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MAY 21 Wyoming News Briefs

Man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide charge

Man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide charge

CHEYENNE (WNE) — A man charged with reckless vehicular homicide stemming from a 2018 wreck pleaded not guilty Monday in District Court.

Lane Carter was charged in April with one felony count of reckless aggravated vehicular homicide. He currently faces a maximum of 20 years in prison related to the charge.

According to court documents, on March 18, 2018, Carter was driving along an unpaved section of County Road 212 when his vehicle rolled over. His passenger, Destiny Martin, was partially ejected from the SUV and died at the scene.

The investigation into the accident found Carter’s SUV was traveling around 90 mph, 35 mph over the speed limit for unpaved roads.


Mammoth hotel closure hits Park Co. lodging taxes

CODY (WNE) — The early returns on lodging taxes for Park County this spring could be viewed as depressing.

Instead, understanding a clear-cut reason behind the decline – and knowing things will turn around – helped the Park County Travel Council view matters realistically at its meeting last Thursday.

As the 2019 tourist season was getting underway, whopping differences were reported compared to 2018.

The year-to-date hotel taxes through April were down $40,650, or 27.5 percent.

The monthly total, April versus April, was down 16 percent, or $5,315.

This does not represent a free fall in tourists wishing to visit Cody, Yellowstone National Park, or the rest of Park County for vacations.

This is all about Mammoth Hot Springs hotel inside Yellowstone being closed and in the midst of a massive construction project.

“We knew we would be (down) because of the situation at Mammoth,” said Travel Council marketing director Claudia Wade. “I’m optimistic that we’ll do better.”

Remodeling of the hotel, which was built in 1883, began last September. The National Park Service website declares that rooms should be available for booking again before the end of the summer.


BLM proposes 322,000 acres for lease

PINEDALE (WNE) — Wyoming Bureau of Land Management’s third-quarter lease sale notice of May 16 proposes putting 212 oil and gas parcels of 322,234.35 acres on the auction block in September.

In western and southwestern Wyoming, many of these parcels – if developed – could have a range of impacts on national historic trails, archeological and cultural sites, crucial big-game winter ranges and nesting sites for greater sage-grouse, raptors, burrowing owls, bald eagles and ferruginous hawks.

In Sublette County and adjoining Lincoln County, the Pinedale Field Office’s resource management plan and Pinedale Anticline 2008 Record of Decision can impose some restrictions on almost every parcel proposed for sale in the Upper Green River Basin.

In the EA, the BLM makes the argument that these stipulations themselves might do more long-term harm than good to the resources they are designed to protect.

“While multiple, overlapping timing stipulations can provide benefit to wildlife resources by preventing sustained disruptive activity,” the Pinedale RMP also notes, “(W)hen areas with greater sage-grouse nesting restrictions overlap areas with big game crucial winter range restrictions, the oil and gas operator would potentially be restricted to a 3-and-a-half-month construction, drilling and well completion season.”

“This short drilling and development window in areas such as the Pinedale Anticline has led to accelerated operations, which result in congested traffic on primary access roads and a potential overload on local service and emergency resources. This situation can be exacerbated when lease development is further reduced by other seasonal restrictions, including those for raptors.”


Snocross competition pulled from Jackson

JACKSON (WNE) — After hosting snocross races at Snow King the past two winters, authorities will take the competition elsewhere this year.

John Daniels, owner of International Series of Champions — the sanctioning body for the AMSOIL Championship Snocross series — said the decision was based on the high cost of traveling to Teton County and the resulting low participation. Snocross, the snowmobiler’s version of motocross, is far more popular in the East and Midwest.

Most of the sport’s fans, and therefore most of its events, are in those regions. But with the decades-old tradition of the Hill Climb in Jackson, Daniels expected more enthusiasm for a variant sled sport.

“We thought it would be a home run,” he said, adding that he liked the location and enjoyed working with Snow King. “But we did not draw great attendance the first two years.”

The race garnered about 2,500 spectators in both 2017 and 2018, according to Snow King General Manager Ryan Stanley. That’s compared to upward of 20,000 at some venues in the sport’s homeland.

Snocross received $80,000 in taxpayer money from the Travel and Tourism Board in 2017, and $60,000 in 2018, to be used for marketing. Kate Sollitt, executive director of the board, said the race was a boost to the economy during a period of low visitation.

“I do think that as an event in early December it helped fulfill part of the mission of the Travel and Tourism Board, which is to promote visitors during the shoulder season,” she said.

In both years, Stanley estimated attendees filled about 700 hotel rooms and spent about $400,000, which amounts to $24,000 in sales tax.