Wyoming news briefs for April 14

Posted 4/14/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for April 14


End near for UW COVID-19 testing

LARAMIE — More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, operations at University of Wyoming are returning to normalcy. On Wednesday, the university announced it will halt its required testing program at the end of the semester. 

Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, a random 3% sampling of students and employees has been selected to get a COVID-19 test each week in an effort to monitor the prevalence of the virus across the campus. The program will end May 6, the week before finals begin. 

As of Monday, the university had conducted a total of 242,727 COVID-19 tests and identified 3,702 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

As of Wednesday, the school only has one active case of COVID-19 and a prevalence rate in the testing program of 0.8 percent. 

“We have now reached a point where surveillance testing no longer will be necessary,” University President Ed Seidel said in a press release. “But it’s great to know that we have the capacity to restart it in the event of an extended surge in viral transmission in our community, as monitored by state and county health officials.” 

Testing will still be available for students via on-campus health services. The tests will be free to students until the university runs out of tests provided free from the state. At that point, the university will buy tests and provide them at a cost to students. 

The university also is set to end contact tracing and updates to its COVID-19 dashboard. The eased requirements come after the university lifted an indoor mask mandate in February. Masks are still required in health care settings and on public transit. 


State Loan and Investment Board approves funds for Greybull's Shell well repair

GREYBULL  The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board has approved $75,000 in emergency funding to repair the Town of Greybull’s top producing well.

Shell Well #2 is one of three artesian wells near Shell that supply water to Greybull. All of them tap into the Morrison Formation, but Shell Well #2 is easily the town’s best producer, supplying twice the amount of water as Shell Well #1 and Shell Well #3 combined.

In early January, town staff discovered a substantial water leak below the building that houses Shell Well #2. After excavation, it was determined that the original 16-inch diameter steel pipeline used to divert well flow during the completion of the well and headworks had a series of holes at the location where it passed through the building’s concrete foundation wall.

Town water users may not have been aware of the leak. Had it occurred in the spring and summer when demand is at its peak, it might have been different. But in late winter/early spring, the town was able to meet demand with water from Shell Well #1 and Shell Well #3.

Administrator/Finance Director Carrie Hunt, Public Works Director Jason Lampman and Jake Wright of Nelson Engineering had to lobby for the emergency funding, however.

Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) staff did not recommend approval of the town’s $100,000 request, believing it to be a worthy project but one that ultimately fell short of qualifying as an “emergency” that posed a direct and immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the community.

The SLIB board, which consists of the top five elected officials in the state, disagreed, approving the $75,000 in emergency funding.


Rawlins man survives shotgun blast to chest, attempted first-degree murder charge for alleged shooter

RAWLINS — A convoluted tale of intimidation and revenge has left one Rawlins man hospitalized with a shotgun wound to the chest and another facing an attempted first-degree murder charge.

Dakota Brown, 29, was arrested Saturday after allegedly fleeing the scene of the victim’s house in the 1100 block of Mountain View in Rawlins, according to an affidavit filed in the case by Detective Thomas Shroyer of the Rawlins Police Department.

Police were contacted by Carbon County Memorial Hospital around 3:30 a.m. Friday about a gunshot victim, identified as Larry Brooks.

While Brooks was reluctant or unable to positively identify who shot him, other witnesses pointed to Brown, the affidavit says. 

According to the affidavit, one witness reported “Larry Brooks has been burning a bunch of bridges lately and owed a lot of people money.”

One of Brooks’ associates, Zachariah Lawson, said he, Brown and three others were at Lawson’s house talking about alleged threat messages Brooks had made and decided to go to his house to scare him.

Lawson said they brought a 9mm handgun and 20-gauge shotgun to Brooks’ home. 

“Mr. Lawson reported that he was pointing his 9mm at Mr. Brooks, and Dakota Brown was pointing the shotgun at Larry Brooks,” according to the affidavit. “When Mr. Brooks raised his hands, Dakota Brown fired the shotgun.”

After being shot, Brooks transported himself to the emergency room.

Shroyer observed that three of the shotgun pellets “barely missed (Brooks’) heart” and several were embedded in the lungs.

Police searched for Brown for more than a day before he was apprehended by Rawlins Police detectives.

He faces charges of attempted first-degree murder or attempted second-degree murder, along with felony aggravated assault and battery.