Wyoming unemployment rate dips in April
CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Research & Planning Section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported Tuesday that the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 3.7% in March to 3.6% in April.
Wyoming’s unemployment rate was lower than its April 2018 level of 4.0% and the same as the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.6%.
Most county unemployment rates followed their normal seasonal pattern and fell from March to April. Warmer spring weather often brings job gains in construction, professional and business services, and other sectors. Washakie County’s unemployment rate fell from 5.0% to 3.6%, Crook County’s rate fell from 4.2% to 3.1%, and Park County’s rate fell from 4.9% to 3.9%. Teton County’s unemployment rate rose from 2.4% in March to 3.8% in April as the ski season ended.
From April 2018 to April 2019, unemployment rates fell in nearly every county, suggesting a general tightening in the state’s labor market. The largest unemployment rate decreases were seen in Lincoln (down from 4.3% to 3.1%), Fremont (down from 5.1% to 3.9%), Hot Springs (down from 4.0% to 2.9%), Natrona (down from 4.5% to 3.5%) and Converse (down from 3.6% to 2.6%) counties.
The highest unemployment rates in Wyoming were found in Big Horn County at 4.5%, and Fremont, Park and Uinta counties, all at 3.9%. The lowest unemployment rates were reported in Niobrara County at 2.2%, and Albany and Converse counties, both at 2.6%.
Total non-farm employment in Wyoming (not seasonally adjusted and measured by place of work) increased from 279,400 in April 2018 to 283,500 in April 2019, a gain of 4,100 jobs (1.5%).
Thermopolis woman killed in crash
WORLAND — A Thermopolis resident died after succumbing to injuries sustained in a crash Monday morning.
According to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, on Monday, May 20, a fatal crash occurred at milepost 148 on US 20 south of Worland, Wyoming. Around 7:35 a.m., Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched to the area for a two-vehicle collision.
A 2005 Toyota Corolla, driven by 39-year-old Thermopolis, resident Annette R. Arey was traveling northbound on US 20 when the vehicle crossed into the southbound lane to pass another vehicle.
Arey failed to see an on-coming southbound 1993 Chevrolet Caprice and both vehicles collided on the southbound shoulder of the roadway.
Arey was wearing her seatbelt and succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the crash.
The driver of the Chevrolet has been identified as 62-year-old Worland resident Henry J. Kumpe.
Kumpe was wearing his seatbelt and transported to the Washakie Medical Center for injuries he sustained in the crash.
Unsafe passing is being investigated as a contributing factor.
This is the 63rd fatality on Wyoming’s roadways in 2019 compared to 36 in 2018, 36 in 2017, and 19 in 2016 to date.
Production water spill has ‘minimal’ impact
LARAMIE (WNE) — A spill that occurred earlier this month near Woods Landing was actually water used in oil and gas production, not municipal wastewater, or reclaimed water, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
The spill occurred after a semitrailer carrying the water crashed on the afternoon of May 1 about three miles south of Woods Landing on Wyoming Highway 230.
Its cargo was production water, a byproduct of extracting oil or gas from the earth. Keith Guille, public information supervisor with the DEQ, told the Boomerang Wednesday companies typically must either properly store the production water in a disposal facility or treat it before dumping it into any waterways, the latter of which involves strict testing and permit requirements from the DEQ.
Running along the highway is Woods Creek, which eventually flows into the Laramie River. Wyoming Highway Patrol Sergeant Jeremy Beck told the Boomerang earlier this month around 120 barrels of what was thought to be wastewater spilled when the truck crashed.
“It is unknown how much actually reached the river,” Guille said. “We didn’t see any staining on the ground or on the banks there — by the time we were there, it was gone.”
Despite the unknown amount of spillage in the water, Guille said the environmental impact in the area is “minimal.”
“I’m not minimizing the concerns, but in the bigger scope here the impacts were minimal,” Guille said. “If this would’ve been something else that reached that river, it could be a different situation.”
Not guilty plea in case where meth found in dishwasher
GILLETTE (WNE) — A man whose Gold Road home had a pound of meth in the dishwasher has pleaded not guilty in District Court to an enhanced charge of possession with intent to deliver meth.
It is an enhanced charge that carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine — double the normal possible penalty because it is a second offense.
Jeffrey Powell, 55, had been convicted in 1999 of a similar crime in Washington state, according to court documents.
Officers began investigating the Gold Road home in January after seeing several vehicles coming and going from the area.
A deputy’s suspicions were aroused Jan. 16 while he was conducting a security check of Anytime Storage and he saw four vehicles come and go from the Gold Road home between 1:30-2:30 a.m.
As a deputy walked around the home, he heard people talking and smelled marijuana in the garage, according to court documents. No one answered when other deputies knocked on the door, which had a video camera doorbell.
After getting a search warrant, they found a blue measuring cup containing meth and a bag with 29 grams of meth on the top shelf of Powell’s closet. In the kitchen, they found another blue measuring cup containing meth, two digital scales, three fake $100 bills, a vacuum sealer and the 1.05 pounds of meth in a vacuum-sealed bag in the dishwasher, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Powell residents chip in to replace lost money
POWELL (WNE) — Powell’s infamous spring winds took hundreds of dollars from a local woman on Friday, but the generosity of community members gave it back.
The woman called the Powell Police Department on Monday to report that $500 had blown out of her hands at the Maverik gas station; the distraught resident explained that her utility payments were due this week and she now had no money to pay the bills.
With the call to police coming days after the event, it was too late for officers to help search for the cash, but Powell Police Department Communications Supervisor Bobbie Colvin took to Facebook to ask if anyone had found the windswept money.
A resident quickly came forward with $20 they’d found and community members came up with another idea: They rallied to collect another $480 in donations.
Dispatchers at the police department took on the task of gathering the money, carefully tracking the cash. The department was prepared to take donations until 7 p.m. Tuesday, but community members hit the $500 goal before 4 p.m.
Colvin said the woman was “shocked” when a dispatcher notified her of the donations.
“She was just like, ‘You guys did what?!’” Colvin said.
Colvin wrote an update on Facebook thanking everyone who offered money.
“Many of us often laugh about the small town atmosphere and all it brings,” she wrote. “Everybody knows everybody’s business, but we take care of each other as well, whether it is a tragedy or serious illness, we care for each other.”
Wyoming State Library makes thousands of audiobooks available
SHERIDAN — Wyoming residents now have access to thousands more free, downloadable audiobook titles to take on the road for summer vacation, thanks to the Wyoming State Library’s launch of RBDigital Unlimited. This subscription marks a major expansion of the RBDigital service, available through GoWYLD.net.
With the new statewide subscription to the Unlimited service, the number of titles with simultaneous access has increased from approximately 8,000 to 28,000. With unlimited checkouts, library patrons can choose a title and download it to a phone, device or computer without encountering a hold or delay.
Unlimited titles include all content from the RBDigital family of imprints, including all Recorded Books titles that are six months or older, and all titles from Gildan, Christian Audio, Tantor Media, and others.
In addition, thanks to the contributions of many Wyoming libraries, the State Library will continue to purchase single user titles from publishers like Blackstone, Simon & Schuster Audio, Macmillan, Books on Tape, and Recorded Books within the embargo period of six months.
RBDigital is available free to all Wyoming residents, accessible with any local public or community college library card.
To learn more go to gowyld.net/econtent/