Wyoming News Briefs June 28

Man in hammer attack charged with attempted murder


June 27, 2019

State Fair Board looks to fill top spot

DOUGLAS (WNE) — A new Wyoming State Fair manager could be hired as early as next month, even as the long-time assistant fair director announced her retirement and left the job June 4 amid a continuing shake up on the fairgrounds heading into the 2019 season.

“The position title has been changed to Wyoming State Fair manager,” WSF Board Chairman Joe Rankin explained, noting the director title was created under the state Department of Agriculture and that ended when the WSF Board was created late last year. “The personnel committee has several candidates that will be interviewed at the next meeting and if the right person is found the board is ready to offer them the position.”

James Goodrich was fired as WSF director by the new board in April, and rumors circled that more personnel changes were in the works when assistant director Vicki Rupert abruptly retired June 4 after 24 years.

The focus of the new fair board isn’t just the 10 days in August when the state fair is running, according to Rankin.

“Our new focus is on filling the fairgrounds with activities and events year round,” he said. “We know that our costs are in line with other facilities comparable to the fair grounds.”


Man in hammer attack charged with attempted murder

RIVERTON (WNE) — Garrett Powell, 29, who was charged in April for attacking his father with a hammer, was bound over to Fremont County District Court during a scheduling conference on Monday in Riverton Circuit Court.

The transition from Circuit to District Court ordinarily conveys that there is probable cause to arraign the defendant for a felony — in this case, attempted first-degree murder.

This is the second of two similar charges Powell has faced in less than a year. He was charged with aggravated assault and battery after a September 2018 incident in which also struck his father with a hammer.

When Powell appeared before Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts in April, his public defender, Dan Caldwell, filed for an evaluation of Powell’s mental competence, which halted the court’s hearing of the case temporarily.

Then on Monday, the hiatus came to an end, when Powell appeared once more in Circuit Court, through a video link that portrayed him seated with Caldwell.

Powell’s charges stem from April 16, 2019, when, according to his court affidavit, he retrieved a hammer from outside his family’s home near Lander, went into the room where his mother and father were sleeping, and struck his father on the head with the hammer repeatedly.

When Powell was charged last autumn with an attack of the same nature but lesser severity, he pleaded not guilty by reason of mental incompetency or deficiency and was freed, but placed under medical supervision.


Pipeline to originate in Guernsey, run through Goshen Co.

TORRINGTON (WNE) — Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline, LLC. are building a new 24-inch crude oil pipeline that will run through portions of Goshen County.

The pipeline, which the companies have named the Liberty Pipeline, will originate in Guernsey and transport crude oil to a Phillips 66 refinery in Cushing, Okla. Three representatives from the project attended the Goshen County Commission meeting on June 18, and told the commissioners that the pipeline will enable Wyoming oil producers to access more customers.

“We are enabling Wyoming and other producers from this area to be able to access different markets with this crude oil pipeline,” Rich Johnson, with Phillips 66 said. “We will have a facility in Guernsey, where the pipeline will originate, and there’ll be some storage tanks there is than the pipeline will come east. It’ll move south through this county.”

Three Phillips 66 representatives told the commission that Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline haven’t begun to contact landowners in the area, but they expect to start the dialogue in the coming weeks. Johnson told the commission that Phillips 66 has a lot of experience with operating pipelines, and that the Liberty Pipeline will be a major project for the company.

“We have 11 refineries in the United States that we operate, we also interest in about 21,000 miles of pipeline,” he said. “We operate about 10,000 miles of the pipeline. We have a lot of experience building operating pipelines, as well as storage facilities. This is a very important project for our company.”


BLM lease sale raises more than $22 million

CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming raised more than $22 million in its June 25-26 quarterly oil and gas lease sale. The BLM received bids on 151 parcels totaling about 186,000 acres facilitating economic opportunities and infrastructure investment in local communities.

The BLM reviewed 180 parcels nominated for the sale and ultimately offered 160, totaling about 230,000 acres. We deferred 20 parcels to allow for the completion of the pending Rock Springs plan revision and to avoid potential resource conflicts.

In close coordination with the State of Wyoming, we also deferred portions of five nominated parcels that overlap State-designated migration corridors to further the purposes of Secretarial Orders 3356 and 3362, which aim to protect big game migration corridors and habitat management areas.

Leasing is the first step in the process to develop federal oil and gas resources. At this stage, the BLM applies standard terms and conditions and appropriate stipulations to each lease to protect other resources in the area. Before authorizing development on a lease, the BLM must approve a separate drilling permit based on further analysis of detailed site-specific plans and conditions.

Wyoming is one of the nation’s top energy producers on public lands. In 2018, BLM Wyoming lease sales garnered nearly $117 million.

About half of the revenue from Wyoming lease sales is disbursed to the State of Wyoming to fund state-determined priority projects. If a lease results in production, the associated royalties are also shared with the state.


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