Wyoming news briefs for September 27
Moose injures Wilson man
JACKSON — A Wilson man went to the hospital after being knocked down by a moose on the bike path northeast of Wilson Elementary School, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The man was reportedly walking his dog at 7:15 a.m. Friday when he saw a bull moose about 50 yards away, a Game and Fish news release said Sunday.
“It was reported that his dog was at his side when the bull decided to charge him and knocked him down,” the release said. “While human injuries from moose are not common, Game and Fish officials are warning people that it is now the fall mating season for moose, elk and other ungulates and to give wildlife plenty of room.”
Game and Fish said the man went to the hospital but did not specify injuries. After learning of the incident Saturday, Game and Fish looked for the moose but did not find it in the area.
Laramie County school district parent hires lawyer to challenge mask mandate
CHEYENNE — A parent of a student in Laramie County School District No.1 has given notice of his intent to sue the district over a recent decision to require students to wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Jason Hoover hired a lawyer to send the district a letter challenging its policies.
In the letter, Cheyenne attorney Cassie Craven cites the Wyoming Constitutional Health Care Freedom Amendment, the U.S. Constitution and one’s right to a free public education as reasons for challenging the school board’s decision.
Hoover is the parent of a student who has allegedly suffered impacts due to the mask requirement, but he said he made the decision to hire an attorney for reasons beyond just protecting his child’s health. He sees the mask mandate as unconstitutional, which he said he can no longer accept.
“We all have a duty, particularly for our children,” he said, “to stand against lawlessness and to stand up and assert our rights.”
Craven has been retained to address those concerns. She expressed in her written warning to the LCSD1 administration she doesn’t believe there is a case to defend the mask mandate.
“When a state or local policy implicates a fundamental right through coercion, or otherwise, the strict scrutiny standard applies, and it is my belief you’ll never survive that legal hurdle,“ she stated in her letter. “In short, your actions against these children, when their parents and guardians have contrary wishes, is illegal, and we will make certain you answer for it.”
Hoover is not the only parent to object to the recent decision by the board, but he is one of the first to hire an attorney.
Lummis releases statement on COVID-19 and vaccines
JACKSON — U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, in her monthly newsletter, reiterated her stance on COVID-19, the deadly virus which has hospitalized as many Wyoming patients in recent weeks as it did at the height of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is serious. It has already taken the lives of too many people in Wyoming, and each death is a travesty. My heart breaks for those who have lost family members to this devastating illness,” the Wyoming Republican said in her letter to constituents.
Despite that loss, the senator said she still doesn’t support “overreaching” vaccine mandates.
“This pandemic does not make the Constitution irrelevant. It does not mean our rights as private citizens are up for discussion,” she wrote. “I believe getting vaccinated, like any medical decision, is a decision you should make in consultation with your doctor, not because of a mandate from the federal government.”
Lummis’ stance is consistent with other Wyoming leaders, including Gov. Mark Gordon. She is vaccinated against the virus and expressed confidence in the vaccine’s effectiveness, but she also said vaccinations have become political.
If vaccine mandates are enforced, employees might quit their jobs, the senator suggested.
She also said “each state should be responsible for managing their reaction to the pandemic,” rather than a federal government led by President Biden.
“I care deeply about each person in Wyoming, and I do hope you’ll consider getting this safe, effective vaccine to ensure that you are protected against this deadly virus, but I will oppose any mandate that forces you to take it,” the senator wrote.
5-10 years given in fentanyl case
GILLETTE — A drug bust in which an estimated 1,400 pills containing fentanyl were found has led to a five- to 10-year prison sentence for a Gillette man.
Joseph Laray Speigelmyer, 29, had pleaded guilty in March to delivering fentanyl and possession with intent to deliver fentanyl.
District Judge Stuart S. Healy III sentenced him earlier this month to two concurrent sentences of five to 10 years for the two felonies.
Speigelmyer became a suspect in drug trafficking last fall after agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation learned he allegedly had been the source of counterfeit oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.
Four pills were found in a vehicle whose driver was seen meeting briefly with Speigelmyer on Oct. 20 and then stopped by DCI, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Agents described the pills as being round, off-white in color with the markings of an “M” on one side and a “30” on the other side.
The pills and their markings are the same as real oxycodone, but DCI and other law enforcement agencies believe from their investigations that “the pills identified as ‘roxies’ may be counterfeit and contain fentanyl,” according to the affidavit.
Fentanyl has become a concern in the community after a number of overdose deaths attributed to the strong and lethal drug.
DCI got a search warrant Oct. 22 for Speigelmyer’s home on University Road and found three pill bottles in a backpack in his bedroom. The pill bottles were labeled as prescriptions belonging to him, but the contents revealed the same round, off-white pills with markings of “M” and “30,” according to the affidavit. Another bottle was found in the garage.