Wyoming news briefs for April 13

Posted

Eastern Wyoming College board fails to select president

TORRINGTON — The Eastern Wyoming College Board of Trustees announced an unsuccessful search for the next president, according to a press release. 

It was decided that the three candidates interviewed were not in alignment with the needs of EWC at this time. 

“The Board would like to thank the candidates for their time and interest in EWC,” said EWC Board Chair Robert Baumgartner. 

An interim president will be appointed by the Board while a new search is conducted. 

With a new search planned, a permanent president will be appointed to start January 1, 2023. 

According to the EWC website, the search firm of Gold Hill Associates, under the consultation of Walter H. Nolte, was hired to help in the presidential search process along with many students, trustees, employees and members of the community. 

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Niche ranks SCSD2 No. 1 for Wyoming school districts

SHERIDAN – Sheridan County School District No. 2 ranked first for school districts in the state of Wyoming, according to niche.com, an online school ranking system. 

Mitch Craft, assistant superintendent for curriculum and assessment for SCSD2, shared good news at Monday’s board of trustees meeting.

“All three Sheridan County School districts were ranked in the top six. We’re proud of our partners in districts one and three and we know Sheridan County is a great place to grow up and a great place to be a parent,” Craft said.

Sagebrush Elementary School ranked first for the second year in a row with Woodland Park Elementary School ranking fourth, Highland Park Elementary School ranking fifth and Meadowlark Elementary School ranking seventh. 

Henry A. Coffeen Elementary School was recognized in Wyoming’s top five standout elementary schools due to its positive impact on economically disadvantaged students.

Sheridan Junior High School ranked third for Wyoming middle schools.

While not all ranking systems can be verified, niche.com uses an in-depth system looking at different measures for school success, Craft said.

Craft said this showed the cumulative effort of the school district to make students successful, from elementary through high school.

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Woman who stole from Personal Frontiers avoids jail time, must pay back $247K

GILLETTE — A woman who pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from Personal Frontiers while she was the executive director of the nonprofit organization will avoid jail time, but she must pay back every dollar that she stole.

On Monday morning, Donna E. Morgan, 58, was sentenced to four to six years in prison, suspended in favor of 10 years of supervised probation. She also must pay back $155,771 to Personal Frontiers.She already has paid back $92,000, meaning when it’s all said and done, she’ll have paid about $247,000 in restitution.

If she violates her probation, she will serve that four- to six-year prison sentence.

Deputy County Attorney Greg Steward said the main goal of the plea agreement was to make sure that Personal Frontiers was made whole. If Morgan had to spend time in jail or prison, that would affect her ability to pay back the organization, Steward said.

District Judge James M. “Mike” Causey noted the irony of Morgan taking money from Personal Frontiers, which helps people who are struggling with substance abuse, to help pay for her own addictions.

“I’m extremely sorry, and I’m so ashamed,” Morgan said at her sentencing.

Morgan completed in-patient residential treatment in Sheridan, Steward said.

Police learned that Morgan had access to a Personal Frontiers’ debit card, which was supposed to be used for business-related expenses.

The board member who contacted police told them that Morgan would complain about being broke, yet she would go to an ATM machine and buy a large number of pull tab gambling tickets at the Eagles Lodge, according to the affidavit.

Morgan also “consumed large quantities of alcohol” and was “considered to be a heavy drinker,” according to the affidavit.

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Former Cheyenne city staffer alleges abuse, discrimination by ex-mayor

CHEYENNE — A former employee is suing the city of Cheyenne for alleged discrimination based on a disability and also alleges abuse by former Mayor Marian Orr. 

Denise Freeman claims in a federal lawsuit that the city denied her reasonable accommodation for a disability. She said she was terminated by Orr because she took approved unpaid medical leave and, after that had been exhausted, requested additional unpaid medical leave guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The city’s alleged unlawful employment practices “were intentional” and “done with malice or reckless indifference for Ms. Freeman’s federally protected rights,” the lawsuit said.

The suit was filed April 7 in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming. 

Freeman has requested a jury trial, as well as damages, including compensation for lost wages and benefits, front and back pay, lost economic potential, compensation for harm to her reputation and attorney’s fees. 

She said in the lawsuit that she “will continue to suffer humiliation, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional pain, mental suffering and inconvenience” as a result of the city’s alleged violation of the ADA. 

Amanda F. Esch, who is representing the city in this case, said Tuesday afternoon that the city denies Freeman’s claims of discrimination. Esch said the city is working on its required response to the lawsuit. 

Orr, who took office in January 2017, “was prone to fits of rage and would lash out angrily at Ms. Freeman and other city employees,” according to the suit. Freeman said the former mayor “would scream diatribes, swear at and in the presence of city employees, and stomp angrily out of meetings.” 

The former mayor on Tuesday said she did not want to comment on ongoing litigation.