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Articles written by Morgan Hughes

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  • Poll: Medicaid expansion popular

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 21, 2021

    CASPER —A new poll commissioned by four nonprofits shows significant support for Medicaid Expansion in Wyoming, a government health insurance assistance program for those who can’t afford insurance and aren’t offered it by their employer. The results come one week before a special legislative session and six months after a proposal to expand the health insurance program died in a Senate committee after passing the state House for the first time after nearly a decade of lobbying. This new poll did not specifically ask residents if they suppo... Full story

  • State hospitals feel staffing strain; 5 Wyoming facilities report critical shortage over the last 4 days

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 19, 2021

    CASPER – By the time Wyoming hit its COVID-19 hospitalization peak last November, nearly 250 people were being treated for the virus statewide. The physicians who were caring for them were largely working without days off, filling in for colleagues who had either tested positive or been exposed to the virus themselves. Then, cases began to fall. Gov. Mark Gordon approved a statewide mask requirement in mid-December, which the state’s top infectious disease experts later credited with the sharp decline. By mid-March, fewer than 10 people wer... Full story

  • In sickness and in health: woman remarries dying ex-husband

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jun 24, 2021

    CASPER - Patty Edwards had spent her morning like most days that month: thinking longingly about her ex-husband. But this January day, something was different. The movie she was watching, some made-for-TV romance in which a long-separated husband and wife reconnect after years apart, felt like a sign. In an instant, she knew what she needed to do. She got up and dressed. Her roommate approached and asked where she was headed. "I'm going to get married, " Patty told her. "And she said, 'Who are... Full story

  • Wyoming counties top list of most vaccine-hesitant in nation

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 15, 2021

    CASPER – Wyoming is home to the 11 most vaccine-hesitant counties in the nation, according to statistical modeling conducted by an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Thirty-two percent of residents in Johnson, Converse, Washakie, Crook, Niobrara, Weston, Natrona, Goshen, Campbell, Platte and Carbon counties are believed to be hesitant toward the inoculations, more than any other counties in the U.S. All 23 Wyoming counties were in the top 1% for most hesitant in the U.S. Only Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota r... Full story

  • Lawmaker revives suicide prevention training bill

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Mar 4, 2021

    CASPER — Freshman Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, is reviving a bill that requires school districts to provide suicide prevention training to students after a previous bill was defeated in February’s brief virtual session. “I am reintroducing this bill again because since the last debate another Wyoming life has been lost to suicide — the life of a teen,” Rodriguez-Williams, who declined to get into details about the death, said via email. “This is another opportunity for the legislature to make a decision that can help save lives.... Full story

  • Embattled state health official quits

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Dec 10, 2020

    CASPER – A Wyoming Department of Health doctor who at an event last month suggested COVID-19 was created by Russia and China to spread communism across the globe has resigned from the state agency, a department spokesperson said via email Wednesday. Dr. Igor Shepherd was the readiness and countermeasures manager for the Wyoming Department of Health. At a Nov. 10 event in Loveland, Colorado, Shepherd shared a debunked conspiracy theory about the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine, saying it had been developed as a biological weapon and would r... Full story

  • Plasma therapy for virus to begin in Natrona County

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 30, 2020

    CASPER – The sickest COVID-19 patients in Natrona County will soon be treated with the plasma of recovered patients, Casper-Natrona County Health Department spokesperson Hailey Bloom said in a Wednesday press conference. “Nationally, there has been a lot of discussion around using the plasma from those that are COVID positive who have now recovered to treat those who are very ill,” Bloom said. The plasma from recovered patients carries antibodies that fight the virus, she explained. Community members who have recovered from the illness donat... Full story

  • Managing mental health in isolation

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Mar 26, 2020

    CASPER — Local, state and national leaders have all urged residents to avoid public areas and avoid in-person interactions as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. Compound that social isolation with the uncertainty brought about by a pandemic, and it could have a severe impact on a person’s mental health. “I think the biggest thing is a feeling of being isolated. That in and of itself can create anxiety,” said Kevin Hazucha, CEO of the Central Wyoming Counseling Center. “We all want to feel connected; it’s human nature.” Without that... Full story

  • Bleak outlook for crops affected by tunnel collapse

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 15, 2019

    CASPER — Farmers in the Platte River Valley affected by an irrigation tunnel collapse are beginning to lose hope that their crops will be salvageable this year. The tunnel is part of an irrigation system that spans more than 100 miles between Wyoming and Nebraska, beginning at the Guernsey Reservoir and ending in Gering, Nebraska. A tunnel near the beginning of the system collapsed in the middle of the night July 17, blocking water from moving through the system and washing out 500 yards of a canal bank upstream from the collapse. More than 1... Full story

  • Wyoming governor settles 2016 lawsuit he filed as treasurer against state

    Morgan Hughes, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 1, 2019

    CASPER — Gov. Mark Gordon announced Thursday that he would be ending a legal proceeding he initiated as state treasurer in 2016 over that office’s authority to approve contracts related to the state capitol building construction project. Gordon’s suit challenged the 2014 legislation that created the Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group — the entity responsible for overseeing the $300 million venture— claiming the legislation violated the state’s constitution by not giving the treasurer authority to approve the... Full story

  • Public speaks on McCormick flyers

    Morgan Hughes, Wyoming Tribune Eagle Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 11, 2019

    CHEYENNE — Community members are asking for a handful of things from the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees in response to racist and anti-gay flyers found in a Cheyenne junior high last month. Flyers reading “it’s great to be straight it’s not OK to be gay,” “black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton,” and “Join the KKK,” with “the confederate kid club” in parentheses beneath it were taped to walls and passed out to targeted students at Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High on March 26.... Full story

  • Student responsible for racist flyers identified, teacher likely to be reinstated

    Morgan Hughes, Wyoming Tribune Eagle-WNE|Apr 4, 2019

    CHEYENNE — Laramie County School District 1 has identified at least one student believed to be responsible for creating the racist and anti-gay flyers found at McCormick Junior High last week. LCSD1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said Tuesday that because the student is a minor, he could not give any details, other than that the student is being disciplined in line with district policy. Kaycee Cook, the substitute teacher and McCormick Gay Straight Alliance club co-sponsor who was told via email she was no longer welcome at the school after r... Full story

  • Racist, homophobic flyers passed out, gay students bullied at junior high school

    Morgan Hughes, Wyoming Tribune Eagle- WNE|Mar 28, 2019

    CHEYENNE — Flyers reading “it’s great to be straight it’s not OK to be gay,” “black lives only matter because if it weren’t for them who would pick our cotton,” and “Join the KKK,” with “the confederate kid club” in parentheses beneath it were taped to walls and passed out by students during the day Wednesday at McCormick Junior High School. It’s the most recent event in a chain of bullying of McCormick’s Gay Straight Alliance students, according to a teacher at the school. Principal Jeff Conine told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle there were on... Full story

  • Substitute teacher dismissed from McCormick after reporting hate speech

    Morgan Hughes, Wyoming Tribune Eagle- WNE|Mar 28, 2019

    CHEYENNE — A substitute teacher who co-sponsored the Gay Straight Alliance club at Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High was dismissed shortly after news broke that anti-gay and racist flyers had been posted and distributed at the school. Kaycee Cook said she received an email Wednesday afternoon from Principal Jeff Conine informing her she was terminated from her substitute position at the school. She said she believes Conine took the action after she called members of Wyoming Equality, a local LGBTQ advocacy group, to tell them about the fly... Full story