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Cody UFO Magazine Owners Say Showtime ‘Regurgitated’ Tapes For ‘UFO’ Series

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Owners of a UFO-themed magazine based in Cody recently asked a federal judge to allow their trademark lawsuit against television network Showtime to continue.

“UFO Magazine” is suing Showtime over the network’s use of the phrase “UFO” as the title of one of its programs about unidentified flying objects.

Showtime asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing its use of the term is protected by the First Amendment, but UFO Magazine, which trademarked the term “UFO” in 2007 and again in 2017, said Showtime could use other phrases or words for the title of its program.

“Never mind that [Showtime] could have chosen any alternative and completely accurate words or phrases to describe its television show and never mind that UFO Magazine has invested time and resources in promoting and raising funds to develop a very costly television/film project — [Showtime] argues that it can take and use UFO’s trademarked title because UFO Magazine’s trademark fairly describes [Showtime’s] content,” UFO Magazine’s lawyers argued.

The magazine also argued that Showtime “regurgitated” stale alien-like tapes to market the show last year.

UFO’s attorneys also claimed Showtime was “openly pirating” the magazine’s property rights.

The lawsuit stems from Showtime’s docu-series “UFO” in 2021. According to the Showtime website, the series “explores our fascination with UFOs and the influence government, private companies and the military may have in shielding the truth.”

The magazine’s first commercial use of the term occurred in 1998, the same year the company was formed, and the owners’ attorneys argued that the magazine has been in talks as recently as last year about developing its on television show or movie, according to the initial lawsuit filings.

The magazine’s owners are asking for Showtime to be barred from using the “UFO” term in any materials and also for the channel to pay for punitive damages, attorney fees and any other costs the court deem rightful.

According to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, the magazine’s president is Peter Kuyper of Cody. Its legal representative or “registered agent” is Lisa M. Price of Jackson.

The magazine’s initial paperwork to be registered as a business in Wyoming was filed in 2018. The magazine was founded in California in the 1990s.

The term “U.F.O.” first appeared in military accounts about unidentified flying objects in the 1950s, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

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Showtime Asks Judge To Dismiss ‘UFO’ Lawsuit Filed By Cody Magazine Owners

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A television network is asking a federal judge to dismiss a trademark lawsuit brought against it by the owners of a Cody magazine, arguing its use of the term “UFO” in the title of a program is protected by the First Amendment.

The owners of UFO Magazine, in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, claimed that Showtime infringed on the magazine’s trademark of the term “UFO,” an acronym for “unidentified flying object.”

The magazine trademarked “UFO” in 2007 for entertainment purposes and renewed the trademark in 2017, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit stems from Showtime’s docu-series “UFO” in 2021, which dealt with unidentified flying objects. According to the Showtime website, the series “explores our fascination with UFOs and the influence government, private companies and the military may have in shielding the truth.”

On Thursday, Showtime’s attorneys asked a judge to dismiss UFO Magazine’s lawsuit, arguing that the series was protected under the First Amendment.

“Despite the relevance of the ‘UFO’ title to the content of the series, despite the fact that the title uses ‘UFO’ in its commonly understood descriptive sense and despite the fact that UFO Magazine Inc. does not assert that it has released any television series with a ‘UFO’ title or that Showtime explicitly misled viewers about the source of the series, [the magazine owners] claims its ‘UFO’ trademark prevents Showtime from using ‘UFO’ as the title of its series,” Showtime’s attorneys wrote in court filings.

“Plaintiff is wrong,” they continued.

The attorneys also argued that the use of the term was relevant as the series title, since it is a documentary about UFOs.

The magazine’s first commercial use of the term occurred in 1998, the same year the company was formed, and the owners’ attorneys argued that the magazine has been in talks as recently as last year about developing either a television show or movie, according to the initial lawsuit filings.

The magazine owners are asking for Showtime to be barred from using the “UFO” term in any materials and also for the channel to pay for punitive damages, attorney fees and any other costs the court deem rightful.

According to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, the magazine’s president is Peter Kuyper of Cody. Its legal representative or “registered agent” is Lisa M. Price of Jackson.

The magazine’s initial filing to be registered as a business in Wyoming was done in 2018. It was founded in California in the 1990s.

The term “U.F.O.” first appeared in military accounts about unidentified flying objects in the 1950s, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

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Cody Animal Shelter Brings In 35 Cats From Hoarding Case

in News/animal shelter

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Park County Animal Shelter has been inundated this week with more than 30 cats rescued from a recent hoarding case, an official told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

Shelter Outreach Manager Jackie Hinther said 35 cats were brought to the shelter over several days this week as they were recovered from the home involved in the case. She added the owner of the cats surrendered the animals.

“(Cody Animal Control) Officer (Jennifer) Morris and I went into the home to assess the situation on Monday and determined the living environment was not healthy for cats,” Hinther said. “The owner was very cooperative in signing the cats over to us.”

On Monday, animal shelter employees were able to catch 12 cats — four adults and eight kittens. On Tuesday, 17 cats of all ages were caught.

“We left two live traps and two cat carriers with the owner (who) brought us in six more cats,” Hinther said. “After that, we are now unable to take any more. There are still 10 cats in the house.”

Animal shelter employees are currently working with the cats’ owner to get the final 10 spayed or neutered.

The cats taken to the shelter from the home range in age from a few days to adults.

Hinther said that despite the condition of the home, the cats are in relatively good condition, although four cats have a genetic condition where their eyes are too small for their heads.

She added that a number of the cats have minor upper respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing or “goopy” eyes.” All will need to be vaccinated, dewormed and spayed or neutered.

All of the cats are now available for adoption, save for one mother cat and her newborn kittens.

The cats will be unable to leave the shelter until they have been spayed or neutered, although prospective new owners can still come meet them at the shelter now and put down money to adopt them.

With the sharp increase of cats in the shelter, Hinther asked anyone who is willing to give to help in one of several ways.

“We are in desperate need of monetary donations, supplies, and volunteers,” she said. “For monetary donations, they can go to our website, stop in or give us a call to donate. We need volunteers to help us clean our cat area in the mornings.” 

The case is similar to hoarding incidents reported recently in Lovell, where 12 dogs were seized, and in Cheyenne, where 60 large dogs were taken to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter.

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Cody Man Charged In Meth Ring Apprehended By Feds

in News/Crime

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A Cody man with a lengthy criminal background who was arrested in connection with operation of a drug ring has been recaptured after eluding law enforcement officers since October.

Philip Dobbins, 44, was apprehended in Cody on Wednesday by federal marshals after walking away from a treatment center in Sheridan. 

Dobbins had been allowed to enter the treatment center after being arrested in March 2021 on charges he was a participant in a multi-state drug distribution ring. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of more than 12 ounces of methamphetamine, along with other drugs and paraphernalia.

Dobbins has a long history of criminal offenses just in Park County, dating back to when he was a juvenile, with his first arrest in 1994. 

Since then, RIMS (a law enforcement records management system) shows 23 arrest entries, including criminal charges and the issuing of warrants, according to Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield. 

Hatfield told Cowboy State Daily that six of those charges were from the March 2021 arrest – but those were dismissed by Park County authorities when federal agencies entered the picture.

“I charged him up with six separate counts and he was facing 240 years in prison,” he said. “I charged him with five counts of delivery – three counts were methamphetamine, one count was hydrocodone, the fifth one was oxycodone. And then the sixth count was possession with intent to deliver.”

Hatfield said that federal authorities took over Dobbins’ case last year due to the seriousness of the crimes.

“Each federal law enforcement agency, they have their criteria for what they’re willing to investigate,” he said. “A lot of times, when it comes to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), they’re looking at weight, or interstate sales, or the size or the type of drugs. Federal law enforcement and prosecution is very selective, and the vast majority of crimes committed in this country are prosecuted by state authorities, not by the federal government.”

But the federal government took an interest in Philip Dobbins.

“DCI (the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation) was working with the DEA from pretty much from the beginning of all of the charges that I had on him,” Hatfield said.

A federal magistrate judge in Casper allowed Dobbins to attend a drug treatment facility in Sheridan pending his court appearance, but when Dobbins walked away from treatment, another magistrate judge, former Park County Attorney Kelly Rankin, issued the warrant for Dobbins’ arrest.

“DCI knew that he hadn’t left Wyoming,” Hatfield explained. “They had information that he might be in Riverton, then they had really good info that he was Cody. I just happened to be doing work at home as usual the other night, and I was looking on our RIMS system and I see that Cody PD assisted another agency on a call at Rimrock Tire, and I noticed that it was Phil Dobbins – and I was just like, ‘Oh, they got him.’ So Cody PD got called by DCI and the marshals saying, ‘Hey, we got him, come take him to jail for us.’”

Hatfield explained that Big Horn County has the contract with the federal government in this part of the state to hold federal prisoners, so that’s where Dobbins is currently incarcerated, pending his appearance before a federal judge in Casper.

Prior to his March 2021 arrest, Dobbins was convicted twice for drug offenses, Hatfield said.

“He has at least two convictions for violation of the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act, other than simple possession,” Hatfield said. “He was convicted in 2007 for attempt or conspiracy to commit a violation of the controlled substances act, and then on June 13, 2016, for being under the influence of controlled substances.”

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Woman Whose Body Was Found In Cody Identified As Missing Texan

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The body of a Texas woman missing since December has been found in Cody, according to the Cody Police Department.

Department officials said the body of Rachel Sirman, 29, was found Monday. Investigators do not suspect foul play in Sirman’s death.

According to the Cody Police Department, officers responded at about 10 a.m. Monday to a report of part of a body being found.

During the preliminary investigation, officers learned landscapers were working behind a residence when they discovered the remains on a hillside near Sulfur Creek.

A cadaver dog later led officers to discover additional remains at the bottom of the creek.

Personal property found at the scene confirmed the body as being that of Sirman.

Sirman was reported as missing to the department on Dec. 16 by her family. Cody police had intermittent contact with Sirman between September 2020 and June 2021, as she was a transient and was known to camp in the area where her remains were found.

Final reports from the forensic pathologist and local coroner are still pending.

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Mormon Church Announces Plans For LDS Temple In Cody

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Wyoming, Oct. 3 was a day for celebration.

On Sunday, Church President Russell Nelson announced plans for a third temple in Wyoming, to be constructed in Cody.

Because over eleven percent of the entire population of the state of Wyoming declares membership in the Mormon Church, the announcement that another temple is planned to be erected in the state was the cause for joyous outbreaks on social media.

“My heart is overjoyed!” posted one member of the church in Cody to Facebook. “Cody, Wyoming is getting a temple!”

For those not familiar with the LDS faith, a temple is different from a church. The churches are the space that Mormons use for regular Sunday worship services, while temples are set aside for special rites, such as marriages and baptisms.

Non-Mormons are not allowed inside temples, with the exception of the period immediately after the construction is completed. At that time there is generally an “open house” in which community members can take tours of the temple, led by missionaries and members from the local area. After the temple is dedicated as a “House of the Lord,” only members are permitted to enter.

Worldwide, there are 265 LDS temples either operating, under construction, or in the planning process. The Cody temple, once constructed, will be the third temple built in Wyoming. In 2016, a temple was erected in Star Valley, and a temple in Casper is currently being built, with the dedication scheduled for this Saturday, October 9.

In addition to the Cody location, new temples have been announced in Taiwan, the Philippines, Liberia, Madagascar, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fort Worth (Texas), Rexburg (Idaho), and Heber Valley (Utah).

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Cody’s Buffalo Bill Center Hires Rebecca West As New Director

in Buffalo Bill Center/News

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Use any search engine, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will show up as the top tourist attraction in Cody. 

Five world-class museums, a research library, intertactive exhibits and a Smithsonian Institute affiliation make this 7-acre campus a must-see on anyone’s list when they travel to northwest Wyoming.

The museum itself is a testament to history — it was founded as the Buffalo Bill Memorial Association in 1917 by Buffalo Bill Cody’s niece, Mary Jester Allen. 

And now, for the first time since its beginning, a woman is once again guiding the museum’s path.

“Wholeheartedly, I’m embracing it,” said Rebecca West, the newly minted executive director for the Buffalo Bill Center. “There have been a lot of very strong and accomplished women in the history of the organization starting with Mary Jester Allen. She’s the founder of the Center; I’m considered to be the first official professional woman director in the history of the Center.

“We’ve had wonderful board members and advisors who are women right now,” West continued. “They’ve been inspirational, and I rely on them still for advice as to how to make your way in the museum world, in the professional world, as a woman.”

West isn’t just the first woman to lead the institution since its inception — she is also the first executive director to spend her entire career at the Center, from her start as intern through jobs in research and registration to curation and administration.  

“It’s not a career path that you’ll see a lot,” she said, “and I don’t know if I’d recommend it to a lot of people. I have worked for so many different departments — starting with the internship, that was really research; but I also worked for the conservation department. I moved on to curatorial work, worked for registration, and then started to get into management and other aspects.”

Because West has worked exclusively at the Center of the West for the last 25 years, she brings a level of experience to the job of executive director that can’t be found in a candidate who comes from somewhere else.

“Over 25 years, it’s not just the experience that you’ve gained here at the museum, but it’s also what you’ve absorbed, and what the Center has seen with world events, local events, regional events,” she explained. “And then there’s your own personal accomplishments, whether they’re family related, going back to school, all that. So it’s 25 years of experience — not just for work, but with life as well.”

West is also the first executive director who has lived for an extended period of time in Cody — having raised her family here.

“Chuck and I actually had our 25th wedding anniversary last year during the pandemic,” she said, smiling. “And we still managed to celebrate — I think we went fishing together down the Shoshone River.” 

West’s daughter will graduate this year from the University of Montana in Missoula, with a degree in resource conservation, and her son is a freshman at Cody High School.

“So both kids have grown up here — outdoors kids through and through, and I think they’re pretty attached to Cody and the West, as much as I am, if not more,” West said.

West said she hopes that her story will give hope to others who have started their careers at the bottom – proof that they truly can work their way to the top.

“I think that this is a really momentous occasion, and not just for women,” West notes. “It’s important for young professionals who are getting into the arts, the humanities and the museum business especially, to understand that it is possible to work your way up from starting as an intern to becoming someday a museum director.”

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Cody’s Vertical Garden Enhances Downtown

in News/Good news

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Visitors to Cody this summer might be able to pick their own salad greens straight from the garden – downtown.

This summer, a hydroponic garden was installed in Bell Plaza, a public space in the heart of downtown Cody. Bernie Butler works for the city, but is volunteering her time to take care of the vertical garden that has been placed for the benefit of the community.

“It’s just to get the community involved in growing edibles, besides a dirt base,” Butler said. “And it’s more of an art form, too, just to enhance this plaza that we have it in.”

A vertical garden is just what it sounds like — plants placed in upward reaching rows instead of spread out across the ground. The plants are raised in a hydroponic system which uses nutrient-rich water for nourishment rather than dirt.

Butler said Cody is one of several Wyoming cities to embrace the vegetable growing technique.

“They partnered with Travis Hines out of Pinedale, he has Bio-Logic Designs,” she said. “He built this frame for it, brought everything down, we planted the plants, which he supplied, and filled up the tank – we have fish and aqua plants in there. He just got us going.”

The funds for the garden came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, funneled through the Wyoming Business Council. Amy Quick, the Northwest Regional Director for the Business Council, said the project benefits communities in a number of ways.

“Eleven different communities throughout the state are participating, including, of course, Cody, but Sheridan, Rock Springs, Casper are a few other examples,” Quick said. “And it’s just a really great opportunity to get some community involvement, focus on nutrition, education, economic development.”

Butler pointed out that the produce from the garden is available to anyone.

“I do have a couple older people that come by almost every night, and they take some lettuce and some kale, and the mint is their favorite.”

Butler adds that once colder weather arrives, the garden will move to Eastside Elementary, where students there will take over the process – and the produce.

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Cody Students to Lobby Legislature on Vaping, Voyeurism, and College Tuition

in News/politics

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Being a teenager can be hard — caught between adulthood and childhood, and it seems the adults have all the power.

But a program at Cody High School allows students to have a say in the laws that govern them.

The Youth For Justice program started as a social studies project 25 years ago. But coordinator Deb White said she and her students became passionate about the legislative process after a tragedy struck a local youth just one year later.

“That next year, a kid in Cody died in a single car rollover,” White said, “and there were no seatbelt laws in the state of Wyoming at the time. My kids were like, ‘There should be a law about that.’ 

“So we went down to Cheyenne and started lobbying,” she continued. “It took us two years to get that through, and since then, every year, we go down and get laws passed.”

A group of Cody High School students travel to the state Capitol each year to attend one day of the Legislature’s session, lobbying for everything from seatbelt laws to a ban on teenage smoking. White noted that the students decide which bills they want to see passed.

“We actually start researching in September or October,” White said, “and start thinking about things that the kids believe should be a law.”

According to White, the students research what other states are doing with regards to similar laws, then find a sponsor for the bill they would like to see passed.

“We’re to the point now where people call us,” White said, explaining that a local police officer reached out to the group last year to lobby for a law that would require medical professionals in Wyoming to report gunshot and stab wounds.

“It’s ridiculous that the bill didn’t pass last year,” White said. “Wyoming is one of two states where medical professionals don’t have to report gunshot wounds to the police.”

Danny Deming, a senior at Cody High School, pointed out that the program allows students to interact directly with the legislators, and he said that makes a difference.

“Legislators get a unique perspective,” he said, “because they hear from students who are directly affected by the laws they’re passing.”

This year, the students are putting their efforts behind four different bills – one of which would require local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal laws banning vaping among those under the age of 21.

“We’re working with local legislators and local businessmen on ways to reduce youth access (to vaping products),” White said. 

Other bills the group is working on include one that would allow students who are children of active members of the military to attend Wyoming colleges at in-state tuition rates, as well as a bill that tightens up language in voyeurism laws.

At one time, there were eight to 10 schools in Wyoming that sent students to the legislature, but White said Cody may be the only district that sends kids every year.

“It is the most educational experience I’ve ever had with kids,” White said. “Even though I was a science teacher, and this is a social studies program, it’s all the skills. It’s research, and media creation, and public speaking. It’s authentic assessment.

“And word on the street is, the Cody Youth For Justice kids are the most effective lobbyists in the state of Wyoming.”

The Wyoming Legislature convenes on Feb. 10. Cody High School’s Youth For Justice students will be there to make sure their voices are heard.

West’s influence on Cody grows

in Economic development/News

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

The influence of rapper Kanye West on the community of Cody continues to grow after his purchase of a ranch in Park County.

West in 2019 bought the Monster Lake Ranch and made his first public appearance in Cody during his “Sunday Service” in August.

Since then, he has purchased the building that used to house Cody Laboratories, a manufacturer of generic prescription pain medication that closed in July, to create prototypes for his “Yeezy” shoe brand.

James Klessens, the chief executive officer for Forward Cody, said the building turned out to be a perfect match for West’s needs.

“He asked if there was available space,” he told Cowboy State Daily. “We showed him the space, magic was made, the deal was cut and they are right now working to set up a prototyping operation here in our community.”

Klessens pointed out that West is the latest celebrity to live in Cody, the first being western showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who the town is named for.

“I think it’s interesting that 100 years ago we had a global superstar lived in our community,” he said. “One hundred years later, we have another.”

Like Cody, West’s interests seem to expand beyond entertainment, Klessen said.

“Buffalo Bill was about newspapers and hotels and outfitting,” he said. “Mr. West is not only involved in the entertainment business … but he’s involved in this whole apparel and footwear making company and he has a great interest in sustainable housing and sustainable building practices.”

West’s efforts to develop his interests have not occurred without occasional bumps.

Earlier in the year, his representatives applied for a permit to build a 72,000 square-foot meditation center at his ranch. However, the permitting process was stopped when representatives told the Park County Planning and Zoning Commission that West wanted to add a residential aspect to the project.

“In adding residential, it changes the whole process it needs to be reviewed under and the permitting process,” said Park County Commissioner Dossie Overfield. “So that is when the Planning and Zoning commission denied the request just on the basis that it’s not now what he originally applied for.”

In addition, some questions surround how the development might proceed in the face of a new executive order from Gov. Mark Gordon regarding the protection of sage grouse habitat and mule deer migration corridors.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is working to determine whether the meditation center would disturb sage grouse habitat.

West also recently purchased the Bighorn Mountain Ranch near Greybull, although his representatives have not announced his plans for the property.

DOT continues work to stop falling rock on highway near Cody

in News/Transportation

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s Department of Transportation is continuing its work to stabilize falling rock that has created a hazard for several years on a highway between Cody and Yellowstone National Park.

The department has been working since 2017 to stop rock from falling from steep hillsides onto U.S. Highway 14-16-20.

While the project has been expensive, it has been necessary for the safety of travelers in Wyoming, said Cody Beers, a spokesman for the DOT.

“We’ve been working in this area for a couple of years,” he said. “We kept finding more rockfall situations. We had to do some redesign. A lot of money was spent here, but it was about saving lives.”

The project was marked earlier this year by the death of a worker who was hit by a rock, Beers said.

“Through the history of this road, there’s been three or four different projects that have taken place,” he said. “And we have lost human life on every project that we’ve done on this section of road.”

Similar work is being done on the Chief Joseph Highway and the Wind River Canyon. Beers said the end result will be a safer highway system.

“We believe that the last couple projects over the last couple years that we’ve been doing have significantly upgraded the safety of this area, for residents, for travelers,” he said.

West brings opera rehearsal to Cody High School

in arts and culture

Music students at Cody High School got a glimpse into the world of professional music in November when Kanye West brought the cast of his new opera to Cody for rehearsal.

West’s opera, “Nebuchadnezzar,” was performed Nov. 24 at the Hollywood Bowl after rehearsals by dancers and musicians at Cody High School on Nov. 21.

“They had about 50-plus dancers in there, plus over 100 in the choir and then they had the soloists,” said Wade French, Cody High School’s band teacher. “They were just writing the opera as they were performing it, as they were rehearsing it.”

West, who this year bought a ranch near Cody and has moved the headquarters for his clothing and shoe business to the city, contacted the high school when he needed rehearsal space, French said.

One of French’s students who got the chance to play saxophone with West’s group said the experience has convinced her to pursue music in her future.

“They know what it’s all about,” said senior Kate Beardall. “They know what the music industry is about. And they really just opened my eyes to what I want to do.”

The opera, according to a news release, tells the story of an ancient Babylonian king and his “transition from wicked, imperious, self-declared ruler to a true believer who finds salvation in his faith.”

French said the experience of watching professional musicians practice and put their own spin on the material was interesting.

“It was the music that was very impressive,” he said. “We got to see that first-hand. We got to see those artists and those musicians creating it and really just tweaking it. Making it their own.”

Wandering Weavers works to keep weaving alive

in arts and culture

By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

A group of women in northwestern Wyoming are working to keep the art of weaving alive.

Members of The Wandering Weavers work with hand-operated looms to create beautiful works of textile art.

Recently, the group took part in a workshop led by Carolyn Wostenberg, a master weaver from Worland.

Wostenberg said she began weaving after growing tired of other forms of fabric art such as knitting, quilting and sewing.

“And so once I got started in weaving, it was just something that there’s always new things to learn,” she said.

Wostenberg said she enjoys teaching weaving because it is constantly evolving.

“With the technology that’s there, it’s just amazing how much they’ve incorporated that,” she said. “It isn’t just an ancient craft.”

The workshop was held at Cody’s By Western Hands, a non-profit  organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of western design.

Kristin Fong, director of By Western Hands, said it made sense for the group to host the workshop because of its dedication to preserving traditional crafts.

“Part of that includes weaving, but it also includes furniture design, saddle making, beadwork,” she said. “I think a wider net can be cast to include a wider variety of craft.”

Cody, Wyoming Has Plenty of Ghost Stories

in Community/arts and culture

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

It’s no surprise that Cody, with its history rooted deeply in the Wild West, might have some ghost stories.

Several can be found at the historic Irma Hotel, according to hotel co-owner Mike Darby.

“I’ve heard stories that housekeeping (staff members) actually saw the bottom half of a soldier walking through the room and all they saw were his faded blue pants with a gold stripe and a saber,” said Darby, whose family has owned the hotel built by western showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody for 30 years. “And he just journeyed across the room and went out (into the hallway) through the door, which was closed.”

Some ghosts, apparently not satisfied with being seen, make their presence known in other ways, Darby said. He recounted the story of two travel writers who were staying at the hotel and had gone to bed for the night.

“And pretty soon the sink starts going off and on, three or four times, and they’re really worried, so they turn the lights on,” he said. “Somehow they go back to sleep, they wake up in the morning and here their clothes are piled up in a pyramid at the foot of the bed.”

Darby said he regularly hears ghost stories from guests at the Irma.

“I’ll hear about them say, once a week, once every 10 days,” he said. “Somebody will see something, somebody will come in and all their cell phones will go dead, their computer will go dead. And as soon as they walk out the door, everything comes back to life.

Jeannie Cook, a retired Park County historian, also knows plenty of stories about hauntings, such as the one reported at a business inside what was once the furniture store of J.H. Vogel.

“I talked to some of the ladies who worked there and they told me there was a young boy that would appear from time to time,” she said. “Come to find out, (Vogel) had a furniture store and was also the undertaker. They had the coffins. So apparently, this little boy must somehow be connected to that.”

Cook, whose grandfather settled in Cody in the early 1900s, said spirits are also often seen in the yard of what used to be Cody’s Lane-Bradbury Hospital and have been reported in what was once a cemetery for the community.

The bodies from the cemetery were moved to another location in the 1960s, but some may have been missed.

“They probably didn’t get all the bodies because in the early days, when they buried somebody, they may have only had a wooden cross or something and it just went away,” she said.

Interest in such paranormal sightings appears to be growing as people hear more stories about them, Cook said.

“I think in modern times, people are beginning to recognize there really is something with paranormal activity,” she said. “And I think there’s really been a lot of it in this town.”

Darby agreed.

“Different things have happened that weren’t explainable,” he said. “People have passed away and in their rooms I’d find things, I’d hear things. It’s not that I believe, I was shown.”

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Cody restauranteurs struggle with labor shortages

in Economic development/Jobs/News

A low unemployment rate is creating some difficult situations for Cody’s restaurants.

Park County’s August unemployment rate of 3.3 percent is lower than the statewide average of 3.5 percent and the national average of 3.8 percent.

However, the low unemployment rate means there are fewer workers available, leaving businesses like Bubba’s Barbecue, owned by Brian and Denise Wiegand, without enough staff to remain open seven days a week. The Wiegands said for the first time in eight years, they have had to close their restaurant one day a week.

“Every week it seems like there’s another business opening in Cody, diminishing the labor pool even more,” Brian Wiegand said. “This has been the first winter, however, where it has really hit us, this shortage of labor in Cody.”

The problem is similar at the Proud Cut Saloon, owned for more than 30 years by Becky and Del Nose. 

Becky Nose said because of unreliable workers, she often does not know if she can open for a day of business.

“They text you at 4 in the morning and say ‘I’m not coming in’ or they randomly text you through the night and tell you they don’t like this or that and so they just don’t show up,” she said. “Or they just don’t show up at all. So every day, you’re actually standing in the doorway in the mornings, hoping you have enough people to open your business for that day.”

Lacking sufficient staff, Cassie’s Supper Club was forced to eliminate its lunch service this year, said Melody Singer, who has owned and operated the business for 25 years with her husband Steve.

“It’s so hard to keep a full staff at lunchtime and keep a staff at dinner time,” she said. “Dinner for us is a better choice, we’re a steakhouse. So we did away with the lunch service.”

Donna Lester, manager of the Cody office of the state Department of Workforce Services, said she understands the frustrations of the restauranteurs.

“You have people coming in here every day saying they don’t have jobs, they don’t have enough money to pay the bills or to put food on the table,” she said. “And then we don’t see them at our job fairs. There’s a distinction between what people say they want to do and what they’re actually willing to do.”

The restaurant owners agreed they would take the necessary steps to stay in operation despite the labor shortage.

“We’re trying to get labor hired so that we can get back open seven days a week, but if we can’t, we’ll keep closed one day a week, maybe two days a week,” said Denise Wiegand of Bubba’s Barbecue. “Because we know we’ll get the labor come the summertime.”

Cody marks 38th annual western arts celebration

in News

More than 107 artists had their work displayed in Cody recently as the community celebrated its 38th annual “Rendezvous Royale,” a week-long celebration of western art.

The event held from Sept. 16 through 21 featured demonstrations by artists, gallery open houses, displays in Cody and at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The rendezvous annually brings together artists and art lovers from across the country to Cody.

“I like the fact that so many artists are coming across the country to be a part of this show, that says a lot,” said artist Mike Poulson. “And we like having the artists here. People need to meet the artists to see what they’re doing and how they do it.”

The week culminates with an art auction that typically brings in more than $1 million, with proceeds being divided among the artists, the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce and Buffalo Bill Center.

The week’s activities, which also include an “art walk” through Cody, create a different atmosphere for the community, said Mayor Matt Hall.

“It is such a great week to be in town,” he said. “It’s such a boost for our town and it’s a boost for our vibrancy. I can’t explain it, you have to be here to experience it. It’s just a lovely time to be in Cody.”

Peter Seibert, executive director of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, said the week helps forge and strengthen connections between people.

“It really is so much about connecting all these people who have ties to the museum, ties to the art community, ties to this community as a whole,” he said. “I see people, families who are getting together, people who are coming here as they do every year. And that’s what the spirit of a rendezvous is all about is getting people to come back and come together once a year.”

A big dam deal: Buffalo Bill Dam expansion celebrated

in Energy/News/Recreation/Agriculture

By Cowboy State Daily

The anniversary of the completion of one of Wyoming’s most impressive engineering feats was celebrated recently as Cody marked the 25th anniversary of the expansion of Buffalo Bill Dam.

The $132 million expansion project launched in 1985 raised the dam’s height from 325 feet to 350, increasing its storage capacity by 260,000 acre-feet.

The “Great Dam Day” on Aug. 17 celebrated the completion of the project with a number of activities that gave visitors a chance to stop by the dam and its visitor’s center.

Among the attendees was Bill McCormick, who served as the project manager for the expansion.

McCormick said one of the most challenging parts of the job was removing a large section of a mountain to allow for the expansion.

Project officials soon figured out that rock from the mountain could be used as “riprap” to line the reservoir’s shoreline, he said, eliminating the need to bring in the material from elsewhere.

“So it seemed very logical,” he said. “We had good granite right here and (workers could) take the rock from here.”

While the project was originally supposed to be completed in five years, various developments delayed completion, McCormick said.

“The estimated five years for the project actually took 11 as things were modified or problems came up or the design changed,” he said.

The dam today provides irrigation water for more than 90,000 acres of land in the Big Horn Basin, along with a 6-mile long reservoir that serves as a recreation area.

Brokaw praises patriotism, grit of Heart Mountain internees

in News/Community/arts and culture

The more than 14,000 people held at the Heart Mountain Internment Camp near Cody showed an amazing ability to support their country despite the fact it imprisoned them, newscaster Tom Brokaw said at the camp last weekend.

Brokaw, the featured guest at the annual Heart Mountain Pilgrimage, praised those incarcerated for their patriotism while held at the camp.

“You were abused and went on with your lives and make continuing contributions to this country,” he said. “You’re here because you know you’re Americans and we all learn from you. And so I say God bless.”

The Heart Mountain camp was one of 10 established across the country to house Americans of Japanese descent during World War II because of concerns they might hold allegiance to their original homeland and pose a threat to the United States.

While in operation from June 1942 to November of 1945, the camp was the third largest city in the state. During the camp’s operation, many friendships were formed, including one between former U.S. Sen. Al Simpson and Norm Mineta, former secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation.Appearing with Simpson during the pilgrimage, Mineta recalled the sadness he felt when his government imprisoned an entire race of people.

“These placards went up,” he said. “Instructions to all those of Japanese ancestry. Aliens and non-aliens. And I was a 10-yar-old kid and I saw that placard. And I said to my brother who was nine years older, I said ‘Al, what’s a non-alien?’ He said ‘That’s you.’ And I said ‘I’m not a non-alien, I’m a citizen!”

For the past eight years, the Heart Mountain Foundation has organized the pilgrimage to the camp as a commemoration to those held there.

Shirley Ann Higuchi, the foundation’s chair, said Wyoming communities have been very supportive of the foundation’s efforts to preserve the memory of the injustice done to the families held at the camp.

“They have come around to really support us and really make us the best that we can be,” she said. “So it’s just an overwhelmingly emotional, touching, in many ways a heartbreaking experience when we try to think back historically on how many people had actually suffered here.”

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Cody Firearms Museum reopens with a bang

in Community/arts and culture

The Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is one of the largest collections of firearms in the world. Now that collection – with interactive exhibits highlighting the role of firearms in our culture – is back on public display in all its metallic glory.

Wendy Corr attended the grand reopening of the museum and sends us this report.

Cody marks 100 years of the Cody Stampede Rodeo

in Uncategorized

Cody is celebrating two things during this long holiday weekend — Independence Day and the 100th anniversary of its world-famous Cody Stampede Rodeo.

Launched as a one-day event in 1919 by community leaders as a way to celebrate the opening of Yellowstone National Park’s eastern gate, the rodeo now runs for five nights and is considered one of the top rodeos in the world.

“As far as in the western world and the world of rodeo, Cody, Wyoming, is way up there on the list,” said Dan Miller, a longtime television rodeo announcer. “It has $480,000 (in prize money) and you get one chance at that here. When you put it in the contest of Cheyenne (Frontier Days), you put it in the context of Pendleton (Roundup in Oregon), the other rodeos, Cody holds its own.”

This year’s event, also featuring parades a craft fair and entertainment, began June 27 with a concert, followed by a professional bullriding competition and then four nights of Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association-sanctioned rodeos.

The events at the rodeo have changed significantly from its first years, said Robyn Cutter, with the Park County Archives.

“They had a lot of different races early on,” she said. “The chariot races, the wild cow milking contests, the different races that we don’t have today. But it’s been very exciting to see how it’s grown and changed over the years.”

A horse sale on Main Street? It’s right in front of Cody’s Irma Hotel

in Travel
Cody Wyoming Horse Sale on Main Street
Buyers and sellers gather at the pen erected on Cody’s Main Street for the annual Cody Country Horse Sale. More than 100 horses will be offered during the sale on Saturday, which will take place in front of the historic Irma Hotel. (Photo Courtesy of Clark Management Co.)

By Cowboy State Daily

A horse arena will go up in front of Cody’s historic Irma Hotel this week in preparation for what has been referred to as the “prom of the horse sales.”

The Cody Country Horse Sale, now in its 21st year, will be held Saturday on Cody’s Main Street, where an arena will be erected so those selling their horses can put them through their paces for a large crowd of potential buyers.

“It’s a fun time,” said Kay Clark of the Clark Management Co., the company that stages the sale. “It’s like the prom of the horse sales. The horses are spic and span, they’re looking good, you’re looking good, wearing all your western memorabilia.”

More than 100 horses are expected to be offered for sale on Saturday and those bringing horses for sale are urged to bring stock that is ready to ride, Clark said.

“We want people who are going to bring the right horse,” she said. “We don’t want any buckers at all. That’s how you treat your customers right. then they both get a benefit because the consignors get paid a good amount of money for the right kind of horses.”

Saturday’s sale is only part of the event and is preceded by a ranch horse competition at the Clarks’ ranch in Ralston, about 20 miles from Cody.

“We have an area there, so consignors can show off their horses’ abilities,” said Clark, who has run the show with her husband Jake for the last 19 years. “If they have a roping horse, they can show its roping ability, if the horse runs barrels, we can let them run barrels.”

On Saturday, the action moves to the front of the Irma Hotel, where a 400-foot arena will be erected across Cody’s Main Street.

“Saturday morning, the consignors can ride in the area to show (the horses) off for the buyers,” Clark said.

The sale in Cody will begin at 1 p.m. Video clips of some of the horses being offered for sale, along with more information about the event itself, can be seen by visiting the website CodyHorseSale.com or the sale’s Facebook page.

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