Wyoming news briefs for March 2

Posted 3/2/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for March 2


Woman found dead in car after chase

CHEYENNE — At approximately 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Cheyenne Police officers were dispatched to Wyoming Downs, located at 3617 East Lincolnway, for a report of a woman using methamphetamine on the premises. 

As officers arrived, the woman left the scene in a vehicle that didn’t belong to her. An officer followed and attempted to make a traffic stop near the intersection of College Drive and Campstool Road, but the driver refused to yield and accelerated to a high rate of speed, initiating a pursuit toward westbound Interstate 80. 

Laramie County Sheriff’s Office deputies joined in the pursuit and continued following the suspect westbound for several miles. A deputy pulled in front of the pursuit and successfully deployed spike strips, which safely stopped the vehicle along the side of the interstate. 

Officers and deputies then gave the driver multiple commands to exit the vehicle but did not receive a response. 

After seeing no movement, officers approached the vehicle to speak with the female suspect and found her to be deceased due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

No further injuries were reported.


Bill would clarify terms for new college trustees

GILLETTE — All seven Gillette Community College District trustees have gone without defined term lengths since election night. But that may change soon.

Existing Wyoming law does not clarify how to determine which of the seven elected Gillette Community College District trustees are assigned two-year terms and which are assigned four-year terms because all of their term lengths began simultaneously after the election that birthed the district last summer.

But during the ongoing Wyoming Legislature budget session, lawmakers have a bill proposing a solution to that issue.

Senate File 43 calls for those initial seven trustees to begin each of their terms the day after the initial election and continue until Dec. 1 following the next regular election of trustees.

The legislation would apply to future community college districts as well, but for the seven inaugural GCCD trustees it applies to now, their terms would have begun the day after they were elected and expire Dec. 1, 2024.

After the initial election, the legislation proposes that the top four vote-getters of the 2024 election would receive four-year terms, while the other three elected trustees would get two-year terms.

The next election of trustees would occur during “the second succeeding general election” after the initial election of trustees.

Voters passed GCCD and elected its seven trustees on Aug. 17, 2021. This November marks the first election since the creation of the board, meaning the next election of trustees would come in November 2024, with all seven seats again up for grabs.


Mountain snowpack low after dry winter

AFTON — While the snowpack in the mountains of Wyoming still has another month or so to build on, the totals for this winter (December-February) have been disappointing. December provided a good start for the season, but after the first week of January very little improvement has occurred.

The graph at the Willow Creek SNOTEL in the Salt River Range tells the tale. 

The graph shows that the snowpack was doing well in comparison to recent years, until the first week in January. But the basic flat lining the remainder of January and February puts the current SWE well below the previous 5 years. 

This has been the story across all of Wyoming. Overall the precipitation (snow) for the three winter months was below normal, although southern Lincoln County was above thanks to the snows of December.

The snowpack in western Wyoming has dropped to below 80 percent. The entire state is experiencing below average snowpack.

The month of February ended with precipitation levels well below normal in Star Valley. With only trace amounts of snow falling at times, snow accumulation was less than 25 percent of the average for the month.


Grand Teton buys land near Jackson Hole Resort

JACKSON — Grand Teton National Park has purchased 35 acres of land from the Resor family, aiming to protect open space and hedge against development on its southern border.

Officials also have their sights set on purchasing two more 35-acre parcels from the family. If that comes to pass, the sale will complete a decades-long process of transferring over 200 acres of Resor land to Grand Teton.

Standing Saturday on the most recently transferred 35-acre parcel, Grand Teton Superintendent Chip Jenkins tied the purchase to the park’s 93rd birthday, which was celebrated the same day. Jenkins said private landowners have a long history of partnering with public land managers on conservation projects through the valley. John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s donation of roughly 32,000 acres to the park, though controversial at the time, now comprises roughly a 10th of the park’s total acreage.

“It’s that totality of work that continues and needs to go on in the future in order for us to be able to continue to be able to have grizzly bears and moose and elk and unobstructed scenic views,” Jenkins said.

The 35-acre parcel Grand Teton acquired Friday is one of six the park has been working to take over.