Downdraft blamed for crashes of Wyoming sightseeing balloons
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The owner of a Wyoming sightseeing balloon company says a downdraft during a freak storm caused three hot air balloons to crash this week. Monday’s crashes injured more than a dozen people, including 11 who went to hospitals. Wyoming Balloon Company owner Andrew Breffeilh says he’s sad and regrets that clients were injured. He says the forecast for Jackson Hole where the balloons took off didn’t call for dangerous conditions. Ten people were treated for minor lacerations and orthopedic-type injuries to wrists, shoulders and ankles. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports another person went to a hospital with a head injury.
Wyoming puts $7.5M in COVID-19 funds toward college grants
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming is putting $7.5 million toward college grants for people who are out of work or underemployed because of the coronavirus. The money comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Adults ages 25-64 who are unemployed or underemployed because of the pandemic may qualify. Gov. Mark Gordon says the grants will help workers get new skills and boost their careers. State officials plan to announce a start date for applying for the grant money soon. Gordon to date has allocated $710 million of $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding allocated to Wyoming.
ZERO OIL RIGS
Wyoming has no operating oil rigs for 2nd time since 1884
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Workers closed Wyoming’s last active oil rig on Tuesday. An official says it is just the second time since 1884 that the state has had zero gas rigs in operation. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming estimates that one lost rig means roughly 100 lost jobs. The number of rigs typically indicates an area’s oil and gas activity. The Casper Star-Tribune reports that in August 2019, the state had roughly 37 rigs in operation. This year, diminished demand for oil due to the coronavirus and a global price war have depleted production. The collapse in energy prices and the pandemic has led state analysts to predict a $1.5 billion revenue decline.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-STADIUM CAPACITY
Wyoming football likely to limit stadium capacity
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming’s athletic director says the school will likely keep its football stadium at quarter capacity for this upcoming season, with a chance that capacity could go as far down as one-fifths. The Casper Star-Tribune reports the athletic department is still working with health officials to parse out specific details. The school’s athletic director, Tom Burman, says the War Memorial Stadium’s capacity will likely be 20 to 35%. That would mean nearly 5,800 to 10,000 people will be allowed to attend each college football game at the venue. The regular capacity of the stadium is about 29,000 people.
GRIZZLY ATTACK TEAM
New response team to help victims of Wyoming grizzly attacks
A new animal attack response team will rescue people attacked by grizzly bears in the northwestern Wyoming backcountry. The Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Grand Teton National Park are behind the effort. Grizzly attacks in Wyoming often involve elk hunters. Officials hope to have the team ready to go when hunting season begins in September. One goal is to avoid duplication. Several different agencies sometimes get called to grizzly attacks. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports a hunting guide killed on a mountain two years ago prompted the idea for the new team.
Wyoming home prices increase at fastest rate since 2007
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s average home price has risen nearly 10% since early last year, the fastest rate of increase in the state’s real estate valuations since 2007. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported some experts say the increase has left many lower-income families with few options for home ownership. Wyoming Chief Economist Wenlin Liu says the housing supply has been limited for years and many residents have been forced to seek housing through rentals, which have become more costly. Wyoming’s price increase may also be driven by buyers seeking western property while unable to afford homes in larger cities such as Seattle and Denver. A Laramie County Commissioner said Wyoming trails only Montana and Idaho in the home price spike.