KKTY NEWS July 08 Archive
(Thu 7/31/08) - Wyoming's first new refinery in 30 years has completed construction north of Douglas. Interline Resources' NorthCut Refinery project is a 5,000 barrels-per-day topping refinery which will use local crude supplies to produce off-road diesel and virgin gasoline, or naphtha, for local markets. Off-road diesel is legal for use in agriculture and in the coal mines of the Powder River Basin. The virgin gasoline is used in the production of ethanol. Interline Resources built the refinery on the site of the old Well Draw natural gas plant on Highway 59 between Douglas and Bill. The gas plant was destroyed in fires in 2001 and 2002. Michael Williams is CEO of Interline. He says the facility has been undergoing full testing of all systems during the last month, and the only activities currently underway are paving of road and loading surfaces, as well as painting of storage tanks. Williams says they're in the process of purchasing approximately 50,000 bbl of crude on the spot market in order to begin limited production while they finish signing contracts for production.
(Thu 7/31/08) - A phone scam is making the rounds of the Douglas area. Converse County Sheriff Clint Becker says callers are claiming that they're soliciting funds for donations to the sheriff's office. Becker says the calls are a scam, and if you recieve such a call, you need to please report them to the Sheriff's office at 358-4700.
(Wed 7/30/08) - The Anschutz Corporation has taken over as developer of a $3 billion power line project that would carry electricity from Wyoming to the southwest United States. Denver-based Anschutz announced it has taken over as developer of the TransWest Express Project through an affiliate. The proposed project involves building a 900-mile, 3,000-megawatt high-voltage transmission line to deliver Wyoming wind-generated power. The lines would begin at the Dave Johnston Power Plant at Glenrock, run south through Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, then west into the Phoenix and Tuscon areas. Until now, the project had involved the Arizona Public Service Company, National Grid and the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. Anschutz officials declined to comment on any financial aspects of the transaction. Arizona Public Service will remain in an advisory role, while National Grid will drop out. Anschutz also recently applied for a permit to build 1,000 wind turbines near Rawlins in the southern Wyoming.
(Fri 7/25/08) - A new state report says it would cost more than $1 million per mile to upgrade existing rail lines between Casper and Fort Collins, to support passenger rail service. The report looks at the feasibility of a proposed commuter rail line that would serve the Front Range, carrying passengers from Casper, through Douglas, then south across Colorado and into New Mexico. Bob Briggs of the Colorado-based nonprofit group Front Range Commuter Rail is the chief promoter of the project. He says he's encouraged that the projected costs are lower than he initially estimated. The report estimates it will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million per mile to upgrade the 265 miles of rail between Casper and Fort Collins. The line is owned by BNSF Railway Co.
(Sun 7/20/08) - A new subdivision for Glenrock. TK Construction has begun the process of re-platting and re-zoning recently purchased property on the east side of town. The subdivision would be immediately south of the trailer park on Lookout Drive, just off East Birch Street. Sunup Ridge Estates would be a mix of single-family homes and townhouses. The 109 proposed lots would be split out as 58 multi-family lots and 51 single-family residences. The subdivision has to pass three readings by the Glenrock Town Council before it can proceed.
(Wed 7/16/08) - An independant investigator says the Douglas Police Department is doing its job. Following recent allegations by a local bartender that the DPD gave preferential treatment to Converse County Sheriff's Department employees involved in a DUI incident, Police Chief Lori Emmert turned the incident over to Mountain West Investigative Resources for further review. In a press release provided yesterday afternoon by the Douglas PD, the investigator said all allegations were unfounded. The investigator said, quoting, "The allegations brought forward by the complainant were based off bar rumors and gossip, along with speculation on his part. A very limited amount of his information was firsthand knowledge, and part of that was found to be inaccurate. The complainant himself was never able to establish credibility, in fact, in the opinion of this investigator; the complainant was not credible, and failed to establish himself as a credible or reliable source."
The report goes on to say that the allegation against the Deputy for drunk driving and receiving a ride home by Douglas Police officers was unfounded. Although the Deputy was stopped in October of 2007, a Portable Breathalyzer Test showed that she was below the DUI limit. Steps were taken by Douglas Police to procure an alternate driver and were done as an additional safety measure.
The report also found that another allegation that DPD officers had not followed through on a REDDI report of a Converse County Sheriff's employee driving drunk were unfounded. The report said that witnesses and phone records proved that the Sheriff's department employee was not in the vehicle reported in the REDDI call, and had recieved a ride home from another designated driver.
Chief Emmert stated she was not surprised by the outcome of the investigation and never doubted that the officers of the Douglas Police Department provide a fair and impartial service to the community. Emmert said "This investigation provides the Douglas Community with an impartial review of our procedures and the standard practices that we employ on a daily basis without bias or favoritism as was implied in the allegations. We will continue to provide a professional service to our community that we also work and live in."
Click here for a link to the complete investigation report.
(Fri 7/11/08) - Power Resources has agreed to pay $1 million to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality to settle violations at the company's in-situ leach uranium mine in Converse County. The department issued a notice of violation in March to Power Resources, which operates the Smith-Highland Ranch uranium mine north of Douglas. Power Resources will pay $500,000 in penalties and $500,000 to the DEQ for a discretionary fund for uranium mining restoration projects in Wyoming. In its March report, DEQ said the mine delayed restoration of groundwater and had an inadequate bond to cover restoration. The agreement calls for the company to accelerate restoration activity and to increase its reclamation bond from $40.7 million to $80 million. Power Resources is a subsidiary of Cameco Corp.
(Thu 7/10/08) - Off the list in the Cowboy State. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will keep the Preble's meadow jumping mouse on the endangered species list in Colorado but not in Wyoming. Environmentalists including the Center for Native Ecosystems reacted to the government's Wednesday announcement by saying they're preparing a lawsuit to restore the mouse's endangered status in Wyoming. They say the Fish and Wildlife Service isn't supposed to make endangered species decisions based on political boundaries like state lines. The Preble's mouse has been on the endangered species list since 1998. The Fish and Wildlife Service says new populations of Preble's mice have been confirmed in Wyoming and most of those mice aren't at risk from development. Fish and Wildlife says Preble's mouse populations in Colorado remain at risk because of home construction and other types of development. Both of Wyoming's Senators are applauding the delisting. Senator Mike Enzi says "There is still work to be done to ensure citizens are not punished by archaic legislation and endless lawsuits that lock up land but I'm pleased the mouse population is strong enough to be delisted in Wyoming." Senator John Barasso noted "The Preble's meadow jumping mouse should never have been listed as endangered in Wyoming. Wyoming ranchers and farmers are the best stewards of the land, not bureaucrats in Washington. Agriculture dominates the area inhabited by the Preble mouse and the decision to delist it will free Wyoming's agricultural producers of unnecessary Washington red tape." Lands affected by the mouse's endangered species listing at one point reached as far north as Douglas, but more recently have been designated as being south of Laramie Peak down into the Colorado Front Range.
(Thu 7/10/08) - Energy-related growth is no surprise in Wyoming these days, and the latest estimates from the US Census Bureau confirm that growth in Converse County. For the 4th year in a row, population numbers are up here. The 2007 census estimates have been released, and Converse County counts 12,868 residents, up 816 since the 2000 census. Individual communituies are also showing growth. 2007 census estimates for Douglas come in at 5675, up from 5086 in 2000. Glenrock's at 2371, up from 2231, and Rolling Hills is estimated at 498, up from 449. No boom in Lost Springs... Wyoming's least-populated incorporated town continues to count, as it has for years, one official resident.
(Tue 7/8/09) - A stretch of cable represents a new way to help keep you safe on the Interstate. Recent completion of cable median barrier installation along I-80 in the Rawlins area brings to 100 miles the amount of the new safety barrier built around the state in the past two years. Cable barrier can absorb the force of an out-of-control vehicle and redirect it to prevent the vehicle from crossing into oncoming traffic or rolling in the median. WYDOT decided to begin installing the cable barriers when the technology improved enough to limit the cables\rquote flex to 8 feet or less when struck by a vehicle. Cable barrier costs less than a third of the cost of conventional box-beam barrier and in most cases it is easier and less expensive to repair, especially during winter. WYDOT has spent over $7 million dollars to install cable barrier on 72 miles of I-80, 19 miles on I-25 which includes a stretch over the hill south of Douglas, eight miles on I-90 and shorter sections on US 14, WYO 28 in the Red Canyon area south of Lander and WYO 135 in the Beaver Rim area south of Riverton.
(Mon 7/7/08) - A South Dakota man was killed in an accident 6 miles west of Orin Junction Saturday morning. 67 year old Roland Ashton of Whitewood died when his car drifted into the opposite lane of Highway 18/20 and struck headon a tractor trailer driven by 50 year old David McGuire of St James, Minnesota. Ashton was thrown from his car and died at the scene. The car caught fire and was totally burned. McGuire, the truck driver, was treated and released at Memorial Hospital of Converse County. The Wyoming Highway Patrol had 18/20 completely closed for two hours and ran one lane of traffic for another hour and a half while they cleaned up the wreckage. The Highway Patrol reported three fatalities on Wyoming Highways over the 4th of July Holiday weekend.
(Thu 7/3/08) - The joke is that it's the worst football field in the state... because right now, it's nothing but dirt, but construction is running a bit ahead of schedule for the installation of synthetic turf at Douglas High School's Bearcat Stadium. Converse County School District #1 maintenance director Barry Boysen says construction crews are about halfway through the excavation process as they remove the old field and prepare to install the new field. They're putting in the drainage system and the exterior curb now, doing compaction on the soil and grading. Once they get that done, they'll install and laser grade a base layer of gravel, put in the liner, then install the top layer of artificial turf. Boysen says the turf will actually be laid in much like carpet. The turf comes in 15-foot widths, and is layed across the width of the field, perpendicular to the direction of play. The turf is fastened to the inside of the curb, stretched and seamed together, then the yard markers and logos are tufted in. Finally a cryogenic rubber infill is placed in the turf, to make the field easier to get tackled on. Substantial completion of the field is set by contract for the 18th of August.
(Thu 7/3/08) - Local business managers aren't getting much help as they look for employees. According to the Wyoming Department of Employment, Converse County's unemployment rate for May was at 2.7 percent...a bit higher than April's 2.4 percent, but still lower than the 3.1 percent measured in May a year ago. Only 187 people were drawing unemployment. At 2.7 percent, Converse County's unemployment rate is a bit below the statewide rate of 2.9 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate is at 5.2 percent.
(Wed 7/2/08) - Jeffery Robert Brown is now in custody. He's the man from Glendo that Platte County Sheriff's deputies have been looking for since Sunday night. Brown was wanted for stabbing his wife in the neck in their Glendo home after an apparent domestic dispute. Brown turned himself in to Platte County Sheriff Steve Kegley and deputies yesterday afternoon. Kegley said they were able to get Brown to call them after tracing several cell phone calls that Brown made to his mother in Ohio over the past couple of days. Kegley says Brown turned himself in without incident on a rural Platte County road near the Albany County Line. Brown is being charged with attempted second degree murder and aggrivated battery. Meanwhile, Brown's wife remains in hospitalized at the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper.
(Wed 7/2/08) - The Bureau of Land Management is taking comments on a proposal for a new uranium mine in Converse County. CAMECO Resources is proposing to expand its mining operations and to conduct in-situ recovery mining in the Reynolds Ranch area. The proposed Reynolds Ranch Uranium Mine is located along Ross Road about 30 miles northwest of Douglas. CAMECO currently conducts commercial ISR uranium mining at the adjacent Smith Ranch/Highland mine. The project area for the new mine encompasses 8,700 acres. About 325 acres would be disturbed. The BLM is in the process of preparing an environmental analysis. The entire project will be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and permitted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
(Wed 7/2/08) - A long-time Douglas police officer turns in his badge. After over 30 years in law enforcement, George Meyer has retired. Meyer began his career in Douglas as a patrol officer and worked his way through the ranks as a senior patrol officer, sergeant, investigator, and finally served as a school resource officer. Meyer says he has special memories of working with Douglas kids.He also said that working for and with the City of Douglas have been a very positive experience. Now it's not just iced tea in the shade for Meyer... he'll take a month off, and start a new job in August with Special Olympics of Wyoming. Th job will include setting up and scheduling competitions, working with volunteers and running tournaments and fundraisers. Meyer begins his new Job on August 4th.
(Wed 7/2/08) - A new diversion program in Douglas is offering first-time juvenile offenders a way to take responsibility for their behavior while avoiding a court conviction and the associated penalties. Kids age 9 to 14 who commit non-violent offenses can choose to participate in the Douglas Juvenile Diversion Program, a multi-agency effort led by the Douglas Police Department and managed by Mike Marcus. The program will start accepting referrals July 7. Douglas Police Chief Lori Emmert says the program requirements will be tailored to each juvenile's circumstances on a case-by-case basis. In general, the program takes about six months and includes mandatory participation in corrective thinking classes, community service, and commitments to attend school, obey parents and remain alcohol and drug-free.
(Wed 7/2/08) - Don't let your tent end up in the lake. During the upcoming 4th of July weekend, visitors to Wyoming's State Parks are reminded that water levels are high at some sites. Several state park lakes are currently at or near capacity, including Glendo, Boysen and Buffalo Bill Reservoirs. Boysen State Park superintendant Dan Marty says the people should look for the high water marks where vegetation ends. Marty added that visitors are strongly encouraged to not camp near the water's edge during this time, but rather to stay up in designated camping areas for safety.
(Mon 6/30/08) - A Douglas High School student is a medalist in a national competition. Paul Switzer earned a bronze medal at the Skills USA National Championship competition in Kansas City last week. Paul placed third in the nation in Motorcycle Service Technology, where contestants perform tasks representative of those encountered in a dealership's service department. As part of the winnings for the honor, the Douglas High School auto shop will recieve a brand new motorcycle engine from Harley Davidson for students to study and work on. Skills USA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. It was formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). Teachers Henry Woehl and Ed Mann lead the Douglas High School chapter.