Wyoming news briefs for May 19

Arapaho Tribe spends some CARES money on vehicles

RIVERTON — Of the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s roughly $37 million in CARES Act grants, about $865,000 went toward vehicle purchases. 

According to a spreadsheet dispatched on the tribe’s website, 20 vehicle purchases were made through a local dealer. 

These include 2020 and 2021 Dodge Ram trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees. 

There are additional vehicle purchases not labelled by model, such as two “senior program food delivery” trucks, which cost $62,582 apiece. 

The vehicles were purchased in a span of seven months, ranging from May to December of 2020.

Two of the units, which cost $25,432 and $50,084 respectively, are not labelled specifically as vehicles but with a deal number following each description, along with the dealer name. 

Other labels, such as the numerous Jeep Grand Cherokees, include VIN numbers as well as descriptions. 

Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Jordan Dresser did not respond to calls for comment as of press time; nor did NABC CoChairman Lee Spoonhunter. 

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, CARES Act expenditures must be demonstrably necessary, made so by the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

Tribes and governments also were not allowed to use the money for items listed in budgets predating March 27, 2020 – the date of the enactment. 

Nor were they permitted to spend CARES Act money on expenses billed before March 1, 2020, or after Dec. 31, 2020. 


Colorado man killed in accident near Laramie

LARAMIE — Speed and driver inattention are being investigated as causes for a fatal crash south of Laramie. 

On Friday, May 14, a fatal crash occurred around milepost 409 on U.S. Highway 287. At 11:00 a.m., Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were notified of a one-vehicle rollover. 

A 2000 Toyota Camry was headed north on Highway 287 when the vehicle exited the right side of the roadway. The driver corrected to the left before overcorrecting back to the right. The car collided with a bridge guardrail and traveled off the road, where it overturned. 

The driver was identified as 22-year-old Aurora, Colorado resident Braxton Maxwell Tatum Carbonell. Carbonell was wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash. 

This is the 32nd fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2021 compared to 27 in 2020, 63 in 2019, and 34 in 2018 to date.


Legislator urges action on new road from Rock Springs to Green River

ROCK SPRINGS — Now is the time to return to the topic of an alternative route between Rock Springs and Green River, according to State Representative Mark Baker, R-Green River.

Baker said the likelihood of being able to use federal funding for the project makes it an important issue to revisit. He hosted a meeting on Wednesday, May 12, at the Sweetwater County Library in Green River to speak about his ideas and hear from community members. 

The American Jobs Plan will continue to offer large chunks of infrastructure funding in the upcoming years, and Baker recommends moving forward with a plan in order to “get in line” for available funds. He said a great deal of work has already been done as far as planning.

The feasibility of creating a road between Rock Springs and Green River as an alternative to Interstate 80 has been brought up and then tabled several times. Studies were done in both 2008 and 2012.

Baker considers the lack of an alternate road a state infrastructure deficiency. He said colleagues in state government have agreed. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon thought a paved road already existed between the two towns. There’s a road from Rock Springs to Point of Rocks and another from Green River to Little America, but not one from Rock Springs to Green River, Baker said.

Baker considers an alternate road important for reasons including safety. He noted that there have been five fatalities on I-80 between the two towns this year alone.