G&F wants to keep regional office in Jackson
JACKSON (WNE) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s leadership prefers keeping its regional office and current operations in Jackson, rather than co-locating with the Pinedale office or moving elsewhere.
Teton County’s extraordinary cost of housing sparked talk this spring about redrawing the agency’s boundaries or investing in pricey Jackson Hole housing to put up employees who cannot afford a house of their own.
The department’s staff came back to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission with the recommendation to stay, and is exploring options such as working with the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust or executing a land trade, said John Kennedy, deputy director of internal operations.
“At the agency leadership level, we do feel it’s important for us to continue to be a strong part of the Jackson community for a variety of reasons,” Kennedy told the commission at a Rock Springs meeting last week.
The commission’s president, David Rael, agreed, calling such a presence “essential,” but he was interrupted by fellow commissioner Patrick Crank.
“It’s not essential,” said Crank, who is a Cheyenne attorney. “I don’t believe that spending a million dollars for an employee house in Jackson is consistent with our fiduciary obligation.
“I want to keep this on a short string,” he said. “If we can’t figure this out, we need to move.”
Some of the 16 full-time Game and Fish employees in Jackson arrived in the valley long enough ago to afford a mortgage, but younger members of the workforce have been priced out, even with a $1,489 monthly housing allowance.
Woman appears in court on charges of arson, attempted murder
CHEYENNE (WNE) — A Cheyenne woman accused of lighting a house on fire and stabbing a pregnant woman had her preliminary hearing Friday afternoon in Laramie County Circuit Court.
Naomi Dolores Barnes, 20, is charged with attempt to commit first-degree arson, attempt to commit first-degree murder and child endangering.
In court, defense attorney Ross McKelvey said the attempted murder charge was a stretch because he doesn’t think Barnes premeditated stabbing the victim. The victim also threw the first punch at Barnes before a knife was ever drawn, he said.
Circuit Judge Denise Nau said she plans to bind the case over to Laramie County District Court, but needs time to assess the attempted murder charge.
According to court documents, on July 16, officers were dispatched to a house fire that Barnes allegedly started. On the way to the fire, officers also received a call for an assault with a knife at Dirty Duds Laundromat involving Barnes and the victim.
When officers arrived on scene, Barnes admitted to starting the fire. She said earlier that day she got into an argument over the phone and via text with the victim, who was also her roommate. Barnes and the victim were living together before the victim told Barnes she could no longer stay at the residence because Barnes wasn’t paying rent.
Barnes told officers she started the fire because she thought it was unfair that she was getting kicked out of the residence with nowhere to go and she had a child. She said she wanted to make the victim homeless, too.
Vesiculzar Stomatitis reported in Wyoming
GILLETTE (WNE) — Two confirmed cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VSV), a reportable animal disease, have been found in Platte County.
National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported the disease to the Wyoming state veterinarian after testing samples that were submitted Tuesday, according to a press release from the Wyoming Livestock Board.
The samples came from horses with oral lesions suggestive of VSV. Other potentially affected animals in Platte County are being investigated by Wyoming Livestock Board and USDA APHIS veterinarians.
The main symptoms of VSV are slobbering, blisters, sores and sloughing of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, on the muzzle, inside the ears and on the coronary band above the hooves. Lameness and weight loss may also occur.
VSV-infected horses have been found in 2019 in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. VSV can threaten other livestock species, including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
The disease is spread mainly through flies and midges. The virus also is spread through direct contact with infected livestock and indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack.
Fly control, including eliminating fly breeding and hiding habitat, is the most important step in preventing the disease, according to the press release. Good sanitation and bio-security measures can help avoid exposure.
Wyoming’s most recent previous outbreaks of VSV were in 2005, 2006 and 2015. Nearly all of the affected livestock during those outbreak years were pastured along drainages or had recent history of exposure to low-lying, riparian areas.
Boeing drops out of competition to replace Minuteman III
CHEYENNE (WNE) — One of the two companies vying for the contract to replace the nation’s ground-based nuclear missiles has dropped out of the bidding process.
Boeing confirmed this week that it had withdrawn from bidding on the contract for the U.S. Air Force’s Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program. The contract is to replace the Air Force’s Cold War-era Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Experts have estimated the project could be worth about $85 billion.
Boeing was in competition with Northrop Grumman, both of which received contracts through the Air Force in 2017 to develop designs for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program. Boeing’s contract was worth $349 million, and Northrop Grumman’s was worth $328 million.
Boeing’s departure from the project creates a situation where only one company will be bidding on a massive military contract to supply the nation with the ground-based portion of its nuclear triad system.
F.E. Warren Air Force Base is one of the three strategic nuclear missile bases in the U.S., along with Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Warren is the home of the 90th Missile Wing, which operates and maintains the ICBM launch facilities in the region.
The missile wing, part of the 20th Air Force, operates 150 Minuteman III ICBMs as part of the nation’s nuclear triad