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Wyoming News Briefs: Teachers at UW, Jackson vigil,  

College of Education | University of Wyoming, Copyright: Ted Brummond, UW Photo Service, Copyright 2017

UW’s College of Education aims to reshape teacher development

CASPER — A few weeks ago, Jenna Shim spent the day talking with the principal and teachers at Encampment’s K-12 school. The visit was typical of the regular outreach that Shim, the Jack Ellbogen Interim Dean of the University of Wyoming’s College of Education, tries to do, touring school districts around the state to hear from teachers and administrators.

During their conversation, Encampment’s staff discussed the qualities they consider when hiring new teachers.

“They look for skills, but more importantly they look for the fit and they look for their commitment because that’s what’s going to keep them in classrooms,” Shim said.

Evening vigil shows domestic violence survivors they are not alone

JACKSON — As tourists took pictures under the antler arches and revelers clomped by in their finery to watch Kevin Costner perform at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, 25 people solemnly gathered Thursday evening in the Town Square, their electric candles flickering against the darkening sky.

Nearby a busker strummed a western tune on his guitar. The gathering, however, remained silent.

The evening vigil recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Community Safety Network partnered with Teton County Victim Services to hold the demonstration at 6:30 p.m. to raise awareness for and stand in solidarity with those affected by domestic violence.

“Our theme this year is ‘We are all advocates,’ ” Adrian Croke told community members at the vigil.

Crime victims, families struggle to be heard in court

CHEYENNE — On an afternoon in mid-September, the Laramie County District Court was unusually crowded.

Lawyers, along with roughly 40 members of the general public, filled the third floor of the courthouse with tension.They were waiting for the arraignment of Charles Rees Karn, which had been delayed multiple times.

Dozens of Phoenix Cerenil’s friends and family came that afternoon to see what would happen to the man who, at the time, was criminally accused of killing their loved one. Karn’s family also attended that day, awaiting the pleadings of their son.

In the hallway outside of District Judge Catherine Rogers’s courtroom, family members whispered to one another, lawyers conferred and Laramie County Sheriff ’s deputies were called to ensure that the two families did not come to blows.

Lander man sentenced to decades for abuse

LANDER — Donald Floyd Detimore will spend the rest of his life in prison, barring a successful appeal to the Supreme Court or Guiness record for old age. That’s after the former WYDOT employee molested at least one child and allegations he sexually abused two other children over the course of five decades.

During an emotional sentencing hearing Thursday, Detimore was sentenced to 40-50 years for first-degree criminal sexual abuse of a minor and 10-15 for third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, which will be served consecutively.

But for Detimore, who is in his 70s, that’s life.


Western Wyoming’s big buck country sees slowest hunt in 30 years

ALPINE — Gary Fralick’s calm demeanor shifted to a hustle for the hour that a steady stream of severed heads made its way through his check station on the last Saturday of deer hunting season.

The Thayne-based Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist and his colleague, Kelsie Hayes, checked one ungulate deadhead after another. The red-shirted duo was posted up where Greys River Road exits the Wyoming and Salt River mountain ranges. Fralick knows the spot well: This fall marked his 30th straight season staffing the historic check station.

The mountains rising over Fralick’s post grow a lot of big bucks, but 2023 was a little different.

“This is the slowest hunt since 1993, without a doubt,” Fralick said during a lull in checking bull elk and buck mule deer heads.

For Jackson Hole’s Jewish community, Israel-Hamas war hits close to home

JACKSON — What Idith Almog saw in 1973 pales in comparison to what she saw Saturday morning.

Fifty years ago, when war broke out between Israel and Arab states on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, more than 2,600 Israelis and over 15,000 Arabs died. Almog was 18 years old.

“That was over three weeks, and that was soldiers,” said Almog. “Here we’re talking about one day. They were women, and old, and babies and children. It’s like the Holocaust.”

Almog, who is Jewish and Israeli, lives in Jackson Hole.

Sheridan school district considers updated book complaint process

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County School District 3 Board of Trustees took steps toward approving an updated complaint process regarding books and instructional materials Wednesday.

The proposed changes would mainly “clean up” district policy 6143-R, currently titled “Reconsideration of Instructional Materials,” and make it more concise, SCSD3 Superintendent Chase Christensen said.

Though the proposed language would not majorly change the substance of the policy or the way complaints about books and instructional materials are handled in SCSD3, board members said reviewing the process for requests to remove or restrict certain classroom content is important given widespread debate surrounding issues like banned books.

UW reaches lowest enrollment since the late 1980s

CASPER — Fall enrollment at the University of Wyoming continues to slide and has reached its lowest point in decades, but the school’s most recent census provided some good news for university leaders as they look to reverse worrying attendance trends.

UW recorded jumps in both graduate and transfer students, while the school’s freshman retention rate also increased this fall, the university announced last month.

Yet even with the gains, UW’s overall enrollment continued to decline, marking the fifth consecutive year enrollment at Wyoming’s flagship school has fallen.

Saratoga Planning Commission discusses impact of short-term rentals

SARATOGA — Saratoga, like many other municipalities in the mountain west, has struggled with a lack of housing inventory both during and after the pandemic.

As of October, there were a total of eight residential properties on the market in Saratoga’s municipal limits, according to the Wyoming MLS website. Of those, they ranged in price from $260,000 to $725,000. Seemingly adding to this issue are the number of active short-term rentals in the area, an issue also being faced by mountain west towns.


Lawmakers to local authorities: Don’t enforce federal land policies

A legislative committee will draft a measure to prohibit state and local authorities from aiding or cooperating with federal land management agencies “when they pursue policies which harm Wyoming’s core interests.”

The move is in response to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s draft plan for managing 3.6 million acres of federal land in southwest Wyoming.

The Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee also voted unanimously to draft a bill creating a new full-time position in the governor’s office to act as a watchdog “protecting the state’s interest against federal overreach.” Lawmakers on the panel suggested recruiting current and former BLM employees for the position with a signing bonus. They also discussed offering “bonuses and or opportunities for promotion” for state employees who go “above and beyond in protecting the state’s interests” against perceived federal overreach.

Medicaid, Kid Care disenrollments fall amid ‘unwinding’

The number of people who’ve lost access to government health coverage during the “Medicaid unwinding” in Wyoming has fallen.

As of Sept. 30, the Wyoming Department of Health states that Medicaid and Kid Care CHIP benefits for about 9,000 people — most of them children — have ended. Kids are the largest enrolled group.

About 7,800 of the newly uninsured lost coverage due to “procedural reasons,” like not turning in paperwork. Others were deemed ineligible.

Still, the number of people who’ve lost coverage through the unwinding that followed the end of COVID-era prohibitions on disenrollments has actually shrunk. July estimates put that figure at about 10,700 — roughly 1,700 more than the latest numbers.

Since that time, the number of people whose benefit renewals have been approved has more than tripled to nearly 24,000.

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