Wyoming News Briefs: October 4, 2019
Life Care Center of Cheyenne sued for alleged wrongful injury
CHEYENNE (WNE) – Life Care Center of Cheyenne and its associated companies are being sued by a local man who allegedly suffered injuries post-surgery after staying in its care.
Edward Ziolkowski is suing the center, which is a nursing home that provides services such as post-surgery care, and its associated companies, Life Care Centers of America and Cheyenne Operations LLC.
The court case is seeking damages, and the amount will be set by the court, if Life Care is proven negligent.
According to court documents, Ziolkowski stayed at the nursing home from May 30 through June 6, 2017, to receive rehabilitative and post-surgery care after his spine operation.
Prior to his stay at the center, Ziolkowski had back problems that were restricting his movement around his home, though he was still able to live independently. On May 27, 2017, he decided to undergo surgery at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center by the Wyoming Spine and Neurosurgery Associates doctor’s office.
According to his physician, the surgery was a success, and he was sent to the nursing home to recover.
Ziolkowski’s physician directed the nursing home to clean, dress and monitor Ziolkowski’s surgery wound, manage his post-surgery medications and make sure he was getting adequate nutrition.
The case alleges the nursing home didn’t monitor or routinely change Ziolkowski’s bandages, didn’t make sure he had enough fluids and didn’t give him the required medications.
CDC: Vaping-related illnesses a multi-state outbreak
SHERIDAN (WNE) — As of Sept. 27, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is calling a series of lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette use a “multi-state outbreak.”
More than 800 cases have been reported in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands; between one and nine cases have been reported in Wyoming.
Twelve deaths from lung injuries related to e-cigarette use were confirmed in 10 states: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri and Oregon.
Recent findings indicated products containing THC may play a role in the lung disease outbreak. Most patients reported using e-cigarette products containing THC, according to the CDC.
The CDC said the suspected cause is chemical exposure, though no one product or substance is linked to all cases and the specific chemical causing lung injuries is unknown.
More than two-thirds of the patients are male, 16% are younger than 18 years old and two-thirds are between 18 and 34 years old.
Patients in the outbreak have reported symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and abdominal pain.
The CDC encourages people who have recently used an e-cigarette product and are experiencing the symptoms associated with lung injury to contact a health care provider.
State public health officials are encouraged to notify the CDC about possible lung-injury cases associated with vaping through eocevent101.cdc.gov.
Lander school district approves firearms for staff
LANDER (WNE) — Lander-based Fremont County School District No. 1 recently became the fourth district in Wyoming to allow approved staff members to carry firearms in schools.
School board chairman Brett Berg said there was more support for the policy than was apparent at board meetings and the board felt the policy would make the schools safer.
The Legislature passed a law in 2017 allowing districts to decide whether to arm staff.
The board began considering the policy several months after the law allowing it came into effect, Berg and Superintendent David Barker said.
The district launched two surveys — one just for staff and one for the entire community — to gauge interest.
The polls, which Barker said were not scientific, showed support for the policy; Berg said he didn’t know how he felt about the policy when the board first discussed it in 2017, but after discussing it with two veteran law enforcement officials — who he said told him that arming trained and willing staff would make students and staff safer — he decided to support it.
Berg repeated that he was confident in the policy that was passed.
Ultra backs away from drilling in Pinedale Anticline
PINEDALE (WNE) – After dropping to one rig for drilling new wells the last quarter, Ultra Resources announced complete suspension of its drilling program in the Pinedale Anticline by the end of this month.
The announcement came from Ultra Petroleum CEO and President Brad Johnson, who said lenders unanimously agreed to amend the struggling company’s credit operations.
“This amendment provides flexibility for the company to suspend drilling in the Pinedale field while natural gas pricing remains near multi-year lows and preserves its highest value inventory for future development locations to be developed under more favorable commodity pricing conditions,” he said in the Sept. 17 release.
Reducing drilling and completion costs in the fourth quarter will save about $30 million, according to his statement.
“Base production performance continues to be strong and we expect this out-performance to offset the incremental production for the fourth quarter that would have occurred from new wells drilled,” Johnson said.
Looking ahead to 2020, it said, the preliminary outlook assumes there will be no drilling next year either.
Johnson said the decision to cancel drilling new wells in the Pinedale Anticline is prudent.
“The decision to suspend drilling demonstrates our commitment to financial discipline. In the current price environment, it is difficult to support investment in new well development in Pinedale,” he stated.
Sale of Cloud Peak’s PRB mines to NTEC is final
GILLETTE (WNE) — While much of the Powder River Basin’s coal industry was monitoring a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing in West Virginia on Wednesday, another bankruptcy court was quietly approving the sale of Cloud Peak Energy’s three active Powder River Basin coal mines to Navajo Transitional Energy.
Judge Kevin Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware signed an order Wednesday giving final approval of the sale of the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Campbell County and Spring Creek mine in Montana.
“We are pleased to have this final order approved and look forward to assuming operations in Montana and Wyoming in mid-October,” said NTEC CEO Clark Moseley in a press release announcing the order. “As a company, we have a solid record of returning mines to profitability and doing so as an industry leader in safety and reclamation.”
The sale makes NTEC the nation’s third largest coal producer.
The Native corporation based in Farmington, New Mexico, will take over mines that employ about 1,200 people and pay about $230 million annually in federal and state taxes and royalties.
NTEC was selected as the winning bidder for Cloud Peak’s major assets in an August bankruptcy sale.
Navajo Transitional Energy is buying the mines, along with the Sequatchie Valley reclamation project, for $15.7 million cash to be paid as a deposit upon closing the sale. NTEC also will assume a $40 million second lien promissory note and pay up to $20 million in post-petition debts accrued during the bankruptcy process.
Jackson greets first lady
JACKSON (WNE) — Ten black SUVs filed into the Town Square on Thursday, surrounded by row upon row of onlookers lining the boardwalks. Boy Scout troops stood in wait under the antler arches, while here and there Secret Service agents paced, scanning the premises.
It looked like the arrival of the president. But then, out of one of the cars climbed another Trump — Melania, the first lady of the United States of America, who this week made her first official voyage to Jackson Hole.
Soon after landing at the airport around 11 a.m., she and her motorcade sped south down the highway, leaving dozens of pulled-over cars in their wake.
As they rolled into Jackson, parking along closed-off Center Street and Deloney Avenue, Mrs. Trump was met with curiosity and fanfare from locals and tourists. Shouts of “We love you, Melania!” filled the square, along with chants of “U.S.A.” and an impromptu rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. Red “Make America Great Again” hats dotted the crowd.
Mrs. Trump made her rounds, chatting with each of the Scouts in turn, before heading to the Snake River for a quick float.
She is scheduled to tour Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks today and meet with fourth-grade students from the Teton County School District to promote the “Be Best” initiative and encourage children to spend more time outdoors.