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Articles written by Seth Klamann


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  • Legislators struggle with school funding

    Seth Klamann, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 3, 2020

    CASPER — Lawmakers alternatively poked and chafed Tuesday at the boundaries of Wyoming’s education system and the court decisions that protect it as they look to solve a yawning revenue deficit and stay on the right side of the state’s Constitution. Legislators are well into recalibration, the process by which state-hired consultants study Wyoming’s educational system. The process is used to decide what constitutes an adequate and equitable education for every student in Wyoming, and then determine how much the state must pay to meet that ma...

  • Kanye West collects signatures for presidential bid

    Seth Klamann and Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 13, 2020

    CASPER — Kanye West is officially trying to get on Wyoming’s presidential ballot as an independent candidate this fall, a spokesman with the Wyoming Secretary of State confirmed Tuesday morning. Within a day of the rapper’s filing, county clerks began to field reports about West’s signature gatherers violating state law by being too close to polling places. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, representatives for West, who lives on a ranch outside of Cody, filed paperwork sometime Monday night to officially let him on the campaign...

  • Goshen resolution opposes broad health orders

    Seth Klamann, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 6, 2020

    CASPER — The Goshen County commission passed a resolution Tuesday to urge its constituents to make their own health decisions and indicating it opposes health orders, both at a county and state level, that have been instituted to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The resolution, which is nonbinding and was described by the commission’s chairman as a statement of support for local residents, passed unanimously in a county with just 19 total coronavirus cases. The document encourages residents to “refrain from any county-level virus...

  • Health Department pulls back proposed addition to vaccine list

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 9, 2020

    CASPER — Citing challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the state Department of Health has withdrawn a proposal to add a new vaccine to the required list for school children. The Health Department announced the change Thursday. The proposed changes would’ve made the meningococcal vaccine — which protects against what an expert called a “devastating” and life-threatening disease — a requirement for attendance in public schools. The proposal would’ve also clarified other school requirements and provider agreements. The department sa...

  • Documents show UW investigations not limited to Nichols

    Andrew Graham and Seth Klamann, WyoFile.com and Casper Star-Tribune|Jun 18, 2020

    In September 2019, the University of Wyoming investigated a top administrator who resigned weeks later, using a secretive process that mirrored the inquiry that led to the ouster of former president Laurie Nichols and brought scrutiny to how the institution is governed. In late August, the university’s general counsel hired a Denver law firm to investigate Sean Blackburn, then the school’s vice president for student affairs, according to documents obtained by the Star-Tribune and WyoFile. The university had used the law firm — Flynn Inves...

  • Natrona County dismantling coronavirus response operations

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 14, 2020

    CASPER – Various structures put in place in Natrona County to respond to the novel coronavirus are being dismantled and put on standby as the disease appears to have slowed here and the state continues to loosen restrictions on everyday life. There has been just one new coronavirus case confirmed in Natrona County in the past three weeks. That new patient’s diagnosis was confirmed Wednesday and stands as the county’s 39th positively identified case. Before that confirmation, county officials announced Wednesday that the Emergency Opera...

  • Schools might only see 'limited' opening

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 23, 2020

    CASPER — Wyoming’s top educator suggested schools may only open to “special populations” for the duration of this school year and that any openings wouldn’t come until after May 15, just a few weeks before districts will wrap up their spring semesters. “Schools are to continue implementing their adaptive learning plans that are good through the end of the school years,” state Superintendent Jillian Balow said at a Thursday news conference, referring to the plans districts drew up to continue to educate their students through closures. “If...

  • Gordon supports Health Department in face of allegations

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Nov 14, 2019

    CASPER — Gov. Mark Gordon said he “firmly supports” the state Health Department’s director amid allegations that a 2015 Medicaid fraud investigation was obstructed by various government officials, a charge that has been denied by those involved. “The Governor firmly supports Mike Ceballos, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Health and his ability to administer the agency’s programs, including Medicaid,” Gordon’s spokesman, Michael Pearlman, said in a statement to the Star-Tribune. Gordon’s statement comes less than a week after Mark G...

  • Lack of cooperation stalled Hart investigation, say bishops

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 31, 2019

    CASPER — The two bishops who succeeded retired Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart say investigations into the disgraced cleric, who’s been accused of sexual abuse by at least 16 men, were hamstrung by a lack of cooperation by at least one of Hart’s alleged victims years ago. Bishop David Ricken took over for Hart when the latter cleric retired as the head of the Catholic flock in Wyoming in 2001. The two also lived together briefly. Ricken is now the bishop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. His successor, Paul Etienne, served in Wyoming until 2016. He was r...

  • Teen suicide rate up 40 percent in last three years

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 24, 2019

    CASPER — The suicide rate among older teenagers in Wyoming has increased by 40 percent over the past three years, according to a sweeping health report released last month that placed the Equality State in the lower half of states for women and children’s health. Among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19, the suicide rate jumped from 22.2 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016 to 31.1 this year. It’s the second-worst rate in America, behind Alaska. While teen suicide has been on the rise nationally, Wyoming’s rate is triple the nationa...

  • Committee approves education funding boost

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 24, 2019

    CASPER — Lawmakers voted narrowly Tuesday to approve a recommendation that Wyoming’s public school system be given a $19 million bump and that the recommendation be sent to Gov. Mark Gordon and the broader Legislature. The funding increase comes in the form of an external cost adjustment, which is essentially an inflation increase. The Joint Education Committee approved the recommendation last month and forwarded it to the Joint Appropriations Committee, which oversees Wyoming’s purse strings. Lawmakers in that committee voted Tuesday to approv...

  • Vatican still investigating claims against former bishop

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Oct 17, 2019

    CASPER — The Vatican’s “administrative penal process” into former Wyoming bishop Joseph Hart — which could see the cleric removed from the priesthood — has yet to resolve, the church said Tuesday, and investigations in Kansas City are on hold until the process in Rome finishes. Current Wyoming Bishop Steven Biegler announced in June that Hart, who has been accused of sexual abuse by more than 10 men, would face adjudication by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The body was first formed to safeguard church doctrine and...

  • Trustees quietly investigated Nichols before dismissal

    Andrew Graham and Seth Klamann, Wyofile and Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 26, 2019

    An outside law firm quietly investigated former University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols at the direction of the university’s board of trustees in the weeks before she was informed she wouldn’t continue as the school’s chief executive, an investigation by the Star-Tribune and WyoFile found. The board-directed inquiry was specifically into Nichols’ conduct, two sources who were contacted as part of the investigation said. One of those sources later confirmed that the inquiry focused on the nature of Nichols’ interactions with people. A thi...

  • UW grilled over scholarship changes

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 26, 2019

    CASPER — The University of Wyoming announced significant changes to its financial aid programs earlier this year, including $1 million for need-based aid. But the changes and new system earned UW officials some grilling by one legislator last week. Sen. Chris Rothfuss, a Laramie Democrat who works at the university’s Honors College, lobbied a series of pointed questions at Kyle Moore, the university’s enrollment manager, during a Joint Education Committee meeting Thursday. Moore had just finished walking through changes to the unive...

  • Purdue settles opioid lawsuits

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 12, 2019

    CASPER — Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin and the public face of the national opioid epidemic that has contributed to tens of thousands of deaths, has reached a $3 billion settlement agreement with thousands of cities, counties, tribes and other entities across the country, including several in Wyoming. The agreement was reached Wednesday morning between attorneys and the company, said Jason Ochs, a Jackson-based attorney who represents several Wyoming cities and counties suing Purdue and other companies tied to opioid production and d...

  • Group wants former bishop sent to Kansas

    Seth Klamann and Shane Sanderson, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 29, 2019

    CASPER — A national group of victims of priest abuse called on the Catholic Church on Monday to send former Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart to a friary in rural Kansas, which would mean expelling him from his diocese-owned home in Cheyenne. “When an abuser is suspended or gets older, he’s not magically cured, so even after ousting or even defrocking sex off ending clerics, the Catholic hierarchy has a duty to safeguard others from them,” the group, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, said Monday in a statement. Hart has been accused...

  • Diocese says more abuse victims have come forward

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 15, 2019

    CASPER — More people who say they’re victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Wyoming clergymen have come forward since the release in early June of a list of 11 men who the Diocese of Cheyenne deemed had faced substantiated accusations of abuse. That list identified 30 known and substantiated victims of the 11 men. Twenty-nine victims were juvenile boys and girls, while one was identified by the diocese as a vulnerable adult. It’s unclear how many more victims have come forward since the list was released in the diocese’s newsletter and on...

  • Riverton moves closer to new hospital

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 1, 2019

    RIVERTON — Riverton is inching closer to having a new nonprofit hospital in town, with a local group of prominent residents hoping to break ground on the facility this fall. The group — officially dubbed the Riverton Medical District — is preparing to apply for bonds, said Vivian Watkins, who chairs the effort. She said building the hospital and buying the equipment needed to fill it will cost about $35 million. She said she hopes to have the group’s financials — including a line of credit from the federal government — established by the end...

  • Lander school district approves firearms for staff

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 25, 2019

    CASPER — Lander-based Fremont County School District No. 1 became just the fourth district in Wyoming to allow approved staff members to carry firearms in schools after a school board vote earlier this week, despite objections from some in the community who criticized the policy as hastily written and the board of ignoring “overwhelming” opposition. “Where I really take issue with it, recognizing that the board seems intent on arming teachers regardless of what public really wants, my issue is this is just incredibly sloppy policy making,” said...

  • Wyoming education system ranked 10th in nation

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jul 25, 2019

    CASPER — A WalletHub data analysis has ranked Wyoming’s education system the 10th best in the nation for 2019, the group said in a press release Monday morning. The Equality State came in behind a slew of East Coasters who dominated the top five. Nebraska was eighth, and North Dakota ranked ninth. The study — conducted by the rankings-happy website WalletHub — used 29 metrics across two broad areas, safety and quality, to measure the school systems. Wyoming’s scores on the various metrics were mixed. It was best in the nation in some categorie...

  • Kaycee veteran's remains to be buried in late June

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 23, 2019

    CASPER — When DeMaret Kirtley was last home in July 1950, he posed for a photo. His starched Army uniform hanging from his thin frame, Marston — as his friends and family called him — stood next to his father, the two men staring straight ahead, quintessential Wyoming ranchers. When Marston posed with his mother, he was closer, as warm with her as he was reserved with his dad. In another photograph, he leaned back against the fence of his parents’ porch, his hands in his pockets. He was 20. More than four months earlier, in late Februar...

  • Health officials work on air ambulance plan

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 16, 2019

    CASPER — Wyoming health officials are drafting an ambitious and unique plan to try to address air ambulance costs, though representatives of the life flight companies say the issue is how little they’re often paid, not how much they charge. The issue of air ambulance costs has been prominent in Wyoming for some time, after the state lost a lawsuit brought by the providers here over workers compensation costs, and the Legislature debated how best to protect patients from hefty bills. Lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that would seek to...

  • Doctor accused of running 'pill mill' spars with prosecutors

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 16, 2019

    CASPER — For more than five hours Monday, a federal prosecutor peppered a Casper doctor accused of running a pill mill with questions about his practice and history in an often combative cross-examination, which saw the doctor call people who testified against him “a bunch of liars.” Shakeel Kahn’s defense team rested its case Monday afternoon after the doctor attempted to deflect questions from Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Sprecher about the high dose of prescription painkillers he routinely doled out to patients and whether he knew th...

  • UW faculty asks for explanation on Nichols

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 25, 2019

    CASPER — University of Wyoming faculty leaders are proposing a resolution that criticizes the school’s board for its silence on the decision not to renew President Laurie Nichols’ contract and calls on the trustees to provide an explanation. “Be it resolved that faculty senate requests the Board explain to President Nichols in confidence the basis for its decision about her contract renewal,” the resolution, put forward earlier this week, states, “as well as provide a general explanation to the public, including employees of this university....

  • Health care prices are higher in Wyoming than elsewhere. But no one is sure exactly why.

    SETH KLAMANN, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|Mar 21, 2019

    CASPER — Attempt to diagnose the reason for high health prices in Wyoming and you’ll find no shortage of supposed causes. There are the insurance companies — which one Casper doctor called a “bloated sucking worm,” but other officials said lacked the power here to dictate pricing, and one insurer said are critical to delivering care to Wyomingites. There are the hospitals, which a legislative committee is examining to determine their role in driving up prices. Others in the health sector said the facilities have an outsized role in determini...

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