Wyoming news briefs for September 22


Body of Washington man found at Shoshone Lake

JACKSON — Deep in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, rangers have been searching for a 74-year-old Utah resident in and around Shoshone Lake, where the missing man’s canoeing partner has been found dead, likely from drowning.

A family member on Sunday reported to park officials that the two men, who were half-brothers, were overdue from their four-night backcountry paddle trip to the remote lake, which is in the southwest portion of the park and accessed via Lewis Lake. Yellowstone rangers hiked in the same day and found a vacant campsite with gear on the south side of the lake. They also discovered a canoe in the water on the east shore of the lake in addition to a paddle, PFD and other personal belongings that were found up on dry ground.

The next morning, on Monday, search-and-rescue crews found the body of Mark O’Neil, 67, from Chimacum, Washington, along the east shore of Shoshone Lake.

“The cause of death has not been determined, but it is likely to be by drowning,” Yellowstone spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said.

The missing man is Kim Crumbo, 74, from Ogden, Utah. Warthin said the search-and-rescue operation is ongoing, and she did not speculate on what might have caused the lethal accident.

Both O’Neill and Crumbo are National Park Service retirees, and Crumbo is a former Navy Seal. No more information was about the search-and-rescue operation was available on Tuesday. Efforts by foot, air and boat will continue on Wednesday, Warthin said.

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Man loses $150,000 in scams

GILLETTE — A 64-year-old Campbell County man is out $150,000 from scams involving transactions that masqueraded as federal debt relief programs.

He told Campbell County Sheriff's deputies on Monday that the suspects sent bad checks for him to deposit and asked for the cash to be sent to different locations throughout the country, as a tax payment on the relief payouts.

A significant portion of the $150,000 lost in the scam was converted into and sent as Bitcoin, said Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds.

Deputies contacted the FBI for help on the case. Some of the money sent through Bitcoin may be retrievable, Reynolds said.

The investigation continues.

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Upton resident killed in rollover

TORRINGTON — On Sept. 18, 2021, a fatal crash occurred around milepost 112 on U.S. 85 north of Lingle. 

At 4:14 a.m., Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were notified of a one-vehicle rollover. 

A 2018 GMC Sierra was headed north on U.S. 85. The driver failed to negotiate a curve to the left and exited the roadway’s east side. The driver steered the truck to the left before the vehicle began to overturn. 

The driver of the GMC has been identified as 18-year-old Upton resident Caleb M. Brenner.

Brenner was not wearing a seatbelt and succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash.

Driver fatigue is being investigated as a potential contributing factor. 

This is the 84th fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2021 compared to 95 in 2020, 117 in 2019, and 81 in 2018 to date.

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Sheridan council rejects ban on declawing

SHERIDAN — Sheridan City Council voted to  revise and approve an animal ordinance on second reading with a 6-1 vote Monday.

The proposed ordinance, which was approved by all councilors except Kristen Jennings on second reading, updates the city’s definition of animal cruelty for the first time in nearly seven decades. It also makes changes to sections of the code regarding aggressive and vicious animals and animals at-large.

Prior to the ordinance’s approval on second reading, the council considered and approved three amendments to the proposed ordinance.

The most contentious of these was the second amendment, which removed language previously approved by the council on first reading. That amendment, recommended by Councilor Jacob Martin, would have made it illegal to declaw animals in Sheridan.

The council voted 5-2 to remove the declawing section of the ordinance, with Martin and Councilor Shawn Day voting to keep the language. One of those voting to remove the section was Councilor Clint Beaver, who had originally voted for the addition of the language. Beaver argued that, because there were relatively few declawing operations happening in Sheridan, the language simply wasn’t necessary.

“I have just come to the conclusion that, while I may like the regulation, I don’t think it’s a necessary regulation at this time for the city,” Beaver said.

Councilor Steven Brantz argued Sheridan citizens and veterinarians should be free to make their own choices regarding cat declawing. He also argued the amendment represented the feelings of one councilor, rather than the broader community as a whole.

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Rawlins woman first Special Olympics executive director

RAWLINS — The Wyoming Senior Olympics Board of Directors recently hired the organization’s first Executive Director.

De Shann Schinkel of Rawlins has been hired as the first executive director for the Wyoming Senior Olympics.

Schinkel will assist the board of directors with both the summer and winter Wyoming Senior Games.

Cheyenne resident Bill Stone, who has been WSO president since 2010, said he is excited to see the WSO take the step to hire an executive director to help promote the Senior Olympics and healthy lifestyles.

“We could not have picked a more qualified executive director if we tried,” Stone said. “I have total confidence in her and the rest of the board and am very excited as the WSO moves forward.”

Schinkel retired in 2002 from the Wyoming Air National Guard and is retired from the U.S. Air Force. She is well known within the Rawlins community as the former aquatics director for Carbon County Schools. She also coached a variety of sports until her retirement in 2018.

Those athletes competing in the winter and summer swimming events know Schinkel. She excels not only in swimming, but also the triathlon. In the most recent National Senior Games held in 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Schinkel competed in eight swimming events and earning gold medals for the 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay. Schinkel also earned sixth place in the triathlon.

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WWCC nursing program named best in state

ROCK SPRINGS — Western Wyoming Community College’s nursing program was ranked number one in Wyoming by NursingProcess.org. 

Western’s nursing program is highly innovative and uses technology to assist in preparing students for practice. Simulation mannequins and technology give students the opportunity to practice complex nursing in a safe environment. Computerized exams prepare nurses to take the national licensing exam. 

The college’s nursing graduate outcomes are high, with pass rates on the national licensing exam consistently scoring above both state and national averages. 

“We are very excited to be recognized as the top ADN program in Wyoming. Western’s Associate Degree in nursing program is a hybrid program which meets the needs of students across our vast service area in Southwestern Wyoming. Our nursing faculty are very innovative in providing high-quality nursing education to students in rural communities. With the support of our community partners, our students are able to take advantage of multiple clinical opportunities throughout our service area. We currently have a 94.12 percent NCLEX first time pass rate, and a 92.5% program completion rate,” stated Heidi Brown, Director of Nursing and School of Health Sciences and Wellness Chair. 

Graduates from Western’s program enjoy excellent employment rates, and satisfaction between graduates and employers is superior according to surveys the nursing department conducts eight months after graduation.

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