Wyoming news briefs for September 3


Second Sheridan Co. school district adopts mask rule

SHERIDAN — Sheridan County School District 1 became the second local school district in the span of three days to enact a temporary mask requirement, with the SCSD1 Board of Trustees approving a recommendation by district administrators in a split vote, 4-1, at a special meeting Wednesday.

According to the updated COVID-19 policy effective Sept. 7, masks will be required indoors at SCSD1 facilities in Tongue River and Big Horn when 6 feet of social distancing is not possible and will be in effect for all patrons at any indoor activities. Masks will not be required outdoors.

Currently, the district’s COVID-19 plan calls for both parties exposed to the virus to be quarantined for at least 10 days. However, SCSD1 Superintendent Pete Kilbride also recommended the mask mandate be lifted immediately if the school district was able to get a change in quarantine rules, allowing for a close contact to remain in school if one of the parties was wearing a mask.

Trustee Mercedes Biteman, who cast the lone dissenting vote at Wednesday’s special meeting, said she opposed the recommendation, believing the decision to mask should be left up to a student’s parents.

“I fully support parents who have their children wear masks and those who don’t,” Biteman said. “I respect all parents and what they decide to do for their children.”

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Man in fraud case wants lawsuit stalled pending FBI probe

RIVERTON — The former Wyoming Catholic College official accused of defrauding an investment firm of $15 million has entered into a sharp debate about whether the lawsuit against him should be paused while the FBI investigates his dealings. 

Paul McCown was accused June 22 by investment company RIA R Squared, of Delaware, of obtaining and scattering a $15 million loan by pretending he was worth over $750 million. 

Soon after RIA R Squared filed the suit, McCown fell under investigation by the FBI. He filed a motion Aug. 16 asking the U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl to pause, or “stay” the lawsuit for 90 days, during the criminal proceedings. 

“Put simply,” McCown’s motion reads, “a stay of the civil litigation would better enable the government to effectively conduct its criminal investigation.” 

It states further that allowing an overlap between the lawsuit and the criminal investigation would “inhibit (R Squared’s) ability to seek relevant discovery and require this Court to confront difficult questions.” 

On that same date and in the same civil suit, McCown pled his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, in response to the claims of wrongdoing by RIA R Squared. 

In response to the stay request, RIA R Squared accused McCown of stalling. 

The plaintiff also said discussions with the FBI and the Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting McCown have indicated, conversely, that the government is not obstructed by the lawsuit.

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Uinta County lifts fire restrictions

EVANSTON — Uinta County Fire Warden Eric Quinney asked the Uinta County Commission to call a special meeting, which was held at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 30, in order to discuss fire restrictions. 

“The fire restrictions you passed in June have really helped this summer,” Quinney told commissioners. “However, we feel at this point we would like you to rescind those restrictions. The rain we’ve had the last several weeks helped though it soaked in pretty quickly.” 

Quinney warned that easing restrictions doesn’t mean the potential for wildfire isn’t still present. 

“We are not out of the woods yet and fire restrictions are used at the most serious times and, yes, even though it would be nice to keep them on until snow flies, we are mindful of people’s needs — hunting camps, the campsites around Fort Bridger during the Rendezvous and other events.” 

Quinney said that Sweetwater County had already overturned their restrictions due to the fact that they are next to the Ashley National Forest, which had also rescinded fire restrictions. 

A problem for Uinta County, Quinney said, is the Wasatch National Forest is still under fire restrictions and that may confuse people.

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