Wyoming news briefs for December 27

Natrona County OKs new betting site

CASPER — Parimutuel betting is one step closer to being available at Casper’s C85 Pump Room, after a decision from the Natrona County commissioners last week. 

The facility is set to retain its existing staff and keep its bar, turning the liquor store portion of its north Casper building into a site for parimutuel off -track betting. The proposed location would offer betting for live racing, historic and simulcast horse racing. 

Before that, though, the license has to be approved by the Wyoming Gaming Commission, which has a slightly more rigorous application process than the county. 

This would be the first location in the county for Wyoming company 307 Horse Racing, but the county has several other existing spots for parimutuel betting including at several Wyoming Downs locations and at the Horse Palace on North Poplar Street. 

The board of county commissioners had tabled the approval of the new location during a meeting last week after finding there were several other locations in the county that appeared to have not gone through the application process. 

During a meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners moved forward with the vote and approved the permit. 

According to state statute, parimutuel betting permits are approved by location (typically inside bars, restaurants or other betting places like Wyoming Downs) and have to go through county government and the state’s gaming commission. A pair of resolutions passed in 2014 and 2020 gave blanket approval to Wyoming Horse Racing and Wyoming Downs, respectively, to operate in any county locations. 

Currently, nine Wyoming cities — Casper, Cheyenne, Evanston, Evansville, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Rock Springs and Sheridan — host off-track betting.


Teton County asks for people to use rapid testing sites only if sick

JACKSON — Teton County is seeing a jump in COVID-19 cases this week and is expecting more.

Pinning exact numbers takes some sifting, but Rachael Wheeler, the county’s Public Health Response Coordinator, said a continued increase is anticipated.

“It has seemed as though more people are testing but we don’t know why they’re testing,” she said.

Lines at the Curative rapid test site in the K-Mart plaza have been long this week. It is the only testing site that delivers results within hours.

“We have such a great asset with our rapid testing,” Wheeler said. But, she said, that testing site should be for people with an immediate need to know. She asked that others use the Stilson Lot in Wilson and Teton County Library sites, which generally return results the next day.

If people are symptomatic or have a known exposure, they should use the rapid site near Subway. If it can wait a day, the state’s Vault tests and the Curative tests at the library and Wilson can deliver results usually within a day.

According to the Teton County dashboard, there were 44 new cases reported for Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.

On Dec. 20, the prior week’s daily average was seven new cases per day. The county is considered to be in the “high risk” category, meaning transmission levels are high.

Wheeler echoed that statistic, saying cases are indeed rising. The county sifts numbers in part through the Wyoming Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The holiday weekend will delay some reported cases, Wheeler said, but she expects to see an increase “in the next case counts.”


Truck driver praises Rock Springs’ hospitality

ROCK SPRINGS  During the most recent winter storm to hit Sweetwater County, interstate closures led to many 18-wheelers stuck on the side of the roads and in parking lots in Rock Springs. 

One of the drivers who ended up parked in the Sweetwater Events Complex due to the weather emailed city officials, praising the hospitality she experienced while in Rock Springs.

The email sent on Dec. 13 from the truck driver reads as follows: “My name is Kimberly B Davis and I am one of the many drivers that wound up parked in the Sweetwater Event Center over the weekend. I just wanted to thank the city for its hospitality. I hope you will pass on my thanks to the folks who brought meals out to the many drivers who were here with me. I will always remember this past weekend and the concern of your citizens.” 

The email from Davis was discussed during the Rock Springs City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 21.


Jackson Hole Airport construction starts Jan. 3

JACKSON — The new year will be one of great change for Jackson Hole Airport, with the runway closing April 11 through June 27 for repaving.

But the airport’s security checkpoints and hold room will get their makeovers first.

Starting Jan. 3, the airport will request that passengers arrive two hours before their flight takes off due to the construction.

This comes after what has been the airport’s busiest year to date, with more than 500,000 annual passengers estimated to depart from Jackson Hole by Dec. 31.

The checkpoints are in the oldest part of the airport terminal building and will receive a “complete remodel to accommodate new security screening technology,” according to the airport’s Wednesday press release.

Construction on both the security checkpoint and the hold room, where passengers wait to board planes, is expected to wrap up in June to coincide with the runway’s reopening.