Bill would give hunters additional chance to donate to access and wildlife projects
POWELL — A popular bill would give hunters who are unsuccessful in acquiring a tag in limited quota draws the option of donating application fees back to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust and/or to the Game and Fish Department to be used for sportsperson access projects and wildlife crossings.
Unsuccessful applicants could choose all or portions of the application fee to be donated and where donations would go.
Application fee refunds are a substantial amount of money, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Brian Nesvik said during a Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources Meeting last week.
“The three-year average that we refund back [to unsuccessful applicants] is $47 million per year,” he said.
Nobody expects that all unsuccessful hunters will donate all or portions of their application fees, but “even a small percentage of folks who choose to do this could mean a significant source of revenue” to the agencies, Nesvik said.
The bill adds one more way for hunters to donate back to the agencies, similar to previous efforts including adding a donation option for access when applying for tags and licenses or buying the Wyoming Conservation license plate, which funds fencing and over- and under-passes to help decrease vehicle collisions with wildlife.
There are more than 6,000 vehicle/wildlife collisions per year in the state.
“These little ways [to increase donations] have added up to some fairly substantial dollars,” said Rep. Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale.
The bill previously passed the House with a 47-12 vote — with all Big Horn Basin representatives except Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, in support — and is expected to soon face a third and final vote in the Senate.
Plan aims to stop oxygen tank fires
CODY — Fire marshals across the state are working to prevent one of the leading causes of deadly house fires in the state.
A new initiative aims to, at no cost to the person, install safety valves on medical oxygen tubes that can stop fires caused by oxygen tanks from spreading.
“This started after a statewide study showing how many fires are caused from home oxygen while people are smoking, that’s what kicked off the initiative,” said Cody’s fire marshal Sam Wilde. “It doesn’t cost anything, we provide the kit, install it for free.
“It’s a win-win situation.”
Wilde said while the initiative was slowed soon after starting by the pandemic and restrictions on going into people’s homes to install the devices, he has already worked with local providers of oxygen to get the devices installed on new tanks before they go out.
Now he wants to get the word out to residents.
It’s the initial drive of the Community Risk Reduction Team to install inline O2 cannula thermal devices in 100% of all identified homes using medical oxygen in Wyoming, in an effort to eliminate all Wyoming fatalities and injuries due to smoking in the presence of home medical oxygen by Jan. 1, 2025.”
To request a device, people can go to the State Fire Marshal website, wsfm.wyo.gov/fire-prevention/307crr.
To discourage vaping, Powell schools install restroom sensors
POWELL — Powell High School and Powell Middle School’s new vape sensors have been fully online as of early last month.
The sensors were purchased through use of a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant. The SAMHSA grant provides funds both for student mental health and also drug use prevention.
PHS Principal Tim Wormald stresses that the goal of the new restroom sensors is to be preventative, not punitive.
“Our whole approach to this is as a deterrent. We’re trying to be preventative, we’re not after trying to get kids in trouble. That’s not our goal with this, we’re trying to discourage the use of the devices at school,” Wormald said.
He and PHS made an announcement to students as well as sent out an email to parents with resources that talk about the harmful effects of vaping. The vape sensors also went online at the same time at PMS.
“... A couple parents ... sent me an email and I’ve seen a few parents on the street and they just appreciate what we’re doing to try to curb kids from making poor choices,” PMS Principal Kyle Rohrer said.
The sensors do not have an alarm but will email the school when vapor is detected. Wormald says the school will look for a pattern in the alerts — meaning if a student enters the restroom multiple times and triggers the sensor each time, school administrators will proceed accordingly.
Students who are determined to be in possession of a vape on school property will be subject to the school’s alcohol and tobacco policy.
For any offense, if the student is under the age of 18, law enforcement will be contacted for criminal prosecution.
Man who tried to run over deputy gets up to 15 years in prison
GILLETTE — A Moorcroft man who was found guilty of trying to run into a sheriff’s deputy while fleeing from law enforcement in the spring of 2020 will serve up to 15 years in prison.
Last week, Nathan Schuerman, 42, was sentenced to 13.5 to 15 years for aggravated assault and possession of a deadly weapon.
In April 2020, Schuerman tried to drive his truck head-on into a deputy’s vehicle while fleeing law enforcement.
In a jury trial in December, Schuerman was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a deadly weapon and aggravated eluding, all felonies, as well as misdemeanor counts of destruction of property and reckless driving.
Schuerman also was sentenced to 180 days in jail each for the destruction of property and reckless driving. He’ll get credit for time served in both of those cases. At the time of his sentencing, Schuerman had been in jail for 607 days.
Schuerman said he was “sorry for losing control” that day. He was going through “a lot of stuff” but said that’s not an excuse for his actions.
“I still don’t know why I ran, but I did and I’ve got to deal with it,” he said, adding that he knows he “put a lot of people in danger that day. That wasn’t my intent.”
He said that spending nearly two years in jail has given him a lot of time to think and clear his mind.
Before he led officers on the pursuit, Schuerman had been drinking alcohol and using cocaine.