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From the KKTY Newsroom...

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(Thu 9/18/14) - Oil- and gas-fueled growth has made the Casper area one of the fastest-growing in the nation. A new report this week from the US Department of Commerce says Casper's gross domestic product grew by a little over 7 percent in 2013, making it the 11th-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. Overall, the region is also doing well... Greeley and Billings also showed strong growth.

 

(Thu 9/18/14) - A new player in the Basin... The Denver-based Anschutz Corp. is putting new emphasis on increasing its oil industry operations in Wyoming.

On Wednesday, the company confirmed a $69 million transaction with Bill Barrett Corp. whereby Anschutz will gain drilling rights to about 30,000 acres in the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming.

Anschutz has been active in Wyoming in recent years but not in oil. Its subsidiary Power Company of Wyoming has proposed building the largest onshore wind farm in the country in south-central Wyoming.

Anschutz executive Joseph DeDominic says that the transaction marks a "major re-emphasis" on oil and gas in Wyoming by the company. He says Anschutz has contracted its first drilling rig in the basin, and it is expected to begin work in November.

 

(Wed 9/17/14) - Over 2200 Douglas area customers were left without power Tuesday afternoon when a contractor took out a power line with a dump truck. Construction crews were laying asphalt on Flicker Street east of Lone Tree trailer park. The driver reportedly left his dump bed up and pulled down a power line and two poles when he drove off. The accident happened at about 1pm... Rocky Mountain Power crews got the lights back on in most areas at about 2:30pm.

 

(Wed 9/17/14) - Push 'em farther away... A landowners' group is calling on Wyoming oil and gas regulators to strengthen proposed rules to increase the minimum distance between drilling rigs and dwellings.

The staff of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission this month proposed increasing the minimum setback distance for a vertically drilled well to 500 feet. The minimum setback for wells drilled into the ground and then horizontally would increase to 750 feet. The current minimum distance is 350 feet for all drilling rigs.

The Powder River Basin Resource Council this week contacted Gov. Matt Mead and other commission members to ask that the setbacks be increased up to 750 feet for vertical wells and a quarter-mile for horizontal wells.

The five-member commission is set to act on final rules next month.

 

(Wed 9/17/14) - Local Man Honored... A Glenrock sheep rancher who helped create a lamb cooperative will receive an outstanding alumni award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

Brad Boner is one of several who'll be honored at Ag Appreciation Day this Saturday, Sept. 20, on the Laramie campus. Boner received his agricultural business degree in 1982, and raises sheep and cattle, along with his brothers and father. He was instrumental in creating the Mountain States Lamb Cooperative, which markets more than 250,000 lambs annually from 13 Rocky Mountain states.

The annual Ag Day Barbecue that raises money for agricultural student organizations is this Saturday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the southwest corner of Fan Fest inside the Indoor Practice Facility.

Recipients will be recognized during Saturday's Wyoming-Florida Atlantic football game.

 

(Wed 9/17/14) - 2X Black Gold... The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports that oil production in the Powder River Basin has more than doubled over the past five years.

Oil output in the basin grew from 38,000 barrels per day in 2009 to 78,000 barrels per day during the first quarter of this year.

State Oil and Gas Supervisor Mark Watson says that the increased production is huge for Wyoming because it reverses a decline that had been going on for 40 years.

The increased oil production largely came from older oil fields in Campbell and Converse counties where production had declined over the years.

But the recent advancements in drilling and technology, chief among them fracking, have reversed the production declines those formations had been experiencing for years.

 

(Mon 9/9/14) - More Oilwell Setbacks... The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission intends to unveil a proposal next week to increase the minimum distance between drilling rigs and dwellings.

The commission intends to call for a buffer of 500 feet between occupied buildings and vertical rigs. It would set a minimum distance of 750 feet for horizontal rigs.

The current distance is 350 feet for all drilling rigs.

The move comes in response to concerns from landowners over increasing oil production near communities. Much of the ongoing drilling is occurring around Douglas and Cheyenne.

Landowners had sought a greater distance, while industry argued that the current distance is working.

 

(Wed 9/3/14) - Off to a new corral... Sixteen Bureau of Land Management gentled wild horses were adopted during Wyoming Mustang Days, at the Wyoming State Fair, in Douglas, Aug. 12-16.

The BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program sponsored the annual adoption event, which also encourages previous wild horse adopters to showcase the abilities of their mustangs.

Nine gentled yearlings were adopted throughout the week, by silent bid.

Seven saddle-started horses were adopted Aug. 16. The adoption, through competitive bid, followed a demonstration by the trainers from the Wyoming Honor Farm and the Mantle Wild Horse Adoption and Training Facility, demonstrating the horses's abilities.

Wyoming Mustang Days also included the All Wild Horse Show, featuring 52 previous wild horse adopters and their adopted horses, competing in three divisions, Aug. 15.

 

(Tue 8/19/14) - The 2014 Primary Elections are in the books. 3,371 votes were cast in Converse County on Tuesday, a 52 percent voter turnout, but you'll have a chance to do it all over again in the General Election in November.

A reminder, the Primary Election in most cases simply determines who'll move ahead to General Election. Non-partisan elections, the city and town elections, work like this... double the number of open slots will move on to the general, and write-ins must receive at least three votes to advance.

Douglas Mayor Bruce Jones ran unopposed and got 950 votes, but there were 95 writes-ins... if the top write in got at least three votes, their name will be on the November ballot along with Mayor Jones.

Douglas City Council, two seats open, incumbant councilman Leroy Kingery got 679, John Crockett got 497, Steve Sorell got 411... all three will advance, along with one write-in.

Mayor, Town of Glenrock, Wm Douglas Frank got 325 votes, incumbant mayor Sue Dills got 276... they'll both advance.

Glenrock town council was a very close race... Chase Anfinson got 282, Dennis Flynn got 264, Tim Feeback got 262 and Misty Dalgarn got 248... two seats open, all four will advance to the general.

Rolling Hills had no one on the ballot running for mayor, but there were 57 write-in votes, so the top two will have the opportunity to advance. Rolling Hills town council, Jacque Stoldt got 73 votes, Brenda Williams had 62 and Vicki Widiker 23... all three, plus a write-in will move to the general.

Leda Price will be on the general election ballot alone as mayor of Lost Springs, and Arthur Stringham will advance for the Lost Springs Town Council.

 

In the partisan races, an equal number of Republicans and Democrats can advance for the open seats, and write-ins must receive 25 votes to advance.

In the balloting for Converse County Commissioner, incumbants Tony Lehner and Jim Willlox and challenger Robert Short will move on to the general election. Lehner was the top vote getter with 1838, Willox had 1545 and Short collected 1403. Incumbant Major Brown was 170 votes short at 1233 and will not get a second term on the commission. Darek Joppru got 1162 votes. The Democrats had nobody on the ballot Tuesday, but there were 44 write ins... if one received at least 25 votes, they may choose to be on the ballot in November.

Ross Gorman will hold on to the office of county coroner. He got 1953 votes... challenger Russ Dalgarn had 1000... only 18 write ins for the democrats, so Gorman will run unopposed in the November general. All other county offices ran unopposed and Republican, and none had enough Democratic write ins to see a challenge in November.

State legislature races, only one district is completely within Converse County, and that's House District 6... incumbant Republican Richard Cannady got 56 percent of the vote and will face challenger Liz Batton in the general election. Batton ran unopposed on the Democratic ballot.

In the other house & senate races, Converse County supported Jeff Wasserburger in senate district 23 and Eric Barlow in House District 3... Dan Kirkbride was unopposed in House District 4. Those wont be settled until we have final numbers from other counties represented.

In the state races, Converse County supported Senator Mike Enzi, Representative Cynthia Lummis, Governor Matt Mead, although Dr Taylor Haynes had strong support here... Mead marked 1477 ballots, while Haynes collected 1271. Cindy Hill had 284. Converse County also voted for Ed Murray for secretary of State, Mark Gordon for State Treasurer, Jillian Balow for Superintendant of Public Instruction and Cynthia Cloud for State Auditor. Those positions will all be settled when all precencts in all 23 counties are tallied.

Complete election results are available at conversecounty.org.

 

(Sat 8/9/14) - They were crashin' for cash Saturday night at the Wyoming State Fair.

Bo Gordon took the $2500 dollar purse for making the last hit at the Douglas Volunteer Fire Department Demolition Derby. Tony Long won $750 dollars for second place, Tim Janssen got $500 dollars for a third place finish, and Daryl Swift won $250 for 4th place.

Tony Long also won $500 for Best Of Show for his pink & green Lincoln, and Kelly Herrick was a thousand dollars richer, named Heavy Hitter for being the most agressive driver.

23 cars battled this year for a piece of the action.

(Tue 7/29/14) - Now, NO to Joint Dispatch... The Douglas City Council has officially pulled their support for a proposed joint dispatch center for Converse County Law Enforcement. At Monday (7/28) night's meeting, a bare-bones council voted 3-0 to cease support of a joint dispatch center to allow council to explore costs of improvements in place for existing dispatch centers.

In May, the Douglas City Council, Glenrock Town Council and Converse County Commissioners voted to pursue a joint dispatch center, and due to cost concerns, to locate it in Glenrock. Two weeks ago, the Douglas council discussed the fact that the savings presented by the Glenrock option may not be as much as earlier discussed... and indicated that they may pull their support for the project if it's built in Glenrock.

Following a lot of public input at the last couple of meetings, the council voted unanimously to pull out of the agreement and proceed with upgrading the radio systems at the Douglas Police dispatch center as needed. Several comments indicated support for considering not a joint dispatch center, but a joint law enforcement center that would include a new city/county jail facility, but no action was taken in that direction.

City council also voted to approve dry camping at the racetrack for workers displaced during the Wyoming State Fair. The motion included a three-way cost share with the Converse County Commission and the Wyoming State Fair, and the city will provide up to four dumpsters for trash collection.

 

(Tue 7/29/14) - Douglas Police are investigating a pair of bomb threats at local businesses.

The DPD says they received reports from two local businesses on Monday of a caller making a bomb threat. In both calls, the caller made a demand and threatened to detonate a bomb if the demand was not met.

Members of the Douglas Police Department, Douglas Volunteer Fire Department, Memorial Hospital of Converse County, Converse County Emergency Management and the FBI all assisted with the investigation.

In both cases, no credible threat and no explosive device was located. At least two other cities in Wyoming recieved similar threats. The case remains under investigation.

 

(Tue 7/29/14) - Douglas business owners and managers will continue to struggle to staff their operations.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services says that Converse County's unemployment rate rose from 2.8 percent in May to 3.4 percent in June.

However, we still hold one of the lowest rates in the state. Teton and Sublette Counties checked in with 3.3 percent rates and Converse and Campbell Counties had 3.4 percent unemployment. Fremont County holds the highest unemployment rate at 5.5 percent.

The statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent in May to 4 percent in June.

 

(Tue 7/22/14) - Free Parking, No Hookups... City and county officials continue to move toward an offer of temporary camping for workers during next month's Wyoming State Fair.

At last night's meeting, the Douglas Planning and Zoning commission approved amendments to the raceway's conditional use permit that would allow temporary camping from July 30th through August 26th.

Currently, about 100 campers are parked on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds, and they'll have to vacate the premises during the State Fair. County Commission chairman Jim Willox told P&Z last night that everyone's looking for a workable solution... audio here

Willox said that they'll offer free dry camping with no amenities, but will provide a legal place to park for a short period of time. He also said that they plan to offer parking space at the old county yards just north of Douglas and west of 4th Street... audio here

Following last night's approval by the city Planning and Zoning Commission, the amendments to the conditional use permits will be forwarded to the full City Council at their next meeting on Monday, July 28th.

 

(Tue 7/17/14) - The Douglas City Council is having second thoughts about supporting a joint law enforcement dispatch center in Glenrock. It was a packed house at Monday's council meeting, and a study session before the meeting, as many residents who voiced thier concerns about the decision... this is Douglas Mayor Bruce Jones... audio here

In May, the Douglas City Council, Glenrock Town Council and Converse County Commissioners voted seperately at a joint meeting to pursue a joint dispatch center, and due to cost concerns, to locate it in Glenrock. Those votes were unanimous by the Commissioners and the Glenrock Town Council... a 3-2 vote in favor by the Douglas council. At Monday night's meeting, city council discussed the fact that the savings presented by the Glenrock option may not be as much as earlier discussed... and indicated that they may pull their support for the project if it's built in Glenrock. Here's Douglas City Administrator Tony Tolstedt... audio here

The decision on how to proceed is expected to be on the July 28th Douglas City Council agenda.

 

(Tue 7/15/14) - It's time to Cowboy Up... the 102nd Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo is accepting local entries from Wyoming cowboys and cowgirls to participate in the 2014 PRCA Rodeo. Rodeo performances are scheduled for August 14-15 at the State Fairgrounds.

All Wyoming residents 18 years and older are eligible to compete in the State Fair Rodeo. Events include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, steer roping and girls barrel racing. Contestants must complete proof of insurance and age, entry and liability release forms by 2:00 P.M. on July 25. Contestants may enter by calling the Wyoming State Fair at (307)358-2398.

 

(Mon 7/14/14) - A Wyoming jury has awarded $5.2 million dollars to an oilfield worker from Douglas for injuries he received in a 2011 work-related accident. 26-year old Blake Horr was hurt while doing maintenance operations at a Merit Energy site near Bairoil. Merit Energy claimed that the incident was the responsibility of Horr's employer, Basic Energy Services. The courts found both companies were 45 percent negligent, while Horr bore 10 percent of the responsibilty. According to the courts, Merit will pay more than $2 million dollars to Horr.

 

(Fri 7/11/14) - Some new names, and some familiar faces... the Converse County Commissioners have filled some slots on a couple of local boards. Commissioners have appointed Jeremy Matter and John Nelson to three-year terms on the Converse County Library Board, and reappointed Colleen Bolte to a five-year term on the Memorial Hospital of Converse County Board of Directors. They also reappointed Gerald "Shorty" Epperly and Randy Pexton to three-year terms on the Converse County Parks and Recreation Board of Directors.

 

(Thu 7/3/14) - The colors will fly at the Fort on Independance Day. A full day's events are planned at Ft.Fetterman northwest of Douglas.

The First Veterans' Silent Cavalry out of Cheyenne will perform a flag-raising ceremony at 8am. A breakfast of pancakes and eggs, ham, juice and coffee will be served at 9am. Later in the day, there's kids games including a three-legged race, hula hoop, balloon toss and find money in the straw. There'll be buggy and wagon rides, and tours of the grounds including the old laundry site, the bakery site and the original dugouts for the first tents.

Ft Fetterman was built in 1867 and was considered a hardship post in the old west. The fort was abandoned in 1882. Ft Fetterman is located on the North Platte River about 10 miles northwest of Douglas on Highway 93. Donations will be accepted to help pay for tomorrow's Independance Day activities.

 

(Thu 7/3/14) - Light 'Em Up... for the first time in several years, folks in Converse County will be able to shoot off their own personal fireworks. Because of the wet spring and plenty of green grass still on the hills and prairies, the Converse County Commissioners did not institute a county-wide fire ban this year. Lighting fireworks is still illegal in the city limits of Douglas and Glenrock. The Douglas Volunteer Fire Department will host their annual sky show tomorrow night at dusk, around 9:30pm, from the back parking lot at Douglas High School.

 

(Fri 6/27/14) - The numbers are up a bit, but Converse County still has the lowest unemployment rate in Wyoming. The state Department of Workforce Services says Converse County unemployment rose from 2.6 percent in April to 2.9 percent in May. In addition to having the highest cost of living, Teton County also registered the highest unemployment at 5.7 percent. Statewide, Wyoming's unemployment rate grew from 3.7 to 3.8 percent.

 

(Thu 6/26/14) - Where to put all those trailers... that's a problem that may find a temporary solution at the Douglas Motorsports Park. Converse County Commission Chairman Jim Willox and Wyoming State Fair Director James Goodrich asked the Douglas City Council Monday night for help setting up temporary RV parking at the race track for a couple of weeks surrounding the Wyoming State Fair in August.

Goodrich said they have over 90 RV spaces currently rented to oilfield workers, and they'll have to move out during the State Fair... audio here

While the State Fair would like to eventually develop more RV spaces on the fairgrounds, there's not time to make that happen this summer, so on a temporary basis, the County Commission has suggested allowing RV parking at the drag strip. Willox said that it's important to keep the workers and their paychecks in the community... audio here

Willox said the racetrack has plenty of paved parking to provide a place where campers could park without hookups, but without leaving the community. The racetrack land is owned by the county, but is in the city limits and subject to city zoning and regulations. Water and sewer are available on site, but the utilities are not set up for RV hookups. Still many details to work out regarding who does what, who pays for what, and who's liable for what, but discussions are underway to explore the options.

 

(Thu 6/26/14) - Black market oilfield equipment has been recovered in Douglas.

The Converse County Sheriff's Office says they got information in May that a Douglas resident had been purchasing stolen oilfield equipment from out of state.

The Sheriff's Investigations unit began following up on the information and searched a local work yard for stolen equipment.

Investigators identified stolen equipment valued at approximately $500,000.00.

The investigation is continuing by the Converse County Sheriff's Office and anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to call Sergeant Peech or Investigator McNare at 358.4700.

 

(Thu 6/26/14) - Motorists will soon be able to legally drive up to 80 mph on nearly 500 miles of rural interstate highway in Wyoming. The state Legislature raised the limits during its 2014 session.

On July 1, WYDOT crews will begin changing speed limit signs along three sections of Interstate 25, totaling 268 miles in length, as well as on three sections of I-80 (116 miles) and two sections of I-90 (104 miles). The agency hopes to complete sign changeover work by the beginning of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The 80 mph speed limit will be implemented on most of I-25... current speed limits will remain in effect in the Cheyenne area from the state line to milepost 18; in the Douglas area from milepost 135 to 141; in the Casper area from mile marker 185 to 190; and from milepost 297 through Buffalo.

Wyoming joins Utah and Texas as states which have speed limits above 75 mph on select rural highways. Idaho is also preparing to implement an 80 mph speed limit on some of its Interstate highways.

 

(Wed 6/25/14) - The deadline to comment on the Converse County Oil and Gas Project is set to close this coming Monday, June 30th.

The BLM Casper Field Office and the U.S. Forest Service Douglas Ranger District are seeking public comment on a proposed oil and natural gas development project in Converse County.

Anadarko Petroleum Company, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, EOG Resources, RKI Exploration and Production, Samson Resources, and SM Energy propose to drill approximately 5,000 oil and natural gas wells in Converse County in an area encompassing approximately 1.5 million acres over a 10-year period.

The BLM published a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on May 16, which opened a 45-day public scoping period. More than 120 people attended public scoping meetings June 10-12 in Casper, Glenrock and Douglas.

Project information and documents are posted on the website at www.blm.gov/wy

 

(Tue 6/24/14) - New guardrails for some area highways... WyDOT says Casper's Oftedal Construction has submitted the low bid of $1.5 million for guardrail replacement on sections of US 18-20 in Converse and Niobrara counties, and sections of US 85 in Goshen and Niobrara counties by June 30, 2015.

Contracts totaling $15.5 million for six highway projects around the state were awarded by the Wyoming Transportation Commission during its June meeting in Cheyenne.

 

(Mon 6/23/14) - More than just fishing... Wyoming has spent eight years building hiking, biking and equestrian trails at state parks throughout the eastern side of the state.

Crews recently finished 35 miles of trail at Glendo State Park, more than half of the 50- to 60-mile goal. Officials say the trails bring more users to the parks that aren't competing with boaters and anglers for space. Eventually, officials say the trails will become a destination for cyclists and hikers from around the country.

Projects started in 2006 with 35 miles of trail at Curt Gowdy State Park between Cheyenne and Laramie.

Paul Gritten is the non-motorized trails program manager for the state parks department.

Gritten said that the state will look next at improving and expanding trails in Guernsey State Park.

 

(Wed 5/28/14) - The Douglas City Council says yes to the annexation, no to the zoning change. At last night's meeting, the Douglas City Council voted 5-0 against rezoning the Converse County Courthouse from R-1 single family residential to a CB-1 business zoning. When the courthouse weas built in 1976, it was built in the R-1 zone, and has operated there with an annual conditional use permit from the city. The County Commissioners asked for the rezoning to a more appropriate classification, but several of the city councilmen expressed concern that if the courthouse were to ever move, the land could then be used for any type of business use, and they opted to keep things as they are.

City council did say yes with a 5-0 vote on the first of three readings, to a request to annex six acres of land at 2124 East Richards. That's the current location of NutriWest and the vacant land between NutriWest and the US Forest Service Douglas Ranger District offices. Tractor Supply, a national farm and ranch chain headquartered in Alabama, is planning a new, 19 thousand square foot store on the vacant land. The annexation request is still subject to two more readings before the city council.

 

(Tue 5/27/14) - The Douglas City Council will meet tonight in a rare Tuesday night session. Because of the Memorial Day holiday yesterday, the second regular meeting of May moves to tonight, and a couple of interesting items on the agenda.

The council will hear a request to rezone the Converse County Courthouse. While the county building has been in its current location since 1976, it's always been zoned R-1, which is single family residential, and the county has operated there under a long series of conditional use permits. The county's asking the city to rezone the courthouse to CB-1, the same central business district zoning that exisits to the west and the south of the courthouse.

City council will also consider annexation of six acres of land at 2124 East Richards, the current location of NutriWest and the vacant land between NutriWest and the US Forest Service Douglas Ranger District offices. The land will be annexed in preparation for a new, 19 thousand square foot Tractor Supply store, a national farm and ranch chain headquartered in Alabama.

The complete agenda for tonight's council meeting is available online at cityofdouglas.org. Tonight's council meeting gets underway at 5:30pm at Douglas City Hall. Council meetings are open to the public, and are broadcast in Douglas on cable channel 61.

 

(Thu 5/22/14) - A Muddy Memorial Day... While a lot of folks may try to get outdoors on the long Memorial Day weekend this weekend, those who've been around a bit know that it's still pretty early to try to get up into the mountains.

Despite recent spring snows, Memorial Day weekend visitors to the Medicine Bow National Forest will find typical low-elevation access for roads, trails and campgrounds. Preparations are underway on the Douglas Ranger District to open multiple lower-elevation campgrounds and day-use sites for the upcoming holiday weekend. Esterbrook Campground will be open for Memorial Day weekend. Access to Campbell Creek, Curtis Gulch, and Friend Park Campgrounds is questionable, but all three could be reachable this week.

Officials stress that travel in the Laramie Peak area could be difficult as road conditions are unpredictable this time of year. Large, heavy, and/or low clearance vehicles are not advised.For more information and details about these recreation sites and open roads, please contact the District at 358-4690.

Considering this week's rains, you're likely to find pretty muddy conditions this weekend wherever you may roam.

 

(Thu 5/22/14) - The Torch visits Douglas again today. The Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy will run their leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics this morning. The Run will start at 10:00am at the academy and will come down the hill, east on West Yellowstone to 3rd, north on 3rd to Walnut, east on Walnut to the employee parking area of Converse County Bank 4th & Walnut.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the movement's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle. The Torch Run raises funds and public awareness for Special Olympics Wyoming athletes.

Be sure to honk & wave to cheer on the runners from the Law Enforcement Academy as they do their part this morning.

 

(Wed 5/21/14) - City and county officials moved a step closer to a joint dispatch center last night. In a combined meeting of the Converse County Commission, the Douglas City Council and the Glenrock Town Council, the three groups voted to pursue a joint dispatch center for police, sheriff, ambulance and fire. After more than three hours of discussion, all three groups voted to pursue the facility. The Glenrock town council and the Converse County commissioners voted unanimosly to locate the joint dispatch in Glenrock... the Douglas City Council voted three to two to locate it in Douglas, then voted to reconsider, then voted to locate it in Glenrock. With the agreement of the three governing bodies, County Commission chair Jim Willox said they can now begin to design and move forward with the project. Willox said they want to have the county's new joint dispatch center in Glenrock up and operational by the end of December 2015.

 

(Tue 5/20/14) - Best Of... Douglas makes another "Best Of" list, and this time the honor goes to Memorial Hospital of Converse County.

Medscape has announced its Best and Worst Places to Practice Medicine, and Memorial Hospital of Converse County was named the Best Small Town to Practice for the Northwest Region. According to Medscape's website, the company's third annual "Best Places" list is a smorgasbord of big cities and small towns across the United States where doctors can find the lifestyle to meet their individual needs. Criteria for the Best Places designation include items like physician reimbursement rates, unemployment rates, hospital technology, average household income, taxes and lifestyle.

According to CEO Ryan Smith, the designation helps reinforce the hospital's efforts and will make recruiting providers a little easier.

Medscape is a website associated with WebMD, and is targetted to the medical industry. Medscape's Northwest Region includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

 

(Mon 5/19/14) - More Converse County Oil... Federal land managers have begun evaluating a proposal to expand an east-central Wyoming oil and gas field with up to 5,000 new wells, asking for public comment on issues surrounding the project.

The Bureau of Land Management published a formal notice in the Federal Register Friday that energy companies want to drill the wells over a 10-year period on more than 2,300 square miles in Converse County.

BLM officials first disclosed the proposal in January.

Meetings to get public comment on the issues will be held in Casper, Douglas and Glenrock. Dates haven't been set. The BLM will also take written comments.

About 83 percent of the land identified for the project is privately owned. The federal government owns the mineral rights under about 65 percent of the land.

 

(Thu 5/15/14) - Oil Company Busted... Charges are pending aginst an oil company for illegally dumping hazardous waste.

The Converse County Sheriff's Department says they responded to a report from the public on March 26th that frak water was being dumped at 131 Highway 59, property recently purchased by Kodiak Oilfield Services. The truck driver and a company spokesman both said that the water was clean and unused, but the Sheriff's Department called in the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Oil samples were taken by the DEQ, and they tested positive for the presence of Oil, Diesel, and Solvents. DEQ have presented a case to the Attorney General and charges are forthcoming.

The Converse County Sheriff\rquote s Office would like to thank the citizens who reported this company and would like to remind all citizens to call our dispatch center at 358.4700 if they see suspicious activity.

Sheriff Clint Becker said "There will always be people looking to take shortcuts, from pouring out hazardous waste to dumping tires and trash in our draws, rivers and streams." The Sheriff said his deputies can't be everywhere but if we work collectively, as a team, together we can at least slow down this type of activity.

 

(Wed 5/14/14) - Three people are dead in an 8 vehicle crash this morning on Highway 59 about 12 miles south of Gillette. The accident happened at mile post 99 around 7:30 AM this morning.

A WyDOT contractor was working on a Crack Seal project on Highway 59 South of Gillette. North bound traffic was stopped at the entrance of the construction project waiting for a Pilot Car. A Powder River Transport bus traveling North Bound failed to slow and hit the line of traffic that was waiting for the pilot car.

Ultimately there were eight vehicles involved including the transport bus. There were three fatalities from two separate vehicles involved in the crash. Occupants of at least two other vehicles were transported via ambulance with unknown injuries. No word on how many passengers were in the bus.

Highway 59 reopened about 11:40 this morning.

 

(Mon 5/12/14) - Will Run Again... Converse County commissioner Jim Willox has announced that he'll run again for another term on the commission.

A Republican and a life-long Converse County resident, 47-year old Willox said that Converse County is poised for significant growth and change, and he says we must capitalize on this opportunity to invest in our County and plan for the future. Willox said for the last 7 years he's focused on balancing the short term needs and the long term vision of the County.

If re-elected, it would be Willox's third term on the Converse County Commission, where he currently serves as Commission chair.

 

(Mon 5/12/14) - Killed in Traffic Accident... A Rolling Hills man died in a highway accident over the weekend on Highway 59 about 9 miles morth of Douglas.

The Wyoming Highway Patrol says 34 year old Nathan Bussey had stopped at the Flat Top Road intersection, but then his vehicle rolled slowly onto Highway 59, where it blocked both lanes of traffic. Bussey's car was struck by a pickup driven by Anderson King of Vanderwagen, New Mexico. King and a passenger were trated and released at the Douglas hospital. Bussey was partially ejected as his car rolled several times. The accident happened about 6:40 Sunday evening.

Troopers continue to investigate but believe fatigue may have been a contributing factor.

 

(Wed 5/7/14) - Child Abduction in Glenrock... A man is in custody after law enforcement says he abducted a child from Glenrock, and then crashing his vehicle in southwest Casper.

Glenrock Police Chief Tom Sweet says his officers responded to a call at a residence shortly after 9pm Monday night, and found three people had been assaulted and a small child taken from the home.

The vehicle that the suspect was driving, was later spotted by the Casper Police Department and a chase ensued.

The driver, twenty-one year old Max Lutkins, eventually crashed his vehicle and was taken into custody.

The child was recovered and was taken to Wyoming Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Two of the three people that had been assaulted earlier, also went to Wyoming Medical Center, with non-life threatening injuries.

Lutkins made an initial appearance in Converse County Circuit Tuesday morning, and had his bond set at $150,000.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, with additional charges a possibility.

 

(Thu 5/1/14) - Boot Hill reopens... You're invited to visit Douglas's past this weekend. Douglas Historic Preservation Commission chair Arlene Ernst says the group will host a tour of the Douglas Pioneer Cemetary... audio here

The first burial in Douglas's Pioneer Cemetary was apparently A. H. Meyers, the victim of a gunfight, on August 10, 1886. The cemetary was in use until 1902. This Sunday's tour is free and begins at 2pm. The Douglas Pioneer Cemetary is just north of town on the Highway 59 bypass.

 



And in Sports...

(Fri 9/5/14) - 0-1... The Douglas Bearcats opened the 3A football season tonight with a one-point loss to the Powell Panthers.

Douglas led 10-6 at the half on a 7-yard pass from Hayes Weber to Bay Parks and a 3-point field goal with seconds left in the half. Tanner Gamble pulled down an interception in the third quarter and ran it back 15 yards for a touchdown to stretch the lead to 17-6.

Powell fought back and took the lead when quarterback Carter Baxter ran one in with about 5 1/2 left to play.

Douglas travels to Cody next Friday night to meet the Broncs, who beat Buffalo 45-20 tonight. Kickoff Friday night at 6pm... our pregame coverage begins at 5:30 on KKTY's 100.1 FM.

(Tue 9/2/14) - The Douglas LadyCats volleyball team went three games to claim third place in the Gold Bracket at this weekend's Douglas Invitational. The Lady Cats beat the Lady Eagles from Lyman 25-22 in the first game... Lyman bounced back to claim game two 25-15, then Douglas iced it with a 15-11 win in the third game. Powell beat Wright 25-17, 25-17 to win the championship match.

Douglas volleyball's at the Gillette Invite this Friday and Saturday.

(Sun 7/27/14) - Off to State... Douglas, Casper, Cody and Powell will represent the North at this week's American Legion A State Tournament at Laramie.

The Douglas Cats beat the Casper Oilers 9-3 Saturday afternoon in the third place game of the North District tournament. The host Cody Cubs hammered the Powell Pioneers 11-1 in the championship game.

At the A-League South District tournament at Rock Springs, the Laramie Rangers took third place with a 9-6 win over the Riverton Raiders. The Green River Knights won the championship with a 14-11 win over Rock Springs Post 24.

The American Legion A State Tournament begins wednesday at Laramie. Douglas faces Rock Springs, Riverton meets Cody, the Casper Dirllers play Green River, and Laramie plays Powell.

(Mon 6/16/14) - Several area cowboys and cowgirls have punched their tickets to the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Following this weekend's Wyoming State High School Rodeo Finals in Douglas, national qualifiers include Glendo's Evan Wilhelm, who'll take the #1 spot in bull riding. Chloe Ashenhurst of Wheatland and Abi Devareaux of Newcastle will compete in pole bending, Douglas's Hunter Carlson on barebacks, Casper's Jayden Johnson and Kellen Johnson and Teigen Finnerty of Wheatland and Cody Ballek of Clearmont in team roping. Finnerty also qualified for nationals in steer wrestling and tie down calf roping. Douglas's Kailie Oliver will compete at nationals in breakaway roping, Torrington's Logan Milligan in tie down calf roping, Brady Thurston from Lance Creek in boy's cutting, and Glenrock's Garrett Reid will compete in trap shooting.

The 2014 National High School Finals Rodeo is July 13-19 at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs.

(Sun 5/25/14) - State track wrapped up Saturday afternoon at Casper, and the Bearcats claim a second place team trophy. The Powell boys claimed the title with 118 points... Douglas was 9 points out with 109... Cody, Buffalo and Star Valley rounded out the boys top 5. For the girls, Cody is the state champ, followed by powell, Worland, Lyman and Newcastle. The Douglas LadyCats finished 13th.

Five gold medal performances for the Bearcats... Sai Rogi wins the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.33 seconds; Justin Leman wins the 110 hurdles in 15.10; Sai Rogi, Gage Pitt, Blake Brooks and Eric Jamerman won the 4x100 relay in 43.87; Lane George, Gage Pitt, Hunter Haman and Justin Leman won the 4x400 relay at 3:26.30; Lane George won the long jump at 21'7".

Silver medals to... Sai Rogi in the 200 meter dash; Justin Leman in the 300 hurdles.

Bronze finishes by... Hunter Haman in the 400 meter dash; Vaughn Moskop, Colton Backes, Hunter Haman and Greg Vandeventer in the 4x800 relay.

(Mon 5/19/14) - The Douglas Bearcats track team dominated the standings at the 3A East Regional meet at Rawlins this weekend.

The Cats scored 172 team points, 41 points ahead of second-place Buffalo. Worland led the girls team rankings... the LadyCats placed 5th. Gold medals this weekend for Douglas's girls 4x800 relay team of Macy Hayes, Jessica Perala, Lisa Townsend and Sophie Lavalle; Lateesha Hiser in the shot put; Sai Rogi in the boys 100 meter dash; Justin Leman in the 110 and the 300 hurdles; the Boys 4x100 relay team of Sai Rogi, Gage Pitt, Blake Brooks and Eric Jamerman; and the Boys 4x400 relay team of Lane George, Gage Pitt, Greg Vandeventer and Justin Leman.

State Track begins Thursday at Harry Geldien Stadium at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper.

(Mon 5/19/14) - End of season... Douglas Bearcats and LadyCats soccer squads finished their seasons with losses on Friday.

In state qualifier games Friday afternoon, the LadyCats fell 7-0 to Jackson, and the Bearcats lost a 1-0 match against Pinedale.

Boys soccer state tournament matchups, the Torrington Trailblazers shut out Worland 2-0 on Friday... the Blazers will meet the Buffalo Bison. Pinedale plays Powell, Cody meets Jackson and Star Valley faces Lander. In the girls brackets, Cody plays Star Valley, Jackson meets Lander... Newcastle's 2-0 win over Pinedale Saturday sets up a Newcastle-Worland match, and Powell will face Buffalo.

3A State Soccer begins Thursday at Jackson.

(Mon 5/12/14) - The high school soccer season is winding down... Douglas boys lost two on the road this weekend. The Cats fell 9-1 at Torrington on Friday, then lost 8-0 at Buffalo on Saturday.

LadyCats soccer was at home htis weekend, but didn't have any more luck than the boys did. Douglas lost 4-3 to Torrington on Friday and 7-0 to Buffalo on Saturday.

(Mon 5/12/14) - Douglas tracksters got a good tuneup this weekend as they wrapped up regular season competition at the Camel Qualifier at Gillette.

The field included athletes from Gillette and Sheridan, Casper's Natrona and Kelly Walsh, Buffalo and Douglas. The Bearcats boys placed 3rd in the team standings, and the girls were sixth, but there were several solid performances individually.

For the boys, Sai Rogi was second in the 100 dash and 4th in the 200. Hunter Haman was second in the 400, and Greg Vandeventer was 4th. Vaughn Moskop finished 5th in the 800. Justin Leman won the 100 and 300 hurdles, and the Douglas team took 2nd in the 4x100 relay. Hunter Haman was third in the triple jump, Layne McGuire was 3rd in the shot put, and Bay Parks was 3rd in discus.

For the LadyCats, Jacy Busboom placed 3rd in the 3200 and the Douglas team placed 2nd in the 4x800 meter relay. Lateesha Hiser was second in the shot and 6th in discus.

3A Regional track is next weekend at Rawlins.



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