Wyoming news briefs for January 14

UW trustees approve School of Computing

CHEYENNE — The University of Wyoming’s commitment to raise its performance in computing and technology took a major step forward Thursday with the creation of a new School of Computing. 

UW’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to authorize the launch of the new academic unit.

Reporting to the provost, it initially will be housed in the College of Engineering and Applied Science to accelerate its development. Eventually, the School of Computing will become a separate unit similar to the School of Energy Resources and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, with its own dean and interdisciplinary connections across the university.

“Computing’s impact is found in virtually every discipline today, and new data science technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are starting to transform every academic discipline, every industry and every aspect of modern society,” UW President Ed Seidel said in a news release. “Access to world-class infrastructure and workforce training in computing and data is critical for Wyoming citizens and for UW’s students. The School of Computing will be the catalyst for the university to emerge as a leader in rural computing and data science, and to generate additional revenue streams and industry partnerships.” 

The school will begin operations immediately, including appointment of an interim director, hiring of initial staff members and advertising for faculty members. One-time funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act allocated by Gov. Mark Gordon will be used to accelerate the development of the school.


Popcorn trailer explodes in Gillette

GILLETTE — No one was hurt Thursday afternoon when a kettle corn trailer parked in the lot between Creative Beverages and EZ Too Auto Wash exploded.

Witnesses reported hearing and feeling the blast from more than a mile away. One witness said she saw gray smoke coming from the area as she was leaving Albertsons, about a half-mile from the explosion.

The owner of the kettle corn trailer, Preston Gulley, said he was not present at the time of the incident and did not know what happened.

“The car wash called me, said ‘Your trailer just blew up,’” Gulley said.

Gulley also owns a snow cone business called Gulleys Snow 2 Go, which was parked right next to the kettle corn trailer during the incident.

Randy Bath heard the explosion while at his home near St. Mathew's Catholic Church, more than a mile away. In the moment, he did not know what the sound was. He rents the lots to Gulley and found out soon after the blast happened where it came from.

“I just thought I better find out what’s going on,” he said from the scene of the explosion.

There was very little fire when firefighters arrived at the scene of the explosion and the cause is still under investigation, said Fire Marshal Eric Acton while assessing the damage Thursday.

Reyna Phillips was leaving Albertsons when she “heard it before she felt it.”

She said there was gray smoke coming from the area in the moments after the blast.

“I’ve never felt anything like that,” she said.