Wyoming news briefs for May 4

Posted 5/4/22

News from across Wyoming.

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Wyoming news briefs for May 4


Teton County approves heavy metal festival

JACKSON — The heavy metal music fest Fire in the Mountains is on. For the slated bands, and 2,000 ticket holders, the approval might come as a relief.

After being approved for 2,000 people the last two years, and then delayed for COVID-19, the festival faced heavy pushback from neighbors this year. The conditional use permit approval was hotly debated.

But for festival owner Jeremy Walker, the approval was exactly what he expected, and the conversation around it disheartening.

Walker’s permit is for this year only. And to continue the festival means a big reevaluation after he collects a year’s transportation, noise, and environmental impact data.

Commissioners Greg Epstein and Mark Barron fought for relaxed conditions on the permit, including to allow festival-goers closer access to the Buffalo River without a typical 150-foot setback fence.

While the wildland setback conditions were held in place, Epstein and Barron said they’d like to see predictability and clarification for Walker and attendees, especially when it came to the potential for county employees to cancel the festival for weather.

The Fire Marshal has the authority to cancel the event for imminent fire threat. The county engineer can call the festival off on what they’ve lightly called the “Woodstock condition” — if there’s enough rain in July to make the fields of Heart Six Ranch into an unsafe muddy mess.


Historic Sheridan Inn purchased by Sheridan group

SHERIDAN — A local hotel management group purchased The Historic Sheridan Inn last week. Although this sale marks the third time the inn has changed ownership in the past decade, the transition has progressed smoothly and few major changes are planned, new Sheridan Inn General Manager Karen Schumacher said. 

First listed for sale earlier this spring, the inn’s listing included an asking price of $4.25 million, which includes ownership of the inn’s associated nonprofit and all furnishings. 

The property’s broker, Nadine George of Forever Western Properties, declined to comment on the state of the sale for confidentiality reasons but confirmed the sale was completed in about six weeks. 

According to Sheridan County’s GIS map, the Sheridan Inn is now owned by Wild West Hotel LLC. Incorporation records from the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office indicate the LLC was formed in March and maintains physical and registered agent addresses in Sheridan. 

Schumacher explained the people behind Wild West Hotel LLC — a local hotel management group — also own the Best Western Sheridan Center on North Main Street, as Best Western officials announced on Facebook last week. The two organizations will also share personnel — including Schumacher as general manager. 

However, even though the Sheridan Inn and local Best Western now share an owner, Schumacher said the Sheridan Inn will not assume any Best Western branding, such as signs or flags. The inn will continue to be marketed as an independent boutique hotel, the new owners announced in a press release. 


Rawlins under water restrictions

RAWLINS — Rawlins residents are under water restrictions as the city continues to attempt to mitigate impacts from a catastrophic failure of the water system in March and ongoing drought conditions throughout the region. 

The restrictions went into effect last week, the city announced, adding the same collective effort residents made when the system failed needs to continue. 

“Without pulling together to conserve water, our community will likely drain our tanks, experience boil-water advisories and potentially lose fire protection,” according to a city statement announcing the restrictions. 

Rawlins gets about 1.5 million gallons of water a day into its treatment plant and residents “consistently use 1 million gallons per day for household use,” the city reports. 

That replenishment rate is half of what it was last year at this time, and summer use usually increases to between 3 million and 6 million gallons a day because of outdoor watering.

“This obvious shortfall in water supply needs to be taken seriously to have water available to our community,” according to the city’s statement. “If our community waters the same amount as last year during restrictions, we estimate that our water tanks would be completely empty by mid-June.”

Restrictions include limits on watering to one day per week and a ban on washing parking lots, sidewalks or driveways.

Those who choose to ignore or skirt the water restrictions can be ticketed and fined $250-$750 each instance. At least one warning will be issued per residence before leveling fines, and water use and consumption will be closely monitored.