Wyoming news briefs for March 1

Posted 3/1/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for March 1


Gas prices up 1.7 cents in last week

CHEYENNE — Average gasoline prices in Wyoming have risen 1.7 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.39 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy.com's survey of 494 stations in Wyoming.

Prices in Wyoming are 11.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand 86.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Wyoming was priced at $2.95 per gallon Sunday, while the most expensive was $3.79, a difference of 84 cents per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 7.5 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.59 per gallon Monday. The national average is up 23.2 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 87.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.


Water content of Snake River Basin snowpack at record lows

JACKSON — The amount of liquid water in the snowpack at Snake River Basin precipitation stations hit record lows in February.

“I knew it was pretty low for the month, but I didn’t realize it was that low,” said Jim Fahey, a Wyoming hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

February levels of snow water equivalent, or SWE, at the Moran station hit their lowest in 110 years on record, clocking in at 18 percent of average.

SWE is a measure of liquid stored in the snowpack, water that moistens the landscape, hedges against wildfires, bolsters flows in the Upper Snake River for recreationists and fish, and irrigates fields downstream in Idaho.

Two other stations near Afton also reported record lows in February. Others came in close to the bottom. February SWE levels at the station in Moose were the second lowest in 63 years — around 15 percent of average.

At the Jackson station, the month’s recordings were the fourth lowest in 177 years — about 24 percent of average.

SWE is a measure of water in the snowpack, not the total amount of snow that has fallen. But snowfall levels for the month are likewise just a bit shy of all-time lows.

Woodmencey said the Rendezvous Bowl weather station is reporting roughly 26 inches of snow for the month.

That’s up four inches from the record low of 22 inches in February 1991, but down roughly 50 inches from the 74-inch average in the last 47 years.

“Not the driest,” Woodmencey said of February. “But second place.”


Man who sang ‘Bad Boys’ during chase faces 18 years

GILLETTE — A Gillette man could serve up to 18 years in prison for kidnapping and strangling his wife under a plea agreement reached earlier this month.

Robbie C. Muller, 32, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and strangulation, both of which included a habitual criminal enhancement. He also pleaded guilty to possessing meth in a separate case after police found 28.1 grams of meth in his wife’s pickup that he had recently driven.

Prosecutors will recommend imposed sentences of 11 to 18 years for kidnapping and 10 to 12 years for the strangulation charge, with all sentences to be served concurrently.

Officers got a call around 11:30 p.m. July 26 from a man who said that Muller’s wife called him saying, “He won’t let me out of the car! He just tried to kill me!” according to court documents.

Their 2018 Hyundai Sonata was spotted near the Gurley Overpass and officers tried making a traffic stop. Muller then took off at speeds of up to 65 mph, running a stop sign and veering into the BNSF railroad yard.

His wife later told police that he was singing the famous “Cops” anthem “Bad Boys” while fleeing officers, according to court documents.

The car eventually got stuck on the train tracks and Muller took off on foot. After a brief chase, he turned toward officers with his hands up and said, “Shoot me!” then, “Stop!” according to court documents. He then ran away again, until officers chased him down and detained him near the fire station.


Bill to improve resident chances at coveted game tag advances

CODY — A bill that would give Wyoming residents a slightly better chance at drawing a “Big 5” game species tag and further limit the number of nonresident licenses available is moving along in the legislature with support from most local legislators.

House Bill 43 passed on third reading at the end of last week and was placed on the Senate general file with a large majority, including Cody representatives Sandy Newsome and Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, voting for it.

Rep. John Winter, R-Thermopolis, and Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, were two of only 11 who voted against it.

The bill, created by the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force, directs the Game and Fish Department to reserve 90 percent of the ram bighorn sheep, wild bull bison, bull moose, mountain goat and grizzly bear licenses to be issued in any one year for resident hunters, and the remaining 10 percent reserved for nonresident hunters.

Newsome, whose Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee sponsored the bill, noted that the split is currently 80 percent resident and 20 percent nonresident.

Park County Commissioner and local outfitter Lee Livingston serves on the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force that proposed the bill. 

He said after much discussion the task force advanced the proposal in response to a desire among some resident hunters to make all hunting license allocations 90-10.

“This is a significant change from current allocations,” Livingston said. “While it doesn’t make a significant change in the drawing odds on most of these species, it is still a better chance.”