COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT VANDALIZED
Wyoming county health department vandalized with fake blood
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Health officials in Wyoming have reported that the exterior doors of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department building were vandalized with fake blood, a few days after a protest was held at the state Capitol against public health orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that department Executive Director Kathy Emmons said the fake blood, commonly used on Halloween, was splattered on the front and side doors on Thursday likely around 5:30 a.m. Cheyenne police spokesperson Alex Farkas said the case is under investigation and is likely tied to protests Monday at the state Capitol.
TWIN MEN FOUND DEAD
Wyoming officials: Twin 61-year-old brothers died of virus
CODY, Wyo. (AP) — A county coroner in Wyoming has confirmed that two 61-year-old twin brothers died from complications related to the coronavirus last month. The Cody Enterprise reported Wednesday that Park County Coroner Tim Power said Kurt Knight and Michael Knight were discovered dead in their home on Dec. 26 after one of the men had recently tested positive for COVID-19. The Cody Police Department confirmed after the second brother died, that he also had the virus. Authorities originally responded to the scene on a welfare check request after one of the men did not show up for work and was not answering repeated phone calls.
Wyoming lawmakers to consider $100 million education cut
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers will consider a proposed $100 million public education funding cut when they meet this winter. The Gillette News Record reports the bill would also raise the state sales tax by a percentage point. Wyoming has been struggling with a steep decline in revenue from the coal, oil and natural gas industries due to low prices and the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Mark Gordon in November submitted a proposed supplemental budget for 2021-22 containing more than $500 million in cuts to some of the state’s largest agencies. Wyoming would still face a deficit in education funding the governor can’t cut back unilaterally.
Tribal nations oppose drilling of 5,000 wells in Wyoming
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Leaders of several tribal nations say a Trump administration decision to permit five oil companies drilling rights in Wyoming will destroy cultural resources, compromise air and water quality and violate existing treaty rights. The Oglala Sioux Tribe say U.S. regulators failed to uphold federal law and fairly consult local tribes when they made their decision. The tribe also said the environmental reviews that occurred in conjunction with the project were deficient. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management issued an order Dec. 23 that will allow for year-round drilling on federal leases in Converse County. The order followed the completion of a seven-year environmental analysis.
Utah man pleads guilty in Yellowstone dig seeking treasure
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Utah man has pleaded guilty after authorities said he was caught digging in a Yellowstone National Park cemetery in search of hidden treasure. Federal prosecutors say 52-year-old Rodrick Dow Craythorn of Syracuse, Utah, entered the plea Monday. Craythorn could face up to 12 years in prison and $270,000 in fines when sentenced. An attorney for Craythorn didn’t immediately return a phone message Tuesday seeking comment. Craythorn was seeking a treasure chest hidden by art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn. Prosecutors say Craythorn caused more than $1,000 in damage by digging in Fort Yellowstone Cemetery in late 2019 and early 2020. A Michigan man found the treasure in June.
GOP split over Trump, election runs across deep-red Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A divide among Republicans over President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election runs prominently through Wyoming. The state’s newly sworn-in Sen. Cynthia Lummis is among 11 Republicans in the U.S. Senate who say they will not be voting Wednesday to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Vocal opponents of any such move include Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, leader of GOP messaging in the House as its third-ranking Republican. The split in this reddest of states while Trump makes baseless and unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and voting irregularities hints at trouble ahead for Republican unity once Biden is sworn in as president Jan. 20.