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COVID Cancellations Happening Again in Wyo; Now Eastern Wyoming College Cancels Volleyball Games

in News/Coronavirus
12934

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

With half of its volleyball team quarantined after either testing positive for or being exposed to the coronavirus, Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington has canceled four volleyball games scheduled for later this week.

Tami Afdahl, a spokeswoman for the college with campuses in Torrington and Douglas, said as of Tuesday, two players of the 20-member team have tested positive for COVID, while eight others are in quarantine, awaiting test results.

Across the campus, which has no requirement for the use of facemasks, Afdahl said more cases have been seen.

“We have 7 active cases, 5 on the Torrington campus and 2 on the Douglas campus,” she said.

The team had been scheduled to play in a tournament at McCook Community College in Nebraska on Friday and Saturday. The games will not be rescheduled. A game scheduled for last week was also canceled because the team was exposed to COVID.

While EWC does not require the use of facemasks, it is recommending that students who have not received the coronavirus vaccine wear face coverings while on campus. Meanwhile, the board of directors for Goshen County School District No. 1 is to meet this week to discuss adopting a mask mandate for students in grades K-12.

Schools across Wyoming are working to set facemask policies as the state’s infection rate continues to climb. Over the weekend, the state saw more than 1,000 new laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus, leaving Wyoming with more than 3,500 active cases.

The debate has been vigorous in some communities, with Cheyenne schools deciding against a mandate after several lengthy meetings that saw constituents arguing with school board members. So far, only schools in Jackson, Laramie and Sheridan have adopted mask mandates.

As of Monday, Goshen County had 73 active cases of coronavirus and four COVID patients in its hospital. Statewide, hospitalizations have spiked to levels not seen since mid-December, with 195 COVID patients in hospitals across the state.

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Parched: 102-year-old irrigation canal collapse threatens livelihood of 800 farm and ranch families

in News/weather/Agriculture
1741

Over 100,000 acres of farm and ranch land in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska have been without irrigation water for more than two weeks after an 102-year-old irrigation canal collapsed.

For the roughly 800 farm and ranch families whose operations straddle the Wyoming-Nebraska state line, the situation is dire and the clock is ticking.

“It was the worst timing in the world,” Goshen County Irrigation District manager Rob Posten said. “17th of July when it’s 90 degrees everyday and not much rain. Couldn’t have been any worse timing.”

“It’s my worst nightmare,” Posten added.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts have both signed emergency declarations allowing the use of state resources to get the old canal repaired and running water.

“I have been in crop insurance for 20 years, and I have never seen anything like this.”

CSD: Crop insurance might not cover irrigation canal collapse losses (July 29, 2019)

The massive canal, constructed during World War I, runs 85 miles through Wyoming and another 45 miles in Nebraska.

“If there was a hundred year warranty it ran out last year,” said Shawn Madden with Torrington Livestock Auction.

There is hope to salvage at least part of the year’s crop yield as Wyoming meteorologist Don Day predicts some rain may be on the way for eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska. The bad news, Day warns, is that late August in Wyoming tends to be bone dry.

For the livelihood of 800 families, the window to get the canal operational is small and getting smaller.

However, Cactus Covello of Points West Bank said the farming families of the region will find a way through the crisis.

“Agricultural people in Nebraska and Wyoming, they’re the most resilient you’re going to come by,” he said. “They’re tough. They’ll find a way. We may lose some, but you won’t lose many. They’ll find a way to survive.”

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