Sheridan commissioners frustrated with air service deal delay
SHERIDAN (WNE) — Sheridan County commissioners expressed frustration with the city of Sheridan during a regular meeting Tuesday for its inability to come to a funding agreement with the county regarding local air service.
The commissioners took action to remove a contingency from Sheridan County’s memorandum of understanding with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, which allowed the county to move forward without the city’s participation.
WYDOT’s Aeronautics Commission is scheduled to vote on approving the county’s MOU this week, which would finalize SkyWest Airlines as the Sheridan County Airport’s commercial air service provider starting next year.
County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller, who also serves as the administrator of the Sheridan and Johnson counties Critical Air Service Team, said while she still expects the city and county to reach an agreement, the county cannot afford a delay.
“We’re at a critical time now — we’ve got to start getting some schedules loaded so we can start selling this service and pay for it,” Obermueller said. “The longer we stall, the more detriment there’s going to be to that funding side of it.”
The original memorandum of understanding between Sheridan County and WYDOT was contingent on the county negotiating a cooperative funding agreement with the city of Sheridan, which was similar to past air service funding agreements between the city and the county.
“It’s perplexing to me, given that we’re at the 24th hour and now we’re trying to negotiate something that seems very simple,” Obermueller said.
The two sides can still reach an agreement with the city agreeing to cooperative funding through an MOU with Sheridan County, but that will require the entities to sort out how they will cooperate on managing the service.
Big Horn courthouse closure caused by asbestos
GREYBULL (WNE) — Testing results on the recently closed Big Horn County courthouse came back Thursday, Aug. 15.
The courthouse had an emergency shutdown on Aug. 8 after concerns arose during a routine remodel inspection. At the time, the source of the closure was unknown.
In a recent release, the county revealed that the county commission was “alerted to a possible asbestos exposure as a result of construction activities in the building.”
The results of the testing concluded, “a minute amount of asbestos was detected in the building that measured less than one tenth of acceptable levels.”
As of Tuesday, the courthouse was still closed. A qualified abatement team was scheduled to begin cleaning the courthouse on Monday. According to the release, offices will be reopened immediately following cleaning and approval from the testing agency.
They estimate that the clerk, treasurer’s and assessor’s offices will be reopened Monday, Aug. 26.
They are expecting the entire courthouse to be completed with cleaning within 30 days.
Hot Springs commissioners asked to take stand on Boysen dumping plan
THERMOPOLIS (WNE) — Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Hot Springs County Commissioners began on a rather tense footing when Sonja Becker asked the commissioners why they were not on board regarding Aethon’s plan to dump oil field waste water and solids into Boysen Reservoir.
Chairman Tom Ryan said it was his understanding the solids have been dumped into Boysen since 1979 and the DEQ tells him the increase won’t cause the solids to go up, so he “has no heartburn with it.”
“I’ve never found the DEQ to be too lenient,” Ryan said. “We’re both government entities and that’s who we count on to represent us.”
Becker asked if any of the commissioners had read the permit and they admitted they had not.
“While the DEQ may be here to support us, they don’t have the manpower to do the research on the documents Aethon provided,” she said. “The reports are seriously flawed. Even the EPA does not believe enough sampling has been done.
“This is not just a renewal, but a renewal with an increase, including a long-term increase. They plan 91 cfs (cubic feet per second) to go down Badwater Creek.”
Becker said the silts will settle out eventually and if there’s a good rain its going to blow all those solids right to the dam. “That will make that water toxic. It will affect the fisheries, drinking water and everything downstream.
“I would like to see the commissioners get behind this, stand up for the community and the water. Yes, there are a lot of jobs at risk, but what is more important?
Campbell County joins air service program
GILLETTE (WNE) — One of the final pieces to the puzzle of statewide air service was put in place Tuesday, when Campbell County commissioners signed an agreement with WYDOT.
In June, the Wyoming Department of Transportation approved a contract with SkyWest Airlines to provide air service to Gillette, Sheridan, Riverton and Rock Springs, but it required agreements between WYDOT and those four communities.
The agreement guarantees Gillette will have three daily roundtrip flights to Denver. The third flight will be available starting Oct. 6, a Sunday.
Riverton and Rock Springs signed the agreement but Sheridan has tabled it until more details are worked out.
Gillette will keep its early morning and late night flights. Now it has an early evening flight as well. The third flight would leave Gillette at 5:56 p.m. and land in Denver at 7:21 p.m. And while the time can be changed, the flight will not go away.
Commissioner Mark Christensen wondered about one part of the agreement that says the communities have have two years to reduce their per-passenger costs by 10%.
“The only way to offset that is to increase ridership, because we don’t have any control over any of the other expenses,” he said.
Washington man killed in wreck near Buffalo
BUFFALO (WNE) — A Washington state man is dead as the result of a one-vehicle accident Aug. 14 on Interstate 90 east of Buffalo.
Steven E. Marshall, 70, of Poulsbo, Washington, was the passenger in a 2006 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Rebecca L. Marshall, 55, also of Poulsbo, according to a press release from
the Wyoming Highway Patrol. He was reportedly wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Troopers were dispatched to the scene at milepost 74 about 4:50 p.m. The Toyota was pulling a camper, which apparently started swaying from side to side, causing the driver to lose control, the release said. The vehicles left the road and overturned.
Steven Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene.
Rebecca Marshall, who was also wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, was taken to Johnson County Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries.
Worland allows sale of ‘adult chillers’
WORLAND (WNE) — With proper packaging and sealed bags, the Worland City Council gave unanimous consent for the Worland Maverik store to offer adult alcoholic Chillers.
Dan Post, store director, came to the council last month requesting permission to offer the alcoholic drinks in the Worland store. He came back to the council Tuesday to address some concerns that were brought up at the previous meeting.
He said, “No alcoholic beverage will leave my store as an open container.”
He said when a customer comes in they will wait at the dispensing area until a Maverik employee can wait on them. They will ask for ID and then get their order. The cup will have a heat sealed lid on it and then a bag placed around it and sealed. Then the purchase will be made at the register where the customer will again show proper ID for the purchase.
Regarding the alcohol that will be served, Post said it depends on the recipe and there will be different recipes. He said the recipes could include “top shelf” wine or liquor.
The actual alcohol content will vary by recipe and type of alcohol. He said they mix 750 milliliters of wine or liquor with 828 milliliters of water to arrive at 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) or 4.35% ABW (alcohol by weight).