Wyoming news briefs for May 4

Wyoming gas prices tick up again

CHEYENNE — Wyoming gas prices have risen 0.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.90 per gallon as of Monday, according to GasBuddy.com's daily survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Gas prices in Wyoming are 0.4 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand $1.10 per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest gas in Wyoming was priced at $2.55 per gallon Monday, while the most expensive was $3.49 per gallon, a difference of 94 cents per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 0.7 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.89 per gallon Monday. The national average was up 1.8 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.13 per gallon higher than a year ago.


Man who killed deputy loses appeal on life sentences

CODY – A former Cody man convicted of killing a Fremont County Sheriff’s deputy in 1995 has lost his appeal to have his life sentence removed because he wanted to rescind his guilty plea.

John Michael Sides Jr. pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and a 3-5 year consecutive sentence.

Sides was 17 years old when he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Deputy Steve Crerar. The deputy had been bringing him back to the Wyoming Boys’ School in Worland when Sides was able to remove one of his handcuffs and steal Crerar’s gun, fatally shooting him in the head. 

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to sentence a minor to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and Sides made an appeal in 2013 to Washakie County district court on the matter. 

The court changed his sentence to two concurrent life sentences in 2019. Sides was not allowed to withdraw his guilty plea, however, or address his claim that he was unconstitutionally denied parole by the state Board of Parole.

The Supreme Court also rejected Sides’ appeal from his Carbon County sentence for stabbing a Wyoming State Penitentiary teacher and another inmate after beginning his sentence for Crerar’s murder. From this incident, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted first-degree murder and a consecutive sentence of 6-10 years for aggravated assault and battery. 

Sides is now serving a 25-to-life sentence for his Carbon County crimes, which is consecutive to his 25-to-life sentence for his Washakie County crimes, and he is eligible for parole in both.


Story library expansion pushed to 2022

SHERIDAN — It’s been nearly three years since the community of Story first started a major fundraising push for a 40-by-45-foot expansion of the Story Branch Library.

But there is still fundraising work to be done, according to Story Community Library Inc. board chair Marc Strahn. The construction project once scheduled for this summer has been pushed back to 2022, as prices for basic building materials like lumber and steel have spiked due to increased demand.

The library expansion will provide space for an expanded meeting room, more computer access and an expanded children’s area.

“The problem we’re running into is that the current construction costs have exceeded our previous estimates,” Strahn said. “When we started this project in 2018, we were looking at needing to raise $450,000 to $475,000. Right now, it’s creeping up closer to $550,000 or $600,000.”

The board voted last month to delay the project a year with hope that construction costs will decline, Strahn said. The delay also gives the community time for continued fundraising efforts.

“We decided we couldn’t start the building process right now because we don’t want to leave the library in disarray for a couple of years as we wait for funds to come in,” Strahn said. “We need the project to be fully funded or close to fully funded before we start. It’s kind of an all-or-nothing thing at this point.”