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Wyoming News Briefs: November 25, 2019

Man pleads not guilty of attempted murder charge

GREEN RIVER (WNE) — Bradley Setzer pleaded not guilty to charges filed against him during an arraignment Nov. 18 in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery.

Setzer is charged with felony first-degree attempted murder and misdemeanor interference with a peace officer following an incident Aug. 25 where he allegedly tried to kill his wife and was allegedly uncooperative during his arrest. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted of the felony. He is accused of shooting at his wife on Aug. 25.

A trial date was set for May 11.

During the hearing, Setzer’s attorney, Gerald Bosch, attempted to argue Setzer’s bond was prohibitively high. He said the bond was initially set at $250,000 before being reset at $900,000 by Circuit Court Judge John Prokos. Bosch argued the bond prevented Setzer from bonding out of jail and providing for his defense.

Bosch said no contact orders already in place would be sufficient to ensure the safety of the alleged victim and told Lavery Setzer has the promise of a job should he be released.

Teresa Thybo, deputy county attorney, said Setzer had a history of not following bond orders, saying he failed to adhere to previous bond stipulations following an incident where he broke his wife’s nose. When he was arrested Aug. 25, Green River police officers found 11 firearms in Setzer’s home despite being ordered not to possess firearms. He was also ordered to abstain from alcohol, but had a blood alcohol content of 0.14% when he was arrested. Lavery kept the bond amount at $900,000.

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Massage facility business license pulled

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A massage business that was involved with sexual assault allegations had its business license suspended Tuesday night by the Cheyenne City Council.

On the third night of a business licensure hearing, the council voted to suspend China Spa’s business license until its renewal date of Dec. 11. When China Spa goes to renew its license, it will be up the city clerk to decide whether it gets renewed.

If the license renewal is denied, China Spa can appeal the decision, but in the meantime, the business isn’t allowed to be in operation pending the three weeks until its renewal.

The bulk of the hearing focused on whether a contract masseuse at the parlor sexually assaulted two female patrons. The masseuse, who was only identified as John Doe during the hearing, was arrested earlier this year, but his charges were dropped. City officials said they are expecting new charges to be filed.

Ultimately, though, the council decided to suspend the license because there were issues of masseuses working at China Spa that weren’t registered with the city. During the evidentiary hearing, it was discovered that several tax forms were issued to China Spa contractors, but those same contractors weren’t reported to the city of Cheyenne as being licensed with China Spa.

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Rare-earth research could occur in Campbell Co.

GILLETTE (WNE) — The U.S. Department of Energy wants to research the extraction of rare earth elements in the western part of the country, and Campbell County could be the place where that research will be done.

The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources hopes to partner with the DOE and its National Energy Technology Laboratory to do that research here, and it needs the support of local governments.

The Gillette City Council considered a commitment letter in support of the project at a special meeting Thursday afternoon, while Campbell County Commissioners did the same at the end of their Public Health meeting Thursday night.

Scott Quillinan, director of research at the School of Energy Resources, said UW has been studying the coal seams in the Powder River Basin to measure the concentration of rare earth elements. There’s reason to continue that research, he said, because PRB coal has rare earth potential.

Rare earth elements have many uses, from batteries and magnets to lights and wind turbines. But they are not mined domestically.

If it ends up being economically feasible to mine rare earth elements from Powder River Basin coal, Quillinan said it could be a “value-added product that comes along with coal mining.”

The highest concentration of the rare earth elements is often in the parts of the coal seam that isn’t used for burning, Quillinan said.

“A lot of that is scraped off and put back in the pit,” he said. “If they’re mining it anyway, this could be a no-brainer.”

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