Wyoming news briefs for May 27

Elk Mountain man arrested for sexual exploitation of children

SARATOGA – A 55-year-old Elk Mountain man was arrested on May 17 by the Hanna Marshal’s Office following an investigation that began in late February.

Charges filed against Lyle Gordon Richardson allege he committed the crimes of sexual exploitation of children. If convicted, Richardson could face up to 13 years in prison, a fine of $11,000 or both. 

According to the affidavit filed in the Circuit Court of Carbon County, the Hanna Marshal’s Office received a radio call from the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch stating the uncle of the victim wanted to speak with a law enforcement officer. The uncle said his 15-year-old niece had allegedly received a text message from Richardson that appeared to request sexually explicit photos in exchange for payment.

The text exchange with the victim, included in the affidavit, began with discussion about work on Richardson’s ranch to pay rent for her horses. 

Richardson told the victim he had a friend who would trade out “sexy pics” when she was in need of cash and made the same offer to the victim.

On March 18, Richardson voluntarily spoke to Hanna Marshal officers. According to the affidavit, he stated that both the victim and her siblings had worked on his ranch for a few years. He added the victim was a “super good kid, super responsible and that’s where I probably got myself into trouble sending inappropriate text. Thinking and treating them like adults when they are not.”

Richardson stated that when the friend, a single mother, whom he paid in exchange for pictures was in need of extra money, he would often send anywhere from $150 to $200 in exchange for pictures.


Cody man avoids jail for bomb threat

CODY – A Cody man who pleaded guilty to calling in a fake bomb threat to Cody High School in 2016 has been sentenced to three years supervised probation.

Judge Bill Simpson delivered his decision for Trey Randolph, 25, on Monday in Park County District Court. During the more than two-hour hearing, three witnesses were called to argue on Randolph’s behalf, four support letters were submitted to the court, and an additional letter Randolph wrote expressing gratitude to the court, was also read out loud.

In November, Randolph pleaded guilty to threatening to commit a violent felony with the intent to cause evacuation of a building or assembly, and a misdemeanor for threatening to inflict death on a person.

He could have received up to four years in prison based on the charges and the state did argue for incarceration.

Randolph was assessed a 2-3 year suspended prison sentence that could be initiated if he breaks his probation.

In early 2019, Randolph was evicted from Big Horn Enterprises of Powell, a health care rehabilitation center, for making verbal and physical threats. He is now a resident at OWL Unlimited in Worland, a residential center for people with developmental disabilities.

In August 2016, Randolph was accused of sending a menacing Facebook note to then Cody High School student Josephine Stanley that included detailed information about Josephine’s daily schedule and her mother Laura Stanley’s workplace. 

The note threatened both of their lives and referenced a bomb planted in Cody High School.

Students were still on summer break, so only 70 children and educators had to be evacuated that afternoon, but the Cody Police Department Bomb Squad had to sweep the building and a Cody Bronc Band performance was canceled.


Governor Gordon signs private activity bond to allow innovative energy company to establish in Byron

LOVELL — Gov. Mark Gordon notified the Town of Byron Tuesday that he has signed the private activity bond that will allow a pioneering energy company the resources it needs to set up shop in the town.

The Private Activity Bond was first approved by the Byron Town Council in December. $10 million in taxable municipal bonds were approved by the town council in addition to the $5 million in tax-exempt bonds. The $5 million of tax-exempt bonds will be used for development purposes within Byron town limits, according to Harry Ewert, CEO of Quantum Energy. The $10 million of municipal bonds will be invested within Big Horn and Park counties.

Inductance Energy, based out of Cheyenne, produces what they have titled the “Earth Engine,” a power source propelled by asymmetrical magnetic propulsion, according to the company website. 

The energy is created by altering the polarity of a magnet, making one pole stronger than the other. The altercation creates a power that uses no fossil fuels, produces no heat and requires no combustion, the company says. 

“Energy produced by magnetic propulsion is more efficient than coal, natural gas, wind or solar, without the environmental impacts or risks associated with those technologies,” marketing material from the company states.

The 15 to 20 jobs created will have a starting wage of $19.40 an hour, according to a memorandum of understanding between Inductance Energy and Byron. That wage will increase to a range of $22.10 to $37.50 an hour, based on training and experience. Full health benefits will be offered as well as stock grants and options.

The company hopes to eventually create at least 200 jobs within the state of Wyoming. The town council has yet to formally accept the MOU.


Beartooth Highway set to open Friday

POWELL — Assuming the weather cooperates, the Beartooth Highway will fully open to travelers at 8 a.m. Friday.

The scenic high-mountain route — formally known as U.S. Highway 212 — runs from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana, providing access to Yellowstone National Park’s Northeast Entrance.

A portion of the highway, from Cooke City to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (Wyo. Highway 296), opened earlier this month.

However, the stretch between that intersection and Red Lodge is always the last Yellowstone area route to open for the summer because of the massive amount of snow that piles up over the winter.

Crews from the Park Service have been working for weeks to clear the portion of the highway that runs through Wyoming, while the Montana Department of Transportation has been clearing the northern section in Montana.

Although the highway is expected to be ready for the Memorial Day weekend, “conditions can change quickly, especially during spring and fall, and roads can temporarily close due to poor driving conditions,” the Park Service warned in a news release.

“Plan to have alternate routes for travel should the highway close.”

Snow and cold temperatures persist in the Beartooth Mountains through the summer.

There’s enough powder that a no-frills ski area that sits along the highway, Beartooth Basin, is able to operate into early July.

Both the Montana and Wyoming departments of transportation websites will offer updates on the road’s status through the summer.