Wyoming news briefs for May 7


Legislators recognized by pro-life organization

RIVERTON — Wyoming Right to Life recognized four Fremont County lawmakers this month for their efforts in advancing several "pro-life" bills during the state's recent legislative session.

Wyoming Rep. Tim Salazar, R-Riverton, and Wyoming Rep. John Winter, R-Thermopolis, earned the organization's "silver medal" status, while Wyoming Rep. Ember Oakley, R-Riverton, was awarded a "bronze medal."

Wyoming Rep. Pepper Ottman, R-Dubois, earned special recognition: the Platinum Award.

This year's award recipients were selected based on the number of "life bills" they sponsored, co-sponsored, and voted for, said Wyoming Right to Life president Marti Halverson.

Of the eight bills drafted during the session, three were signed into law.

House Bill 253 - now Enrolled Act 89 - prohibits the University of Wyoming and Wyoming community colleges from spending money on abortion care, or insurance coverage for abortion care, "as a condition of receiving or expending any monies" appropriated from the state, according to the legislation.

"It should be a condition upon them receiving those funds that they're not going to use other funds under its control for abortion," Wyoming Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said during discussion on the House floor.

Gray also earned the Platinum Award this year.

Senate File 96 - now Senate Enrolled Act 50 - allows for a charge of murder if an unborn child dies as a result of actions against a pregnant woman, and Senate File 34 - now Senate Enrolled Act 61 - imposes "duties on physicians performing abortions," requiring "commonly accepted means of care that would be rendered to any other infant born alive" to be employed in the treatment of "any viable infant aborted alive."


Laramie-based bio-tech company awarded $22,500

LARAMIE – The John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition announced Laramie-based LifeGlass the grand prize winner and awarded the startup $22,500, according to a press release. 

Founded by University of Wyoming molecular biology graduate student Ryan Bettcher and UW Assistant Professor of molecular biology Thomas Boothby, LifeGlass is a revelatory solution to the “cold chain” problem — a system of refrigerators and freezers that is needed to keep certain life-saving pharmaceuticals cold and viable. 

In short, LifeGlass is the manipulated and engineered biological material of desiccation-tolerant organisms that can survive extreme environmental conditions. 

“We can take ts from organisms that can stabilize their biological material in extreme conditions and apply [them] to stabilizing sensitive things, like vaccines,” Boothby said. “The big problem right now is there’s pharmaceuticals that can save lives, such as vaccines [and] cancer drugs, but they have to be kept at cold conditions.”

The problem, he said, is that cold modified refrigeration needs suitable infrastructure and a reliable source of electricity, which isn’t always available, most typically in the communities that need the medicines the most. 

Bettcher said 940 million people worldwide lack reliable electricity and therefore lack access to pharmaceuticals that require the cold chain. He added approximately $35 billion dollars of pharmaceutical products is lost annually because of failures in the cold chain. 

“Our product, stabilizing pharmaceuticals out of the cold chain entirely, will solve those problems and give access to all these life-saving medications to people who didn’t have access before,” Bettcher said. 

The $22,500 awarded to Bettcher and Boothby will aid the pair in applying their findings to actual vaccines and pharmaceuticals. 


‘Trash farming’ earns Lingle corn farmer national award 

TORRINGTON —   The National Corn Growers Association based out of Chesterfield, Mo., recently announced the winners of the annual National Corn Yield Contest. One of those winners was Rick Cook of Lingle. 

Despite 2020 and its multitude of obstacles, Cook finished first place in Wyoming in the H Class of the competition. Class H, according to the National Corn Growers Association, involves farming using the following methods of cultivation and irrigation: strip-till, minimum-till, mulch till or ridge-till irrigation. 

He won the contest with a Goshen County field initiated with Pioneer P0339Q seeds and resulting in a yield of 211.849 bushels per acre of corn, beating out the projected national average by approximately 37 bushels per acre. 

Rick pointed out how some farmers spend three or four days plowing up their entire field when he could have tilled, using the strip till method, in four hours. 

“The amount of fuel you save is tremendous, but a lot of the old-time farmers don’t do that stuff,” he said. “They call it trash farming because the field isn’t nice and clean.” 


Antler hunters follow law better in broad daylight

JACKSON — The spate of infractions law enforcement officers typically encounter during the annual opening of antler hunting season — mostly trespassing and people jumping the gun — mostly vaporized this year.

The drop in violations didn’t come from a drop in participation. The Saturday morning caravan of opening-day horn hunters who drove through the National Elk Refuge on their way to scouting for shed antlers on the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest numbered 296 vehicles. Assuming each vehicle ferried multiple hunters to the forest, it’s possible a thousand-plus people showed up for opening day, Deputy Refuge Manager Cris Dippel said.

“I think we only wrote like seven tickets,” Dippel told the Jackson Hole Daily. “A mix of trespass and antler possession. In eight years here, that’s the least number (of citations) I can remember.”

The combination of all the agencies being on the same page and a change in the opening time to daylight hours “helped a lot,” he said.

Historically, closed wildlife winter range on the Bridger-Teton has opened at midnight May 1, but this year the time for the Jackson Ranger District was nudged to 6 a.m. by a temporary special order. The change brought the forest opening into alignment with when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department allows people to pick up antlers off of public lands west of the Continental Divide and some areas east of the divide in southern Wyoming.

The mostly smooth and legal opening day was especially a contrast to 2020, when federal and state agencies failed to coordinate with each other and antler hunters faced a confusing combination of four different opening times between midnight and noon across public lands.


Entries accepted for second annual Wyoming Wildlife calendar photo contest

LYMAN — Wyoming Wildlife magazine is calling for the best wildlife photographs from the Cowboy State. 

The publication has opened entries for the second annual Wyoming Wildlife calendar photo contest. Entries will be accepted until June 30. 

Photographers of all skill levels have a chance for their images to be featured in the magazine’s 2022 calendar, which is printed as the November 2021 issue of the magazine. 

Entrants have a chance to win a $100 prize for a photo selected for the calendar, with an additional $50 for cover selection, and a 12-by-18 inch matte print from contest sponsor Artizen Photo Printing in Cheyenne. 

Last year was the first time Wyoming Wildlife hosted a contest specifically for the calendar, which is one of the magazine’s most popular publications of the year. 

The calendar photo contest accepts photos of wildlife taken in Wyoming. Wildlife includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and arthropods. Each photographer can submit up to 10 photos. 

Because winning images will appear in the calendar, only horizontal images or those that can be cropped to the calendar dimensions will be considered for publication. Photos must have been taken by the person submitting the entries and may not infringe on the copyright of others. No entries previously published in Wyoming Wildlife or Wyoming Wildlife calendars may be submitted. 

To enter the contest, along with rules and more information is available on the photo contest website.