Wyoming news briefs for August 24
Gas prices fall by almost a nickel in last week
CHEYENNE — Wyoming gas prices have fallen 4.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.52 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy.com's daily survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.
Gas prices in Wyoming are 9.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand $1.37 per gallon higher than a year ago.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $2.97 per gallon Monday, while the most expensive was $4.27, a difference of $1.30 per gallon.
The national average price of gasoline has fallen 3.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.14 per gallon Monday. The national average is unchanged from a month ago and stands 96.5 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.
COVID forces closure of visitor center
JACKSON — Although the federally owned visitor center on North Cache Street has been closed because of Teton County’s high COVID-19 risk level, similar federal facilities in Grand Teton National Park are remaining open.
The National Elk Refuge, which manages the in-town Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, sent word last Thursday that its doors would shut until the COVID-19 risk level abated. In the meantime, “limited services” will be offered outside the visitor center seven days a week when weather allows.
“The move to close the interior of the visitor center is in line with agency guidance, which prioritizes the health and safety of refuge staff, volunteers, partners and visitors,” Elk Refuge officials announced in a statement.
The National Elk Refuge is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the U.S. Department of Interior.
The National Park Service shares the same federal government parent — the Interior Department — but its guidance differs when it comes to operating public facilities in high COVID-19 risk areas, which Teton County is at the moment. As a result, Grand Teton National Park is keeping its visitor centers open for the time being.
“We do have the mask requirement for anybody inside federal facilities, and if you cannot socially distance outside you should have a mask on, but our facilities are open at this time,” Teton Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said.
Yellowstone National Park’s visitor centers and ranger stations located in Teton County were open on Monday, according to its website.
Teton County gives money to CWC
RIVERTON — The Teton County Commission is giving some funding to Central Wyoming College this year.
“That’s really encouraging news for us,” administrative services vice president Willie Noseep said, calling the decision “major.”
Teton County does not assess a mill levy to support CWC, despite the extensive college services provided to the Jackson area. But in 2019 Teton County voters approved a special service excise tax to support the purchase of property for the school's new center in Jackson.
And now, Noseep said, the Teton County Commission have voted in favor of a $360,000 unrestricted allocation to CWC for fiscal year 2022.
The total matches the historical average annual amount that CWC has spent in Teton County, Noseep said.
CWC Trustee Nicole Schoening said the allocation represents a “nod (of) approval” from the Teton County Commission, wondering whether the college could return to the Teton County governing body in the future for additional funding.
Noseep said there are several “different mechanisms” Teton County could use to contribute to CWC’s budget –– mill levies and annexations, for example –– and he said the commissioners indicated they would like the college to seek out those other options in the future.
“They did encourage us to keep looking,” he said, though he noted that CWC “will go back” to the commission again for help if those other options do not materialize.