(Mon 12/8/14) - The
Douglas City Council has given their approval
to a couple of worker-targetted housing projects.
At Monday night's meeting,
council approved an application to develop an
extended-stay hotel at 1163 Prosperity Drive in the
Douglas Business Park. Granite Peak Development will
build a four-story Value Place hotel with 124 rooms.
City Council also said yes to
an application to develop a Mobile Home Park at 914
North 4th Street. Developer Ron McNare said there
would be 51 spaces in the new mobile home park.
Both projects hope to break
ground this spring.
(Mon 12/8/14) - The
Wyoming Highway Patrol is sending more troopers
to patrol a highway through the booming oil patch in
the Powder River Basin.
Traffic on Wyoming Highway 59
between Gillette and Douglas has surged more than 40
percent over the past year. Oil production in the
area has doubled over the past five years.
The Highway Patrol began
assigning additional troopers to the highway in
October to try to reduce speeding, aggressive driving
and illegal passing.
Ten troopers already patrol the
100-mile stretch of highway. The Highway Patrol plans
to send special details of up to eight additional
troopers two to three times a week.
Highway Patrol officials say
the additional troopers will come from the Casper and
(Fri 12/5/14) -
Increasing energy traffic on Highway 59
north of Douglas has brought on a stronger presence
by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Troopers have increased their
enforcement efforts between Douglas and Gillette,
working altered shifts, and additional troopers have
been brought in from other divisions to assist.
From October 25th through
November 25th, Wyoming State Troopers issued 325
citations and 141 warnings on WY 59 between Douglas
and Gillette. Violations cited include speed, seat
belt, improper lane use, following too close,
improper turning, stop sign, impaired driving,
careless driving, equipment violations, driver's
license violations, registration violations, vehicle
insurance, drug possession, underage alcohol
possession and commercial vehicle violations.
In this same time frame,
preliminary numbers show 31 crashes occurred on WY 59
between Douglas and Gillette. One of those crashes
resulted in one fatality, eight of those crashes
resulted in 14 injuries and 22 of those crashes
resulted in property damage only.
(Wed 12/3/14) - Several Converse
County musicians have earned high school All-State
honors. Douglas High School's Jarak Brown
and Morgan Grosdidier, and Glenrock High School's
Corbin Blanton have been named to the 2015 Wyoming
All-State Band; Douglas's Olivia Kitterman and
Glenrock's Chris Sater have been named to the
All-State Orchestra; and Ashley Borman and Carson
Black from Douglas and Mary Cotton and Jonathan Finch
from Glenrock have been named members of the 2015
All will perform as part of the
Wyoming High School Activities Association's All-State Music Festival January 19th and 20th at
(Fri 11/28/14) - Wild, Wild
West? Law enforcement officials in
east-central Wyoming say they're seeing more crimes
committed by newly arrived workers in the area's
booming oil fields.
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation reports
serious crimes including aggravated assault and
larceny are up 17 percent in the Douglas area since
Police Chief Ron Casalenda says emergency calls there
are up 9 percent from last year. Drug arrests are up
from 37 in 2009 to 64 last year.
city's police officers were involved in two vehicle
pursuits in September. The city didn't have any
police chases for three years. Both pursuits involved
energy industry workers.
the problem, the Douglas Police Department is short
two officers. Some city employees are quitting to
work in the oil fields.
(Wed 11/26/14) - A
Houston oil company is proposing to drill up to 1,500
oil wells along the Campbell-Converse county
line in northeast Wyoming.
Resources submitted its plans to the U.S. Bureau of
Land Management to drill in a nearly 120,000-acre
area between Wright and Bill.
to develop 150 wells annually for 10 years and seeks
an exemption from seasonal drilling restrictions
aimed at protecting a rare type of hawk.
must complete an environmental study before signing
off on the proposal.
expected to officially announce scoping for the EOG
study by early next year. Scoping is the first step
in the government's analysis and sets the outline of
the study. Environmental studies generally take
several years to complete.
(Wed 11/26/14) -
Natural gas flaring in Converse County is down
considerably this year. That's according to
data received by the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation
gas comes up as a byproduct when oil wells are
drilled, and if collection and transportation
infrastructure isn't available, it's often burned off
in a process called flaring. Flaring volumes in
Converse County reached nearly 1.5 billion cubic feet
of gas in 2013. This year, however, flaring has been
reduced below 500 million cubic feet. Converse County
has experienced an increase in pipelines and other
gas-gathering infrastructure in recent years, which
has contributed to the decline of flaring.
living near the wells say they aren't happy with the
amount of flaring near their homes, stating that
flaring erodes their quality of life and raises
health concerns about breathing harmful emissions
from drilling rigs and wells. Oil companies say they
are working to correct issues associated with flaring
and that flared gas represents a source of lost
revenue, which also poses an issue.
11/26/14) - Everybody's working here... Wyoming's
unemployment rate held steady at 4.7 percent in
rate is unchanged from September, it is up slightly
from last year's October rate of 4.5 percent.
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says the
state jobless remains well below the national rate of
County, once again, had the lowest unwmployment
numbers in the state, at 3.0 percent. Campbell at 3.1
percent, and Sublette and Niobrara both at 3.2
Lincoln counties had the highest unemployment rates
in October at 5.2 percent.
(Tue 11/25/14) - Home on the
Range - For Rent? Good jobs are pretty easy
to find in the Douglas area these days, but finding a
place to live is a real challenge. Monthly rental
costs are up, and rental vacancy rates continue to be
The Wyoming Community
Development Authority surveys residential rental
properties twice a year. The latest averages, from
the second quarter of 2014, show mobile home lots
renting for just over $200 dollars a month, but those
are the only rentals whose prices have stayed steady.
The average cost of an
apartment in Converse County has risen from about
$550 two years ago, to $871 a month now. Mobile homes
are averaging $937 a month.
The cost to rent a single
family home has seen the biggest jump. Up until the
4th quarter of 2011, houses rented for an average of
$600 to $800 a month. The latest numbers show an
average house in Converse County now rents for $1400
dollars a month... if you can find one at all.
According to the WCDA's figures, Converse County's
overall rental vacancy rate stands at just 1.9
(Fri 11/21/14) - The
director of the Wyoming State Fair at Douglas has
been honored by his peers.
State Fair director James
Goodrich has been named the Rocky Mountain
Association of Fairs (RMAF) Fair Manager of the Year
at their recent convention in Great Falls, Montana.
The RMAF is a group of fairs covering the western
United States and Canada.
Jason Fearneyhough is Director
of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the State
department that oversees the state fair... audio
James Goodrich has been the
Director of the Wyoming State Fair since 2007 and has
made significant contributions to the Wyoming State
Fair and grounds. As Director, he spearheaded and
managed the 100th Wyoming State Fair celebration in
2013 and has overseen several projects to improve the
quality of the Wyoming State Fairgrounds.
The RMAF Fair Manager of the
Year award is given to any active Fair Manager who
has been involved with their fair for a minimum of
five years and has made outstanding contributions to
their fair and community.
(Fri 11/21/14) -
Nunsense is Habit Forming.
Douglas High School vocal music
director Randy Gifford says a group of his students
will present the musical "Nunsense" this
week at the Douglas High School auditorium... audio
Gifford says that, since the
rest of the nuns died, there's only five left to do
the performance... audio
The first performance was last
night... the next performance is tonight at 7, and a
matinee performance is scheduled for Saturday
afternoon at 2:30pm at the Douglas High School
auditorium. Admission is free.
(Wed 11/19/14) - The
Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
recommends an increase to the minimum
allowable distance between oil and gas drilling rigs
But a landowners' group says
the commission's proposal still offers insufficient
protection to homeowners.
The commission, which includes
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, voted Tuesday to propose a
new rule that would extend the setback distance
between homes and oil and gas wells from the current
350 feet up to 500 feet. The staff of the commission
had recommended the 500-foot setback.
The public has an opportunity
to comment before the commission votes on the
proposal early next year.\par The Powder River Basin
Resource Council had asked the commission to peg the
minimum setback at a quarter-mile, saying drill rigs
are noisy and hazardous to health.
(Tue 11/18/14) -
Wyoming natural gas companies are reviewing emergency
procedures following a recent outage that
left more than 1,000 customers without gas in
Companies say they are taking
action even though there are no state regulations to
follow. Regulators require companies to filed
detailed reports after problems are fixed.
Regulators say it's difficult
to write rules because circumstances vary widely.
SourceGas officials discovered
an outage in Glenrock on Nov. 10 and reported it to
the Wyoming Public Service Commission within five
SourceGas says widespread
outages are unusual.
Tallgrass Energy is working
with SourceGas to find out the reason for the latest
(Tue 11/18/14) - The
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are offering
permits to cut Christmas trees on forest
land southwest of Douglas.
Permits cost $10 and allow for
the cutting of one tree on National Forest lands.
There is a limit of five permits per household and
trees must be for personal use, not for resale.
Some areas are closed to
cutting and people interested in getting a tree
should contact the area ranger district for
site-specific information, including road conditions
and area restrictions.
Permits and more information
are available at the Douglas Ranger District Office
at 2250 E. Richards St. They're open Monday through
Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m.
(Thu 11/6/14) - $$$...
Excise tax collections in Converse County hit an
all-time record high in the month of September. In
2011, the county collected about $2 to $4 million
dollars a month in excise taxes. This year, we've
been running $6 to $7 million dollars a month, but in
the month of September, the county hit pay dirt,
collecting just over $9 million dollars in excise
taxes. Excise taxes are sales taxes... when you buy a
pair of socks, you pay a tax, but Converse County
Treasurer Joel Schell says most of the load is being
carried these days by the energy industries... audio here
Schell says that they can't pin
the September increase to any one purchase or
Schell says there's another
real benefit to higher excise tax collections... audio here
The sixth cent tax is the one
that's paying for the new EWC Douglas Campus and new
libraries for Douglas and Glenrock.
(Thu 11/6/14) - Several streets
in a Douglas neighborhood were barracaded on
Wednesday afternoon as Douglas Police dealt with an
incident in the neighborhood north of Safeway. Police
spokesman said they were dealing with a single
resident on Park Drive, there were no injuries, no
evacuations, and there was no imminent danger. DPD
closed off Park, Bandera, Madora and Durango streets
for several hours, and traffic including school
busses was rerouted around the area. Police were
called in at about 10:30 Wednesday morning, and the
streets were closed about 3 in the afternoon, and
reopened at about 525. Douglas police say one person
was taken to the hospital for observation. Charges
may be pending.
(Wed 11/5/14) - Mopping
up the Election... The were a couple of
races affected by write-in here in Converse County.
The fourth four-year seat on the Converse County
District One School Board went to write-in Mark Horr,
who received 165 votes... Tara Davidson had 158, and
Michael Haught had 154.
There was one position
available on the Glenrock Hospital District board,
and Sarah Stalker won it with 7 votes.
And Converse County Clerk
Lucile Taylor said the results of the recount for the
second seat on the Glenrock Town Council remained the
same with both Chase Anfinson and Tim Feeback each
receiving 352 votes. The Canvassing Board will draw
for lots on Thursday to determine a winner.
(Tue 11/4/14) - Voters
went to the polls and made their choices on Tuesday. Checking
results of local races first, Douglas Mayor Bruce
Jones wins another four years, defeating former
councilman Bob Chiapuzio 1059 to 434. Incumbent
Councilman Leroy Kingery and John Bartling were the
top two vote-getters for Douglas City Council. Doug
Frank defeats incumbent Sue Dills for Mayor of
Glenrock 481 to 311. Two seats open on the Glenrock
Town council... Dennis Flynn gets one, and a tie for
the second seat... 352 votes each for Tim Feeback and
Chase Anfinson, so that one will go to a recount. Jon
Maines beats Don Kuhn 96-44 for mayor of Rolling
Hills. Brenda Williams and Jacque Stoldt win the two
seats on the Rolling Hills Town Council. Leda Price
gets one vote and will continue to serve as mayor of
Lost Springs... Arthur Stringham gets one vote and
will continue to serve as the Lost Springs town
Converse County School District
#1, the Douglas School Board, Kim Hiser, Jim Bolinger
and Mark Curtis will all retain their seats... 835
write-ins were tallied for the fourth, open seat on
the Douglas School Board... those write-ins wil be
tallied on Wednesday.
All of the Converse County
offices were decided in the primaries this year.
Two seats were open on the
Glenrock hospital district board... Russ Dalgarn wins
one seat, and 40 write-ins will be tallied on
Wednesday to decide the other.
Both tax issues passed in
Converse County... voters were 60 percent in favor of
continuing to optional 5th-cent tax that's been in
place for years, and voted 70 percent in favor of
retaining the lodging tax.
Statewide races, here's how
Converse County votes went... incumbent Senator Mike
Enzi gets 76 of the vote, Representative Cynthia
Lummis gets 74 percent of the vote. Govermor Matt
Mead got 61 percent of the Converse County vote, and
Democratic challenger Pete Gosar got 19 percent.
Repulbican Ed Murray collects 79 percent of the vote
for secretary of state... Jillian Balow claims 70
percent of the Converse County vote for
superintendant of public instruction, and Mike
Ceballos gets 28 percent. In the race for House
District 6, incumbent Republican Richard Cannady
earns 81 percent... democratic challenger Liz Batton
get 17 percent.
4,310 votes were cast in
Converse County on Tuesday, that comes out to a 70
percent voter turnout, not a bad number of a
non-presidential election year.
(Fri 10/31/14) -
Douglas area employers will continue to struggle to
fill empty jobs. The Wyoming Department of
Workforce Services has released September
unemployment numbers, and again, almost everyone in
Converse County is already working. In September,
Converse County reported 3 percent unemployment, tied
with Campbell County. Only Sublette County was lower,
at 2.9 percent.
unemployment was at 4.7%. Nationwide, the
unemployment rate was at 5.9 percent in September.
(Thu 10/30/14) - More
traffic, more cops... The Wyoming Highway
Patrol is increasing its presence on Highway 59,
between Douglas and Gillette.
Energy-related traffic on the
110-mile highway between the two cities continues to
increase, and the Highway Patrol says that's led to
more crashes and citizen concerns. Sergeant David
Wagener with the Highway Patrol says it's causing
problems for their troopers, too... audio
Wagener says the Wyoming
Highway Patrol is beefing up its presence between
Douglas and Gillette... audio
The Highway Patrol says more
troopers will begin patrolling the highway to focus
on issues including aggressive drivers, speeders and
(Wed 10/15/14) - Who
wants to go to Williston in December... audio
That's Douglas City
Administrator Tony Tolstedt, talking about a field
trip to Williston, North Dakota, that's being planned
for city officials... audio
The Douglas City Council voted
4-1 Monday night to begin planning for the trip.
Councilman Tony Reynolds was the lone no vote.
Tolstedt said the trip would probably take place in
December or perhaps January, depending on schedules
(Wed 10/15/14) - What's in the
Checkbook... The oil and gas boom has meant
a lot more money coming into Converse County's bank
accounts... and a lot more going out. County
treasurer Joel Schell says they've added a new
feature called Open Gov to the county's website... audio here
Schell says Open Gov helps us
understand part of how the boom affects us... audio
The treasurer says that these
days, there's more income, and there's more outgo. He
said it's good for the public to know how its money
is being spent... audio
A link to Open Gov is posted on
the County's website and the Treasurer's website...
anyone can access the information at www.conversecounty.org/opengov
(Thu 10/9/14) - Rumble
strips, turn lanes, and maybe even passing lanes... all
were discussed as possible near-term fixes for
growing traffic issues on Highway 59 north of
Douglas. Close to 150 people attended a community
meeting Wednesday night at the Douglas High School
auditorium. WyDOT Chief Engineer Del McOmie said they
have some projects scheduled now in their
transportation improvement program that will affect
Highway 59... audio
Both of those projects are
funded now and should be done in 2015.
Another item on the wish list
is a series of passing lanes between Douglas and
That project would again be
contingent on funding by the State Legislature.\par
During a question and answer period at the end of the
meeting, there was much discussion of speed limits,
with many people encouraging WyDOT to lower the speed
limits through Bill, and on the 59 bypass from the
Law Enforcement Academy out past the gas plant.
(Wed 10/8/14) -The cost
of housing drives up the cost of living in
Converse County. The State of Wyoming's Economic
Analysis Division has released the state's Cost of
Living Index for the second quarter of 2014, and
Converse County sits behind Teton County as the
second most expensive place to live in Wyoming. With
a median of 100, Converse County scored a 109. While
all other categories were either just above or just
below the median, scarce housing because of the oil
and gas boom sent that category up to 117 percent of
average. Platte County was the least expensive place
to live in Wyoming, with an index of 88 and housing
costs at just 77 percent of the state average.