Wyoming news briefs for April 8

Cheyenne Frontier Days 2021 will go on as planned, with new health and safety protocol

CHEYENNE – Saddle up, rodeo fans. The 125th anniversary of Cheyenne Frontier Days is on.

CFD CEO Tom Hirsig began a press conference Wednesday with “any tears that will be shed will be tears of joy,” and brought Gov. Mark Gordon up onstage to make the official announcement.

“I am really proud today to say that this is our chance to step up and have Cheyenne Frontier Days this summer,” he said. 

Hirsig added that the event will take place as usual, at maximum capacity and without a mask requirement, but he noted these measures can change due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

Hirsig said this summer’s event will feature a brand-new health and safety protocol focusing on increased cleaning and sanitization, completely digital ticketing, more cashless payment opportunities and a new clear bag policy. 

“It’s more of a focus of being clean and having people where they can do things without passing things to each other,” he said.

“We’re also going to be flexible,” Hirsig added. “If there’s a strain that becomes dangerous and we have to social distance and mask, we’re ready. We’ve talked through those scenarios.”

The full Frontier Nights lineup won’t be announced until Thursday evening, but previously announced concerts are still on the schedule: Thomas Rhett (July 24), Eric Church (July 29) and Blake Shelton (July 31). Tickets for the concerts and all other CFD events go on sale next week.

More information on health and safety measures and ticket sales may be found on the CFD website, cfdrodeo.com.


Crash outside Cody results in two serious injuries

POWELL — Two young women suffered “severe” injuries last week, when their vehicle rolled over multiple times outside of Cody.

One female was ejected from the sedan in the April 1 crash, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, while the other occupant remained inside.

The office did not name those involved in the crash, but in posts on social media, family members identified them as Cody High School student Tessa Jordan and 2020 Heart Mountain Academy graduate Meleah Hicks. 

The two females had been traveling west on County Road 7WC — not far from the road to the Cody Shooting Complex — when their sedan’s passenger-side tires went off the side of the roadway.

After going off the road a second time, the driver overcorrected and crossed the road, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The vehicle then skidded 147 feet before tripping and rolling three times. It came to a stop on its roof, about 475 feet from where it first went off the road. 

The crash was reported to the sheriff’s office at 5:33 p.m. on April 1. A deputy arrived at the scene about five minutes later, with an ambulance from Cody Regional Health and units from the Cody Fire Department also dispatched. Both Jordan and Hicks were transported to Cody Regional Health via ambulance and then taken to larger hospitals for surgeries and other treatment.


Masks recommended, not required in Johnson County schools

BUFFALO – When students returned to Johnson County schools on Monday, they did so with no mask requirement for the first time this school year.

Thanks to a 6-0 vote by the school board last Thursday, masks are now recommended in school, but no longer required.

“If the individuals determine they want to wear them, we don't want to discourage

it and we wanted to use the same verbiage as the CDC is using,” Superintendent Jim

Wagner said at the meeting.

Masks are, however, required for students and staff traveling on district school buses and when students and staff travel to other districts where masks are still required. In addition, sanitizing practices within schools and especially between class changes will remain.

Before the vote on Thursday, Cloud Peak Elementary School principal Craig Anderson shared with the school board the results of a survey he had sent to parents and staff asking their thoughts on when to remove the mask requirement.

The results of the survey, he said, showed that about half of the staff expressed support for removing masks immediately and a little over 60 percent of parents did, too.

The exception request the district received does say that state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist or county health officer Dr. Mark Schueler can revoke the exception if an uptick occurs in the county, but the exception request does not specify a number that would trigger a revocation.


Hot Springs commissioners vote to make county a Second Amendment sanctuary

THERMOPOLIS — During their Tuesday meeting, the Hot Springs County Commissioners voted to adopt a resolution making the county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

Sheriff Jerimie Kraushaar presented the resolution to the commissioners and said, “on an average week I probably have five to ten people ask me if we are coming for their guns.”

He said his reply to them is he would never do that, and they have the Second Amendment and the Wyoming Constitution to support them. 

Kraushaar added that his busiest week with this question happened just after the Boulder, Colorado shooting where up to 25 people came to him and again asked if the county will come to take away their guns. 

He said, “They were legitimately scared.” 

He said he and Thermopolis Police Chief Julie Mathews wanted to do something about it. They were going to make a joint statement but decided to go the route of a county resolution instead. 

Hence, Kraushaar used the same language from a Fremont County resolution to present to the commissioners. 

“I just think it’s a little ridiculous for us to be signing a resolution as a feel-good piece. I think there are probably better more effective ways in communicating, but I agree with that (the resolution) 110 percent,” commissioner Phillip Scheel said during the presentation. 

“The only one having teeth in signing it is you,” said commissioner Jack Baird, referring to Sheriff Kraushaar. 

“I will make it very clear that if the feds were to come to Hot Springs County to take your guns, we would expel them,” said Kraushaar. “We had the issue before with the BLM. They backed off once they started. So, hopefully, it never comes to that.”


Buffalo man arrested on multiple drug charges

BUFFALO — Daniel Duncan, 47, of Buffalo, faces a maximum sentence of 62 years in prison and $77,000 in fines if convicted of multiple drug-related offenses. He has been charged with three felony counts of delivery of methamphetamine and two misdemeanor counts of possession of methamphetamine. 

According to court records, law enforcement met with a confidential informant, who was arrested on Jan. 6 for related drug charges. The informant told officers that Duncan "fronts" him or her the money to source methamphetamine from Gillette and Greeley, Colorado, and deliver it to clients. 

In return, Duncan told officers that he would provide an "eight ball or two" of methamphetamine to the informant for taking the risk.

According to court documents, the informant met with Duncan on Jan. 25 and received a vial that contained methamphetamine, and then transferred custody to law enforcement at a prearranged location. The following day, the informant met with Duncan at his business and received one gram of methamphetamine from him.

According to court records, an unidentified individual alleged that Duncan provided the informant with a burner phone and $500 cash, instructing him or her to purchase methamphetamine from his sources in Greeley and Gillette. The informant turned all the money over to law enforcement.

Duncan was arrested on Feb. 21, and on Feb. 23, law enforcement executed a warrant on Duncan's white Ford pickup and found 1.5 grams of methamphetamine inside a jeweler's bag. Later that day, officers found at Duncan's business a glass vial with suspected methamphetamine, two jeweler's bags with suspected controlled substance, and a glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine.

Duncan will be arraigned on April 12. He has been released from the Johnson County Detention Center on a $15,000 bond.


Second Amendment bill dies before reaching House

SUNDANCE — Though the Second Amendment Preservation Act made it through the Wyoming Senate, it will not go any further. Senate File 81 died upon introduction to the House.

The bill was intended to prevent firearms from being confiscated due to federal laws that may be passed in the future. It caused controversy in its original form because it placed the accountability for preventing unwanted laws from being enforced on Wyoming’s law enforcement officers.

Because the bill specified that anyone who enforced a federal law that Wyoming feels infringes on Second Amendment Rights would be “permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer,” Crook County Sheriff Jeff Hodge and his 22 counterparts around the state expressed concern that it could turn an ordinary arrest into a career-ending decision for a peace officer. 

An officer would not have the authority to, for example, confiscate a firearm during a domestic altercation or when being used in self-defense.

In a real-life situation where a crime has been committed, a peace officer may seize a firearm as evidence or to prevent further harm from being inflicted. 

However, if the case becomes federal and the gun owner is ultimately not convicted of any crime and thus remains a law-abiding citizen, that decision would lead to the officer losing his job.

The bill was passed out of the Senate with a vote of 24-6. However, on March 31, it was determined that it would not be considered for introduction in the House.