Wyoming news briefs for June 7

Posted 6/7/22

News from across Wyoming

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Wyoming news briefs for June 7


Study finds Teton Co. courthouse can’t withstand earthquake

JACKSON — A recent study determined that the Teton County courthouse is not earthquake sound and no amount of renovations can save it. The building, built in 1968, will need to be completely torn down.

The unsafe building puts the Teton County Sheriff’s office, located on the bottom floor, at risk. That office also is home to the county’s 911 emergency dispatch center.

The issue of remodeling the courthouse has been in conversation before, but thus far hasn’t gained traction. A Specific Purpose Excise Tax, or SPET, initiative for $2 million to plan and design a new building was shot down by voters in 2019.

“It’s easy to imagine we’re getting along fine without it, because we don’t see it as a direct thing related to health and welfare,” County Commissioner Mark Newcomb said. “But I think the public hasn’t fully digested the fact that the whole building could collapse and it would collapse on our 911 dispatch center and sheriff’s office.”

A Tier Two seismic study was completed three months ago on the building, according to Paul Cote, the Facilities Maintenance Manager for Teton County.

The study was prompted by concerns over courthouse security, space issues and whether it’s seismically sound. The findings were dire on each.

“We delivered the information [from the survey] to the commissioners a few months ago and it was a lot to deliver to them,” Cote said.

The Teton County Courthouse hasn’t had any major renovations since 1997. Previous 2019 estimates found building a new courthouse could cost $60 million.


Gas prices up 20 cents in last week

CHEYENNE — Average gasoline prices in Wyoming have risen 20.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $4.52 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Prices in Wyoming are 35.2 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand $1.46 per gallon higher than a year ago. The price of diesel has risen 11.5 cents nationally in the past week, and stands at $5.62 per gallon.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $4.09 per gallon Sunday, while the most expensive was $5.69, a difference of $1.60 per gallon.


Gillette airport traffic up 44% from 2021

GILLETTE — Through the first five months of the year, traffic at the Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport is comfortably ahead of the pace set in 2021.

So far this year, 20,152 passengers came through the airport, according to numbers released by the airport.

It’s an average monthly mark of 4,030, which is 44% ahead of 2021, which had 14,026 people in the first five months, or 2,805 passengers per month. Last year, the numbers through the first quarter were very low due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with things not picking up until May.

This past May, there were 4,196 passengers, which is up 12 percent from the 3,747 in May 2021. Each month this year so far has had more than 3,500 passengers. In 2021, the airport didn’t reach that monthly mark until May.

Every month in 2022 has had a substantial increase over its 2021 counterpart. January 2022 was 40% more than January 2021. February showed the highest growth, with numbers 79 percent ahead of last February.

If things at the airport follow historic trends, the numbers should continue to increase this summer.

June, July and August have been the busiest months at the airport historically. Even in 2021, those three months all were above 5,000 passengers.