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Wyoming News Briefs: August 27, 2019

SVI Media is part of the Wyoming News Exchange. These briefs come courtesy of the WNE.


UW raises ACT score requirement

LARAMIE (WNE) — The University of Wyoming’s board of trustees voted this month, at the request of university administrators, to set a minimum ACT score of 17 for students to be admitted to the school.

Previously, high school graduates could be assured admission to UW, albeit with some remedial classes, if they had a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5-2.99. No standardized test score was required.

However, that new policy will still require those students with a sub-3.0 GPA to have a GPA of at least 17 or an SAT score of 900.

Kyle Moore, UW’s associate vice provost for enrollment management, said that, in recent years, about 20 freshmen admitted under the old requirement would now be disqualified from admittance based on low ACT scores.

Only about half of those students continue at the university after their freshman year, he said.

Forty-five students who were admitted during 2018’s record-breaking freshman class would be disqualified.

About half the students have not returned to school, and 16 were suspended for substandard grades, Moore said.

UW’s top attorney, Tara Evans, who guides much of the university’s revisions to its regulations, told trustees this month that “the administration believes this is a very positive thing” to ensure students succeed as freshmen.

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t putting students in a position where they were going to struggle and not succeed,” she said.


Climber rescued after falling in Grand Teton

JACKSON (WNE) — A 20-year-old French Canadian man was climbing by himself in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday morning when he fell 50 feet.

Although Maxime Blondel was injured, he was able to pull out his cell phone and call for help.

Park rangers got the call around 11:30 a.m. Sunday and flew by helicopter to Blondel’s location.

“They were unable to land or perform a short haul because it was so windy,” park public information specialist C.J. Adams said. “There were rangers in Garnet Canyon, so they responded there to his location.”

Rangers reached Blondel, provided an initial assessment and took him down via a wheeled litter — essentially a stretcher mounted on bicycle-like tires. Including the painstaking procedure of moving the litter down the mountain, the rescue took about eight hours.

“Because of the conditions they weren’t down until 7:30 p.m.,” Adams said.

Park officials said the incident serves as a good reminder that rangers and rescue personnel can’t always respond by helicopter.

“It extends the time needed to extract people out of the mountains,” Adams said.

Details about how Blondel fell were not available at press time. He was attempting to climb Disappointment Peak.

His injuries were also not released, but officials said they were not life threatening.


Cheyenne smoking ban now includes e-cigs

CHEYENNE (WNE) — E-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices are now on a list of smoking instruments banned in certain public places by a 2006 ordinance.

With an 8-1 vote Monday night, the Cheyenne City Council gave final approval to an amendment that adds electronic smoking devices to an ordinance that already bans cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookahs and water pipes.

The amendment bans electronic smoking devices “that can be used to deliver aerosolized or vaporized nicotine to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe, vape pen or e-hookah.”

The amendment excludes devices designed to deliver prescription medications, such as inhalers.

“I’m very pleased that the amendment passed,” said Councilman Jeff White, who sponsored the ordinance amendment. “I just feel it was a logical extension of an already existing ordinance, that most businesses had already put signs up that said no vaping in their establishments.”

The amendment redefines smoking as “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco, nicotine or other product intended for inhalation, including hookah and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic.”


White Pine lodge fire ruled accidental

PINEDALE (WNE) — The July 12 fire that consumed the lodge at White Pine Ski Resort has been ruled accidental. 

According to Sublette County Unified Fire Public Information Officer Mike Petty, an investigation involving local, state and insurance agency investigators determined the fire was caused by a propane leak with one of the furnaces that found an ignition source in the lodge.

White Pine representative Robyn Blackburn said, “We are waiting on the insurance company to accept the cause and origin, then get permission to remover the rest of the structure.” 

“There’s a lot going on in the background,” she continued. “We are hoping to use the existing concrete for warming huts in the upcoming ski season.” 

“We plan to open for the season,” said White Pine General Manager Katie Lane. “We hope to move in temporary buildings. The goal is to provide, rentals, ski school, food and beverages – everything we need for a ski resort.” 

The race is on to finish and open around Thanksgiving depending on the snow, she said. “Then in the spring we hope to be ready to rebuild,” Lane said. “We will rebuild.” 

Initially reported as a wildland fire, when SCUF fire crews reported the entire lodge was already engulfed in flames when they arrived. Fire crews contained the fire to the lodge building and monitored the surrounding areas to ensure the fire didn’t spread to the surrounding forest or buildings. 


Wyoming this Weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 2

By The Wyoming News Exchange

A gastronomic challenge pitting humans against hot dogs is the featured event for the upcoming long holiday weekend in Wyoming.

The second annual Wyoming Hot Dog Eating Championship will be held Monday in Mills.

Up to eight men and women will be allowed to participate in the competition, which will see competitors consume as many hot dogs — with buns — as possible in 11 minutes. The winners for the men’s and women’s categories will each win a custom-made championship belt.

Other activities at the full-day event include live music, food trucks and a car show.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include:

The Northern Arapaho Powwow Friday through Sunday in Arapahoe;

The Shoshoni Labor Day Rodeos on Saturday and Sunday, and

Meeteetse’s 107th annual Labor Day celebration Saturday through Monday.

For more information on these and other events, visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at

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