Wyoming news briefs for November 11

Goats once again feasting on creek vegetation in Cheyenne

CHEYENNE — A community favorite is back in town. 

For the next two weeks, goats will be moving west along Crow Creek to eat vegetation, including noxious weeds, which helps reduce vegetation in floodways. 

The goats were relocated to Crow Creek earlier this week after spending two weeks eating vegetation along Dry Creek. 

Using goats for this purpose has become a favorite for locals, and is also substantially less expensive than human labor. 

The goats are contained to a specific area using a portable electric fence and trained border collies. 

Goat Green, LLC is operating and overseeing the month-long process. The project is funded through the fifth penny sales tax.


Man won $900, reported it stolen and got it back Sunday night

GILLETTE — A 39-year-old man won, lost and was reunited with nearly $900 all in the same night Sunday.

The man told police that he’d won $897.96 on a historic horse racing machine at Boot Hill Nightclub, but his voucher had been cashed out while he was outside smoking, said Police Lt. Brent Wasson.

When officers were speaking with staff, a 50-year-old man came up to them and said he had the money.

He said he sat down at the machine next to the 39-year-old, and he believed that the younger man’s machine was on demo mode. He printed out the voucher and cashed it, but said he was planning on waiting to see what happened, Wasson said.

The 50-year-old man gave the money to the 39-year-old, who decided not to pursue charges and was happy to have his money back, Wasson said.


Cody, Powell residents protest against vax mandate 

CODY — Dozens of people, many health care workers from Cody and Powell, lined up on the curb across from Cody Regional Health on Wednesday morning to protest a federal vaccine mandate.

“We are nurses and healthcare workers, standing up for the patient right and the nursing ethic of autonomy and self governance in healthcare that’s an oath every nurse takes,” said Ken Lee, a Cody Regional Health nurse. “We’re not being given that same right.”

The ruling will deny Medicare and Medicaid payments to healthcare organizations where all staff and applicable contractors have not received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine by Dec. 4, or been approved for an exemption.

Last week, Cody Regional Health, which receives 70 percent of its revenue from Medicare and Medicaid, emailed staff to inform them of the deadline.

“It puts our hospital and its administration in a horrible spot, but Doug (CEO Doug McMillan) and our administration and board and board at the surgery center are all working very hard for us and we are working hard for them,” Lee said. “We’re supporting them as much as we can. We want people to call the governor, call their state senators and let them know of the specific problem healthcare workers face.”

Pat Danks is one of a number of people who drove over from Powell for the protest. He’s a lab tech at Powell Valley Healthcare.

“I should have a choice as a healthcare worker to choose whether I get the vaccine or not,” he said. “We’ve been able to put in the hours without being forced to take the vaccine. For me it’s just a belief we should have a choice.”


Jundt named Crook County treasurer

SUNDANCE — After holding down the fort at the Crook County Treasurer’s Office since Mary Kuhl was suspended on suspicion of malfeasance, Tammy Jundt is no longer the acting treasurer. 

Instead, with the blessing of the Crook County Republican Party (GOP) and the Crook County Commissioners, she will officially serve as the county’s treasurer until the next elections in 2022. 

The party’s central committee was tasked with selecting three candidates to fill the seat left open by Mary Kuhl upon her resignation as county treasurer, which was received by the commission on October 8 and became effective on October 31. 

Kuhl’s resignation meant that the civil trial to consider a petition for her permanent removal was no longer necessary, although criminal charges against her are still pending. 

The commission moved to accept Kuhl’s resignation the same day as it was received, and to kick-start the process of declaring the office of the treasurer to be open. 

Commissioner Jeanne Whalen commended Jundt for the obviously positive atmosphere within the treasurer’s office since she stepped up as acting treasurer. 

Jundt will serve until the end of Kuhl’s term, which was set to expire at the end of 2022; the seat will appear on the ballot during the 2022 elections.


Court slaps camper with three citations for living on Caribou-Targhee National Forest

JACKSON — The Wyoming U.S. District Court issued three misdemeanor citations to Travis L. Wheeler for living on forest lands, leaving a campfire unattended and abandoning a campsite in unsanitary conditions.

Wheeler, who had a long-term campsite in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest just north of Alpine, was fined $800, banned from the Caribou-Targhee and Bridger-Teton National Forests for five years and put on probation for five years, according to court files.

On June 20 a Forest Service ranger saw several vehicles, two RV trailers, an unattended campfire and personal property left near Forest Road 020 in the Caribou-Targhee’s Palisades Ranger District, court files state. The ranger photographed the location and returned to the area just over two weeks later, finding the same items and another unattended campfire.

“The trailers were parked haphazardly throughout the trees and brush, causing extensive resource damage,” Patrol Captain Rayce Angell said in a Forest Service news release.

On July 23 three Forest Service officers returned to the location finding the same situation and Wheeler, who told officers that the seven vehicles on the property were his and that he intended to sell them, according to court files.

Wheeler’s case illustrates the capacity for authorities to punish those who set up permanently on public lands, exceeding limits on the number of days allowed in a given site.

“Taking up residence on national forest system lands and/or facilities is illegal,” the release states. “Permanent camping creates a variety of issues for forest officials who seek to balance public access and resource conservation. Disposal of waste, trash and other environmental concerns associated with more permanent residences affects all public land users.”