Wyoming news briefs for March 19


Two arrested with eight pounds of pot

GILLETTE — Two Wisconsin men were arrested on drug charges Tuesday morning after being caught with 8 pounds of marijuana.

A Campbell County Sheriff's Office deputy patrolling Highway 50 saw a white 2018 Nissan Maxima going 89 mph in a 70 mph zone. The deputy followed the car and pulled it over near Red Hills Road. A drug dog indicated drugs were in the car, and more than 8 pounds of marijuana was found in the trunk, said Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds.

The two men seemed nervous and their stories did not match up, Reynolds said. The driver, Dwayne Hardwick, 37, told deputies they were coming from California, while the passenger, Eric Johnson, 39, said they were on vacation and were driving back to Wisconsin from Las Vegas.

Both men were arrested for felony possession of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver.

Reynolds said the deputy observed that because of the amount of marijuana, he believed they were intending to deliver it and that it was not just for recreational use. The marijuana was in various forms, including in vacuum-sealed bags that weighed more than 1 pound each, 25 unused packages labeled “Hawaiian Root,” one large joint and one THC vape oil cartridge.

Total weight of the drugs found is more than 8 pounds, Reynolds said.

Both men appeared before Circuit Court Judge Paul Phillips on Wednesday afternoon for their initial appearance. Their bonds were both set at $10,000, cash surety.

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Reservation housing agency gets $1.8 million for relief

RIVERTON — The Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority has received more than $1.8 million from the federal government to provide emergency rent and utility assistance for families affected by COVID-19. 

Applications may be submitted beginning Thursday, March 17. 

Funding is available to help with rental and utility arrears, current rent, utility payments, and housing stability services for families living at or below 80 percent of the median income level for the area, with preference given to families living at or below 50 percent of the AMI.

Income-eligible applicants must qualify for unemployment or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19. 

They also must demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability and be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

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County gets grant for Teton Pass planning

JACKSON — A federal program intended to improve access to public lands has granted $300,000 to study transportation, access points and wildlife-vehicle collisions on Teton Pass.

Teton County, the grant recipient, said Thursday the funding had been officially secured through the Federal Land Access Program, known as FLAP.

“FLAP supplements state and local resources for public roads with an emphasis on high-use recreation sites and economic generators,” a press release said. “With up to 200,000 visitors a year, three major trailheads and thousands of acres of public lands affected, this project easily fit the bill.”

Vehicle traffic over Teton Pass and use of the federal lands around Highway 22 have increased sharply since the 1990s. The flood of people and recreation use throughout the year has caused conflict, parking congestion and safety issues.

“Use of this area is not going to decrease so we need to develop a solid corridor management plan that looks at the issues holistically from Idaho to Wyoming,” Caribou-Targhee National Forest District Ranger Jay Pence said in the county’s press release.

The Caribou-Targhee and its adjoining national forest, the Bridger-Teton, have been in talks with Teton County, the state of Wyoming, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and advocacy groups like Wyoming Pathways and the Teton Backcountry Alliance over how to balance the demands on Teton Pass.

The $300,000 FLAP grant-funded study is an early step in a long-term effort to modernize infrastructure on Teton Pass.

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