Commissioner addresses masks, forest use and coal
◆ Recommendation preferred, COVID cases at landfill, multiple use on forest and interest in Kemmerer coal.
Mask mandates, multiple use of public lands, options for coal and landfills were all on the list of topics addressed by Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Harmon during an interview on SVI Media Weekday Wake Up program just before the Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Weekday Wake Up is heard from 7 to 9 a.m. on 105.3 FM in Kemmerer/Bridger Valley, 106.7 in Alpine and 107.5 in Afton.
Commissioner Harmon expressed concerns about receiving adequate information before a mask directive that was put in place until Dec. 4. However, he also defended the work of the county officials working with the pandemic.
“I feel like we were left out of the loop when we should have been in the loop,” Commissioner Harmon explained. “When I stated we should have had a recommendation, but we got a mask order.”
He continued, “This points out that we have antiquated statues in Wyoming in the case of a pandemic. They are old and antiquated and they need to be changed.”
He said the commission had sought a recommendation notice. “We recommended that and didn’t get it,” Harmon recalled.”
In summary, Harmon said, “We are recommending that people social distance, care for others, have respect and common sense, particularly when you are around high risk individuals.”
The commissioner acknowledged, “There are a lot of people upset over this mask issue and I would just like to say to them — I know Dr. (Chris) Krell, Patrice Baker, Jay Hokanson, Steven Malik, all working for us, putting an inordinate amount of time.”
Those noted include the public health officers and emergency management coordinates for Lincoln County.
At end of November, Harmon pointed out, “Dr. Krell and his wife both tested positive recently and they are in quarantine.”
He continued, “These people are at risk every day. We appreciate them.”
The commissioner said he had received an e-mail calling for the officials to be fired. “We aren’t going to do that. We are going to change some of the statutes and work with them rather than against them.”
On the topic of COVID, the commissioner noted the Lincoln County Landfills may have altered hours because employees had tested positive at the end of November. He advised calling ahead at the following numbers: 307-883-4667 or 307-887-2095 for the latest information.
• Forest Service
Commissioner Harmon said the county’s governing body continues to work with the Forest Service on a multiple use approach to the public lands around Kemmerer and Star Valley.
“We have a temporary supervisor at the Forest Service level. We met with him and we think there are some programs coming where we will see multiple use come back.”
Harmon concluded, “Both logging and timber removal for forest health and recreational opportunities and access will be important for us.”
• Coal/Power Plant
Commissioner Harmon also advised the commission is meeting with companies who have interest in South Lincoln County mineral products.
“As far as coal and natural gas, it’s down right now,” Harmon said. “But we have some optimism. We are meeting with three or four companies that have ideas they would like to show to us that would use coal for other aspects other than power. That will have to remain to be seen.”
He added, “We do have people interested in the power plant in Kemmerer and we’ll be meeting with them.”