Uinta 34; Albany and Sheridan 26; Fremont and Park 24; Platte 19; Teton nine; Big Horn and Johnson seven; Carbon, Goshen and Sublette four; Crook and Weston three; Converse and Lincoln two, and Hot Springs, Niobrara and Washakie had one.

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 60,623 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 59,372 have recovered.

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Wyoming Medical Society President On Vaccine Hesitancy: ‘Unnecessarily Political’

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By The Center Square, Cowboy State Daily

Wyomingites are among the most reluctant populations in the nation to take the COVID-19 vaccine. That has prompted talk of incentive programs, while some say the reasons are mostly political.

About 28% of state residents have been fully vaccinated, while about 35% have received at least the first shot.

An updated report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services puts 16 Wyoming counties as the most hesitant in the nation.

JJ Chen, incoming president of the Wyoming Medical Society, said hesitancy tends to fall along political lines.

“I think what may be unique in Wyoming is that we are staunchly entrenched along political lines, and unfortunately I think whether to or not to get the vaccine has really taken on an unnecessarily political line,” Chen told The Center Square.

This bears out in the stats as Teton County, one of the few counties to elect Democrats to the state legislature, is also the most vaccinated.

Former Republican President Donald Trump championed vaccines as a means to stop the virus. Trump’s administration was responsible for the vast majority of the planning accelerating vaccine development, according to former head of Operation Warp Speed Moncef Slaoui.

What would really convince Wyomingites to get off the fence is trust, according to Chen. Local figures who are trusted in their communities could sway public opinion by proclaiming the vaccines are safe.

“If you go to church and you hear your pastor tell you, ‘Hey, this vaccine is safe. I just got it. I’m doing fine. Some people may have some side effects, but you know the vast overwhelming majority of people who get the vaccine will be much better off than if they didn’t get it,’… if they heard those kind of words from a trusted individual, I think the barriers to getting vaccinated would be far less,” Chen said.

So far, none of the vaccines are fully FDA-approved. They are approved for emergency use. Chen admitted vaccine fear is legitimate considering how new it is, but Chen likens these vaccines to those developed for polio and smallpox asserting public health improved when those inoculations were accepted.

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120 New Coronavirus Cases In Wyoming; 524 Active

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By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily

With recoveries leading the way, Wyoming’s active coronavirus cases increased by 73 on Wednesday from Monday.

Wyoming Department of Health figures showed that the department received reports of 80 new recoveries among those with confirmed or probable cases in two days.

At the same time, the state reported 120 new laboratory-confirmed and 34 new probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 524 active cases.

Laramie County reported the most active cases with 99; Albany and Sweetwater had 68; Campbell 62; Natrona 54; Park 33; Uinta 28; Sheridan 23; Fremont 22; Teton 14; Platte nine; Goshen eight; Carbon seven; Washakie six; Big Horn five; Lincoln four; Crook and Sublette three; Converse, Johnson and Niobrara two, and Hot Springs, and Weston had the least number of active cases, with one.

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 59,376 the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in March 2020.

Of those, 58,139 have recovered.

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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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Wyoming Gargantuan Snowstorm Friday Afternoon Update

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As most of Wyoming prepares to get ready for the largest snowstorm in over a year, meteorologist Don Day advises patience.

The weather system has slowed down somewhat so it will be later in the day on Saturday when the heavy snow starts falling.

That’s about the only thing that has changed, however. It is still expected to be a dangerous storm with multiple feet of snow falling in some locations.

“We see a lot of really good agreement on our weather forecasting tools,” Day told Cowboy State Daily on Friday afternoon. “So that gives us a really high confidence level that this storm will come to fruition.

“This will be the biggest storm of this year, bar none,” Day continued. “It’ll be a bigger storm than we saw during 2020 as well.”

Day said the storm is moving up from the southwest and will enter Wyoming from Colorado on Saturday morning. But the heavy stuff isn’t expected to fall until mid-day on Saturday.

“By noon to 6pm tomorrow (Saturday), that’s when the snow really kicks in and starts to get really heavy. That’s also when the wind picks up,” he said.

Day said the heaviest snow will occur from mid-day Saturday to mid to late Sunday afternoon and depending on your location, you could see multiple feet of snow.

“I’m expecting 2 to 3 feet of snow in the foothills of the Laramie range west of Cheyenne to South of Casper,” he said. “For the plains east of the mountains, we’re still going with 12 to 24 inches.”

He said north of the I-90 corridor, the storm will have less of an impact.

The full conversation with Day can be seen below:

Cowboys Basketball Regular Season Ends Where It Was Supposed to Begin

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By Tracy Ringolsby, WelcomeTo7220.com

The Cowboys original basketball schedule had them hosting UNLV in Laramie Dec. 20 and Dec. 22. It never happened. COVID issues at UNLV led to those games being postponed.

Well, the Cowboys and UNLV made up for that — half way. The regular season came to a close at the AA on Saturday with Wyoming beating UNLV 80-69. 

Now it is off to the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas. The Cowboys face San Jose State in their tournament opener in at 5:30 tipoff on Wednesday night.

Here’s the irony: While Wyoming was scheduled to open the season against UNLV but wound up concluding it with a visit from UNLV, the Cowboys were supposed to close the regular season Feb. 25 and Feb. 27 against San Jose State, but those games were cancelled. Now the Cowboys are scheduled to face San Jose State in their MW Tournament opener. 

And Did You Know . . .

TEAM NOTES (courtesy Nick Seeman, Wyoming Athletics)

•Wyoming and UNLV met for the 60th time on Saturday.

•Wyoming now trails in the all-time series 19-41 in a series that dates back to 1966.

•The Pokes are 16-11 all-time against UNLV in Laramie.

•Wyoming closes out the regular season with a 13-9 overall record and a 7-9 mark in the MW.

•The Pokes shot 50 percent from behind the arc for the third game shooting 50 percent or more from

behind the arc this season

•The Cowboy bench added 31 points, outscoring UNLV 31-27. Wyoming is 8-0 when the bench

outscores the opponent.

•The Cowboys shot a season-high 55 percent from the field.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

•Freshman Graham Ike recorded 17 points for his fifth game in double figures this season

•Ike had 13 of his 17 points in the first half.

•Ike recorded a career-high eight made field goals.

•Junior Hunter Thompson added 12 points for his sixth game in double-figures and second-straight.

•Thompson hit four triples for the most in a game since hitting four in the series opener against New Mexico.

•Junior Hunter Maldonado added 12 points for his 17th game in double-figures this season and the

56th of his career.

•He also added nine rebounds and has right or more rebounds in four-straight games.

•Junior Drake Jeffries added 14 points for his seventh game in double-figures this season.

•He hit four three pointers and has four or more threes in five games this season. He has 50 threes on the season.

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175 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming on Wednesday; 1,434 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s total of active coronavirus cases grew by 146 on Wednesday as the state reported more than 170 new active COVID cases.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus up date, reported 41 new probable and 175 new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday.

At the same time, the state received reports of 70 recoveries among patients with either confirmed or probable cases, leaving Wyoming with 1,434 active cases, an increase of 146 from Tuesday.

Teton County had 267 active cases; Natrona County had 226; Uinta County had 156; Laramie had 125; Fremont had 105; Campbell had 72; Albany had 68; Carbon had 66; Sweetwater had 65; Sheridan had 51; Lincoln and Park had 44; Platte had 26; Goshen had 23; Big Horn had 22;  Washakie had 17; Converse, Hot Springs and Sublette had 11; Johnson had nine; Weston had eight, and Crook had seven.

Niobrara County continued to be the only county in the state with no active coronavirus 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, 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.

New confirmed cases were reported in 20 counties. Teton County had the highest number of new cases at 27. Laramie County had 19 new cases.

The increase in confirmed and probable cases meant that 51,368 Wyoming residents have been diagnosed with either confirmed or probable cases of COVID since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in March.

Of those patients, 49,338 have recovered since March, according to Department of Health figures.

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88 New Coronavirus Cases in Wyoming on Sunday; 1,787 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The numbers that indicate the prevalence of the coronavirus in Wyoming changed little Sunday, with the number of active cases increasing by 47.

The Wyoming Department of Health, in its daily coronavirus update, reported 88 new laboratory-confirmed cases and 25 new probable cases.

At the same time, the number of reported recoveries went up by 66, leaving the state with 1,787 active cases, an increase of 47 from Saturday.

The number of active cases has been alternating between daily increases and decreases since Wednesday. The net result is an increase of three active cases since Wednesday.

As of Sunday, Laramie County had 246 active cases; Natrona County had 236; Uinta County had 177; Teton County had 173; Sheridan had 120; Park had 119; Sweetwater had 110; Campbell had 108; Albany had 94; Lincoln had 86; Fremont had 70; Big Horn and Converse had 35; Hot Springs had 34; Platte had 29; Washakie had 27; Johnson had 23; Goshen had 21; Carbon had 16; Sublette had 11; Crook had eight; Weston had seven, and Niobrara had two.

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.

New confirmed cases were reported in 16 counties, with Uinta County reporting the highest number at 15. 

The additional confirmed and probable cases meant the state has seen 46,832 people diagnosed with the coronavirus since the first case was detected in Wyoming in mid-March.

During the same time period, 44,556 people have recovered from either confirmed or probable cases. 

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250 New Coronavirus Cases on Thursday in Wyoming; 2,289 Active

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The number of active coronavirus cases in Wyoming fell again Thursday, dropping below 2,300, according to Wyoming Health Department figures.

The department said it received 230 reports of new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, along with 53 reports of new probable cases.

However, the number of new reports of recoveries Thursday totaled 495, leaving the state with 2,289 active cases, a decline of 235 from Wednesday.

Laramie County had 363 active cases; Natrona had 337; Sweetwater had 317; Fremont had 152; Park had 151; Campbell had 126; Sheridan had 110; Uinta had 101; Teton had 90; Washakie had 73; Albany had 71; Lincoln had 64; Big Horn had 59; Converse had 55; Goshen had 49; Carbon had 41; Johnson had 36; Sublette had 27; Hot Springs and Platte had 18; Crook had 15; Weston had 12, and Niobrara had four.

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.

Eighteen counties reported new cases Thursday. Sweetwater County reported the highest number of new cases at 76. Natrona County had 31.

The increase in confirmed cases brought the total seen since the illness was first detected in Wyoming in mid-March to 35,113.

The number of probable cases seen since the pandemic began, meanwhile, stood at 5,480, an increase of 53 from Wednesday.

The gain of 495 in recoveries among people with either confirmed or probable cases left the total number of people to recover since mid-March at 37,953.

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Foster Friess Giving Away $5,000 Per Day to Charities/Neighborhood Heroes

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Wyoming’s Foster Friess is in the Christmas spirit as he’s launching his own “12 Days of Christmas” campaign through December 24.

And to celebrate, Friess announced he will give away $5,000 per day to charities and neighborhood heroes.

“Each day between December 13 and December 24th, I’m filling up my saddle bag with $5,000 checks,” he said.

Interested individuals should visit Friess’ website and nominate a charity or neighborhood hero. 

“Tell us why you think they could use a Christmas boost from Foster and include where they’re located,” the page reads.

“Together let’s be His hands and feet in a hurting world,” Friess said.

To visit Friess’ page, click here.

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Bohl ‘Disappointed, Discouraged’ By Social Media Threats To UW Players

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By Cody Tucker, 7220Sports.com

Tyler Vander Waal penned an open letter last March to fans about some personal things he had been dealing with before deciding to enter the transfer portal and leave the University of Wyoming.

One of the glaring issues, the quarterback wrote, was receiving threatening, vulgar messages via social media.

One in particular, Vander Waal said, was “You f—— suck, go kill yourself.”

Current UW quarterback Levi Williams sent out a Tweet late Sunday indicating that he has also been receiving “death notes.”

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl said Monday during his season-ending press conference that he wasn’t aware of these messages to his players, but that didn’t stop him from responding.

“I’d like to say, hey, if you want to come after somebody, come after me,” a visibly upset Bohl said. “I just I’m so discouraged. That is, that is so disappointing. I know, we have a great number of fans out there. But you know, sometimes these guys forget that this is a college game.

“You know what? Go get after Josh Allen,” he continued. “See how far you go. Josh wasn’t perfect when he was here. And so that’s where I think we’ve really got to be cautious … So, that’s disappointing. These guys come to this program and they’re doing everything they can. It’s not like Levi’s out there trying to screw up. So, I was not aware of it. I’m not a social media guy. But that that really, really disappoints me. Really, just, it’s discouraging.”

Bohl touched on a number of subjects Monday, but circled back to his thoughts on people coming after his players online.

“What our players don’t deserve is some of that jack— who makes those kind of comments about Levi Williams,” a frustrated Bohl said. “… I go knocking on that guy’s door whip his butt, right now.

“That is a bunch of baloney. That just pisses me off when I heard that.”

Other vulgar messages aimed at wide receiver Ayden Eberhardt and running back Trey Smith were shared on Twitter Monday. Neither contained a threat.

If you missed the interview with Vander Waal, it can be found HERE.

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It Doesn’t Make Any Sense But Salt Water Taffy is Wyoming’s Favorite Halloween Candy

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Halloween memes are great. There’s the meme that shows the Dole ‘fun-size’ mini salad, the Grim Reaper who decides not to take someone’s soul because she handed-out full-size Snickers, and the perennial Halloween Group Therapy session.

We love them all.

But is Halloween even going to happen in the year of the Coronavirus?

It is.  In fact, the decline in trick-or-treating and handing out candy is projected to be quite small.

Halloween candy sales are expected to reach $2.4 billion this year, down only slightly from $2.6 billion last year. (Yes, $200 million is a lot of money but the U.S. national debt is $27 trillion so nothing really matters).

The National Retail Federation estimates that 20% fewer trick-or-treaters will to venture out this year compared to last and only 11% fewer people are planning to hand out candy.

All of which, naturally, leads us to wonder: What is Wyoming’s most popular type of Halloween candy?

We found one survey that we’re throwing in the trash. A site called Zippia says Wyoming’s favorite is Hershey’s Kisses, those ubiquitous drops of chocolate wrapped in bright foil.

But Zippia’s methodology is suspect, with the site saying its analysts use Google Trends, but failing to explain how those analytics are used.

The survey that makes sense to us is from CandyStore.com.

Its methodology makes a lot more sense.  It’s based on actual sales.

“For over 13 years, we’ve been delivering bulk candy around the country. As bulk candy retailers and distributors, we’ve got a lot of candy sales data to comb through,” the company said.

What did the company come up with for Wyoming?  Salt water taffy.

This doesn’t particularly make sense to us. How does CandyStore.com know people are buying the taffy to hand out on Halloween?

The company said it analyzed its sales data from 2007 to 2019 with an emphasis on the moths leading up to Halloween. The site has also developed relationships with major candy manufacturers and distributors who contributed to the survey, the site said.

Bottom line: 25,864 pounds of salt water taffy was purchased in Wyoming last year during “Halloween season.” Close behind was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at 24,790 pounds. So it’s a close call.

Land-locked Wyoming is the only state where the sticky confection associated with the seashore is No. 1.

Looking at the handy-dandy CandyStore map identifying the top candies of all the states, you see a lot of Skittles, candy corn, and Reese’s.

The national top ten candies are:

  1. Skittles
  2. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  3. Starburst
  4. M&M’s
  5. Hot Tamales
  6. Candy Corn
  7. Snickers
  8. Sour Patch Kids
  9. Hersey Kisses
  10. Jolly Ranchers

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Yellowstone Asking People To Share Photo of Lost Dog To Reunite it With Family

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Credit the folks at Yellowstone National Park for not giving up and continuing to try to reunite a lost dog with its rightful family.

A lost dog was found by a couple in Yellowstone in late September and instead of letting it roam, they thought it might be safer in their hometown of Shelton, Washington.

So they took it back to their home and dropped it off at the dog pound.

Apparently, the dog is not chipped, doesn’t have a collar, and has no tags.

According to the pound, the dog is being fostered but is “lost and scared” so they are reaching out to the public and asking for people to share the photo in hopes that the dog’s owners are looking for their lost pal.

Although there are many offers to adopt the dog, they are asking folks to wait on that.

“For any adoption inquiries, please hold off on that and pray for a reunification for the time being. We will keep everyone updated,” they wrote.

The main Yellowstone National Park Facebook page is asking for help as well and is asking for as many people as possible to share photos of the dog.

“Please share this post to help locate her owner! If you have any information about this pup, please reach out to the City of Shelton Animal Control Department.”

Lost dog!This dog was found in Yellowstone on September 28, hitchhiked her way to Washington, and is currently being…

Posted by Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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Dave Simpson — Voting: It Isn’t Like Storming Omaha Beach

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LET’S RISK IT: If our fathers and grandfathers could scramble out of landing craft at Omaha Beach into a hail of enemy machine gun fire, I figure I can risk going to my polling place on November Third to cast my votes.

I go to the grocery store a couple of times a week, so it’s a good bet I can survive a trip to my polling place.

I can wear a mask, rubber gloves, and use plenty of hand sanitizer. So it seems like a reasonable risk to me – even though at 69 I’m more vulnerable to catching coronavirus – to visit our polling place in person.

The risk of voting in person is worth it to help avoid the difficulty that appears to be on the way of voting by mail, depending on the Post Office to get me a ballot and then get it back to the courthouse in time, then wondering if my votes were counted. Compared to landing at Normandy, doing my part for my country and voting the old fashioned way is a piece of cake.

That said, there are so many folks wary of the threat of Covid-19 that mail-in voting will be huge this year, and the Bush versus Gore chaos of 2000 could be surpassed as we go days or weeks without knowing who wins the presidency.

President Donald Trump sees the potential for fraud in massive mail-in voting, to which reporters who don’t like him add “without evidence” to their reports. (“Without evidence?” Where’s the evidence supporting the War on Poverty, throwing more and more money at education to get better results, and  layer upon layer of government programs of questionable value? Don’t hold your breath waiting for reporters to demand evidence that those efforts actually work.)

I grew up in Cook County, Illinois, and recall the election of 1960. Vote totals from our county were suspiciously delayed, and the clear indication was that they were waiting to find out how many votes John F. Kennedy needed to win. (The handful of votes from Hubbard’s Mountain Cupboard, Wyoming – near where I now live – were also held up in that election, but by a snow storm, not political shenanigans.)

I also remember the much more recent election in Minnesota where it took an incredible eight months of counting votes, recounting them, and official challenges to find out that incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman had been defeated by Al Franken by a little more than 200 votes.

And then we have “vote harvesting” in California, in which activists run around collecting the ballots of those too lazy or too uninterested to cast their votes themselves. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Joe Biden has reportedly hired hundreds of lawyers to fight all aspects of a potential Trump victory, so it could be quite a while before we figure out who wins this thing.

I’ll do my part to make things simpler by trotting down the road to cast my votes in person, the old fashioned way.

It’s a lot easier than facing a hail of German machine gun fire.

ALL HET UP: I don’t blame my Democrat friends (I have some, having worked in journalism for 40 years) for looking forward to this election. Because the poor dears have been hysterical for the last four years about virtually everything Donald Trump does.

They’ve got to be worn out, being in Chicken Little Mode (CLM) for all this time. And the level of hysteria skyrocketed last week with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What we are now seeing could be termed uber hysteria, as Trump prepares to nominate a replacement for the liberal icon Justice Ginsburg.

Trump says he will nominate a woman, which will make it harder for Democrats to accuse the nominee of being a sex pervert. But I’m sure they will find something despicable about any Trump nominee. Maybe cannibalism, eating babies for breakfast, or torturing cute little puppy dogs.

The hard part for Republicans will be whistling past the Merrick Garland graveyard. Explaining why this time is different will be their challenge.

Buckle up, folks. This is going to be quite a ride.

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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Wyoming’s Chancey Williams Says He is Frequently Mistaken For Prince Harry

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EPISODE 2 OUT NOW

NEW EPISODE OUT NOW @ flintrasmussen.comAccording To Flint episode 2 is available now. Flint sits down with Chancey Williams to talk about rodeo, music, and share great stories. Check it out and tell your friends. 🎧LISTEN:Apple: https://apple.co/30LHNgmSpotify: https://spoti.fi/33RTnZb TuneIn: https://bit.ly/3fLAVUxGoogle: https://bit.ly/2DPykvn

Posted by Flint Rasmussen on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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As fans of country music star — and Wyoming native — Chancey Williams, we were aware of the musician’s birthday yesterday.

To see if he provided a glimpse on how he celebrated, we did some searching and although we were not successful in that pursuit, we did find something interesting.

Williams was a guest on a new podcast hosted by Professional Bull Riders entertainer Flint Rasmussen.

In the short but entertaining preview clip, Williams discusses how he is frequently mistaken for royalty — namely Prince Harry.

“We played over in France one year and I got stopped a lot,” Williams told Rasmussen.

“What do you do when you’re in a European country and people think you’re Prince Harry? Do you just go with it?” Rasmussen asked.

“I don’t speak any foreign languages so I just nod and smile,” Williams said.

Rasmussen reminded him that English is spoken in England to which Williams clarified he was talking about France.

“When I was in France and I would hear the words ‘Prince Harry’ and I would just nod and say ‘Oui’ and sometimes ‘Oui’ and ‘Si’, Williams said laughing.

Rasmussen brought up a popular meme from 2018 when Harry got married and someone photoshopped William’s head onto the Prince.

“I didn’t think anyone photoshopped them, I just thought they put a cowboy hat on Prince Harry,” Rasmussen said.

The full podcast can be heard here.

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Rusty Rogers: I Gave Obama An A+ For His Success In Changing The USA

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By Rusty Rogers, Guest Columnist

You may remember at the end of Obama’s first term he was asked to give himself a grade. He gave himself an A-. Most conservative pundits went a little ballistic of course. Most gave him around a C or B-, I gave an A+.

Why you might say? Well, let’s take a look at what he wanted to achieve. Though he never came right out and stated what he had in mind, (other than to fundamentally change America), it was clear to me that he intended to change America to a socialist country.

By the end of his first term he had achieved an amazing percentage of the necessary small changes. Vastly increased regulations and policies that restricted business growth and increased unemployment. He made several moves personally and officially to increase the division between black and white by huge amounts and between the police and society in general.

 All of his actions served another very important purpose as well. It tested the limits of Americans ability to be obedient little children. Depressingly it appears most of us scored pretty high in that department. As clearly demonstrated by our actions in the shutdown.

It should be clear to everyone by now that it was the wrong thing to do. So why was Dr. Fauci and fellow “scientists” so adamant to make it happen? After all it’s the exact opposite of what he said in 2009. I’ve gone through a lot of searching to figure that out and reached several conclusions. Has our attention span gotten so short?

Was it reaching for the emotional high of having such power that an entire country does what you want and eventually the world? Was it part of a concerted effort to get rid of a president you don’t want around? Was it monetary, after all Fauci has a financial interest in several drugs, no one really knows for sure how much or how many. Check out One America News Investigates.

Or was it part of a plan to bring America to its knees.

Most likely a bit of all of the above. You can’t fundamentally change a country without first destroying the system in place. Obama knew that which is why his actions were only the first half of a 16-year plan to as he put it, “fundamentally change America.”

The second greatest victory attributable to the socialist program is having turned Americans into docile little lambs being led to the slaughter. The greatest was turning us against each other once again. Our national health care officials say do this and we do it. Perhaps in the back of our minds a little voice says, “this doesn’t make sense,” but we obey anyway. When did we lose our backbone?

Did shutting down the world stop or slow down the virus? Maybe but a more accurate term would be delayed. The moment we got tired of hiding under the bed, the boogie man attacked. If we go back under the bed, the boogie man will just wait until we come out again. By shutting down society we made the so called second round far worse.

We never shut down for a disease before and we shouldn’t have this time. I find it amazing that we humans have the arrogance to think we can “manage” a virus. It is a life form we know mutates about every 6 months and for which we have never been able to create a real vaccine. Nor will we. When did we relinquish our common sense.

We have traded our traditional independence and free will for instructions from people who change those instructions depending on the political wind. You can’t trust the NIH or CDC, in fact I would say it quite likely you can’t trust any government agency. They are agenda driven. Why have we surrendered so easily? What has happened to us?

Some 3 percent of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, about 5 percent in the Civil War etc. Today’s military is about 1 percent or our population, what do you suppose the percentage is that are causing so much destruction and horror on the streets of America today?

I would personally guess less than ½ of 1 percent. Yet they are driving a change that will cost this amazing country far more than we can afford, in freedom and life. Far more than they themselves understand. What have we allowed to happen to our children?

We have got to start to take charge of our neighborhoods and cities. It is obvious that many mayors and governors are putting their constituents in serious danger in order to stop Trump. I’ve had several people scoff at me decrying the, to me, obvious. Stating that “no way would anyone do that”! Really?

Take a good look at every country over the last 170 years since Karl Marx condemned mankind to centuries of strife with his words.

Look at what has occurred in those countries where his followers advanced their causes. There is literally nothing they will not do and no one they will not sacrifice. The founders of BLM are only the first to freely admit to being Marxists. Many more will soon appear.

The most recent polls now show that more Americans believe Biden will be better at controlling the virus than Trump. Setting aside the obvious, Biden doesn’t even know where he is, what!? Obama and Biden had the more lethal H1N1 or swine flu and didn’t even respond until thousands had died. When the numbers began to climb too fast Obama ordered testing to be stopped. That’s how they manage a pandemic. And people want that back? Just how dumb have we gotten.

Have we become so easily controlled that even a suspicious story by an obviously slanted source can sway society. The polls as we already know are about as accurate as a 12 gauge at 200 yards. Yet a lot of Americans pay attention to them. I, for one, do not.

Every day on the news you have democratic pundits going on and on about how Trump delayed responding to the virus. How he has no plan and has refused to help the states. They either really believe what they are saying not realizing that we were all here for the whole pandemic; or they think we are the stupidest people on earth with absolutely no short term memory, long term either for that matter.

They couldn’t be much more insulting.

I know the virus is real, I know it’s very contagious and that it’s very survivable. Less lethal by a good amount than the Swine flu. However, I will not allow it to be used to keep me in my home while anarchists and communists destroy my country. I will not allow it to be used to suppress me while my freedom is stolen. It has been militarized and aimed at you, don’t let them use it to win.

Timberline Hospitalities Unveils Timberline Way Promise

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Timberline Hospitalities, a Wyoming owned and operated hotel company, is pleased to announce the unveiling of our new “Timberline Way Promise”.

Now, more than ever, we are committed to the health and safety of our hotel guests and team members. We have enhanced our mission of “Making Friends One Guest at a Time” through additional services that promote cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been our priority to focus on our Cultural Approach. This includes being urgent, second and unique in embracing our part of flattening the spread of the virus.

We have moved quickly and have listened to our guests regarding what is most important to them when staying at our hotels. We are still working diligently towards creating a touch-free experience including curbside check-in, pre-arrival notifications, e-signatures for registration cards and receipts and much more.

Our Timberline Portfolio, at www.timberlinehotels.com, is prepared to welcome new and returning guests in our best condition ever because we care about people and love creating outstanding guest experiences. #togetherwearestronger #bettertogether

Country Band, Veterinarian, Bowling Alley Among Wyoming Coronavirus Relief Recipients

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A popular Wyoming country music band, a Rock Springs veterinarian, an Afton bowling alley, a Cheyenne roller skating rink, and a number of restaurants and bars are among the 151 businesses to so far receive $50,000 through the state’s coronavirus relief fund.

The Wyoming Business Council, as of Tuesday, had distributed more than $12.4 million to 1,193 businesses under the state’s Business Interruption Stipend program, including the 151 companies that received the maximum allowable $50,000.

The relief program is one of three approved by Wyoming’s Legislature using the $1.25 billion in federal money made available to Wyoming through the coronavirus relief program approved by Congress.

The Business Interruption Stipend program is designed to provide assistance for any Wyoming businesses with 50 or fewer employees that suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and related business shutdowns, along with the resulting general decline in the economy. 

Among the businesses receiving the maximum grant was Chancey Williams Music LLC, the corporation of Wyoming musician Chancey Williams. Williams said on his website that he has been unable to tour for several months, but has returned to the road, playing in venues with crowd sizes limited to 250.

Rex Rammell, a Rock Springs veterinarian and former candidate for both Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat and its governor’s office, also received $50,000, according to WBC figures posted on the state’s transparency website,

Dr. Rammell said the assistance was very welcome because his business declined significantly after the issuing of statewide health orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It was devastating to our business,” said Rammell, who owns vet clinics in Rock Springs and Pinedale, along with a “pet resort.” “Business just dropped like a rock. We had a little stuff, like emergencies, but for the most part the economy just shut down. I ws very grateful we got some assistance to help bail us out.”

Also receiving the maximum grant was the Cheyenne roller skating rink Roller City and the Afton bowling alley Skyview Lanes.

A number of restaurants and bars, which were forced to close for on-premises service by state health orders, also received the maximum grant, including Roadhouse Brewing in Jackson, the Tortilla Factory in Cheyenne, and First Street Station Inc., which runs several restaurants in Laramie.

Some child care businesses, many of which were forced to close or severely curtail their operations, also received the maximum grant through the program, including Cheyenne’s Promise Patch, Giggles & Wiggles Preschool in Casper and Pumpkin Patch Preschool in Wilson.

Other companies receiving the maximum grant included movie theaters, fitness clubs, catering companies, an electronics manufacturer in Riverton, a Jackson dude ranch, a yoga studio and an auction business.

The other grants made to more than 1,000 businesses ranged from $454 to $49,760.

The Legislature set aside $50 million for the Business Interruption Stipend Program. So far, 3,311 businesses have applied for assistance.

The state is planning to accept applications for the other two relief programs beginning in July. One program, the Coronavirus Business Relief Stipend, will provide up to $300,000 for companies that employ fewer than 100 people that were forced to shut down or curtail operations because of state health orders issued to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The other, The Coronavirus Mitigation Fund, is designed to compensate businesses for expenses they faced directly related to the coronavirus, such as the purchase of cleaning products, personal protective equipment and the cost of hiring new employees to comply with public health orders.

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Visit Sweetwater County: Road Trip Into Wyoming’s Wild Natural Beauty

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WIDE OPEN SPACES, WILD HORSES AND WESTERN BEAUTY

A trip to Yellowstone is a bucket-list-worthy adventure, but the journey to the park can be just as unforgettable as the park itself.

Start a few hours south of Yellowstone, and drive through the incredible and untamed beauty of Sweetwater County to get a taste for Wyoming’s unique natural setting.

From state record-breaking trout to herds of wild horses, this is a place that’s rugged and ripe with opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Get off the grid and reconnect with nature as you whitewater raft, off-road on sand dunes, hike among ancient petroglyphs and let your spirit run wild.

FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR

At the very edge of Sweetwater County, straddling the Wyoming-Utah border, is the breathtaking Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The massive, twisting waterway is 42,000 acres of pure beauty. It provides awesome opportunities for boating and waterskiing, as the views around each bend are ever-changing and absolutely gorgeous.

You can even windsurf the lake, but it’s especially popular for its world-renowned fishing, as the reservoir is filled with trout, bass, and even salmon. Another way to experience the endless beauty here is to hike around the shores.

Rugged cliffs above the gorge and dense, lush forests provide wild and exciting trails. Rent a campsite beside the lake so you can sit back and enjoy this incredible place.

WHITE MOUNTAIN PETROGLYPHS

White Mountain Petroglyphs is a great hike for those who like their outdoor adventure with a side of history. The trails here take you past ancient rock carvings from between 1,000 to 200 years ago.

Take your time to examine the petroglyphs, which appear to depict elk and buffalo hunts, handprints, tiny footprints and other symbols and markings. Many tribes hold this place to be sacred, and you can feel something special in the atmosphere here.

KILLPECKER SAND DUNES

Next, make your way to the Killpecker Sand Dunes. As the second-largest active dune field in the world, featuring thousands of acres of shifting sand, it’s truly a sight to see.

You can also experience the dunes while exploring the larger Red Desert area, which contains the sand dune field. These are back country roads with no services, so it’s a good idea to fuel up a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle. 

Just be careful — high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended and weather conditions can and do change quickly making it imperative to be prepared at all times.

There are no services along the route as it winds its way through the beautiful and rugged landscape, and cell phone reception may be limited. It is always advisable to inform someone of your destination and the planned time of return.

BOAR’S TUSK

As you head north toward the sand dunes, it’ll be hard to miss Boar’s Tusk.

The lone butte is the remains of a volcano, composed of a rare, erosion-resistant volcanic rock called lamproite.

Drive a little closer to it to snap some photos and walk around… it’s a distinctive feature that adds character to the wild landscape.

PILOT BUTTE WILD HORSE SCENIC LOOP

If you’re short on time, then a scenic drive can give you a great sense of the wild western landscape with little effort… you won’t even need to get out of the car! 

The Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop is a unique opportunity to possibly see wild horses in their natural habitat. You’ll see herds of horses in all of their untamed glory, but plan to stop at the interpretive signs and scenic overlooks, too.

Just be careful — high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended and weather conditions can and do change quickly making it imperative to be prepared at all times.

There are no services along the route as it winds its way through the beautiful and rugged landscape, and cell phone reception may be limited. It is always advisable to inform someone of your destination and the planned time of return.

GREEN RIVER WHITEWATER PARK

The city of Green River is a nice place to get back in touch with civilization during your outdoor excursion through the region. It’s also home to Expedition Island Park, a public green space that serves as the heart of the city.

Its history dates back to 1869 when John Wesley Powell launched his historic exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon from the island, and you can follow in his footsteps with a visit to Expedition Island’s Green River Whitewater Park.

The North Channel of the Whitewater Park is a great place for tubers and beginning kayakers and canoers to put-in; the gentle drops, deep pools, and shallower edges make it a great place to swim, take a float on a tube and get the hang of navigating the river on a boat.

The main channel, which contains Castle Falls, is a little more advanced, but it’s an exciting and easy way to get your feet wet for some fun whitewater rafting and canoeing.

Be safe — don’t forget to check current whitewater conditions with USGS!

SEEDSKADEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Another way to get wild in Sweetwater County is to meet some of the wildlife in the area. The Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge is absolutely amazing. 

Eagles, moose, pelicans, swans, deer, elk, antelope, jackrabbits, horses and more roam the landscape, which follows a portion of the Green River. The grassland is so wide and open that you might not see anyone else during a visit here.

The peace and quiet make for an incredible experience. Cruise around the roads, hike through the wilderness, backcountry camp and catch some fish in the Green River.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

After spending a few days exploring, you’ll be re-energized to tackle the drive to Yellowstone.

The park is an absolute wonderland of natural beauty with geothermal oddities, incredible wildlife, and rugged mountains and canyons to explore. But as you experience all of the park’s jaw-dropping, bucket list-worthy sights, you might find yourself dreaming about the quiet beauty of Sweetwater County.

With so many different and unique ways to immerse yourself in the outdoor fun of Wyoming, Sweetwater County is an awesome stop on the way to Yellowstone or as a destination in and of itself.

Either way, experiencing the fun and outdoor allure of southern Wyoming is sure to create memories. It’ll turn even the least adventurous outdoorsman into a nature-lover!

For more trip guides like this, visit roadtrippers.com!

Visit Sweetwater County: EXPLORE THE WILD WEST

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MEET DINOSAURS & WILD HORSES!

Sure, National Parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton are great ways for the family to experience the unique landscape and culture of the Wild West, but nothing can beat actually exploring the charming towns, peaceful lakes, somber mountains and sweeping prairies just outside the parks.

This trip runs through an authentic slice of Americana that will give everyone, from the kids to the adults, a taste of what makes this part of the country so special.

You’ll learn about when dinosaurs roamed the land, see unique wildlife that lives here today and get outside as you fully appreciate this little corner of the country.

SEEDSKADEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Seeing wildlife up close and personal in a natural habitat is always a special experience. The individual ecosystem of a place really plays a huge role in its culture and atmosphere, and Sweetwater County is no exception. Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge is preserving a wondrous slice of wilderness along the Green River, which gives visitors an opportunity to meet some of its native residents. Animals like moose, elk, wild horses, swans, pelicans, antelope, and more can be sighted year-round, and the river itself provides world-class fly fishing. Whether you want a peaceful encounter with nature or to immerse yourself fully, Seedskadee is pure, wild magic.

SWEETWATER COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM

The history in Sweetwater County is just as fascinating at its wildlife. From the region’s prehistoric days below an ancient lake to the Shoshone and Ute tribes who first populated the area to the Oregon, California, Mormon, Overland, Cherokee, and Pony Express Trails that brought thousands of intrepid pioneers through, there is a ton to learn about. Hands-on activities for kids, endless information for adults, cool artifacts, and rotating exhibits combine to make a visit to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum well worth your while.

EXPEDITION ISLAND PARK

Another way to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air is to head to Expedition Island Park. Here you can fish for trout, take a walk around the Greenbelt Pathway and admire the landscaping, kayak, raft or tube at the Whitewater Park, picnic and more. Kids especially will love the splash park and playground. It’s a great way to burn off some energy or cool off and get refreshed!

GREEN RIVER BIKE PARK

If you’re a cyclist or you’re traveling with any, then the Green River Bike Park is a great stop. Coast across log bridges, tackle jumps, get some air against the walls and truck through exciting rough terrain on your bike. If you’re a beginner when it comes to mountain biking, there’s a skills zone where you can ease into the excitement of the more challenging obstacles, or watch the pros do their thing as you circle the smooth loop trail around the park via the Wilkin’s Peak Trail System, the #1 singletrack trails system in the state, according to Singletracks.com.

PILOT BUTTE WILD HORSE SCENIC LOOP

For an authentically Wyoming experience, you can check out a herd of wild horses on the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop. Scenic overlooks make for great breaks from the road, interpretive signs add context to the route, and, of course, the wild horses are an incredible sight to see. There are more than 1,000 of them in this area, and you have the best chance to see them in the morning and late afternoon. The sunset is fantastic from atop White Mountain on this route, so plan accordingly if time allows! This scenic loop is best experienced from a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle.

WESTERN WYOMING COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S DINOSAURS

Before there were wild horses in Wyoming, there were dinosaurs! Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs is right off the highway and contains five massive dinosaur skeleton casts that are on display for the public. Many of the fossils were found in the state and include the remains of a Plesiosaur, a T-Rex, a Camptosaurus and a Stegosaurus. The casts are free to visit, and the WWCC has a neat campus that’s worth checking out. Or just grab a bite to eat at the T-Rex Grill, located in the shadow of the beast’s bones.

REMEDIES GRILL

Another great option for lunch is the retro diner-style Remedies Grill. The storefront is actually part gift shop, part home medical supply company (which explains the name “Remedies”!) and part soda shop, but it’s loaded with local charm. The menu isn’t too big, with mostly burgers, salads, fish and chips and grilled cheeses, but everything is prepared to old-fashioned perfection. Finish it all off with a drink from the soda fountain and enjoy the quirky, friendly atmosphere!

WEIDNER WILDLIFE MUSEUM

Head back to the Western Wyoming Community College to check out another interesting display, the Weidner Wildlife Museum. The exhibit, open Monday through Thursday, features nearly 125 taxidermied specimens from around the globe. From bears and elephants to lions and rhinos to cheetahs and crocs, there are loads of specimens to examine at the free museum. Walking into a room stuffed to the gills with mounted creatures is not something you get to experience every day, and it’s worth a quick stop!

Between marveling at dinosaurs, watching wild horses run free, enjoying a root beer float at a vintage diner, and fishing in the Green River, there’s something for everyone to love in Sweetwater County. This hidden gem in the corner of Wyoming is loaded with enough to keep the family busy for days!

For more trip guides like this, visit roadtrippers.com!

Legislators: Next Special Session Won’t Deal With Massive Revenue Shortage

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

It is unlikely Wyoming’s Legislature will tackle the state’s budget problems in its next special session, the president of the state’s Senate said Friday.

Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, said legislators probably won’t have enough information by the time they hold their next special session to deal with the revenue shortfalls expected for the state’s budget.

“If you’re going to make smart decisions, you’ve got to have enough data and you have to have data that shows some trends from which you can extrapolate the future,” he said. “We’re not even going to have two to three months of data on what the effect of the shutdown has been until the end of June.”

Legislative leaders have said the Legislature will probably convene again in late June to continue dealing with the impacts of coronavirus.

House Speaker Steve Harshman, R-Casper, agreed with Perkins the Legislature may not deal with revenue shortfalls until it meets for its regular session in 2021.

“As far as cutting budgets, that’s for later,” Harshman said. “That’s not for June, July or August. It might be a mission for the 66th (session of the Legislature). We’ll learn more every week.

Perkins said instead, it will probably be up to Gov. Mark Gordon to make budget changes needed in 2020 to begin adjusting to a projected revenue decline of 30% to 40%.

“I expect you’ll see the governor move aggressively to reign this in, to move it where he wants to go,” he said. “It’s very apparent the budget we passed was based on projections that will not happen.”

While the state budget approved for the 2021-2022 biennium was prepared with knowledge of declining coal tax revenues, the state’s oil industry has been hit in recent weeks with a price slump that saw prices dip briefly below zero. In addition, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to produce cuts in other revenue such as sales taxes.

Perkins and Harshman met by video with reporters Friday to give their thoughts on the special session held May 15 and 16.

During the session, attended largely by legislators who took part through a video meeting app, lawmakers approved three bills that set up a series of relief programs for businesses and renters.

“It went amazingly well for having never done this before,” Perkins said.

Perkins added he was pleased with how many members of the public were able to watch the proceedings online.

The session was largely focused on how $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds shoujld be spent.

Harshman said while more federal assistance that could be used to balance state budgets would be helpful, policies that would allow the national economy to open back up would be even better.

“Everybody else has to open up,” he said. “We need factories going, we need electricity consumption to go up, we need people driving and flying again so our exports can go to market and we can keep people working.”

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UW Survey: People Paying Less Attention To Coronavirus News

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

People questioned for a statewide University of Wyoming survey are paying a little less attention to news about the coronavirus pandemic than they were when it first began.

The survey by the university Survey and Analysis Center showed that 83.9% of those questioned on May 11 are following coronavirus coverage “very closely” or “fairly closely,” a decline from the figure of 90.9% seen in late March.The number following the issue “a little closely” increased from 9% in March to 13.2% in May, while those following coverage “not at all closely” grew from 1.2% to 2.9.%.

For those following the coronavirus story, information provided by local media is more trustworthy than information provided by national news outlets, the survey said.

The survey said while 7.3% trust national news coverage “a great deal” and 6.1% trust local coverage to the same degree, 63.6% trust local news either “a great deal” or “a good amount,” while only 39.5% feel the same way about national coverage.

The percentage of people who do not trust national coverage at all was set at 30.3%, compared to 10.8% for local coverage.

On other issues, the survey showed that 43.2% of those questioned have changed their daily routines “a lot” since the pandemic began, while 41.6% have changed their routines “a little.”

Most people, 68.8%, changed their routines by spending more time at home, the survey said, while 68.2% said they were avoiding contact with others and 67.2% said they were going out to eat less.

The online survey of 473 Wyoming residents is the fourth conducted by the Survey and Analysis Center since the pandemic began to determine public attitudes about it. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%.

Those questioned were a randomly selected sample of Wyoming residents who are part of the Survey and Analysis Center’s “WyoSpeaks” panel. Email surveys were sent to 1,486 panel members and 473 responded.

Earlier Cowboy State Daily stories had erroneously reported that the survey was a random telephone survey.

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Utah Highway Patrols Pulls Over 5-Year-Old Driving to California to Buy Sports Car

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You really can’t blame him for wanting a sports car.

The problem is, when you are 5 years old, you aren’t allowed to drive.

But that didn’t stop a little boy from Ogden, Utah, who was doing it anyway.

Apparently, the 5-year-old was upset at his mother for not getting him a Lamborghini.

So, he grabbed the keys to his parents’ boring SUV and took off.

He actually made it to freeway — several miles from home.

A Utah Highway Patrol officer clocked him going 32 mph and thought he was looking at an impaired driver.

When the boy pulled over in the far right lane (see dash-cam footage above), the officer went out to question him.

Trooper Rick Morgan told FOX 13 in Salt Lake City that it became clear to him immediately he was dealing with an underage driver.

So, he did what any officer does: asked him where he was driving.  “California,” the boy said.

“He was going to try to get to his sister’s house in California,” Morgan said. “He told another trooper while we were investigating, trying to find the family, that he wanted to buy a Lamborghini when he got there and he showed a wallet, with $3 in it.”

The boy was eventually reunited with his parents. Sadly, his pursuit of a Lamborghini was not successful.

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Wyoming Coronavirus Cases Up By Five to Total 275; One Death

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wyoming went up by five on Monday, the same day the state saw its first death attributed to the illness.

The Wyoming Department of Health said new cases were reported in Fremont, Laramie and Sweetwater Counties.

The number of people to have recovered from COVID-19 since it surfaced in Wyoming also went up slightly to total 140 by Monday afternoon.

As of Monday’s update from the Department of Health, Laramie County had 60 cases; Teton County had 56; Fremont County had 41; Natrona County had 33; Sheridan County had 12; Campbell and Johnson had 11; Sweetwater had nine; Converse had eight; Albany, Lincoln and Washakie had five; Carbon and Uinta had four, and Crook and Goshen had three. Big Horn, Hot Springs, Niobrara, Park and Sublette counties each had one case.

The death was reported in Johnson County and the patient was identified as an older male with underlying health issues that made him susceptible to coronavirus complications.

“While we’ve learned most people who are infected are able to recover at home without medical care, we also know people who are aged 65 and older and people who have medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and weak immune systems are more likely to experience complications and become severely ill,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, the state’s health officer.

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25% of Wyoming Stay-At-Home Workers Boozing During Work Hours

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If you are tempted to have a drink or seven two while working at home during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.

According to a new Alcohol.org study, a full 25% of Wyoming workers who are newly employed-from-home are slamming a few back during the work hours.

The survey polled 3,000 American workers and the drink of choice among work-from-home boozers is beer.

What kind? Sadly, we don’t know. Maybe Blatz or Schlitz Malt Liquor. Perhaps Lowenbrau.

Those with a sense of humor would undoubtedly choose Corona. Or Coors Light.

Does 25% seem high to you? Of our neighboring states only one has a lower percentage of boozers (and it’s not Utah).

Only 22% of South Dakotans are taking advantage of not having a boss around.

Hawaiians flat-out don’t care. A full two-thirds of them are opening up the hatch while working on TPS reports.

The lowest state?  Arkansas with only 8% admitting to honking the hooch.

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