Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years


Former court clerk accused of stealing $120,000

Former court clerk accused of stealing $120,000

TORRINGTON (WNE) — Former Eighth Judicial District Court Clerk Kathi Rickard has been charged with six felony theft charges after an investigation by the State of Wyoming.

Rickard, who resigned earlier this year - though she cited health concerns as the reason - allegedly stole $120,217.65 between 2016 and 2018, according to a press release issued by Goshen County Attorney Eric Boyer.

The release said that the county will be seeking restitution for the funds.

The release said the investigation was conducted by the Wyoming Attorney General and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

Rickard was re-elected to the office in 2018. After her resignation Brandi Correa was chosen to finish her term.

Charges were filed in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Goshen County, and Laramie County Attorney Spencer Allred will be the prosecuting attorney to avoid a conflict of interest.


Negligent homicide charge dropped in overdose death

JACKSON (WNE) — A Star Valley woman is no longer facing a charge of criminally negligent homicide after taking a plea deal Tuesday in Teton County District Court.

Former Jackson resident, Sarah Valley entered a plea of no contest to felony delivery of heroin.

Police say Valley, 41, provided the heroin that killed Wesley Kiggins.

Kiggins died Jan. 14, 2017, during a visit to Jackson.

Police investigated for months and identified Valley as Kiggins’ drug dealer after searching cellphone and computer records.

On Tuesday morning the state of Wyoming, represented by Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan, filed a motion to dismiss the criminally negligent homicide charge.

“The investigation in the case reveals the delivery of controlled substances to the victim by another individual within the same general time frame as the delivery by the defendant,” the motion states. “The state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt which controlled substances are responsible for the death of the victim.”

Valley sold Kiggins heroin the day before he died, according to police.

The 27-year-old was fondly known as “Wootie” to family and friends.

Police cite text messages and surveillance footage as evidence of the drug deal they say happened in the parking lot of Smith’s Food and Drug.

But toxicology results showed a variety of substances in Kiggins’ system at the time of his death, court documents state.

Valley was set to go to trial later this month, but a plea bargain means the court will order a pre-sentence investigation and proceed to sentencing based on her no contest plea to the felony.


Accident deemed homicide because of toxicology

RIVERTON (WNE) — A fatal collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian this spring in Fremont County has been deemed a homicide.

Dawson M. Smith, 34, died as a result of the April 26 crash, according to a report from the Fremont County Coroner’s Office. The coroner’s report lists his death as a homicide due to multiple blunt force trauma from the collision.

The report also indicates Smith was intoxicated at the time of his death, with a blood-alcohol content of .273. Toxicology also showed 10 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine and 8.7 ng/ml of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol in his system, according to the report.

Smith’s property was released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as evidence, the coroner’s report states.

Further information from the FBI was unavailable Wednesday.


DEQ: No connection between Madison project, Carlile well problems

SUNDANCE (WNE) — The Department of Environmental Quality has released the results of its investigation into a number of water wells in the vicinity of Carlile that suddenly ran dry or acidic in August, 2017. The study did not find any confirmable links between the well issues and the Gillette Madison Water Project, though it was unable to rule out the possibility that discharges from the Gillette wells contributed to the low pH values of the wells in Crook County.

The study investigated whether the construction and testing of Gillette’s city wells was the cause of reduced water levels in the wells near Carlile. The answer was no.

The investigation determined that the domestic wells draw from the Fall River, Lakota and Sundance formations, while the Gillette wells draw from the Madison Limestone, which is “hydraulically separated” by around 1000 feet of low-permeability strata. The groundwater elevation for the Madison Limestone is 200 feet lower than in the aquifers serving the Carlile wells.

“Even under aggressive production from the Madison aquifer by the City wells (only short-term test production has occurred to date), it is highly unlikely significant drawdown impacts could be realized through the intervening strata,” says the conclusion of the study.

The study also investigated whether the stimulation of the Gillette city wells were the cause of the low pH conditions in the Carlile domestic wells. Again, the answer was no.


Douglas welders place second in national contest

DOUGLAS (WNE) — Lights flashed brightly as a fire engine horn blared through Douglas, forcing cars to pull over and join in celebration over the weekend. Despite not returning to Douglas until well past dark at nearly 11 p.m. June 29, four Douglas High School students got a celebratory return after winning silver at nationals.

The four went to the SkillsUSA National Finals to compete in different welding competitions in Louisville, Kentucky. The welding fabrication team of Dalton Chapman, Kyle Parks and junior Braeden Ellery came in second out of 44 competing high schools.

They won the silver medal in 2019 after coming in first and taking gold last year. Last year’s team featured Chapman, Parks and Trevor Sorg.

“We gave it our all. We were happy with what turned out of it but do we wish we could’ve gotten first? Yeah, everybody does,” Chapman said.

This year, Sorg opted to go on his own and compete in individual advanced welding. Out of the 49 competitors, Sorg came in fourth. While the team competition was larger and took significantly more time, Sorg had only one hour to do the design handed to each welder by the judges.

The team project was to build metal shoe donation boxes in the allotted time. Typically, the competition would take place over 6.5 hours, but due to the difficulty of this year’s objective, the time limit was raised to seven hours.

Even with the extra 30 minutes, only two high school teams were able to complete their projects. Only two of the 22 college teams completed their shoe donation boxes, as well.

Rendered 07/12/2024 23:30