April 19 Wyoming News Briefs
Student charged as adult after shooting threat
April 18, 2019
Student charged as adult after shooting threat
LYMAN — A shooting threat in Lyman last week has resulted in felony and misdemeanor charges for a Lyman teen.
Brady T. Dean allegedly made a threat against another student at Lyman High School and, according to Lyman Police Chief Kathy Adams, the suspect found himself housed in Sweetwater County Jail, as Uinta County doesn’t have adequate facilities to separate juveniles from adult offenders.
Uinta County Attorney Loretta Howieson-Kallas said Dean is being charged as an adult.
Adams said again Wednesday the threat wasn’t directed at the school, but at one of the students so the decision to close the school was deemed the best action. Adams also said no gun was involved but a threat of violence was made against an individual “whether it be at the school or somewhere else.”
According to the affidavit in support of the case, Lyman Police Officer Alan Kiefer arrested Dean at approximately 1:44 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9.
According to court documents, Dean is charged with three crimes, which include terroristic threats, and two counts of telephone calls in which he “threatened to commit a violent felony” and in which he threatened to “inflict injury or physical harm to the person.”
According to court documents, Dean and another juvenile were to meet “in a large fight in the Mountain View area.” The affidavit also said a picture of Dean with a firearm had been posted on social media and the student threatened in this incident had received other threats from Dean.
UW to provide $450K in grants for reservation programs
LARAMIE (WNE) — The University of Wyoming will provide $450,000 in grant funding over the next five years to help spur entrepreneurship and other programs on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
The new grant funding was discussed Wednesday as part of a symposium on campus that included speeches from Gov. Mark Gordon, President Laurie Nichols and a performance of by the Eagle Spirit Dancers.
That funding will be provided through UW’s EPSCoR program, which received a $20 million grant in 2017 from the National Science Foundation to study microbes across the state.
Some of the funding from that grant, the largest in the university’s history, will now be provided to the Wind River Native American Advocacy Center to distribute through “micro-grants” and an entrepreneurship competition on the reservation.
Brent Ewers, director of UW’s EPSCoR program, told the Laramie Boomerang the new grant funding system aims to give the tribes more control over how UW aids the reservation.
“One of the things we have learned very painfully in past history is that often researchers came to the two tribes and said, ‘We know what’s best, here’s the research we’re going to do’,” Ewers said. “We’re trying to change that.”
He said $400,000 is planned to be given out as micro-grants over the next five years.
These grants might be used for community education programs, as well as providing tribal groups access to research students at UW.
Much of the structure for how the grant funding will be used, Ewers said, remains “intentionally vague.” The tribes are supposed to be directing their use, not UW.
Riverton examines plan to reduce number of deer in town
RIVERTON (WNE) — The City of Riverton is considering a plan to reduce the local deer population.
Representatives from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department attended a meeting of the Riverton City Council to discuss the idea, which has been implemented in other municipalities around the state according to wildlife biologist Greg Anderson.
“Urban deer numbers have increased,” Anderson said during the April meeting. “It’s been a concern.”
Riverton Mayor Rich Gard said he became interested in reducing the urban deer population after learning about the number of traffic accidents the animals are involved in locally.
“We’ve killed 57 deer so far this year, mostly just hit by cars,” Gard said, noting the expense to motorists who have to repair their vehicles after collisions with deer.
Gard said he also recently noticed deer droppings “under every one of our trees in City Park,” and he talked about the diseases the animals can bring into town.
“So my thought was maybe we could do something,” he said.
Anderson’s agency offers a “Chapter 56” permit to cities or other groups that want to kill local deer out of season.
To obtain the permit, Anderson said Riverton will have to enact big game feeding prohibitions in town.
He said the city also needs to put a process in place for disposing of the deer carcasses, perhaps by donating them for consumption after testing for chronic wasting disease by the Game and Fish Department.
Pinedale certified to test its own water
PINEDALE (WNE) — Traveling 30 hours back and forth to Billings, Montana, twice a week is over for Pinedale municipal staff members. The town’s new laboratory is now officially certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and four staff members are trained to complete mandated water samples in-house.
The town of Pinedale is required to test water in Fremont Lake twice a week – no exceptions. The lake is one of the few open water systems for municipal water supplies remaining in the nation.
Because water from the lake is not filtered before being treated with chlorine and ultraviolet light, the EPA requires testing for fecal coliform, total coliform and e. coli.
In the past, testing was completed by Zedi Laboratories, which maintained a lab in Pinedale. Four months ago, that laboratory closed. Testing for total coliform and e. coli can be done by many labs, including labs in the nearby Rock Springs or Riverton. However, very few municipalities actually need to test for fecal coliform and the closest laboratory certified to test is in Billings.
With no relief or lab in sight, the town hired former EPA inspector Rita Wright to consult and help the staff set up a lab.
For the past weeks, dual samples were taken to ensure staff members were properly trained. About $16,000 in equipment, including a dry incubator, a wet incubator and fluorescent lights, were purchased to complete the lab.
WWCC studies ways to boost enrollment
ROCK SPRINGS (WNE) — With enrollment over the last few years showing a small but steady decline, Western Wyoming Community College is rolling up its proverbial sleeves and working to change that trend.
Philip Parnell, vice president for Student Services, informed the college board last week that Western is no different than many small colleges, some of which are becoming unviable because of low
enrollments. Enrollments all across the United States are declining, due in part to the ease with which many graduating high school seniors can step into high-paying jobs, the high cost of education and the changing face of the job market. Locally, high-paying industry jobs play a large part in WWCC''s decline, Parnell told the Rocket-Miner on Wednesday.
The state's revenue decline has also played a part. Parnell said the decline has negatively affected enrollments at the community college level — 17 percent times more than at the state's only four-year
institution, the University of Wyoming.
To change the decline, Western will be looking at four ways to grow its enrollment: Find a new demographic of students, find new geographic areas to recruit students, implement new, in-demand academics, with focus put toward supporting the area's local industries, and slow the "melt rate," which is the number of students who drop out, particularly after applying and within the first day of classes.
Parnell said WWCC's melt rate is 60 percent at that beginning part of the student lifecycle. To help reduce this, the college will add two categories to its recruitment "funnel" — suspects (students who are looking at the college but have not stated an interest) and prospects (students who have asked for application materials and voiced an interest in Western).