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Big Horn County

Powell Couple Rescued After Being Stranded In Big Horn Mountains For 9 Days

in News/Search and Rescue

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

After spending more than a week stranded in the Big Horn Mountains, a Powell couple was rescued on Monday by officers with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Wyoming Air National Guard.

The unidentified couple left the Porcupine Falls area on July 18, but ran out of food and water and one of the two began experiencing medical problems. They tried hiking off of the Little Mountain area toward the road, but due to the heat and lack of water, they became dehydrated.

Late Monday afternoon, the couple was able to get cell phone service and contact the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office to request assistance.

They were stranded on a rim rock cliff area in Simmons Canyon and unable to move up or down due to the steep terrain.

Two search and rescue units were deployed to the area and made contact with the victims after a rapid ascent.

Due to their exhaustion, dehydration and medical conditions, the couple could not be moved. One was also badly sunburned.

Rescue personnel brought food, water and medical supplies in order to care for them through the night.

The Wyoming Air National Guard from Cheyenne arrived Tuesday morning to remove the couple from the canyon and take them to an ambulance on a nearby highway. At this time, it is expected the two will make a full recovery.

“With the hot and dry temperatures we want to remind everybody to be extremely cautious during this time and make sure they have plenty of water, sun screen, and clothing to protect them from the extreme heat elements,” the sheriff’s office said.

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Report: Big Horn County Is The Worst County To Live In Wyoming

in News

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By Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square

Life expectancy fell by 1.5 years in the United States in 2020. The decline, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, represents the most pronounced regression in public health in the United States since World War II.

While the most recent dip in life expectancy in the U.S. is alarming, there are many parts of the country where poor health outcomes and other socioeconomic hardships have long been the norm.

Using an index of three measures — life expectancy at birth, bachelor’s degree attainment, and poverty rate — 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst counties to live in in every state.

Big Horn County, Wyoming, is located in the north-central part of the state along the Montana state border. The most consequential industries in the area include gas and oil extraction, mining, farming, and ranching — but jobs in these sectors do not appear to be providing for local residents in the same way jobs in much of the rest of the state are.

The typical area household earns only $52,804 a year, well below the median household income across the state of $64,049. Additionally, local residents are slightly more likely to live below the poverty line than the typical Wyoming resident.

Life expectancy in the county also lags considerably behind much of the rest of the state. At birth, life expectancy in Big Horn County is 76.1 years, compared to the 78.9 year average across Wyoming.

Data on bachelor’s degree attainment and poverty are from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Data on average life expectancy at birth came from the 2021 County Health Rankings, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, and are based on mortality data from the years 2017 to 2019. Supplemental data on population and income are from the ACS, and unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted for May 2021 and are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Big Horn County Enters Second Amendment Sanctuary Debate

in Guns/News

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Big Horn County officials are looking into joining other counties around the state in declaring themselves a sanctuary for the Second Amendment.

Several Wyoming counties have recently passed resolutions declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” Fremont County, Niobrara, Johnson and Hot Springs County Commissioners have all publicly declared their support for gun rights, taking a stand against what many perceive to be a national anti-gun movement.

Other counties, such as Campbell, Crook and Sweetwater, declared themselves to be Second Amendment Sanctuaries last year.

Big Horn County commissioners are among those considering making the same kind of public statement with a proclamation expressing support for the Second Amendment. 

C.J. Duncan, the mayor of Big Horn County’s seat in Basin, brought the idea to county officials.

He said he is concerned that what he sees as an anti-gun sentiment is becoming more prevalent throughout the country may threaten the rights of law-abiding citizens.

“With our current administration and past administrations at the federal level, gun rights specifically have been under attack,” he said, “even though the majority of people who own and operate guns are doing it within the bounds of the law.” 

However, Duncan added officials are concerned that if counties take too strong a position in favor of gun rights — for instance, if they signed a binding resolution rather than issuing a simple proclamation — local governments might face federal backlash.

“Legal counsel was afraid that if they signed a resolution or something stronger than a resolution, that they might be losing some of their federal grants and some federal funding,” he said.

In Johnson County, the resolution declaring the county a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” specifies that no county resources will be used to enforce federal rules or laws seen as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Duncan said the proclamation is simply a statement that he hopes will send a message to government leaders.

“It declares to the federal government that we take our constitutional rights in Wyoming, especially in Big Horn County, very seriously and expect them to uphold those rights,” he said. “As long as we’re law abiding citizens.”

And that’s the key, according to Duncan.

“I truly feel like the government wants to punish everyone, because you have a few dirtbags out there who don’t live within the guidelines of the laws — and quite frankly, a criminal’s not going to,” Duncan said. “That’s why they’re criminals. And this is common sense, it’s not rocket science.”

He said that he does not support the idea of allowing convicted felons to possess firearms.

“I personally feel strongly that when someone breaks the law, they have infringed on someone else’s rights – and once convicted, once the due process has taken place, then they are forfeiting their constitutional rights,” which Duncan says includes the right to bear arms. 

Big Horn County is inviting the public to a listening session on May 3 to discuss the sanctuary proclamation. 

According to the notice, “Big Horn County desires to proceed in a way that not only upholds the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Wyoming, but is also in the best interests of our citizens and law enforcement officers.”

Duncan said he is hoping that the county commissioners will support a resolution, which takes a legal stance, rather than a simple proclamation.

“I really truly feel like a proclamation would sell our Second Amendment, constitutional rights for federal dollars – and I’m not willing to do that,” he said.

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