(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 very low.
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.
(Tue 9/30/14) - Hunters
from across the nation visit Eastern Wyoming
every fall, and a very special group of hunters come
to Douglas today.
The 30th Annual Helluva Hunt
welcomes 15 disabled sportsmen and women from across
the country for a guided antelope hunt. Hunters
arrive today for opening events, meet their guides,
sight in their rifles, participate in trap shooting
and relax at the opening banquet.
The hunt begins tomorrow
morning. Several area ranchers contribute access to
about 60 thousand acres of land. The Wyoming Game
& Fish issues special permits to allow the
disabled hunters to hunt from a vehicle. Each hunter
is accompanied by one or more experienced guides.
The Helluva Hunt is completely
funded, and the only cost to the hunter is for their
transportation to and from Douglas.
(Thu 9/25/14) - Clean
Out Your Medicine Cabinet... Law enforcement
agencies across Wyoming are partnering with the Drug
Enforcement Administration to offer people a chance
to safely dispose of prescription medication
The DEA is working with state
and local law enforcement to collect and dispose of
the drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The chemicals in prescription
drugs can harm wildlife or the environment if thrown
away or flushed down a sink or toilet. Drugs left in
trash bins or by the curb also can be stolen and
Locally, collection points will
be set up at the Douglas Police Department, the
Evansville Community Center, the Torrington Police
Department and the Platte County Sheriff's Office in
Wheatland. You can also find a nearby collection site
by visiting www.dea.gov and clicking on the "Got
(Tue 9/23/14) - A new
RV Park on Douglas's north side will get
further review before it can proceed. Developer Chris
Paquette has asked the Douglas City Council to rezone
a 15 acre piece of property off of North 4th Street
near the bypass from industrial to MH-2 so that they
could build a 50 to 100 unit RV park. Paquette said
that, in addition to providing much-needed housing
for energy workers, the development would provide a
better transition between ongoing industrial growth
on Highway 59 and homes in the Northgate area... audio here
The primary holdup seems to be
the City's new Master Plan, which designates the land
as industrial. Lots to the south are currently zoned
MH-2. The Douglas Planning and Zoning commission sent
the project to the city council with a "do not
pass" recommendation, in part because the
proposal doesn't match current zoning as defined in
the City Master Plan. Rather than approving or
denying, the Douglas City Council last night voted to
return the project back to the Planning Commission
for review for possible amendment to the Master
Plan... that would deal with the zoning issue... and
simultaneous review of the specific project, which
would be the proposed RV Park.
(Mon 9/22/14) - Room
for two, non-smoking? Good Luck... Oilfield
workers are packing Wyoming's hotels and staying
longer as the state's oil and gas development grows.
Here in Douglas, we know how hard it's been to find
an empty hotel room. And the problem is spreading
across eastern Wyoming.
Nearly 87 percent of Casper's
hotel rooms were booked in July and August, many by
Aaron McCreight, head of the
Casper Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau, says the
state is seeing an oil boom that is helping the
overall economy. Officials say drilling is up, and
there are more oil and gas jobs now than there were
Two new hotels are being built
in Casper to accommodate more visitors. ONe new hotel
is under construction here in Douglas, and another is
in the planning stages.
Hotels in Gillette and Cheyenne
say their occupancy rates are rising too. McCreight
says the growing economy has also been a boon for
tourism, necessitating more rooms.
(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
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
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
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
Recipients will be recognized
during Saturday's Wyoming-Florida Atlantic football
(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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.