Wyoming news briefs for April 29


Secretary of State Buchanan seeking re-election

CHEYENNE — Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan said if he’s re-elected this fall, his priorities include developing more online capabilities for the business and administration division, updating election code and keeping Wyoming competitive in economic development. 

These build on a few of the accomplishments he touted since he was appointed in March 2018 by then-Gov. Mark Mead, and then elected to a full term in November of that year. 

This week, Buchanan said he had been appointed because of his background serving in the Wyoming Legislature for nearly a decade, as well as his knowledge of law and business. 

He placed the most emphasis on understanding the legislative process to obtain appropriations and develop modern statutes and codes. 

Buchanan said his achievements include revisions to notary and securities laws, as well as a new post-election audit process. It will be used this election cycle to compare the actual ballots to the as-cast votes record of the machine. He said it will use a statistically significant number of ballots to show the public there is a high percentage of statistical confidence in the elections.

In addition to the audit system, he worked with lawmakers to pass a voter fraud prevention bill during the 2021 general session. Voters are now required to show a form of identification at the polls, not just when they register to vote. 

The filing period for candidates is May 12-27. Wyoming’s primary election will be held Aug. 16, and the general election is Nov. 8.


Investigation continues into body found at dog park 

GILLETTE — The police investigation into the local man found dead near the dog park following the blizzard last weekend continues as the cause of death remains undetermined.

Kendal Jason Stafford, a 39-year-old Campbell County man, was found dead near the dog park by another man, 38, who was walking in the area around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hypothermia, or exposure to the cold, is still under investigation as a potential cause of death, said Paul Wallem, Campbell County coroner.

Wallem said an autopsy of the body was completed earlier this week with no cause of death confirmed. The time of death is also still under investigation, Wallem said.

About 19 inches of snow fell on Gillette last weekend, with 16 of those inches falling Saturday. Wind speeds tracked around 45 mph throughout the blizzard, with gusts pushing closer to 60 mph.

The coroner’s office is awaiting the results of a toxicology report, which Wallem said is standard procedure for potentially accidental deaths.

The investigation into the case is ongoing and police had no new information to release as of Thursday morning, said Police Sgt. Steve Dillard.


Buffalo Theater granted liquor license

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Theater added a liquor license to its lineup at the Buffalo City Council's April 19 meeting.

At a public hearing before the vote, no one spoke, and the City Council unanimously approved the license. The Buffalo Theater is not the first Wyoming movie theater to get a liquor license. Movie theaters in Casper, Cheyenne, Laramie and Rock Springs also hold liquor licenses.

Chris Wages, co-owner of the Buffalo Theater, told city council members that he got the idea to apply for a liquor license after the Studio City Mesa theater in Casper received a liquor license. Wages didn't indicate to council members whether the theater had any plans for the liquor license at this time, and he did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Theaters in Wyoming began to apply for liquor licenses after a 2021 change in statute that replaced the requirement to have alcohol dispensing "rooms" with a requirement to have dispersing "areas."

There are still restrictions on how the alcohol can be served. Only employees over 18 are allowed in the dispensing area, and consumption of alcohol cannot occur in the dispensing area, by law. Regulations from the Wyoming Liquor Division also make clear that the theater can't be used as a bar, such as by putting stools at the serving counter.